April 21, 2020  |  

Tandem repeats lead to sequence assembly errors and impose multi-level challenges for genome and protein databases.

The widespread occurrence of repetitive stretches of DNA in genomes of organisms across the tree of life imposes fundamental challenges for sequencing, genome assembly, and automated annotation of genes and proteins. This multi-level problem can lead to errors in genome and protein databases that are often not recognized or acknowledged. As a consequence, end users working with sequences with repetitive regions are faced with ‘ready-to-use’ deposited data whose trustworthiness is difficult to determine, let alone to quantify. Here, we provide a review of the problems associated with tandem repeat sequences that originate from different stages during the sequencing-assembly-annotation-deposition workflow, and that may proliferate in public database repositories affecting all downstream analyses. As a case study, we provide examples of the Atlantic cod genome, whose sequencing and assembly were hindered by a particularly high prevalence of tandem repeats. We complement this case study with examples from other species, where mis-annotations and sequencing errors have propagated into protein databases. With this review, we aim to raise the awareness level within the community of database users, and alert scientists working in the underlying workflow of database creation that the data they omit or improperly assemble may well contain important biological information valuable to others. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


April 21, 2020  |  

Potent LpxC Inhibitors with In Vitro Activity Against Multi-Drug Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

New drugs with novel mechanisms of resistance are desperately needed to address both community and nosocomial infections due to Gram-negative bacteria. One such potential target is LpxC, an essential enzyme that catalyzes the first committed step of Lipid A biosynthesis. Achaogen conducted an extensive research campaign to discover novel LpxC inhibitors with activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa We report here the in vitro antibacterial activity and pharmacodynamics of ACHN-975, the only molecule from these efforts and the first ever LpxC inhibitor to be evaluated in Phase 1 clinical trials. In addition, we describe the profile of three additional LpxC inhibitors that were identified as potential lead molecules. These efforts did not produce an additional development candidate with a sufficiently large therapeutic window and the program was subsequently terminated.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Transcriptional initiation of a small RNA, not R-loop stability, dictates the frequency of pilin antigenic variation in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the sole causative agent of gonorrhea, constitutively undergoes diversification of the Type IV pilus. Gene conversion occurs between one of the several donor silent copies located in distinct loci and the recipient pilE gene, encoding the major pilin subunit of the pilus. A guanine quadruplex (G4) DNA structure and a cis-acting sRNA (G4-sRNA) are located upstream of the pilE gene and both are required for pilin antigenic variation (Av). We show that the reduced sRNA transcription lowers pilin Av frequencies. Extended transcriptional elongation is not required for Av, since limiting the transcript to 32 nt allows for normal Av frequencies. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, we show that cellular G4s are less abundant when sRNA transcription is lower. In addition, using ChIP, we demonstrate that the G4-sRNA forms a stable RNA:DNA hybrid (R-loop) with its template strand. However, modulating R-loop levels by controlling RNase HI expression does not alter G4 abundance quantified through ChIP. Since pilin Av frequencies were not altered when modulating R-loop levels by controlling RNase HI expression, we conclude that transcription of the sRNA is necessary, but stable R-loops are not required to promote pilin Av. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Updated assembly resource of Phytophthora ramorum Pr102 isolate incorporating long reads from PacBio sequencing.

The NA1 clonal lineage of Phytophthora ramorum is responsible for Sudden Oak Death, an epidemic that has devastated California’s coastal forest ecosystems. An NA1 isolate Pr102 derived from coast live oak in California was previously sequenced and reported with 65 Mb assembly containing 12 Mb gaps in 2576 scaffolds. Here we report an improved 70 Mb genome in 1512 scaffolds with 6752 bp gaps after incorporating PacBio P5-C3 longreads. This assembly contains 19494 gene models (average gene length 2515 bp) compared to 16134 genes (average gene length of 1673 bp) in the previous version. We predicted 29 new RXLRs and 76 new paralogs of a total 392 RXLRs from this assembly. We predicted 35 CRNs compared to 19 in earlier version with six paralogs. Our lncRNAs prediction identified 255 candidates. This new resource will be invaluable for future evolution studies on the invasive plant pathogen.


April 21, 2020  |  

Plasmid-encoded tet(X) genes that confer high-level tigecycline resistance in Escherichia coli.

