April 21, 2020  |  

Evolution of a 72-kb cointegrant, conjugative multiresistance plasmid from early community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates.

Horizontal transfer of plasmids encoding antimicrobial-resistance and virulence determinants has been instrumental in Staphylococcus aureus evolution, including the emergence of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA). In the early 1990s the first CA-MRSA isolated in Western Australia (WA), WA-5, encoded cadmium, tetracycline and penicillin-resistance genes on plasmid pWBG753 (~30 kb). WA-5 and pWBG753 appeared only briefly in WA, however, fusidic-acid-resistance plasmids related to pWBG753 were also present in the first European CA-MRSA at the time. Here we characterized a 72-kb conjugative plasmid pWBG731 present in multiresistant WA-5-like clones from the same period. pWBG731 was a cointegrant formed from pWBG753 and a pWBG749-family conjugative plasmid. pWBG731 carried mupirocin, trimethoprim, cadmium and penicillin-resistance genes. The stepwise evolution of pWBG731 likely occurred through the combined actions of IS257, IS257-dependent miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) and the BinL resolution system of the ß-lactamase transposon Tn552 An evolutionary intermediate ~42-kb non-conjugative plasmid pWBG715, possessed the same resistance genes as pWBG731 but retained an integrated copy of the small tetracycline-resistance plasmid pT181. IS257 likely facilitated replacement of pT181 with conjugation genes on pWBG731, thus enabling autonomous transfer. Like conjugative plasmid pWBG749, pWBG731 also mobilized non-conjugative plasmids carrying oriT mimics. It seems likely that pWBG731 represents the product of multiple recombination events between the WA-5 pWBG753 plasmid and other mobile genetic elements present in indigenous CA-MSSA. The molecular evolution of pWBG731 saliently illustrates how diverse mobile genetic elements can together facilitate rapid accrual and horizontal dissemination of multiresistance in S. aureus CA-MRSA.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Transcriptional initiation of a small RNA, not R-loop stability, dictates the frequency of pilin antigenic variation in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the sole causative agent of gonorrhea, constitutively undergoes diversification of the Type IV pilus. Gene conversion occurs between one of the several donor silent copies located in distinct loci and the recipient pilE gene, encoding the major pilin subunit of the pilus. A guanine quadruplex (G4) DNA structure and a cis-acting sRNA (G4-sRNA) are located upstream of the pilE gene and both are required for pilin antigenic variation (Av). We show that the reduced sRNA transcription lowers pilin Av frequencies. Extended transcriptional elongation is not required for Av, since limiting the transcript to 32 nt allows for normal Av frequencies. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, we show that cellular G4s are less abundant when sRNA transcription is lower. In addition, using ChIP, we demonstrate that the G4-sRNA forms a stable RNA:DNA hybrid (R-loop) with its template strand. However, modulating R-loop levels by controlling RNase HI expression does not alter G4 abundance quantified through ChIP. Since pilin Av frequencies were not altered when modulating R-loop levels by controlling RNase HI expression, we conclude that transcription of the sRNA is necessary, but stable R-loops are not required to promote pilin Av. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Evolution and global transmission of a multidrug-resistant, community-associated MRSA lineage from the Indian subcontinent

The evolution and global transmission of antimicrobial resistance has been well documented in Gram-negative bacteria and healthcare-associated epidemic pathogens, often emerging from regions with heavy antimicrobial use. However, the degree to which similar processes occur with Gram-positive bacteria in the community setting is less well understood. Here, we trace the recent origins and global spread of a multidrug resistant, community-associated Staphylococcus aureus lineage from the Indian subcontinent, the Bengal Bay clone (ST772). We generated whole genome sequence data of 340 isolates from 14 countries, including the first isolates from Bangladesh and India, to reconstruct the evolutionary history and genomic epidemiology of the lineage. Our data shows that the clone emerged on the Indian subcontinent in the early 1970s and disseminated rapidly in the 1990s. Short-term outbreaks in community and healthcare settings occurred following intercontinental transmission, typically associated with travel and family contacts on the subcontinent, but ongoing endemic transmission was uncommon. Acquisition of a multidrug resistance integrated plasmid was instrumental in the divergence of a single dominant and globally disseminated clade in the early 1990s. Phenotypic data on biofilm, growth and toxicity point to antimicrobial resistance as the driving force in the evolution of ST772. The Bengal Bay clone therefore combines the multidrug resistance of traditional healthcare-associated clones with the epidemiological transmission of community-associated MRSA. Our study demonstrates the importance of whole genome sequencing for tracking the evolution of emerging and resistant pathogens. It provides a critical framework for ongoing surveillance of the clone on the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere.Importance The Bengal Bay clone (ST772) is a community-acquired and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus lineage first isolated from Bangladesh and India in 2004. In this study, we show that the Bengal Bay clone emerged from a virulent progenitor circulating on the Indian subcontinent. Its subsequent global transmission was associated with travel or family contact in the region. ST772 progressively acquired specific resistance elements at limited cost to its fitness and continues to be exported globally resulting in small-scale community and healthcare outbreaks. The Bengal Bay clone therefore combines the virulence potential and epidemiology of community-associated clones with the multidrug-resistance of healthcare-associated S. aureus lineages. This study demonstrates the importance of whole genome sequencing for the surveillance of highly antibiotic resistant pathogens, which may emerge in the community setting of regions with poor antibiotic stewardship and rapidly spread into hospitals and communities across the world.


