July 19, 2019  |  

Comparison between complete genomes of an isolate of Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae from Japan and a New Zealand isolate of the pandemic.

The modern pandemic of the bacterial kiwifruit pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa) is caused by a particular Psa lineage. To better understand the genetic basis of the virulence of this lineage, we compare the completely assembled genome of a pandemic New Zealand strain with that of the Psa type strain first isolated in Japan in 1983. Aligning the two genomes shows numerous translocations, constrained so as to retain the appropriate orientation of the Architecture Imparting Sequences (AIMs). There are several large horizontally acquired regions, some of which include Type I, Type II or Type III restriction systems. The activity of these systems is reflected in the methylation patterns of the two strains. The pandemic strain carries an Integrative Conjugative Element (ICE) located at a tRNA-Lys site. Two other complex elements are also present at tRNA-Lys sites in the genome. These elements are derived from ICE but have now acquired some alternative secretion function. There are numerous types of mobile element in the two genomes. Analysis of these elements reveals no evidence of recombination between the two Psa lineages.


July 7, 2019  |  

Clonal dissemination of Enterobacter cloacae harboring blaKPC-3 in the upper midwestern United States.

Carbapenemase-producing, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CP-CRE, are an emerging threat to human and animal health, because they are resistant to many of the last-line antimicrobials available for disease treatment. Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacter cloacae harboring blaKPC-3 recently was reported in the upper midwestern United States and implicated in a hospital outbreak in Fargo, North Dakota (L. M. Kiedrowski, D. M. Guerrero, F. Perez, R. A. Viau, L. J. Rojas, M. F. Mojica, S. D. Rudin, A. M. Hujer, S. H. Marshall, and R. A. Bonomo, Emerg Infect Dis 20:1583-1585, 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2009.140344). In early 2009, the Minnesota Department of Health began collecting and screening CP-CRE from patients throughout Minnesota. Here, we analyzed a retrospective group of CP-E. cloacae isolates (n = 34) collected between 2009 and 2013. Whole-genome sequencing and analysis revealed that 32 of the strains were clonal, belonging to the ST171 clonal complex and differing collectively by 211 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, and it revealed a dynamic clone under positive selection. The phylogeography of these strains suggests that this clone existed in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota prior to 2009 and subsequently was identified in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area. All strains harbored identical IncFIA-like plasmids conferring a CP-CRE phenotype and an additional IncX3 plasmid. In a single patient with multiple isolates submitted over several months, we found evidence that these plasmids had transferred from the E. cloacae clone to an Escherichia coli ST131 bacterium, rendering it as a CP-CRE. The spread of this clone throughout the upper midwestern United States is unprecedented for E. cloacae and highlights the importance of continued surveillance to identify such threats to human health. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

vanG element insertions within a conserved chromosomal site conferring vancomycin resistance to Streptococcus agalactiae and Streptococcus anginosus.

Three vancomycin-resistant streptococcal strains carrying vanG elements (two invasive Streptococcus agalactiae isolates [GBS-NY and GBS-NM, both serotype II and multilocus sequence type 22] and one Streptococcus anginosus [Sa]) were examined. The 45,585-bp elements found within Sa and GBS-NY were nearly identical (together designated vanG-1) and shared near-identity over an ~15-kb overlap with a previously described vanG element from Enterococcus faecalis. Unexpectedly, vanG-1 shared much less homology with the 49,321-bp vanG-2 element from GBS-NM, with widely different levels (50% to 99%) of sequence identity shared among 44 related open reading frames. Immediately adjacent to both vanG-1 and vanG-2 were 44,670-bp and 44,680-bp integrative conjugative element (ICE)-like sequences, designated ICE-r, that were nearly identical in the two group B streptococcal (GBS) strains. The dual vanG and ICE-r elements from both GBS strains were inserted at the same position, between bases 1328 and 1329, within the identical RNA methyltransferase (rumA) genes. A GenBank search revealed that although most GBS strains contained insertions within this specific site, only sequence type 22 (ST22) GBS strains contained highly related ICE-r derivatives. The vanG-1 element in Sa was also inserted within this position corresponding to its rumA homolog adjacent to an ICE-r derivative. vanG-1 insertions were previously reported within the same relative position in the E. faecalis rumA homolog. An ICE-r sequence perfectly conserved with respect to its counterpart in GBS-NY was apparent within the same site of the rumA homolog of a Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis strain. Additionally, homologous vanG-like elements within the conserved rumA target site were evident in Roseburia intestinalis. Importance: These three streptococcal strains represent the first known vancomycin-resistant strains of their species. The collective observations made from these strains reveal a specific hot spot for insertional elements that is conserved between streptococci and different Gram-positive species. The two GBS strains potentially represent a GBS lineage that is predisposed to insertion of vanG elements. Copyright © 2014 Srinivasan et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Global phylogenomic analysis of nonencapsulated Streptococcus pneumoniae reveals a deep-branching classic lineage that is distinct from multiple sporadic lineages.