Tigecycline is one of the last-resort antibiotics to treat complicated infections caused by both multidrug-resistant Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria1. Tigecycline resistance has sporadically occurred in recent years, primarily due to chromosome-encoding mechanisms, such as overexpression of efflux pumps and ribosome protection2,3. Here, we report the emergence of the plasmid-mediated mobile tigecycline resistance mechanism Tet(X4) in Escherichia coli isolates from China, which is capable of degrading all tetracyclines, including tigecycline and the US FDA newly approved eravacycline. The tet(X4)-harbouring IncQ1 plasmid is highly transferable, and can be successfully mobilized and stabilized in recipient clinical and laboratory strains of Enterobacteriaceae bacteria. It is noteworthy that tet(X4)-positive E.?coli strains, including isolates co-harbouring mcr-1, have been widely detected in pigs, chickens, soil and dust samples in China. In vivo murine models demonstrated that the presence of Tet(X4) led to tigecycline treatment failure. Consequently, the emergence of plasmid-mediated Tet(X4) challenges the clinical efficacy of the entire family of tetracycline antibiotics. Importantly, our study raises concern that the plasmid-mediated tigecycline resistance may further spread into various ecological niches and into clinical high-risk pathogens. Collective efforts are in urgent need to preserve the potency of these essential antibiotics.


April 21, 2020  |  

Antibiotic susceptibility of plant-derived lactic acid bacteria conferring health benefits to human.

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) confer health benefits to human when administered orally. We have recently isolated several species of LAB strains from plant sources, such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, and medicinal plants. Since antibiotics used to treat bacterial infection diseases induce the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria in intestinal microflora, it is important to evaluate the susceptibility of LAB strains to antibiotics to ensure the safety and security of processed foods. The aim of the present study is to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of antibiotics against several plant-derived LAB strains. When aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as streptomycin (SM), kanamycin (KM), and gentamicin (GM), were evaluated using LAB susceptibility test medium (LSM), the MIC was higher than when using Mueller-Hinton (MH) medium. Etest, which is an antibiotic susceptibility assay method consisting of a predefined gradient of antibiotic concentrations on a plastic strip, is used to determine the MIC of antibiotics world-wide. In the present study, we demonstrated that Etest was particularly valuable while testing LAB strains. We also show that the low susceptibility of the plant-derived LAB strains against each antibiotic tested is due to intrinsic resistance and not acquired resistance. This finding is based on the whole-genome sequence information reflecting the horizontal spread of the drug-resistance genes in the LAB strains.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Chinese chestnut genome: a reference for species restoration

Forest tree species are increasingly subject to severe mortalities from exotic pests, diseases, and invasive organisms, accelerated by climate change. Forest health issues are threatening multiple species and ecosystem sustainability globally. While sources of resistance may be available in related species, or among surviving trees, introgression of resistance genes into threatened tree species in reasonable time frames requires genome-wide breeding tools. Asian species of chestnut (Castanea spp.) are being employed as donors of disease resistance genes to restore native chestnut species in North America and Europe. To aid in the restoration of threatened chestnut species, we present the assembly of a reference genome with chromosome-scale sequences for Chinese chestnut (C. mollissima), the disease-resistance donor for American chestnut restoration. We also demonstrate the value of the genome as a platform for research and species restoration, including new insights into the evolution of blight resistance in Asian chestnut species, the locations in the genome of ecologically important signatures of selection differentiating American chestnut from Chinese chestnut, the identification of candidate genes for disease resistance, and preliminary comparisons of genome organization with related species.


April 21, 2020  |  

Soil Probiotic Utilizes Plant and Pollinator Transport for Territorial Expansion

Microbe-plant interactions are linked with the core microbiota, and both the plant and the microbial partners depend on one other to thrive in nature. However, why and how the below-ground core microbiota become established aboveground is poorly understood. We tracked the movement of a probiotic Streptomyces endophyte throughout a managed strawberry ecosystem. Probiotics in the rhizosphere and anthosphere were genetically identical, yet these niches were segregated in space and time. The probiotic in the rhizosphere moved upward via the vascular bundle, relocated to aboveground plant parts, and protected against Botrytis cinerea. It also moved from flowers to roots, and among flowers via pollinators that were protected against pollinator pathogens. Our results reveal a solid evidence in tripartite interaction with Streptomyces exploiting plant and pollinator partners.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome sequence resource for Ilyonectria mors-panacis, causing rusty root rot of Panax notoginseng.