April 21, 2020  |  

Emergence of trait variability through the lens of nitrogen assimilation in Prochlorococcus.

Intraspecific trait variability has important consequences for the function and stability of marine ecosystems. Here we examine variation in the ability to use nitrate across hundreds of Prochlorococcus genomes to better understand the modes of evolution influencing intraspecific allocation of ecologically important functions. Nitrate assimilation genes are absent in basal lineages but occur at an intermediate frequency that is randomly distributed within recently emerged clades. The distribution of nitrate assimilation genes within clades appears largely governed by vertical inheritance, gene loss, and homologous recombination. By mapping this process onto a model of Prochlorococcus’ macroevolution, we propose that niche-constructing adaptive radiations and subsequent niche partitioning set the stage for loss of nitrate assimilation genes from basal lineages as they specialized to lower light levels. Retention of these genes in recently emerged lineages has likely been facilitated by selection as they sequentially partitioned into niches where nitrate assimilation conferred a fitness benefit. © 2019, Berube et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Rapid transcriptional responses to serum exposure are associated with sensitivity and resistance to antibody-mediated complement killing in invasive Salmonella Typhimurium ST313

Background: Salmonella Typhimurium ST313 exhibits signatures of adaptation to invasive human infection, including higher resistance to humoral immune responses than gastrointestinal isolates. Full resistance to antibody-mediated complement killing (serum resistance) among nontyphoidal Salmonellae is uncommon, but selection of highly resistant strains could compromise vaccine-induced antibody immunity. Here, we address the hypothesis that serum resistance is due to a distinct genotype or transcriptome response in S. Typhimurium ST313.


April 21, 2020  |  

The ADEP Biosynthetic Gene Cluster in Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010 Reveals an Accessory clpP Gene as a Novel Antibiotic Resistance Factor.

The increasing threat posed by multiresistant bacterial pathogens necessitates the discovery of novel antibacterials with unprecedented modes of action. ADEP1, a natural compound produced by Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010, is the prototype for a new class of acyldepsipeptide (ADEP) antibiotics. ADEP antibiotics deregulate the proteolytic core ClpP of the bacterial caseinolytic protease, thereby exhibiting potent antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria, including multiresistant pathogens. ADEP1 and derivatives, here collectively called ADEP, have been previously investigated for their antibiotic potency against different species, structure-activity relationship, and mechanism of action; however, knowledge on the biosynthesis of the natural compound and producer self-resistance have remained elusive. In this study, we identified and analyzed the ADEP biosynthetic gene cluster in S. hawaiiensis NRRL 15010, which comprises two NRPSs, genes necessary for the biosynthesis of (4S,2R)-4-methylproline, and a type II polyketide synthase (PKS) for the assembly of highly reduced polyenes. While no resistance factor could be identified within the gene cluster itself, we discovered an additional clpP homologous gene (named clpPADEP) located further downstream of the biosynthetic genes, separated from the biosynthetic gene cluster by several transposable elements. Heterologous expression of ClpPADEP in three ADEP-sensitive Streptomyces species proved its role in conferring ADEP resistance, thereby revealing a novel type of antibiotic resistance determinant.IMPORTANCE Antibiotic acyldepsipeptides (ADEPs) represent a promising new class of potent antibiotics and, at the same time, are valuable tools to study the molecular functioning of their target, ClpP, the proteolytic core of the bacterial caseinolytic protease. Here, we present a straightforward purification procedure for ADEP1 that yields substantial amounts of the pure compound in a time- and cost-efficient manner, which is a prerequisite to conveniently study the antimicrobial effects of ADEP and the operating mode of bacterial ClpP machineries in diverse bacteria. Identification and characterization of the ADEP biosynthetic gene cluster in Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010 enables future bioinformatics screenings for similar gene clusters and/or subclusters to find novel natural compounds with specific substructures. Most strikingly, we identified a cluster-associated clpP homolog (named clpPADEP) as an ADEP resistance gene. ClpPADEP constitutes a novel bacterial resistance factor that alone is necessary and sufficient to confer high-level ADEP resistance to Streptomyces across species.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic Diversity and Recombination among Xylella fastidiosa Subspecies.

