October 23, 2019  |  

Gene editing and genetic engineering approaches for advanced probiotics: A review.

The applications of probiotics are significant and thus resulted in need of genome analysis of probiotic strains. Various omics methods and systems biology approaches enables us to understand and optimize the metabolic processes. These techniques have increased the researcher’s attention towards gut microbiome and provided a new source for the revelation of uncharacterized biosynthetic pathways which enables novel metabolic engineering approaches. In recent years, the broad and quantitative analysis of modified strains relies on systems biology tools such as in silico design which are commonly used methods for improving strain performance. The genetic manipulation of probiotic microorganisms is crucial for defining their role in intestinal microbiota and exploring their beneficial properties. This review describes an overview of gene editing and systems biology approaches, highlighting the advent of omics methods which allows the study of new routes for studying probiotic bacteria. We have also summarized gene editing tools like TALEN, ZFNs and CRISPR-Cas that edits or cleave the specific target DNA. Furthermore, in this review an overview of proposed design of advanced customized probiotic is also hypothesized to improvise the probiotics.


October 23, 2019  |  

Identification and expression analysis of chemosensory genes in the citrus fruit fly Bactrocera (Tetradacus) minax

The citrus fruit fly Bactrocera (Tetradacus) minax is a major and devastating agricultural pest in Asian subtropical countries. Previous studies have shown that B. minax interacts with hosts via an efficient chemosensory system. However, knowledge regarding the molecular components of the B. minax chemosensory system has not yet been well established. Herein, based on our newly generated whole-genome dataset for B. minax and by comparison with the characterized genomes of 6 other fruit fly species, we identified, for the first time, a total of 25 putative odorant-binding receptors (OBPs), 4 single-copy chemosensory proteins (CSPs) and 53 candidate odorant receptors (ORs). To further survey the expression of these candidate genes, the transcriptomes from three developmental stages (larvae, pupae and adults) of B. minax and Bactrocera dorsalis were analyzed. We found that 1) at the adult developmental stage, there were 14 highly expressed OBPs (FPKM>100) in B. dorsalis and 7 highly expressed OBPs in B. minax; 2) the expression of CSP3 and CSP4 in adult B. dorsalis was higher than that in B. minax; and 3) most of the OR genes exhibited low expression at the three developmental stages in both species. This study on the identification of the chemosensory system of B. minax not only enriches the existing research on insect olfactory receptors but also provides new targets for preventative control and ecological regulation of B. minax in the future.


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.


October 23, 2019  |  

The genome of common long-arm octopus Octopus minor.

The common long-arm octopus (Octopus minor) is found in mudflats of subtidal zones and faces numerous environmental challenges. The ability to adapt its morphology and behavioral repertoire to diverse environmental conditions makes the species a promising model for understanding genomic adaptation and evolution in cephalopods.The final genome assembly of O. minor is 5.09 Gb, with a contig N50 size of 197 kb and longest size of 3.027 Mb, from a total of 419 Gb raw reads generated using the Pacific Biosciences RS II platform. We identified 30,010 genes; 44.43% of the genome is composed of repeat elements. The genome-wide phylogenetic tree indicated the divergence time between O. minor and Octopus bimaculoides was estimated to be 43 million years ago based on single-copy orthologous genes. In total, 178 gene families are expanded in O. minor in the 14 bilaterian species.We found that the O. minor genome was larger than that of closely related O. bimaculoides, and this difference could be explained by enlarged introns and recently diversified transposable elements. The high-quality O. minor genome assembly provides a valuable resource for understanding octopus genome evolution and the molecular basis of adaptations to mudflats.


October 23, 2019  |  

Chromosomal-level assembly of yellow catfish genome using third-generation DNA sequencing and Hi-C analysis.