The surrounding capsule of Streptococcus pneumoniae has been identified as a major virulence factor and is targeted by pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV). However, nonencapsulated S. pneumoniae (non-Ec-Sp) have also been isolated globally, mainly in carriage studies. It is unknown if non-Ec-Sp evolve sporadically, if they have high antibiotic nonsusceptiblity rates and a unique, specific gene content. Here, whole-genome sequencing of 131 non-Ec-Sp isolates sourced from 17 different locations around the world was performed. Results revealed a deep-branching classic lineage that is distinct from multiple sporadic lineages. The sporadic lineages clustered with a previously sequenced, global collection of encapsulated S. pneumoniae (Ec-Sp) isolates while the classic lineage is comprised mainly of the frequently identified multilocus sequences types (STs) ST344 (n = 39) and ST448 (n = 40). All ST344 and nine ST448 isolates had high nonsusceptiblity rates to ß-lactams and other antimicrobials. Analysis of the accessory genome reveals that the classic non-Ec-Sp contained an increased number of mobile elements, than Ec-Sp and sporadic non-Ec-Sp. Performing adherence assays to human epithelial cells for selected classic and sporadic non-Ec-Sp revealed that the presence of a integrative conjugative element (ICE) results in increased adherence to human epithelial cells (P = 0.005). In contrast, sporadic non-Ec-Sp lacking the ICE had greater growth in vitro possibly resulting in improved fitness. In conclusion, non-Ec-Sp isolates from the classic lineage have evolved separately. They have spread globally, are well adapted to nasopharyngeal carriage and are able to coexist with Ec-Sp. Due to continued use of PCV, non-Ec-Sp may become more prevalent. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


July 7, 2019  |  

A hybrid approach for the automated finishing of bacterial genomes.

Advances in DNA sequencing technology have improved our ability to characterize most genomic diversity. However, accurate resolution of large structural events is challenging because of the short read lengths of second-generation technologies. Third-generation sequencing technologies, which can yield longer multikilobase reads, have the potential to address limitations associated with genome assembly. Here we combine sequencing data from second- and third-generation DNA sequencing technologies to assemble the two-chromosome genome of a recent Haitian cholera outbreak strain into two nearly finished contigs at >99.9% accuracy. Complex regions with clinically relevant structure were completely resolved. In separate control assemblies on experimental and simulated data for the canonical N16961 cholera reference strain, we obtained 14 scaffolds of greater than 1 kb for the experimental data and 8 scaffolds of greater than 1 kb for the simulated data, which allowed us to correct several errors in contigs assembled from the short-read data alone. This work provides a blueprint for the next generation of rapid microbial identification and full-genome assembly.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the thermotolerant foodborne pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Senftenberg ATCC 43845 and phylogenetic analysis of loci encoding increased protein quality control mechanisms.

Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica bacteria are important foodborne pathogens with major economic impact. Some isolates exhibit increased heat tolerance, a concern for food safety. Analysis of a finished-quality genome sequence of an isolate commonly used in heat resistance studies, S. enterica subsp. enterica serovar Senftenberg 775W (ATCC 43845), demonstrated an interesting observation that this strain contains not just one, but two horizontally acquired thermotolerance locus homologs. These two loci reside on a large 341.3-kbp plasmid that is similar to the well-studied IncHI2 R478 plasmid but lacks any antibiotic resistance genes found on R478 or other IncHI2 plasmids. As this historical Salmonella isolate has been in use since 1941, comparative analysis of the plasmid and of the thermotolerance loci contained on the plasmid will provide insight into the evolution of heat resistance loci as well as acquisition of resistance determinants in IncHI2 plasmids. IMPORTANCE Thermal interventions are commonly used in the food industry as a means of mitigating pathogen contamination in food products. Concern over heat-resistant food contaminants has recently increased, with the identification of a conserved locus shown to confer heat resistance in disparate lineages of Gram-negative bacteria. Complete sequence analysis of a historical isolate of Salmonella enterica serovar Senftenberg, used in numerous studies because of its novel heat resistance, revealed that this important strain possesses two distinct copies of this conserved thermotolerance locus, residing on a multireplicon IncHI2/IncHI2A plasmid. Phylogenetic analysis of these loci in comparison with homologs identified in various bacterial genera provides an opportunity to examine the evolution and distribution of loci conferring resistance to environmental stressors, such as heat and desiccation.


July 7, 2019  |  

Closed genome sequences of seven Histophilus somni isolates from beef calves with bovine respiratory disease complex.

Histophilus somni is a fastidious Gram-negative opportunistic pathogenic Pasteurellaceae that affects multiple organ systems and is one of the principal bacterial species contributing to bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC) in feed yard cattle. Here, we present seven closed genome sequences isolated from three beef calves showing sign of BRDC.


July 7, 2019  |  

Gene acquisition by a distinct phyletic group within Streptococcus pneumoniae promotes adhesion to the ocular epithelium.

Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) displays broad tissue tropism and infects multiple body sites in the human host. However, infections of the conjunctiva are limited to strains within a distinct phyletic group with multilocus sequence types ST448, ST344, ST1186, ST1270, and ST2315. In this study, we sequenced the genomes of six pneumococcal strains isolated from eye infections. The conjunctivitis isolates are grouped in a distinct phyletic group together with a subset of nasopharyngeal isolates. The keratitis (infection of the cornea) and endophthalmitis (infection of the vitreous body) isolates are grouped with the remainder of pneumococcal strains. Phenotypic characterization is consistent with morphological differences associated with the distinct phyletic group. Specifically, isolates from the distinct phyletic group form aggregates in planktonic cultures and chain-like structures in biofilms grown on abiotic surfaces. To begin to investigate the association between genotype and epidemiology, we focused on a predicted surface-exposed adhesin (SspB) encoded exclusively by this distinct phyletic group. Phylogenetic analysis of the gene encoding SspB in the context of a streptococcal species tree suggests that sspB was acquired by lateral gene transfer from Streptococcus suis. Furthermore, an sspB deletion mutant displays decreased adherence to cultured cells from the ocular epithelium compared to the isogenic wild-type and complemented strains. Together these findings suggest that acquisition of genes from outside the species has contributed to pneumococcal tissue tropism by enhancing the ability of a subset of strains to infect the ocular epithelium causing conjunctivitis. IMPORTANCE Changes in the gene content of pathogens can modify their ability to colonize and/or survive in different body sites in the human host. In this study, we investigate a gene acquisition event and its role in the pathogenesis of Streptococccus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). Our findings suggest that the gene encoding the predicted surface protein SspB has been transferred from Streptococcus suis (a distantly related streptococcal species) into a distinct set of pneumococcal strains. This group of strains distinguishes itself from the remainder of pneumococcal strains by extensive differences in genomic composition and by the ability to cause conjunctivitis. We find that the presence of sspB increases adherence of pneumococcus to the ocular epithelium. Thus, our data support the hypothesis that a subset of pneumococcal strains has gained genes from neighboring species that enhance their ability to colonize the epithelium of the eye, thus expanding into a new niche.


July 7, 2019  |  

ICESag37, a novel integrative and conjugative element carrying antimicrobial resistance genes and potential virulence factors in Streptococcus agalactiae.

