September 22, 2019  |  

Rapid infectious disease identification by next-generation DNA sequencing.

Currently, there is a critical need to rapidly identify infectious organisms in clinical samples. Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) could surmount the deficiencies of culture-based methods; however, there are no standardized, automated programs to process NGS data. To address this deficiency, we developed the Rapid Infectious Disease Identification (RIDI™) system. The system requires minimal guidance, which reduces operator errors. The system is compatible with the three major NGS platforms. It automatically interfaces with the sequencing system, detects their data format, configures the analysis type, applies appropriate quality control, and analyzes the results. Sequence information is characterized using both the NCBI database and RIDI™ specific databases. RIDI™ was designed to identify high probability sequence matches and more divergent matches that could represent different or novel species. We challenged the system using defined American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) reference standards of 27 species, both individually and in varying combinations. The system was able to rapidly detect known organisms in <12h with multi-sample throughput. The system accurately identifies 99.5% of the DNA sequence reads at the genus-level and 75.3% at the species-level in reference standards. It has a limit of detection of 146cells/ml in simulated clinical samples, and is also able to identify the components of polymicrobial samples with 16.9% discrepancy at the genus-level and 31.2% at the species-level. Thus, the system's effectiveness may exceed current methods, especially in situations where culture methods could produce false negatives or where rapid results would influence patient outcomes. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

September 22, 2019  |  

Sixteen diverse laboratory mouse reference genomes define strain-specific haplotypes and novel functional loci.

We report full-length draft de novo genome assemblies for 16 widely used inbred mouse strains and find extensive strain-specific haplotype variation. We identify and characterize 2,567 regions on the current mouse reference genome exhibiting the greatest sequence diversity. These regions are enriched for genes involved in pathogen defence and immunity and exhibit enrichment of transposable elements and signatures of recent retrotransposition events. Combinations of alleles and genes unique to an individual strain are commonly observed at these loci, reflecting distinct strain phenotypes. We used these genomes to improve the mouse reference genome, resulting in the completion of 10 new gene structures. Also, 62 new coding loci were added to the reference genome annotation. These genomes identified a large, previously unannotated, gene (Efcab3-like) encoding 5,874 amino acids. Mutant Efcab3-like mice display anomalies in multiple brain regions, suggesting a possible role for this gene in the regulation of brain development.

September 22, 2019  |  

Analyses of intestinal microbiota: culture versus sequencing.

Analyzing human as well as animal microbiota composition has gained growing interest because structural components and metabolites of microorganisms fundamentally influence all aspects of host physiology. Originally dominated by culture-dependent methods for exploring these ecosystems, the development of molecular techniques such as high throughput sequencing has dramatically increased our knowledge. Because many studies of the microbiota are based on the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene targets, they can, at least in principle, be compared to determine the role of the microbiome composition for developmental processes, host metabolism, and physiology as well as different diseases. In our review, we will summarize differences and pitfalls in current experimental protocols, including all steps from nucleic acid extraction to bioinformatical analysis which may produce variation that outweighs subtle biological differences. Future developments, such as integration of metabolomic, transcriptomic, and metagenomic data sets and standardization of the procedures, will be discussed. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:

September 22, 2019  |  

Multidrug-resistant Escherichia albertii: Co-occurrence of ß-lactamase and MCR-1 encoding genes.

Escherichia albertii is an emerging member of the Enterobacteriaceae causing human and animal enteric infections. Antimicrobial resistance among enteropathogens has been reported to be increasing in the past years. The purpose of this study was to investigate antibiotic resistance and resistance genes in E. albertii isolated from Zigong city, Sichuan province, China. The susceptibility to 21 antimicrobial agents was determined by Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method. The highest prevalence was tetracycline resistance with a rate of 62.7%, followed by resistance to nalidixic acid and streptomycin with a rate of 56.9 and 51.0%, respectively. All isolates were sensitive or intermediate susceptible to imipenem, meropenem, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, and levofloxacin. Among 51 E. albertii isolates, 15 were extended-spectrum ß-lactamase-producing as confirmed by the double disk test. The main ß-lactamase gene groups, i.e., blaTEM, blaSHV, and blaCTX-M, were detected in17, 20, and 22 isolates, respectively. Furthermore, four colistin-resistant isolates with minimum inhibitory concentrations of 8 mg/L were identified. The colistin-resistant isolates all harbored mcr-1 and blaCTX-M-55. Genome sequencing showed that E. albertii strain SP140150 carried mcr-1 and blaCTX-M-55 in two different plasmids. This study provided significant information regarding antibiotic resistance profiles and identified the co-occurrence of ß-lactamase and MCR-1 encoding genes in E. albertii isolates.

