April 21, 2020  |  

Tandem repeats lead to sequence assembly errors and impose multi-level challenges for genome and protein databases.

The widespread occurrence of repetitive stretches of DNA in genomes of organisms across the tree of life imposes fundamental challenges for sequencing, genome assembly, and automated annotation of genes and proteins. This multi-level problem can lead to errors in genome and protein databases that are often not recognized or acknowledged. As a consequence, end users working with sequences with repetitive regions are faced with ‘ready-to-use’ deposited data whose trustworthiness is difficult to determine, let alone to quantify. Here, we provide a review of the problems associated with tandem repeat sequences that originate from different stages during the sequencing-assembly-annotation-deposition workflow, and that may proliferate in public database repositories affecting all downstream analyses. As a case study, we provide examples of the Atlantic cod genome, whose sequencing and assembly were hindered by a particularly high prevalence of tandem repeats. We complement this case study with examples from other species, where mis-annotations and sequencing errors have propagated into protein databases. With this review, we aim to raise the awareness level within the community of database users, and alert scientists working in the underlying workflow of database creation that the data they omit or improperly assemble may well contain important biological information valuable to others. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


April 21, 2020  |  

A microbial factory for defensive kahalalides in a tripartite marine symbiosis.

Chemical defense against predators is widespread in natural ecosystems. Occasionally, taxonomically distant organisms share the same defense chemical. Here, we describe an unusual tripartite marine symbiosis, in which an intracellular bacterial symbiont (“Candidatus Endobryopsis kahalalidefaciens”) uses a diverse array of biosynthetic enzymes to convert simple substrates into a library of complex molecules (the kahalalides) for chemical defense of the host, the alga Bryopsis sp., against predation. The kahalalides are subsequently hijacked by a third partner, the herbivorous mollusk Elysia rufescens, and employed similarly for defense. “Ca E. kahalalidefaciens” has lost many essential traits for free living and acts as a factory for kahalalide production. This interaction between a bacterium, an alga, and an animal highlights the importance of chemical defense in the evolution of complex symbioses.Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.


April 21, 2020  |  

Into the Thermus Mobilome: Presence, Diversity and Recent Activities of Insertion Sequences Across Thermus spp.

A high level of transposon-mediated genome rearrangement is a common trait among microorganisms isolated from thermal environments, probably contributing to the extraordinary genomic plasticity and horizontal gene transfer (HGT) observed in these habitats. In this work, active and inactive insertion sequences (ISs) spanning the sequenced members of the genus Thermus were characterized, with special emphasis on three T. thermophilus strains: HB27, HB8, and NAR1. A large number of full ISs and fragments derived from different IS families were found, concentrating within megaplasmids present in most isolates. Potentially active ISs were identified through analysis of transposase integrity, and domestication-related transposition events of ISTth7 were identified in laboratory-adapted HB27 derivatives. Many partial copies of ISs appeared throughout the genome, which may serve as specific targets for homologous recombination contributing to genome rearrangement. Moreover, recruitment of IS1000 32 bp segments as spacers for CRISPR sequence was identified, pointing to the adaptability of these elements in the biology of these thermophiles. Further knowledge about the activity and functional diversity of ISs in this genus may contribute to the generation of engineered transposons as new genetic tools, and enrich our understanding of the outstanding plasticity shown by these thermophiles.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of Actinosynnema pretiosum X47, An Industrial Strain that Produces the Antibiotic Ansamitocin AP-3.

