July 7, 2019  |  

Isolation of a novel ‘atypical’ Brucella strain from a bluespotted ribbontail ray (Taeniura lymma).

A pleomorphic Gram-negative, motile coccobacillus was isolated from the gills of a wild-caught bluespotted ribbontail ray after its sudden death during quarantine. Strain 141012304 was observed to grow aerobically, to be clearly positive for cytochrome oxidase, catalase, urease and was initially identified as “Brucella melitensis” or “Ochrobactrum anthropi” by Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry and VITEK2-compact(®), respectively. Affiliation to the genus Brucella was confirmed by bcsp31 and IS711 PCR as well as by Brucella species-specific multiplex PCR, therein displaying a characteristic banding pattern recently described for Brucella strains obtained from amphibian hosts. Likewise, based on recA sequencing, strain 141012304 was found to form a separate lineage, within the so called ‘atypical’ Brucella, consisting of genetically more distantly related strains. The closest similarity was detected to brucellae, which have recently been isolated from edible bull frogs. Subsequent next generation genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis confirmed that the ray strain represents a novel Brucella lineage within the atypical group of Brucella and in vicinity to Brucella inopinata and Brucella strain BO2, both isolated from human patients. This is the first report of a natural Brucella infection in a saltwater fish extending the host range of this medically important genus.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Microbulbifer sp. CCB-MM1, a halophile isolated from Matang Mangrove Forest, Malaysia.

Microbulbifer sp. CCB-MM1 is a halophile isolated from estuarine sediment of Matang Mangrove Forest, Malaysia. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, strain CCB-MM1 is a potentially new species of genus Microbulbifer. Here we describe its features and present its complete genome sequence with annotation. The genome sequence is 3.86 Mb in size with GC content of 58.85%, harbouring 3313 protein coding genes and 92 RNA genes. A total of 71 genes associated with carbohydrate active enzymes were found using dbCAN. Ectoine biosynthetic genes, ectABC operon and ask_ect were detected using antiSMASH 3.0. Cell shape determination genes, mreBCD operon, rodA and rodZ were annotated, congruent with the rod-coccus cell cycle of the strain CCB-MM1. In addition, putative mreBCD operon regulatory gene, bolA was detected, which might be associated with the regulation of rod-coccus cell cycle observed from the strain.


July 7, 2019  |  

Evidence for contemporary switching of the O-antigen gene cluster between Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains colonizing cattle.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) comprise a group of zoonotic enteric pathogens with ruminants, especially cattle, as the main reservoir. O-antigens are instrumental for host colonization and bacterial niche adaptation. They are highly immunogenic and, therefore, targeted by the adaptive immune system. The O-antigen is one of the most diverse bacterial cell constituents and variation not only exists between different bacterial species, but also between individual isolates/strains within a single species. We recently identified STEC persistently infecting cattle and belonging to the different serotypes O156:H25 (n = 21) and O182:H25 (n = 15) that were of the MLST sequence types ST300 or ST688. These STs differ by a single nucleotide in purA only. Fitness-, virulence-associated genome regions, and CRISPR/CAS (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR associated sequence) arrays of these STEC O156:H25 and O182:H25 isolates were highly similar, and identical genomic integration sites for the stx converting bacteriophages and the core LEE, identical Shiga toxin converting bacteriophage genes for stx1a, identical complete LEE loci, and identical sets of chemotaxis and flagellar genes were identified. In contrast to this genomic similarity, the nucleotide sequences of the O-antigen gene cluster (O-AGC) regions between galF and gnd and very few flanking genes differed fundamentally and were specific for the respective serotype. Sporadic aEPEC O156:H8 isolates (n = 5) were isolated in temporal and spatial proximity. While the O-AGC and the corresponding 5′ and 3′ flanking regions of these aEPEC isolates were identical to the respective region in the STEC O156:H25 isolates, the core genome, the virulence associated genome regions and the CRISPR/CAS elements differed profoundly. Our cumulative epidemiological and molecular data suggests a recent switch of the O-AGC between isolates with O156:H8 strains having served as DNA donors. Such O-antigen switches can affect the evaluation of a strain’s pathogenic and virulence potential, suggesting that NGS methods might lead to a more reliable risk assessment.


July 7, 2019  |  

Comparative analysis of Ralstonia solanacearum methylomes.