September 22, 2019  |  

Insights into the evolution of host association through the isolation and characterization of a novel human periodontal pathobiont, Desulfobulbus oralis.

The human oral microbiota encompasses representatives of many bacterial lineages that have not yet been cultured. Here we describe the isolation and characterization of previously uncultured Desulfobulbus oralis, the first human-associated representative of its genus. As mammalian-associated microbes rarely have free-living close relatives, D. oralis provides opportunities to study how bacteria adapt and evolve within a host. This sulfate-reducing deltaproteobacterium has adapted to the human oral subgingival niche by curtailing its physiological repertoire, losing some biosynthetic abilities and metabolic independence, and by dramatically reducing environmental sensing and signaling capabilities. The genes that enable free-living Desulfobulbus to synthesize the potent neurotoxin methylmercury were also lost by D. oralis, a notably positive outcome of host association. However, horizontal gene acquisitions from other members of the microbiota provided novel mechanisms of interaction with the human host, including toxins like leukotoxin and hemolysins. Proteomic and transcriptomic analysis revealed that most of those factors are actively expressed, including in the subgingival environment, and some are secreted. Similar to other known oral pathobionts, D. oralis can trigger a proinflammatory response in oral epithelial cells, suggesting a direct role in the development of periodontal disease.IMPORTANCE Animal-associated microbiota likely assembled as a result of numerous independent colonization events by free-living microbes followed by coevolution with their host and other microbes. Through specific adaptation to various body sites and physiological niches, microbes have a wide range of contributions, from beneficial to disease causing. Desulfobulbus oralis provides insights into genomic and physiological transformations associated with transition from an open environment to a host-dependent lifestyle and the emergence of pathogenicity. Through a multifaceted mechanism triggering a proinflammatory response, D. oralis is a novel periodontal pathobiont. Even though culture-independent approaches can provide insights into the potential role of the human microbiome “dark matter,” cultivation and experimental characterization remain important to studying the roles of individual organisms in health and disease.

September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genome analysis reveals a complex population structure of Legionella pneumophila subspecies.

The majority of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) cases are caused by Legionella pneumophila, a genetically heterogeneous species composed of at least 17 serogroups. Previously, it was demonstrated that L. pneumophila consists of three subspecies: pneumophila, fraseri and pascullei. During an LD outbreak investigation in 2012, we detected that representatives of both subspecies fraseri and pascullei colonized the same water system and that the outbreak-causing strain was a new member of the least represented subspecies pascullei. We used partial sequence based typing consensus patterns to mine an international database for additional representatives of fraseri and pascullei subspecies. As a result, we identified 46 sequence types (STs) belonging to subspecies fraseri and two STs belonging to subspecies pascullei. Moreover, a recent retrospective whole genome sequencing analysis of isolates from New York State LD clusters revealed the presence of a fourth L. pneumophila subspecies that we have termed raphaeli. This subspecies consists of 15 STs. Comparative analysis was conducted using the genomes of multiple members of all four L. pneumophila subspecies. Whereas each subspecies forms a distinct phylogenetic clade within the L. pneumophila species, they share more average nucleotide identity with each other than with other Legionella species. Unique genes for each subspecies were identified and could be used for rapid subspecies detection. Improved taxonomic classification of L. pneumophila strains may help identify environmental niches and virulence attributes associated with these genetically distinct subspecies. Published by Elsevier B.V.

September 22, 2019  |  

Benefit from decline: the primary transcriptome of Alteromonas macleodii str. Te101 during Trichodesmium demise.

Interactions between co-existing microorganisms deeply affect the physiology of the involved organisms and, ultimately, the function of the ecosystem as a whole. Copiotrophic Alteromonas are marine gammaproteobacteria that thrive during the late stages of phytoplankton blooms in the marine environment and in laboratory co-cultures with cyanobacteria such as Trichodesmium. The response of this heterotroph to the sometimes rapid and transient changes in nutrient supply when the phototroph crashes is not well understood. Here, we isolated and sequenced the strain Alteromonas macleodii str. Te101 from a laboratory culture of Trichodesmium erythraeum IMS101, yielding a chromosome of 4.63?Mb and a single plasmid of 237?kb. Increasing salinities to =43 ppt inhibited the growth of Trichodesmium but stimulated growth of the associated Alteromonas. We characterized the transcriptomic responses of both microorganisms and identified the complement of active transcriptional start sites in Alteromonas at single-nucleotide resolution. In replicate cultures, a similar set of genes became activated in Alteromonas when growth rates of Trichodesmium declined and mortality was high. The parallel activation of fliA, rpoS and of flagellar assembly and growth-related genes indicated that Alteromonas might have increased cell motility, growth, and multiple biosynthetic activities. Genes with the highest expression in the data set were three small RNAs (Aln1a-c) that were identified as analogs of the small RNAs CsrB-C in E. coli or RsmX-Z in pathogenic bacteria. Together with the carbon storage protein A (CsrA) homolog Te101_05290, these RNAs likely control the expression of numerous genes in responding to changes in the environment.

