April 21, 2020  |  

Genome sequence analysis of 91 Salmonella Enteritidis isolates from mice caught on poultry farms in the mid 1990s.

A total of 91 draft genome sequences were used to analyze isolates of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis obtained from feral mice caught on poultry farms in Pennsylvania. One objective was to find mutations disrupting open reading frames (ORFs) and another was to determine if ORF-disruptive mutations were present in isolates obtained from other sources. A total of 83 mice were obtained between 1995-1998. Isolates separated into two genomic clades and 12 subgroups due to 742 mutations. Nineteen ORF-disruptive mutations were found, and in addition, bigA had exceptional heterogeneity requiring additional evaluation. The TRAMS algorithm detected only 6 ORF disruptions. The sefD mutation was the most frequently encountered mutation and it was prevalent in human, poultry, environmental and mouse isolates. These results confirm previous assessments of the mouse as a rich source of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis that varies in genotype and phenotype. Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.


April 21, 2020  |  

Whole genome sequencing used in an industrial context reveals a Salmonella laboratory cross-contamination.

In 2013, during a routine laboratory analysis performed on food samples, one finished product from a European factory was tested positive for Salmonella Hadar. At the same period, one environmental isolate in the same laboratory was serotyped Salmonella Hadar. Prior to this event, the laboratory performed a proficiency testing involving a sample spiked with NCTC 9877 Salmonella Hadar. The concomitance of Salmonella Hadar detection led to the suspicion of a laboratory cross-contamination between the Salmonella Hadar isolate used in the laboratory proficiency testing and the Salmonella Hadar isolate found on the finished product by the same laboratory. Since the classical phenotypic serotyping method is able to attribute a serotype to Salmonella isolates with a common antigenic formula, but cannot differentiate strains of the same serotype within the subspecies, whole genome sequencing was used to test the laboratory cross-contamination hypothesis. Additionally, 12 Salmonella Hadar from public databases, available until the time of the event, were included in the whole genome sequencing analysis to better understand the genomic diversity of this serotype in Europe. The outcome of the analysis showed a maximum of ten single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) between the isolates coming from the laboratory and the finished product, and thus confirmed the laboratory cross-contamination. These results combined with all additional investigations done at the factory, allowed to release finished product batches produced and thus circumvented unnecessary food waste and economic losses for the factory. Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Assembly of the Genome of an Acidovorax citrulli Strain Reveals a Naturally Occurring Plasmid in This Species.

Acidovorax citrulli is the causal agent of bacterial fruit blotch (BFB), a serious threat to cucurbit crop production worldwide. Based on genetic and phenotypic properties, A. citrulli strains are divided into two major groups: group I strains have been generally isolated from melon and other non-watermelon cucurbits, while group II strains are closely associated with watermelon. In a previous study, we reported the genome of the group I model strain, M6. At that time, the M6 genome was sequenced by MiSeq Illumina technology, with reads assembled into 139 contigs. Here, we report the assembly of the M6 genome following sequencing with PacBio technology. This approach not only allowed full assembly of the M6 genome, but it also revealed the occurrence of a ~53 kb plasmid. The M6 plasmid, named pACM6, was further confirmed by plasmid extraction, Southern-blot analysis of restricted fragments and obtention of M6-derivative cured strains. pACM6 occurs at low copy numbers (average of ~4.1 ± 1.3 chromosome equivalents) in A. citrulli M6 and contains 63 open reading frames (ORFs), most of which (55.6%) encoding hypothetical proteins. The plasmid contains several genes encoding type IV secretion components, and typical plasmid-borne genes involved in plasmid maintenance, replication and transfer. The plasmid also carries an operon encoding homologs of a Fic-VbhA toxin-antitoxin (TA) module. Transcriptome data from A. citrulli M6 revealed that, under the tested conditions, the genes encoding the components of this TA system are among the highest expressed genes in pACM6. Whether this TA module plays a role in pACM6 maintenance is still to be determined. Leaf infiltration and seed transmission assays revealed that, under tested conditions, the loss of pACM6 did not affect the virulence of A. citrulli M6. We also show that pACM6 or similar plasmids are present in several group I strains, but absent in all tested group II strains of A. citrulli.


