April 21, 2020  |  

Salmonella Genomic Island 3 Is an Integrative and Conjugative Element and Contributes to Copper and Arsenic Tolerance of Salmonella enterica.

Salmonella genomic island 3 (SGI3) was first described as a chromosomal island in Salmonella 4,[5],12:i:-, a monophasic variant of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium. The SGI3 DNA sequence detected from Salmonella 4,[5],12:i:- isolated in Japan was identical to that of a previously reported one across entire length of 81?kb. SGI3 consists of 86 open reading frames, including a copper homeostasis and silver resistance island (CHASRI) and an arsenic tolerance operon, in addition to genes related to conjugative transfer and DNA replication or partitioning, suggesting that the island is a mobile genetic element. We successfully selected transconjugants that acquired SGI3 after filter-mating experiments using the S. enterica serovars Typhimurium, Heidelberg, Hadar, Newport, Cerro, and Thompson as recipients. Southern blot analysis using I-CeuI-digested genomic DNA demonstrated that SGI3 was integrated into a chromosomal fragment of the transconjugants. PCR and sequencing analysis demonstrated that SGI3 was inserted into the 3′ end of the tRNA genes pheV or pheR The length of the target site was 52 or 55?bp, and a 55-bp attI sequence indicating generation of the circular form of SGI3 was also detected. The transconjugants had a higher MIC against CuSO4 compared to the recipient strains under anaerobic conditions. Tolerance was defined by the cus gene cluster in the CHASRI. The transconjugants also had distinctly higher MICs against Na2HAsO4 compared to recipient strains under aerobic conditions. These findings clearly demonstrate that SGI3 is an integrative and conjugative element and contributes to the copper and arsenic tolerance of S. enterica.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Potentially mobile denitrification genes identified in Azospirillum sp. strain TSH58.

Denitrification ability is sporadically distributed among diverse bacteria, archaea, and fungi. In addition, disagreement has been found between denitrification gene phylogenies and the 16S rRNA gene phylogeny. These facts have suggested potential occurrences of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) for the denitrification genes. However, evidence of HGT has not been clearly presented thus far. In this study, we identified the sequences and the localization of the nitrite reductase genes in the genomes of 41 denitrifying Azospirillum sp. strains and searched for mobile genetic elements that contain denitrification genes. All Azospirillum sp. strains examined in this study possessed multiple replicons (4 to 11 replicons), with their sizes ranging from 7 to 1,031 kbp. Among those, the nitrite reductase gene nirK was located on large replicons (549 to 941 kbp). Genome sequencing showed that Azospirillum strains that had similar nirK sequences also shared similar nir-nor gene arrangements, especially between the TSH58, Sp7T, and Sp245 strains. In addition to the high similarity between nir-nor gene clusters among the three Azospirillum strains, a composite transposon structure was identified in the genome of strain TSH58, which contains the nir-nor gene cluster and the novel IS6 family insertion sequences (ISAz581 and ISAz582). The nirK gene within the composite transposon system was actively transcribed under denitrification-inducing conditions. Although not experimentally verified in this study, the composite transposon system containing the nir-nor gene cluster could be transferred to other cells if it is moved to a prophage region and the phage becomes activated and released outside the cells. Taken together, strain TSH58 most likely acquired its denitrification ability by HGT from closely related Azospirillum sp. denitrifiers.IMPORTANCE The evolutionary history of denitrification is complex. While the occurrence of horizontal gene transfer has been suggested for denitrification genes, most studies report circumstantial evidences, such as disagreement between denitrification gene phylogenies and the 16S rRNA gene phylogeny. Based on the comparative genome analyses of Azospirillum sp. denitrifiers, we identified denitrification genes, including nirK and norCBQD, located on a mobile genetic element in the genome of Azospirillum sp. strain TSH58. The nirK was actively transcribed under denitrification-inducing conditions. Since this gene was the sole nitrite reductase gene in strain TSH58, this strain most likely benefitted by acquiring denitrification genes via horizontal gene transfer. This finding will significantly advance our scientific knowledge regarding the ecology and evolution of denitrification. Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

One Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida isolate with a pAsa5 variant bearing antibiotic resistance and a pRAS3 variant making a link with a swine pathogen.

