September 22, 2019  |  

Single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing comes of age: applications and utilities for medical diagnostics.

Short read massive parallel sequencing has emerged as a standard diagnostic tool in the medical setting. However, short read technologies have inherent limitations such as GC bias, difficulties mapping to repetitive elements, trouble discriminating paralogous sequences, and difficulties in phasing alleles. Long read single molecule sequencers resolve these obstacles. Moreover, they offer higher consensus accuracies and can detect epigenetic modifications from native DNA. The first commercially available long read single molecule platform was the RS system based on PacBio’s single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology, which has since evolved into their RSII and Sequel systems. Here we capsulize how SMRT sequencing is revolutionizing constitutional, reproductive, cancer, microbial and viral genetic testing.© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


September 22, 2019  |  

Novel full-length major histocompatibility complex class I allele discovery and haplotype definition in pig-tailed macaques.

Pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina, Mane) are important models for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) studies. Their infectability with minimally modified HIV makes them a uniquely valuable animal model to mimic human infection with HIV and progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). However, variation in the pig-tailed macaque major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and the impact of individual transcripts on the pathogenesis of HIV and other infectious diseases is understudied compared to that of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. In this study, we used Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time circular consensus sequencing to describe full-length MHC class I (MHC-I) transcripts for 194 pig-tailed macaques from three breeding centers. We then used the full-length sequences to infer Mane-A and Mane-B haplotypes containing groups of MHC-I transcripts that co-segregate due to physical linkage. In total, we characterized full-length open reading frames (ORFs) for 313 Mane-A, Mane-B, and Mane-I sequences that defined 86 Mane-A and 106 Mane-B MHC-I haplotypes. Pacific Biosciences technology allows us to resolve these Mane-A and Mane-B haplotypes to the level of synonymous allelic variants. The newly defined haplotypes and transcript sequences containing full-length ORFs provide an important resource for infectious disease researchers as certain MHC haplotypes have been shown to provide exceptional control of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) replication and prevention of AIDS-like disease in nonhuman primates. The increased allelic resolution provided by Pacific Biosciences sequencing also benefits transplant research by allowing researchers to more specifically match haplotypes between donors and recipients to the level of nonsynonymous allelic variation, thus reducing the risk of graft-versus-host disease.


September 22, 2019  |  

Convergent evolution driven by rifampin exacerbates the global burden of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Mutations in the beta-subunit of bacterial RNA polymerase (RpoB) cause resistance to rifampin (Rifr), a critical antibiotic for treatment of multidrug-resistantStaphylococcus aureus.In vitrostudies have shown that RpoB mutations confer decreased susceptibility to other antibiotics, but the clinical relevance is unknown. Here, by analyzing 7,099S. aureusgenomes, we demonstrate that the most prevalent RpoB mutations promote clinically relevant phenotypic plasticity resulting in the emergence of stableS. aureuslineages, associated with increased risk of therapeutic failure through generation of small-colony variants (SCVs) and coresistance to last-line antimicrobial agents. We found eight RpoB mutations that accounted for 93% (469/505) of the total number of Rifrmutations. The most frequently selected amino acid substitutions affecting residue 481 (H481N/Y) were associated with worldwide expansions of Rifrclones spanning decades. Recreating the H481N/Y mutations confirmed no impact onS. aureusgrowth, but the H481N mutation promoted the emergence of a subpopulation of stable RifrSCVs with reduced susceptibility to vancomycin and daptomycin. Recreating the other frequent RpoB mutations showed similar impacts on resistance to these last-line agents. We found that 86% of all Rifrisolates in our global sample carried the mutations promoting cross-resistance to vancomycin and 52% to both vancomycin and daptomycin. As four of the most frequent RpoB mutations confer only low-level Rifr, equal to or below some international breakpoints, we recommend decreasing these breakpoints and reconsidering the appropriate use of rifampin to reduce the fixation and spread of these clinically deleterious mutations. IMPORTANCE Increasing antibiotic resistance in the major human pathogenStaphylococcus aureusis threatening the ability to treat patients with these infections. Recent laboratory studies suggest that mutations in the gene commonly associated with rifampin resistance may also impact susceptibility to other last-line antibiotics inS. aureus; however, the overall frequency and clinical impact of these mutations are unknown. By mining a global collection of clinicalS. aureusgenomes and by mutagenesis experiments, this work reveals that common rifampin-inducedrpoBmutations promote phenotypic plasticity that has led to the global emergence of stable, multidrug-resistantS. aureuslineages that are associated with increased risk of therapeutic failure through coresistance to other last-line antimicrobials. We recommend decreasing susceptibility breakpoints for rifampin to allow phenotypic detection of criticalrpoBmutations conferring low resistance to rifampin and reconsidering the appropriate use of rifampin to reduce the fixation and spread of these deleterious mutations globally.