April 21, 2020  |  

Comparative Genomic Analyses Reveal Core-Genome-Wide Genes Under Positive Selection and Major Regulatory Hubs in Outlier Strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Genomic information for outlier strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is exiguous when compared with classical strains. We sequenced and constructed the complete genome of an environmental strain CR1 of P. aeruginosa and performed the comparative genomic analysis. It clustered with the outlier group, hence we scaled up the analyses to understand the differences in environmental and clinical outlier strains. We identified eight new regions of genomic plasticity and a plasmid pCR1 with a VirB/D4 complex followed by trimeric auto-transporter that can induce virulence phenotype in the genome of strain CR1. Virulence genotype analysis revealed that strain CR1 lacked hemolytic phospholipase C and D, three genes for LPS biosynthesis and had reduced antibiotic resistance genes when compared with clinical strains. Genes belonging to proteases, bacterial exporters and DNA stabilization were found to be under strong positive selection, thus facilitating pathogenicity and survival of the outliers. The outliers had the complete operon for the production of vibrioferrin, a siderophore present in plant growth promoting bacteria. The competence to acquire multidrug resistance and new virulence factors makes these strains a potential threat. However, we identified major regulatory hubs that can be used as drug targets against both the classical and outlier groups.


September 22, 2019  |  

Atmospheric N deposition increases bacterial laccase-like multicopper oxidases: implications for organic matter decay.

Anthropogenic release of biologically available nitrogen (N) has increased dramatically over the last 150 years, which can alter the processes controlling carbon (C) storage in terrestrial ecosystems. In a northern hardwood forest ecosystem located in Michigan in the United States, nearly 20 years of experimentally increased atmospheric N deposition has reduced forest floor decay and increased soil C storage. This change occurred concomitantly with compositional changes in Basidiomycete fungi and in Actinobacteria, as well as the downregulation of fungal lignocelluloytic genes. Recently, laccase-like multicopper oxidases (LMCOs) have been discovered among bacteria which can oxidize ß-O-4 linkages in phenolic compounds (e.g., lignin and humic compounds), resulting in the production of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Here, we examined how nearly 2 decades of experimental N deposition has affected the abundance and composition of saprotrophic bacteria possessing LMCO genes. In our experiment, LMCO genes were more abundant in the forest floor under experimental N deposition whereas the abundances of bacteria and fungi were unchanged. Experimental N deposition also led to less-diverse, significantly altered bacterial and LMCO gene assemblages, with taxa implicated in organic matter decay (i.e., Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria) accounting for the majority of compositional changes. These results suggest that experimental N deposition favors bacteria in the forest floor that harbor the LMCO gene and represents a plausible mechanism by which anthropogenic N deposition has reduced decomposition, increased soil C storage, and accelerated phenolic DOC production in our field experiment. Our observations suggest that future rates of atmospheric N deposition could fundamentally alter the physiological potential of soil microbial communities. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

100K Pathogen Genome Project.

The 100K Pathogen Genome Project is producing draft and closed genome sequences from diverse pathogens. This project expanded globally to include a snapshot of global bacterial genome diversity. The genomes form a sequence database that has a variety of uses from systematics to public health. Copyright © 2017 Weimer.


September 22, 2019  |  

A single-cell genome for Thiovulum sp.

We determined a significant fraction of the genome sequence of a representative of Thiovulum, the uncultivated genus of colorless sulfur Epsilonproteobacteria, by analyzing the genome sequences of four individual cells collected from phototrophic mats from Elkhorn Slough, California. These cells were isolated utilizing a microfluidic laser-tweezing system, and their genomes were amplified by multiple-displacement amplification prior to sequencing. Thiovulum is a gradient bacterium found at oxic-anoxic marine interfaces and noted for its distinctive morphology and rapid swimming motility. The genomic sequences of the four individual cells were assembled into a composite genome consisting of 221 contigs covering 2.083 Mb including 2,162 genes. This single-cell genome represents a genomic view of the physiological capabilities of isolated Thiovulum cells. Thiovulum is the second-fastest bacterium ever observed, swimming at 615 µm/s, and this genome shows that this rapid swimming motility is a result of a standard flagellar machinery that has been extensively characterized in other bacteria. This suggests that standard flagella are capable of propelling bacterial cells at speeds much faster than typically thought. Analysis of the genome suggests that naturally occurring Thiovulum populations are more diverse than previously recognized and that studies performed in the past probably address a wide range of unrecognized genotypic and phenotypic diversities of Thiovulum. The genome presented in this article provides a basis for future isolation-independent studies of Thiovulum, where single-cell and metagenomic tools can be used to differentiate between different Thiovulum genotypes.


September 22, 2019  |  

High-resolution phylogenetic microbial community profiling.

Over the past decade, high-throughput short-read 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing has eclipsed clone-dependent long-read Sanger sequencing for microbial community profiling. The transition to new technologies has provided more quantitative information at the expense of taxonomic resolution with implications for inferring metabolic traits in various ecosystems. We applied single-molecule real-time sequencing for microbial community profiling, generating full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences at high throughput, which we propose to name PhyloTags. We benchmarked and validated this approach using a defined microbial community. When further applied to samples from the water column of meromictic Sakinaw Lake, we show that while community structures at the phylum level are comparable between PhyloTags and Illumina V4 16S rRNA gene sequences (iTags), variance increases with community complexity at greater water depths. PhyloTags moreover allowed less ambiguous classification. Last, a platform-independent comparison of PhyloTags and in silico generated partial 16S rRNA gene sequences demonstrated significant differences in community structure and phylogenetic resolution across multiple taxonomic levels, including a severe underestimation in the abundance of specific microbial genera involved in nitrogen and methane cycling across the Lake’s water column. Thus, PhyloTags provide a reliable adjunct or alternative to cost-effective iTags, enabling more accurate phylogenetic resolution of microbial communities and predictions on their metabolic potential.


