June 1, 2021  |  

Comparative genomics of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O145:H28 strains associated with the 2007 Belgium and 2010 US outbreaks.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is an emerging pathogen. Recently there has been a global in the number of outbreaks caused by non-O157 STECs, typically involving six serogroups O26, O45, 0103, 0111, and 0145. STEC O145:H28 has been associated with severe human disease including hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), and is demonstrated by the 2007 Belgian ice-cream-associated outbreak and 2010 US lettuce-associated outbreak, with over 10% of patients developing HUS in each. The goal of this work was to do comparative genomics of strains, clinical and environmental, to investigate genome diversity and virulence evolution of this important foodborne pathogen.


June 1, 2021  |  

New discoveries from closing Salmonella genomes using Pacific Biosciences continuous long reads.

The newer hierarchical genome assembly process (HGAP) performs de novo assembly using data from a single PacBio long insert library. To assess the benefits of this method, DNA from several Salmonella enterica serovars was isolated from a pure culture. Genome sequencing was performed using Pacific Biosciences RS sequencing technology. The HGAP process enabled us to close sixteen Salmonella subsp. enterica genomes and their associated mobile elements: The ten serotypes include: Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) S. Bareilly, S. Heidelberg, S. Cubana, S. Javiana and S. Typhimurium, S. Newport, S. Montevideo, S. Agona, and S. Tennessee. In addition, we were able to detect novel methyltransferases (MTases) by using the Pacific Biosciences kinetic score distributions showing that each serovar appears to have a novel methylation pattern. For example while all Salmonella serovars examined so far have methylase specific activity for 5’-GATC-3’/3’-CTAG-5’ and 5’-CAGAG-3’/3’-GTCTC-5’ (underlined base indicates a modification), S. Heidelberg is uniquely specific for 5’-ACCANCC-3’/3’-TGGTNGG-5’, while S. Typhimurium has uniquely methylase specific for 5′-GATCAG-3’/3′- CTAGTC-5′ sites, for the samples examined so far. We believe that this may be due to the unique environments and phages that these serotypes have been exposed to. Furthermore, our analysis identified and closed a variety of plasmids such as mobilization plasmids, antimicrobial resistance plasmids and IncX plasmids carrying a Type IV secretion system (T4SS). The VirB/D4 T4SS apparatus is important in that it assists with rapid dissemination of antibiotic resistance and virulence determinants. Presently, only limited information exists regarding the genotypic characterization of drug resistance in S. Heidelberg isolates derived from various host species. Here, we characterize two S. Heidelberg outbreak isolates from two different outbreaks. Both isolates contain the IncX plasmid of approximately 35 kb, and carried the genes virB1, virB2, virB3/4, virB5, virB6, virB7, virB8, virB9, virB10, virB11, virD2, and virD4, that are associated with the T4SS. In addition, the outbreak isolate associated with ground turkey carries a 4,473 bp mobilization plasmid and an incompatibility group (Inc) I1 antimicrobial resistance plasmid encoding resistance to gentamicin (aacC2), beta-lactam (bl2b_tem), streptomycin (aadAI) and tetracycline (tetA, tetR) while the outbreak isolate associated with chicken breast carries the IncI1 plasmid encoding resistance to gentamicin (aacC2), streptomycin (aadAI) and sulfisoxazole (sul1). Using this new technology we explored the genetic elements present in resistant pathogens which will achieve a better understanding of the evolution of Salmonella.


June 1, 2021  |  

Improving long-read assembly of microbial genomes and plasmids

Complete, high-quality microbial genomes are very valuable across a broad array of fields, from environmental studies, to human microbiome health, food pathogen surveillance, etc. Long-read sequencing enables accurate resolution of complex microbial genomes and is becoming the new standard. Here we report our novel Microbial Assembly pipeline to facilitate rapid, large-scale analysis of microbial genomes. We sequenced a 48-plex library with one SMRT Cell 8M on the Sequel II System, demultiplexed, then analyzed the data with Microbial Assembly.


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.


September 22, 2019  |  

Using PacBio long-read high-throughput microbial gene amplicon sequencing to evaluate infant formula safety.