September 22, 2019  |  

Whole genome analysis reveals the diversity and evolutionary relationships between necrotic enteritis-causing strains of Clostridium perfringens.

Clostridium perfringens causes a range of diseases in animals and humans including necrotic enteritis in chickens and food poisoning and gas gangrene in humans. Necrotic enteritis is of concern in commercial chicken production due to the cost of the implementation of infection control measures and to productivity losses. This study has focused on the genomic analysis of a range of chicken-derived C. perfringens isolates, from around the world and from different years. The genomes were sequenced and compared with 20 genomes available from public databases, which were from a diverse collection of isolates from chickens, other animals, and humans. We used a distance based phylogeny that was constructed based on gene content rather than sequence identity. Similarity between strains was defined as the number of genes that they have in common divided by their total number of genes. In this type of phylogenetic analysis, evolutionary distance can be interpreted in terms of evolutionary events such as acquisition and loss of genes, whereas the underlying properties (the gene content) can be interpreted in terms of function. We also compared these methods to the sequence-based phylogeny of the core genome.Distinct pathogenic clades of necrotic enteritis-causing C. perfringens were identified. They were characterised by variable regions encoded on the chromosome, with predicted roles in capsule production, adhesion, inhibition of related strains, phage integration, and metabolism. Some strains have almost identical genomes, even though they were isolated from different geographic regions at various times, while other highly distant genomes appear to result in similar outcomes with regard to virulence and pathogenesis.The high level of diversity in chicken isolates suggests there is no reliable factor that defines a chicken strain of C. perfringens, however, disease-causing strains can be defined by the presence of netB-encoding plasmids. This study reveals that horizontal gene transfer appears to play a significant role in genetic variation of the C. perfringens chromosome as well as the plasmid content within strains.


September 22, 2019  |  

Potential survival and pathogenesis of a novel strain, Vibrio parahaemolyticus FORC_022, isolated from a soy sauce marinated crab by genome and transcriptome analyses.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus can cause gastrointestinal illness through consumption of seafood. Despite frequent food-borne outbreaks of V. parahaemolyticus, only 19 strains have subjected to complete whole-genome analysis. In this study, a novel strain of V. parahaemolyticus, designated FORC_022 (Food-borne pathogen Omics Research Center_022), was isolated from soy sauce marinated crabs, and its genome and transcriptome were analyzed to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms. FORC_022 did not include major virulence factors of thermostable direct hemolysin (tdh) and TDH-related hemolysin (trh). However, FORC_022 showed high cytotoxicity and had several V. parahaemolyticus islands (VPaIs) and other virulence factors, such as various secretion systems (types I, II, III, IV, and VI), in comparative genome analysis with CDC_K4557 (the most similar strain) and RIMD2210633 (genome island marker strain). FORC_022 harbored additional virulence genes, including accessory cholera enterotoxin, zona occludens toxin, and tight adhesion (tad) locus, compared with CDC_K4557. In addition, O3 serotype specific gene and the marker gene of pandemic O3:K6 serotype (toxRS) were detected in FORC_022. The expressions levels of genes involved in adherence and carbohydrate transporter were high, whereas those of genes involved in motility, arginine biosynthesis, and proline metabolism were low after exposure to crabs. Moreover, the virulence factors of the type III secretion system, tad locus, and thermolabile hemolysin were overexpressed. Therefore, the risk of foodborne-illness may be high following consumption of FORC_022 contaminated crab. These results provided molecular information regarding the survival and pathogenesis of V. parahaemolyticus FORC_022 strain in contaminated crab and may have applications in food safety.


September 22, 2019  |  

Discovery of mcr-1-mediated colistin resistance in a highly virulent Escherichia coli lineage.

