October 23, 2019  |  

Galactofuranose in Mycoplasma mycoides is important for membrane integrity and conceals adhesins but does not contribute to serum resistance.

Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri (Mmc) and subsp. mycoides (Mmm) are important ruminant pathogens worldwide causing diseases such as pleuropneumonia, mastitis and septicaemia. They express galactofuranose residues on their surface, but their role in pathogenesis has not yet been determined. The M.?mycoides genomes contain up to several copies of the glf gene, which encodes an enzyme catalysing the last step in the synthesis of galactofuranose. We generated a deletion of the glf gene in a strain of Mmc using genome transplantation and tandem repeat endonuclease coupled cleavage (TREC) with yeast as an intermediary host for the genome editing. As expected, the resulting YCp1.1-?glf strain did not produce the galactofuranose-containing glycans as shown by immunoblots and immuno-electronmicroscopy employing a galactofuranose specific monoclonal antibody. The mutant lacking galactofuranose exhibited a decreased growth rate and a significantly enhanced adhesion to small ruminant cells. The mutant was also ‘leaking’ as revealed by a ß-galactosidase-based assay employing a membrane impermeable substrate. These findings indicate that galactofuranose-containing polysaccharides conceal adhesins and are important for membrane integrity. Unexpectedly, the mutant strain showed increased serum resistance. © 2015 The Authors. Molecular Microbiology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Subaerial biofilms on granitic historic buildings: microbial diversity and development of phototrophic multi-species cultures.

Microbial communities of natural subaerial biofilms developed on granitic historic buildings of a World Heritage Site (Santiago de Compostela, NW Spain) were characterized and cultured in liquid BG11 medium. Environmental barcoding through next-generation sequencing (Pacific Biosciences) revealed that the biofilms were mainly composed of species of Chlorophyta (green algae) and Ascomycota (fungi) commonly associated with rock substrata. Richness and diversity were higher for the fungal than for the algal assemblages and fungi showed higher heterogeneity among samples. Cultures derived from natural biofilms showed the establishment of stable microbial communities mainly composed of Chlorophyta and Cyanobacteria. Although most taxa found in these cultures were not common in the original biofilms, they are likely common pioneer colonizers of building stone surfaces, including granite. Stable phototrophic multi-species cultures of known microbial diversity were thus obtained and their reliability to emulate natural colonization on granite should be confirmed in further experiments.


September 22, 2019  |  

Differential responses of total and active soil microbial communities to long-term experimental N deposition

Abstract The relationship between total and metabolically active soil microbial communities can provide insight into how these communities are impacted by environmental change, which may impact the flow of energy and cycling of nutrients in the future. For example, the anthropogenic release of biologically available N has dramatically increased over the last 150 years, which can alter the processes controlling C storage in terrestrial ecosystems. In a northern hardwood forest ecosystem located in Michigan, USA, nearly 20 years of experimentally increased atmospheric N deposition has reduced forest floor decay and increased soil C storage. A microbial mechanism underlies this response, as compositional changes in the soil microbial community have been concomitantly documented with these biogeochemical changes. Here, we co-extracted DNA and RNA from decaying leaf litter to determine if experimental atmospheric N deposition has lowered the diversity and altered the composition of the whole communities of bacteria and fungi (i.e., DNA-based) and well as its active members (i.e., RNA-based). In our experiment, experimental N deposition did not affect the composition, diversity, or richness of the total forest floor fungal community, but did lower the diversity (-8%), as well as altered the composition of the active fungal community. In contrast, neither the total nor active forest floor bacterial community was significantly affected by experimental N deposition. Our results suggest that future rates of atmospheric N deposition can fundamentally alter the organization of the saprotrophic soil fungal community, key mediators of C cycling in terrestrial environments.


September 22, 2019  |  

Robust and effective methodologies for cryopreservation and DNA extraction from anaerobic gut fungi.