The yellow catfish, Pelteobagrus fulvidraco, belonging to the Siluriformes order, is an economically important freshwater aquaculture fish species in Asia, especially in Southern China. The aquaculture industry has recently been facing tremendous challenges in germplasm degeneration and poor disease resistance. As the yellow catfish exhibits notable sex dimorphism in growth, with adult males about two- to three-fold bigger than females, the way in which the aquaculture industry takes advantage of such sex dimorphism is another challenge. To address these issues, a high-quality reference genome of the yellow catfish would be a very useful resource.To construct a high-quality reference genome for the yellow catfish, we generated 51.2 Gb short reads and 38.9 Gb long reads using Illumina and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) sequencing platforms, respectively. The sequencing data were assembled into a 732.8 Mb genome assembly with a contig N50 length of 1.1 Mb. Additionally, we applied Hi-C technology to identify contacts among contigs, which were then used to assemble contigs into scaffolds, resulting in a genome assembly with 26 chromosomes and a scaffold N50 length of 25.8 Mb. Using 24,552 protein-coding genes annotated in the yellow catfish genome, the phylogenetic relationships of the yellow catfish with other teleosts showed that yellow catfish separated from the common ancestor of channel catfish ~81.9 million years ago. We identified 1,717 gene families to be expanded in the yellow catfish, and those gene families are mainly enriched in the immune system, signal transduction, glycosphingolipid biosynthesis, and fatty acid biosynthesis.Taking advantage of Illumina, PacBio, and Hi-C technologies, we constructed the first high-quality chromosome-level genome assembly for the yellow catfish P. fulvidraco. The genomic resources generated in this work not only offer a valuable reference genome for functional genomics studies of yellow catfish to decipher the economic traits and sex determination but also provide important chromosome information for genome comparisons in the wider evolutionary research community.


September 22, 2019  |  

Cow, yak, and camel milk diets differentially modulated the systemic immunity and fecal microbiota of rats

Cow milk is most widely consumed; however, non-cattle milk has gained increasing interest because of added nutritive values. We compared the health effects of yak, cow, and camel milk in rats. By measuring several plasma immune factors, significantly more interferon-? was detected in the camel than the yak (P=0.0020) or cow (P=0.0062) milk group. Significantly more IgM was detected in the yak milk than the control group (P=0.0071). The control group had significantly less interleukin 6 than the yak (P=0.0499) and cow (P=0.0248) milk groups. The fecal microbiota of the 144 samples comprised mainly of the Firmicutes (76.70±11.03%), Bacteroidetes (15.27±7.79%), Proteobacteria (3.61±4.34%), and Tenericutes (2.61±2.53%) phyla. Multivariate analyses revealed a mild shift in the fecal microbiota along the milk treatment. We further identified the differential microbes across the four groups. At day 14, 22 and 28 differential genera and species were identified (P=0.0000–0.0462), while 8 and 11 differential genera and species (P=0.0000–0.0013) were found at day 28. Some short-chain fatty acid and succinate producers increased, while certain health-concerned bacteria (Prevotella copri, Phascolarctobacterium faecium, and Bacteroides uniformis) decreased after 14days of yak or camel milk treatment. We demonstrated that different animal milk could confer distinctive nutritive value to the host.


September 22, 2019  |  

Leveraging multiple transcriptome assembly methods for improved gene structure annotation.

The performance of RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) aligners and assemblers varies greatly across different organisms and experiments, and often the optimal approach is not known beforehand.Here, we show that the accuracy of transcript reconstruction can be boosted by combining multiple methods, and we present a novel algorithm to integrate multiple RNA-seq assemblies into a coherent transcript annotation. Our algorithm can remove redundancies and select the best transcript models according to user-specified metrics, while solving common artifacts such as erroneous transcript chimerisms.We have implemented this method in an open-source Python3 and Cython program, Mikado, available on GitHub.


September 22, 2019  |  

PacBio metabarcoding of Fungi and other eukaryotes: errors, biases and perspectives.

