September 22, 2019  |  

Investigation of inter- and intraspecies variation through genome sequencing of Aspergillus section Nigri.

Aspergillus section Nigri comprises filamentous fungi relevant to biomedicine, bioenergy, health, and biotechnology. To learn more about what genetically sets these species apart, as well as about potential applications in biotechnology and biomedicine, we sequenced 23 genomes de novo, forming a full genome compendium for the section (26 species), as well as 6 Aspergillus niger isolates. This allowed us to quantify both inter- and intraspecies genomic variation. We further predicted 17,903 carbohydrate-active enzymes and 2,717 secondary metabolite gene clusters, which we condensed into 455 distinct families corresponding to compound classes, 49% of which are only found in single species. We performed metabolomics and genetic engineering to correlate genotypes to phenotypes, as demonstrated for the metabolite aurasperone, and by heterologous transfer of citrate production to Aspergillus nidulans. Experimental and computational analyses showed that both secondary metabolism and regulation are key factors that are significant in the delineation of Aspergillus species.


September 22, 2019  |  

Novel type of pilus associated with a Shiga-toxigenic E. coli hybrid pathovar conveys aggregative adherence and bacterial virulence.

A large German outbreak in 2011 was caused by a locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE)-negative enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) strain of the serotype O104:H4. This strain harbors markers that are characteristic of both EHEC and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC), including aggregative adhesion fimbriae (AAF) genes. Such rare EHEC/EAEC hybrids are highly pathogenic due to their possession of a combination of genes promoting severe toxicity and aggregative adhesion. We previously identified novel EHEC/EAEC hybrids and observed that one strain exhibited aggregative adherence but had no AAF genes. In this study, a genome sequence analysis showed that this strain belongs to the genoserotype O23:H8, MLST ST26, and harbors a 5.2?Mb chromosome and three plasmids. One plasmid carries some EAEC marker genes, such as aatA and genes with limited protein homology (11-61%) to those encoding the bundle-forming pilus (BFP) of enteropathogenic E. coli. Due to significant protein homology distance to known pili, we designated these as aggregate-forming pili (AFP)-encoding genes and the respective plasmid as pAFP. The afp operon was arranged similarly to the operon of BFP genes but contained an additional gene, afpA2, which is homologous to afpA. The deletion of the afp operon, afpA, or a nearby gene (afpR) encoding an AraC-like regulator, but not afpA2, led to a loss of pilin production, piliation, bacterial autoaggregation, and importantly, a?>80% reduction in adhesion and cytotoxicity toward epithelial cells. Gene sets similar to the afp operon were identified in a variety of aatA-positive but AAF-negative intestinal pathogenic E. coli. In summary, we characterized widely distributed and novel fimbriae that are essential for aggregative adherence and cytotoxicity in a LEE-negative Shiga-toxigenic hybrid.


September 22, 2019  |  

Stress-induced formation of cell wall-deficient cells in filamentous actinomycetes.

The cell wall is a shape-defining structure that envelopes almost all bacteria and protects them from environmental stresses. Bacteria can be forced to grow without a cell wall under certain conditions that interfere with cell wall synthesis, but the relevance of these wall-less cells (known as L-forms) is unclear. Here, we show that several species of filamentous actinomycetes have a natural ability to generate wall-deficient cells in response to hyperosmotic stress, which we call S-cells. This wall-deficient state is transient, as S-cells are able to switch to the normal mycelial mode of growth. However, prolonged exposure of S-cells to hyperosmotic stress yields variants that are able to proliferate indefinitely without their cell wall, similarly to L-forms. We propose that formation of wall-deficient cells in actinomycetes may serve as an adaptation to osmotic stress.


September 22, 2019  |  

Evolution of host support for two ancient bacterial symbionts with differentially degraded genomes in a leafhopper host.