Ralstonia solanacearum is an important soil-borne plant pathogen with broad geographical distribution and the ability to cause wilt disease in many agriculturally important crops. Genome sequencing of multiple R. solanacearum strains has identified both unique and shared genetic traits influencing their evolution and ability to colonize plant hosts. Previous research has shown that DNA methylation can drive speciation and modulate virulence in bacteria, but the impact of epigenetic modifications on the diversification and pathogenesis of R. solanacearum is unknown. Sequencing of R. solanacearum strains GMI1000 and UY031 using Single Molecule Real-Time technology allowed us to perform a comparative analysis of R. solanacearum methylomes. Our analysis identified a novel methylation motif associated with a DNA methylase that is conserved in all complete Ralstonia spp. genomes and across the Burkholderiaceae, as well as a methylation motif associated to a phage-borne methylase unique to R. solanacearum UY031. Comparative analysis of the conserved methylation motif revealed that it is most prevalent in gene promoter regions, where it displays a high degree of conservation detectable through phylogenetic footprinting. Analysis of hyper- and hypo-methylated loci identified several genes involved in global and virulence regulatory functions whose expression may be modulated by DNA methylation. Analysis of genome-wide modification patterns identified a significant correlation between DNA modification and transposase genes in R. solanacearum UY031, driven by the presence of a high copy number of ISrso3 insertion sequences in this genome and pointing to a novel mechanism for regulation of transposition. These results set a firm foundation for experimental investigations into the role of DNA methylation in R. solanacearum evolution and its adaptation to different plants.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome analysis of Thermus parvatiensis and comparative genomics of Thermus spp. provide insights into genetic variability and evolution of natural competence as strategic survival attributes.

Thermophilic environments represent an interesting niche. Among thermophiles, the genus Thermus is among the most studied genera. In this study, we have sequenced the genome of Thermus parvatiensis strain RL, a thermophile isolated from Himalayan hot water springs (temperature >96°C) using PacBio RSII SMRT technique. The small genome (2.01 Mbp) comprises a chromosome (1.87 Mbp) and a plasmid (143 Kbp), designated in this study as pTP143. Annotation revealed a high number of repair genes, a squeezed genome but containing highly plastic plasmid with transposases, integrases, mobile elements and hypothetical proteins (44%). We performed a comparative genomic study of the group Thermus with an aim of analysing the phylogenetic relatedness as well as niche specific attributes prevalent among the group. We compared the reference genome RL with 16 Thermus genomes to assess their phylogenetic relationships based on 16S rRNA gene sequences, average nucleotide identity (ANI), conserved marker genes (31 and 400), pan genome and tetranucleotide frequency. The core genome of the analyzed genomes contained 1,177 core genes and many singleton genes were detected in individual genomes, reflecting a conserved core but adaptive pan repertoire. We demonstrated the presence of metagenomic islands (chromosome:5, plasmid:5) by recruiting raw metagenomic data (from the same niche) against the genomic replicons of T. parvatiensis. We also dissected the CRISPR loci wide all genomes and found widespread presence of this system across Thermus genomes. Additionally, we performed a comparative analysis of competence loci wide Thermus genomes and found evidence for recent horizontal acquisition of the locus and continued dispersal among members reflecting that natural competence is a beneficial survival trait among Thermus members and its acquisition depicts unending evolution in order to accomplish optimal fitness.


July 7, 2019  |  

Large scale and significant expression from pseudogenes in Sodalis glossinidius – a facultative bacterial endosymbiont

The majority of bacterial genomes have high coding efficiencies, but there are some genomes of intracellular bacteria that have low gene density. The genome of the endosymbiont Sodalis glossinidius contains almost 50% pseudogenes containing mutations that putatively silence them at the genomic level. We have applied multiple omic strategies, combining: Illumina and Pacific Biosciences Single-Molecule Real Time DNA-sequencing and annotation; stranded RNA-sequencing; and proteome analysis to better understand the transcriptional and translational landscape of Sodalis pseudogenes, and potential mechanisms for their control. Between 53% and 74% of the Sodalis transcriptome remains active in cell-free culture. Mean sense transcription from Coding Domain Sequences (CDS) is four-times greater than that from pseudogenes. Comparative genomic analysis of six Illumina-sequenced Sodalis isolates from different host Glossina species shows pseudogenes make up ~40% of the 2,729 genes in the core genome, suggesting are stable and/or Sodalis is a recent introduction across the Glossina genus as a facultative symbiont. These data further shed light on the importance of transcriptional and translational control in deciphering host-microbe interactions, and demonstrate that pseudogenes are more complex than a simple degrading DNA sequence. The combination of genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics give a multidimensional perspective for studying prokaryotic genomes with a view to elucidating evolutionary adaptation to novel environmental niches.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic analysis of Clavibacter michiganensis reveals insight into virulence strategies and genetic diversity of a gram-positive bacterial pathogen.

Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis is a gram-positive bacterial pathogen that proliferates in the xylem vessels of tomato, causing bacterial canker disease. In this study, we sequenced and assembled genomes of 11 C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis strains isolated from infected tomato fields in California as well as five Clavibacter strains that colonize tomato endophytically but are not pathogenic in this host. The analysis of the C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis genomes supported the monophyletic nature of this pathogen but revealed genetic diversity among strains, consistent with multiple introduction events. Two tomato endophytes that clustered phylogenetically with C. michiganensis strains capable of infecting wheat and pepper and were also able to cause disease in these plants. Plasmid profiles of the California strains were variable and supported the essential role of the pCM1-like plasmid and the CelA cellulase in virulence, whereas the absence of the pCM2-like plasmid in some pathogenic C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis strains revealed it is not essential. A large number of secreted C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis proteins were carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes). Glycome profiling revealed that C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis but not endophytic Clavibacter strains is able to extensively alter tomato cell-wall composition. Two secreted CAZymes found in all C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis strains, CelA and PelA1, enhanced pathogenicity on tomato. Collectively, these results provide a deeper understanding of C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis diversity and virulence strategies.


July 7, 2019  |  

Comparative genome analysis of the Flavobacteriales bacterium strain UJ101, isolated from the gut of Atergatis reticulatus.

Here we report the comparative genomic analysis of strain UJ101 with 15 strains from the family Flavobacteriaceae, using the CGExplorer program. Flavobacteriales bacterium strain UJ101 was isolated from a xanthid crab, Atergatis reticulatus, from the East Sea near Korea. The complete genome of strain UJ101 is a 3,074,209 bp, single, circular chromosome with 30.74% GC content. While the UJ101 genome contains a number of annotated genes for many metabolic pathways, such as the Embden-Meyerhof pathway, the pentose phosphate pathway, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and the glyoxylate cycle, genes for the Entner-Douddoroff pathway are not found in the UJ101 genome. Overall, carbon fixation processes were absent but nitrate reduction and denitrification pathways were conserved. The UJ101 genome was compared to genomes from other marine animals (three invertebrate strains and 5 fish strains) and other marine animal- derived genera. Notable results by genome comparisons showed that UJ101 is capable of denitrification and nitrate reduction, and that biotin-thiamine pathway participation varies among marine bacteria; fish-dwelling bacteria, freeliving bacteria, invertebrate-dwelling bacteria, and strain UJ101. Pan-genome analysis of the 16 strains in this study included 7,220 non-redundant genes that covered 62% of the pan-genome. A core-genome of 994 genes was present and consisted of 8% of the genes from the pan-genome. Strain UJ101 is a symbiotic hetero-organotroph isolated from xanthid crab, and is a metabolic generalist with nitrate-reducing abilities but without the ability to synthesize biotin. There is a general tendency of UJ101 and some fish pathogens to prefer thiamine-dependent glycolysis to gluconeogenesis. Biotin and thiamine auxotrophy or prototrophy may be used as important markers in microbial community studies.


July 7, 2019  |  

Characterization of the emerging zoonotic pathogen Arcobacter thereius by whole genome sequencing and comparative genomics.

