April 21, 2020  |  

One Health Genomic Surveillance of Escherichia coli Demonstrates Distinct Lineages and Mobile Genetic Elements in Isolates from Humans versus Livestock.

Livestock have been proposed as a reservoir for drug-resistant Escherichia coli that infect humans. We isolated and sequenced 431 E. coli isolates (including 155 extended-spectrum ß-lactamase [ESBL]-producing isolates) from cross-sectional surveys of livestock farms and retail meat in the East of England. These were compared with the genomes of 1,517 E. coli bacteria associated with bloodstream infection in the United Kingdom. Phylogenetic core genome comparisons demonstrated that livestock and patient isolates were genetically distinct, suggesting that E. coli causing serious human infection had not directly originated from livestock. In contrast, we observed highly related isolates from the same animal species on different farms. Screening all 1,948 isolates for accessory genes encoding antibiotic resistance revealed 41 different genes present in variable proportions in human and livestock isolates. Overall, we identified a low prevalence of shared antimicrobial resistance genes between livestock and humans based on analysis of mobile genetic elements and long-read sequencing. We conclude that within the confines of our sampling framework, there was limited evidence that antimicrobial-resistant pathogens associated with serious human infection had originated from livestock in our region. IMPORTANCE The increasing prevalence of E. coli bloodstream infections is a serious public health problem. We used genomic epidemiology in a One Health study conducted in the East of England to examine putative sources of E. coli associated with serious human disease. E. coli from 1,517 patients with bloodstream infections were compared with 431 isolates from livestock farms and meat. Livestock-associated and bloodstream isolates were genetically distinct populations based on core genome and accessory genome analyses. Identical antimicrobial resistance genes were found in livestock and human isolates, but there was limited overlap in the mobile elements carrying these genes. Within the limitations of sampling, our findings do not support the idea that E. coli causing invasive disease or their resistance genes are commonly acquired from livestock in our region. Copyright © 2019 Ludden et al.


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  |  

Reconstruction of the genomes of drug-resistant pathogens for outbreak investigation through metagenomic sequencing

Culture-independent methods that target genome fragments have shown promise in identifying certain pathogens, but the holy grail of comprehensive pathogen genome detection from microbiologically complex samples for subsequent forensic analyses remains a challenge. In the context of an investigation of a nosocomial outbreak, we used shotgun metagenomic sequencing of a human fecal sample and a neural network algorithm based on tetranucleotide frequency profiling to reconstruct microbial genomes and tested the same approach using rectal swabs from a second patient. The approach rapidly and readily detected the genome of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing K. pneumoniae in the patient fecal specimen and in the rectal swab sample, achieving a level of strain resolution that was sufficient for confident transmission inference during a highly clonal outbreak. The analysis also detected previously unrecognized colonization of the patient by vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, another multidrug-resistant bacterium.IMPORTANCE The study results reported here perfectly demonstrate the power and promise of clinical metagenomics to recover genome sequences of important drug-resistant bacteria and to rapidly provide rich data that inform outbreak investigations and treatment decisions, independently of the need to culture the organisms.


April 21, 2020  |  

Pangenomic Approach To Understanding Microbial Adaptations within a Model Built Environment, the International Space Station, Relative to Human Hosts and Soil.

Understanding underlying mechanisms involved in microbial persistence in the built environment (BE) is essential for strategically mitigating potential health risks. To test the hypothesis that BEs impose selective pressures resulting in characteristic adaptive responses, we performed a pangenomics meta-analysis leveraging 189 genomes (accessed from GenBank) of two epidemiologically important taxa, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus, isolated from various origins: the International Space Station (ISS; a model BE), Earth-based BEs, soil, and humans. Our objectives were to (i) identify differences in the pangenomic composition of generalist and host-associated organisms, (ii) characterize genes and functions involved in BE-associated selection, and (iii) identify genomic signatures of ISS-derived strains of potential relevance for astronaut health. The pangenome of B. cereus was more expansive than that of S. aureus, which had a dominant core component. Genomic contents of both taxa significantly correlated with isolate origin, demonstrating an importance for biogeography and potential niche adaptations. ISS/BE-enriched functions were often involved in biosynthesis, catabolism, materials transport, metabolism, and stress response. Multiple origin-enriched functions also overlapped across taxa, suggesting conserved adaptive processes. We further characterized two mobile genetic elements with local neighborhood genes encoding biosynthesis and stress response functions that distinctively associated with B. cereus from the ISS. Although antibiotic resistance genes were present in ISS/BE isolates, they were also common in counterparts elsewhere. Overall, despite differences in microbial lifestyle, some functions appear common to remaining viable in the BE, and those functions are not typically associated with direct impacts on human health. IMPORTANCE The built environment contains a variety of microorganisms, some of which pose critical human health risks (e.g., hospital-acquired infection, antibiotic resistance dissemination). We uncovered a combination of complex biological functions that may play a role in bacterial survival under the presumed selective pressures in a model built environment-the International Space Station-by using an approach to compare pangenomes of bacterial strains from two clinically relevant species (B. cereus and S. aureus) isolated from both built environments and humans. Our findings suggest that the most crucial bacterial functions involved in this potential adaptive response are specific to bacterial lifestyle and do not appear to have direct impacts on human health.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genetic variation in the conjugative plasmidome of a hospital effluent multidrug resistant Escherichia coli strain.