Cell storage and DNA isolation are essential to developing an expanded suite of microorganisms for biotechnology. However, many features of non-model microbes, such as an anaerobic lifestyle and rigid cell wall, present formidable challenges to creating strain repositories and extracting high quality genomic DNA. Here, we establish accessible, high efficiency, and robust techniques to store lignocellulolytic anaerobic gut fungi long term without specialized equipment. Using glycerol as a cryoprotectant, gut fungal isolates were preserved for a minimum of 23 months at -80 °C. Unlike previously reported approaches, this improved protocol is non-toxic and rapid, with samples surviving twice as long with negligible growth impact. Genomic DNA extraction for these isolates was optimized to yield samples compatible with next generation sequencing platforms (e.g. Illumina, PacBio). Popular DNA isolation kits and precipitation protocols yielded preps that were unsuitable for sequencing due to carbohydrate contaminants from the chitin-rich cell wall and extensive energy reserves of gut fungi. To address this, we identified a proprietary method optimized for hardy plant samples that rapidly yielded DNA fragments in excess of 10 kb with minimal RNA, protein or carbohydrate contamination. Collectively, these techniques serve as fundamental tools to manipulate powerful biomass-degrading gut fungi and improve their accessibility among researchers. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Distinguishing highly similar gene isoforms with a clustering-based bioinformatics analysis of PacBio single-molecule long reads.

Gene isoforms are commonly found in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Since each isoform may perform a specific function in response to changing environmental conditions, studying the dynamics of gene isoforms is important in understanding biological processes and disease conditions. However, genome-wide identification of gene isoforms is technically challenging due to the high degree of sequence identity among isoforms. Traditional targeted sequencing approach, involving Sanger sequencing of plasmid-cloned PCR products, has low throughput and is very tedious and time-consuming. Next-generation sequencing technologies such as Illumina and 454 achieve high throughput but their short read lengths are a critical barrier to accurate assembly of highly similar gene isoforms, and may result in ambiguities and false joining during sequence assembly. More recently, the third generation sequencer represented by the PacBio platform offers sufficient throughput and long reads covering the full length of typical genes, thus providing a potential to reliably profile gene isoforms. However, the PacBio long reads are error-prone and cannot be effectively analyzed by traditional assembly programs.We present a clustering-based analysis pipeline integrated with PacBio sequencing data for profiling highly similar gene isoforms. This approach was first evaluated in comparison to de novo assembly of 454 reads using a benchmark admixture containing 10 known, cloned msg genes encoding the major surface glycoprotein of Pneumocystis jirovecii. All 10 msg isoforms were successfully reconstructed with the expected length (~1.5 kb) and correct sequence by the new approach, while 454 reads could not be correctly assembled using various assembly programs. When using an additional benchmark admixture containing 22 known P. jirovecii msg isoforms, this approach accurately reconstructed all but 4 these isoforms in their full-length (~3 kb); these 4 isoforms were present in low concentrations in the admixture. Finally, when applied to the original clinical sample from which the 22 known msg isoforms were cloned, this approach successfully identified not only all known isoforms accurately (~3 kb each) but also 48 novel isoforms.PacBio sequencing integrated with the clustering-based analysis pipeline achieves high-throughput and high-resolution discrimination of highly similar sequences, and can serve as a new approach for genome-wide characterization of gene isoforms and other highly repetitive sequences.


September 22, 2019  |  

Lentinula edodes genome survey and postharvest transcriptome analysis.