Infant formula (IF) requires a strict microbiological standard because of the high vulnerability of infants to foodborne diseases. The current study used the PacBio single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing platform to generate full-length 16S rRNA-based bacterial microbiota profiles of thirty Chinese domestic and imported IF samples. A total of 600 species were identified, dominated by Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactococcus lactis and Lactococcus piscium. Distinctive bacterial profiles were observed between the two sample groups, as confirmed with both principal coordinate analysis and multivariate analysis of variance. Moreover, the product whey protein nitrogen index (WPNI), representing the degree of preheating, negatively correlated with the relative abundances of the Bacillus genus. Our study has demonstrated the application of the PacBio SMRT sequencing platform in assessing the bacterial contamination of IF products, which is of interest to the dairy industry for effective monitoring of microbial quality and safety during production.


September 22, 2019  |  

Metataxonomic and metagenomic approaches vs. culture-based techniques for clinical pathology.

Diagnoses that are both timely and accurate are critically important for patients with life-threatening or drug resistant infections. Technological improvements in High-Throughput Sequencing (HTS) have led to its use in pathogen detection and its application in clinical diagnoses of infectious diseases. The present study compares two HTS methods, 16S rRNA marker gene sequencing (metataxonomics) and whole metagenomic shotgun sequencing (metagenomics), in their respective abilities to match the same diagnosis as traditional culture methods (culture inference) for patients with ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP). The metagenomic analysis was able to produce the same diagnosis as culture methods at the species-level for five of the six samples, while the metataxonomic analysis was only able to produce results with the same species-level identification as culture for two of the six samples. These results indicate that metagenomic analyses have the accuracy needed for a clinical diagnostic tool, but full integration in diagnostic protocols is contingent on technological improvements to decrease turnaround time and lower costs.


September 22, 2019  |  

Evaluation of bacterial contamination in raw milk, ultra-high temperature milk and infant formula using single molecule, real-time sequencing technology.

The Pacific Biosciences (Menlo Park, CA) single molecule, real-time sequencing technology (SMRT) was reported to have some advantages in analyzing the bacterial profile of environmental samples. In this study, the presence of bacterial contaminants in raw milk, UHT milk, and infant formula was determined by SMRT sequencing of the full length 16S rRNA gene. The bacterial profiles obtained at different taxonomic levels revealed clear differences in bacterial community structure across the 16 analyzed dairy samples. No indicative pathogenic bacteria were found in any of these tested samples. However, some of the detected bacterial species (e.g., Bacillus cereus, Enterococcus casseliflavus, and Enterococcus gallinarum) might potentially relate with product quality defects and bacterial antibiotic gene transfer. Although only a limited number of dairy samples were analyzed here, our data have demonstrated for the first time the feasibility of using the SMRT sequencing platform in detecting bacterial contamination. Our paper also provides interesting reference information for future development of new precautionary strategies for controlling the dairy safety in large-scale industrialized production lines. Copyright © 2015 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Diverse antibiotic resistance genes in dairy cow manure.

Application of manure from antibiotic-treated animals to crops facilitates the dissemination of antibiotic resistance determinants into the environment. However, our knowledge of the identity, diversity, and patterns of distribution of these antibiotic resistance determinants remains limited. We used a new combination of methods to examine the resistome of dairy cow manure, a common soil amendment. Metagenomic libraries constructed with DNA extracted from manure were screened for resistance to beta-lactams, phenicols, aminoglycosides, and tetracyclines. Functional screening of fosmid and small-insert libraries identified 80 different antibiotic resistance genes whose deduced protein sequences were on average 50 to 60% identical to sequences deposited in GenBank. The resistance genes were frequently found in clusters and originated from a taxonomically diverse set of species, suggesting that some microorganisms in manure harbor multiple resistance genes. Furthermore, amid the great genetic diversity in manure, we discovered a novel clade of chloramphenicol acetyltransferases. Our study combined functional metagenomics with third-generation PacBio sequencing to significantly extend the roster of functional antibiotic resistance genes found in animal gut bacteria, providing a particularly broad resource for understanding the origins and dispersal of antibiotic resistance genes in agriculture and clinical settings. IMPORTANCE The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance among bacteria is one of the most intractable challenges in 21st-century public health. The origins of resistance are complex, and a better understanding of the impacts of antibiotics used on farms would produce a more robust platform for public policy. Microbiomes of farm animals are reservoirs of antibiotic resistance genes, which may affect distribution of antibiotic resistance genes in human pathogens. Previous studies have focused on antibiotic resistance genes in manures of animals subjected to intensive antibiotic use, such as pigs and chickens. Cow manure has received less attention, although it is commonly used in crop production. Here, we report the discovery of novel and diverse antibiotic resistance genes in the cow microbiome, demonstrating that it is a significant reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes. The genomic resource presented here lays the groundwork for understanding the dispersal of antibiotic resistance from the agroecosystem to other settings.


