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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

AAV-mediated delivery of zinc finger nucleases targeting hepatitis B virus inhibits active replication.

Despite an existing effective vaccine, hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains a major public health concern. There are effective suppressive therapies for HBV, but they remain expensive and inaccessible to many, and not all patients respond well. Furthermore, HBV can persist as genomic covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) that remains in hepatocytes even during otherwise effective therapy and facilitates rebound in patients after treatment has stopped. Therefore, the need for an effective treatment that targets active and persistent HBV infections remains. As a novel approach to treat HBV, we have targeted the HBV genome for disruption to prevent viral reactivation and…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Species-level bacterial community profiling of the healthy sinonasal microbiome using Pacific Biosciences sequencing of full-length 16S rRNA genes.

Pan-bacterial 16S rRNA microbiome surveys performed with massively parallel DNA sequencing technologies have transformed community microbiological studies. Current 16S profiling methods, however, fail to provide sufficient taxonomic resolution and accuracy to adequately perform species-level associative studies for specific conditions. This is due to the amplification and sequencing of only short 16S rRNA gene regions, typically providing for only family- or genus-level taxonomy. Moreover, sequencing errors often inflate the number of taxa present. Pacific Biosciences’ (PacBio’s) long-read technology in particular suffers from high error rates per base. Herein, we present a microbiome analysis pipeline that takes advantage of PacBio circular consensus…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Interaction between the microbiome and TP53 in human lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer diagnosis worldwide and the number one cause of cancer deaths. Exposure to cigarette smoke, the primary risk factor in lung cancer, reduces epithelial barrier integrity and increases susceptibility to infections. Herein, we hypothesize that somatic mutations together with cigarette smoke generate a dysbiotic microbiota that is associated with lung carcinogenesis. Using lung tissue from 33 controls and 143 cancer cases, we conduct 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) bacterial gene sequencing, with RNA-sequencing data from lung cancer cases in The Cancer Genome Atlas serving as the validation cohort.Overall, we demonstrate a lower alpha diversity in normal…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Antagonistic pleiotropy in the bifunctional surface protein FadL (OmpP1) during adaptation of Haemophilus influenzae to chronic lung infection associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Tracking bacterial evolution during chronic infection provides insights into how host selection pressures shape bacterial genomes. The human-restricted opportunistic pathogen nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) infects the lower airways of patients suffering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and contributes to disease progression. To identify bacterial genetic variation associated with bacterial adaptation to the COPD lung, we sequenced the genomes of 92 isolates collected from the sputum of 13 COPD patients over 1 to 9?years. Individuals were colonized by distinct clonal types (CTs) over time, but the same CT was often reisolated at a later time or found in different patients. Although…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Whole genome sequencing and microsatellite analysis of the Plasmodium falciparum E5 NF54 strain show that the var, rifin and stevor gene families follow Mendelian inheritance.

Plasmodium falciparum exhibits a high degree of inter-isolate genetic diversity in its variant surface antigen (VSA) families: P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1, repetitive interspersed family (RIFIN) and subtelomeric variable open reading frame (STEVOR). The role of recombination for the generation of this diversity is a subject of ongoing research. Here the genome of E5, a sibling of the 3D7 genome strain is presented. Short and long read whole genome sequencing (WGS) techniques (Ilumina, Pacific Bioscience) and a set of 84 microsatellites (MS) were employed to characterize the 3D7 and non-3D7 parts of the E5 genome. This is the first…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Genetic stabilization of the drug-resistant PMEN1 Pneumococcus lineage by its distinctive DpnIII restriction-modification system.

The human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) exhibits a high degree of genomic diversity and plasticity. Isolates with high genomic similarity are grouped into lineages that undergo homologous recombination at variable rates. PMEN1 is a pandemic, multidrug-resistant lineage. Heterologous gene exchange between PMEN1 and non-PMEN1 isolates is directional, with extensive gene transfer from PMEN1 strains and only modest transfer into PMEN1 strains. Restriction-modification (R-M) systems can restrict horizontal gene transfer, yet most pneumococcal strains code for either the DpnI or DpnII R-M system and neither limits homologous recombination. Our comparative genomic analysis revealed that PMEN1 isolates code for DpnIII, a third…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Herbivorous turtle ants obtain essential nutrients from a conserved nitrogen-recycling gut microbiome.