Plant sap-feeding insects (Hemiptera) rely on bacterial symbionts for nutrition absent in their diets. These bacteria experience extreme genome reduction and require genetic resources from their hosts, particularly for basic cellular processes other than nutrition synthesis. The host-derived mechanisms that complete these processes have remained poorly understood. It is also unclear how hosts meet the distinct needs of multiple bacterial partners with differentially degraded genomes. To address these questions, we investigated the cell-specific gene-expression patterns in the symbiotic organs of the aster leafhopper (ALF), Macrosteles quadrilineatus (Cicadellidae). ALF harbors two intracellular symbionts that have two of the smallest known bacterial genomes: Nasuia (112 kb) and Sulcia (190 kb). Symbionts are segregated into distinct host cell types (bacteriocytes) and vary widely in their basic cellular capabilities. ALF differentially expresses thousands of genes between the bacteriocyte types to meet the functional needs of each symbiont, including the provisioning of metabolites and support of cellular processes. For example, the host highly expresses genes in the bacteriocytes that likely complement gene losses in nucleic acid synthesis, DNA repair mechanisms, transcription, and translation. Such genes are required to function in the bacterial cytosol. Many host genes comprising these support mechanisms are derived from the evolution of novel functional traits via horizontally transferred genes, reassigned mitochondrial support genes, and gene duplications with bacteriocyte-specific expression. Comparison across other hemipteran lineages reveals that hosts generally support the incomplete symbiont cellular processes, but the origins of these support mechanisms are generally specific to the host-symbiont system.Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative analysis of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii genomes shows a high level of genome plasticity and warrants separation into new species-level taxa.

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is a ubiquitous member of the human gut microbiome, constituting up to 15% of the total bacteria in the human gut. Substantial evidence connects decreased levels of F. prausnitzii with the onset and progression of certain forms of inflammatory bowel disease, which has been attributed to its anti-inflammatory potential. Two phylogroups of F. prausnitzii have been identified, with a decrease in phylogroup I being a more sensitive marker of intestinal inflammation. Much of the genomic and physiological data available to date was collected using phylogroup II strains. Little analysis of F. prausnitzii genomes has been performed so far and genetic differences between phylogroups I and II are poorly understood.In this study we sequenced 11 additional F. prausnitzii genomes and performed comparative genomics to investigate intraspecies diversity, functional gene complement and the mobilome of 31 high-quality draft and complete genomes. We reveal a very low level of average nucleotide identity among F. prausnitzii genomes and a high level of genome plasticity. Two genomogroups can be separated based on differences in functional gene complement, albeit that this division does not fully agree with separation based on conserved gene phylogeny, highlighting the importance of horizontal gene transfer in shaping F. prausnitzii genomes. The difference between the two genomogroups is mainly in the complement of genes associated with catabolism of carbohydrates (such as a predicted sialidase gene in genomogroup I) and amino acids, as well as defense mechanisms.Based on the combination of ANI of genomic sequences, phylogenetic analysis of core proteomes and functional differences we propose to separate the species F. prausnitzii into two new species level taxa: F. prausnitzii sensu stricto (neotype strain A2-165T?=?DSM 17677T?=?JCM 31915T) and F. moorei sp. nov. (type strain ATCC 27768T?=?NCIMB 13872T).


September 22, 2019  |  

Genetics and genomics of an unusual selfish sex ratio distortion in an insect.

Diverse selfish genetic elements have evolved the ability to manipulate reproduction to increase their transmission, and this can result in highly distorted sex ratios [1]. Indeed, one of the major explanations for why sex determination systems are so dynamic is because they are shaped by ongoing coevolutionary arms races between sex-ratio-distorting elements and the rest of the genome [2]. Here, we use genetic crosses and genome analysis to describe an unusual sex ratio distortion with striking consequences on genome organization in a booklouse species, Liposcelis sp. (Insecta: Psocodea), in which two types of females coexist. Distorter females never produce sons but must mate with males (the sons of nondistorting females) to reproduce [3]. Although they are diploid and express the genes inherited from their fathers in somatic tissues, distorter females only ever transmit genes inherited from their mothers. As a result, distorter females have unusual chimeric genomes, with distorter-restricted chromosomes diverging from their nondistorting counterparts and exhibiting features of a giant non-recombining sex chromosome. The distorter-restricted genome has also acquired a gene from the bacterium Wolbachia, a well-known insect reproductive manipulator; we found that this gene has independently colonized the genomes of two other insect species with unusual reproductive systems, suggesting possible roles in sex ratio distortion in this remarkable genetic system. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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.