Second-generation, high-throughput sequencing methods have greatly improved our understanding of the ecology of soil microorganisms, yet the short barcodes (< 500 bp) provide limited taxonomic and phylogenetic information for species discrimination and taxonomic assignment. Here, we utilized the third-generation Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) RSII and Sequel instruments to evaluate the suitability of full-length internal transcribed spacer (ITS) barcodes and longer rRNA gene amplicons for metabarcoding Fungi, Oomycetes and other eukaryotes in soil samples. Metabarcoding revealed multiple errors and biases: Taq polymerase substitution errors and mis-incorporating indels in sequencing homopolymers constitute major errors; sequence length biases occur during PCR, library preparation, loading to the sequencing instrument and quality filtering; primer-template mismatches bias the taxonomic profile when using regular and highly degenerate primers. The RSII and Sequel platforms enable the sequencing of amplicons up to 3000 bp, but the sequence quality remains slightly inferior to Illumina sequencing especially in longer amplicons. The full ITS barcode and flanking rRNA small subunit gene greatly improve taxonomic identification at the species and phylum levels, respectively. We conclude that PacBio sequencing provides a viable alternative for metabarcoding of organisms that are of relatively low diversity, require > 500-bp barcode for reliable identification or when phylogenetic approaches are intended.© 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.


September 22, 2019  |  

An environmental bacterial taxon with a large and distinct metabolic repertoire.

Cultivated bacteria such as actinomycetes are a highly useful source of biomedically important natural products. However, such ‘talented’ producers represent only a minute fraction of the entire, mostly uncultivated, prokaryotic diversity. The uncultured majority is generally perceived as a large, untapped resource of new drug candidates, but so far it is unknown whether taxa containing talented bacteria indeed exist. Here we report the single-cell- and metagenomics-based discovery of such producers. Two phylotypes of the candidate genus ‘Entotheonella’ with genomes of greater than 9 megabases and multiple, distinct biosynthetic gene clusters co-inhabit the chemically and microbially rich marine sponge Theonella swinhoei. Almost all bioactive polyketides and peptides known from this animal were attributed to a single phylotype. ‘Entotheonella’ spp. are widely distributed in sponges and belong to an environmental taxon proposed here as candidate phylum ‘Tectomicrobia’. The pronounced bioactivities and chemical uniqueness of ‘Entotheonella’ compounds provide significant opportunities for ecological studies and drug discovery.


September 22, 2019  |  

Assessing quality of Medicago sativa silage by monitoring bacterial composition with single molecule, real-time sequencing technology and various physiological parameters.

The present study applied the PacBio single molecule, real-time sequencing technology (SMRT) in evaluating the quality of silage production. Specifically, we produced four types of Medicago sativa silages by using four different lactic acid bacteria-based additives (AD-I, AD-II, AD-III and AD-IV). We monitored the changes in pH, organic acids (including butyric acid, the ratio of acetic acid/lactic acid, ?-aminobutyric acid, 4-hyroxy benzoic acid and phenyl lactic acid), mycotoxins, and bacterial microbiota during silage fermentation. Our results showed that the use of the additives was beneficial to the silage fermentation by enhancing a general pH and mycotoxin reduction, while increasing the organic acids content. By SMRT analysis of the microbial composition in eight silage samples, we found that the bacterial species number and relative abundances shifted apparently after fermentation. Such changes were specific to the LAB species in the additives. Particularly, Bacillus megaterium was the initial dominant species in the raw materials; and after the fermentation process, Pediococcus acidilactici and Lactobacillus plantarum became the most prevalent species, both of which were intrinsically present in the LAB additives. Our data have demonstrated that the SMRT sequencing platform is applicable in assessing the quality of silage.


September 22, 2019  |  

Subaerial biofilms on granitic historic buildings: microbial diversity and development of phototrophic multi-species cultures.