ICESag37, a novel integrative and conjugative element carrying multidrug resistance and potential virulence factors, was characterized in a clinical isolate of Streptococcus agalactiae. Two clinical strains of S. agalactiae, Sag37 and Sag158, were isolated from blood samples of new-borns with bacteremia. Sag37 was highly resistant to erythromycin and tetracycline, and susceptible to levofloxacin and penicillin, while Sag158 was resistant to tetracycline and levofloxacin, and susceptible to erythromycin. Transfer experiments were performed and selection was carried out with suitable antibiotic concentrations. Through mating experiments, the erythromycin resistance gene was found to be transferable from Sag37 to Sag158. SmaI-PFGE revealed a new SmaI fragment, confirming the transfer of the fragment containing the erythromycin resistance gene. Whole genome sequencing and sequence analysis revealed a mobile element, ICESag37, which was characterized using several molecular methods and in silico analyses. ICESag37 was excised to generate a covalent circular intermediate, which was transferable to S. agalactiae. Inverse PCR was performed to detect the circular form. A serine family integrase mediated its chromosomal integration into rumA, which is a known hotspot for the integration of streptococcal ICEs. The integration site was confirmed using PCR. ICESag37 carried genes for resistance to multiple antibiotics, including erythromycin [erm(B)], tetracycline [tet(O)], and aminoglycosides [aadE, aphA, and ant(6)]. Potential virulence factors, including a two-component signal transduction system (nisK/nisR), were also observed in ICESag37. S1-PFGE analysis ruled out the existence of plasmids. ICESag37 is the first ICESa2603 family-like element identified in S. agalactiae carrying both resistance and potential virulence determinants. It might act as a vehicle for the dissemination of multidrug resistance and pathogenicity among S. agalactiae.


July 7, 2019  |  

Non-toxigenic environmental Vibrio cholerae O1 strain from Haiti provides evidence of pre-pandemic cholera in Hispaniola.

Vibrio cholerae is ubiquitous in aquatic environments, with environmental toxigenic V. cholerae O1 strains serving as a source for recurrent cholera epidemics and pandemic disease. However, a number of questions remain about long-term survival and evolution of V. cholerae strains within these aquatic environmental reservoirs. Through monitoring of the Haitian aquatic environment following the 2010 cholera epidemic, we isolated two novel non-toxigenic (ctxA/B-negative) Vibrio cholerae O1. These two isolates underwent whole-genome sequencing and were investigated through comparative genomics and Bayesian coalescent analysis. These isolates cluster in the evolutionary tree with strains responsible for clinical cholera, possessing genomic components of 6(th) and 7(th) pandemic lineages, and diverge from “modern” cholera strains around 1548 C.E. [95% HPD: 1532-1555]. Vibrio Pathogenicity Island (VPI)-1 was present; however, SXT/R391-family ICE and VPI-2 were absent. Rugose phenotype conversion and vibriophage resistance evidenced adaption for persistence in aquatic environments. The identification of V. cholerae O1 strains in the Haitian environment, which predate the first reported cholera pandemic in 1817, broadens our understanding of the history of pandemics. It also raises the possibility that these and similar environmental strains could acquire virulence genes from the 2010 Haitian epidemic clone, including the cholera toxin producing CTX?.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic analysis reveals novel diversity among the 1976 Philadelphia Legionnaires’ disease outbreak isolates and additional ST36 strains.

Legionella pneumophila was first recognized as a cause of severe and potentially fatal pneumonia during a large-scale outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) at a Pennsylvania veterans’ convention in Philadelphia, 1976. The ensuing investigation and recovery of four clinical isolates launched the fields of Legionella epidemiology and scientific research. Only one of the original isolates, “Philadelphia-1”, has been widely distributed or extensively studied. Here we describe the whole-genome sequencing (WGS), complete assembly, and comparative analysis of all Philadelphia LD strains recovered from that investigation, along with L. pneumophila isolates sharing the Philadelphia sequence type (ST36). Analyses revealed that the 1976 outbreak was due to multiple serogroup 1 strains within the same genetic lineage, differentiated by an actively mobilized, self-replicating episome that is shared with L. pneumophila str. Paris, and two large, horizontally-transferred genomic loci, among other polymorphisms. We also found a completely unassociated ST36 strain that displayed remarkable genetic similarity to the historical Philadelphia isolates. This similar strain implies the presence of a potential clonal population, and suggests important implications may exist for considering epidemiological context when interpreting phylogenetic relationships among outbreak-associated isolates. Additional extensive archival research identified the Philadelphia isolate associated with a non-Legionnaire case of “Broad Street pneumonia”, and provided new historical and genetic insights into the 1976 epidemic. This retrospective analysis has underscored the utility of fully-assembled WGS data for Legionella outbreak investigations, highlighting the increased resolution that comes from long-read sequencing and a sequence type-matched genomic data set.