September 21, 2019  |  

Functional analysis of the first complete genome sequence of a multidrug resistant sequence type 2 Staphylococcus epidermidis.

Staphylococcus epidermidis is a significant opportunistic pathogen of humans. The ST2 lineage is frequently multidrug resistant and accounts for most of the clinical disease worldwide. However, there are no publically available, closed ST2 genomes and pathogenesis studies have not focused on these strains. We report the complete genome and methylome of BPH0662, a multidrug resistant, hospital adapted, ST2 S. epidermidis, and describe the correlation between resistome and phenotype, as well as demonstrate its relationship to publically available, international ST2 isolates. Furthermore, we delineate the methylome determined by the two type I restriction modification systems present in BPH0662 through heterologous expression in Escherichia coli, allowing the assignment of each system to its corresponding target recognition motif. As the first complete ST2 S. epidermidis genome, BPH0662 provides a valuable reference for future genomic studies of this clinically relevant lineage. Defining the methylome and the construction of these E. coli hosts provides the foundation for the development of molecular tools to bypass restriction modification systems in this lineage that has hitherto proven intractable.


September 21, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O145:H28 demonstrates a common evolutionary lineage with Escherichia coli O157:H7.

Although serotype O157:H7 is the predominant enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), outbreaks of non-O157 EHEC that cause severe foodborne illness, including hemolytic uremic syndrome have increased worldwide. In fact, non-O157 serotypes are now estimated to cause over half of all the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) cases, and outbreaks of non-O157 EHEC infections are frequently associated with serotypes O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145. Currently, there are no complete genomes for O145 in public databases.We determined the complete genome sequences of two O145 strains (EcO145), one linked to a US lettuce-associated outbreak (RM13514) and one to a Belgium ice-cream-associated outbreak (RM13516). Both strains contain one chromosome and two large plasmids, with genome sizes of 5,737,294 bp for RM13514 and 5,559,008 bp for RM13516. Comparative analysis of the two EcO145 genomes revealed a large core (5,173 genes) and a considerable amount of strain-specific genes. Additionally, the two EcO145 genomes display distinct chromosomal architecture, virulence gene profile, phylogenetic origin of Stx2a prophage, and methylation profile (methylome). Comparative analysis of EcO145 genomes to other completely sequenced STEC and other E. coli and Shigella genomes revealed that, unlike any other known non-O157 EHEC strain, EcO145 ascended from a common lineage with EcO157/EcO55. This evolutionary relationship was further supported by the pangenome analysis of the 10 EHEC str ains. Of the 4,192 EHEC core genes, EcO145 shares more genes with EcO157 than with the any other non-O157 EHEC strains.Our data provide evidence that EcO145 and EcO157 evolved from a common lineage, but ultimately each serotype evolves via a lineage-independent nature to EHEC by acquisition of the core set of EHEC virulence factors, including the genes encoding Shiga toxin and the large virulence plasmid. The large variation between the two EcO145 genomes suggests a distinctive evolutionary path between the two outbreak strains. The distinct methylome between the two EcO145 strains is likely due to the presence of a BsuBI/PstI methyltransferase gene cassette in the Stx2a prophage of the strain RM13514, suggesting a role of horizontal gene transfer-mediated epigenetic alteration in the evolution of individual EHEC strains.


September 21, 2019  |  

Retrotransposons are the major contributors to the expansion of the Drosophila ananassae Muller F element.

