April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic and Functional Analysis of Emerging Virulent and Multidrug-Resistant Escherichia coli Lineage Sequence Type 648.

The pathogenic extended-spectrum-beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli lineage ST648 is increasingly reported from multiple origins. Our study of a large and global ST648 collection from various hosts (87 whole-genome sequences) combining core and accessory genomics with functional analyses and in vivo experiments suggests that ST648 is a nascent and generalist lineage, lacking clear phylogeographic and host association signals. By including large numbers of ST131 (n?=?107) and ST10 (n?=?96) strains for comparative genomics and phenotypic analysis, we demonstrate that the combination of multidrug resistance and high-level virulence are the hallmarks of ST648, similar to international high-risk clonal lineage ST131. Specifically, our in silico, in vitro, and in vivo results demonstrate that ST648 is well equipped with biofilm-associated features, while ST131 shows sophisticated signatures indicative of adaption to urinary tract infection, potentially conveying individual ecological niche adaptation. In addition, we used a recently developed NFDS (negative frequency-dependent selection) population model suggesting that ST648 will increase significantly in frequency as a cause of bacteremia within the next few years. Also, ESBL plasmids impacting biofilm formation aided in shaping and maintaining ST648 strains to successfully emerge worldwide across different ecologies. Our study contributes to understanding what factors drive the evolution and spread of emerging international high-risk clonal lineages.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Klebsiella quasipneumoniae Provides a Window into Carbapenemase Gene Transfer, Plasmid Rearrangements, and Patient Interactions with the Hospital Environment.

Several emerging pathogens have arisen as a result of selection pressures exerted by modern health care. Klebsiella quasipneumoniae was recently defined as a new species, yet its prevalence, niche, and propensity to acquire antimicrobial resistance genes are not fully described. We have been tracking inter- and intraspecies transmission of the Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) gene, blaKPC, between bacteria isolated from a single institution. We applied a combination of Illumina and PacBio whole-genome sequencing to identify and compare K. quasipneumoniae from patients and the hospital environment over 10- and 5-year periods, respectively. There were 32 blaKPC-positive K. quasipneumoniae isolates, all of which were identified as K. pneumoniae in the clinical microbiology laboratory, from 8 patients and 11 sink drains, with evidence for seven separate blaKPC plasmid acquisitions. Analysis of a single subclade of K. quasipneumoniae subsp. quasipneumoniae (n?=?23 isolates) from three patients and six rooms demonstrated seeding of a sink by a patient, subsequent persistence of the strain in the hospital environment, and then possible transmission to another patient. Longitudinal analysis of this strain demonstrated the acquisition of two unique blaKPC plasmids and then subsequent within-strain genetic rearrangement through transposition and homologous recombination. Our analysis highlights the apparent molecular propensity of K. quasipneumoniae to persist in the environment as well as acquire carbapenemase plasmids from other species and enabled an assessment of the genetic rearrangements which may facilitate horizontal transmission of carbapenemases. Copyright © 2019 Mathers et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Harnessing long-read amplicon sequencing to uncover NRPS and Type I PKS gene sequence diversity in polar desert soils.

The severity of environmental conditions at Earth’s frigid zones present attractive opportunities for microbial biomining due to their heightened potential as reservoirs for novel secondary metabolites. Arid soil microbiomes within the Antarctic and Arctic circles are remarkably rich in Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria, bacterial phyla known to be prolific producers of natural products. Yet the diversity of secondary metabolite genes within these cold, extreme environments remain largely unknown. Here, we employed amplicon sequencing using PacBio RS II, a third generation long-read platform, to survey over 200 soils spanning twelve east Antarctic and high Arctic sites for natural product-encoding genes, specifically targeting non-ribosomal peptides (NRPS) and Type I polyketides (PKS). NRPS-encoding genes were more widespread across the Antarctic, whereas PKS genes were only recoverable from a handful of sites. Many recovered sequences were deemed novel due to their low amino acid sequence similarity to known protein sequences, particularly throughout the east Antarctic sites. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that a high proportion were most similar to antifungal and biosurfactant-type clusters. Multivariate analysis showed that soil fertility factors of carbon, nitrogen and moisture displayed significant negative relationships with natural product gene richness. Our combined results suggest that secondary metabolite production is likely to play an important physiological component of survival for microorganisms inhabiting arid, nutrient-starved soils. © FEMS 2019.


April 21, 2020  |  

Diverse Vectors and Mechanisms Spread New Delhi Metallo-ß-Lactamases among Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae in the Greater Boston Area.

