September 22, 2019  |  

A response to Lindsey et al. “Wolbachia pipientis should not be split into multiple species: A response to Ramírez-Puebla et al.”.

In Ramírez-Puebla et al. [18] we compared 34 Wolbachia genomes and constructed phylogenetic trees using genomic data. In general, our results were congruent with previously reported phy- logenetic trees [5,9]. Our datasets were carefully selected, checked and analyzed avoiding horizontally transferred genes. In the case of the wAna genome we did not use the raw data, but the assem- bled genome [22] and 31 genes were used to compare in a dataset of conserved proteins. To confirm our conclusions a new phyloge- nomic analysis was performed excluding the wAna strain in the dataset (Fig. 1). The same topology was obtained, therefore indi- cating that the results were not affected by the presence of this particular strain.


September 22, 2019  |  

Candidatus Dactylopiibacterium carminicum, a nitrogen-fixing symbiont of Dactylopius cochineal insects (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Dactylopiidae)

The domesticated carmine cochineal Dactylopius coccus (scale insect) has commercial value and has been used for more than 500?years for natural red pigment production. Besides the domesticated cochineal, other wild Dactylopius species such as Dactylopius opuntiae are found in the Americas, all feeding on nutrient poor sap from native cacti. To compensate nutritional deficiencies, many insects harbor symbiotic bacteria which provide essential amino acids or vitamins to their hosts. Here, we characterized a symbiont from the carmine cochineal insects, Candidatus Dactylopiibacterium carminicum (betaproteobacterium, Rhodocyclaceae family) and found it in D. coccus and in D. opuntiae ovaries by fluorescent in situ hybridization, suggesting maternal inheritance. Bacterial genomes recovered from metagenomic data derived from whole insects or tissues both from D. coccus and from D. opuntiae were around 3.6?Mb in size. Phylogenomics showed that dactylopiibacteria constituted a closely related clade neighbor to nitrogen fixing bacteria from soil or from various plants including rice and other grass endophytes. Metabolic capabilities were inferred from genomic analyses, showing a complete operon for nitrogen fixation, biosynthesis of amino acids and vitamins and putative traits of anaerobic or microoxic metabolism as well as genes for plant interaction. Dactylopiibacterium nif gene expression and acetylene reduction activity detecting nitrogen fixation were evidenced in D. coccus hemolymph and ovaries, in congruence with the endosymbiont fluorescent in situ hybridization location. Dactylopiibacterium symbionts may compensate for the nitrogen deficiency in the cochineal diet. In addition, this symbiont may provide essential amino acids, recycle uric acid, and increase the cochineal life span.


September 22, 2019  |  

Laboratory colonization stabilizes the naturally dynamic microbiome composition of field collected Dermacentor andersoni ticks.

Nearly a quarter of emerging infectious diseases identified in the last century are arthropod-borne. Although ticks and insects can carry pathogenic microorganisms, non-pathogenic microbes make up the majority of their microbial communities. The majority of tick microbiome research has had a focus on discovery and description; very few studies have analyzed the ecological context and functional responses of the bacterial microbiome of ticks. The goal of this analysis was to characterize the stability of the bacterial microbiome of Dermacentor andersoni ticks between generations and two populations within a species.The bacterial microbiome of D. andersoni midguts and salivary glands was analyzed from populations collected at two different ecologically distinct sites by comparing field (F1) and lab-reared populations (F1-F3) over three generations. The microbiome composition of pooled and individual samples was analyzed by sequencing nearly full-length 16S rRNA gene amplicons using a Pacific Biosciences CCS platform that allows identification of bacteria to the species level.In this study, we found that the D. andersoni microbiome was distinct in different geographic populations and was tissue specific, differing between the midgut and the salivary gland, over multiple generations. Additionally, our study showed that the microbiomes of laboratory-reared populations were not necessarily representative of their respective field populations. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the microbiome of a few individual ticks does not represent the microbiome composition at the population level.We demonstrated that the bacterial microbiome of D. andersoni was complex over three generations and specific to tick tissue (midgut vs. salivary glands) as well as geographic location (Burns, Oregon vs. Lake Como, Montana vs. laboratory setting). These results provide evidence that habitat of the tick population is a vital component of the complexity of the bacterial microbiome of ticks, and that the microbiome of lab colonies may not allow for comparative analyses with field populations. A broader understanding of microbiome variation will be required if we are to employ manipulation of the microbiome as a method for interfering with acquisition and transmission of tick-borne pathogens.


September 22, 2019  |  

Single-cell (meta-)genomics of a dimorphic Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii reveals genomic plasticity.

