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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genome-wide analysis of Borrelia turcica and ‘Candidatus Borrelia tachyglossi’ shows relapsing fever-like genomes with unique genomic links to Lyme disease Borrelia.

Borrelia are tick-borne bacteria that in humans are the aetiological agents of Lyme disease and relapsing fever. Here we present the first genomes of B. turcica and B. tachyglossi, members of a recently described and rapidly expanding Borrelia clade associated with reptile (B. turcica) or echidna (B. tachyglossi) hosts, transmitted by hard ticks, and of unknown pathogenicity. Borrelia tachyglossi and B. turcica genomes are similar to those of relapsing fever Borrelia species, containing a linear ~ 900?kb chromosome, a single long (> 70?kb) linear plasmid, and numerous short (< 40?kb) linear and circular plasmids, as well as a suite of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Characterisation of pathogen-specific regions and novel effector candidates in Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae.

A reference-quality assembly of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae (Foc), the causative agent of onion basal rot has been generated along with genomes of additional pathogenic and non-pathogenic isolates of onion. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed a single origin of the Foc pathogenic lineage. Genome alignments with other F. oxysporum ff. spp. and non pathogens revealed high levels of syntenic conservation of core chromosomes but little synteny between lineage specific (LS) chromosomes. Four LS contigs in Foc totaling 3.9?Mb were designated as pathogen-specific (PS). A two-fold increase in segmental duplication events was observed between LS regions of the genome compared to within…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genome plasticity of agr-defective Staphylococcus aureus during clinical infection.

Therapy for bacteremia caused by Staphylococcus aureus is often ineffective, even when treatment conditions are optimal according to experimental protocols. Adapted subclones, such as those bearing mutations that attenuate agr-mediated virulence activation, are associated with persistent infection and patient mortality. To identify additional alterations in agr-defective mutants, we sequenced and assembled the complete genomes of clone pairs from colonizing and infected sites of several patients in whom S. aureus demonstrated a within-host loss of agr function. We report that events associated with agr inactivation result in agr-defective blood and nares strain pairs that are enriched in mutations compared to pairs…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Cloning of the wheat Yr15 resistance gene sheds light on the plant tandem kinase-pseudokinase family.

Yellow rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), is a devastating fungal disease threatening much of global wheat production. Race-specific resistance (R)-genes are used to control rust diseases, but the rapid emergence of virulent Pst races has prompted the search for a more durable resistance. Here, we report the cloning of Yr15, a broad-spectrum R-gene derived from wild emmer wheat, which encodes a putative kinase-pseudokinase protein, designated as wheat tandem kinase 1, comprising a unique R-gene structure in wheat. The existence of a similar gene architecture in 92 putative proteins across the plant kingdom, including the barley RPG1…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A multiplex homology-directed DNA repair assay reveals the impact of more than 1,000 BRCA1 missense substitution variants on protein function.

Loss-of-function pathogenic variants in BRCA1 confer a predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer. Genetic testing for sequence changes in BRCA1 frequently reveals a missense variant for which the impact on cancer risk and on the molecular function of BRCA1 is unknown. Functional BRCA1 is required for the homology-directed repair (HDR) of double-strand DNA breaks, a critical activity for maintaining genome integrity and tumor suppression. Here, we describe a multiplex HDR reporter assay for concurrently measuring the effects of hundreds of variants of BRCA1 for their role in DNA repair. Using this assay, we characterized the effects of 1,056 amino acid…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Whole genome sequencing for investigations of meningococcal outbreaks in the United States: a retrospective analysis.

Although rare in the U.S., outbreaks due to Neisseria meningitidis do occur. Rapid, early outbreak detection is important for timely public health response. In this study, we characterized U.S. meningococcal isolates (N?=?201) from 15 epidemiologically defined outbreaks (2009-2015) along with temporally and geographically matched sporadic isolates using multilocus sequence typing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and six whole genome sequencing (WGS) based methods. Recombination-corrected maximum likelihood (ML) and Bayesian phylogenies were reconstructed to identify genetically related outbreak isolates. All WGS analysis methods showed high degree of agreement and distinguished isolates with similar or indistinguishable PFGE patterns, or the same strain genotype.…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Type II restriction modification system in Ureaplasma parvum OMC-P162 strain.

Ureaplasma parvum serovar 3 strain, OMC-P162, was isolated from the human placenta of a preterm delivery at 26 weeks’ gestation. In this study, we sequenced the complete genome of OMC-P162 and compared it with other serovar 3 strains isolated from patients with different clinical conditions. Ten unique genes in OMC-P162, five of which encoded for hypothetical proteins, were identified. Of these, genes UPV_229 and UPV_230 formed an operon whose open reading frames were predicted to code for a DNA methyltransferase and a hypothetical protein, respectively. DNA modification analysis of the OMC-P162 genome identified N4-methylcytosine (m4C) and N6-methyladenine (m6A), but not…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The genomic basis of color pattern polymorphism in the Harlequin ladybird.