September 22, 2019  |  

Evaluation of WGS based approaches for investigating a food-borne outbreak caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Derby in Germany.

In Germany salmonellosis still represents the 2nd most common bacterial foodborne disease. The majority of infections are caused by Salmonella (S.) Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis followed by a variety of other broad host-range serovars. Salmonella Derby is one of the five top-ranked serovars isolated from humans and it represents one of the most prevalent serovars in pigs, thus bearing the potential risk for transmission to humans upon consumption of pig meat and products thereof. From November 2013 to January 2014 S. Derby caused a large outbreak that affected 145 primarily elderly people. Epidemiological investigations identified raw pork sausage as the probable source of infection, which was confirmed by microbiological evidence. During the outbreak isolates from patients, food specimen and asymptomatic carriers were investigated by conventional typing methods. However, the quantity and quality of available microbiological and epidemiological data made this outbreak highly suitable for retrospective investigation by Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and subsequent evaluation of different bioinformatics approaches for cluster definition. Overall the WGS-based methods confirmed the results of the conventional typing but were of significant higher discriminatory power. That was particularly beneficial for strains with incomplete epidemiological data. For our data set both, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)- and core genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST)-based methods proved to be appropriate tools for cluster definition. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

September 22, 2019  |  

A molecular window into the biology and epidemiology of Pneumocystis spp.

Pneumocystis, a unique atypical fungus with an elusive lifestyle, has had an important medical history. It came to prominence as an opportunistic pathogen that not only can cause life-threatening pneumonia in patients with HIV infection and other immunodeficiencies but also can colonize the lungs of healthy individuals from a very early age. The genus Pneumocystis includes a group of closely related but heterogeneous organisms that have a worldwide distribution, have been detected in multiple mammalian species, are highly host species specific, inhabit the lungs almost exclusively, and have never convincingly been cultured in vitro, making Pneumocystis a fascinating but difficult-to-study organism. Improved molecular biologic methodologies have opened a new window into the biology and epidemiology of Pneumocystis. Advances include an improved taxonomic classification, identification of an extremely reduced genome and concomitant inability to metabolize and grow independent of the host lungs, insights into its transmission mode, recognition of its widespread colonization in both immunocompetent and immunodeficient hosts, and utilization of strain variation to study drug resistance, epidemiology, and outbreaks of infection among transplant patients. This review summarizes these advances and also identifies some major questions and challenges that need to be addressed to better understand Pneumocystis biology and its relevance to clinical care. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.

September 22, 2019  |  

pYR4 from a Norwegian isolate of Yersinia ruckeri is a putative virulence plasmid encoding both a type IV pilus and a type IV secretion system

Enteric redmouth disease caused by the pathogen Yersinia ruckeri is a significant problem for fish farming around the world. Despite its importance, only a few virulence factors of Y. ruckeri have been identified and studied in detail. Here, we report and analyze the complete DNA sequence of pYR4, a plasmid from a highly pathogenic Norwegian Y. ruckeri isolate, sequenced using PacBio SMRT technology. Like the well-known pYV plasmid of human pathogenic Yersiniae, pYR4 is a member of the IncFII family. Thirty-one percent of the pYR4 sequence is unique compared to other Y. ruckeri plasmids. The unique regions contain, among others genes, a large number of mobile genetic elements and two partitioning systems. The G+C content of pYR4 is higher than that of the Y. ruckeri NVH_3758 genome, indicating its relatively recent horizontal acquisition. pYR4, as well as the related plasmid pYR3, comprises operons that encode for type IV pili and for a conjugation system (tra). In contrast to other Yersinia plasmids, pYR4 cannot be cured at elevated temperatures. Our study highlights the power of PacBio sequencing technology for identifying mis-assembled segments of genomic sequences. Comparative analysis of pYR4 and other Y. ruckeri plasmids and genomes, which were sequenced by second and the third generation sequencing technologies, showed errors in second generation sequencing assemblies. Specifically, in the Y. ruckeri 150 and Y. ruckeri ATCC29473 genome assemblies, we mapped the entire pYR3 plasmid sequence. Placing plasmid sequences on the chromosome can result in erroneous biological conclusions. Thus, PacBio sequencing or similar long-read methods should always be preferred for de novo genome sequencing. As the tra operons of pYR3, although misplaced on the chromosome during the genome assembly process, were demonstrated to have an effect on virulence, and type IV pili are virulence factors in many bacteria, we suggest that pYR4 directly contributes to Y. ruckeri virulence.

