September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic imprinting mediates dosage compensation in a young plant XY system.

Sex chromosomes have repeatedly evolved from a pair of autosomes. Consequently, X and Y chromosomes initially have similar gene content, but ongoing Y degeneration leads to reduced expression and eventual loss of Y genes1. The resulting imbalance in gene expression between Y genes and the rest of the genome is expected to reduce male fitness, especially when protein networks have components from both autosomes and sex chromosomes. A diverse set of dosage compensating mechanisms that alleviates these negative effects has been described in animals2-4. However, the early steps in the evolution of dosage compensation remain unknown, and dosage compensation is poorly understood in plants5. Here, we describe a dosage compensation mechanism in the evolutionarily young XY sex determination system of the plant Silene latifolia. Genomic imprinting results in higher expression from the maternal X chromosome in both males and females. This compensates for reduced Y expression in males, but results in X overexpression in females and may be detrimental. It could represent a transient early stage in the evolution of dosage compensation. Our finding has striking resemblance to the first stage proposed by Ohno6 for the evolution of X inactivation in mammals.


September 22, 2019  |  

Long-term changes of bacterial and viral compositions in the intestine of a recovered Clostridium difficile patient after fecal microbiota transplantation

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is an effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (RCDIs). However, long-term effects on the patients’ gut microbiota and the role of viruses remain to be elucidated. Here, we characterized bacterial and viral microbiota in the feces of a cured RCDI patient at various time points until 4.5 yr post-FMT compared with the stool donor. Feces were subjected to DNA sequencing to characterize bacteria and double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses including phages. The patient’s microbial communities varied over time and showed little overall similarity to the donor until 7 mo post-FMT, indicating ongoing gut microbiota adaption in this time period. After 4.5 yr, the patient’s bacteria attained donor-like compositions at phylum, class, and order levels with similar bacterial diversity. Differences in the bacterial communities between donor and patient after 4.5 yr were seen at lower taxonomic levels. C. difficile remained undetectable throughout the entire timespan. This demonstrated sustainable donor feces engraftment and verified long-term therapeutic success of FMT on the molecular level. Full engraftment apparently required longer than previously acknowledged, suggesting the implementation of year-long patient follow-up periods into clinical practice. The identified dsDNA viruses were mainly Caudovirales phages. Unexpectedly, sequences related to giant algae–infecting Chlorella viruses were also detected. Our findings indicate that intestinal viruses may be implicated in the establishment of gut microbiota. Therefore, virome analyses should be included in gut microbiota studies to determine the roles of phages and other viruses—such as Chlorella viruses—in human health and disease, particularly during RCDI.


September 22, 2019  |  

High-resolution community profiling of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

Community analyses of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) using ribosomal small subunit (SSU) or internal transcribed spacer (ITS) DNA sequences often suffer from low resolution or coverage. We developed a novel sequencing based approach for a highly resolving and specific profiling of AMF communities. We took advantage of previously established AMF-specific PCR primers that amplify a c. 1.5-kb long fragment covering parts of SSU, ITS and parts of the large ribosomal subunit (LSU), and we sequenced the resulting amplicons with single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing. The method was applicable to soil and root samples, detected all major AMF families and successfully discriminated closely related AMF species, which would not be discernible using SSU sequences. In inoculation tests we could trace the introduced AMF inoculum at the molecular level. One of the introduced strains almost replaced the local strain(s), revealing that AMF inoculation can have a profound impact on the native community. The methodology presented offers researchers a powerful new tool for AMF community analysis because it unifies improved specificity and enhanced resolution, whereas the drawback of medium sequencing throughput appears of lesser importance for low-diversity groups such as AMF.© 2016 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2016 New Phytologist Trust.


September 22, 2019  |  

The genomes of Crithidia bombi and C. expoeki, common parasites of bumblebees.