Xylella fastidiosa is an economically important bacterial plant pathogen. With insights gained from 72 genomes, this study investigated differences among the three main subspecies, which have allopatric origins: X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa, multiplex, and pauca The origin of recombinogenic X. fastidiosa subsp. morus and sandyi was also assessed. The evolutionary rate of the 622 genes of the species core genome was estimated at the scale of an X. fastidiosa subsp. pauca subclade (7.62?×?10-7 substitutions per site per year), which was subsequently used to estimate divergence time for the subspecies and introduction events. The study characterized genes present in the accessory genome of each of the three subspecies and investigated the core genome to detect genes potentially under positive selection. Recombination is recognized to be the major driver of diversity in X. fastidiosa, potentially facilitating shifts to novel plant hosts. The relative effect of recombination in comparison to point mutation was calculated (r/m?=?2.259). Evidence of recombination was uncovered in the core genome alignment; X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa in the United States was less prone to recombination, with an average of 3.22 of the 622 core genes identified as recombining regions, whereas a specific clade of X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex was found to have on average 9.60 recombining genes, 93.2% of which originated from X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa Interestingly, for X. fastidiosa subsp. morus, which was initially thought to be the outcome of genome-wide recombination between X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa and X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex, intersubspecies homologous recombination levels reached 15.30% in the core genome. Finally, there is evidence of X. fastidiosa subsp. pauca strains from citrus containing genetic elements acquired from strains infecting coffee plants as well as genetic elements from both X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa and X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex In summary, our data provide new insights into the evolution and epidemiology of this plant pathogen.IMPORTANCEXylella fastidiosa is an important vector-borne plant pathogen. We used a set of 72 genomes that constitutes the largest assembled data set for this bacterial species so far to investigate genetic relationships and the impact of recombination on phylogenetic clades and to compare genome content at the subspecies level, and we used a molecular dating approach to infer the evolutionary rate of X. fastidiosa The results demonstrate that recombination is important in shaping the genomes of X. fastidiosa and that each of the main subspecies is under different selective pressures. We hope insights from this study will improve our understanding of X. fastidiosa evolution and biology.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Whole Genome Sequencing and Analysis of Chlorimuron-Ethyl Degrading Bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae 2N3.

Klebsiella pneumoniae 2N3 is a strain of gram-negative bacteria that can degrade chlorimuron-ethyl and grow with chlorimuron-ethyl as the sole nitrogen source. The complete genome of Klebsiella pneumoniae 2N3 was sequenced using third generation high-throughput DNA sequencing technology. The genomic size of strain 2N3 was 5.32 Mb with a GC content of 57.33% and a total of 5156 coding genes and 112 non-coding RNAs predicted. Two hydrolases expressed by open reading frames (ORFs) 0934 and 0492 were predicted and experimentally confirmed by gene knockout to be involved in the degradation of chlorimuron-ethyl. Strains of ?ORF 0934, ?ORF 0492, and wild type (WT) reached their highest growth rates after 8-10 hours in incubation. The degradation rates of chlorimuron-ethyl by both ?ORF 0934 and ?ORF 0492 decreased in comparison to the WT during the first 8 hours in culture by 25.60% and 24.74%, respectively, while strains ?ORF 0934, ?ORF 0492, and the WT reached the highest degradation rates of chlorimuron-ethyl in 36 hours of 74.56%, 90.53%, and 95.06%, respectively. This study provides scientific evidence to support the application of Klebsiella pneumoniae 2N3 in bioremediation to control environmental pollution.


