September 22, 2019  |  

Metagenomic binning and association of plasmids with bacterial host genomes using DNA methylation.

Shotgun metagenomics methods enable characterization of microbial communities in human microbiome and environmental samples. Assembly of metagenome sequences does not output whole genomes, so computational binning methods have been developed to cluster sequences into genome ‘bins’. These methods exploit sequence composition, species abundance, or chromosome organization but cannot fully distinguish closely related species and strains. We present a binning method that incorporates bacterial DNA methylation signatures, which are detected using single-molecule real-time sequencing. Our method takes advantage of these endogenous epigenetic barcodes to resolve individual reads and assembled contigs into species- and strain-level bins. We validate our method using synthetic and real microbiome sequences. In addition to genome binning, we show that our method links plasmids and other mobile genetic elements to their host species in a real microbiome sample. Incorporation of DNA methylation information into shotgun metagenomics analyses will complement existing methods to enable more accurate sequence binning.


September 22, 2019  |  

The microbiome of the leaf surface of Arabidopsis protects against a fungal pathogen.

We have explored the importance of the phyllosphere microbiome in plant resistance in the cuticle mutants bdg (BODYGUARD) or lacs2.3 (LONG CHAIN FATTY ACID SYNTHASE 2) that are strongly resistant to the fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. The study includes infection of plants under sterile conditions, 16S ribosomal DNA sequencing of the phyllosphere microbiome, and isolation and high coverage sequencing of bacteria from the phyllosphere. When inoculated under sterile conditions bdg became as susceptible as wild-type (WT) plants whereas lacs2.3 mutants retained the resistance. Adding washes of its phyllosphere microbiome could restore the resistance of bdg mutants, whereas the resistance of lacs2.3 results from endogenous mechanisms. The phyllosphere microbiome showed distinct populations in WT plants compared to cuticle mutants. One species identified as Pseudomonas sp isolated from the microbiome of bdg provided resistance to B. cinerea on Arabidopsis thaliana as well as on apple fruits. No direct activity was observed against B. cinerea and the action of the bacterium required the plant. Thus, microbes present on the plant surface contribute to the resistance to B. cinerea. These results open new perspectives on the function of the leaf microbiome in the protection of plants.© 2016 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2016 New Phytologist Trust.


September 22, 2019  |  

Whole-genome-sequencing characterization of bloodstream infection-causing hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae of capsular serotype K2 and ST374.

Hypervirulent K. pneumoniae variants (hvKP) have been increasingly reported worldwide, causing metastasis of severe infections such as liver abscesses and bacteremia. The capsular serotype K2 hvKP strains show diverse multi-locus sequence types (MLSTs), but with limited genetics and virulence information. In this study, we report a hypermucoviscous K. pneumoniae strain, RJF293, isolated from a human bloodstream sample in a Chinese hospital. It caused a metastatic infection and fatal septic shock in a critical patient. The microbiological features and genetic background were investigated with multiple approaches. The Strain RJF293 was determined to be multilocis sequence type (ST) 374 and serotype K2, displayed a median lethal dose (LD50) of 1.5 × 102 CFU in BALB/c mice and was as virulent as the ST23 K1 serotype hvKP strain NTUH-K2044 in a mouse lethality assay. Whole genome sequencing revealed that the RJF293 genome codes for 32 putative virulence factors and exhibits a unique presence/absence pattern in comparison to the other 105 completely sequenced K. pneumoniae genomes. Whole genome SNP-based phylogenetic analysis revealed that strain RJF293 formed a single clade, distant from those containing either ST66 or ST86 hvKP. Compared to the other sequenced hvKP chromosomes, RJF293 contains several strain-variable regions, including one prophage, one ICEKp1 family integrative and conjugative element and six large genomic islands. The sequencing of the first complete genome of an ST374 K2 hvKP clinical strain should reinforce our understanding of the epidemiology and virulence mechanisms of this bloodstream infection-causing hvKP with clinical significance.


September 22, 2019  |  

Translating genomics into practice for real-time surveillance and response to carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae: evidence from a complex multi-institutional KPC outbreak.

