September 22, 2019  |  

The draft genomes of Elizabethkingia anophelis of equine origin are genetically similar to three isolates from human clinical specimens.

We report the isolation and characterization of two Elizabethkingia anophelis strains (OSUVM-1 and OSUVM-2) isolated from sources associated with horses in Oklahoma. Both strains appeared susceptible to fluoroquinolones and demonstrated high MICs to all cell wall active antimicrobials including vancomycin, along with aminoglycosides, fusidic acid, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline. Typical of the Elizabethkingia, both draft genomes contained multiple copies of ß-lactamase genes as well as genes predicted to function in antimicrobial efflux. Phylogenetic analysis of the draft genomes revealed that OSUVM-1 and OSUVM-2 differ by only 6 SNPs and are in a clade with 3 strains of Elizabethkingia anophelis that were responsible for human infections. These findings therefore raise the possibility that Elizabethkingia might have the potential to move between humans and animals in a manner similar to known zoonotic pathogens.


September 22, 2019  |  

Distinct genomic features characterize two clades of Corynebacterium diphtheriae: Proposal of Corynebacterium diphtheriae subsp. diphtheriae subsp. nov. and Corynebacterium diphtheriae subsp. lausannense subsp. nov.

Corynebacterium diphtheriae is the etiological agent of diphtheria, a disease caused by the presence of the diphtheria toxin. However, an increasing number of records report non-toxigenic C. diphtheriae infections. Here, a C. diphtheriae strain was recovered from a patient with a past history of bronchiectasis who developed a severe tracheo-bronchitis with multiple whitish lesions of the distal trachea and the mainstem bronchi. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS), performed in parallel with PCR targeting the toxin gene and the Elek test, provided clinically relevant results in a short turnaround time, showing that the isolate was non-toxigenic. A comparative genomic analysis of the new strain (CHUV2995) with 56 other publicly available genomes of C. diphtheriae revealed that the strains CHUV2995, CCUG 5865 and CMCNS703 share a lower average nucleotide identity (ANI) (95.24 to 95.39%) with the C. diphtheriae NCTC 11397T reference genome than all other C. diphtheriae genomes (>98.15%). Core genome phylogeny confirmed the presence of two monophyletic clades. Based on these findings, we propose here two new C. diphtheriae subspecies to replace the lineage denomination used in previous multilocus sequence typing studies: C. diphtheriae subsp. lausannense subsp. nov. (instead of lineage-2), regrouping strains CHUV2995, CCUG 5865, and CMCNS703, and C. diphtheriae subsp. diphtheriae subsp. nov, regrouping all other C. diphtheriae in the dataset (instead of lineage-1). Interestingly, members of subspecies lausannense displayed a larger genome size than subspecies diphtheriae and were enriched in COG categories related to transport and metabolism of lipids (I) and inorganic ion (P). Conversely, they lacked all genes involved in the synthesis of pili (SpaA-type, SpaD-type and SpaH-type), molybdenum cofactor and of the nitrate reductase. Finally, the CHUV2995 genome is particularly enriched in mobility genes and harbors several prophages. The genome encodes a type II-C CRISPR-Cas locus with 2 spacers that lacks csn2 or cas4, which could hamper the acquisition of new spacers and render strain CHUV2995 more susceptible to bacteriophage infections and gene acquisition through various mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic assemblies of newly sequenced Trypanosoma cruzi strains reveal new genomic expansion and greater complexity.

Chagas disease is a complex illness caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi displaying highly diverse clinical outcomes. In this sense, the genome sequence elucidation and comparison between strains may lead to disease understanding. Here, two new T. cruzi strains, have been sequenced, Y using Illumina and Bug2148 using PacBio, assembled, analyzed and compared with the T. cruzi annotated genomes available to date. The assembly stats from the new sequences show effective improvement of T. cruzi genome over the actual ones. Such as, the largest contig assembled (1.3?Mb in Bug2148) in de novo attempts and the highest mean assembly coverage (71X for Y). Our analysis reveals a new genomic expansion and greater complexity for those multi-copy gene families related to infection process and disease development, such as Trans-sialidases, Mucins and Mucin Associated Surface Proteins, among others. On one side, we demonstrate that multi-copy gene families are located near telomeric regions of the “chromosome-like” 1.3?Mb contig assembled of Bug2148, where they likely suffer high evolutive pressure. On the other hand, we identified several strain-specific single copy genes that might help to understand the differences in infectivity and physiology among strains. In summary, our results indicate that T. cruzi has a complex genomic architecture that may have promoted its evolution.