Ansamitocins are extraordinarily potent antitumor agents. Ansamitocin P-3 (AP-3), which is produced by Actinosynnema pretiosum, has been developed as a cytotoxic drug for breast cancer. Despite its importance, AP-3 is of limited applicability because of the low production yield. A. pretiosum strain X47 was developed from A. pretiosum ATCC 31565 by mutation breeding and shows a relatively high AP-3 yield. Here, we analyzed the A. pretiosum X47 genome, which is ~8.13 Mb in length with 6693 coding sequences, 58 tRNA genes, and 15 rRNA genes. The DNA sequence of the ansamitocin biosynthetic gene cluster is highly similar to that of the corresponding cluster in A. pretiosum ATCC 31565, with 99.9% identity. However, RT-qPCR analysis showed that the expression levels of ansamitocin biosynthetic genes were significantly increased in X47 compared with the levels in the wild-type strain, consistent with the higher yield of AP-3 in X47. The annotated complete genome sequence of this strain will facilitate understanding the molecular mechanisms of ansamitocin biosynthesis and regulation in A. pretiosum and help further genetic engineering studies to enhance the production of AP-3.


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  |  

Finding Nemo’s Genes: A chromosome-scale reference assembly of the genome of the orange clownfish Amphiprion percula.

The iconic orange clownfish, Amphiprion percula, is a model organism for studying the ecology and evolution of reef fishes, including patterns of population connectivity, sex change, social organization, habitat selection and adaptation to climate change. Notably, the orange clownfish is the only reef fish for which a complete larval dispersal kernel has been established and was the first fish species for which it was demonstrated that antipredator responses of reef fishes could be impaired by ocean acidification. Despite its importance, molecular resources for this species remain scarce and until now it lacked a reference genome assembly. Here, we present a de novo chromosome-scale assembly of the genome of the orange clownfish Amphiprion percula. We utilized single-molecule real-time sequencing technology from Pacific Biosciences to produce an initial polished assembly comprised of 1,414 contigs, with a contig N50 length of 1.86 Mb. Using Hi-C-based chromatin contact maps, 98% of the genome assembly were placed into 24 chromosomes, resulting in a final assembly of 908.8 Mb in length with contig and scaffold N50s of 3.12 and 38.4 Mb, respectively. This makes it one of the most contiguous and complete fish genome assemblies currently available. The genome was annotated with 26,597 protein-coding genes and contains 96% of the core set of conserved actinopterygian orthologs. The availability of this reference genome assembly as a community resource will further strengthen the role of the orange clownfish as a model species for research on the ecology and evolution of reef fishes. © 2018 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Resources Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic variation and strain-specific functional adaptation in the human gut microbiome during early life.

The human gut microbiome matures towards the adult composition during the first years of life and is implicated in early immune development. Here, we investigate the effects of microbial genomic diversity on gut microbiome development using integrated early childhood data sets collected in the DIABIMMUNE study in Finland, Estonia and Russian Karelia. We show that gut microbial diversity is associated with household location and linear growth of children. Single nucleotide polymorphism- and metagenomic assembly-based strain tracking revealed large and highly dynamic microbial pangenomes, especially in the genus Bacteroides, in which we identified evidence of variability deriving from Bacteroides-targeting bacteriophages. Our analyses revealed functional consequences of strain diversity; only 10% of Finnish infants harboured Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis, a subspecies specialized in human milk metabolism, whereas Russian infants commonly maintained a probiotic Bifidobacterium bifidum strain in infancy. Groups of bacteria contributing to diverse, characterized metabolic pathways converged to highly subject-specific configurations over the first two years of life. This longitudinal study extends the current view of early gut microbial community assembly based on strain-level genomic variation.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization of the genome of a Nocardia strain isolated from soils in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau that specifically degrades crude oil and of this biodegradation.

A strain of Nocardia isolated from crude oil-contaminated soils in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau degrades nearly all components of crude oil. This strain was identified as Nocardia soli Y48, and its growth conditions were determined. Complete genome sequencing showed that N. soli Y48 has a 7.3?Mb genome and many genes responsible for hydrocarbon degradation, biosurfactant synthesis, emulsification and other hydrocarbon degradation-related metabolisms. Analysis of the clusters of orthologous groups (COGs) and genomic islands (GIs) revealed that Y48 has undergone significant gene transfer events to adapt to changing environmental conditions (crude oil contamination). The structural features of the genome might provide a competitive edge for the survival of N. soli Y48 in oil-polluted environments and reflect the adaptation of coexisting bacteria to distinct nutritional niches.Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.