Lentinula edodes is a popular, cultivated edible and medicinal mushroom. Lentinula edodes is susceptible to postharvest problems, such as gill browning, fruiting body softening, and lentinan degradation. We constructed a de novo assembly draft genome sequence and performed gene prediction for Lentinula edodesDe novo assembly was carried out using short reads from paired-end and mate-paired libraries and by using long reads by PacBio, resulting in a contig number of 1,951 and an N50 of 1 Mb. Furthermore, we predicted genes by Augustus using transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) data from the whole life cycle of Lentinula edodes, resulting in 12,959 predicted genes. This analysis revealed that Lentinula edodes lacks lignin peroxidase. To reveal genes involved in the loss of quality of Lentinula edodes postharvest fruiting bodies, transcriptome analysis was carried out using serial analysis of gene expression (SuperSAGE). This analysis revealed that many cell wall-related enzymes are upregulated after harvest, such as ß-1,3-1,6-glucan-degrading enzymes in glycoside hydrolase (GH) families GH5, GH16, GH30, GH55, and GH128, and thaumatin-like proteins. In addition, we found that several chitin-related genes are upregulated, such as putative chitinases in GH family 18, exochitinases in GH20, and a putative chitosanase in GH family 75. The results suggest that cell wall-degrading enzymes synergistically cooperate for rapid fruiting body autolysis. Many putative transcription factor genes were upregulated postharvest, such as genes containing high-mobility-group (HMG) domains and zinc finger domains. Several cell death-related proteins were also upregulated postharvest.IMPORTANCE Our data collectively suggest that there is a rapid fruiting body autolysis system in Lentinula edodes The genes for the loss of postharvest quality newly found in this research will be targets for the future breeding of strains that keep fresh longer than present strains. De novoLentinula edodes genome assembly data will be used for the construction of a complete Lentinula edodes chromosome map for future breeding. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Widespread polycistronic transcripts in fungi revealed by single-molecule mRNA sequencing.

Genes in prokaryotic genomes are often arranged into clusters and co-transcribed into polycistronic RNAs. Isolated examples of polycistronic RNAs were also reported in some higher eukaryotes but their presence was generally considered rare. Here we developed a long-read sequencing strategy to identify polycistronic transcripts in several mushroom forming fungal species including Plicaturopsis crispa, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, Trametes versicolor, and Gloeophyllum trabeum. We found genome-wide prevalence of polycistronic transcription in these Agaricomycetes, involving up to 8% of the transcribed genes. Unlike polycistronic mRNAs in prokaryotes, these co-transcribed genes are also independently transcribed. We show that polycistronic transcription may interfere with expression of the downstream tandem gene. Further comparative genomic analysis indicates that polycistronic transcription is conserved among a wide range of mushroom forming fungi. In summary, our study revealed, for the first time, the genome prevalence of polycistronic transcription in a phylogenetic range of higher fungi. Furthermore, we systematically show that our long-read sequencing approach and combined bioinformatics pipeline is a generic powerful tool for precise characterization of complex transcriptomes that enables identification of mRNA isoforms not recovered via short-read assembly.


September 22, 2019  |  

Initial colonization, community assembly and ecosystem function: fungal colonist traits and litter biochemistry mediate decay rate.

Priority effects are an important ecological force shaping biotic communities and ecosystem processes, in which the establishment of early colonists alters the colonization success of later-arriving organisms via competitive exclusion and habitat modification. However, we do not understand which biotic and abiotic conditions lead to strong priority effects and lasting historical contingencies. Using saprotrophic fungi in a model leaf decomposition system, we investigated whether compositional and functional consequences of initial colonization were dependent on initial colonizer traits, resource availability or a combination thereof. To test these ideas, we factorially manipulated leaf litter biochemistry and initial fungal colonist identity, quantifying subsequent community composition, using neutral genetic markers, and community functional characteristics, including enzyme potential and leaf decay rates. During the first 3 months, initial colonist respiration rate and physiological capacity to degrade plant detritus were significant determinants of fungal community composition and leaf decay, indicating that rapid growth and lignolytic potential of early colonists contributed to altered trajectories of community assembly. Further, initial colonization on oak leaves generated increasingly divergent trajectories of fungal community composition and enzyme potential, indicating stronger initial colonizer effects on energy-poor substrates. Together, these observations provide evidence that initial colonization effects, and subsequent consequences on litter decay, are dependent upon substrate biochemistry and physiological traits within a regional species pool. Because microbial decay of plant detritus is important to global C storage, our results demonstrate that understanding the mechanisms by which initial conditions alter priority effects during community assembly may be key to understanding the drivers of ecosystem-level processes. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Next generation multilocus sequence typing (NGMLST) and the analytical software program MLSTEZ enable efficient, cost-effective, high-throughput, multilocus sequencing typing.

Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) has become the preferred method for genotyping many biological species, and it is especially useful for analyzing haploid eukaryotes. MLST is rigorous, reproducible, and informative, and MLST genotyping has been shown to identify major phylogenetic clades, molecular groups, or subpopulations of a species, as well as individual strains or clones. MLST molecular types often correlate with important phenotypes. Conventional MLST involves the extraction of genomic DNA and the amplification by PCR of several conserved, unlinked gene sequences from a sample of isolates of the taxon under investigation. In some cases, as few as three loci are sufficient to yield definitive results. The amplicons are sequenced, aligned, and compared by phylogenetic methods to distinguish statistically significant differences among individuals and clades. Although MLST is simpler, faster, and less expensive than whole genome sequencing, it is more costly and time-consuming than less reliable genotyping methods (e.g. amplified fragment length polymorphisms). Here, we describe a new MLST method that uses next-generation sequencing, a multiplexing protocol, and appropriate analytical software to provide accurate, rapid, and economical MLST genotyping of 96 or more isolates in single assay. We demonstrate this methodology by genotyping isolates of the well-characterized, human pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of putative coffee rust mycoparasites using single molecule DNA sequencing of infected pustules.

The interaction of crop pests with their natural enemies is a fundament to their control. Natural enemies of fungal pathogens of crops are poorly known relative to those of insect pests despite the diversity of fungal pathogens and their economic importance. Currently, many regions across Latin America are experiencing unprecedented epidemics of coffee rust (Hemileia vastatrix). Identification of natural enemies of coffee rust could aid in developing management strategies or in pinpointing species that could be used for biocontrol. Here we characterize fungal communities associated with coffee rust lesions by single molecule DNA sequencing of fungal ribosomal RNA barcodes from leaf discs (˜28 mm(2)) containing rust lesions and control discs with no rust lesions. The leaf disc communities were hyper-diverse in fungi, with up to 57 taxa per control disc, and the diversity was only slightly reduced in rust-infected discs. However, geography had a greater influence on the fungal community than whether the disk was infected by coffee rust. Through comparisons between control and rust-infected leaf discs, as well as taxonomic criteria, we identified 15 putative mycoparasitic fungi. These fungi are concentrated in fungal family Cordycipitaceae and order Tremellales. These data emphasize the complexity of fungal diversity of unknown ecological function within a leaf that might influence plant disease epidemics or lead to the development of species for biocontrol of fungal disease. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Fungal ITS1 deep-sequencing strategies to reconstruct the composition of a 26-species community and evaluation of the gut mycobiota of healthy Japanese individuals.

The study of mycobiota remains relatively unexplored due to the lack of sufficient available reference strains and databases compared to those of bacterial microbiome studies. Deep sequencing of Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) regions is the de facto standard for fungal diversity analysis. However, results are often biased because of the wide variety of sequence lengths in the ITS regions and the complexity of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies. In this study, a curated ITS database, ntF-ITS1, was constructed. This database can be utilized for the taxonomic assignment of fungal community members. We evaluated the efficacy of strategies for mycobiome analysis by using this database and characterizing a mock fungal community consisting of 26 species representing 15 genera using ITS1 sequencing with three HTS platforms: Illumina MiSeq (MiSeq), Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine (IonPGM), and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio). Our evaluation demonstrated that PacBio’s circular consensus sequencing with greater than 8 full-passes most accurately reconstructed the composition of the mock community. Using this strategy for deep-sequencing analysis of the gut mycobiota in healthy Japanese individuals revealed two major mycobiota types: a single-species type composed of Candida albicans or Saccharomyces cerevisiae and a multi-species type. In this study, we proposed the best possible processing strategies for the three sequencing platforms, of which, the PacBio platform allowed for the most accurate estimation of the fungal community. The database and methodology described here provide critical tools for the emerging field of mycobiome studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

Recent developments in using advanced sequencing technologies for the genomic studies of lignin and cellulose degrading microorganisms.