September 22, 2019  |  

Bacterial microbiota composition of fermented fruit and vegetable juices (jiaosu) analyzed by single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing

Commercially manufactured ‘jiaosu’ (fermented fruit and vegetable juices) have gained popularity in Asia recently. Like other fermented products, they have a high microbial diversity and richness. However, no published study has yet described their microbiota composition. Thus, this work aimed to obtain the full-length 16S rRNA profiles of jiaosu using the PacBio single-molecule, real-time sequencing technology. We described the bacterial microbiota of three jiaosu products purchased from Taiwan and Japan. Bacterial sequences from all three samples distributed across seven different phyla, mainly Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Bacteroidetes. Forty-three genera were identified (e.g. Ochrobactrum, Lactobacillus, Mycobacterium, and Acinetobacter). Fifty- five species were identified (e.g. Ochrobactrum lupini, Mycobacterium abscessus, Acinetobacter john- sonii, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, and Petrobacter succinatimandens). No patho- gen sequences were identified within the entire dataset. Moreover, only a low proportion of sequences represented common skin microflora and the food hygiene indicator Escherichia/ Shigella, suggesting overall acceptable sanitary conditions during the manufacturing process.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic insights into the non-histamine production and proteolytic and lipolytic activities of Tetragenococcus halophilus KUD23.

Tetragenococcus halophilus KUD23, a non-histamine producer, was isolated from a traditional Korean high-salt fermented soybean paste, doenjang. The strain was safe in terms of antibiotic susceptibility, hemolytic activity and biofilm formation. It could grow on De Man-Rogosa-Sharpe agar containing 21% (w/v) NaCl, exhibited acid production at 15% NaCl, and had strain-specific proteolytic and lipolytic activities under salt stress. Complete genome analysis of T. halophilus KUD23 and comparative genomic analysis shed light on the genetic background behind these phenotypic characteristics, including non-production of histamine and proteolytic and lipolytic activities.© FEMS 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


September 22, 2019  |  

Early transmissible ampicillin resistance in zoonotic Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium in the late 1950s: a retrospective, whole-genome sequencing study.

Ampicillin, the first semi-synthetic penicillin active against Enterobacteriaceae, was released onto the market in 1961. The first outbreaks of disease caused by ampicillin-resistant strains of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium were identified in the UK in 1962 and 1964. We aimed to date the emergence of this resistance in historical isolates of S enterica serotype Typhimurium.In this retrospective, whole-genome sequencing study, we analysed 288 S enterica serotype Typhimurium isolates collected between 1911 and 1969 from 31 countries on four continents and from various sources including human beings, animals, feed, and food. All isolates were tested for antimicrobial drug susceptibility with the disc diffusion method, and isolates shown to be resistant to ampicillin underwent resistance-transfer experiments. To provide insights into population structure and mechanisms of ampicillin resistance, we did whole-genome sequencing on a subset of 225 isolates, selected to maximise source, spatiotemporal, and genetic diversity.11 (4%) of 288 isolates were resistant to ampicillin because of acquisition of various ß lactamase genes, including blaTEM-1, carried by various plasmids, including the virulence plasmid of S enterica serotype Typhimurium. These 11 isolates were from three phylogenomic groups. One isolate producing TEM-1 ß lactamase was isolated in France in 1959 and two isolates producing TEM-1 ß lactamase were isolated in Tunisia in 1960, before ampicillin went on sale. The vectors for ampicillin resistance were different from those reported in the strains responsible for the outbreaks in the UK in the 1960s.The association between antibiotic use and selection of resistance determinants is not as direct as often presumed. Our results suggest that the non-clinical use of narrow-spectrum penicillins (eg, benzylpenicillin) might have favoured the diffusion of plasmids carrying the blaTEM-1gene in S enterica serotype Typhimurium in the late 1950s.Institut Pasteur, Santé publique France, the French Government’s Investissement d’Avenir programme, the Fondation Le Roch-Les Mousquetaires. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Emergence of an extensively drug-resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi clone harboring a promiscuous plasmid encoding resistance to fluoroquinolones and third-generation cephalosporins.