September 22, 2019  |  

Complete nucleotide sequences of two KPC-2-encoding plasmids from the same Citrobacter freundii isolate.

Large amounts of antibiotics are released from humans and animals into aquatic environments and lead to an increased abundance of environmental MDR bacteria, which pose a potential threat to public health. It is worrisome that the entry of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) into the environment is increasingly reported; these carbapenem-resistant bacteria pose a severe health threat as few therapeutic options are available for such pathogens. Although culture-independent approaches are capable of revealing the vast genetic diversity of the environmental resistome, there are few data regarding deeper characterization of mechanisms of environmental CPE isolates. Here, we describe the complete sequences of two blaKPC-2-containing plasmids present in the same Citrobacter freundii isolated from river sediment.


September 22, 2019  |  

Functional metagenomics reveals a novel carbapenem-hydrolyzing mobile beta-lactamase from Indian river sediments contaminated with antibiotic production waste.

Evolution has provided environmental bacteria with a plethora of genes that give resistance to antibiotic compounds. Under anthropogenic selection pressures, some of these genes are believed to be recruited over time into pathogens by horizontal gene transfer. River sediment polluted with fluoroquinolones and other drugs discharged from bulk drug production in India constitute an environment with unprecedented, long-term antibiotic selection pressures. It is therefore plausible that previously unknown resistance genes have evolved and/or are promoted here. In order to search for novel resistance genes, we therefore analyzed such river sediments by a functional metagenomics approach. DNA fragments providing resistance to different antibiotics in E. coli were sequenced using Sanger and PacBio RSII platforms. We recaptured the majority of known antibiotic resistance genes previously identified by open shot-gun metagenomics sequencing of the same samples. In addition, seven novel resistance gene candidates (six beta-lactamases and one amikacin resistance gene) were identified. Two class A beta-lactamases, blaRSA1 and blaRSA2, were phylogenetically close to clinically important ESBLs like blaGES, blaBEL and blaL2, and were further characterized for their substrate spectra. The blaRSA1 protein, encoded as an integron gene cassette, efficiently hydrolysed penicillins, first generation cephalosporins and cefotaxime, while blaRSA2 was an inducible class A beta-lactamase, capable of hydrolyzing carbapenems albeit with limited efficiency, similar to the L2 beta-lactamase from Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. All detected novel genes were associated with plasmid mobilization proteins, integrons, and/or other resistance genes, suggesting a potential for mobility. This study provides insight into a resistome shaped by an exceptionally strong and long-term antibiotic selection pressure. An improved knowledge of mobilized resistance factors in the external environment may make us better prepared for the resistance challenges that we may face in clinics in the future. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genome analysis reveals a complex population structure of Legionella pneumophila subspecies.

The majority of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) cases are caused by Legionella pneumophila, a genetically heterogeneous species composed of at least 17 serogroups. Previously, it was demonstrated that L. pneumophila consists of three subspecies: pneumophila, fraseri and pascullei. During an LD outbreak investigation in 2012, we detected that representatives of both subspecies fraseri and pascullei colonized the same water system and that the outbreak-causing strain was a new member of the least represented subspecies pascullei. We used partial sequence based typing consensus patterns to mine an international database for additional representatives of fraseri and pascullei subspecies. As a result, we identified 46 sequence types (STs) belonging to subspecies fraseri and two STs belonging to subspecies pascullei. Moreover, a recent retrospective whole genome sequencing analysis of isolates from New York State LD clusters revealed the presence of a fourth L. pneumophila subspecies that we have termed raphaeli. This subspecies consists of 15 STs. Comparative analysis was conducted using the genomes of multiple members of all four L. pneumophila subspecies. Whereas each subspecies forms a distinct phylogenetic clade within the L. pneumophila species, they share more average nucleotide identity with each other than with other Legionella species. Unique genes for each subspecies were identified and could be used for rapid subspecies detection. Improved taxonomic classification of L. pneumophila strains may help identify environmental niches and virulence attributes associated with these genetically distinct subspecies. Published by Elsevier B.V.


