April 21, 2020  |  

FadR1, a pathway-specific activator of fidaxomicin biosynthesis in Actinoplanes deccanensis Yp-1.

Fidaxomicin, an 18-membered macrolide antibiotic, is highly active against Clostridium difficile, the most common cause of diarrhea in hospitalized patients. Though the biosynthetic mechanism of fidaxomicin has been well studied, little is known about its regulatory mechanism. Here, we reported that FadR1, a LAL family transcriptional regulator in the fidaxomicin cluster of Actinoplanes deccanensis Yp-1, acts as an activator for fidaxomicin biosynthesis. The disruption of fadR1 abolished the ability to synthesize fidaxomicin, and production could be restored by reintegrating a single copy of fadR1. Overexpression of fadR1 resulted in an approximately 400 % improvement in fidaxomicin production. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays indicated that fidaxomicin biosynthesis is under the control of FadR1 through its binding to the promoter regions of fadM, fadA1-fadP2, fadS2-fadC, and fadE-fadF, respectively. And the conserved binding sites of FadR1 within the four promoter regions were determined by footprinting experiment. All results indicated that fadR1 encodes a pathway-specific positive regulator of fidaxomicin biosynthesis and upregulates the transcription levels of most of genes by binding to the four above intergenic regions. In summary, we not only clearly elucidate the regulatory mechanism of FadR1 but also provide strategies for the construction of industrial high-yield strain of fidaxomicin.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Isolation and Characterization of Kronos, a Novel Caulobacter Rhizosphere Phage that is Similar to Lambdoid Phages.

Despite their ubiquity, relatively few bacteriophages have been characterized. Here, we set out to explore Caulobacter bacteriophages (caulophages) in the rhizosphere and characterized Kronos, the first caulophage isolated from the rhizosphere. Kronos is a member of the Siphoviridae family since it has a long flexible tail. In addition, an analysis of the Kronos genome indicated that many of the predicted proteins were distantly related to those of bacteriophages in the lambdoid family. Consistent with this observation, we were able to demonstrate the presence of cos sites that are similar to those found at the ends of lambdoid phage genomes. Moreover, Kronos displayed a relatively rare head and tail morphology compared to other caulophages but was similar to that of the lambdoid phages. Taken together, these data indicate that Kronos is distantly related to lambdoid phages and may represent a new Siphoviridae genus.


April 21, 2020  |  

Analyses of four new Caulobacter Phicbkviruses indicate independent lineages.

Bacteriophages with genomes larger than 200 kbp are considered giant phages, and the giant Phicbkviruses are the most frequently isolated Caulobacter crescentus phages. In this study, we compare six bacteriophage genomes that differ from the genomes of the majority of Phicbkviruses. Four of these genomes are much larger than those of the rest of the Phicbkviruses, with genome sizes that are more than 250 kbp. A comparison of 16 Phicbkvirus genomes identified a ‘core genome’ of 69 genes that is present in all of these Phicbkvirus genomes, as well as shared accessory genes and genes that are unique for each phage. Most of the core genes are clustered into the regions coding for structural proteins or those involved in DNA replication. A phylogenetic analysis indicated that these 16 CaulobacterPhicbkvirus genomes are related, but they represent four distinct branches of the Phicbkvirus genomic tree with distantly related branches sharing little nucleotide homology. In contrast, pairwise comparisons within each branch of the phylogenetic tree showed that more than 80?% of the entire genome is shared among phages within a group. This conservation of the genomes within each branch indicates that horizontal gene transfer events between the groups are rare. Therefore, the Phicbkvirus genus consists of at least four different phylogenetic branches that are evolving independently from one another. One of these branches contains a 27-gene inversion relative to the other three branches. Also, an analysis of the tRNA genes showed that they are relatively mobile within the Phicbkvirus genus.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome Comparisons of Wild Isolates of Caulobacter crescentus Reveal Rates of Inversion and Horizontal Gene Transfer.