Four Arcobacter species have been associated with human disease, and based on current knowledge, these Gram negative bacteria are considered as potential food and waterborne zoonotic pathogens. At present, only the genome of the species Arcobacter butzleri has been analysed, and still little is known about their physiology and genetics. The species Arcobacter thereius has first been isolated from tissue of aborted piglets, duck and pig faeces, and recently from stool of human patients with enteritis. In the present study, the complete genome and analysis of the A. thereius type strain LMG24486T, as well as the comparative genome analysis with 8 other A. thereius strains are presented. Genome analysis revealed metabolic pathways for the utilization of amino acids, which represent the main source of energy, together with the presence of genes encoding for respiration-associated and chemotaxis proteins. Comparative genome analysis with the A. butzleri type strain RM4018 revealed a large correlation, though also unique features. Furthermore, in silico DDH and ANI based analysis of the nine A. thereius strains disclosed clustering into two closely related genotypes. No discriminatory differences in genome content nor phenotypic behaviour were detected, though recently the species Arcobacter porcinus was proposed to encompass part of the formerly identified Arcobacter thereius strains. The report of the presence of virulence associated genes in A. thereius, the presence of antibiotic resistance genes, verified by in vitro susceptibility testing, as well as other pathogenic related relevant features, support the classification of A. thereius as an emerging pathogen.


July 7, 2019  |  

Insights into the red algae and eukaryotic evolution from the genome of Porphyra umbilicalis (Bangiophyceae, Rhodophyta).

Porphyra umbilicalis (laver) belongs to an ancient group of red algae (Bangiophyceae), is harvested for human food, and thrives in the harsh conditions of the upper intertidal zone. Here we present the 87.7-Mbp haploid Porphyra genome (65.8% G + C content, 13,125 gene loci) and elucidate traits that inform our understanding of the biology of red algae as one of the few multicellular eukaryotic lineages. Novel features of the Porphyra genome shared by other red algae relate to the cytoskeleton, calcium signaling, the cell cycle, and stress-tolerance mechanisms including photoprotection. Cytoskeletal motor proteins in Porphyra are restricted to a small set of kinesins that appear to be the only universal cytoskeletal motors within the red algae. Dynein motors are absent, and most red algae, including Porphyra, lack myosin. This surprisingly minimal cytoskeleton offers a potential explanation for why red algal cells and multicellular structures are more limited in size than in most multicellular lineages. Additional discoveries further relating to the stress tolerance of bangiophytes include ancestral enzymes for sulfation of the hydrophilic galactan-rich cell wall, evidence for mannan synthesis that originated before the divergence of green and red algae, and a high capacity for nutrient uptake. Our analyses provide a comprehensive understanding of the red algae, which are both commercially important and have played a major role in the evolution of other algal groups through secondary endosymbioses.


July 7, 2019  |  

Phase-variable methylation and epigenetic regulation by type I restriction-modification systems.

Epigenetic modifications in bacteria, such as DNA methylation, have been shown to affect gene regulation, thereby generating cells that are isogenic but with distinctly different phenotypes. Restriction-modification (RM) systems contain prototypic methylases that are responsible for much of bacterial DNA methylation. This review focuses on a distinctive group of type I RM loci that , through phase variation, can modify their methylation target specificity and can thereby switch bacteria between alternative patterns of DNA methylation. Phase variation occurs at the level of the target recognition domains of the hsdS (specificity) gene via reversible recombination processes acting upon multiple hsdS alleles. We describe the global distribution of such loci throughout the prokaryotic kingdom and highlight the differences in loci structure across the various bacterial species. Although RM systems are often considered simply as an evolutionary response to bacteriophages, these multi-hsdS type I systems have also shown the capacity to change bacterial phenotypes. The ability of these RM systems to allow bacteria to reversibly switch between different physiological states, combined with the existence of such loci across many species of medical and industrial importance, highlights the potential of phase-variable DNA methylation to act as a global regulatory mechanism in bacteria.© FEMS 2017.


July 7, 2019  |  

Comparative whole genome analysis of three consecutive Salmonella diarizonae isolates.

Infections of very young children or immunocompromised people with Salmonella of higher subspecies are a well-known phenomenon often associated with contact to cold-blooded animals. We describe the molecular characterization of three S. enterica subsp. diarizonae strains, isolated consecutively over a period of several months from a hospital patient suffering from diarrhea and sepsis with fatal outcome. With the initial isolate the first complete genome sequence of a member of subsp. diarizonae is provided and based on this reference we revealed the genomic differences between the three isolates by use of next-generation sequencing and confirmed by phenotypical tests. Genome comparisons revealed mutations within gpt, hfq and purK in the first isolate as a sign of clonal variation rather than host-directed evolution. Furthermore, our work demonstrates that S. enterica subsp. diarizonae possess, besides a conserved set of known Salmonella Pathogenicity Islands, a variable portfolio of additional genomic islands of unknown function. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Methylation-dependent DNA discrimination in natural transformation of Campylobacter jejuni.