September 22, 2019  |  

Potential survival and pathogenesis of a novel strain, Vibrio parahaemolyticus FORC_022, isolated from a soy sauce marinated crab by genome and transcriptome analyses.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus can cause gastrointestinal illness through consumption of seafood. Despite frequent food-borne outbreaks of V. parahaemolyticus, only 19 strains have subjected to complete whole-genome analysis. In this study, a novel strain of V. parahaemolyticus, designated FORC_022 (Food-borne pathogen Omics Research Center_022), was isolated from soy sauce marinated crabs, and its genome and transcriptome were analyzed to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms. FORC_022 did not include major virulence factors of thermostable direct hemolysin (tdh) and TDH-related hemolysin (trh). However, FORC_022 showed high cytotoxicity and had several V. parahaemolyticus islands (VPaIs) and other virulence factors, such as various secretion systems (types I, II, III, IV, and VI), in comparative genome analysis with CDC_K4557 (the most similar strain) and RIMD2210633 (genome island marker strain). FORC_022 harbored additional virulence genes, including accessory cholera enterotoxin, zona occludens toxin, and tight adhesion (tad) locus, compared with CDC_K4557. In addition, O3 serotype specific gene and the marker gene of pandemic O3:K6 serotype (toxRS) were detected in FORC_022. The expressions levels of genes involved in adherence and carbohydrate transporter were high, whereas those of genes involved in motility, arginine biosynthesis, and proline metabolism were low after exposure to crabs. Moreover, the virulence factors of the type III secretion system, tad locus, and thermolabile hemolysin were overexpressed. Therefore, the risk of foodborne-illness may be high following consumption of FORC_022 contaminated crab. These results provided molecular information regarding the survival and pathogenesis of V. parahaemolyticus FORC_022 strain in contaminated crab and may have applications in food safety.


September 22, 2019  |  

Isolation, development, and genomic analysis of Bacillus megaterium SR7 for growth and metabolite production under supercritical carbon dioxide

Supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) is an attractive substitute for conventional organic solvents due to its unique transport and thermodynamic properties, its renewability and labile nature, and its high solubility for compounds such as alcohols, ketones, and aldehydes. However, biological systems that use scCO2 are mainly limited to in vitro processes due to its strong inhibition of cell viability and growth. To solve this problem, we used a bioprospecting approach to isolate a microbial strain with the natural ability to grow while exposed to scCO2. Enrichment culture and serial passaging of deep subsurface fluids from the McElmo Dome scCO2 reservoir in aqueous media under scCO2 headspace enabled the isolation of spore-forming strain Bacillus megaterium SR7. Sequencing and analysis of the complete 5.51 Mbp genome and physiological characterization revealed the capacity for facultative anaerobic metabolism, including fermentative growth on a diverse range of organic substrates. Supplementation of growth medium with L-alanine for chemical induction of spore germination significantly improved growth frequencies and biomass accumulation under scCO2 headspace. Detection of endogenous fermentative compounds in cultures grown under scCO2 represents the first observation of bioproduct generation and accumulation under this condition. Culturing development and metabolic characterization of B. megaterium SR7 represent initial advancements in the effort toward enabling exploitation of scCO2 as a sustainable solvent for in vivo bioprocessing.


September 22, 2019  |  

Construction of stable fluorescent laboratory control strains for several food safety relevant Enterobacteriaceae.

Using naturally-occurring bacterial strains as positive controls in testing protocols is typically feared due to the risk of cross-contaminating samples. We have developed a collection of strains which express Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) at high-level, permitting rapid screening of the following species on selective or non-selective plates: Escherichia coli O157:H7, Shigella sonnei, S. flexneri, Salmonella enterica subsp. Enterica serovar Gaminera, S. Mbandaka, S. Tennesse, S. Minnesota, S. Senftenberg and S. Typhimurium. These new strains fluoresce when irradiated with UV light and maintain this phenotype in absence of antibiotic selection. Recombinants were phenotypically equivalent to the parent strain, except for S. Tennessee Sal66 that appeared Lac- on Xylose Lysine Deoxycholate (XLD) agar plates and Lac+ on Mac Conkey and Hektoen Enteric agar plates. Analysis of closed whole genome sequences revealed that Sal66 had lost one lactose operon; slower rates of lactose metabolism may affect lactose fermentation on XLD agar. These fluorescent enteric control strains were challenging to develop and should provide an easy and effective means of identifying cross-contamination. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


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 PCC 7942 but which is motile and phototactic. A six-gene operon encoding chemotaxis-like proteins was confirmed to be involved in phototaxis. Environmental light signals are perceived by a cyanobacteriochrome, PixJSe (Synpcc7942_0858), which carries five GAF domains that are responsive to blue/green light and resemble those of PixJ from Synechocystis Plate-based phototaxis assays indicate that UTEX 3055 uses PixJSe to sense blue and green light. Mutation of conserved functional cysteine residues in different GAF domains indicates that PixJSe controls both positive and negative phototaxis, in contrast to the multiple proteins that are employed for implementing bidirectional phototaxis in Synechocystis.


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