Antibiotic resistance is a major problem in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, the causative agent of typhoid. Multidrug-resistant (MDR) isolates are prevalent in parts of Asia and Africa and are often associated with the dominant H58 haplotype. Reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones is also widespread, and sporadic cases of resistance to third-generation cephalosporins or azithromycin have also been reported. Here, we report the first large-scale emergence and spread of a novel S. Typhi clone harboring resistance to three first-line drugs (chloramphenicol, ampicillin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) as well as fluoroquinolones and third-generation cephalosporins in Sindh, Pakistan, which we classify as extensively drug resistant (XDR). Over 300 XDR typhoid cases have emerged in Sindh, Pakistan, since November 2016. Additionally, a single case of travel-associated XDR typhoid has recently been identified in the United Kingdom. Whole-genome sequencing of over 80 of the XDR isolates revealed remarkable genetic clonality and sequence conservation, identified a large number of resistance determinants, and showed that these isolates were of haplotype H58. The XDR S. Typhi clone encodes a chromosomally located resistance region and harbors a plasmid encoding additional resistance elements, including the blaCTX-M-15 extended-spectrum ß-lactamase, and carrying the qnrS fluoroquinolone resistance gene. This antibiotic resistance-associated IncY plasmid exhibited high sequence identity to plasmids found in other enteric bacteria isolated from widely distributed geographic locations. This study highlights three concerning problems: the receding antibiotic arsenal for typhoid treatment, the ability of S. Typhi to transform from MDR to XDR in a single step by acquisition of a plasmid, and the ability of XDR clones to spread globally. IMPORTANCE Typhoid fever is a severe disease caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Antibiotic-resistant S. Typhi strains have become increasingly common. Here, we report the first large-scale emergence and spread of a novel extensively drug-resistant (XDR) S. Typhi clone in Sindh, Pakistan. The XDR S. Typhi is resistant to the majority of drugs available for the treatment of typhoid fever. This study highlights the evolving threat of antibiotic resistance in S. Typhi and the value of antibiotic susceptibility testing and whole-genome sequencing in understanding emerging infectious diseases. We genetically characterized the XDR S. Typhi to investigate the phylogenetic relationship between these isolates and a global collection of S. Typhi isolates and to identify multiple genes linked to antibiotic resistance. This S. Typhi clone harbored a promiscuous antibiotic resistance plasmid previously identified in other enteric bacteria. The increasing antibiotic resistance in S. Typhi observed here adds urgency to the need for typhoid prevention measures.


September 22, 2019  |  

A validation approach of an end-to-end whole genome sequencing workflow for source tracking of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS), using high throughput sequencing technology, reveals the complete sequence of the bacterial genome in a few days. WGS is increasingly being used for source tracking, pathogen surveillance and outbreak investigation due to its high discriminatory power. In the food industry, WGS used for source tracking is beneficial to support contamination investigations. Despite its increased use, no standards or guidelines are available today for the use of WGS in outbreak and/or trace-back investigations. Here we present a validation of our complete (end-to-end) WGS workflow for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica including: subculture of isolates, DNA extraction, sequencing and bioinformatics analysis. This end-to-end WGS workflow was evaluated according to the following performance criteria: stability, repeatability, reproducibility, discriminatory power, and epidemiological concordance. The current study showed that few single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) were observed for L. monocytogenes and S. enterica when comparing genome sequences from five independent colonies from the first subculture and five independent colonies after the tenth subculture. Consequently, the stability of the WGS workflow for L. monocytogenes and S. enterica was demonstrated despite the few genomic variations that can occur during subculturing steps. Repeatability and reproducibility were also demonstrated. The WGS workflow was shown to have a high discriminatory power and has the ability to show genetic relatedness. Additionally, the WGS workflow was able to reproduce published outbreak investigation results, illustrating its capability of showing epidemiological concordance. The current study proposes a validation approach comprising all steps of a WGS workflow and demonstrates that the workflow can be applied to L. monocytogenes or S. enterica.


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