September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of a biosynthetic gene cluster for the polyene macrolactam sceliphrolactam in a Streptomyces strain isolated from mangrove sediment.

Streptomyces are a genus of Actinobacteria capable of producing structurally diverse natural products. Here we report the isolation and characterization of a biosynthetically talented Streptomyces (Streptomyces sp. SD85) from tropical mangrove sediments. Whole-genome sequencing revealed that Streptomyces sp. SD85 harbors at least 52 biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs), which constitute 21.2% of the 8.6-Mb genome. When cultivated under lab conditions, Streptomyces sp. SD85 produces sceliphrolactam, a 26-membered polyene macrolactam with unknown biosynthetic origin. Genome mining yielded a putative sceliphrolactam BGC (sce) that encodes a type I modular polyketide synthase (PKS) system, several ß-amino acid starter biosynthetic enzymes, transporters, and transcriptional regulators. Using the CRISPR/Cas9-based gene knockout method, we demonstrated that the sce BGC is essential for sceliphrolactam biosynthesis. Unexpectedly, the PKS system encoded by sce is short of one module required for assembling the 26-membered macrolactam skeleton according to the collinearity rule. With experimental data disfavoring the involvement of a trans-PKS module, the biosynthesis of sceliphrolactam seems to be best rationalized by invoking a mechanism whereby the PKS system employs an iterative module to catalyze two successive chain extensions with different outcomes. The potential violation of the collinearity rule makes the mechanism distinct from those of other polyene macrolactams.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative heterochromatin profiling reveals conserved and unique epigenome signatures linked to adaptation and development of malaria parasites.

Heterochromatin-dependent gene silencing is central to the adaptation and survival of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites, allowing clonally variant gene expression during blood infection in humans. By assessing genome-wide heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) occupancy, we present a comprehensive analysis of heterochromatin landscapes across different Plasmodium species, strains, and life cycle stages. Common targets of epigenetic silencing include fast-evolving multi-gene families encoding surface antigens and a small set of conserved HP1-associated genes with regulatory potential. Many P. falciparum heterochromatic genes are marked in a strain-specific manner, increasing the parasite’s adaptive capacity. Whereas heterochromatin is strictly maintained during mitotic proliferation of asexual blood stage parasites, substantial heterochromatin reorganization occurs in differentiating gametocytes and appears crucial for the activation of key gametocyte-specific genes and adaptation of erythrocyte remodeling machinery. Collectively, these findings provide a catalog of heterochromatic genes and reveal conserved and specialized features of epigenetic control across the genus Plasmodium. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Occurrence, evolution, and functions of DNA phosphorothioate epigenetics in bacteria.

The chemical diversity of physiological DNA modifications has expanded with the identification of phosphorothioate (PT) modification in which the nonbridging oxygen in the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA is replaced by sulfur. Together with DndFGH as cognate restriction enzymes, DNA PT modification, which is catalyzed by the DndABCDE proteins, functions as a bacterial restriction-modification (R-M) system that protects cells against invading foreign DNA. However, the occurrence of dnd systems across a large number of bacterial genomes and their functions other than R-M are poorly understood. Here, a genomic survey revealed the prevalence of bacterial dnd systems: 1,349 bacterial dnd systems were observed to occur sporadically across diverse phylogenetic groups, and nearly half of these occur in the form of a solitary dndBCDE gene cluster that lacks the dndFGH restriction counterparts. A phylogenetic analysis of 734 complete PT R-M pairs revealed the coevolution of M and R components, despite the observation that several PT R-M pairs appeared to be assembled from M and R parts acquired from distantly related organisms. Concurrent epigenomic analysis, transcriptome analysis, and metabolome characterization showed that a solitary PT modification contributed to the overall cellular redox state, the loss of which perturbed the cellular redox balance and induced Pseudomonas fluorescens to reconfigure its metabolism to fend off oxidative stress. An in vitro transcriptional assay revealed altered transcriptional efficiency in the presence of PT DNA modification, implicating its function in epigenetic regulation. These data suggest the versatility of PT in addition to its involvement in R-M protection.