July 7, 2019  |  

Active and adaptive Legionella CRISPR-Cas reveals a recurrent challenge to the pathogen.

Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats with CRISPR-associated gene (CRISPR-Cas) systems are widely recognized as critical genome defense systems that protect microbes from external threats such as bacteriophage infection. Several isolates of the intracellular pathogen Legionella pneumophila possess multiple CRISPR-Cas systems (type I-C, type I-F and type II-B), yet the targets of these systems remain unknown. With the recent observation that at least one of these systems (II-B) plays a non-canonical role in supporting intracellular replication, the possibility remained that these systems are vestigial genome defense systems co-opted for other purposes. Our data indicate that this is not the case. Using an established plasmid transformation assay, we demonstrate that type I-C, I-F and II-B CRISPR-Cas provide protection against spacer targets. We observe efficient laboratory acquisition of new spacers under ‘priming’ conditions, in which initially incomplete target elimination leads to the generation of new spacers and ultimate loss of the invasive DNA. Critically, we identify the first known target of L. pneumophila CRISPR-Cas: a 30?kb episome of unknown function whose interbacterial transfer is guarded against by CRISPR-Cas. We provide evidence that the element can subvert CRISPR-Cas by mutating its targeted sequences – but that primed spacer acquisition may limit this mechanism of escape. Rather than generally impinging on bacterial fitness, this element drives a host specialization event – with improved fitness in Acanthamoeba but a reduced ability to replicate in other hosts and conditions. These observations add to a growing body of evidence that host range restriction can serve as an existential threat to L. pneumophila in the wild.© 2016 The Authors Cellular Microbiology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


July 7, 2019  |  

Draft genome sequence of a Shewanella halifaxensis strain isolated from the intestine of marine red seabream (Pagrus major), which includes an integrative conjugative element with macrolide resistance genes.

Shewanella halifaxensis strain 6JANF4-E-4 was isolated from the intestine of a red seabream (Pagrus major). Here, we report the draft genome sequence of this bacterium, which includes an integrative conjugative element of the SXT/R391 family, where the macrolide resistance determinants mef(C) and mph(G) exist. Copyright © 2018 Sugimoto et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome analysis of Vallitalea guaymasensis strain L81 isolated from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent system.

Abyssivirga alkaniphila strain L81T, recently isolated from a black smoker biofilm at the Loki’s Castle hydrothermal vent field, was previously described as a mesophilic, obligately anaerobic heterotroph able to ferment carbohydrates, peptides, and aliphatic hydrocarbons. The strain was classified as a new genus within the family Lachnospiraceae. Herein, its genome is analyzed and A. alkaniphila is reassigned to the genus Vallitalea as a new strain of V. guaymasensis, designated V. guaymasensis strain L81. The 6.4 Mbp genome contained 5651 protein encoding genes, whereof 4043 were given a functional prediction. Pathways for fermentation of mono-saccharides, di-saccharides, peptides, and amino acids were identified whereas a complete pathway for the fermentation of n-alkanes was not found. Growth on carbohydrates and proteinous compounds supported methane production in co-cultures with Methanoplanus limicola. Multiple confurcating hydrogen-producing hydrogenases, a putative bifurcating electron-transferring flavoprotein—butyryl-CoA dehydrogenase complex, and a Rnf-complex form a basis for the observed hydrogen-production and a putative reverse electron-transport in V. guaymasensis strain L81. Combined with the observation that n-alkanes did not support growth in co-cultures with M. limicola, it seemed more plausible that the previously observed degradation patterns of crude-oil in strain L81 are explained by unspecific activation and may represent a detoxification mechanism, representing an interesting ecological function. Genes encoding a capacity for polyketide synthesis, prophages, and resistance to antibiotics shows interactions with the co-occurring microorganisms. This study enlightens the function of the fermentative microorganisms from hydrothermal vents systems and adds valuable information on the bioprospecting potential emerging in deep-sea hydrothermal systems.


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