New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamases (NDMs) are an uncommon but emerging cause of carbapenem resistance in the United States. Genomic factors promoting their domestic spread remain poorly characterized. A prospective genomic surveillance program among Boston-area hospitals identified multiple new occurrences of NDM-carrying strains of Escherichia coli and Enterobacter cloacae complex in inpatient and outpatient settings, representing the first occurrences of NDM-mediated resistance since initiating genomic surveillance in 2011. Cases included domestic patients with no international exposures. PacBio sequencing of isolates identified strain characteristics, resistance genes, and the complement of mobile vectors mediating spread. Analyses revealed a common 3,114-bp region containing the blaNDM gene, with carriage of this conserved region among unique strains by diverse transposon and plasmid backbones. Functional studies revealed a broad capacity for blaNDM transmission by conjugation, transposition, and complex interplasmid recombination events. NDMs represent a rapidly spreading form of drug resistance that can occur in inpatient and outpatient settings and in patients without international exposures. In contrast to Tn4401-based spread of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemases (KPCs), diverse transposable elements mobilize NDM enzymes, commonly with other resistance genes, enabling naive strains to acquire multi- and extensively drug-resistant profiles with single transposition or plasmid conjugation events. Genomic surveillance provides effective means to rapidly identify these gene-level drivers of resistance and mobilization in order to inform clinical decisions to prevent further spread.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Sequence of a Novel Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas putida Strain Carrying Two Copies of qnrVC6.

This study aimed at identification and characterization of a novel multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas putida strain Guangzhou-Ppu420 carrying two copies of qnrVC6 isolated from a hospital in Guangzhou, China, in 2012. Antimicrobial susceptibility was tested by Vitek2™ Automated Susceptibility System and Etest™ strips, and whole-genome sequencing facilitated analysis of its multidrug resistance. The genome has a length of 6,031,212?bp and an average G?+?C content of 62.01%. A total of 5,421 open reading frames were identified, including eight 5S rRNA, seven 16S rRNA, and seven 23S rRNA, and 76 tRNA genes. Importantly, two copies of qnrVC6 gene with three ISCR1 around, a blaVIM-2 carrying integron In528, a novel gcu173 carrying integron In1348, and six antibiotic resistance genes were identified. This is the first identification of two copies of the qnrVC6 gene in a single P. putida isolate and a class 1 integron In1348.


April 21, 2020  |  

Rapid antigen diversification through mitotic recombination in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

Malaria parasites possess the remarkable ability to maintain chronic infections that fail to elicit a protective immune response, characteristics that have stymied vaccine development and cause people living in endemic regions to remain at risk of malaria despite previous exposure to the disease. These traits stem from the tremendous antigenic diversity displayed by parasites circulating in the field. For Plasmodium falciparum, the most virulent of the human malaria parasites, this diversity is exemplified by the variant gene family called var, which encodes the major surface antigen displayed on infected red blood cells (RBCs). This gene family exhibits virtually limitless diversity when var gene repertoires from different parasite isolates are compared. Previous studies indicated that this remarkable genome plasticity results from extensive ectopic recombination between var genes during mitotic replication; however, the molecular mechanisms that direct this process to antigen-encoding loci while the rest of the genome remains relatively stable were not determined. Using targeted DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and long-read whole-genome sequencing, we show that a single break within an antigen-encoding region of the genome can result in a cascade of recombination events leading to the generation of multiple chimeric var genes, a process that can greatly accelerate the generation of diversity within this family. We also found that recombinations did not occur randomly, but rather high-probability, specific recombination products were observed repeatedly. These results provide a molecular basis for previously described structured rearrangements that drive diversification of this highly polymorphic gene family.


April 21, 2020  |  

High-throughput amplicon sequencing of the full-length 16S rRNA gene with single-nucleotide resolution.

Targeted PCR amplification and high-throughput sequencing (amplicon sequencing) of 16S rRNA gene fragments is widely used to profile microbial communities. New long-read sequencing technologies can sequence the entire 16S rRNA gene, but higher error rates have limited their attractiveness when accuracy is important. Here we present a high-throughput amplicon sequencing methodology based on PacBio circular consensus sequencing and the DADA2 sample inference method that measures the full-length 16S rRNA gene with single-nucleotide resolution and a near-zero error rate. In two artificial communities of known composition, our method recovered the full complement of full-length 16S sequence variants from expected community members without residual errors. The measured abundances of intra-genomic sequence variants were in the integral ratios expected from the genuine allelic variants within a genome. The full-length 16S gene sequences recovered by our approach allowed Escherichia coli strains to be correctly classified to the O157:H7 and K12 sub-species clades. In human fecal samples, our method showed strong technical replication and was able to recover the full complement of 16S rRNA alleles in several E. coli strains. There are likely many applications beyond microbial profiling for which high-throughput amplicon sequencing of complete genes with single-nucleotide resolution will be of use. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


April 21, 2020  |  

Finding the needle in a haystack: Mapping antifungal drug resistance in fungal pathogen by genomic approaches.