April 21, 2020  |  

Outcomes and characterization of chromosomal self-targeting by native CRISPR-Cas systems in Streptococcus thermophilus.

CRISPR-Cas systems provide adaptive immunity against phages in prokaryotes via DNA-encoded, RNA-mediated, nuclease-dependent targeting and cleavage. Due to inefficient and relatively limited DNA repair pathways in bacteria, CRISPR-Cas systems can be repurposed for lethal DNA targeting that selects for sequence variants. In this study, the relative killing efficiencies of endogenous Type I and Type II CRISPR-Cas systems in the model organism Streptococcus thermophilus DGCC7710 were assessed. Additionally, the genetic and phenotypic outcomes of chromosomal targeting by plasmid-programmed Type I-E or Type II-A systems were analyzed. Efficient killing was observed using both systems, in a dose-dependent manner when delivering 0.4-400 ng of plasmid DNA. Targeted PCR screening and genome sequencing were used to determine the genetic basis enabling survival, showing that evasion of Type I-E self-targeting was primarily the result of low-frequency defective plasmids that excised the targeting spacer. The most notable genotype recovered from Type II-A targeting of genomic locus, lacZ, was a 34 kb-deletion derived from homologous recombination (HR) between identical conserved sequences in two separate galE coding regions, resulting in 2% loss of the genome. Collectively, these results suggest that HR contributes to the plasticity and remodeling of bacterial genomes, leading to evasion of genome targeting by CRISPR-Cas systems. © FEMS 2019.


April 21, 2020  |  

Intercellular Transfer of Chromosomal Antimicrobial Resistance Genes between Acinetobacter baumannii Strains Mediated by Prophages.

The spread of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) among Gram-negative pathogens, including Acinetobacter baumannii, is primarily mediated by transferable plasmids; however, ARGs are frequently integrated into its chromosome. How ARG gets horizontally incorporated into the chromosome of A. baumannii, and whether it functions as a cause for further spread of ARG, remains unknown. Here, we demonstrated intercellular prophage-mediated transfer of chromosomal ARGs without direct cell-cell interaction in A. baumannii We prepared ARG-harboring extracellular DNA (eDNA) components from the culture supernatant of a multidrug-resistant (MDR) A. baumannii NU-60 strain and exposed an antimicrobial-susceptible (AS) A. baumannii ATCC 17978 strain to the eDNA components. The antimicrobial-resistant (AR) A. baumannii ATCC 17978 derivatives appeared to acquire various ARGs, originating from dispersed loci of the MDR A. baumannii chromosome, along with their surrounding regions, by homologous recombination, with the ARGs including armA (aminoglycoside resistance), blaTEM-1 (ß-lactam resistance), tet(B) (tetracycline resistance), and gyrA-81L (nalidixic acid resistance) genes. Notably, the eDNAs conferring antimicrobial resistance were enveloped in specific capsid proteins consisting of phage particles, thereby protecting the eDNAs from detergent and DNase treatments. The phages containing ARGs were likely released into the extracellular space from MDR A. baumannii, thereby transducing ARGs into AS A. baumannii, resulting in the acquisition of AR properties by the recipient. We concluded that the generalized transduction, in which phages were capable of carrying random pieces of A. baumannii genomic DNAs, enabled efficacious intercellular transfer of chromosomal ARGs between A. baumannii strains without direct cell-cell interaction. Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Klebsiella quasipneumoniae Provides a Window into Carbapenemase Gene Transfer, Plasmid Rearrangements, and Patient Interactions with the Hospital Environment.

Several emerging pathogens have arisen as a result of selection pressures exerted by modern health care. Klebsiella quasipneumoniae was recently defined as a new species, yet its prevalence, niche, and propensity to acquire antimicrobial resistance genes are not fully described. We have been tracking inter- and intraspecies transmission of the Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) gene, blaKPC, between bacteria isolated from a single institution. We applied a combination of Illumina and PacBio whole-genome sequencing to identify and compare K. quasipneumoniae from patients and the hospital environment over 10- and 5-year periods, respectively. There were 32 blaKPC-positive K. quasipneumoniae isolates, all of which were identified as K. pneumoniae in the clinical microbiology laboratory, from 8 patients and 11 sink drains, with evidence for seven separate blaKPC plasmid acquisitions. Analysis of a single subclade of K. quasipneumoniae subsp. quasipneumoniae (n?=?23 isolates) from three patients and six rooms demonstrated seeding of a sink by a patient, subsequent persistence of the strain in the hospital environment, and then possible transmission to another patient. Longitudinal analysis of this strain demonstrated the acquisition of two unique blaKPC plasmids and then subsequent within-strain genetic rearrangement through transposition and homologous recombination. Our analysis highlights the apparent molecular propensity of K. quasipneumoniae to persist in the environment as well as acquire carbapenemase plasmids from other species and enabled an assessment of the genetic rearrangements which may facilitate horizontal transmission of carbapenemases. Copyright © 2019 Mathers et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Dynamics of Resistance Plasmids in Extended-Spectrum-ß-Lactamase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae during Postinfection Colonization.