Trypanosomatids (Trypanosomatidae, Kinetoplastida) are flagellated protozoa containing many parasites of medical or agricultural importance. Among those, Crithidia bombi and C. expoeki, are common parasites in bumble bees around the world, and phylogenetically close to Leishmania and Leptomonas. They have a simple and direct life cycle with one host, and partially castrate the founding queens greatly reducing their fitness. Here, we report the nuclear genome sequences of one clone of each species, extracted from a field-collected infection. Using a combination of Roche 454 FLX Titanium, Pacific Biosciences PacBio RS, and Illumina GA2 instruments for C. bombi, and PacBio for C. expoeki, we could produce high-quality and well resolved sequences. We find that these genomes are around 32 and 34 MB, with 7,808 and 7,851 annotated genes for C. bombi and C. expoeki, respectively-which is somewhat less than reported from other trypanosomatids, with few introns, and organized in polycistronic units. A large fraction of genes received plausible functional support in comparison primarily with Leishmania and Trypanosoma. Comparing the annotated genes of the two species with those of six other trypanosomatids (C. fasciculata, L. pyrrhocoris, L. seymouri, B. ayalai, L. major, and T. brucei) shows similar gene repertoires and many orthologs. Similar to other trypanosomatids, we also find signs of concerted evolution in genes putatively involved in the interaction with the host, a high degree of synteny between C. bombi and C. expoeki, and considerable overlap with several other species in the set. A total of 86 orthologous gene groups show signatures of positive selection in the branch leading to the two Crithidia under study, mostly of unknown function. As an example, we examined the initiating glycosylation pathway of surface components in C. bombi, finding it deviates from most other eukaryotes and also from other kinetoplastids, which may indicate rapid evolution in the extracellular matrix that is involved in interactions with the host. Bumble bees are important pollinators and Crithidia-infections are suspected to cause substantial selection pressure on their host populations. These newly sequenced genomes provide tools that should help better understand host-parasite interactions in these pollinator pathogens.


September 22, 2019  |  

Pangenome analyses of the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici reveal the structural basis of a highly plastic eukaryotic genome.

Structural variation contributes substantially to polymorphism within species. Chromosomal rearrangements that impact genes can lead to functional variation among individuals and influence the expression of phenotypic traits. Genomes of fungal pathogens show substantial chromosomal polymorphism that can drive virulence evolution on host plants. Assessing the adaptive significance of structural variation is challenging, because most studies rely on inferences based on a single reference genome sequence.We constructed and analyzed the pangenome of Zymoseptoria tritici, a major pathogen of wheat that evolved host specialization by chromosomal rearrangements and gene deletions. We used single-molecule real-time sequencing and high-density genetic maps to assemble multiple genomes. We annotated the gene space based on transcriptomics data that covered the infection life cycle of each strain. Based on a total of five telomere-to-telomere genomes, we constructed a pangenome for the species and identified a core set of 9149 genes. However, an additional 6600 genes were exclusive to a subset of the isolates. The substantial accessory genome encoded on average fewer expressed genes but a larger fraction of the candidate effector genes that may interact with the host during infection. We expanded our analyses of the pangenome to a worldwide collection of 123 isolates of the same species. We confirmed that accessory genes were indeed more likely to show deletion polymorphisms and loss-of-function mutations compared to core genes.The pangenome construction of a highly polymorphic eukaryotic pathogen showed that a single reference genome significantly underestimates the gene space of a species. The substantial accessory genome provides a cradle for adaptive evolution.


September 22, 2019  |  

Autologous cell therapy approach for Duchenne muscular dystrophy using PiggyBac transposons and mesoangioblasts.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a lethal muscle-wasting disease currently without cure. We investigated the use of the PiggyBac transposon for full-length dystrophin expression in murine mesoangioblast (MABs) progenitor cells. DMD murine MABs were transfected with transposable expression vectors for full-length dystrophin and transplanted intramuscularly or intra-arterially into mdx/SCID mice. Intra-arterial delivery indicated that the MABs could migrate to regenerating muscles to mediate dystrophin expression. Intramuscular transplantation yielded dystrophin expression in 11%-44% of myofibers in murine muscles, which remained stable for the assessed period of 5 months. The satellite cells isolated from transplanted muscles comprised a fraction of MAB-derived cells, indicating that the transfected MABs may colonize the satellite stem cell niche. Transposon integration site mapping by whole-genome sequencing indicated that 70% of the integrations were intergenic, while none was observed in an exon. Muscle resistance assessment by atomic force microscopy indicated that 80% of fibers showed elasticity properties restored to those of wild-type muscles. As measured in vivo, transplanted muscles became more resistant to fatigue. This study thus provides a proof-of-principle that PiggyBac transposon vectors may mediate full-length dystrophin expression as well as functional amelioration of the dystrophic muscles within a potential autologous cell-based therapeutic approach of DMD. Copyright © 2018 The American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Bacterial virulence against an oceanic bloom-forming phytoplankter is mediated by algal DMSP

