April 21, 2020  |  

Urinary tract colonization is enhanced by a plasmid that regulates uropathogenic Acinetobacter baumannii chromosomal genes.

Multidrug resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumannii poses a growing threat to global health. Research on Acinetobacter pathogenesis has primarily focused on pneumonia and bloodstream infections, even though one in five A. baumannii strains are isolated from urinary sites. In this study, we highlight the role of A. baumannii as a uropathogen. We develop the first A. baumannii catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) murine model using UPAB1, a recent MDR urinary isolate. UPAB1 carries the plasmid pAB5, a member of the family of large conjugative plasmids that represses the type VI secretion system (T6SS) in multiple Acinetobacter strains. pAB5 confers niche specificity, as its carriage improves UPAB1 survival in a CAUTI model and decreases virulence in a pneumonia model. Comparative proteomic and transcriptomic analyses show that pAB5 regulates the expression of multiple chromosomally-encoded virulence factors besides T6SS. Our results demonstrate that plasmids can impact bacterial infections by controlling the expression of chromosomal genes.

April 21, 2020  |  

External memory BWT and LCP computation for sequence collections with applications

Background: Sequencing technologies produce larger and larger collections of biosequences that have to be stored in compressed indices supporting fast search operations. Many compressed indices are based on the Bur- rows–Wheeler Transform (BWT) and the longest common prefix (LCP) array. Because of the sheer size of the input it is important to build these data structures in external memory and time using in the best possible way the available RAM. Results: We propose a space-efficient algorithm to compute the BWT and LCP array for a collection of sequences in the external or semi-external memory setting. Our algorithm splits the input collection into subcollections sufficiently small that it can compute their BWT in RAM using an optimal linear time algorithm. Next, it merges the partial BWTs in external or semi-external memory and in the process it also computes the LCP values. Our algorithm can be modi- fied to output two additional arrays that, combined with the BWT and LCP array, provide simple, scan-based, external memory algorithms for three well known problems in bioinformatics: the computation of maximal repeats, the all pairs suffix–prefix overlaps, and the construction of succinct de Bruijn graphs. Conclusions: We prove that our algorithm performs O(nmaxlcp) sequential I/Os, where n is the total length of the collection and maxlcp is the maximum LCP value. The experimental results show that our algorithm is only slightly slower than the state of the art for short sequences but it is up to 40 times faster for longer sequences or when the available RAM is at least equal to the size of the input.

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