September 22, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of the cyprodinil-degrading bacterium Acinetobacter johnsonii LXL_C1.

Acinetobacter johnsonii LXL_C1, a cyprodinil degrader, was isolated and purified from cyprodinil-contaminated agricultural soil. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of LXL_C1. The genome comprises one 3,398,706 bp circular chromosome with 41.2% G + C content and one 44,866 bp plasmid. Annotation based on COG and KEGG database analyses revealed genes encoding a cytochrome P450 monooxygenase and hydrolase, which can effectively degrade cyprodinil. The complete genome sequence of LXL_C1 can facilitate genetic engineering of a recombinant cyprodinil degrader. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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  |  

Investigation of a cluster of Sphingomonas koreensis infections.

Plumbing systems are an infrequent but known reservoir for opportunistic microbial pathogens that can infect hospitalized patients. In 2016, a cluster of clinical sphingomonas infections prompted an investigation.We performed whole-genome DNA sequencing on clinical isolates of multidrug-resistant Sphingomonas koreensis identified from 2006 through 2016 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center. We cultured S. koreensis from the sinks in patient rooms and performed both whole-genome and shotgun metagenomic sequencing to identify a reservoir within the infrastructure of the hospital. These isolates were compared with clinical and environmental S. koreensis isolates obtained from other institutions.The investigation showed that two isolates of S. koreensis obtained from the six patients identified in the 2016 cluster were unrelated, but four isolates shared more than 99.92% genetic similarity and were resistant to multiple antibiotic agents. Retrospective analysis of banked clinical isolates of sphingomonas from the NIH Clinical Center revealed the intermittent recovery of a clonal strain over the past decade. Unique single-nucleotide variants identified in strains of S. koreensis elucidated the existence of a reservoir in the hospital plumbing. Clinical S. koreensis isolates from other facilities were genetically distinct from the NIH isolates. Hospital remediation strategies were guided by results of microbiologic culturing and fine-scale genomic analyses.This genomic and epidemiologic investigation suggests that S. koreensis is an opportunistic human pathogen that both persisted in the NIH Clinical Center infrastructure across time and space and caused health care-associated infections. (Funded by the NIH Intramural Research Programs.).

September 22, 2019  |  

Development of New Tools to Detect Colistin-Resistance among Enterobacteriaceae Strains.

The recent discovery of the plasmid-mediated mcr-1 gene conferring resistance to colistin is of clinical concern. The worldwide screening of this resistance mechanism among samples of different origins has highlighted the urgent need to improve the detection of colistin-resistant isolates in clinical microbiology laboratories. Currently, phenotypic methods used to detect colistin resistance are not necessarily suitable as the main characteristic of the mcr genes is the low level of resistance that they confer, close to the clinical breakpoint recommended jointly by the CLSI and EUCAST expert systems (S?=?2?mg/L and R?>?2?mg/L). In this context, susceptibility testing recommendations for polymyxins have evolved and are becoming difficult to implement in routine laboratory work. The large number of mechanisms and genes involved in colistin resistance limits the access to rapid detection by molecular biology. It is therefore necessary to implement well-defined protocols using specific tools to detect all colistin-resistant bacteria. This review aims to summarize the current clinical microbiology diagnosis techniques and their ability to detect all colistin resistance mechanisms and describe new tools specifically developed to assess plasmid-mediated colistin resistance. Phenotyping, susceptibility testing, and genotyping methods are presented, including an update on recent studies related to the development of specific techniques.

September 21, 2019  |  

Chromulinavorax destructans, a pathogenic TM6 bacterium with an unusual replication strategy targeting protist mitochondrion

Most of the diversity of microbial life is not available in culture, and as such we lack even a fundamental understanding of the biological diversity of several branches on the tree of life. One branch that is highly underrepresented is the candidate phylum TM6, also known as the Dependentiae. Their biology is known only from reduced genomes recovered from metagenomes around the world and two isolates infecting amoebae, all suggest that they live highly host-associated lifestyles as parasites or symbionts. Chromulinavorax destructans is an isolate from the TM6/Dependentiae that infects and lyses the abundant heterotrophic flagellate, Spumella elongata. Chromulinavorax destructans is characterized by a high degree of reduction and specialization for infection, so much so it was discovered in a screen for giant viruses. Its 1.2 Mb genome shows no metabolic potential and C. destructans instead relies on extensive transporter system to import nutrients, and even energy in the form of ATP from the host. Accordingly, it replicates in a viral-like fashion, while extensively reorganizing and expanding the host mitochondrion. 44% of proteins contain signal sequences for secretion, which includes many proteins of unknown function as well as 98 copies of ankyrin-repeat domain proteins, known effectors of host modulation, suggesting the presence of an extensive host-manipulation apparatus.

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