July 19, 2019  |  

The complete methylome of Helicobacter pylori UM032.

The genome of the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori encodes a large number of DNA methyltransferases (MTases), some of which are shared among many strains, and others of which are unique to a given strain. The MTases have potential roles in the survival of the bacterium. In this study, we sequenced a Malaysian H. pylori clinical strain, designated UM032, by using a combination of PacBio Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) and Illumina MiSeq next generation sequencing platforms, and used the SMRT data to characterize the set of methylated bases (the methylome).The N4-methylcytosine and N6-methyladenine modifications detected at single-base resolution using SMRT technology revealed 17 methylated sequence motifs corresponding to one Type I and 16 Type II restriction-modification (R-M) systems. Previously unassigned methylation motifs were now assigned to their respective MTases-coding genes. Furthermore, one gene that appears to be inactive in the H. pylori UM032 genome during normal growth was characterized by cloning.Consistent with previously-studied H. pylori strains, we show that strain UM032 contains a relatively large number of R-M systems, including some MTase activities with novel specificities. Additional studies are underway to further elucidating the biological significance of the R-M systems in the physiology and pathogenesis of H. pylori.


July 19, 2019  |  

Dissecting the causal mechanism of X-linked Dystonia-Parkinsonism by integrating genome and transcriptome assembly.

X-linked Dystonia-Parkinsonism (XDP) is a Mendelian neurodegenerative disease that is endemic to the Philippines and is associated with a founder haplotype. We integrated multiple genome and transcriptome assembly technologies to narrow the causal mutation to the TAF1 locus, which included a SINE-VNTR-Alu (SVA) retrotransposition into intron 32 of the gene. Transcriptome analyses identified decreased expression of the canonical cTAF1 transcript among XDP probands, and de novo assembly across multiple pluripotent stem-cell-derived neuronal lineages discovered aberrant TAF1 transcription that involved alternative splicing and intron retention (IR) in proximity to the SVA that was anti-correlated with overall TAF1 expression. CRISPR/Cas9 excision of the SVA rescued this XDP-specific transcriptional signature and normalized TAF1 expression in probands. These data suggest an SVA-mediated aberrant transcriptional mechanism associated with XDP and may provide a roadmap for layered technologies and integrated assembly-based analyses for other unsolved Mendelian disorders. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the progenitor of wheat A subgenome Triticum urartu.

Triticum urartu (diploid, AA) is the progenitor of the A subgenome of tetraploid (Triticum turgidum, AABB) and hexaploid (Triticum aestivum, AABBDD) wheat1,2. Genomic studies of T. urartu have been useful for investigating the structure, function and evolution of polyploid wheat genomes. Here we report the generation of a high-quality genome sequence of T. urartu by combining bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-by-BAC sequencing, single molecule real-time whole-genome shotgun sequencing 3 , linked reads and optical mapping4,5. We assembled seven chromosome-scale pseudomolecules and identified protein-coding genes, and we suggest a model for the evolution of T. urartu chromosomes. Comparative analyses with genomes of other grasses showed gene loss and amplification in the numbers of transposable elements in the T. urartu genome. Population genomics analysis of 147 T. urartu accessions from across the Fertile Crescent showed clustering of three groups, with differences in altitude and biostress, such as powdery mildew disease. The T. urartu genome assembly provides a valuable resource for studying genetic variation in wheat and related grasses, and promises to facilitate the discovery of genes that could be useful for wheat improvement.


July 7, 2019  |  

Recombination of virulence genes in divergent Acidovorax avenae strains that infect a common host.

Bacterial etiolation and decline (BED), caused by Acidovorax avenae, is an emerging disease of creeping bentgrass on golf courses in the United States. We performed the first comprehensive analysis of A. avenae on a nationwide collection of turfgrass- and maize-pathogenic A. avenae. Surprisingly, our results reveal that the turfgrass-pathogenic A. avenae in North America are not only highly divergent but also belong to two distinct phylogroups. Both phylogroups specifically infect turfgrass but are more closely related to maize pathogens than to each other. This suggests that, although the disease is only recently reported, it has likely been infecting turfgrass for a long time. To identify a genetic basis for the host specificity, we searched for genes closely related among turfgrass strains but distantly related to their homologs from maize strains. We found a cluster of 11 such genes generated by three ancient recombination events within the type III secretion system (T3SS) pathogenicity island. Ever since the recombination, the cluster has been conserved by strong purifying selection, hinting at its selective importance. Together our analyses suggest that BED is an ancient disease that may owe its host specificity to a highly conserved cluster of 11 T3SS genes.