Until recently, Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing Enterobacteriaceae were rarely identified in Australia. Following an increase in the number of incident cases across the state of Victoria, we undertook a real-time combined genomic and epidemiological investigation. The scope of this study included identifying risk factors and routes of transmission, and investigating the utility of genomics to enhance traditional field epidemiology for informing management of established widespread outbreaks.All KPC-producing Enterobacteriaceae isolates referred to the state reference laboratory from 2012 onwards were included. Whole-genome sequencing was performed in parallel with a detailed descriptive epidemiological investigation of each case, using Illumina sequencing on each isolate. This was complemented with PacBio long-read sequencing on selected isolates to establish high-quality reference sequences and interrogate characteristics of KPC-encoding plasmids.Initial investigations indicated that the outbreak was widespread, with 86 KPC-producing Enterobacteriaceae isolates (K. pneumoniae 92%) identified from 35 different locations across metropolitan and rural Victoria between 2012 and 2015. Initial combined analyses of the epidemiological and genomic data resolved the outbreak into distinct nosocomial transmission networks, and identified healthcare facilities at the epicentre of KPC transmission. New cases were assigned to transmission networks in real-time, allowing focussed infection control efforts. PacBio sequencing confirmed a secondary transmission network arising from inter-species plasmid transmission. Insights from Bayesian transmission inference and analyses of within-host diversity informed the development of state-wide public health and infection control guidelines, including interventions such as an intensive approach to screening contacts following new case detection to minimise unrecognised colonisation.A real-time combined epidemiological and genomic investigation proved critical to identifying and defining multiple transmission networks of KPC Enterobacteriaceae, while data from either investigation alone were inconclusive. The investigation was fundamental to informing infection control measures in real-time and the development of state-wide public health guidelines on carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae surveillance and management.


September 22, 2019  |  

In situ analyses directly in diarrheal stool reveal large variations in bacterial load and active toxin expression of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae.

The bacterial pathogens enterotoxigenicEscherichia coli(ETEC) andVibrio choleraeare major causes of diarrhea. ETEC causes diarrhea by production of the heat-labile toxin (LT) and heat-stable toxins (STh and STp), whileV. choleraeproduces cholera toxin (CT). In this study, we determined the occurrence and bacterial doses of the two pathogens and their respective toxin expression levels directly in liquid diarrheal stools of patients in Dhaka, Bangladesh. By quantitative culture and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) detection of the toxin genes, the two pathogens were found to coexist in several of the patients, at concentrations between 102and 108bacterial gene copies per ml. Even in culture-negative samples, gene copy numbers of 102to 104of either ETEC orV. choleraetoxin genes were detected by qPCR. RNA was extracted directly from stool, and gene expression levels, quantified by reverse transcriptase qPCR (RT-qPCR), of the genes encoding CT, LT, STh, and STp showed expression of toxin genes. Toxin enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) confirmed active toxin secretion directly in the liquid diarrhea. Analysis of ETEC isolates by multiplex PCR, dot blot analysis, and genome sequencing suggested that there are genetic ETEC profiles that are more commonly found as dominating single pathogens and others that are coinfectants with lower bacterial loads. The ETEC genomes, including assembled genomes of dominating ETEC isolates expressing LT/STh/CS5/CS6 and LT/CS7, are provided. In addition, this study highlights an emerging important ETEC strain expressing LT/STp and the novel colonization factor CS27b. These findings have implications for investigations of pathogenesis as well as for vaccine development. IMPORTANCEThe cause of diarrheal disease is usually determined by screening for several microorganisms by various methods, and sole detection is used to assign the agent as the cause of disease. However, it has become increasingly clear that many infections are caused by coinfections with several pathogens and that the dose of the infecting pathogen is important. We quantified the absolute numbers of enterotoxigenicE. coli(ETEC) andVibrio choleraedirectly in diarrheal fluid. We noted several events where both pathogens were found but also a large dose dependency. In three samples, we found ETEC as the only pathogen sought for. These isolates belonged to globally distributed ETEC clones and were the dominating species in stool with active toxin expression. This suggests that certain superior virulent ETEC lineages are able to outcompete the gut microbiota and be the sole cause of disease and hence need to be specifically monitored.


September 22, 2019  |  

Multi-omics Reveals the Lifestyle of the Acidophilic, Mineral-Oxidizing Model Species Leptospirillum ferriphilumT.

Leptospirillum ferriphilum plays a major role in acidic, metal-rich environments, where it represents one of the most prevalent iron oxidizers. These milieus include acid rock and mine drainage as well as biomining operations. Despite its perceived importance, no complete genome sequence of the type strain of this model species is available, limiting the possibilities to investigate the strategies and adaptations that Leptospirillum ferriphilum DSM 14647T (here referred to as Leptospirillum ferriphilumT) applies to survive and compete in its niche. This study presents a complete, circular genome of Leptospirillum ferriphilumT obtained by PacBio single-molecule real-time (SMRT) long-read sequencing for use as a high-quality reference. Analysis of the functionally annotated genome, mRNA transcripts, and protein concentrations revealed a previously undiscovered nitrogenase cluster for atmospheric nitrogen fixation and elucidated metabolic systems taking part in energy conservation, carbon fixation, pH homeostasis, heavy metal tolerance, the oxidative stress response, chemotaxis and motility, quorum sensing, and biofilm formation. Additionally, mRNA transcript counts and protein concentrations were compared between cells grown in continuous culture using ferrous iron as the substrate and those grown in bioleaching cultures containing chalcopyrite (CuFeS2). Adaptations of Leptospirillum ferriphilumT to growth on chalcopyrite included the possibly enhanced production of reducing power, reduced carbon dioxide fixation, as well as elevated levels of RNA transcripts and proteins involved in heavy metal resistance, with special emphasis on copper efflux systems. Finally, the expression and translation of genes responsible for chemotaxis and motility were enhanced.IMPORTANCELeptospirillum ferriphilum is one of the most important iron oxidizers in the context of acidic and metal-rich environments during moderately thermophilic biomining. A high-quality circular genome of Leptospirillum ferriphilumT coupled with functional omics data provides new insights into its metabolic properties, such as the novel identification of genes for atmospheric nitrogen fixation, and represents an essential step for further accurate proteomic and transcriptomic investigation of this acidophile model species in the future. Additionally, light is shed on adaptation strategies of Leptospirillum ferriphilumT for growth on the copper mineral chalcopyrite. These data can be applied to deepen our understanding and optimization of bioleaching and biooxidation, techniques that present sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives to many traditional methods for metal extraction. Copyright © 2018 Christel et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Topical antibiotic use coselects for the carriage of mobile genetic elements conferring resistance to unrelated antimicrobials in Staphylococcus aureus.

