April 21, 2020  |  

Cupriavidus sp. strain Ni-2 resistant to high concentration of nickel and its genes responsible for the tolerance by genome comparison.

The widespread use of metals influenced many researchers to examine the relationship between heavy metal toxicity and bacterial resistance. In this study, we have inoculated heavy metal-contaminated soil from Janghang region of South Korea in the nickel-containing media (20 mM Ni2+) for the enrichment. Among dozens of the colonies acquired from the several transfers and serial dilutions with the same concentrations of Ni, the strain Ni-2 was chosen for further studies. The isolates were identified for their phylogenetic affiliations using 16S rRNA gene analysis. The strain Ni-2 was close to Cupriavidus metallidurans and was found to be resistant to antibiotics of vancomycin, erythromycin, chloramphenicol, ampicillin, gentamicin, streptomycin, and kanamycin by disk diffusion method. Of the isolated strains, Ni-2 was sequenced for the whole genome, since the Ni-resistance seemed to be better than the other strains. From the genome sequence we have found that there was a total of 89 metal-resistance-related genes including 11 Ni-resistance genes, 41 heavy metal (As, Cd, Zn, Hg, Cu, and Co)-resistance genes, 22 cation-efflux genes, 4 metal pumping ATPase genes, and 11 metal transporter genes.

April 21, 2020  |  

The Not-so-Sterile Womb: Evidence That the Human Fetus Is Exposed to Bacteria Prior to Birth.

The human microbiome includes trillions of bacteria, many of which play a vital role in host physiology. Numerous studies have now detected bacterial DNA in first-pass meconium and amniotic fluid samples, suggesting that the human microbiome may commence in utero. However, these data have remained contentious due to underlying contamination issues. Here, we have used a previously described method for reducing contamination in microbiome workflows to determine if there is a fetal bacterial microbiome beyond the level of background contamination. We recruited 50 women undergoing non-emergency cesarean section deliveries with no evidence of intra-uterine infection and collected first-pass meconium and amniotic fluid samples. Full-length 16S rRNA gene sequencing was performed using PacBio SMRT cell technology, to allow high resolution profiling of the fetal gut and amniotic fluid bacterial microbiomes. Levels of inflammatory cytokines were measured in amniotic fluid, and levels of immunomodulatory short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) were quantified in meconium. All meconium samples and most amniotic fluid samples (36/43) contained bacterial DNA. The meconium microbiome was dominated by reads that mapped to Pelomonas puraquae. Aside from this species, the meconium microbiome was remarkably heterogeneous between patients. The amniotic fluid microbiome was more diverse and contained mainly reads that mapped to typical skin commensals, including Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus spp. All meconium samples contained acetate and propionate, at ratios similar to those previously reported in infants. P. puraquae reads were inversely correlated with meconium propionate levels. Amniotic fluid cytokine levels were associated with the amniotic fluid microbiome. Our results demonstrate that bacterial DNA and SCFAs are present in utero, and have the potential to influence the developing fetal immune system.

April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of 3-chlorobenzoate-degrading bacterium Cupriavidus necator NH9 and reclassification of the strains of the genera Cupriavidus and Ralstonia based on phylogenetic and whole-genome sequence analyses.

Cupriavidus necator NH9, a 3-chlorobenzoate (3-CB)-degrading bacterium, was isolated from soil in Japan. In this study, the complete genome sequence of NH9 was obtained via PacBio long-read sequencing to better understand the genetic components contributing to the strain’s ability to degrade aromatic compounds, including 3-CB. The genome of NH9 comprised two circular chromosomes (4.3 and 3.4 Mb) and two circular plasmids (427 and 77 kb) containing 7,290 coding sequences, 15 rRNA and 68 tRNA genes. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis of the protein-coding sequences in NH9 revealed a capacity to completely degrade benzoate, 2-, 3-, or 4-hydroxybenzoate, 2,3-, 2,5-, or 3,4-dihydroxybenzoate, benzoylformate, and benzonitrile. To validate the identification of NH9, phylogenetic analyses (16S rRNA sequence-based tree and multilocus sequence analysis) and whole-genome sequence analyses (average nucleotide identity, percentage of conserved proteins, and tetra-nucleotide analyses) were performed, confirming that NH9 is a C. necator strain. Over the course of our investigation, we noticed inconsistencies in the classification of several strains that were supposed to belong to the two closely-related genera Cupriavidus and Ralstonia. As a result of whole-genome sequence analysis of 46 Cupriavidus strains and 104 Ralstonia strains, we propose that the taxonomic classification of 41 of the 150 strains should be changed. Our results provide a clear delineation of the two genera based on genome sequences, thus allowing taxonomic identification of strains belonging to these two genera.

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