Since previous interspecies comparisons of Caulobacter genomes have revealed extensive genome rearrangements, we decided to compare the nucleotide sequences of four C. crescentus genomes, NA1000, CB1, CB2, and CB13. To accomplish this goal, we used PacBio sequencing technology to determine the nucleotide sequence of the CB1, CB2, and CB13 genomes, and obtained each genome sequence as a single contig. To correct for possible sequencing errors, each genome was sequenced twice. The only differences we observed between the two sets of independently determined sequences were random omissions of a single base in a small percentage of the homopolymer regions where a single base is repeated multiple times. Comparisons of these four genomes indicated that horizontal gene transfer events that included small numbers of genes occurred at frequencies in the range of 10-3 to 10-4 insertions per generation. Large insertions were about 100 times less frequent. Also, in contrast to previous interspecies comparisons, we found no genome rearrangements when the closely related NA1000, CB1, and CB2 genomes were compared, and only eight inversions and one translocation when the more distantly related CB13 genome was compared to the other genomes. Thus, we estimate that inversions occur at a rate of one per 10 to 12 million generations in Caulobacter genomes. The inversions seem to be complex events that include the simultaneous creation of indels.


April 21, 2020  |  

Deciphering bacterial epigenomes using modern sequencing technologies.

Prokaryotic DNA contains three types of methylation: N6-methyladenine, N4-methylcytosine and 5-methylcytosine. The lack of tools to analyse the frequency and distribution of methylated residues in bacterial genomes has prevented a full understanding of their functions. Now, advances in DNA sequencing technology, including single-molecule, real-time sequencing and nanopore-based sequencing, have provided new opportunities for systematic detection of all three forms of methylated DNA at a genome-wide scale and offer unprecedented opportunities for achieving a more complete understanding of bacterial epigenomes. Indeed, as the number of mapped bacterial methylomes approaches 2,000, increasing evidence supports roles for methylation in regulation of gene expression, virulence and pathogen-host interactions.


April 21, 2020  |  

Metaepigenomic analysis reveals the unexplored diversity of DNA methylation in an environmental prokaryotic community.

DNA methylation plays important roles in prokaryotes, and their genomic landscapes-prokaryotic epigenomes-have recently begun to be disclosed. However, our knowledge of prokaryotic methylation systems is focused on those of culturable microbes, which are rare in nature. Here, we used single-molecule real-time and circular consensus sequencing techniques to reveal the ‘metaepigenomes’ of a microbial community in the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa. We reconstructed 19 draft genomes from diverse bacterial and archaeal groups, most of which are yet to be cultured. The analysis of DNA chemical modifications in those genomes revealed 22 methylated motifs, nine of which were novel. We identified methyltransferase genes likely responsible for methylation of the novel motifs, and confirmed the catalytic specificities of four of them via transformation experiments using synthetic genes. Our study highlights metaepigenomics as a powerful approach for identification of the vast unexplored variety of prokaryotic DNA methylation systems in nature.


April 21, 2020  |  

Development of a metabolic pathway transfer and genomic integration system for the syngas-fermenting bacterium Clostridium ljungdahlii.

Clostridium spp. can synthesize valuable chemicals and fuels by utilizing diverse waste-stream substrates, including starchy biomass, lignocellulose, and industrial waste gases. However, metabolic engineering in Clostridium spp. is challenging due to the low efficiency of gene transfer and genomic integration of entire biosynthetic pathways.We have developed a reliable gene transfer and genomic integration system for the syngas-fermenting bacterium Clostridium ljungdahlii based on the conjugal transfer of donor plasmids containing large transgene cassettes (>?5 kb) followed by the inducible activation of Himar1 transposase to promote integration. We established a conjugation protocol for the efficient generation of transconjugants using the Gram-positive origins of replication repL and repH. We also investigated the impact of DNA methylation on conjugation efficiency by testing donor constructs with all possible combinations of Dam and Dcm methylation patterns, and used bisulfite conversion and PacBio sequencing to determine the DNA methylation profile of the C. ljungdahlii genome, resulting in the detection of four sequence motifs with N6-methyladenosine. As proof of concept, we demonstrated the transfer and genomic integration of a heterologous acetone biosynthesis pathway using a Himar1 transposase system regulated by a xylose-inducible promoter. The functionality of the integrated pathway was confirmed by detecting enzyme proteotypic peptides and the formation of acetone and isopropanol by C. ljungdahlii cultures utilizing syngas as a carbon and energy source.The developed multi-gene delivery system offers a versatile tool to integrate and stably express large biosynthetic pathways in the industrial promising syngas-fermenting microorganism C. ljungdahlii. The simple transfer and stable integration of large gene clusters (like entire biosynthetic pathways) is expanding the range of possible fermentation products of heterologously expressing recombinant strains. We also believe that the developed gene delivery system can be adapted to other clostridial strains as well.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of Caulobacter flavus RHGG3T, a type species of the genus Caulobacter with plant growth-promoting traits and heavy metal resistance.