Extended-spectrum ß-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (EPE) are a major cause of bloodstream infections, and the colonization rate of EPE in the gut microbiota of individuals lacking prior hospitalization or comorbidities is increasing. In this study, we performed an in-depth investigation of the temporal dynamics of EPE and their plasmids during one year by collecting fecal samples from three patients initially seeking medical care for urinary tract infections. In two of the patients, the same strain that caused the urinary tract infection (UTI) was found at all consecutive samplings from the gut microbiota, and no other EPEs were detected, while in the third patient the UTI strain was only found in the initial UTI sample. Instead, this patient presented a complex situation where a mixed microbiota of different EPE strain types, including three different E. coli ST131 variants, as well as different bacterial species, was identified over the course of the study. Different plasmid dynamics were displayed in each of the patients, including the spread of plasmids between different strain types over time and the transposition of blaCTX-M-15 from the chromosome to a plasmid, followed by subsequent loss through homologous recombination. Small cryptic plasmids were found in all isolates from all patients, and they appear to move frequently between different strains in the microbiota. In conclusion, we could demonstrate an extensive variation of EPE strain types, plasmid composition, rearrangements, and horizontal gene transfer of genetic material illustrating the high dynamics nature and interactive environment of the gut microbiota during post-UTI carriage.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Detection of VIM-1-Producing Enterobacter cloacae and Salmonella enterica Serovars Infantis and Goldcoast at a Breeding Pig Farm in Germany in 2017 and Their Molecular Relationship to Former VIM-1-Producing S. Infantis Isolates in German Livestock Production.

In 2011, VIM-1-producing Salmonella enterica serovar Infantis and Escherichia coli were isolated for the first time in four German livestock farms. In 2015/2016, highly related isolates were identified in German pig production. This raised the issue of potential reservoirs for these isolates, the relation of their mobile genetic elements, and potential links between the different affected farms/facilities. In a piglet-producing farm suspicious for being linked to some blaVIM-1 findings in Germany, fecal and environmental samples were examined for the presence of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae and Salmonella spp. Newly discovered isolates were subjected to Illumina whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and S1 pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) hybridization experiments. WGS data of these isolates were compared with those for the previously isolated VIM-1-producing Salmonella Infantis isolates from pigs and poultry. Among 103 samples, one Salmonella Goldcoast isolate, one Salmonella Infantis isolate, and one Enterobacter cloacae isolate carrying the blaVIM-1 gene were detected. Comparative WGS analysis revealed that the blaVIM-1 gene was part of a particular Tn21-like transposable element in all isolates. It was located on IncHI2 (ST1) plasmids of ~290 to 300?kb with a backbone highly similar (98 to 100%) to that of reference pSE15-SA01028. SNP analysis revealed a close relationship of all VIM-1-positive S Infantis isolates described since 2011. The findings of this study demonstrate that the occurrence of the blaVIM-1 gene in German livestock is restricted neither to a certain bacterial species nor to a certain Salmonella serovar but is linked to a particular Tn21-like transposable element located on transferable pSE15-SA01028-like IncHI2 (ST1) plasmids, being present in all of the investigated isolates from 2011 to 2017.IMPORTANCE Carbapenems are considered one of few remaining treatment options against multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens in human clinical settings. The occurrence of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae in livestock and food is a major public health concern. Particularly the occurrence of VIM-1-producing Salmonella Infantis in livestock farms is worrisome, as this zoonotic pathogen is one of the main causes for human salmonellosis in Europe. Investigations on the epidemiology of those carbapenemase-producing isolates and associated mobile genetic elements through an in-depth molecular characterization are indispensable to understand the transmission of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae along the food chain and between different populations to develop strategies to prevent their further spread.Copyright © 2019 Roschanski et al.


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