Resistance to last-line polymyxins mediated by the plasmid-borne mobile colistin resistance gene (mcr-1) represents a new threat to global human health. Here we present the complete genome sequence of an mcr-1-positive multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli strain (MS8345). We show that MS8345 belongs to serotype O2:K1:H4, has a large 241,164-bp IncHI2 plasmid that carries 15 other antibiotic resistance genes (including the extended-spectrum ß-lactamase blaCTX-M-1) and 3 putative multidrug efflux systems, and contains 14 chromosomally encoded antibiotic resistance genes. MS8345 also carries a large ColV-like virulence plasmid that has been associated with E. coli bacteremia. Whole-genome phylogeny revealed that MS8345 clusters within a discrete clade in the sequence type 95 (ST95) lineage, and MS8345 is very closely related to the highly virulent O45:K1:H4 clone associated with neonatal meningitis. Overall, the acquisition of a plasmid carrying resistance to colistin and multiple other antibiotics in this virulent E. coli lineage is concerning and might herald an era where the empirical treatment of ST95 infections becomes increasingly more difficult.IMPORTANCEEscherichia coli ST95 is a globally disseminated clone frequently associated with bloodstream infections and neonatal meningitis. However, the ST95 lineage is defined by low levels of drug resistance amongst clinical isolates, which normally provides for uncomplicated treatment options. Here, we provide the first detailed genomic analysis of an E. coli ST95 isolate that has both high virulence potential and resistance to multiple antibiotics. Using the genome, we predicted its virulence and antibiotic resistance mechanisms, which include resistance to last-line antibiotics mediated by the plasmid-borne mcr-1 gene. Finding an ST95 isolate resistant to nearly all antibiotics that also has a high virulence potential is of major clinical importance and underscores the need to monitor new and emerging trends in antibiotic resistance development in this important global lineage. Copyright © 2018 Forde et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

A biphasic epigenetic switch controls immunoevasion, virulence and niche adaptation in non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae.

Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae contains an N(6)-adenine DNA-methyltransferase (ModA) that is subject to phase-variable expression (random ON/OFF switching). Five modA alleles, modA2, modA4, modA5, modA9 and modA10, account for over two-thirds of clinical otitis media isolates surveyed. Here, we use single molecule, real-time (SMRT) methylome analysis to identify the DNA-recognition motifs for all five of these modA alleles. Phase variation of these alleles regulates multiple proteins including vaccine candidates, and key virulence phenotypes such as antibiotic resistance (modA2, modA5, modA10), biofilm formation (modA2) and immunoevasion (modA4). Analyses of a modA2 strain in the chinchilla model of otitis media show a clear selection for ON switching of modA2 in the middle ear. Our results indicate that a biphasic epigenetic switch can control bacterial virulence, immunoevasion and niche adaptation in an animal model system.


July 19, 2019  |  

Stepwise evolution of pandrug-resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) pose an urgent risk to global human health. CRE that are non-susceptible to all commercially available antibiotics threaten to return us to the pre-antibiotic era. Using Single Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing we determined the complete genome of a pandrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate, representing the first complete genome sequence of CRE resistant to all commercially available antibiotics. The precise location of acquired antibiotic resistance elements, including mobile elements carrying genes for the OXA-181 carbapenemase, were defined. Intriguingly, we identified three chromosomal copies of an ISEcp1-blaOXA-181 mobile element, one of which has disrupted the mgrB regulatory gene, accounting for resistance to colistin. Our findings provide the first description of pandrug-resistant CRE at the genomic level, and reveal the critical role of mobile resistance elements in accelerating the emergence of resistance to other last resort antibiotics.


July 19, 2019  |  

Detailed analysis of HTT repeat elements in human blood using targeted amplification-free long-read sequencing.

Amplification of DNA is required as a mandatory step during library preparation in most targeted sequencing protocols. This can be a critical limitation when targeting regions that are highly repetitive or with extreme guanine-cytosine (GC) content, including repeat expansions associated with human disease. Here, we used an amplification-free protocol for targeted enrichment utilizing the CRISPR/Cas9 system (No-Amp Targeted sequencing) in combination with single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing for studying repeat elements in the huntingtin (HTT) gene, where an expanded CAG repeat is causative for Huntington disease. We also developed a robust data analysis pipeline for repeat element analysis that is independent of alignment of reads to a reference genome. The method was applied to 11 diagnostic blood samples, and for all 22 alleles the resulting CAG repeat count agreed with previous results based on fragment analysis. The amplification-free protocol also allowed for studying somatic variability of repeat elements in our samples, without the interference of PCR stutter. In summary, with No-Amp Targeted sequencing in combination with our analysis pipeline, we could accurately study repeat elements that are difficult to investigate using PCR-based methods.© 2018 The Authors. Human Mutation published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


July 19, 2019  |  

Loss of maternal EED results in postnatal overgrowth.

