April 21, 2020  |  

A First Study of the Virulence Potential of a Bacillus subtilis Isolate From Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent.

Bacillus subtilis is the best studied Gram-positive bacterium, primarily as a model of cell differentiation and industrial exploitation. To date, little is known about the virulence of B. subtilis. In this study, we examined the virulence potential of a B. subtilis strain (G7) isolated from the Iheya North hydrothermal field of Okinawa Trough. G7 is aerobic, motile, endospore-forming, and requires NaCl for growth. The genome of G7 is composed of one circular chromosome of 4,216,133 base pairs with an average GC content of 43.72%. G7 contains 4,416 coding genes, 27.5% of which could not be annotated, and the remaining 72.5% were annotated with known or predicted functions in 25 different COG categories. Ten sets of 23S, 5S, and 16S ribosomal RNA operons, 86 tRNA and 14 sRNA genes, 50 tandem repeats, 41 mini-satellites, one microsatellite, and 42 transposons were identified in G7. Comparing to the genome of the B. subtilis wild type strain NCIB 3610T, G7 genome contains many genomic translocations, inversions, and insertions, and twice the amount of genomic Islands (GIs), with 42.5% of GI genes encoding hypothetical proteins. G7 possesses abundant putative virulence genes associated with adhesion, invasion, dissemination, anti-phagocytosis, and intracellular survival. Experimental studies showed that G7 was able to cause mortality in fish and mice following intramuscular/intraperitoneal injection, resist the killing effect of serum complement, and replicate in mouse macrophages and fish peripheral blood leukocytes. Taken together, our study indicates that G7 is a B. subtilis isolate with unique genetic features and can be lethal to vertebrate animals once being introduced into the animals by artificial means. These results provide the first insight into the potential harmfulness of deep-sea B. subtilis.


September 22, 2019  |  

The genomes of Crithidia bombi and C. expoeki, common parasites of bumblebees.

Trypanosomatids (Trypanosomatidae, Kinetoplastida) are flagellated protozoa containing many parasites of medical or agricultural importance. Among those, Crithidia bombi and C. expoeki, are common parasites in bumble bees around the world, and phylogenetically close to Leishmania and Leptomonas. They have a simple and direct life cycle with one host, and partially castrate the founding queens greatly reducing their fitness. Here, we report the nuclear genome sequences of one clone of each species, extracted from a field-collected infection. Using a combination of Roche 454 FLX Titanium, Pacific Biosciences PacBio RS, and Illumina GA2 instruments for C. bombi, and PacBio for C. expoeki, we could produce high-quality and well resolved sequences. We find that these genomes are around 32 and 34 MB, with 7,808 and 7,851 annotated genes for C. bombi and C. expoeki, respectively-which is somewhat less than reported from other trypanosomatids, with few introns, and organized in polycistronic units. A large fraction of genes received plausible functional support in comparison primarily with Leishmania and Trypanosoma. Comparing the annotated genes of the two species with those of six other trypanosomatids (C. fasciculata, L. pyrrhocoris, L. seymouri, B. ayalai, L. major, and T. brucei) shows similar gene repertoires and many orthologs. Similar to other trypanosomatids, we also find signs of concerted evolution in genes putatively involved in the interaction with the host, a high degree of synteny between C. bombi and C. expoeki, and considerable overlap with several other species in the set. A total of 86 orthologous gene groups show signatures of positive selection in the branch leading to the two Crithidia under study, mostly of unknown function. As an example, we examined the initiating glycosylation pathway of surface components in C. bombi, finding it deviates from most other eukaryotes and also from other kinetoplastids, which may indicate rapid evolution in the extracellular matrix that is involved in interactions with the host. Bumble bees are important pollinators and Crithidia-infections are suspected to cause substantial selection pressure on their host populations. These newly sequenced genomes provide tools that should help better understand host-parasite interactions in these pollinator pathogens.


September 22, 2019  |  

Culture-facilitated comparative genomics of the facultative symbiont Hamiltonella defensa.