Bacteria harboring conjugative plasmids have the potential for spreading antibiotic resistance through horizontal gene transfer. It is described that the selection and dissemination of antibiotic resistance is enhanced by stressors, like metals or antibiotics, which can occur as environmental contaminants. This study aimed at unveiling the composition of the conjugative plasmidome of a hospital effluent multidrug resistant Escherichia coli strain (H1FC54) under different mating conditions. To meet this objective, plasmid pulsed field gel electrophoresis, optical mapping analyses and DNA sequencing were used in combination with phenotype analysis. Strain H1FC54 was observed to harbor five plasmids, three of which were conjugative and two of these, pH1FC54_330 and pH1FC54_140, contained metal and antibiotic resistance genes. Transconjugants obtained in the absence or presence of tellurite (0.5?µM or 5?µM), arsenite (0.5?µM, 5?µM or 15?µM) or ceftazidime (10?mg/L) and selected in the presence of sodium azide (100?mg/L) and tetracycline (16?mg/L) presented distinct phenotypes, associated with the acquisition of different plasmid combinations, including two co-integrate plasmids, of 310 kbp and 517 kbp. The variable composition of the conjugative plasmidome, the formation of co-integrates during conjugation, as well as the transfer of non-transferable plasmids via co-integration, and the possible association between antibiotic, arsenite and tellurite tolerance was demonstrated. These evidences bring interesting insights into the comprehension of the molecular and physiological mechanisms that underlie antibiotic resistance propagation in the environment. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Single-Molecule Sequencing: Towards Clinical Applications.

In the past several years, single-molecule sequencing platforms, such as those by Pacific Biosciences and Oxford Nanopore Technologies, have become available to researchers and are currently being tested for clinical applications. They offer exceptionally long reads that permit direct sequencing through regions of the genome inaccessible or difficult to analyze by short-read platforms. This includes disease-causing long repetitive elements, extreme GC content regions, and complex gene loci. Similarly, these platforms enable structural variation characterization at previously unparalleled resolution and direct detection of epigenetic marks in native DNA. Here, we review how these technologies are opening up new clinical avenues that are being applied to pathogenic microorganisms and viruses, constitutional disorders, pharmacogenomics, cancer, and more.Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of the Wolbachia wAlbB Endosymbiont of Aedes albopictus.

Wolbachia, an alpha-proteobacterium closely related to Rickettsia, is a maternally transmitted, intracellular symbiont of arthropods and nematodes. Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are naturally infected with Wolbachia strains wAlbA and wAlbB. Cell line Aa23 established from Ae. albopictus embryos retains only wAlbB and is a key model to study host-endosymbiont interactions. We have assembled the complete circular genome of wAlbB from the Aa23 cell line using long-read PacBio sequencing at 500× median coverage. The assembled circular chromosome is 1.48 megabases in size, an increase of more than 300 kb over the published draft wAlbB genome. The annotation of the genome identified 1,205 protein coding genes, 34 tRNA, 3 rRNA, 1 tmRNA, and 3 other ncRNA loci. The long reads enabled sequencing over complex repeat regions which are difficult to resolve with short-read sequencing. Thirteen percent of the genome comprised insertion sequence elements distributed throughout the genome, some of which cause pseudogenization. Prophage WO genes encoding some essential components of phage particle assembly are missing, while the remainder are found in five prophage regions/WO-like islands or scattered around the genome. Orthology analysis identified a core proteome of 535 orthogroups across all completed Wolbachia genomes. The majority of proteins could be annotated using Pfam and eggNOG analyses, including ankyrins and components of the Type IV secretion system. KEGG analysis revealed the absence of five genes in wAlbB which are present in other Wolbachia. The availability of a complete circular chromosome from wAlbB will enable further biochemical, molecular, and genetic analyses on this strain and related Wolbachia. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

Potential KPC-2 carbapenemase reservoir of environmental Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas caviae isolates from the effluent of an urban wastewater treatment plant in Japan.

Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas caviae adapt to saline water environments and are the most predominant Aeromonas species isolated from estuaries. Here, we isolated antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) Aeromonas strains (A. hydrophila GSH8-2 and A. caviae GSH8M-1) carrying the carabapenemase blaKPC-2 gene from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent in Tokyo Bay (Japan) and determined their complete genome sequences. GSH8-2 and GSH8M-1 were classified as newly assigned sequence types ST558 and ST13, suggesting no supportive evidence of clonal dissemination. The strains appear to have acquired blaKPC-2 -positive IncP-6-relative plasmids (pGSH8-2 and pGSH8M-1-2) that share a common backbone with plasmids in Aeromonas sp. ASNIH3 isolated from hospital wastewater in the United States, A. hydrophila WCHAH045096 isolated from sewage in China, other clinical isolates (Klebsiella, Enterobacter and Escherichia coli), and wastewater isolates (Citrobacter, Pseudomonas and other Aeromonas spp.). In addition to blaKPC-2 , pGSH8M-1-2 carries an IS26-mediated composite transposon including a macrolide resistance gene, mph(A). Although Aeromonas species are opportunistic pathogens, they could serve as potential environmental reservoir bacteria for carbapenemase and AMR genes. AMR monitoring from WWTP effluents will contribute to the detection of ongoing AMR dissemination in the environment and might provide an early warning of potential dissemination in clinical settings and communities. © 2019 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology Reports published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Endogenous pararetrovirus sequences are widely present in Citrinae genomes.

Endogenous pararetroviruses (EPRVs) are characterized in several plant genomes and their biological effects have been reported. In this study, hundreds of EPRV segments were identified in six Citrinae genomes. A total of 1034 EPRV segments were identified in the genomes of sweet orange, 2036 in pummelo, 598 in clementine mandarin, 752 in Ichang papeda, 2060 in citron and 245 in atalantia. Genomic analysis indicated that EPRV segments tend to cluster as hot spots in the genomes, particularly on chromosome 2 and 5. Large numbers of simple repeats and transposable elements were identified in the 2-kb flanking regions of the EPRV segments. Comparative genomic analysis and PCR experiments showed that there are highly conserved EPRV segments and species-specific EPRV segments between the Citrinae genomes. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the integration events of EPRVs could initiate in a common progenitor of Citrinae species and repeatedly occur during the Citrinae divergence.Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Phylogenetic barriers to horizontal transfer of antimicrobial peptide resistance genes in the human gut microbiota.

The human gut microbiota has adapted to the presence of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are ancient components of immune defence. Despite its medical importance, it has remained unclear whether AMP resistance genes in the gut microbiome are available for genetic exchange between bacterial species. Here, we show that AMP resistance and antibiotic resistance genes differ in their mobilization patterns and functional compatibilities with new bacterial hosts. First, whereas AMP resistance genes are widespread in the gut microbiome, their rate of horizontal transfer is lower than that of antibiotic resistance genes. Second, gut microbiota culturing and functional metagenomics have revealed that AMP resistance genes originating from phylogenetically distant bacteria have only a limited potential to confer resistance in Escherichia coli, an intrinsically susceptible species. Taken together, functional compatibility with the new bacterial host emerges as a key factor limiting the genetic exchange of AMP resistance genes. Finally, our results suggest that AMPs induce highly specific changes in the composition of the human microbiota, with implications for disease risks.


April 21, 2020  |  

Diversity of phytobeneficial traits revealed by whole-genome analysis of worldwide-isolated phenazine-producing Pseudomonas spp.

Plant-beneficial Pseudomonas spp. competitively colonize the rhizosphere and display plant-growth promotion and/or disease-suppression activities. Some strains within the P. fluorescens species complex produce phenazine derivatives, such as phenazine-1-carboxylic acid. These antimicrobial compounds are broadly inhibitory to numerous soil-dwelling plant pathogens and play a role in the ecological competence of phenazine-producing Pseudomonas spp. We assembled a collection encompassing 63 strains representative of the worldwide diversity of plant-beneficial phenazine-producing Pseudomonas spp. In this study, we report the sequencing of 58 complete genomes using PacBio RS II sequencing technology. Distributed among four subgroups within the P. fluorescens species complex, the diversity of our collection is reflected by the large pangenome which accounts for 25 413 protein-coding genes. We identified genes and clusters encoding for numerous phytobeneficial traits, including antibiotics, siderophores and cyclic lipopeptides biosynthesis, some of which were previously unknown in these microorganisms. Finally, we gained insight into the evolutionary history of the phenazine biosynthetic operon. Given its diverse genomic context, it is likely that this operon was relocated several times during Pseudomonas evolution. Our findings acknowledge the tremendous diversity of plant-beneficial phenazine-producing Pseudomonas spp., paving the way for comparative analyses to identify new genetic determinants involved in biocontrol, plant-growth promotion and rhizosphere competence. © 2018 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Novel trimethoprim resistance gene dfrA34 identified in Salmonella Heidelberg in the USA.

Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole is a synthetic antibiotic combination recommended for the treatment of complicated non-typhoidal Salmonella infections in humans. Resistance to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole is mediated by the acquisition of mobile genes, requiring both a dfr gene (trimethoprim resistance) and a sul gene (sulfamethoxazole resistance) for a clinical resistance phenotype (MIC =4/76?mg/L). In 2017, the CDC investigated a multistate outbreak caused by a Salmonella enterica serotype Heidelberg strain with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistance, in which sul genes but no known dfr genes were detected.To characterize and describe the molecular mechanism of trimethoprim resistance in a Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak isolate.Illumina sequencing data for one outbreak isolate revealed a 588?bp ORF encoding a putative dfr gene. This gene was cloned into Escherichia coli and resistance to trimethoprim was measured by broth dilution and Etest. Phylogenetic analysis of previously reported dfrA genes was performed using MEGA. Long-read sequencing was conducted to determine the context of the novel dfr gene.The novel dfr gene, named dfrA34, conferred trimethoprim resistance (MIC =32?mg/L) when cloned into E. coli. Based on predicted amino acid sequences, dfrA34 shares less than 50% identity with other known dfrA genes. The dfrA34 gene is located in a class 1 integron in a multiresistance region of an IncC plasmid, adjacent to a sul gene, thus conferring clinical trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistance. Additionally, dfrA34 is associated with ISCR1, enabling easy transmission between other plasmids and bacterial strains.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization of an NDM-19-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae strain harboring 2 resistance plasmids from China.

Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP) has become a major cause of nosocomial infections and posed challenges on clinical treatments. The main objective of this study was to determinate the genetic characteristics of the NDM-19-producing CRKP strain SCM96. From 2015 to 2017, 18 CRKP strains were recovered from sputum samples of patients in respiratory medicine in 6 hospitals from 5 provinces and cities in China. Polymerase chain reaction results for carbapenem resistance genes detection showed strain SCM96 carried blaNDM-19. Three types of transconjugants harboring different plasmids were selected by conjugation experiment. The Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) was performed using the PacBio RS platform. The genome size of SCM96 was 5,579,775?bp and composed of chromosomal DNA (5,398,745?bp) and 2 plasmids, IncFII type plasmid pSCM96-1 (134,869?bp) and IncX3 type plasmid pSCM96-2 (46,161?bp). SCM96 belonged to ST15 and K28. In addition to the 4 antibiotic resistance genes located in the chromosome, pSCM96-1 carried a complex resistance region containing 17 resistance genes and several mobile genetic elements (MGEs) like ?Tn6029, In4-like integron, and Tn3, and pSCM96-2 had only 1 blaNDM-19 gene. As far as we know, this was the first description of blaNDM-19 in K. pneumoniae. Up to 22 antibiotic resistance genes, several important MGEs, and transferable plasmids might increase the possibility of co-spreading of blaNDM-19 with other resistance genes.Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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  |  

A prophage and two ICESa2603-family integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) carrying optrA in Streptococcus suis.

To investigate the presence and transfer of the oxazolidinone/phenicol resistance gene optrA and identify the genetic elements involved in the horizontal transfer of the optrA gene in Streptococcus suis.A total of 237 S. suis isolates were screened for the presence of the optrA gene by PCR. Whole-genome DNA of three optrA-positive strains was completely sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq and Pacbio RSII platforms. MICs were determined by broth microdilution. Transferability of the optrA gene in S. suis was investigated by conjugation. The presence of circular intermediates was examined by inverse PCR.The optrA gene was present in 11.8% (28/237) of the S. suis strains. In three strains, the optrA gene was flanked by two copies of IS1216 elements in the same orientation, located either on a prophage or on ICESa2603-family integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs), including one tandem ICE. In one isolate, the optrA-carrying ICE transferred with a frequency of 2.1?×?10-8. After the transfer, the transconjugant displayed elevated MICs of the respective antimicrobial agents. Inverse PCRs revealed that circular intermediates of different sizes were formed in the three optrA-carrying strains, containing one copy of the IS1216E element and the optrA gene alone or in combination with other resistance genes.A prophage and two ICESa2603-family ICEs (including one tandem ICE) associated with the optrA gene were identified in S. suis. The association of the optrA gene with the IS1216E elements and its location on either a prophage or ICEs will aid its horizontal transfer. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.


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