Investigating how epigenetic information is transmitted through the mammalian germline is the key to understanding how this information impacts on health and disease susceptibility in offspring. EED is essential for regulating the repressive histone modification, histone 3 lysine 27 tri-methylation (H3K27me3) at many developmental genes.In this study, we used oocyte-specific Zp3-Cre recombinase (Zp3Cre) to delete Eed specifically in mouse growing oocytes, permitting the study of EED function in oocytes and the impact of depleting EED in oocytes on outcomes in offspring. As EED deletion occurred only in growing oocytes and females were mated to normal wild type males, this model allowed the study of oocyte programming without confounding factors such as altered in utero environment. Loss of EED from growing oocytes resulted in a significant overgrowth phenotype that persisted into adult life. Significantly, this involved increased adiposity (total fat) and bone mineral density in offspring. Similar overgrowth occurs in humans with Cohen-Gibson (OMIM 617561) and Weaver (OMIM 277590) syndromes, that result from de novo germline mutations in EED or its co-factor EZH2, respectively. Consistent with a role for EZH2 in human oocytes, we demonstrate that de novo germline mutations in EZH2 occurred in the maternal germline in some cases of Weaver syndrome. However, deletion of Ezh2 in mouse oocytes resulted in a distinct phenotype compared to that resulting from oocyte-specific deletion of Eed.This study provides novel evidence that altering EED-dependent oocyte programming leads to compromised offspring growth and development in the next generation.


July 7, 2019  |  

Insights on virulence from the complete genome of Staphylococcus capitis.

Staphylococcus capitis is an opportunistic pathogen of the coagulase negative staphylococci (CoNS). Functional genomic studies of S. capitis have thus far been limited by a lack of available complete genome sequences. Here, we determined the closed S. capitis genome and methylome using Single Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing. The strain, AYP1020, harbors a single circular chromosome of 2.44 Mb encoding 2304 predicted proteins, which is the smallest of all complete staphylococcal genomes sequenced to date. AYP1020 harbors two large mobile genetic elements; a plasmid designated pAYP1020 (59.6 Kb) and a prophage, FAYP1020 (48.5 Kb). Methylome analysis identified significant adenine methylation across the genome involving two distinct methylation motifs (1972 putative 6-methyladenine (m6A) residues identified). Putative adenine methyltransferases were also identified. Comparative analysis of AYP1020 and the closely related CoNS, S. epidermidis RP62a, revealed a host of virulence factors that likely contribute to S. capitis pathogenicity, most notably genes important for biofilm formation and a suite of phenol soluble modulins (PSMs); the expression/production of these factors were corroborated by functional assays. The complete S. capitis genome will aid future studies on the evolution and pathogenesis of the coagulase negative staphylococci.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequencing of an extended series of NDM-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates from Neonatal infections in a Nepali hospital characterizes the extent of community- versus hospital-associated transmission in an endemic setting.

NDM-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae strains represent major clinical and infection control challenges, particularly in resource-limited settings with high rates of antimicrobial resistance. Determining whether transmission occurs at a gene, plasmid, or bacterial strain level and within hospital and/or the community has implications for monitoring and controlling spread. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is the highest-resolution typing method available for transmission epidemiology. We sequenced carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae isolates from 26 individuals involved in several infection case clusters in a Nepali neonatal unit and 68 other clinical Gram-negative isolates from a similar time frame, using Illumina and PacBio technologies. Within-outbreak chromosomal and closed-plasmid structures were generated and used as data set-specific references. Three temporally separated case clusters were caused by a single NDM K. pneumoniae strain with a conserved set of four plasmids, one being a 304,526-bp plasmid carrying blaNDM-1. The plasmids contained a large number of antimicrobial/heavy metal resistance and plasmid maintenance genes, which may have explained their persistence. No obvious environmental/human reservoir was found. There was no evidence of transmission of outbreak plasmids to other Gram-negative clinical isolates, although blaNDM variants were present in other isolates in different genetic contexts. WGS can effectively define complex antimicrobial resistance epidemiology. Wider sampling frames are required to contextualize outbreaks. Infection control may be effective in terminating outbreaks caused by particular strains, even in areas with widespread resistance, although this study could not demonstrate evidence supporting specific interventions. Larger, detailed studies are needed to characterize resistance genes, vectors, and host strains involved in disease, to enable effective intervention. Copyright © 2014 Stoesser et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Characterization of the polymyxin D synthetase biosynthetic cluster and product profile of Paenibacillus polymyxa ATCC 10401.