Caulobacter flavus RHGG3T, a novel type species in the genus Caulobacter, originally isolated from rhizosphere soil of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), has the ability to improve the growth of watermelon seedling and tolerate heavy metals. In vitro, C. flavus RHGG3T was able to solubilize phosphate (80.56 mg L-1), produce indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) (11.58 mg L-1) and was resistant to multiple heavy metals (copper, zinc, cadmium, cobalt and lead). Inoculating watermelon with this strain increased shoot and root length by 22.1% and 43.7%, respectively, and the total number of lateral roots by 55.9% compared to non-inoculated watermelon. In this study, we present the complete genome sequence of C. flavus RHGG3T, which was comprised of a single circular chromosome of 5,659,202 bp with a G?+?C content of 69.25%. An annotation analysis revealed that the C. flavus RHGG3T genome contained 5172 coding DNA sequences, 9 rRNA and 55 tRNA genes. Genes related to plant growth promotion (PGP), such as those associated with phosphate solubilization, nitrogen fixation, IAA, phenazine, volatile compounds, spermidine and cobalamin synthesis, were found in the C. flavus RHGG3T genome. Some genes responsible for heavy metal tolerance were also identified. The genome sequence of strain RHGG3T reported here provides new insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the promotion of plant growth and the resistance to heavy metals in C. flavus. This study will be valuable for further exploration of the biotechnological applications of strain RHGG3T in agriculture.


October 23, 2019  |  

Dynamics of coral-associated microbiomes during a thermal bleaching event.

Coral-associated microorganisms play an important role in their host fitness and survival. A number of studies have demonstrated connections between thermal tolerance in corals and the type/relative abundance of Symbiodinium they harbor. More recently, the shifts in coral-associated bacterial profiles were also shown to be linked to the patterns of coral heat tolerance. Here, we investigated the dynamics of Porites lutea-associated bacterial and algal communities throughout a natural bleaching event, using full-length 16S rRNA and internal transcribed spacer sequences (ITS) obtained from PacBio circular consensus sequencing. We provided evidence of significant changes in the structure and diversity of coral-associated microbiomes during thermal stress. The balance of the symbiosis shifted from a predominant association between corals and Gammaproteobacteria to a predominance of Alphaproteobacteria and to a lesser extent Betaproteobacteria following the bleaching event. On the contrary, the composition and diversity of Symbiodinium communities remained unaltered throughout the bleaching event. It appears that the switching and/or shuffling of Symbiodinium types may not be the primary mechanism used by P. lutea to cope with increasing seawater temperature. The shifts in the structure and diversity of associated bacterial communities may contribute more to the survival of the coral holobiont under heat stress.© 2018 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


October 23, 2019  |  

High resolution profiling of coral-associated bacterial communities using full-length 16S rRNA sequence data from PacBio SMRT sequencing system.