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.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genetic characterization and potential molecular dissemination mechanism of tet(31) gene in Aeromonas caviae from an oxytetracycline wastewater treatment system.

Recently, the rarely reported tet(31) tetracycline resistance determinant was commonly found in Aeromonas salmonicida, Gallibacterium anatis, and Oblitimonas alkaliphila isolated from farming animals and related environment. However, its distribution in other bacteria and potential molecular dissemination mechanism in environment are still unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential mechanism underlying dissemination of tet(31) by analysing the tet(31)-carrying fragments in A. caviae strains isolated from an aerobic biofilm reactor treating oxytetracycline bearing wastewater. Twenty-three A. caviae strains were screened for the tet(31) gene by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Three strains (two harbouring tet(31), one not) were subjected to whole genome sequencing using the PacBio RSII platform. Seventeen A. caviae strains carried the tet(31) gene and exhibited high resistance levels to oxytetracycline with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) ranging from 256 to 512?mg/L. tet(31) was comprised of the transposon Tn6432 on the chromosome of A. caviae, and Tn6432 was also found in 15 additional tet(31)-positive A. caviae isolates by PCR. More important, Tn6432 was located on an integrative conjugative element (ICE)-like element, which could mediate the dissemination of the tet(31)-carrying transposon Tn6432 between bacteria. Comparative analysis demonstrated that Tn6432 homologs with the structure ISCR2-?phzF-tetR(31)-tet(31)-?glmM-sul2 were also carried by A. salmonicida, G. anatis, and O. alkaliphila, suggesting that this transposon can be transferred between species and even genera. This work provides the first report on the identification of the tet(31) gene in A. caviae, and will be helpful in exploring the dissemination mechanisms of tet(31) in water environment.Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of Saccharospirillum mangrovi HK-33T Sheds Light on the Ecological Role of a Bacterium in Mangrove Sediment Environment.

We present the genome sequence of Saccharospirillum mangrovi HK-33T, isolated from a mangrove sediment sample in Haikou, China. The complete genome of S. mangrovi HK-33T consisted of a single-circular chromosome with the size of 3,686,911 bp as well as an average G?+?C content of 57.37%, and contained 3,383 protein-coding genes, 4 operons of 16S-23S-5S rRNA genes, and 52 tRNA genes. Genomic annotation indicated that the genome of S. mangrovi HK-33T had many genes related to oligosaccharide and polysaccharide degradation and utilization of polyhydroxyalkanoate. For nitrogen cycle, genes encoding nitrate and nitrite reductase, glutamate dehydrogenase, glutamate synthase, and glutamine synthetase could be found. For phosphorus cycle, genes related to polyphosphate kinases (ppk1 and ppk2), the high-affinity phosphate-specific transport (Pst) system, and the low-affinity inorganic phosphate transporter (pitA) were predicted. For sulfur cycle, cysteine synthase and type III acyl coenzyme A transferase (dddD) coding genes were searched out. This study provides evidence about carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur metabolic patterns of S. mangrovi HK-33T and broadens our understandings about ecological roles of this bacterium in the mangrove sediment environment.


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  |  

Antibiotic resistance and heavy metal tolerance plasmids: the antimicrobial bulletproof properties of Escherichia fergusonii isolated from poultry.

We describe the mobilome of Escherichia fergusonii 40A isolated from poultry, consisting of four different plasmids, p46_40A (IncX1, 45,869 bp), p80_40A (non-typable, 79,635 bp), p150_40A (IncI1-ST1, 148,340 bp) and p280_40A (IncHI2A-ST2, 279,537 bp). The mobilome-40A carries a blend of several different resistance and virulence genes, heavy metal tolerance operons and conjugation system. This mobilome 40A is a perfect tool to preserve and disseminate antimicrobial resistance and makes the bacterial isolate incredibly adapted to survive under constant antimicrobial pressure.


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’.


Talk with an expert

If you have a question, need to check the status of an order, or are interested in purchasing an instrument, we're here to help.