The Gram-negative bacterium Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida is an aquatic pathogen which causes furunculosis to salmonids, especially in fish farms. The emergence of strains of this bacterium exhibiting antibiotic resistance is increasing, limiting the effectiveness of antibiotherapy as a treatment against this worldwide disease. In the present study, we discovered an isolate of A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida that harbors two novel plasmids variants carrying antibiotic resistance genes. The use of long-read sequencing (PacBio) allowed us to fully characterize those variants, named pAsa5-3432 and pRAS3-3432, which both differ from their classic counterpart through their content in mobile genetic elements. The plasmid pAsa5-3432 carries a new multidrug region composed of multiple mobile genetic elements, including a Class 1 integron similar to an integrated element of Salmonella enterica. With this new region, probably acquired through plasmid recombination, pAsa5-3432 is the first reported plasmid of this bacterium that bears both an essential virulence factor (the type three secretion system) and multiple antibiotic resistance genes. As for pRAS3-3432, compared to the classic pRAS3, it carries a new mobile element that has only been identified in Chlamydia suis. Hence, with the identification of those two novel plasmids harboring mobile genetic elements that are normally encountered in other bacterial species, the present study puts emphasis on the important impact of mobile genetic elements in the genomic plasticity of A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida and suggests that this aquatic bacterium could be an important reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes that can be exchanged with other bacteria, including human and animal pathogens. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Retrospective whole-genome sequencing analysis distinguished PFGE and drug-resistance-matched retail meat and clinical Salmonella isolates.

Non-typhoidal Salmonella is a leading cause of outbreak and sporadic-associated foodborne illnesses in the United States. These infections have been associated with a range of foods, including retail meats. Traditionally, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) have been used to facilitate public health investigations of Salmonella infections. However, whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has emerged as an alternative tool that can be routinely implemented. To assess its potential in enhancing integrated surveillance in Pennsylvania, USA, WGS was used to directly compare the genetic characteristics of 7 retail meat and 43 clinical historic Salmonella isolates, subdivided into 3 subsets based on PFGE and AST results, to retrospectively resolve their genetic relatedness and identify antimicrobial resistance (AMR) determinants. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses revealed that the retail meat isolates within S. Heidelberg, S. Typhimurium var. O5- subset 1 and S. Typhimurium var. O5- subset 2 were separated from each primary PFGE pattern-matched clinical isolate by 6-12, 41-96 and 21-81 SNPs, respectively. Fifteen resistance genes were identified across all isolates, including fosA7, a gene only recently found in a limited number of Salmonella and a =95?%?phenotype to genotype correlation was observed for all tested antimicrobials. Moreover, AMR was primarily plasmid-mediated in S. Heidelberg and S. Typhimurium var. O5- subset 2, whereas AMR was chromosomally carried in S. Typhimurium var. O5- subset 1. Similar plasmids were identified in both the retail meat and clinical isolates. Collectively, these data highlight the utility of WGS in retrospective analyses and enhancing integrated surveillance for Salmonella from multiple sources.


April 21, 2020  |  

Sequential evolution of virulence and resistance during clonal spread of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

The past two decades have witnessed an alarming expansion of staphylococcal disease caused by community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA). The factors underlying the epidemic expansion of CA-MRSA lineages such as USA300, the predominant CA-MRSA clone in the United States, are largely unknown. Previously described virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes that promote the dissemination of CA-MRSA are carried by mobile genetic elements, including phages and plasmids. Here, we used high-resolution genomics and experimental infections to characterize the evolution of a USA300 variant plaguing a patient population at increased risk of infection to understand the mechanisms underlying the emergence of genetic elements that facilitate clonal spread of the pathogen. Genetic analyses provided conclusive evidence that fitness (manifest as emergence of a dominant clone) changed coincidently with the stepwise emergence of (i) a unique prophage and mutation of the regulator of the pyrimidine nucleotide biosynthetic operon that promoted abscess formation and colonization, respectively, thereby priming the clone for success; and (ii) a unique plasmid that conferred resistance to two topical microbiocides, mupirocin and chlorhexidine, frequently used for decolonization and infection prevention. The resistance plasmid evolved through successive incorporation of DNA elements from non-S. aureus spp. into an indigenous cryptic plasmid, suggesting a mechanism for interspecies genetic exchange that promotes antimicrobial resistance. Collectively, the data suggest that clonal spread in a vulnerable population resulted from extensive clinical intervention and intense selection pressure toward a pathogen lifestyle that involved the evolution of consequential mutations and mobile genetic elements.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization of vanM carrying clinical Enterococcus isolates and diversity of the suppressed vanM gene cluster.

