April 21, 2020  |  

a-Difluoromethylornithine reduces gastric carcinogenesis by causing mutations in Helicobacter pylori cagY.

Infection by Helicobacter pylori is the primary cause of gastric adenocarcinoma. The most potent H. pylori virulence factor is cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA), which is translocated by a type 4 secretion system (T4SS) into gastric epithelial cells and activates oncogenic signaling pathways. The gene cagY encodes for a key component of the T4SS and can undergo gene rearrangements. We have shown that the cancer chemopreventive agent a-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), known to inhibit the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase, reduces H. pylori-mediated gastric cancer incidence in Mongolian gerbils. In the present study, we questioned whether DFMO might directly affect H. pylori pathogenicity. We show that H. pylori output strains isolated from gerbils treated with DFMO exhibit reduced ability to translocate CagA in gastric epithelial cells. Further, we frequently detected genomic modifications in the middle repeat region of the cagY gene of output strains from DFMO-treated animals, which were associated with alterations in the CagY protein. Gerbils did not develop carcinoma when infected with a DFMO output strain containing rearranged cagY or the parental strain in which the wild-type cagY was replaced by cagY with DFMO-induced rearrangements. Lastly, we demonstrate that in vitro treatment of H. pylori by DFMO induces oxidative DNA damage, expression of the DNA repair enzyme MutS2, and mutations in cagY, demonstrating that DFMO directly affects genomic stability. Deletion of mutS2 abrogated the ability of DFMO to induce cagY rearrangements directly. In conclusion, DFMO-induced oxidative stress in H. pylori leads to genomic alterations and attenuates virulence.

April 21, 2020  |  

Deciphering bacterial epigenomes using modern sequencing technologies.

Prokaryotic DNA contains three types of methylation: N6-methyladenine, N4-methylcytosine and 5-methylcytosine. The lack of tools to analyse the frequency and distribution of methylated residues in bacterial genomes has prevented a full understanding of their functions. Now, advances in DNA sequencing technology, including single-molecule, real-time sequencing and nanopore-based sequencing, have provided new opportunities for systematic detection of all three forms of methylated DNA at a genome-wide scale and offer unprecedented opportunities for achieving a more complete understanding of bacterial epigenomes. Indeed, as the number of mapped bacterial methylomes approaches 2,000, increasing evidence supports roles for methylation in regulation of gene expression, virulence and pathogen-host interactions.

April 21, 2020  |  

Genome-wide systematic identification of methyltransferase recognition and modification patterns.

Genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation patterns using single molecule real-time DNA sequencing has boosted the number of publicly available methylomes. However, there is a lack of tools coupling methylation patterns and the corresponding methyltransferase genes. Here we demonstrate a high-throughput method for coupling methyltransferases with their respective motifs, using automated cloning and analysing the methyltransferases in vectors carrying a strain-specific cassette containing all potential target sites. To validate the method, we analyse the genomes of the thermophile Moorella thermoacetica and the mesophile Acetobacterium woodii, two acetogenic bacteria having substantially modified genomes with 12 methylation motifs and a total of 23 methyltransferase genes. Using our method, we characterize the 23 methyltransferases, assign motifs to the respective enzymes and verify activity for 11 of the 12 motifs.

April 21, 2020  |  

The complete genome and methylome of Helicobacter pylori hpNEAfrica strain HP14039

Background Helicobacter pylori is a Gram-negative bacterium which mainly causes peptic ulcer disease in human, but is also the predominant cause of stomach cancer. It has been coevolving with human since 120,000 years and, according to Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST), H. pylori can be classified into seven major population types, namely, hpAfrica1, hpAfrica2, hpNEAfrica, hpEastAsia, hpAsia2, hpEurope and hpSahul. Helicobacter pylori harbours a large number of restriction-modification (R-M) systems. The methyltransferase (MTase) unit plays a significant role in gene regulation and also possibly modulates pathogenicity. The diversity in MTase can act as geomarkers to correlate strains with the phylogeographic origins. This paper describes the complete genome sequence and methylome of gastric pathogen H. pylori belonging to the population hpNEAfrica. Results In this paper, we present the complete genome sequence and the methylome profile of H. pylori hpNEAfrica strain HP14039, isolated from a patient who was born in Somalia and likely to be infected locally during early childhood prior to migration. The genome of HP14039 consists of 1,678,260 bp with 1574 coding genes and 38.7% GC content. The sequence analysis showed that this strain lacks the cag pathogenicity island. The vacA gene is of S2M2 type. We have also identified 15 methylation motifs, including WCANHNNNNTG and CTANNNNNNNTAYG that were not previously described. Conclusions We have described the complete genome of H. pylori strain HP14039. The information regarding phylo-geography, methylome and associated metadata would help scientific community to study more about hpNEAfrica population type.

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