Nitrogen acquisition is a major challenge for herbivorous animals, and the repeated origins of herbivory across the ants have raised expectations that nutritional symbionts have shaped their diversification. Direct evidence for N provisioning by internally housed symbionts is rare in animals; among the ants, it has been documented for just one lineage. In this study we dissect functional contributions by bacteria from a conserved, multi-partite gut symbiosis in herbivorous Cephalotes ants through in vivo experiments, metagenomics, and in vitro assays. Gut bacteria recycle urea, and likely uric acid, using recycled N to synthesize essential amino acids that are acquired by…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Introduction: The host-associated microbiome: Pattern, process and function.

An explosion of studies in recent years has established the ubiquity of host-associated microbes and their centrality to host biology (McFall-Ngai et al., 2013; Russell, Dubilier, & Rudgers, 2014). Microbes aid in digestion, modulate development, contribute to host immunity, mediate abiotic stress and more. While relationships with host-associated microbes are ubiquitous and important, they are cer- tainly not monolithic. Characterizing the microbial diversity associ- ated with an ever-broadening array of hosts (diverse animals, plants, algae and protists) has shown that essential functions can be per- formed by microbes that are integrated with the host to varying degrees, ranging from embedded…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

An amoebal grazer of cyanobacteria requires cobalamin produced by heterotrophic bacteria.

Amoebae are unicellular eukaryotes that consume microbial prey through phagocytosis, playing a role in shaping microbial foodwebs. Many amoebal species can be cultivated axenically in rich media or monoxenically with single bacterial prey species. Here we characterize heterolobosean amoeba LPG3, a recent natural isolate, which is unable to grow on unicellular cyanobacteria, its primary food source, in the absence of a heterotrophic bacterium, a Pseudomonas species coisolate. To investigate the molecular basis of this requirement for heterotrophic bacteria, we performed a screen using a defined non-redundant transposon library of Vibrio cholerae which implicated genes in corrinoid uptake and biosynthesis. Furthermore,…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Phenotypic diversity and genotypic flexibility of Burkholderia cenocepacia during long-term chronic infection of cystic fibrosis lungs.

Chronic bacterial infections of the lung are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis patients. Tracking bacterial evolution during chronic infections can provide insights into how host selection pressures-including immune responses and therapeutic interventions-shape bacterial genomes. We carried out genomic and phenotypic analyses of 215 serially collected Burkholderia cenocepacia isolates from 16 cystic fibrosis patients, spanning a period of 2-20 yr and a broad range of epidemic lineages. Systematic phenotypic tests identified longitudinal bacterial series that manifested progressive changes in liquid media growth, motility, biofilm formation, and acute insect virulence, but not in mucoidy. The results suggest…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Discovery of chemoautotrophic symbiosis in the giant shipworm Kuphus polythalamia (Bivalvia: Teredinidae) extends wooden-steps theory.

The “wooden-steps” hypothesis [Distel DL, et al. (2000) Nature 403:725-726] proposed that large chemosynthetic mussels found at deep-sea hydrothermal vents descend from much smaller species associated with sunken wood and other organic deposits, and that the endosymbionts of these progenitors made use of hydrogen sulfide from biogenic sources (e.g., decaying wood) rather than from vent fluids. Here, we show that wood has served not only as a stepping stone between habitats but also as a bridge between heterotrophic and chemoautotrophic symbiosis for the giant mud-boring bivalve Kuphus polythalamia This rare and enigmatic species, which achieves the greatest length of any…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Comparative genomic analyses of the Moraxella catarrhalis serosensitive and seroresistant lineages demonstrate their independent evolution.

The bacterial species Moraxella catarrhalishas been hypothesized as being composed of two distinct lineages (referred to as the seroresistant [SR] and serosensitive [SS]) with separate evolutionary histories based on several molecular typing methods, whereas 16S ribotyping has suggested an additional split within the SS lineage. Previously, we characterized whole-genome sequences of 12 SR-lineage isolates, which revealed a relatively small supragenome when compared with other opportunistic nasopharyngeal pathogens, suggestive of a relatively short evolutionary history. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing on 18 strains from both ribotypes of the SS lineage, an additional SR strain, as well as four previously identified highly…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Complete genome sequence of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans strain IDH781.

We report here the complete genomic sequence and methylome of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans strain IDH781. This rough strain is used extensively as a model organism to characterize localized aggressive periodontitis pathogenesis, the basic biology and oral cavity colonization of A. actinomycetemcomitans, and its interactions with other members of the oral microbiome. Copyright © 2016 May et al.

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