September 22, 2019  |  

Acquisition of resistance to carbapenem and macrolide-mediated quorum sensing inhibition by Pseudomonas aeruginosa via ICE Tn4371 6385

Pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause life-threatening infections in immunocompromised patients. The first-line agents to treat P. aeruginosa infections are carbapenems. However, the emergence of carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa strains greatly compromised the effec- tiveness of carbapenem treatment, which makes the surveillance on their spreading and transmission important. Here we characterized the full-length genomes of two carbapenem- resistant P. aeruginosa clinical isolates that are capable of producing New Delhi metallo-ß- lactamase-1 (NDM-1). We show that blaNDM-1 is carried by a novel integrative and conjugative element (ICE) ICETn43716385, which also carries the macrolide resistance gene msr(E) and the florfenicol resistance gene floR. By exogenously expressing msr(E) in P. aeruginosa laboratory strains, we show that Msr(E) can abolish azithromycin-mediated quorum sensing inhibition in vitro and anti-Pseudomonas effect in vivo. We conclude that ICEs are important in transmitting carbapenem resistance, and that anti-virulence treatment of P. aeruginosa infections using sub-inhibitory concentrations of macrolides can be challenged by horizontal gene transfer.


September 22, 2019  |  

Characterization of a novel multidrug resistance plasmid pSGB23 isolated from Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Saintpaul.

Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Saintpaul (S. Saintpaul) is an important gut pathogen which causes salmonellosis worldwide. Although intestinal salmonellosis is usually self-limiting, it can be life-threatening in children, the elderlies and immunocompromised patients. Appropriate antibiotic treatment is therefore required for these patients. However, the efficacy of many antibiotics on S. enterica infections has been greatly compromised due to spreading of multidrug resistance (MDR) plasmids, which poses serious threats on public health and needs to be closely monitored. In this study, we sequenced and fully characterized an S. enterica MDR plasmid pSGB23 isolated from chicken.Complete genome sequence analysis revealed that S. Saintpaul strain SGB23 harbored a 254 kb megaplasmid pSGB23, which carries 11 antibiotic resistance genes responsible for resistance to 9 classes of antibiotics and quaternary ammonium compounds that are commonly used to disinfect food processing facilities. Furthermore, we found that pSGB23 carries multiple conjugative systems, which allow it to spread into other Enterobacteriaceae spp. by self-conjugation. It also harbors multiple types of replicons and plasmid maintenance and addictive systems, which explains its broad host range and stable inheritance.We report here a novel MDR plasmid pSGB23 harboured by S. enterica. To our knowledge, it carried the greatest number of antibiotic resistance genes with the broadest range of resistance spectrum among S. enterica MDR plasmids identified so far. The isolation of pSGB23 from food sources is worrisome, while surveillance on its further spreading will be carried out based on the findings reported in this study.


September 22, 2019  |  

Insights into the microbiota of Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) with tenacibaculosis symptoms and description of sp. nov. Tenacibaculum singaporense

Outbreaks of diseases in farmed fish remain a recurring problem despite the development of vaccines and improved hygiene standards on aquaculture farms. One commonly observed bacterial disease in tropical aquaculture of the South-East Asian region is tenacibaculosis, which is attributed to members of the Bacteroidetes genus Tenacibaculum, most notably T. maritimum. The impact of tenacibaculosis on fish microbiota remains poorly understood. In this study, we analysed the microbiota of different tissue types of commercially reared Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) that showed symptoms of tenacibaculosis and compared the microbial communities to those of healthy and experimentally infected fish that were exposed to diseased farm fish. The microbiota of diseased farm fish was dominated by Proteobacteria (relative abundancetextpmstandard deviation, 74.5%textpm22.8%) and Bacteroidetes (18.07%textpm21.7%), the latter mainly comprised by a high abundance of Tenacibaculum species (17.6%textpm20.7%). In healthy seabass Proteobacteria had also highest relative abundance (48.04%textpm0.02%), but Firmicutes (34.2%textpm0.02%) and Fusobacteria (12.0%textpm0.03%) were the next two major constituents. Experimentally infected fish developed lesions characteristic for tenacibaculosis, but the microbiota was primarily dominated by Proteobacteria (90.4%textpm0.2%) and Firmicutes (6.2%textpm0.1%). The relative abundance of Tenacibaculum species in experimentally infected fish was significantly lower than in the commercially reared diseased fish and revealed a higher prevalence of different Tenacibaculum species. One strain was isolated and is described here as sp. nov. Tenacibaculum singaporense TLL-A1T (=DSM 106434T, KCTC 62393T). The genome of T. singaporense was sequenced and compared to those of T. maritimum DSM 17995T and the newly sequenced T. mesophilum DSM 13764T.


September 22, 2019  |  

Chemical Synergy between Ionophore PBT2 and Zinc Reverses Antibiotic Resistance.

