September 22, 2019  |  

The plasmid-encoded transcription factor ArdK contributes to the repression of the IMP-6 metallo-ß-lactamase gene blaIMP-6, leading to a carbapenem-susceptible phenotype in the blaIMP-6-positive Escherichia coli strain A56-1S.

Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) are a global concern because these bacteria are resistant to almost all ß-lactams. Horizontal interspecies gene transfer via plasmid conjugation has increased the global dissemination of CPE. Recently, an Enterobacteriaceae strain positive for carbapenemase gene but showing a carbapenem-susceptible phenotype was identified, suggesting that these susceptible strains may be challenging to detect solely via antimicrobial susceptibility tests without molecular analysis. Here, we isolated a blaIMP-6 carbapenemase-gene positive but imipenem- and meropenem-susceptible Escherichia coli (ISMS-E) strain A56-1S (imipenem and meropenem minimum inhibitory concentration, = 0.125 mg/L), from a human urine specimen in Japan. A56-1S was carbapenemase negative by the Carba NP test, suggesting that IMP-6 production was low or undetectable. Thus, to characterize the mechanism of this phenotype, a meropenem-resistant E. coli A56-1R strain was obtained using meropenem-selection. A56-1R was positive for carbapenemase production by the Carba NP test, and blaIMP-6 transcription in A56-1R was 53-fold higher than in A56-1S, indicating that blaIMP-6 in A56-1S is negatively regulated at the transcriptional level. Comparative genomic analysis between the two strains revealed that the alleviation of restriction of DNA (ardK) gene encoding a putative transcription factor is disrupted by the IS26 insertion in A56-1R. A cotransformation assay of ardK and the regulatory element upstream of blaIMP-6 showed repression of blaIMP-6 transcription, indicating that ArdK negatively modulates blaIMP-6 transcription. ArdK binding and affinity assays demonstrated that ArdK directly binds to the regulatory element upstream of blaIMP-6 with dissociation constant values comparable to those of general transcription factors. The IMP-6 carbapenemase showed low hydrolytic activity against imipenem, resulting in an imipenem-susceptible and meropenem-resistant (ISMR) phenotype (previously reported as a stealth phenotype). However, the low expression of IMP-6 in the A56-1S strain could be a typical characteristic of ISMS-E due to gene repression, indicating that conventional antimicrobial susceptibility tests might be unable to detect such strains even when using both imipenem and meropenem. Bacteria that exhibit the ISMS phenotype could play a potential role as undetectable reservoirs and might facilitate gene transfer to other organisms while avoiding detection.

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  |  

Whole genome sequence of the soybean aphid, Aphis glycines.

Aphids are emerging as model organisms for both basic and applied research. Of the 5,000 estimated species, only three aphids have published whole genome sequences: the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, the Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia, and the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae. We present the whole genome sequence of a fourth aphid, the soybean aphid (Aphis glycines), which is an extreme specialist and an important invasive pest of soybean (Glycine max). The availability of genomic resources is important to establish effective and sustainable pest control, as well as to expand our understanding of aphid evolution. We generated a 302.9 Mbp draft genome assembly for Ap. glycines using a hybrid sequencing approach. This assembly shows high completeness with 19,182 predicted genes, 92% of known Ap. glycines transcripts mapping to contigs, and substantial continuity with a scaffold N50 of 174,505 bp. The assembly represents 95.5% of the predicted genome size of 317.1 Mbp based on flow cytometry. Ap. glycines contains the smallest known aphid genome to date, based on updated genome sizes for 19 aphid species. The repetitive DNA content of the Ap. glycines genome assembly (81.6 Mbp or 26.94% of the 302.9 Mbp assembly) shows a reduction in the number of classified transposable elements compared to Ac. pisum, and likely contributes to the small estimated genome size. We include comparative analyses of gene families related to host-specificity (cytochrome P450’s and effectors), which may be important in Ap. glycines evolution. This Ap. glycines draft genome sequence will provide a resource for the study of aphid genome evolution, their interaction with host plants, and candidate genes for novel insect control methods. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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  |  

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.

September 21, 2019  |  

Population sequencing reveals clonal diversity and ancestral inbreeding in the grapevine cultivar Chardonnay.

Chardonnay is the basis of some of the world’s most iconic wines and its success is underpinned by a historic program of clonal selection. There are numerous clones of Chardonnay available that exhibit differences in key viticultural and oenological traits that have arisen from the accumulation of somatic mutations during centuries of asexual propagation. However, the genetic variation that underlies these differences remains largely unknown. To address this knowledge gap, a high-quality, diploid-phased Chardonnay genome assembly was produced from single-molecule real time sequencing, and combined with re-sequencing data from 15 different Chardonnay clones. There were 1620 markers identified that distinguish the 15 clones. These markers were reliably used for clonal identification of independently sourced genomic material, as well as in identifying a potential genetic basis for some clonal phenotypic differences. The predicted parentage of the Chardonnay haplomes was elucidated by mapping sequence data from the predicted parents of Chardonnay (Gouais blanc and Pinot noir) against the Chardonnay reference genome. This enabled the detection of instances of heterosis, with differentially-expanded gene families being inherited from the parents of Chardonnay. Most surprisingly however, the patterns of nucleotide variation present in the Chardonnay genome indicate that Pinot noir and Gouais blanc share an extremely high degree of kinship that has resulted in the Chardonnay genome displaying characteristics that are indicative of inbreeding.

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