Many animal species comprise discrete phenotypic forms. A common example in natural populations of insects is the occurrence of different color patterns, which has motivated a rich body of ecological and genetic research [1-6]. The occurrence of dark, i.e., melanic, forms displaying discrete color patterns is found across multiple taxa, but the underlying genomic basis remains poorly characterized. In numerous ladybird species (Coccinellidae), the spatial arrangement of black and red patches on adult elytra varies wildly within species, forming strikingly different complex color patterns [7, 8]. In the harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, more than 200 distinct color forms have been described,…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Full-length extension of HLA allele sequences by HLA allele-specific hemizygous Sanger sequencing (SSBT).

The gold standard for typing at the allele level of the highly polymorphic Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) gene system is sequence based typing. Since sequencing strategies have mainly focused on identification of the peptide binding groove, full-length sequence information is lacking for >90% of the HLA alleles. One of the goals of the 17th IHIWS workshop is to establish full-length sequences for as many HLA alleles as possible. In our component “Extension of HLA sequences by full-length HLA allele-specific hemizygous Sanger sequencing” we have used full-length hemizygous Sanger Sequence Based Typing to achieve this goal. We selected samples of which…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Functional metagenomics identifies an exosialidase with an inverting catalytic mechanism that defines a new glycoside hydrolase family (GH156).

Exosialidases are glycoside hydrolases that remove a single terminal sialic acid residue from oligosaccharides. They are widely distributed in biology, having been found in prokaryotes, eukaryotes, and certain viruses. Most characterized prokaryotic sialidases are from organisms that are pathogenic or commensal with mammals. However, in this study, we used functional metagenomic screening to seek microbial sialidases encoded by environmental DNA isolated from an extreme ecological niche, a thermal spring. Using recombinant expression of potential exosialidase candidates and a fluorogenic sialidase substrate, we discovered an exosialidase having no homology to known sialidases. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that this protein is a member…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genomic evidence for asymmetric introgression by sexual selection in the common wall lizard.

Strongly selected characters can be transferred from one lineage to another with limited genetic exchange, resulting in asymmetric introgression and a mosaic genome in the receiving population. However, systems are rarely sufficiently well studied to link the pattern of introgression to its underlying process. Male common wall lizards in western Italy exhibit exaggeration of a suite of sexually selected characters that make them outcompete males from a distantly related lineage that lack these characters. This results in asymmetric hybridization and adaptive introgression of the suite of characters following secondary contact. We developed genomewide markers to infer the demographic history of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Comprehensive profiling of four base overhang ligation fidelity by T4 DNA Ligase and application to DNA assembly.

Synthetic biology relies on the manufacture of large and complex DNA constructs from libraries of genetic parts. Golden Gate and other Type IIS restriction enzyme-dependent DNA assembly methods enable rapid construction of genes and operons through one-pot, multifragment assembly, with the ordering of parts determined by the ligation of Watson-Crick base-paired overhangs. However, ligation of mismatched overhangs leads to erroneous assembly, and low-efficiency Watson Crick pairings can lead to truncated assemblies. Using sets of empirically vetted, high-accuracy junction pairs avoids this issue but limits the number of parts that can be joined in a single reaction. Here, we report the…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Streptococcus suis contains multiple phase-variable methyltransferases that show a discrete lineage distribution.

Streptococcus suis is a major pathogen of swine, responsible for a number of chronic and acute infections, and is also emerging as a major zoonotic pathogen, particularly in South-East Asia. Our study of a diverse population of S. suis shows that this organism contains both Type I and Type III phase-variable methyltransferases. In all previous examples, phase-variation of methyltransferases results in genome wide methylation differences, and results in differential regulation of multiple genes, a system known as the phasevarion (phase-variable regulon). We hypothesized that each variant in the Type I and Type III systems encoded a methyltransferase with a unique…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Excision-reintegration at a pneumococcal phase-variable restriction-modification locus drives within- and between-strain epigenetic differentiation and inhibits gene acquisition.

Phase-variation of Type I restriction-modification systems can rapidly alter the sequence motifs they target, diversifying both the epigenetic patterns and endonuclease activity within clonally descended populations. Here, we characterize the Streptococcus pneumoniae SpnIV phase-variable Type I RMS, encoded by the translocating variable restriction (tvr) locus, to identify its target motifs, mechanism and regulation of phase variation, and effects on exchange of sequence through transformation. The specificity-determining hsdS genes were shuffled through a recombinase-mediated excision-reintegration mechanism involving circular intermediate molecules, guided by two types of direct repeat. The rate of rearrangements was limited by an attenuator and toxin-antitoxin system homologs that…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Phenotypic and genomic comparison of Photorhabdus luminescens subsp. laumondii TT01 and a widely used rifampicin-resistant Photorhabdus luminescens laboratory strain.

Photorhabdus luminescens is an enteric bacterium, which lives in mutualistic association with soil nematodes and is highly pathogenic for a broad spectrum of insects. A complete genome sequence for the type strain P. luminescens subsp. laumondii TT01, which was originally isolated in Trinidad and Tobago, has been described earlier. Subsequently, a rifampicin resistant P. luminescens strain has been generated with superior possibilities for experimental characterization. This strain, which is widely used in research, was described as a spontaneous rifampicin resistant mutant of TT01 and is known as TT01-RifR.Unexpectedly, upon phenotypic comparison between the rifampicin resistant strain and its presumed parent…

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