Here we report the prevalence of the suppressed vanM gene cluster as a reservoir of vancomycin resistance genes. Among 1284 clinical isolates of enterococci from four hospitals in Hangzhou, China, 55 isolates of Enterococcus faecium and one isolate of Enterococcus faecalis were screened positive for the vanM genotype. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing showed that 55 of the 56 vanM-positive isolates were susceptible to vancomycin and teicoplanin. Most of them (54/56) belonged to the main epidemic lineage CC17, mostly the ST78 type. The vanM gene clusters in the 55 vancomycin-susceptible isolates showed sequence diversity owing to different insertion locations of IS1216E. The vanM transposons could be classified into five types and they all carried two or more IS1216E elements, leading to complete or partial deletions of vanR, vanS, or vanX. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction showed that the expression level of vanM was significantly lower in the vancomycin-susceptible isolates than in the vancomycin-resistant isolate. Considering the prevalence of the vanM genotype and the potential for conversion to a resistant phenotype, vanM might act as an important determinant of glycopeptide resistance in the future. It is essential to strengthen the surveillance of vanM-containing enterococci to control the dissemination of vancomycin resistance. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.


April 21, 2020  |  

Real time monitoring of Aeromonas salmonicida evolution in response to successive antibiotic therapies in a commercial fish farm.

Our ability to predict evolutionary trajectories of pathogens in response to antibiotic pressure is one of the promising leverage to fight against the present antibiotic resistance worldwide crisis. Yet, few studies tackled this question in situ at the outbreak level, due to the difficulty to link a given pathogenic clone evolution with its precise antibiotic exposure over time. In this study, we monitored the real-time evolution of an Aeromonas salmonicida clone in response to successive antibiotic and vaccine therapies in a commercial fish farm. The clone was responsible for a four-year outbreak of furunculosis within a Recirculating Aquaculture System Salmo salar farm in China, and we reconstructed the precise tempo of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) acquisition events during this period. The resistance profile provided by the acquired MGEs closely mirrored the antibiotics used to treat the outbreak, and we evidenced that two subclonal groups developed similar resistances although unrelated MGE acquisitions. Finally, we also demonstrated the efficiency of vaccination in outbreak management and its positive effect on antibiotic resistance prevalence. Our study provides unprecedented knowledge critical to understand evolutionary trajectories of resistant pathogens outside the laboratory. © 2019 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Competition between mobile genetic elements drives optimization of a phage-encoded CRISPR-Cas system: insights from a natural arms race.

CRISPR-Cas systems function as adaptive immune systems by acquiring nucleotide sequences called spacers that mediate sequence-specific defence against competitors. Uniquely, the phage ICP1 encodes a Type I-F CRISPR-Cas system that is deployed to target and overcome PLE, a mobile genetic element with anti-phage activity in Vibrio cholerae. Here, we exploit the arms race between ICP1 and PLE to examine spacer acquisition and interference under laboratory conditions to reconcile findings from wild populations. Natural ICP1 isolates encode multiple spacers directed against PLE, but we find that single spacers do not interfere equally with PLE mobilization. High-throughput sequencing to assay spacer acquisition reveals that ICP1 can also acquire spacers that target the V. cholerae chromosome. We find that targeting the V. cholerae chromosome proximal to PLE is sufficient to block PLE and is dependent on Cas2-3 helicase activity. We propose a model in which indirect chromosomal spacers are able to circumvent PLE by Cas2-3-mediated processive degradation of the V. cholerae chromosome before PLE mobilization. Generally, laboratory-acquired spacers are much more diverse than the subset of spacers maintained by ICP1 in nature, showing how evolutionary pressures can constrain CRISPR-Cas targeting in ways that are often not appreciated through in vitro analyses. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘The ecology and evolution of prokaryotic CRISPR-Cas adaptive immune systems’.


April 21, 2020  |  

SMRT sequencing reveals differential patterns of methylation in two O111:H- STEC isolates from a hemolytic uremic syndrome outbreak in Australia.

In 1995 a severe haemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) outbreak in Adelaide occurred. A recent genomic analysis of Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) O111:H- strains 95JB1 and 95NR1 from this outbreak found that the more virulent isolate, 95NR1, harboured two additional copies of the Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2) genes encoded within prophage regions. The structure of the Stx2-converting prophages could not be fully resolved using short-read sequence data alone and it was not clear if there were other genomic differences between 95JB1 and 95NR1. In this study we have used Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing to characterise the genome and methylome of 95JB1 and 95NR1. We completely resolved the structure of all prophages including two, tandemly inserted, Stx2-converting prophages in 95NR1 that were absent from 95JB1. Furthermore we defined all insertion sequences and found an additional IS1203 element in the chromosome of 95JB1. Our analysis of the methylome of 95NR1 and 95JB1 identified hemi-methylation of a novel motif (5′-CTGCm6AG-3′) in more than 4000 sites in the 95NR1 genome. These sites were entirely unmethylated in the 95JB1 genome, and included at least 177 potential promoter regions that could contribute to regulatory differences between the strains. IS1203 mediated deactivation of a novel type IIG methyltransferase in 95JB1 is the likely cause of the observed differential patterns of methylation between 95NR1 and 95JB1. This study demonstrates the capability of PacBio SMRT sequencing to resolve complex prophage regions and reveal the genetic and epigenetic heterogeneity within a clonal population of bacteria.