The increasing prevalence of polymyxin-resistant bacteria has stimulated the search for improved polymyxin lipopeptides. Here we describe the sequence and product profile for polymyxin D nonribosomal peptide synthetase from Paenibacillus polymyxa ATCC 10401. The polymyxin D synthase gene cluster comprised five genes that encoded ABC transporters (pmxC and pmxD) and enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis of polymyxin D (pmxA, pmxB, and pmxE). Unlike polymyxins B and E, polymyxin D contains d-Ser at position 3 as opposed to l-a,?-diaminobutyric acid and has an l-Thr at position 7 rather than l-Leu. Module 3 of pmxE harbored an auxiliary epimerization domain that catalyzes the conversion of l-Ser to the d-form. Structural modeling suggested that the adenylation domains of module 3 in PmxE and modules 6 and 7 in PmxA could bind amino acids with larger side chains than their preferred substrate. Feeding individual amino acids into the culture media not only affected production of polymyxins D1 and D2 but also led to the incorporation of different amino acids at positions 3, 6, and 7 of polymyxin D. Interestingly, the unnatural polymyxin analogues did not show antibiotic activity against a panel of Gram-negative clinical isolates, while the natural polymyxins D1 and D2 exhibited excellent in vitro antibacterial activity and were efficacious against Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumannii in a mouse blood infection model. The results demonstrate the excellent antibacterial activity of these unusual d-Ser(3) polymxyins and underscore the possibility of incorporating alternate amino acids at positions 3, 6, and 7 of polymyxin D via manipulation of the polymyxin nonribosomal biosynthetic machinery.


July 7, 2019  |  

Insights into land plant evolution garnered from the Marchantia polymorpha genome.

The evolution of land flora transformed the terrestrial environment. Land plants evolved from an ancestral charophycean alga from which they inherited developmental, biochemical, and cell biological attributes. Additional biochemical and physiological adaptations to land, and a life cycle with an alternation between multicellular haploid and diploid generations that facilitated efficient dispersal of desiccation tolerant spores, evolved in the ancestral land plant. We analyzed the genome of the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha, a member of a basal land plant lineage. Relative to charophycean algae, land plant genomes are characterized by genes encoding novel biochemical pathways, new phytohormone signaling pathways (notably auxin), expanded repertoires of signaling pathways, and increased diversity in some transcription factor families. Compared with other sequenced land plants, M. polymorpha exhibits low genetic redundancy in most regulatory pathways, with this portion of its genome resembling that predicted for the ancestral land plant. PAPERCLIP. Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Methylomic and phenotypic analysis of the ModH5 phasevarion of Helicobacter pylori.

The Helicobacter pylori phase variable gene modH, typified by gene HP1522 in strain 26695, encodes a N6-adenosine type III DNA methyltransferase. Our previous studies identified multiple strain-specific modH variants (modH1 – modH19) and showed that phase variation of modH5 in H. pylori P12 influenced expression of motility-associated genes and outer membrane protein gene hopG. However, the ModH5 DNA recognition motif and the mechanism by which ModH5 controls gene expression were unknown. Here, using comparative single molecule real-time sequencing, we identify the DNA site methylated by ModH5 as 5′-Gm6ACC-3′. This motif is vastly underrepresented in H. pylori genomes, but overrepresented in a number of virulence genes, including motility-associated genes, and outer membrane protein genes. Motility and the number of flagella of H. pylori P12 wild-type were significantly higher than that of isogenic modH5 OFF or ?modH5 mutants, indicating that phase variable switching of modH5 expression plays a role in regulating H. pylori motility phenotypes. Using the flagellin A (flaA) gene as a model, we show that ModH5 modulates flaA promoter activity in a GACC methylation-dependent manner. These findings provide novel insights into the role of ModH5 in gene regulation and how it mediates epigenetic regulation of H. pylori motility.


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