Microbial communities of natural subaerial biofilms developed on granitic historic buildings of a World Heritage Site (Santiago de Compostela, NW Spain) were characterized and cultured in liquid BG11 medium. Environmental barcoding through next-generation sequencing (Pacific Biosciences) revealed that the biofilms were mainly composed of species of Chlorophyta (green algae) and Ascomycota (fungi) commonly associated with rock substrata. Richness and diversity were higher for the fungal than for the algal assemblages and fungi showed higher heterogeneity among samples. Cultures derived from natural biofilms showed the establishment of stable microbial communities mainly composed of Chlorophyta and Cyanobacteria. Although most taxa found in these cultures were not common in the original biofilms, they are likely common pioneer colonizers of building stone surfaces, including granite. Stable phototrophic multi-species cultures of known microbial diversity were thus obtained and their reliability to emulate natural colonization on granite should be confirmed in further experiments.


September 22, 2019  |  

Improved performance of the PacBio SMRT technology for 16S rDNA sequencing.

Improved sequencing accuracy was obtained with 16S amplicons from environmental samples and a known pure culture when upgraded Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) hardware and enzymes were used for the single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing platform. The new PacBio RS II system with P4/C2 chemistry, when used with previously constructed libraries (Mosher et al., 2013) surpassed the accuracy of Roche/454 pyrosequencing platform. With accurate read lengths of >1400 base pairs, the PacBio system opens up the possibility of identifying microorganisms to the species level in environmental samples. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

A novel lactobacilli-based teat disinfectant for improving bacterial communities in the milks of cow teats with subclinical mastitis.

Teat disinfection pre- and post-milking is important for the overall health and hygiene of dairy cows. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a novel probiotic lactobacilli-based teat disinfectant based on changes in somatic cell count (SCC) and profiling of the bacterial community. A total of 69 raw milk samples were obtained from eleven Holstein-Friesian dairy cows over 12 days of teat dipping in China. Single molecule, real-time sequencing technology (SMRT) was employed to profile changes in the bacterial community during the cleaning protocol and to compare the efficacy of probiotic lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and commercial teat disinfectants. The SCC gradually decreased following the cleaning protocol and the SCC of the LAB group was slightly lower than that of the commercial disinfectant (CD) group. Our SMRT sequencing results indicate that raw milk from both the LAB and CD groups contained diverse microbial populations that changed over the course of the cleaning protocol. The relative abundances of some species were significantly changed during the cleaning process, which may explain the observed bacterial community differences. Collectively, these results suggest that the LAB disinfectant could reduce mastitis-associated bacteria and improve the microbial environment of the cow teat. It could be used as an alternative to chemical pre- and post-milking teat disinfectants to maintain healthy teats and udders. In addition, the Pacific Biosciences SMRT sequencing with the full-length 16S ribosomal RNA gene was shown to be a powerful tool for monitoring changes in the bacterial population during the cleaning protocol.


September 22, 2019  |  

Moving beyond microbiome-wide associations to causal microbe identification.

Microbiome-wide association studies have established that numerous diseases are associated with changes in the microbiota. These studies typically generate a long list of commensals implicated as biomarkers of disease, with no clear relevance to disease pathogenesis. If the field is to move beyond correlations and begin to address causation, an effective system is needed for refining this catalogue of differentially abundant microbes and to allow subsequent mechanistic studies. Here we demonstrate that triangulation of microbe-phenotype relationships is an effective method for reducing the noise inherent in microbiota studies and enabling identification of causal microbes. We found that gnotobiotic mice harbouring different microbial communities exhibited differential survival in a colitis model. Co-housing of these mice generated animals that had hybrid microbiotas and displayed intermediate susceptibility to colitis. Mapping of microbe-phenotype relationships in parental mouse strains and in mice with hybrid microbiotas identified the bacterial family Lachnospiraceae as a correlate for protection from disease. Using directed microbial culture techniques, we discovered Clostridium immunis, a previously unknown bacterial species from this family, that-when administered to colitis-prone mice-protected them against colitis-associated death. To demonstrate the generalizability of our approach, we used it to identify several commensal organisms that induce intestinal expression of an antimicrobial peptide. Thus, we have used microbe-phenotype triangulation to move beyond the standard correlative microbiome study and identify causal microbes for two completely distinct phenotypes. Identification of disease-modulating commensals by microbe-phenotype triangulation may be more broadly applicable to human microbiome studies.


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