The discordance between genome size and the complexity of eukaryotes can partly be attributed to differences in repeat density. The Muller F element (~5.2 Mb) is the smallest chromosome in Drosophila melanogaster, but it is substantially larger (>18.7 Mb) in D. ananassae To identify the major contributors to the expansion of the F element and to assess their impact, we improved the genome sequence and annotated the genes in a 1.4-Mb region of the D. ananassae F element, and a 1.7-Mb region from the D element for comparison. We find that transposons (particularly LTR and LINE retrotransposons) are major contributors to this expansion (78.6%), while Wolbachia sequences integrated into the D. ananassae genome are minor contributors (0.02%). Both D. melanogaster and D. ananassae F-element genes exhibit distinct characteristics compared to D-element genes (e.g., larger coding spans, larger introns, more coding exons, and lower codon bias), but these differences are exaggerated in D. ananassae Compared to D. melanogaster, the codon bias observed in D. ananassae F-element genes can primarily be attributed to mutational biases instead of selection. The 5′ ends of F-element genes in both species are enriched in dimethylation of lysine 4 on histone 3 (H3K4me2), while the coding spans are enriched in H3K9me2. Despite differences in repeat density and gene characteristics, D. ananassae F-element genes show a similar range of expression levels compared to genes in euchromatic domains. This study improves our understanding of how transposons can affect genome size and how genes can function within highly repetitive domains. Copyright © 2017 Leung et al.


September 21, 2019  |  

A distinct and genetically diverse lineage of the hybrid fungal pathogen Verticillium longisporum population causes stem striping in British oilseed rape.

Population genetic structures illustrate evolutionary trajectories of organisms adapting to differential environmental conditions. Verticillium stem striping disease on oilseed rape was mainly observed in continental Europe, but has recently emerged in the United Kingdom. The disease is caused by the hybrid fungal species Verticillium longisporum that originates from at least three separate hybridization events, yet hybrids between Verticillium progenitor species A1 and D1 are mainly responsible for Verticillium stem striping. We reveal a hitherto un-described dichotomy within V. longisporum lineage A1/D1 that correlates with the geographic distribution of the isolates with an ‘A1/D1 West’ and an ‘A1/D1 East’ cluster. Genome comparison between representatives of the A1/D1 West and East clusters excluded population distinctiveness through separate hybridization events. Remarkably, the A1/D1 West population that is genetically more diverse than the entire A1/D1 East cluster caused the sudden emergence of Verticillium stem striping in the UK, whereas in continental Europe Verticillium stem striping is predominantly caused by the more genetically uniform A1/D1 East population. The observed genetic diversity of the A1/D1 West population argues against a recent introduction of the pathogen into the UK, but rather suggests that the pathogen previously established in the UK and remained latent or unnoticed as oilseed rape pathogen until recently.© 2017 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 21, 2019  |  

The kinetoplastid-infecting Bodo saltans virus (BsV), a window into the most abundant giant viruses in the sea.

Giant viruses are ecologically important players in aquatic ecosystems that have challenged concepts of what constitutes a virus. Herein, we present the giant Bodo saltans virus (BsV), the first characterized representative of the most abundant group of giant viruses in ocean metagenomes, and the first isolate of a klosneuvirus, a subgroup of the Mimiviridae proposed from metagenomic data. BsV infects an ecologically important microzooplankton, the kinetoplastid Bodo saltans. Its 1.39 Mb genome encodes 1227 predicted ORFs, including a complex replication machinery. Yet, much of its translational apparatus has been lost, including all tRNAs. Essential genes are invaded by homing endonuclease-encoding self-splicing introns that may defend against competing viruses. Putative anti-host factors show extensive gene duplication via a genomic accordion indicating an ongoing evolutionary arms race and highlighting the rapid evolution and genomic plasticity that has led to genome gigantism and the enigma that is giant viruses.© 2018, Deeg et al.


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