Emiliania huxleyi is a bloom-forming microalga that affects the global sulfur cycle by producing large amounts of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and its volatile metabolic product dimethyl sulfide. Top-down regulation of E. huxleyi blooms has been attributed to viruses and grazers; however, the possible involvement of algicidal bacteria in bloom demise has remained elusive. We demonstrate that a Roseobacter strain, Sulfitobacter D7, that we isolated from a North Atlantic E. huxleyi bloom, exhibited algicidal effects against E. huxleyi upon coculturing. Both the alga and the bacterium were found to co-occur during a natural E. huxleyi bloom, therefore establishing this host-pathogen system as an attractive, ecologically relevant model for studying algal-bacterial interactions in the oceans. During interaction, Sulfitobacter D7 consumed and metabolized algal DMSP to produce high amounts of methanethiol, an alternative product of DMSP catabolism. We revealed a unique strain-specific response, in which E. huxleyi strains that exuded higher amounts of DMSP were more susceptible to Sulfitobacter D7 infection. Intriguingly, exogenous application of DMSP enhanced bacterial virulence and induced susceptibility in an algal strain typically resistant to the bacterial pathogen. This enhanced virulence was highly specific to DMSP compared to addition of propionate and glycerol which had no effect on bacterial virulence. We propose a novel function for DMSP, in addition to its central role in mutualistic interactions among marine organisms, as a mediator of bacterial virulence that may regulate E. huxleyi blooms.


September 22, 2019  |  

Tracing back multidrug-resistant bacteria in fresh herb production: from chive to source through the irrigation water chain.

Environmental antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) can be transferred to humans through foods. Fresh produce in particular is an ideal vector due to frequent raw consumption. A major contamination source of fresh produce is irrigation water. We hypothesized that water quality significantly affects loads of ARB and their diversity on fresh produce despite various other contamination sources present under agricultural practice conditions. Chive irrigated from an open-top reservoir or sterile-filtered water (control) was examined. Heterotrophic plate counts (HPC) and ARB were determined for water and chive with emphasis on Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. High HPC of freshly planted chive decreased over time and were significantly lower on control- vs. reservoir-irrigated chive at harvest (1.3 log (CFU/g) lower). Ciprofloxacin- and ceftazidime-resistant bacteria were significantly lower on control-irrigated chive at harvest and end of shelf life (up to 1.8 log (CFU/g) lower). Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. repeatedly isolated from water and chive proved resistant to up to six or four antibiotic classes (80% or 49% multidrug-resistant, respectively). Microbial source tracking identified E. coli-ST1056 along the irrigation chain and on chive. Whole-genome sequencing revealed that E. coli-ST1056 from both environments were clonal and carried the same transmissible multidrug-resistance plasmid, proving water as source of chive contamination. These findings emphasize the urgent need for guidelines concerning ARB in irrigation water and development of affordable water disinfection technologies to diminish ARB on irrigated produce.


September 22, 2019  |  

Antibiotic-resistant indicator bacteria in irrigation water: High prevalence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli.

Irrigation water is a major source of fresh produce contamination with undesired microorganisms including antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB), and contaminated fresh produce can transfer ARB to the consumer especially when consumed raw. Nevertheless, no legal guidelines exist so far regulating quality of irrigation water with respect to ARB. We therefore examined irrigation water from major vegetable growing areas for occurrence of antibiotic-resistant indicator bacteria Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp., including extended-spectrum ß-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E. coli and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus spp. Occurrence of ARB strains was compared to total numbers of the respective species. We categorized water samples according to total numbers and found that categories with higher total E. coli or Enterococcus spp. numbers generally had an increased proportion of respective ARB-positive samples. We further detected high prevalence of ESBL-producing E. coli with eight positive samples of thirty-six (22%), while two presumptive vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus spp. were vancomycin-susceptible in confirmatory tests. In disk diffusion assays all ESBL-producing E. coli were multidrug-resistant (n = 21) and whole-genome sequencing of selected strains revealed a multitude of transmissible resistance genes (ARG), with blaCTX-M-1 (4 of 11) and blaCTX-M-15 (3 of 11) as the most frequent ESBL genes. Overall, the increased occurrence of indicator ARB with increased total indicator bacteria suggests that the latter might be a suitable estimate for presence of respective ARB strains. Finally, the high prevalence of ESBL-producing E. coli with transmissible ARG emphasizes the need to establish legal critical values and monitoring guidelines for ARB in irrigation water.