April 21, 2020  |  

Large Enriched Fragment Targeted Sequencing (LEFT-SEQ) Applied to Capture of Wolbachia Genomes.

Symbiosis is a major force of evolutionary change, influencing virtually all aspects of biology, from population ecology and evolution to genomics and molecular/biochemical mechanisms of development and reproduction. A remarkable example is Wolbachia endobacteria, present in some parasitic nematodes and many arthropod species. Acquisition of genomic data from diverse Wolbachia clades will aid in the elucidation of the different symbiotic mechanisms(s). However, challenges of de novo assembly of Wolbachia genomes include the presence in the sample of host DNA: nematode/vertebrate or insect. We designed biotinylated probes to capture large fragments of Wolbachia DNA for sequencing using PacBio technology (LEFT-SEQ: Large Enriched Fragment Targeted Sequencing). LEFT-SEQ was used to capture and sequence four Wolbachia genomes: the filarial nematode Brugia malayi, wBm, (21-fold enrichment), Drosophila mauritiana flies (2 isolates), wMau (11-fold enrichment), and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, wAlbB (200-fold enrichment). LEFT-SEQ resulted in complete genomes for wBm and for wMau. For wBm, 18 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), relative to the wBm reference, were identified and confirmed by PCR. A limit of LEFT-SEQ is illustrated by the wAlbB genome, characterized by a very high level of insertion sequences elements (ISs) and DNA repeats, for which only a 20-contig draft assembly was achieved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Blood Isolates Harboring a Novel Pseudo-staphylococcal Cassette Chromosome mec Element.

The aim of this work was to assess a novel pseudo-staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (?SCCmec) element in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood isolates. Community-associated MRSA E16SA093 and healthcare-associated MRSA F17SA003 isolates were recovered from the blood specimens of patients with S. aureus bacteremia in 2016 and in 2017, respectively. Antimicrobial susceptibility was determined via the disk diffusion method, and SCCmec typing was conducted by multiplex polymerase chain reaction. Whole genome sequencing was carried out by single molecule real-time long-read sequencing. Both isolates belonged to sequence type 72 and agr-type I, and they were negative for Panton-Valentine leukocidin and toxic shock syndrome toxin. The spa-types of E16SA093 and F17SA003 were t324 and t2460, respectively. They had a SCCmec IV-like element devoid of the cassette chromosome recombinase (ccr) gene complex, designated as ?SCCmecE16SA093. The element was manufactured from SCCmec type IV and the deletion of the ccr gene complex and a 7.0- and 31.9-kb portion of each chromosome. The deficiency of the ccr gene complex in the SCCmec unit is likely resulting in mobility loss, which would be an adaptive evolutionary mechanism. The dissemination of this clone should be monitored closely.


April 21, 2020  |  

ICESsuHN105, a Novel Multiple Antibiotic Resistant ICE in Streptococcus suis Serotype 5 Strain HN105.

Streptococcussuis serotype 5, an emerging zoonosis bacterial pathogen, has been isolated from infections in both pigs and humans. In this study, we sequenced the first complete genome of a virulent, multidrug-resistant SS5 strain HN105. The strain HN105 displayed enhanced pathogenicity in zebrafish and BABL/c mouse infection models. Comparative genome analysis identified a novel 80K integrative conjugative element (ICE), ICESsuHN105, as required for the multidrug resistance phenotype. Six corresponding antibiotic resistance genes in this ICE were identified, namely tet (O), tet (M), erm (two copies), aph, and spc. Phylogenetic analysis classified the element as a homolog of the ICESa2603 family, containing the typical family backbone and insertion DNA. DNA hybrids mediated by natural transformation between HN105 and ZY05719 verified the antibiotic resistant genes of ICESsuHN105 that could be transferred successfully, while they were dispersedly inserted with a single gene in different genomic locations of ZY05719(HN105) transformants. To further identify the horizontal transfer of ICESsuHN105 as a whole mobile genetic element, a circular intermediate form of ICESsuHN105 was detected by PCR. However, the effective conjugation using serotype 2 S. suis as recipients was not observed in current assays in vitro. Further studies confirmed the presence of the complete lantibiotic locus encoded in ICESsuHN105 that effectively inhibits the growth of other streptococci. In summary, this study demonstrated the presence of antibiotic resistance genes in ICE that are able to transfer between different clinical isolates and adapt to a broader range of Streptococcus serotype or species.


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