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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genomic insights into virulence mechanisms of Leishmania donovani: evidence from an atypical strain.

Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease with diverse clinical phenotypes, determined by parasite, host and vector interactions. Despite the advances in molecular biology and the availability of more Leishmania genome references in recent years, the association between parasite species and distinct clinical phenotypes remains poorly understood. We present a genomic comparison of an atypical variant of Leishmania donovani from a South Asian focus, where it mostly causes cutaneous form of leishmaniasis.Clinical isolates from six cutaneous leishmaniasis patients (CL-SL); 2 of whom were poor responders to antimony (CL-PR), and two visceral leishmaniasis patients (VL-SL) were sequenced on an Illumina MiSeq platform.…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Functionality of two origins of replication in Vibrio cholerae strains with a single chromosome.

Chromosomal inheritance in bacteria usually entails bidirectional replication of a single chromosome from a single origin into two copies and subsequent partitioning of one copy each into daughter cells upon cell division. However, the human pathogen Vibrio cholerae and other Vibrionaceae harbor two chromosomes, a large Chr1 and a small Chr2. Chr1 and Chr2 have different origins, an oriC-type origin and a P1 plasmid-type origin, respectively, driving the replication of respective chromosomes. Recently, we described naturally occurring exceptions to the two-chromosome rule of Vibrionaceae: i.e., Chr1 and Chr2 fused single chromosome V. cholerae strains, NSCV1 and NSCV2, in which both…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Loss of Rap1 supports recombination-based telomere maintenance independent of RNA-DNA hybrids in fission yeast

To investigate the molecular changes needed for cells to maintain their telomeres by recombination, we monitored telomere appearance during serial culture of fission yeast cells lacking the telomerase recruitment factor Ccq1. Rad52 is loaded onto critically short telomeres shortly after germination despite continued telomere erosion, suggesting that recruitment of recombination factors is not sufficient to maintain telomeres in the absence of telomerase function. Instead, survivor formation coincides with the derepression of telomeric repeat-containing RNA (TERRA). Degradation of telomere-associated TERRA in this context drives a severe growth crisis, ultimately leading to a distinct type of linear survivor with altered cytological telomere…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Investigation of inter- and intraspecies variation through genome sequencing of Aspergillus section Nigri.

Aspergillus section Nigri comprises filamentous fungi relevant to biomedicine, bioenergy, health, and biotechnology. To learn more about what genetically sets these species apart, as well as about potential applications in biotechnology and biomedicine, we sequenced 23 genomes de novo, forming a full genome compendium for the section (26 species), as well as 6 Aspergillus niger isolates. This allowed us to quantify both inter- and intraspecies genomic variation. We further predicted 17,903 carbohydrate-active enzymes and 2,717 secondary metabolite gene clusters, which we condensed into 455 distinct families corresponding to compound classes, 49% of which are only found in single species. We…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Density-dependent enhanced replication of a densovirus in Wolbachia-infected Aedes cells is associated with production of piRNAs and higher virus-derived siRNAs.

The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis has been shown to restrict a range of RNA viruses in Drosophila melanogaster and transinfected dengue mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Here, we show that Wolbachia infection enhances replication of Aedes albopictus densovirus (AalDNV-1), a single stranded DNA virus, in Aedes cell lines in a density-dependent manner. Analysis of previously produced small RNAs of Aag2 cells showed that Wolbachia-infected cells produced greater absolute abundance of virus-derived short interfering RNAs compared to uninfected cells. Additionally, we found production of virus-derived PIWI-like RNAs (vpiRNA) produced in response to AalDNV-1 infection. Nuclear fractions of Aag2 cells produced a primary vpiRNA…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Staying alive: growth and survival of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. animalis under in vitro and in vivo conditions.

Members of the Bifidobacterium genus are widely used as probiotics in fermented milk products. Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. animalis CNCM I-4602 grows and survives poorly in reconstituted skimmed milk (RSM). Availing of genome and transcriptome information, this poor growth and survival phenotype in milk was substantially improved by the addition of certain compounds, such as yeast extract, uric acid, glutathione, cysteine, ferrous sulfate, and a combination of magnesium sulfate and manganese sulfate. Carbohydrate utilization of CNCM I-4602 was also investigated, allowing the identification of several carbohydrate utilization gene clusters, and highlighting this strain’s inability to utilize lactose, unlike the type strain…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Evolution of host support for two ancient bacterial symbionts with differentially degraded genomes in a leafhopper host.

Plant sap-feeding insects (Hemiptera) rely on bacterial symbionts for nutrition absent in their diets. These bacteria experience extreme genome reduction and require genetic resources from their hosts, particularly for basic cellular processes other than nutrition synthesis. The host-derived mechanisms that complete these processes have remained poorly understood. It is also unclear how hosts meet the distinct needs of multiple bacterial partners with differentially degraded genomes. To address these questions, we investigated the cell-specific gene-expression patterns in the symbiotic organs of the aster leafhopper (ALF), Macrosteles quadrilineatus (Cicadellidae). ALF harbors two intracellular symbionts that have two of the smallest known bacterial…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Regulation of yeast-to-hyphae transition in Yarrowia lipolytica.