The World Health Organization reports that antibiotic-resistant pathogens represent an imminent global health disaster for the 21st century. Gram-positive superbugs threaten to breach last-line antibiotic treatment, and the pharmaceutical industry antibiotic development pipeline is waning. Here we report the synergy between ionophore-induced physiological stress in Gram-positive bacteria and antibiotic treatment. PBT2 is a safe-for-human-use zinc ionophore that has progressed to phase 2 clinical trials for Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease treatment. In combination with zinc, PBT2 exhibits antibacterial activity and disrupts cellular homeostasis in erythromycin-resistant group A Streptococcus (GAS), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). We were unable to select for mutants resistant to PBT2-zinc treatment. While ineffective alone against resistant bacteria, several clinically relevant antibiotics act synergistically with PBT2-zinc to enhance killing of these Gram-positive pathogens. These data represent a new paradigm whereby disruption of bacterial metal homeostasis reverses antibiotic-resistant phenotypes in a number of priority human bacterial pathogens.IMPORTANCE The rise of bacterial antibiotic resistance coupled with a reduction in new antibiotic development has placed significant burdens on global health care. Resistant bacterial pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus are leading causes of community- and hospital-acquired infection and present a significant clinical challenge. These pathogens have acquired resistance to broad classes of antimicrobials. Furthermore, Streptococcus pyogenes, a significant disease agent among Indigenous Australians, has now acquired resistance to several antibiotic classes. With a rise in antibiotic resistance and reduction in new antibiotic discovery, it is imperative to investigate alternative therapeutic regimens that complement the use of current antibiotic treatment strategies. As stated by the WHO Director-General, “On current trends, common diseases may become untreatable. Doctors facing patients will have to say, Sorry, there is nothing I can do for you.” Copyright © 2018 Bohlmann et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Description of Schaedlerella arabinophila gen. nov., sp. nov., a D-arabinose utilizing bacterium isolated from feces of C57BL/6J mice and a close relative of Clostridium sp. ASF 502

The use of gnotobiotics has gained large interest in recent years due to technological advances that have revealed the importance of host-associated microbiomes for host physiology and health. One of the oldest and most important gnotobiotics mouse model, the Altered Schaedler Flora (ASF) has been used for several decades. ASF comprises eight different bacterial species, which have been characterized to different extent, but only few are available through public strain collections. Here, the isolation of a close relative to one of the less studied ASF strains, Clostridium sp. ASF 502, is reported. Isolate TLL-A1, which shares 99.6% 16S rRNA gene sequence identity with Clostridium sp. ASF 502, was obtained from feces of C57BL/6J mice where is was detectable at a relative abundance of less than one percent. D-arabinose was used as sole carbon source in the anaerobic cultivation medium. Growth experiments with TLL-A1 on different carbon sources and analysis of its ~6.5 gigabase genome indicate that TLL-A1 harbors a large gene repertoire to utilize different carbohydrates for growth. Comparative genome analyses of TLL-A1 and Clostridium sp. ASF 502 reveal differences in genome content between the two strains, in particular with regards to carbohydrate activating enzymes. Based on physiology and genomic analysis it is proposed to name TLL-A1 to gen. nov. sp. nov Schaedlerella arabinophila TLL-A1 (DSMZ 106076T; KCTC 15657T). The closely related Clostridium sp. ASF 502 is proposed to be renamed to Schaedlerella arabinophila to reflect its taxonomic standing and to keep textquoterightASF 502textquoteright as strain designation.


July 19, 2019  |  

Long-read sequencing uncovers the adaptive topography of a carnivorous plant genome.

Utricularia gibba, the humped bladderwort, is a carnivorous plant that retains a tiny nuclear genome despite at least two rounds of whole genome duplication (WGD) since common ancestry with grapevine and other species. We used a third-generation genome assembly with several complete chromosomes to reconstruct the two most recent lineage-specific ancestral genomes that led to the modern U. gibba genome structure. Patterns of subgenome dominance in the most recent WGD, both architectural and transcriptional, are suggestive of allopolyploidization, which may have generated genomic novelty and led to instantaneous speciation. Syntenic duplicates retained in polyploid blocks are enriched for transcription factor functions, whereas gene copies derived from ongoing tandem duplication events are enriched in metabolic functions potentially important for a carnivorous plant. Among these are tandem arrays of cysteine protease genes with trap-specific expression that evolved within a protein family known to be useful in the digestion of animal prey. Further enriched functions among tandem duplicates (also with trap-enhanced expression) include peptide transport (intercellular movement of broken-down prey proteins), ATPase activities (bladder-trap acidification and transmembrane nutrient transport), hydrolase and chitinase activities (breakdown of prey polysaccharides), and cell-wall dynamic components possibly associated with active bladder movements. Whereas independently polyploid Arabidopsis syntenic gene duplicates are similarly enriched for transcriptional regulatory activities, Arabidopsis tandems are distinct from those of U. gibba, while still metabolic and likely reflecting unique adaptations of that species. Taken together, these findings highlight the special importance of tandem duplications in the adaptive landscapes of a carnivorous plant genome.