Fungi are ubiquitous on earth and are essential for the maintenance of the global ecological equilibrium. Despite providing benefits to living organisms, they can also target specific hosts and inflict damage. These fungal pathogens are known to affect, for example, plants and mam- mals and thus reduce crop production necessary to sustain food supply and cause mortality in humans and animals. Designing defenses against these fungi is essential for the control of food resources and human health. As far as fungal pathogens are concerned, the principal option has been the use of antifungal agents, also called fungicides when they are used in the environment.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic characterization of Kerstersia gyiorum SWMUKG01, an isolate from a patient with respiratory infection in China.

The Gram-negative bacterium Kerstersia gyiorum, a potential etiological agent of clinical infections, was isolated from several human patients presenting clinical symptoms. Its significance as a possible pathogen has been previously overlooked as no disease has thus far been definitively associated with this bacterium. To better understand how the organism contributes to the infectious disease, we determined the complete genomic sequence of K. gyiorum SWMUKG01, the first clinical isolate from southwest China.The genomic data obtained displayed a single circular chromosome of 3, 945, 801 base pairs in length, which contains 3, 441 protein-coding genes, 55 tRNA genes and 9 rRNA genes. Analysis on the full spectrum of protein coding genes for cellular structures, two-component regulatory systems and iron uptake pathways that may be important for the success of the bacterial survival, colonization and establishment in the host conferred new insights into the virulence characteristics of K. gyiorum. Phylogenomic comparisons with Alcaligenaceae species indicated that K. gyiorum SWMUKG01 had a close evolutionary relationships with Alcaligenes aquatilis and Alcaligenes faecalis.The comprehensive analysis presented in this work determinates for the first time a complete genome sequence of K. gyiorum, which is expected to provide useful information for subsequent studies on pathogenesis of this species.


April 21, 2020  |  

Transmission of ciprofloxacin resistance in Salmonella mediated by a novel type of conjugative helper plasmids.

Ciprofloxacin resistance in Salmonella has been increasingly reported due to the emergence and dissemination of multiple Plasmid-Mediated Quinolone Resistance (PMQR) determinants, which are mainly located in non-conjugative plasmids or chromosome. In this study, we aimed to depict the molecular mechanisms underlying the rare phenomenon of horizontal transfer of ciprofloxacin resistance phenotype in Salmonella by conjugation experiments, S1-PFGE and complete plasmid sequencing. Two types of non-conjugative plasmids, namely an IncX1 type carrying a qnrS1 gene, and an IncH1 plasmid carrying the oqxAB-qnrS gene, both ciprofloxacin resistance determinants in Salmonella, were recovered from two Salmonella strains. Importantly, these non-conjugative plasmids could be fused with a novel Incl1 type conjugative helper plasmid, which could target insertion sequence (IS) elements located in the non-conjugative, ciprofloxacin-resistance-encoding plasmid through replicative transcription, eventually forming a hybrid conjugative plasmid transmissible among members of Enterobacteriaceae. Since our data showed that such conjugative helper plasmids are commonly detectable among clinical Salmonella strains, particularly S. Typhimurium, fusion events leading to generation and enhanced dissemination of conjugative ciprofloxacin resistance-encoding plasmids in Salmonella are expected to result in a sharp increase in the incidence of resistance to fluoroquinolone, the key choice for treating life-threatening Salmonella infections, thereby posing a serious public health threat.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization of a carbapenem- and colistin-resistant Enterobacter cloacae carrying Tn6901 in blaNDM-1 genomic context.

We report a clinical strain of Enterobacter cloacae, PIMB10EC27, isolated in Vietnam in 2010 that was resistant to 21 of 26 tested antibiotics, including carbapenems (MICs >64 µg/mL) and colistin (MIC >128 µg/mL). The complete genome of strain PIMB10EC27 was sequenced by PacBio RSII and the Illumina Miseq system. Whole-genome analysis revealed that PIMB10EC27 contains a chromosome of the ST513 group (PIMBEC27, length 5,272,177 bp) and two plasmids, pEC27-1 of the IncX3 group (length 62,470 bp) and pEC27-2 of the IncHI1 group (length 84,602 bp). It also revealed that strain PIMB10EC27 carries 15 genes that confer resistance to at least 10 antibiotic groups. Particularly, the insertion of ISKpn19 and Tn6901 into the genomic context of blaNDM-1 was first identified and described. In another context, amino acid mutations G273D in PmrB and F515S in PmrC were first identified on the chromosome of PIMB10EC27, which may confer resistance to colistin in this strain.