The genus Thiomargarita includes the world’s largest bacteria. But as uncultured organisms, their physiology, metabolism, and basis for their gigantism are not well understood. Thus, a genomics approach, applied to a single Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii cell was employed to explore the genetic potential of one of these enigmatic giant bacteria. The Thiomargarita cell was obtained from an assemblage of budding Ca. T. nelsonii attached to a provannid gastropod shell from Hydrate Ridge, a methane seep offshore of Oregon, USA. Here we present a manually curated genome of Bud S10 resulting from a hybrid assembly of long Pacific Biosciences and short Illumina sequencing reads. With respect to inorganic carbon fixation and sulfur oxidation pathways, the Ca. T. nelsonii Hydrate Ridge Bud S10 genome was similar to marine sister taxa within the family Beggiatoaceae. However, the Bud S10 genome contains genes suggestive of the genetic potential for lithotrophic growth on arsenite and perhaps hydrogen. The genome also revealed that Bud S10 likely respires nitrate via two pathways: a complete denitrification pathway and a dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonia pathway. Both pathways have been predicted, but not previously fully elucidated, in the genomes of other large, vacuolated, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria. Surprisingly, the genome also had a high number of unusual features for a bacterium to include the largest number of metacaspases and introns ever reported in a bacterium. Also present, are a large number of other mobile genetic elements, such as insertion sequence (IS) transposable elements and miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs). In some cases, mobile genetic elements disrupted key genes in metabolic pathways. For example, a MITE interrupts hupL, which encodes the large subunit of the hydrogenase in hydrogen oxidation. Moreover, we detected a group I intron in one of the most critical genes in the sulfur oxidation pathway, dsrA. The dsrA group I intron also carried a MITE sequence that, like the hupL MITE family, occurs broadly across the genome. The presence of a high degree of mobile elements in genes central to Thiomargarita’s core metabolism has not been previously reported in free-living bacteria and suggests a highly mutable genome.


September 22, 2019  |  

Interpreting microbial biosynthesis in the genomic age: Biological and practical considerations.

Genome mining has become an increasingly powerful, scalable, and economically accessible tool for the study of natural product biosynthesis and drug discovery. However, there remain important biological and practical problems that can complicate or obscure biosynthetic analysis in genomic and metagenomic sequencing projects. Here, we focus on limitations of available technology as well as computational and experimental strategies to overcome them. We review the unique challenges and approaches in the study of symbiotic and uncultured systems, as well as those associated with biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) assembly and product prediction. Finally, to explore sequencing parameters that affect the recovery and contiguity of large and repetitive BGCs assembled de novo, we simulate Illumina and PacBio sequencing of the Salinispora tropica genome focusing on assembly of the salinilactam (slm) BGC.


September 22, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Endomicrobium proavitum, a free-living relative of the intracellular symbionts of termite gut flagellates (phylum Elusimicrobia).

We sequenced the complete genome of Endomicrobium proavitum strain Rsa215, the first isolate of the class Endomicrobia (phylum Elusimicrobia). It is the closest free-living relative of the endosymbionts of termite gut flagellates and thereby provides an excellent model for studying the evolutionary processes during the establishment of an intracellular symbiosis. Copyright © 2015 Zheng and Brune.


September 22, 2019  |  

Recent insights into the tick microbiome gained through next-generation sequencing.

The tick microbiome comprises communities of microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria and eukaryotes, and is being elucidated through modern molecular techniques. The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has enabled the genes and genomes within these microbial communities to be explored in a rapid and cost-effective manner. The advantages of using NGS to investigate microbiomes surpass the traditional non-molecular methods that are limited in their sensitivity, and conventional molecular approaches that are limited in their scalability. In recent years the number of studies using NGS to investigate the microbial diversity and composition of ticks has expanded. Here, we provide a review of NGS strategies for tick microbiome studies and discuss the recent findings from tick NGS investigations, including the bacterial diversity and composition, influential factors, and implications of the tick microbiome.


September 22, 2019  |  

The gut commensal microbiome of Drosophila melanogaster is modified by the endosymbiont Wolbachia.

Endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria and the gut microbiome have independently been shown to affect several aspects of insect biology, including reproduction, development, life span, stem cell activity, and resistance to human pathogens, in insect vectors. This work shows that Wolbachia bacteria, which reside mainly in the fly germline, affect the microbial species present in the fly gut in a lab-reared strain. Drosophila melanogaster hosts two main genera of commensal bacteria-Acetobacter and Lactobacillus. Wolbachia-infected flies have significantly reduced titers of Acetobacter. Sampling of the microbiome of axenic flies fed with equal proportions of both bacteria shows that the presence of Wolbachia bacteria is a significant determinant of the composition of the microbiome throughout fly development. However, this effect is host genotype dependent. To investigate the mechanism of microbiome modulation, the effect of Wolbachia bacteria on Imd and reactive oxygen species pathways, the main regulators of immune response in the fly gut, was measured. The presence of Wolbachia bacteria does not induce significant changes in the expression of the genes for the effector molecules in either pathway. Furthermore, microbiome modulation is not due to direct interaction between Wolbachia bacteria and gut microbes. Confocal analysis shows that Wolbachia bacteria are absent from the gut lumen. These results indicate that the mechanistic basis of the modulation of composition of the microbiome by Wolbachia bacteria is more complex than a direct bacterial interaction or the effect of Wolbachia bacteria on fly immunity. The findings reported here highlight the importance of considering the composition of the gut microbiome and host genetic background during Wolbachia-induced phenotypic studies and when formulating microbe-based disease vector control strategies. IMPORTANCE Wolbachia bacteria are intracellular bacteria present in the microbiome of a large fraction of insects and parasitic nematodes. They can block mosquitos’ ability to transmit several infectious disease-causing pathogens, including Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and West Nile viruses and malaria parasites. Certain extracellular bacteria present in the gut lumen of these insects can also block pathogen transmission. However, our understanding of interactions between Wolbachia and gut bacteria and how they influence each other is limited. Here we show that the presence of Wolbachia strain wMel changes the composition of gut commensal bacteria in the fruit fly. Our findings implicate interactions between bacterial species as a key factor in determining the overall composition of the microbiome and thus reveal new paradigms to consider in the development of disease control strategies.


September 22, 2019  |  

Gill bacteria enable a novel digestive strategy in a wood-feeding mollusk.

Bacteria play many important roles in animal digestive systems, including the provision of enzymes critical to digestion. Typically, complex communities of bacteria reside in the gut lumen in direct contact with the ingested materials they help to digest. Here, we demonstrate a previously undescribed digestive strategy in the wood-eating marine bivalve Bankia setacea, wherein digestive bacteria are housed in a location remote from the gut. These bivalves, commonly known as shipworms, lack a resident microbiota in the gut compartment where wood is digested but harbor endosymbiotic bacteria within specialized cells in their gills. We show that this comparatively simple bacterial community produces wood-degrading enzymes that are selectively translocated from gill to gut. These enzymes, which include just a small subset of the predicted wood-degrading enzymes encoded in the endosymbiont genomes, accumulate in the gut to the near exclusion of other endosymbiont-made proteins. This strategy of remote enzyme production provides the shipworm with a mechanism to capture liberated sugars from wood without competition from an endogenous gut microbiota. Because only those proteins required for wood digestion are translocated to the gut, this newly described system reveals which of many possible enzymes and enzyme combinations are minimally required for wood degradation. Thus, although it has historically had negative impacts on human welfare, the shipworm digestive process now has the potential to have a positive impact on industries that convert wood and other plant biomass to renewable fuels, fine chemicals, food, feeds, textiles, and paper products.


September 22, 2019  |  

High-quality assembly of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus genome and transcriptome reveals a wide range of novel allergens.

House dust mites (HDM) are a predominant source of inhalant allergens that attribute to over 50% of worldwide allergy cases, while the full spectrum of HDM allergens remains unknown. Here we sequenced a high-quality genome of Dermatophagoides (D.) pteronyssinus to find known canonical allergens and allergen orthologs inferred from D. farinae genome.


September 22, 2019  |  

Aberration or analogy? The atypical plastomes of Geraniaceae

A number of plant groups have been proposed as ideal systems to explore plastid inheritance, plastome evolution and plastome-nuclear genome coevolution. Quick generation times and a compact nuclear genome in Arabidopsis thaliana, the relative ease of plastid isolation from Spinacia oleracea and the tractability of plastid transformation in Nicotiana tabacum are all desirable attributes in a model system; however, these and most other groups all lack novelty in terms of plastome structure and nucleotide sequence evolution. Contemporary sequencing and assembly technologies have facilitated analyses of atypical plastomes and, as predicted by early investigations, Geraniaceae plastomes have experienced unprecedented rearrangements relative to the canonical structure and exhibit remarkably high rates of synonymous and nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions. While not the only lineage with unusual plastome features, likely no other group represents the array of aberrant phenomena recorded for the family. In this chapter, Geraniaceae plastomes will be discussed and, where possible, compared with other taxa.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genomic analyses reveal the features for adaptation to nematodes in fungi.