September 22, 2019  |  

Insights into the microbiota of Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) with tenacibaculosis symptoms and description of sp. nov. Tenacibaculum singaporense

Outbreaks of diseases in farmed fish remain a recurring problem despite the development of vaccines and improved hygiene standards on aquaculture farms. One commonly observed bacterial disease in tropical aquaculture of the South-East Asian region is tenacibaculosis, which is attributed to members of the Bacteroidetes genus Tenacibaculum, most notably T. maritimum. The impact of tenacibaculosis on fish microbiota remains poorly understood. In this study, we analysed the microbiota of different tissue types of commercially reared Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) that showed symptoms of tenacibaculosis and compared the microbial communities to those of healthy and experimentally infected fish that were exposed to diseased farm fish. The microbiota of diseased farm fish was dominated by Proteobacteria (relative abundancetextpmstandard deviation, 74.5%textpm22.8%) and Bacteroidetes (18.07%textpm21.7%), the latter mainly comprised by a high abundance of Tenacibaculum species (17.6%textpm20.7%). In healthy seabass Proteobacteria had also highest relative abundance (48.04%textpm0.02%), but Firmicutes (34.2%textpm0.02%) and Fusobacteria (12.0%textpm0.03%) were the next two major constituents. Experimentally infected fish developed lesions characteristic for tenacibaculosis, but the microbiota was primarily dominated by Proteobacteria (90.4%textpm0.2%) and Firmicutes (6.2%textpm0.1%). The relative abundance of Tenacibaculum species in experimentally infected fish was significantly lower than in the commercially reared diseased fish and revealed a higher prevalence of different Tenacibaculum species. One strain was isolated and is described here as sp. nov. Tenacibaculum singaporense TLL-A1T (=DSM 106434T, KCTC 62393T). The genome of T. singaporense was sequenced and compared to those of T. maritimum DSM 17995T and the newly sequenced T. mesophilum DSM 13764T.


September 22, 2019  |  

Description of Schaedlerella arabinophila gen. nov., sp. nov., a D-arabinose utilizing bacterium isolated from feces of C57BL/6J mice and a close relative of Clostridium sp. ASF 502

The use of gnotobiotics has gained large interest in recent years due to technological advances that have revealed the importance of host-associated microbiomes for host physiology and health. One of the oldest and most important gnotobiotics mouse model, the Altered Schaedler Flora (ASF) has been used for several decades. ASF comprises eight different bacterial species, which have been characterized to different extent, but only few are available through public strain collections. Here, the isolation of a close relative to one of the less studied ASF strains, Clostridium sp. ASF 502, is reported. Isolate TLL-A1, which shares 99.6% 16S rRNA gene sequence identity with Clostridium sp. ASF 502, was obtained from feces of C57BL/6J mice where is was detectable at a relative abundance of less than one percent. D-arabinose was used as sole carbon source in the anaerobic cultivation medium. Growth experiments with TLL-A1 on different carbon sources and analysis of its ~6.5 gigabase genome indicate that TLL-A1 harbors a large gene repertoire to utilize different carbohydrates for growth. Comparative genome analyses of TLL-A1 and Clostridium sp. ASF 502 reveal differences in genome content between the two strains, in particular with regards to carbohydrate activating enzymes. Based on physiology and genomic analysis it is proposed to name TLL-A1 to gen. nov. sp. nov Schaedlerella arabinophila TLL-A1 (DSMZ 106076T; KCTC 15657T). The closely related Clostridium sp. ASF 502 is proposed to be renamed to Schaedlerella arabinophila to reflect its taxonomic standing and to keep textquoterightASF 502textquoteright as strain designation.


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