September 22, 2019  |  

Phosphagen kinase function in flagellated spores of the oomycete Phytophthora infestans integrates transcriptional regulation, metabolic dynamics and protein retargeting.

Flagellated spores play important roles in the infection of plants and animals by many eukaryotic microbes. The oomycete Phytophthora infestans, which causes potato blight, expresses two phosphagen kinases (PKs). These enzymes store energy in taurocyamine, and are hypothesized to resolve spatial and temporal imbalances between rates of ATP creation and use in zoospores. A dimeric PK is found at low levels in vegetative mycelia, but high levels in ungerminated sporangia and zoospores. In contrast, a monomeric PK protein is at similar levels in all tissues, although is transcribed primarily in mycelia. Subcellular localization studies indicate that the monomeric PK is mitochondrial. In contrast, the dimeric PK is cytoplasmic in mycelia and sporangia but is retargeted to flagellar axonemes during zoosporogenesis. This supports a model in which PKs shuttle energy from mitochondria to and through flagella. Metabolite analysis indicates that deployment of the flagellar PK is coordinated with a large increase in taurocyamine, synthesized by sporulation-induced enzymes that were lost during the evolution of zoospore-lacking oomycetes. Thus, PK function is enabled by coordination of the transcriptional, metabolic and protein targeting machinery during the life cycle. Since plants lack PKs, the enzymes may be useful targets for inhibitors of oomycete plant pathogens.© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic analysis of multi-resistant Staphylococcus capitis associated with neonatal sepsis.

Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), such as Staphylococcus capitis, are major causes of bloodstream infections in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Recently, a distinct clone of S. capitis (designated S. capitis NRCS-A) has emerged as an important pathogen in NICUs internationally. Here, 122 S. capitis isolates from New Zealand (NZ) underwent whole-genome sequencing (WGS), and these data were supplemented with publicly available S. capitis sequence reads. Phylogenetic and comparative genomic analyses were performed, as were phenotypic assessments of antimicrobial resistance, biofilm formation, and plasmid segregational stability on representative isolates. A distinct lineage of S. capitis was identified in NZ associated with neonates and the NICU environment. Isolates from this lineage produced increased levels of biofilm, displayed higher levels of tolerance to chlorhexidine, and were multidrug resistant. Although similar to globally circulating NICU-associated S. capitis strains at a core-genome level, NZ NICU S. capitis isolates carried a novel stably maintained multidrug-resistant plasmid that was not present in non-NICU isolates. Neonatal blood culture isolates were indistinguishable from environmental S. capitis isolates found on fomites, such as stethoscopes and neonatal incubators, but were generally distinct from those isolates carried by NICU staff. This work implicates the NICU environment as a potential reservoir for neonatal sepsis caused by S. capitis and highlights the capacity of genomics-based tracking and surveillance to inform future hospital infection control practices aimed at containing the spread of this important neonatal pathogen. Copyright © 2018 Carter et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

A large, refractory nosocomial outbreak of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing Escherichia coli demonstrates carbapenemase gene outbreaks involving sink sites require novel approaches to infection control.