July 19, 2019  |  

The draft genome of tropical fruit durian (Durio zibethinus).

Durian (Durio zibethinus) is a Southeast Asian tropical plant known for its hefty, spine-covered fruit and sulfury and onion-like odor. Here we present a draft genome assembly of D. zibethinus, representing the third plant genus in the Malvales order and first in the Helicteroideae subfamily to be sequenced. Single-molecule sequencing and chromosome contact maps enabled assembly of the highly heterozygous durian genome at chromosome-scale resolution. Transcriptomic analysis showed upregulation of sulfur-, ethylene-, and lipid-related pathways in durian fruits. We observed paleopolyploidization events shared by durian and cotton and durian-specific gene expansions in MGL (methionine ?-lyase), associated with production of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). MGL and the ethylene-related gene ACS (aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase) were upregulated in fruits concomitantly with their downstream metabolites (VSCs and ethylene), suggesting a potential association between ethylene biosynthesis and methionine regeneration via the Yang cycle. The durian genome provides a resource for tropical fruit biology and agronomy.


July 7, 2019  |  

Draft genome sequence of Thauera sp. strain SWB20, isolated from a Singapore wastewater treatment facility using gel microdroplets.

We report here the genome sequence of Thauera sp. strain SWB20, isolated from a Singaporean wastewater treatment facility using gel microdroplets (GMDs) and single-cell genomics (SCG). This approach provided a single clonal microcolony that was sufficient to obtain a 4.9-Mbp genome assembly of an ecologically relevant Thauera species. Copyright © 2015 Dichosa et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic reconnaissance of clinical isolates of emerging human pathogen Mycobacterium abscessus reveals high evolutionary potential.

Mycobacterium abscessus (Ma) is an emerging human pathogen that causes both soft tissue infections and systemic disease. We present the first comparative whole-genome study of Ma strains isolated from patients of wide geographical origin. We found a high proportion of accessory strain-specific genes indicating an open, non-conservative pan-genome structure, and clear evidence of rapid phage-mediated evolution. Although we found fewer virulence factors in Ma compared to M. tuberculosis, our data indicated that Ma evolves rapidly and therefore should be monitored closely for the acquisition of more pathogenic traits. This comparative study provides a better understanding of Ma and forms the basis for future functional work on this important pathogen.


July 7, 2019  |  

Comparing the genomes of Helicobacter pylori clinical strain UM032 and mice-adapted derivatives.

Helicobacter pylori is a Gram-negative bacterium that persistently infects the human stomach inducing chronic inflammation. The exact mechanisms of pathogenesis are still not completely understood. Although not a natural host for H. pylori, mouse infection models play an important role in establishing the immunology and pathogenicity of H. pylori. In this study, for the first time, the genome sequences of clinical H. pylori strain UM032 and mice-adapted derivatives, 298 and 299, were sequenced using the PacBio Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) technology.Here, we described the single contig which was achieved for UM032 (1,599,441 bp), 298 (1,604,216 bp) and 299 (1,601,149 bp). Preliminary analysis suggested that methylation of H. pylori genome through its restriction modification system may be determinative of its host specificity and adaptation.Availability of these genomic sequences will aid in enhancing our current level of understanding the host specificity of H. pylori.


July 7, 2019  |  

Quantum changes in Helicobacter pylori gene expression accompany host-adaptation.

Helicobacter pylori is a highly successful gastric pathogen. High genomic plasticity allows its adaptation to changing host environments. Complete genomes of H. pylori clinical isolate UM032 and its mice-adapted serial derivatives 298 and 299, generated using both PacBio RS and Illumina MiSeq sequencing technologies, were compared to identify novel elements responsible for host-adaptation. The acquisition of a jhp0562-like allele, which encodes for a galactosyltransferase, was identified in the mice-adapted strains. Our analysis implies a new ß-1,4-galactosyltransferase role for this enzyme, essential for Ley antigen expression. Intragenomic recombination between babA and babB genes was also observed. Further, we expanded on the list of candidate genes whose expression patterns have been mediated by upstream homopolymer-length alterations to facilitate host adaption. Importantly, greater than four-fold reduction of mRNA levels was demonstrated in five genes. Among the down-regulated genes, three encode for outer membrane proteins, including BabA, BabB and HopD. As expected, a substantial reduction in BabA protein abundance was detected in mice-adapted strains 298 and 299 via Western analysis. Our results suggest that the expression of Ley antigen and reduced outer membrane protein expressions may facilitate H. pylori colonisation of mouse gastric epithelium.© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Kazusa DNA Research Institute.


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