Campylobacter jejuni, a leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis, is naturally competent. Like many competent organisms, C. jejuni restricts the DNA that can be used for transformation to minimize undesirable changes in the chromosome. Although C. jejuni can be transformed by C. jejuni-derived DNA, it is poorly transformed by the same DNA propagated in Escherichia coli or produced with PCR. Our work indicates that methylation plays an important role in marking DNA for transformation. We have identified a highly conserved DNA methyltransferase, which we term Campylobacter transformation system methyltransferase (ctsM), which methylates an overrepresented 6-bp sequence in the chromosome. DNA derived from a ctsM mutant transforms C. jejuni significantly less well than DNA derived from ctsM(+) (parental) cells. The ctsM mutation itself does not affect transformation efficiency when parental DNA is used, suggesting that CtsM is important for marking transforming DNA, but not for transformation itself. The mutant has no growth defect, arguing against ongoing restriction of its own DNA. We further show that E. coli plasmid and PCR-derived DNA can efficiently transform C. jejuni when only a subset of the CtsM sites are methylated in vitro. A single methylation event 1 kb upstream of the DNA involved in homologous recombination is sufficient to transform C. jejuni, whereas otherwise identical unmethylated DNA is not. Methylation influences DNA uptake, with a slight effect also seen on DNA binding. This mechanism of DNA discrimination in C. jejuni is distinct from the DNA discrimination described in other competent bacteria.


July 7, 2019  |  

Comparative genome analysis of programmed DNA elimination in nematodes.

Programmed DNA elimination is a developmentally regulated process leading to the reproducible loss of specific genomic sequences. DNA elimination occurs in unicellular ciliates and a variety of metazoans, including invertebrates and vertebrates. In metazoa, DNA elimination typically occurs in somatic cells during early development, leaving the germline genome intact. Reference genomes for metazoa that undergo DNA elimination are not available. Here, we generated germline and somatic reference genome sequences of the DNA eliminating pig parasitic nematode Ascaris suum and the horse parasite Parascaris univalens. In addition, we carried out in-depth analyses of DNA elimination in the parasitic nematode of humans, Ascaris lumbricoides, and the parasitic nematode of dogs, Toxocara canis. Our analysis of nematode DNA elimination reveals that in all species, repetitive sequences (that differ among the genera) and germline-expressed genes (approximately 1000-2000 or 5%-10% of the genes) are eliminated. Thirty-five percent of these eliminated genes are conserved among these nematodes, defining a core set of eliminated genes that are preferentially expressed during spermatogenesis. Our analysis supports the view that DNA elimination in nematodes silences germline-expressed genes. Over half of the chromosome break sites are conserved between Ascaris and Parascaris, whereas only 10% are conserved in the more divergent T. canis. Analysis of the chromosomal breakage regions suggests a sequence-independent mechanism for DNA breakage followed by telomere healing, with the formation of more accessible chromatin in the break regions prior to DNA elimination. Our genome assemblies and annotations also provide comprehensive resources for analysis of DNA elimination, parasitology research, and comparative nematode genome and epigenome studies.© 2017 Wang et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of esterase-producing bacterium Croceicoccus marinus E4A9T.

Croceicoccus marinus E4A9Twas isolated from deep-sea sediment collected from the East Pacific polymetallic nodule area. The strain is able to produce esterase, which is widely used in the food, perfume, cosmetic, chemical, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries. Here we describe the characteristics of strain E4A9, including the genome sequence and annotation, presence of esterases, and metabolic pathways of the organism. The genome of strain E4A9T comprises 4,109,188 bp, with one chromosome (3,001,363 bp) and two large circular plasmids (761,621 bp and 346,204 bp, respectively). Complete genome contains 3653 coding sequences, 48 tRNAs, two operons of 16S-23S-5S rRNA gene and three ncRNAs. Strain E4A9T encodes 10 genes related to esterase, and three of the esterases (E3, E6 and E10) was successfully cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli Rosetta in a soluble form, revealing its potential application in biotechnological industry. Moreover, the genome provides clues of metabolic pathways of strain E4A9T, reflecting its adaptations to the ambient environment. The genome sequence of C. marinus E4A9T now provides the fundamental information for future studies.


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