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) represent a health threat, but effective control interventions remain unclear. Hospital wastewater sites are increasingly being highlighted as important potential reservoirs. We investigated a large Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing Escherichia coli outbreak and wider CRE incidence trends in the Central Manchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) (United Kingdom) over 8 years, to determine the impact of infection prevention and control measures. Bacteriology and patient administration data (2009 to 2017) were linked, and a subset of CMFT or regional hospital KPC-producing E. coli isolates (n = 268) were sequenced. Control interventions followed international guidelines and included cohorting, rectal screening (n = 184,539 screens), environmental sampling, enhanced cleaning, and ward closure and plumbing replacement. Segmented regression of time trends for CRE detections was used to evaluate the impact of interventions on CRE incidence. Genomic analysis (n = 268 isolates) identified the spread of a KPC-producing E. coli outbreak clone (strain A, sequence type 216 [ST216]; n = 125) among patients and in the environment, particularly on 2 cardiac wards (wards 3 and 4), despite control measures. ST216 strain A had caused an antecedent outbreak and shared its KPC plasmids with other E. coli lineages and Enterobacteriaceae species. CRE acquisition incidence declined after closure of wards 3 and 4 and plumbing replacement, suggesting an environmental contribution. However, ward 3/ward 4 wastewater sites were rapidly recolonized with CRE and patient CRE acquisitions recurred, albeit at lower rates. Patient relocation and plumbing replacement were associated with control of a clonal KPC-producing E. coli outbreak; however, environmental contamination with CRE and patient CRE acquisitions recurred rapidly following this intervention. The large numbers of cases and the persistence of blaKPC in E. coli, including pathogenic lineages, are of concern. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Investigation of a cluster of Sphingomonas koreensis infections.

Plumbing systems are an infrequent but known reservoir for opportunistic microbial pathogens that can infect hospitalized patients. In 2016, a cluster of clinical sphingomonas infections prompted an investigation.We performed whole-genome DNA sequencing on clinical isolates of multidrug-resistant Sphingomonas koreensis identified from 2006 through 2016 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center. We cultured S. koreensis from the sinks in patient rooms and performed both whole-genome and shotgun metagenomic sequencing to identify a reservoir within the infrastructure of the hospital. These isolates were compared with clinical and environmental S. koreensis isolates obtained from other institutions.The investigation showed that two isolates of S. koreensis obtained from the six patients identified in the 2016 cluster were unrelated, but four isolates shared more than 99.92% genetic similarity and were resistant to multiple antibiotic agents. Retrospective analysis of banked clinical isolates of sphingomonas from the NIH Clinical Center revealed the intermittent recovery of a clonal strain over the past decade. Unique single-nucleotide variants identified in strains of S. koreensis elucidated the existence of a reservoir in the hospital plumbing. Clinical S. koreensis isolates from other facilities were genetically distinct from the NIH isolates. Hospital remediation strategies were guided by results of microbiologic culturing and fine-scale genomic analyses.This genomic and epidemiologic investigation suggests that S. koreensis is an opportunistic human pathogen that both persisted in the NIH Clinical Center infrastructure across time and space and caused health care-associated infections. (Funded by the NIH Intramural Research Programs.).


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic and transcriptomic comparisons of closely related malaria parasites differing in virulence and sequestration pattern.

Background: Malaria parasite species differ greatly in the harm they do to humans. While P. falciparum kills hundreds of thousands per year, P. vivax kills much less often and P. malariae is relatively benign. Strains of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi show phenotypic variation in virulence during infections of laboratory mice. This make it an excellent species to study genes which may be responsible for this trait. By understanding the mechanisms which underlie differences in virulence we can learn how parasites adapt to their hosts and how we might prevent disease. Methods: Here we present a complete reference genome sequence for a more virulent P. chabaudi strain, PcCB, and perform a detailed comparison with the genome of the less virulent PcAS strain. Results: We found the greatest variation in the subtelomeric regions, in particular amongst the sequences of the pir gene family, which has been associated with virulence and establishment of chronic infection. Despite substantial variation at the sequence level, the repertoire of these genes has been largely maintained, highlighting the requirement for functional conservation as well as diversification in host-parasite interactions. However, a subset of pir genes, previously associated with increased virulence, were more highly expressed in PcCB, suggesting a role for this gene family in virulence differences between strains. We found that core genes involved in red blood cell invasion have been under positive selection and that the more virulent strain has a greater preference for reticulocytes, which has elsewhere been associated with increased virulence. Conclusions: These results provide the basis for a mechanistic understanding of the phenotypic differences between Plasmodium chabaudi strains, which might ultimately be translated into a better understanding of malaria parasites affecting humans.


September 21, 2019  |  

Functional analysis of the first complete genome sequence of a multidrug resistant sequence type 2 Staphylococcus epidermidis.