Coral reefs are a complex ecosystem consisting of coral animals and a vast array of associated symbionts including the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium, fungi, viruses and bacteria. Several studies have highlighted the importance of coral-associated bacteria and their fundamental roles in fitness and survival of the host animal. The scleractinian coral Porites lutea is one of the dominant reef-builders in the Indo-West Pacific. Currently, very little is known about the composition and structure of bacterial communities across P. lutea reefs. The purpose of this study is twofold: to demonstrate the advantages of using PacBio circular consensus sequencing technology in microbial community studies and to investigate the diversity and structure of P. lutea-associated microbiome in the Indo-Pacific. This is the first metagenomic study of marine environmental samples that utilises the PacBio sequencing system to capture full-length 16S rRNA sequences. We observed geographically distinct coral-associated microbial profiles between samples from the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. Despite the geographical and environmental impacts on the coral-host interactions, we identified a conserved community of bacteria that were present consistently across diverse reef habitats. Finally, we demonstrated the superior performance of full-length 16S rRNA sequences in resolving taxonomic uncertainty of coral associates at the species level.


September 22, 2019  |  

Introduction to isoform sequencing using Pacific Biosciences technology (Iso-Seq)

Alternative RNA splicing is a known phenomenon, but we still do not have a complete catalog of isoforms that explain variability in the human transcriptome. We have made significant progress in developing methods to study variability of the transcriptome, but we are far away of having a complete picture of the transcriptome. The initial methods to study gene expression were based on cloning of cDNAs and Sanger sequencing. The strategy was labor-intensive and expensive. With the development of microarrays, different methods based on exon arrays and tiling arrays provided valuable information about RNA expression. However, the microarray presented significant limitations. Most of the limitations became apparent by 2005, but it was not until 2008 that an alternative method to study the transcriptome was developed. RNA Sequencing using next-generation sequencing (RNA-Seq) quickly became the technology of choice for gene expression profiling. Recently, the precision and sensitivity of RNA-Seq have come into question, especially for transcriptome reconstruction. This chapter will describe a relatively new method, “Isoform Sequencing (Iso-Seq). Iso-Seq was developed by Pacific Biosciences (PacBio), and it is capable of identifying new isoforms with extraordinary precision due to its long-read technology. The technique to create libraries is straightforward, and the PacBio RS II instrument generates the information in hours. The bioinformatics analysis is performed using the freely available SMRT® Portal software. The SMRT Portal is easy to use and capable of performing all the steps necessary to analyze the raw data and to generate high-quality full-length isoforms. For the universal acceptance of the Iso-Seq method, the capacity of the SMRT Cells needs to improve at least 10- to 100-fold to make the system affordable and attractive to users.


September 22, 2019  |  

A community-based culture collection for targeting novel plant growth-promoting bacteria from the sugarcane microbiome.

The soil-plant ecosystem harbors an immense microbial diversity that challenges investigative approaches to study traits underlying plant-microbe association. Studies solely based on culture-dependent techniques have overlooked most microbial diversity. Here we describe the concomitant use of culture-dependent and -independent techniques to target plant-beneficial microbial groups from the sugarcane microbiome. The community-based culture collection (CBC) approach was used to access microbes from roots and stalks. The CBC recovered 399 unique bacteria representing 15.9% of the rhizosphere core microbiome and 61.6-65.3% of the endophytic core microbiomes of stalks. By cross-referencing the CBC (culture-dependent) with the sugarcane microbiome profile (culture-independent), we designed a synthetic community comprised of naturally occurring highly abundant bacterial groups from roots and stalks, most of which has been poorly explored so far. We then used maize as a model to probe the abundance-based synthetic inoculant. We show that when inoculated in maize plants, members of the synthetic community efficiently colonize plant organs, displace the natural microbiota and dominate at 53.9% of the rhizosphere microbial abundance. As a result, inoculated plants increased biomass by 3.4-fold as compared to uninoculated plants. The results demonstrate that abundance-based synthetic inoculants can be successfully applied to recover beneficial plant microbes from plant microbiota.


September 22, 2019  |  

Packaging of Dinoroseobacter shibae DNA into gene transfer agent particles is not random.