April 21, 2020  |  

Potential KPC-2 carbapenemase reservoir of environmental Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas caviae isolates from the effluent of an urban wastewater treatment plant in Japan.

Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas caviae adapt to saline water environments and are the most predominant Aeromonas species isolated from estuaries. Here, we isolated antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) Aeromonas strains (A. hydrophila GSH8-2 and A. caviae GSH8M-1) carrying the carabapenemase blaKPC-2 gene from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent in Tokyo Bay (Japan) and determined their complete genome sequences. GSH8-2 and GSH8M-1 were classified as newly assigned sequence types ST558 and ST13, suggesting no supportive evidence of clonal dissemination. The strains appear to have acquired blaKPC-2 -positive IncP-6-relative plasmids (pGSH8-2 and pGSH8M-1-2) that share a common backbone with plasmids in Aeromonas sp. ASNIH3 isolated from hospital wastewater in the United States, A. hydrophila WCHAH045096 isolated from sewage in China, other clinical isolates (Klebsiella, Enterobacter and Escherichia coli), and wastewater isolates (Citrobacter, Pseudomonas and other Aeromonas spp.). In addition to blaKPC-2 , pGSH8M-1-2 carries an IS26-mediated composite transposon including a macrolide resistance gene, mph(A). Although Aeromonas species are opportunistic pathogens, they could serve as potential environmental reservoir bacteria for carbapenemase and AMR genes. AMR monitoring from WWTP effluents will contribute to the detection of ongoing AMR dissemination in the environment and might provide an early warning of potential dissemination in clinical settings and communities. © 2019 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology Reports published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic analysis provides insights into the transmission and pathogenicity of Talaromyces marneffei.

Talaromyces marneffei (T. marneffei) is a medically important opportunistic dimorphic fungus that infects both humans and bamboo rats. However, the mechanisms of transmission and pathogenicity of T. marneffei are poorly understood. In our study, we combined Illumina and PacBio sequencing technologies to sequence and assemble a complete genome of T. marneffei. To elucidate the transmission route and source, we sequenced three additional T. marneffei isolates using Illumina sequencing technology. Variations among isolates were used to develop a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) system comprising five housekeeping genes that can be used to discriminate between isolates derived from different sources. Our analysis revealed that human and bamboo rat share identical genotypes in these five loci. Thus, we hypothesized that T. marneffei is transmitted to humans through inhalation of spores in the surrounding environment into the lungs and that the bamboo rat can serve as an important natural reservoir for pathogens. Furthermore, we also identified temperature-dependent polyketide synthases, non-ribosomal peptide synthetases and secreted proteins as putative pathogenicity-related factors. In addition, we identified antifungal drug targets that can be investigated in future studies to elucidate the mechanisms underlying drug resistance. In summary, our study presents the basic features of the T. marneffei genome and provides insights into the transmission and pathogenicity of T. marneffei, which warrant fundamental experimental research.Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genetic Analysis of p17S-208 Plasmid Encoding the Colistin Resistance mcr-3 Gene in Escherichia coli Isolated from Swine in South Korea.

We screened, for the first time, plasmid-mediated colistin resistance mcr-3 genes among 636 Escherichia coli isolates collected from swine in South Korea. Whole-genome sequencing showed that the E. coli strain harbored the mcr-3 gene in a p17S-208 plasmid with an IncHI2-ST3 plasmid type and a size of 260,399 base pairs. The deduced amino acid sequences revealed that persistent evolution in the bacterial genome has resulted in mcr gene variants. There is a need for extensive surveillance to prevent the dissemination of colistin resistance mcr genes from animal to human.


April 21, 2020  |  

Phylogenetic barriers to horizontal transfer of antimicrobial peptide resistance genes in the human gut microbiota.

The human gut microbiota has adapted to the presence of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are ancient components of immune defence. Despite its medical importance, it has remained unclear whether AMP resistance genes in the gut microbiome are available for genetic exchange between bacterial species. Here, we show that AMP resistance and antibiotic resistance genes differ in their mobilization patterns and functional compatibilities with new bacterial hosts. First, whereas AMP resistance genes are widespread in the gut microbiome, their rate of horizontal transfer is lower than that of antibiotic resistance genes. Second, gut microbiota culturing and functional metagenomics have revealed that AMP resistance genes originating from phylogenetically distant bacteria have only a limited potential to confer resistance in Escherichia coli, an intrinsically susceptible species. Taken together, functional compatibility with the new bacterial host emerges as a key factor limiting the genetic exchange of AMP resistance genes. Finally, our results suggest that AMPs induce highly specific changes in the composition of the human microbiota, with implications for disease risks.


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