Topical antibiotics, such as mupirocin and fusidic acid, are commonly used in the prevention and treatment of skin infections, particularly those caused by staphylococci. However, the widespread use of these agents is associated with increased resistance to these agents, potentially limiting their efficacy. Of particular concern is the observation that resistance to topical antibiotics is often associated with multidrug resistance, suggesting that topical antibiotics may play a role in the emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains. New Zealand (NZ) has some of the highest globally recorded rates of topical antibiotic usage and resistance. Using a combination of Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time (SMRT) whole-genome sequencing, Illumina short-read sequencing, and Bayesian phylogenomic modeling on 118 new multilocus sequence type 1 (ST1) communityStaphylococcus aureusisolates from New Zealand and 61 publically available international ST1 genome sequences, we demonstrate a strong correlation between the clinical introduction of topical antibiotics and the emergence of MDR ST1S. aureusWe also providein vitroexperimental evidence showing that exposure to topical antibiotics can lead to the rapid selection of MDRS. aureusisolates carrying plasmids that confer resistance to multiple unrelated antibiotics, from within a mixed population of competitor strains. These findings have important implications regarding the impact of the indiscriminate use of topical antibiotics. Copyright © 2018 Carter et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Plasmid-encoded transferable mecB-mediated methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus.

During cefoxitin-based nasal screening, phenotypically categorized methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was isolated and tested negative for the presence of the mecA and mecC genes as well as for the SCCmec-orfX junction region. The isolate was found to carry a mecB gene previously described for Macrococcus caseolyticus but not for staphylococcal species. The gene is flanked by ß-lactam regulatory genes similar to mecR, mecI, and blaZ and is part of an 84.6-kb multidrug-resistance plasmid that harbors genes encoding additional resistances to aminoglycosides (aacA-aphD, aphA, and aadK) as well as macrolides (ermB) and tetracyclines (tetS). This further plasmidborne ß-lactam resistance mechanism harbors the putative risk of acceleration or reacceleration of MRSA spread, resulting in broad ineffectiveness of ß-lactams as a main therapeutic application against staphylococcal infections.


September 22, 2019  |  

Complete genome of Cobetia marina JCM 21022T and phylogenomic analysis of the family Halomonadaceae

Cobetia marina is a model proteobacteria in researches on marine biofouling. Its taxonomic nomenclature has been revised many times over the past few decades. To better understand the role of the surface-associated lifestyle of C. marina and the phylogeny of the family Halomonadaceae, we sequenced the entire genome of C. marina JCM 21022T using single molecule real-time sequencing technology (SMRT) and performed comparative genomics and phylogenomics analyses. The circular chromosome was 4 176 300 bp with an average GC content of 62.44% and contained 3 611 predicted coding sequences, 72 tRNA genes, and 21 rRNA genes. The C. marina JCM 21022T genome contained a set of crucial genes involved in surface colonization processes. The comparative genome analysis indicated the significant diff erences between C. marina JCM 21022T and Cobetia amphilecti KMM 296 (formerly named C. marina KMM 296) resulted from sequence insertions or deletions and chromosomal recombination. Despite these diff erences, pan and core genome analysis showed similar gene functions between the two strains. The phylogenomic study of the family Halomonadaceae is reported here for the first time. We found that the relationships were well resolved among every genera tested, including Chromohalobacter, Halomonas, Cobetia, Kushneria, Zymobacter, and Halotalea.


September 22, 2019  |  

Functional genomics of lipid metabolism in the oleaginous yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides.