Lignin is a complex polyphenyl aromatic compound which exists in tight associations with cellulose and hemicellulose to form plant primary and secondary cell wall. Lignocellulose is an abundant renewable biomaterial present on the earth. It has gained much attention in the scientific community in recent years because of its potential applications in bio-based industries. Microbial degradation of lignocellulose polymers was well studied in wood decaying fungi. Based on the plant materials they degrade these fungi were classified as white rot, brown rot and soft rot. However, some groups of bacteria belonging to the actinomycetes, a-proteobacteria and ß-proteobacteria were also found to be efficient in degrading lignocellulosic biomass but not well understood unlike the fungi. In this review we focus on recent advancements deployed for finding and understanding the lignocellulose degradation by microorganisms. Conventional molecular methods like sequencing 16s rRNA and Inter Transcribed Spacer (ITS) regions were used for identification and classification of microbes. Recent progression in genomics mainly next generation sequencing technologies made the whole genome sequencing of microbes possible in a great ease. The whole genome sequence studies reveals high quality information about genes and canonical pathways involved in the lignin and other cell wall components degradation.


September 22, 2019  |  

High-resolution community profiling of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

Community analyses of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) using ribosomal small subunit (SSU) or internal transcribed spacer (ITS) DNA sequences often suffer from low resolution or coverage. We developed a novel sequencing based approach for a highly resolving and specific profiling of AMF communities. We took advantage of previously established AMF-specific PCR primers that amplify a c. 1.5-kb long fragment covering parts of SSU, ITS and parts of the large ribosomal subunit (LSU), and we sequenced the resulting amplicons with single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing. The method was applicable to soil and root samples, detected all major AMF families and successfully discriminated closely related AMF species, which would not be discernible using SSU sequences. In inoculation tests we could trace the introduced AMF inoculum at the molecular level. One of the introduced strains almost replaced the local strain(s), revealing that AMF inoculation can have a profound impact on the native community. The methodology presented offers researchers a powerful new tool for AMF community analysis because it unifies improved specificity and enhanced resolution, whereas the drawback of medium sequencing throughput appears of lesser importance for low-diversity groups such as AMF.© 2016 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2016 New Phytologist Trust.


September 22, 2019  |  

Soil drying procedure affects the DNA quantification of Lactarius vinosus but does not change the fungal community composition.

Drying soil samples before DNA extraction is commonly used for specific fungal DNA quantification and metabarcoding studies, but the impact of different drying procedures on both the specific fungal DNA quantity and the fungal community composition has not been analyzed. We tested three different drying procedures (freeze-drying, oven-drying, and room temperature) on 12 different soil samples to determine (a) the soil mycelium biomass of the ectomycorrhizal species Lactarius vinosus using qPCR with a specifically designed TaqMan® probe and (b) the fungal community composition and diversity using the PacBio® RS II sequencing platform. Mycelium biomass of L. vinosus was significantly greater in the freeze-dried soil samples than in samples dried at oven and room temperature. However, drying procedures had no effect on fungal community composition or on fungal diversity. In addition, there were no significant differences in the proportions of fungi according to their functional roles (moulds vs. mycorrhizal species) in response to drying procedures. Only six out of 1139 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) had increased their relative proportions after soil drying at room temperature, with five of these OTUs classified as mould or yeast species. However, the magnitude of these changes was small, with an overall increase in relative abundance of these OTUs of approximately 2 %. These results suggest that DNA degradation may occur especially after drying soil samples at room temperature, but affecting equally nearly all fungi and therefore causing no significant differences in diversity and community composition. Despite the minimal effects caused by the drying procedures at the fungal community composition, freeze-drying resulted in higher concentrations of L. vinosus DNA and prevented potential colonization from opportunistic species.


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