Nematophagous (NP) fungi are ecologically important components of the soil microbiome in natural ecosystems. Esteya vermicola (Ev) has been reported as a NP fungus with a poorly understood evolutionary history and mechanism of adaptation to parasitism. Furthermore, NP fungal genomic basis of lifestyle was still unclear. We sequenced and annotated the Ev genome (34.2 Mbp) and integrated genetic makeup and evolution of pathogenic genes to investigate NP fungi. The results revealed that NP fungi had some abundant pathogenic genes corresponding to their niche. A number of gene families involved in pathogenicity were expanded, and some pathogenic orthologous genes underwent positive selection. NP fungi with diverse morphological features exhibit similarities of evolutionary convergence in attacking nematodes, but their genetic makeup and microscopic mechanism are different. Endoparasitic NP fungi showed similarity in large number of transporters and secondary metabolite coding genes. Noteworthy, expanded families of transporters and endo-beta-glucanase implied great genetic potential of Ev in quickly perturbing nematode metabolism and parasitic behavior. These results facilitate our understanding of NP fungal genomic features for adaptation to nematodes and lay a solid theoretical foundation for further research and application.© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Kazusa DNA Research Institute.


September 22, 2019  |  

By land, air, and sea: hemipteran diversity through the genomic lens

Thanks to a recent spate of sequencing projects, the Hemiptera are the first hemimetabolous insect order to achieve a critical mass of species with sequenced genomes, establishing the basis for comparative genomics of the bugs. However, as the most speciose hemimetabolous order, there is still a vast swathe of the hemipteran phylogeny that awaits genomic representation across subterranean, terrestrial, and aquatic habitats, and with lineage-specific and developmentally plastic cases of both wing polyphenisms and flightlessness. In this review, we highlight opportunities for taxonomic sampling beyond obvious pest species candidates, motivated by intriguing biological features of certain groups as well as the rich research tradition of ecological, physiological, developmental, and particularly cytogenetic investigation that spans the diversity of the Hemiptera.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome sequences of Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1602 and Micractinium conductrix SAG 241.80: implications to maltose excretion by a green alga.

Green algae represent a key segment of the global species capable of photoautotrophic-driven biological carbon fixation. Algae partition fixed-carbon into chemical compounds required for biomass, while diverting excess carbon into internal storage compounds such as starch and lipids or, in certain cases, into targeted extracellular compounds. Two green algae were selected to probe for critical components associated with sugar production and release in a model alga. Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1602 – which does not release significant quantities of sugars to the extracellular space – was selected as a control to compare with the maltose-releasing Micractinium conductrix SAG 241.80 – which was originally isolated from an endosymbiotic association with the ciliate Paramecium bursaria. Both strains were subjected to three sequencing approaches to assemble their genomes and annotate their genes. This analysis was further complemented with transcriptional studies during maltose release by M. conductrix SAG 241.80 versus conditions where sugar release is minimal. The annotation revealed that both strains contain homologs for the key components of a putative pathway leading to cytosolic maltose accumulation, while transcriptional studies found few changes in mRNA levels for the genes associated with these established intracellular sugar pathways. A further analysis of potential sugar transporters found multiple homologs for SWEETs and tonoplast sugar transporters. The analysis of transcriptional differences revealed a lesser and more measured global response for M. conductrix SAG 241.80 versus C. sorokiniana UTEX 1602 during conditions resulting in sugar release, providing a catalog of genes that might play a role in extracellular sugar transport.© 2017 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Culture-facilitated comparative genomics of the facultative symbiont Hamiltonella defensa.

Many insects host facultative, bacterial symbionts that confer conditional fitness benefits to their hosts. Hamiltonella defensa is a common facultative symbiont of aphids that provides protection against parasitoid wasps. Protection levels vary among strains of H. defensa that are also differentially infected by bacteriophages named APSEs. However, little is known about trait variation among strains because only one isolate has been fully sequenced. Generating complete genomes for facultative symbionts is hindered by relatively large genome sizes but low abundances in hosts like aphids that are very small. Here, we took advantage of methods for culturing H. defensa outside of aphids to generate complete genomes and transcriptome data for four strains of H. defensa from the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. Chosen strains also spanned the breadth of the H. defensa phylogeny and differed in strength of protection conferred against parasitoids. Results indicated that strains shared most genes with roles in nutrient acquisition, metabolism, and essential housekeeping functions. In contrast, the inventory of mobile genetic elements varied substantially, which generated strain specific differences in gene content and genome architecture. In some cases, specific traits correlated with differences in protection against parasitoids, but in others high variation between strains obscured identification of traits with likely roles in defense. Transcriptome data generated continuous distributions to genome assemblies with some genes that were highly expressed and others that were not. Single molecule real-time sequencing further identified differences in DNA methylation patterns and restriction modification systems that provide defense against phage infection.


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