The basidiomycete yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides (also known as Rhodotorula toruloides) accumulates high concentrations of lipids and carotenoids from diverse carbon sources. It has great potential as a model for the cellular biology of lipid droplets and for sustainable chemical production. We developed a method for high-throughput genetics (RB-TDNAseq), using sequence-barcoded Agrobacterium tumefaciens T-DNA insertions. We identified 1,337 putative essential genes with low T-DNA insertion rates. We functionally profiled genes required for fatty acid catabolism and lipid accumulation, validating results with 35 targeted deletion strains. We identified a high-confidence set of 150 genes affecting lipid accumulation, including genes with predicted function in signaling cascades, gene expression, protein modification and vesicular trafficking, autophagy, amino acid synthesis and tRNA modification, and genes of unknown function. These results greatly advance our understanding of lipid metabolism in this oleaginous species and demonstrate a general approach for barcoded mutagenesis that should enable functional genomics in diverse fungi.


September 22, 2019  |  

Anisogamy evolved with a reduced sex-determining region in volvocine green algae

Male and female gametes differing in size—anisogamy—emerged independently from isogamous ancestors in various eukaryotic lineages, although genetic bases of this emergence are still unknown. Volvocine green algae are a model lineage for investigating the transition from isogamy to anisogamy. Here we focus on two closely related volvocine genera that bracket this transition—isogamous Yamagishiella and anisogamous Eudorina. We generated de novo nuclear genome assemblies of both sexes of Yamagishiella and Eudorina to identify the dimorphic sex-determining chromosomal region or mating-type locus (MT) from each. In contrast to the large (>1?Mb) and complex MT of oogamous Volvox, Yamagishiella and Eudorina MT are smaller (7–268?kb) and simpler with only two sex-limited genes—the minus/male-limited MID and the plus/female-limited FUS1. No prominently dimorphic gametologs were identified in either species. Thus, the first step to anisogamy in volvocine algae presumably occurred without an increase in MT size and complexity.


September 22, 2019  |  

A reference genome and methylome for the Plasmodium knowlesi A1-H.1 line.

Plasmodium knowlesi, a common parasite of macaques, is recognised as a significant cause of human malaria in Malaysia. The P. knowlesi A1H1 line has been adapted to continuous culture in human erythrocytes, successfully providing an in vitro model to study the parasite. We have assembled a reference genome for the PkA1-H.1 line using PacBio long read combined with Illumina short read sequence data. Compared with the H-strain reference, the new reference has improved genome coverage and a novel description of methylation sites. The PkA1-H.1 reference will enhance the capabilities of the in vitro model to improve the understanding of P. knowlesi infection in humans. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of the Baltic Sea toxic cyanobacteria Nodularia spumigena UHCC 0039 and its response to varying salinity.

Salinity is an important abiotic factor controlling the distribution and abundance of Nodularia spumigena, the dominating diazotrophic and toxic phototroph, in the brackish water cyanobacterial blooms of the Baltic Sea. To expand the available genomic information for brackish water cyanobacteria, we sequenced the isolate Nodularia spumigena UHCC 0039 using an Illumina-SMRT hybrid sequencing approach, revealing a chromosome of 5,294,286 base pairs (bp) and a single plasmid of 92,326 bp. Comparative genomics in Nostocales showed pronounced genetic similarity among Nodularia spumigena strains evidencing their short evolutionary history. The studied Baltic Sea strains share similar sets of CRISPR-Cas cassettes and a higher number of insertion sequence (IS) elements compared to Nodularia spumigena CENA596 isolated from a shrimp production pond in Brazil. Nodularia spumigena UHCC 0039 proliferated similarly at three tested salinities, whereas the lack of salt inhibited its growth and triggered transcriptome remodeling, including the up-regulation of five sigma factors and the down-regulation of two other sigma factors, one of which is specific for strain UHCC 0039. Down-regulated genes additionally included a large genetic region for the synthesis of two yet unidentified natural products. Our results indicate a remarkable plasticity of the Nodularia salinity acclimation, and thus salinity strongly impacts the intensity and distribution of cyanobacterial blooms in the Baltic Sea.


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  |  

Mutant phenotypes for thousands of bacterial genes of unknown function.

One-third of all protein-coding genes from bacterial genomes cannot be annotated with a function. Here, to investigate the functions of these genes, we present genome-wide mutant fitness data from 32 diverse bacteria across dozens of growth conditions. We identified mutant phenotypes for 11,779 protein-coding genes that had not been annotated with a specific function. Many genes could be associated with a specific condition because the gene affected fitness only in that condition, or with another gene in the same bacterium because they had similar mutant phenotypes. Of the poorly annotated genes, 2,316 had associations that have high confidence because they are conserved in other bacteria. By combining these conserved associations with comparative genomics, we identified putative DNA repair proteins; in addition, we propose specific functions for poorly annotated enzymes and transporters and for uncharacterized protein families. Our study demonstrates the scalability of microbial genetics and its utility for improving gene annotations.


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