July 7, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of maize ear rot pathogens reveals expansion of carbohydrate-active enzymes and secondary metabolism backbone genes in Stenocarpella maydis.

Stenocarpella maydis is a plant pathogenic fungus that causes Diplodia ear rot, one of the most destructive diseases of maize. To date, little information is available regarding the molecular basis of pathogenesis in this organism, in part due to limited genomic resources. In this study, a 54.8 Mb draft genome assembly of S. maydis was obtained with Illumina and PacBio sequencing technologies, and analyzed. Comparative genomic analyses with the predominant maize ear rot pathogens Aspergillus flavus, Fusarium verticillioides, and Fusarium graminearum revealed an expanded set of carbohydrate-active enzymes for cellulose and hemicellulose degradation in S. maydis. Analyses of predicted genes involved in starch degradation revealed six putative a-amylases, four extracellular and two intracellular, and two putative ?-amylases, one of which appears to have been acquired from bacteria via horizontal transfer. Additionally, 87 backbone genes involved in secondary metabolism were identified, which represents one of the largest known assemblages among Pezizomycotina species. Numerous secondary metabolite gene clusters were identified, including two clusters likely involved in the biosynthesis of diplodiatoxin and chaetoglobosins. The draft genome of S. maydis presented here will serve as a useful resource for molecular genetics, functional genomics, and analyses of population diversity in this organism. Copyright © 2017 British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Letting go: bacterial genome reduction solves the dilemma of adapting to predation mortality in a substrate-restricted environment.

Resource limitation and predation mortality are major determinants of microbial population dynamics, and optimization for either aspect is considered to imply a trade-off with respect to the other. Adaptation to these selective factors may, moreover, lead to disadvantages at rich growth conditions. We present an example of a concomitant evolutionary optimization to both, substrate limitation and predation in an aggregate-forming freshwater bacterial isolate, and we elucidate an underlying genomic mechanism. Bacteria were propagated in serial batch culture in a nutrient-restricted environment either with or without a bacterivorous flagellate. Strains isolated after 26 growth cycles of the predator-prey co-cultures formed as much total biomass as the ancestor at ancestral growth conditions, albeit largely reallocated to cell aggregates. A ~273?kbp genome fragment was lost in three strains that had independently evolved with predators. These strains had significantly higher growth yield on substrate-restricted media than others that were isolated from the same treatment before the excision event. Under predation pressure, the isolates with the deletion outcompeted both, the ancestor and the strains evolved without predators even at rich growth conditions. At the same time, genome reduction led to a growth disadvantage in the presence of benzoate due to the loss of the respective degradation pathway, suggesting that niche constriction might be the price for the bidirectional optimization.


July 7, 2019  |  

Multiple and diverse vsp and vlp sequences in Borrelia miyamotoi, a hard tick-borne zoonotic pathogen.

Based on chromosome sequences, the human pathogen Borrelia miyamotoi phylogenetically clusters with species that cause relapsing fever. But atypically for relapsing fever agents, B. miyamotoi is transmitted not by soft ticks but by hard ticks, which also are vectors of Lyme disease Borrelia species. To further assess the relationships of B. miyamotoi to species that cause relapsing fever, I investigated extrachromosomal sequences of a North American strain with specific attention on plasmid-borne vsp and vlp genes, which are the underpinnings of antigenic variation during relapsing fever. For a hybrid approach to achieve assemblies that spanned more than one of the paralogous vsp and vlp genes, a database of short-reads from next-generation sequencing was supplemented with long-reads obtained with real-time DNA sequencing from single polymerase molecules. This yielded three contigs of 31, 16, and 11 kb, which each contained multiple and diverse sequences that were homologous to vsp and vlp genes of the relapsing fever agent B. hermsii. Two plasmid fragments had coding sequences for plasmid partition proteins that differed from each other from paralogous proteins for the megaplasmid and a small plasmid of B. miyamotoi. One of 4 vsp genes, vsp1, was present at two loci, one of which was downstream of a candiate prokaryotic promoter. A limited RNA-seq analysis of a population growing in the blood of mice indicated that of the 4 different vsp genes vsp1 was the one that was expressed. The findings indicate that B. miyamotoi has at least four types of plasmids, two or more of which bear vsp and vlp gene sequences that are as numerous and diverse as those of relapsing fever Borrelia. The database and insights from these findings provide a foundation for further investigations of the immune responses to this pathogen and of the capability of B. miyamotoi for antigenic variation.