Ilyonectria mors-panacis is a serious disease hampering the production of Panax notoginseng, an important Chinese medicinal herb, widely used for its anti-inflammatory, anti-fatigue, hepato-protective, and coronary heart disease prevention effects. Here, we report the first Illumina-Pacbio hybrid sequenced draft genome assembly of I. mors-panacis strain G3B and its annotation. The availability of this genome sequence not only represents an important tool toward understanding the genetics behind the infection mechanism of I. mors-panacis strain G3B but also will help illuminate the complexities of the taxonomy of this species.


April 21, 2020  |  

Comparative Genomic Analysis of a Multidrug-Resistant Listeria monocytogenes ST477 Isolate.

Listeria monocytogenes is an opportunistic human foodborne pathogen that causes severe infections with high hospitalization and fatality rates. Clonal complex 9 (CC9) contains a large number of sequence types (STs) and is one of the predominant clones distributed worldwide. However, genetic characteristics of ST477 isolates, which also belong to CC9, have never been examined, and little is known about the detail genomic traits of this food-associated clone. In this study, we sequenced and constructed the whole-genome sequence of an ST477 isolate from a frozen food sample in China and compared it with 58 previously sequenced genomes of 25 human-associated, 5 animal, and 27 food isolates consisting of 6 CC9 and 52 other clones. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the ST477 clustered with three Canadian ST9 isolates. All phylogeny revealed that CC9 isolates involved in this study consistently possessed the invasion-related gene vip. Mobile genetic elements (MGEs), resistance genes, and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas system were elucidated among CC9 isolates. Our ST477 isolate contained a Tn554-like transposon, carrying five arsenical-resistance genes (arsA-arsD, arsR), which was exclusively identified in the CC9 background. Compared with the ST477 genome, three Canadian ST9 isolates shared nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions in the condensin complex gene smc and cell surface protein genes ftsA and essC. Our findings preliminarily indicate that the extraordinary success of CC9 clone in colonization of different geographical regions is likely due to conserved features harboring MGEs, functional virulence and resistance genes. ST477 and three ST9 genomes are closely related and the distinct differences between them consist primarily of changes in genes involved in multiplication and invasion, which may contribute to the prevalence of ST9 isolates in food and food processing environment.


April 21, 2020  |  

IncC blaKPC-2-positive plasmid characterized from ST648 Escherichia coli.

This study describes the characterization of type 2 IncC plasmids pC-Ec20-KPC and pC-Ec2-KPC, carrying blaKPC-2 gene, from two multiresistant E. coli recovered in the University Hospital of Larissa, in 2018.Escherichia coli, Ec-2Lar and Ec-20Lar, were recovered from rectal swabs from two patients, during the monthly surveillance cultures. Transfer experiments by conjugation were carried out with E. coli recipients. blaKPC-carrying plasmids were characterized by S1 profiling. Isolates were typed by MLST. Whole bacterial genome was sequenced using the Sequel platform.Both E. coli isolates, belonging to ST648, transferred the blaKPC-2 to E. coli A15 laboratory strain by conjugation. Plasmid analysis revealed that the transconjugants harbored blaKPC-positive plasmids of different sizes. Analysis of plasmid sequences showed that, in both isolates, blaKPC-2 gene was carried on type 2 IncC plasmids pC-Ec20-KPC and pC-Ec2-KPC. Both plasmids carried the ARI-B resistance island, which consisted of several resistance genes, intact and truncated copies of several mobile elements, and a 25,571-bp segment harboring coding sequences for an iron transporter. The blaKPC-2 gene was part of the transposon Tn4401a, which was bounded by direct repeats of 5 bp (TCCTT) suggesting its transposition into the IncC plasmids.To our knowledge, this is the first report on complete nucleotide sequences of type 2 IncC plasmids. These findings, which hypothesize the acquisition of KPC-2-encoding transposon Tn4401a by an IncC replicon, indicate the ongoing need for molecular surveillance studies of MDR pathogens. Additionally, they underline the increasing clinical importance of the IncC plasmid family.Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome data of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense race 1 and tropical race 4 isolates using long-read sequencing.

Fusarium wilt of banana is caused by the soil-borne fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc). We generated two chromosome-level assemblies of Foc race 1 and tropical race 4 strains using single-molecule real-time sequencing. The Foc1 and FocTR4 assemblies had 35 and 29 contigs with contig N50 lengths of 2.08 Mb and 4.28 Mb, respectively. These two new references genomes represent a greater than 100-fold improvement over the contig N50 statistics of the previous short read-based Foc assemblies. The two high-quality assemblies reported here will be a valuable resource for the comparative analysis of Foc races at the pathogenic levels.


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