Staphylococcus epidermidis is a significant opportunistic pathogen of humans. The ST2 lineage is frequently multidrug resistant and accounts for most of the clinical disease worldwide. However, there are no publically available, closed ST2 genomes and pathogenesis studies have not focused on these strains. We report the complete genome and methylome of BPH0662, a multidrug resistant, hospital adapted, ST2 S. epidermidis, and describe the correlation between resistome and phenotype, as well as demonstrate its relationship to publically available, international ST2 isolates. Furthermore, we delineate the methylome determined by the two type I restriction modification systems present in BPH0662 through heterologous expression in Escherichia coli, allowing the assignment of each system to its corresponding target recognition motif. As the first complete ST2 S. epidermidis genome, BPH0662 provides a valuable reference for future genomic studies of this clinically relevant lineage. Defining the methylome and the construction of these E. coli hosts provides the foundation for the development of molecular tools to bypass restriction modification systems in this lineage that has hitherto proven intractable.


September 21, 2019  |  

Characterization of multi-drug resistant Enterococcus faecalis isolated from cephalic recording chambers in research macaques (Macaca spp.).

Nonhuman primates are commonly used for cognitive neuroscience research and often surgically implanted with cephalic recording chambers for electrophysiological recording. Aerobic bacterial cultures from 25 macaques identified 72 bacterial isolates, including 15 Enterococcus faecalis isolates. The E. faecalis isolates displayed multi-drug resistant phenotypes, with resistance to ciprofloxacin, enrofloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, bacitracin, and erythromycin, as well as high-level aminoglycoside resistance. Multi-locus sequence typing showed that most belonged to two E. faecalis sequence types (ST): ST 4 and ST 55. The genomes of three representative isolates were sequenced to identify genes encoding antimicrobial resistances and other traits. Antimicrobial resistance genes identified included aac(6′)-aph(2″), aph(3′)-III, str, ant(6)-Ia, tetM, tetS, tetL, ermB, bcrABR, cat, and dfrG, and polymorphisms in parC (S80I) and gyrA (S83I) were observed. These isolates also harbored virulence factors including the cytolysin toxin genes in ST 4 isolates, as well as multiple biofilm-associated genes (esp, agg, ace, SrtA, gelE, ebpABC), hyaluronidases (hylA, hylB), and other survival genes (ElrA, tpx). Crystal violet biofilm assays confirmed that ST 4 isolates produced more biofilm than ST 55 isolates. The abundance of antimicrobial resistance and virulence factor genes in the ST 4 isolates likely relates to the loss of CRISPR-cas. This macaque colony represents a unique model for studying E. faecalis infection associated with indwelling devices, and provides an opportunity to understand the basis of persistence of this pathogen in a healthcare setting.


September 21, 2019  |  

Long-read genome sequencing identifies causal structural variation in a Mendelian disease.

PurposeCurrent clinical genomics assays primarily utilize short-read sequencing (SRS), but SRS has limited ability to evaluate repetitive regions and structural variants. Long-read sequencing (LRS) has complementary strengths, and we aimed to determine whether LRS could offer a means to identify overlooked genetic variation in patients undiagnosed by SRS.MethodsWe performed low-coverage genome LRS to identify structural variants in a patient who presented with multiple neoplasia and cardiac myxomata, in whom the results of targeted clinical testing and genome SRS were negative.ResultsThis LRS approach yielded 6,971 deletions and 6,821 insertions?>?50?bp. Filtering for variants that are absent in an unrelated control and overlap a disease gene coding exon identified three deletions and three insertions. One of these, a heterozygous 2,184?bp deletion, overlaps the first coding exon of PRKAR1A, which is implicated in autosomal dominant Carney complex. RNA sequencing demonstrated decreased PRKAR1A expression. The deletion was classified as pathogenic based on guidelines for interpretation of sequence variants.ConclusionThis first successful application of genome LRS to identify a pathogenic variant in a patient suggests that LRS has significant potential for the identification of disease-causing structural variation. Larger studies will ultimately be required to evaluate the potential clinical utility of LRS.


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