July 7, 2019  |  

Transcriptional profiling the 150 kb linear megaplasmid of Borrelia turicatae suggests a role in vector colonization and initiating mammalian infection.

Adaptation is key for survival as vector-borne pathogens transmit between the arthropod and vertebrate, and temperature change is an environmental signal inducing alterations in gene expression of tick-borne spirochetes. While plasmids are often associated with adaptation, complex genomes of relapsing fever spirochetes have hindered progress in understanding the mechanisms of vector colonization and transmission. We utilized recent advances in genome sequencing to generate the most complete version of the Borrelia turicatae 150 kb linear megaplasmid (lp150). Additionally, a transcriptional analysis of open reading frames (ORFs) in lp150 was conducted and identified regions that were up-regulated during in vitro cultivation at tick-like growth temperatures (22°C), relative to bacteria grown at 35°C and infected murine blood. Evaluation of the 3′ end of lp150 identified a cluster of ORFs that code for putative surface lipoproteins. With a microbe’s surface proteome serving important roles in pathogenesis, we confirmed the ORFs expression in vitro and in the tick compared to spirochetes infecting murine blood. Transcriptional evaluation of lp150 indicates the plasmid likely has essential roles in vector colonization and/or initiating mammalian infection. These results also provide a much needed transcriptional framework to delineate the molecular mechanisms utilized by relapsing fever spirochetes during their enzootic cycle.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence and genomic characterization of Microcystis panniformis FACHB 1757 by third-generation sequencing.

The cyanobacterial genus Microcystis is well known as the main group that forms harmful blooms in water. A strain of Microcystis, M. panniformis FACHB1757, was isolated from Meiliang Bay of Lake Taihu in August 2011. The whole genome was sequenced using PacBio RS II sequencer with 48-fold coverage. The complete genome sequence with no gaps contained a 5,686,839 bp chromosome and a 38,683 bp plasmid, which coded for 6,519 and 49 proteins, respectively. Comparison with strains of M. aeruginosa and some other water bloom-forming cyanobacterial species revealed large-scale structure rearrangement and length variation at the genome level along with 36 genomic islands annotated genome-wide, which demonstrates high plasticity of the M. panniformis FACHB1757 genome and reveals that Microcystis has a flexible genome evolution.


July 7, 2019  |  

Emergence of host-adapted Salmonella Enteritidis through rapid evolution in an immunocompromised host.

Host adaptation is a key factor contributing to the emergence of new bacterial, viral and parasitic pathogens. Many pathogens are considered promiscuous because they cause disease across a range of host species, while others are host-adapted, infecting particular hosts(1). Host adaptation can potentially progress to host restriction where the pathogen is strictly limited to a single host species and is frequently associated with more severe symptoms. Host-adapted and host-restricted bacterial clades evolve from within a broader host-promiscuous species and sometimes target different niches within their specialist hosts, such as adapting from a mucosal to a systemic lifestyle. Genome degradation, marked by gene inactivation and deletion, is a key feature of host adaptation, although the triggers initiating genome degradation are not well understood. Here, we show that a chronic systemic non-typhoidal Salmonella infection in an immunocompromised human patient resulted in genome degradation targeting genes that are expendable for a systemic lifestyle. We present a genome-based investigation of a recurrent blood-borne Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) infection covering 15 years in an interleukin (IL)-12 ß-1 receptor-deficient individual that developed into an asymptomatic chronic infection. The infecting S. Enteritidis harbored a mutation in the mismatch repair gene mutS that accelerated the genomic mutation rate. Phylogenetic analysis and phenotyping of multiple patient isolates provides evidence for a remarkable level of within-host evolution that parallels genome changes present in successful host-restricted bacterial pathogens but never before observed on this timescale. Our analysis identifies common pathways of host adaptation and demonstrates the role that immunocompromised individuals can play in this process.


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