Many insects host facultative, bacterial symbionts that confer conditional fitness benefits to their hosts. Hamiltonella defensa is a common facultative symbiont of aphids that provides protection against parasitoid wasps. Protection levels vary among strains of H. defensa that are also differentially infected by bacteriophages named APSEs. However, little is known about trait variation among strains because only one isolate has been fully sequenced. Generating complete genomes for facultative symbionts is hindered by relatively large genome sizes but low abundances in hosts like aphids that are very small. Here, we took advantage of methods for culturing H. defensa outside of aphids to generate complete genomes and transcriptome data for four strains of H. defensa from the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. Chosen strains also spanned the breadth of the H. defensa phylogeny and differed in strength of protection conferred against parasitoids. Results indicated that strains shared most genes with roles in nutrient acquisition, metabolism, and essential housekeeping functions. In contrast, the inventory of mobile genetic elements varied substantially, which generated strain specific differences in gene content and genome architecture. In some cases, specific traits correlated with differences in protection against parasitoids, but in others high variation between strains obscured identification of traits with likely roles in defense. Transcriptome data generated continuous distributions to genome assemblies with some genes that were highly expressed and others that were not. Single molecule real-time sequencing further identified differences in DNA methylation patterns and restriction modification systems that provide defense against phage infection.


September 22, 2019  |  

The complete methylome of an entomopathogenic bacterium reveals the existence of loci with unmethylated adenines.

DNA methylation can serve to control diverse phenomena in eukaryotes and prokaryotes, including gene regulation leading to cell differentiation. In bacteria, DNA methylomes (i.e., methylation state of each base of the whole genome) have been described for several species, but methylome profile variation during the lifecycle has rarely been studied, and only in a few model organisms. Moreover, major phenotypic changes have been reported in several bacterial strains with a deregulated methyltransferase, but the corresponding methylome has rarely been described. Here we report the first methylome description of an entomopathogenic bacterium, Photorhabdus luminescens. Eight motifs displaying a high rate of methylation (>94%) were identified. The methylome was strikingly stable over course of growth, but also in a subpopulation responsible for a critical step in the bacterium’s lifecycle: successful survival and proliferation in insects. The rare unmethylated GATC motifs were preferentially located in putative promoter regions, and most of them were methylated after Dam methyltransferase overexpression, suggesting that DNA methylation is involved in gene regulation. Our findings bring key insight into bacterial methylomes and encourage further research to decipher the role of loci protected from DNA methylation in gene regulation.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic analysis of the insect-killing fungus Beauveria bassiana JEF-007 as a biopesticide.

Insect-killing fungi have high potential in pest management. A deeper insight into the fungal genes at the whole genome level is necessary to understand the inter-species or intra-species genetic diversity of fungal genes, and to select excellent isolates. In this work, we conducted a whole genome sequencing of Beauveria bassiana (Bb) JEF-007 and characterized pathogenesis-related features and compared with other isolates including Bb ARSEF2860. A large number of Bb JEF-007 genes showed high identity with Bb ARSEF2860, but some genes showed moderate or low identity. The two Bb isolates showed a significant difference in vegetative growth, antibiotic-susceptibility, and virulence against Tenebrio molitor larvae. When highly identical genes between the two Bb isolates were subjected to real-time PCR, their transcription levels were different, particularly in heat shock protein 30 (hsp30) gene which is related to conidial thermotolerance. In several B. bassiana isolates, chitinases and trypsin-like protease genes involved in pathogenesis were highly conserved, but other genes showed noticeable sequence variation within the same species. Given the transcriptional and genetic diversity in B. bassiana, a selection of virulent isolates with industrial advantages is a pre-requisite, and this genetic approach could support the development of excellent biopesticides with intellectual property protection.


September 22, 2019  |  

Bacillus wiedmannii biovar thuringiensis: A specialized mosquitocidal pathogen with plasmids from diverse origins.

Bacillus cereus sensu lato also known as B. cereus group is composed of an ecologically diverse bacterial group with an increasing number of related species, some of which are medically or agriculturally important. Numerous e?orts have been undertaken to allow presumptive di?erentiation of B. cereus group species from one another. FCC41 is a Bacillus sp. strain toxic against mosquito species like Aedes aegypti, Aedes (Ochlerotatus) albifasciatus, Culex pipiens, Culex quinquefasciatus, and Culex apicinus, some of them responsible for the transmission of vector-borne diseases. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of FCC41 strain, which consists of one circular chromosome and eight circular plasmids ranging in size from 8 to 490?kb. This strain harbors six crystal protein genes, including cry24Ca, two cry4-like and two cry52-like, a cry41-like parasporin gene and multiple virulence factors. The phylogenetic analysis of the whole-genome sequence of this strain with molecular approaches places this strain into the Bacillus wiedmannii cluster. However, according with phenotypical characteristics such as the mosquitocidal activity due to the presence of Cry proteins found in the parasporal body and cry genes encoded in plasmids of different sizes, indicate that this strain could be renamed as B. wiedmannii biovar thuringiensis strain FCC41.


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