Gene transfer agents (GTAs) are phage-like particles which contain a fragment of genomic DNA of the bacterial or archaeal producer and deliver this to a recipient cell. GTA gene clusters are present in the genomes of almost all marine Rhodobacteraceae (Roseobacters) and might be important contributors to horizontal gene transfer in the world’s oceans. For all organisms studied so far, no obvious evidence of sequence specificity or other nonrandom process responsible for packaging genomic DNA into GTAs has been found. Here, we show that knock-out of an autoinducer synthase gene of Dinoroseobacter shibae resulted in overproduction and release of functional GTA particles (DsGTA). Next-generation sequencing of the 4.2-kb DNA fragments isolated from DsGTAs revealed that packaging was not random. DNA from low-GC conjugative plasmids but not from high-GC chromids was excluded from packaging. Seven chromosomal regions were strongly overrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTA. These packaging peaks lacked identifiable conserved sequence motifs that might represent recognition sites for the GTA terminase complex. Low-GC regions of the chromosome, including the origin and terminus of replication, were underrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTAs. DNA methylation reduced packaging frequency while the level of gene expression had no influence. Chromosomal regions found to be over- and underrepresented in DsGTA-DNA were regularly spaced. We propose that a “headful” type of packaging is initiated at the sites of coverage peaks and, after linearization of the chromosomal DNA, proceeds in both directions from the initiation site. GC-content, DNA-modifications, and chromatin structure might influence at which sides GTA packaging can be initiated.© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


September 22, 2019  |  

The non-specific adenine DNA methyltransferase M.EcoGII.

We describe the cloning, expression and characterization of the first truly non-specific adenine DNA methyltransferase, M.EcoGII. It is encoded in the genome of the pathogenic strain Escherichia coli O104:H4 C227-11, where it appears to reside on a cryptic prophage, but is not expressed. However, when the gene encoding M.EcoGII is expressed in vivo – using a high copy pRRS plasmid vector and a methylation-deficient E. coli host-extensive in vivo adenine methylation activity is revealed. M.EcoGII methylates adenine residues in any DNA sequence context and this activity extends to dA and rA bases in either strand of a DNA:RNA-hybrid oligonucleotide duplex and to rA bases in RNAs prepared by in vitro transcription. Using oligonucleotide and bacteriophage M13mp18 virion DNA substrates, we find that M.EcoGII also methylates single-stranded DNA in vitro and that this activity is only slightly less robust than that observed using equivalent double-stranded DNAs. In vitro assays, using purified recombinant M.EcoGII enzyme, demonstrate that up to 99% of dA bases in duplex DNA substrates can be methylated thereby rendering them insensitive to cleavage by multiple restriction endonucleases. These properties suggest that the enzyme could also be used for high resolution mapping of protein binding sites in DNA and RNA substrates.© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


September 22, 2019  |  

The DNA methylome of the hyperthermoacidophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius.

DNA methylation is the most common epigenetic modification observed in the genomic DNA (gDNA) of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Methylated nucleobases, N6-methyl-adenine (m6A), N4-methyl-cytosine (m4C), and 5-methyl-cytosine (m5C), detected on gDNA represent the discrimination mark between self and non-self DNA when they are part of restriction-modification systems in prokaryotes (Bacteria and Archaea). In addition, m5C in Eukaryotes and m6A in Bacteria play an important role in the regulation of key cellular processes. Although archaeal genomes present modified bases as in the two other domains of life, the significance of DNA methylations as regulatory mechanisms remains largely uncharacterized in Archaea. Here, we began by investigating the DNA methylome of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. The strategy behind this initial study entailed the use of combined digestion assays, dot blots, and genome resequencing, which utilizes specific restriction enzymes, antibodies specifically raised against m6A and m5C and single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing, respectively, to identify DNA methylations occurring in exponentially growing cells. The previously identified restriction-modification system, specific of S. acidocaldarius, was confirmed by digestion assay and SMRT sequencing while, the presence of m6A was revealed by dot blot and identified on the characteristic Dam motif by SMRT sequencing. No m5C was detected by dot blot under the conditions tested. Furthermore, by comparing the distribution of both detected methylations along the genome and, by analyzing DNA methylation profiles in synchronized cells, we investigated in which cellular pathways, in particular the cell cycle, this m6A methylation could be a key player. The analysis of sequencing data rejected a role for m6A methylation in another defense system and also raised new questions about a potential involvement of this modification in the regulation of other biological functions in S. acidocaldarius.


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