The yeast Yarrowia lipolytica undergoes a morphological transition from yeast-to-hyphal growth in response to environmental conditions. A forward genetic screen was used to identify mutants that reliably remain in the yeast phase, which were then assessed by whole-genome sequencing. All the smooth mutants identified, so named because of their colony morphology, exhibit independent loss of DNA at a repetitive locus made up of interspersed ribosomal DNA and short 10- to 40-mer telomere-like repeats. The loss of repetitive DNA is associated with downregulation of genes with stress response elements (5′-CCCCT-3′) and upregulation of genes with cell cycle box (5′-ACGCG-3′) motifs in…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The plasmid-encoded transcription factor ArdK contributes to the repression of the IMP-6 metallo-ß-lactamase gene blaIMP-6, leading to a carbapenem-susceptible phenotype in the blaIMP-6-positive Escherichia coli strain A56-1S.

Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) are a global concern because these bacteria are resistant to almost all ß-lactams. Horizontal interspecies gene transfer via plasmid conjugation has increased the global dissemination of CPE. Recently, an Enterobacteriaceae strain positive for carbapenemase gene but showing a carbapenem-susceptible phenotype was identified, suggesting that these susceptible strains may be challenging to detect solely via antimicrobial susceptibility tests without molecular analysis. Here, we isolated a blaIMP-6 carbapenemase-gene positive but imipenem- and meropenem-susceptible Escherichia coli (ISMS-E) strain A56-1S (imipenem and meropenem minimum inhibitory concentration, = 0.125 mg/L), from a human urine specimen in Japan. A56-1S was carbapenemase negative by…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Approaches for surveying cosmic radiation damage in large populations of Arabidopsis thaliana seeds-Antarctic balloons and particle beams.

The Cosmic Ray Exposure Sequencing Science (CRESS) payload system is a proof of concept experiment to assess the genomic impact of space radiation on seeds. CRESS was designed as a secondary payload for the December 2016 high-altitude, high-latitude, and long-duration balloon flight carrying the Boron And Carbon Cosmic Rays in the Upper Stratosphere (BACCUS) experimental hardware. Investigation of the biological effects of Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR), particularly those of ions with High-Z and Energy (HZE), is of interest due to the genomic damage this type of radiation inflicts. The biological effects of upper-stratospheric mixed radiation above Antarctica (ANT) were sampled…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genomic and genetic insights into a cosmopolitan fungus, Paecilomyces variotii (Eurotiales).

Species in the genus Paecilomyces, a member of the fungal order Eurotiales, are ubiquitous in nature and impact a variety of human endeavors. Here, the biology of one common species, Paecilomyces variotii, was explored using genomics and functional genetics. Sequencing the genome of two isolates revealed key genome and gene features in this species. A striking feature of the genome was the two-part nature, featuring large stretches of DNA with normal GC content separated by AT-rich regions, a hallmark of many plant-pathogenic fungal genomes. These AT-rich regions appeared to have been mutated by repeat-induced point (RIP) mutations. We developed methods…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Phototaxis in a wild isolate of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus.

Many cyanobacteria, which use light as an energy source via photosynthesis, have evolved the ability to guide their movement toward or away from a light source. This process, termed “phototaxis,” enables organisms to localize in optimal light environments for improved growth and fitness. Mechanisms of phototaxis have been studied in the coccoid cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803, but the rod-shaped Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942, studied for circadian rhythms and metabolic engineering, has no phototactic motility. In this study we report a recent environmental isolate of S. elongatus, the strain UTEX 3055, whose genome is 98.5% identical to that of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Mutators as drivers of adaptation in Streptococcus and a risk factor for host jumps and vaccine escape

Heritable hypermutable strains deficient in DNA repair genes (mutators) facilitate microbial adaptation as they may rapidly generate beneficial mutations. Mutators deficient in mismatch (MMR) and oxidised guanine (OG) repair are abundant in clinical samples and show increased adaptive potential in experimental infection models but their role in pathoadaptation is poorly understood. Here we investigate the role of mutators in epidemiology and evolution of the broad host pathogen, Streptococcus iniae, employing 80 strains isolated globally over 40 years. We determine phylogenetic relationship among S. iniae using 10,267 non-recombinant core genome single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), estimate their mutation rate by fluctuation analysis,…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Direct detection of DNA methylation during single-molecule, real-time sequencing.

We describe the direct detection of DNA methylation, without bisulfite conversion, through single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing. In SMRT sequencing, DNA polymerases catalyze the incorporation of fluorescently labeled nucleotides into complementary nucleic acid strands. The arrival times and durations of the resulting fluorescence pulses yield information about polymerase kinetics and allow direct detection of modified nucleotides in the DNA template, including N6-methyladenine, 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine. Measurement of polymerase kinetics is an intrinsic part of SMRT sequencing and does not adversely affect determination of primary DNA sequence. The various modifications affect polymerase kinetics differently, allowing discrimination between them. We used these kinetic…

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