April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic and transcriptomic characterization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa small colony variants derived from a chronic infection model.

Phenotypic change is a hallmark of bacterial adaptation during chronic infection. In the case of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection in patients with cystic fibrosis, well-characterized phenotypic variants include mucoid and small colony variants (SCVs). It has previously been shown that SCVs can be reproducibly isolated from the murine lung following the establishment of chronic infection with mucoid P. aeruginosa strain NH57388A. Using a combination of single-molecule real-time (PacBio) and Illumina sequencing we identify a large genomic inversion in the SCV through recombination between homologous regions of two rRNA operons and an associated truncation of one of the 16S rRNA genes and suggest this may be the genetic switch for conversion to the SCV phenotype. This phenotypic conversion is associated with large-scale transcriptional changes distributed throughout the genome. This global rewiring of the cellular transcriptomic output results in changes to normally differentially regulated genes that modulate resistance to oxidative stress, central metabolism and virulence. These changes are of clinical relevance because the appearance of SCVs during chronic infection is associated with declining lung function.


April 21, 2020  |  

Aquella oligotrophica gen. nov. sp. nov.: A new member of the family Neisseriaceae isolated from laboratory tap water.

A bacterial strain designated as P08T was isolated from laboratory tap water during a water quality assessment in University of Malaya, Malaysia. The strain was a Gram-negative, rod-shaped, nonmotile, and aerobic bacterium. Complete genome of P08T comprised of a 2,820,660 bp chromosome with a G + C content of 36.43%. Both 16S rRNA phylogeny and phylogenetic tree inferred from the core gene matrix demonstrated that P08T formed a hitherto unknown subline within the family Neisseriaceae. Ortho average nucleotide identity (OrthoANI) values and the percentage of conserved proteins (POCP) calculated from complete genome sequence indicated low relatedness between P08T and its phylogenetic neighbors. Respiratory quinone analysis revealed Q-8 as the only detectable quinone. The predominant cellular fatty acids were identified as C14:0 , iso-C15:0 , and summed feature 3 (C16:1 ?7c/C16:1 ?6c). The polar lipids consisted of uncharacterized aminolipid, phosphatidylglycerol, and phosphatidylethanolamine. All aspects of phenotypic and phylogenetic data suggested that strain P08T represents a novel genus within family Neisseriaceae, for which the name Aquella gen. nov. is proposed. The type species of the genus is Aquella oligotrophica sp. nov., and the type strain is P08T (=LMG 29629T =DSM 100970T ). © 2019 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Streptococcus periodonticum sp. nov., Isolated from Human Subgingival Dental Plaque of Periodontitis Lesion.

A novel facultative anaerobic and Gram-stain-positive coccus, designated strain ChDC F135T, was isolated from human subgingival dental plaque of periodontitis lesion and was characterized by polyphasic taxonomic analysis. The 16S rRNA gene (16S rDNA) sequence of strain ChDC F135T was closest to that of Streptococcus sinensis HKU4T (98.2%), followed by Streptococcus intermedia SK54T (97.0%), Streptococcus constellatus NCTC11325T (96.0%), and Streptococcus anginosus NCTC 10713T (95.7%). In contrast, phylogenetic analysis based on the superoxide dismutase gene (sodA) and the RNA polymerase beta-subunit gene (rpoB) showed that the nucleotide sequence similarities of strain ChDC F135T were highly similar to the corresponding genes of S. anginosus NCTC 10713T (99.2% and 97.6%, respectively), S. constellatus NCTC11325T (87.8% and 91.4%, respectively), and S. intermedia SK54T (85.8% and 91.2%, respectively) rather than those of S. sinensis HKU4T (80.5% and 82.6%). The complete genome of strain ChDC F135T consisted of 1,901,251 bp and the G+C content was 38.9 mol %. Average nucleotide identity value between strain ChDC F135T and S. sinensis HKU4T or S. anginosus NCTC 10713T were 75.7% and 95.6%, respectively. The C14:0 composition of the cellular fatty acids of strain ChDC F135T (32.8%) was different from that of S. intermedia (6-8%), S. constellatus (6-13%), and S. anginosus (13-20%). Based on the results of phylogenetic and phenotypic analysis, strain ChDC F135T (=?KCOM 2412T?=?JCM 33300T) was classified as a type strain of a novel species of the genus Streptococcus, for which we proposed the name Streptococcus periodonticum sp. nov.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of the Wolbachia wAlbB Endosymbiont of Aedes albopictus.

Wolbachia, an alpha-proteobacterium closely related to Rickettsia, is a maternally transmitted, intracellular symbiont of arthropods and nematodes. Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are naturally infected with Wolbachia strains wAlbA and wAlbB. Cell line Aa23 established from Ae. albopictus embryos retains only wAlbB and is a key model to study host-endosymbiont interactions. We have assembled the complete circular genome of wAlbB from the Aa23 cell line using long-read PacBio sequencing at 500× median coverage. The assembled circular chromosome is 1.48 megabases in size, an increase of more than 300 kb over the published draft wAlbB genome. The annotation of the genome identified 1,205 protein coding genes, 34 tRNA, 3 rRNA, 1 tmRNA, and 3 other ncRNA loci. The long reads enabled sequencing over complex repeat regions which are difficult to resolve with short-read sequencing. Thirteen percent of the genome comprised insertion sequence elements distributed throughout the genome, some of which cause pseudogenization. Prophage WO genes encoding some essential components of phage particle assembly are missing, while the remainder are found in five prophage regions/WO-like islands or scattered around the genome. Orthology analysis identified a core proteome of 535 orthogroups across all completed Wolbachia genomes. The majority of proteins could be annotated using Pfam and eggNOG analyses, including ankyrins and components of the Type IV secretion system. KEGG analysis revealed the absence of five genes in wAlbB which are present in other Wolbachia. The availability of a complete circular chromosome from wAlbB will enable further biochemical, molecular, and genetic analyses on this strain and related Wolbachia. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

Oenococcus sicerae sp. nov., isolated from French cider.

Two Gram-stain-positive, small ellipsoidal cocci, non-motile, oxidase- and catalase-negative, and facultative anaerobic strains (UCMA15228T and UCMA17102) were isolated in France, from fermented apple juices (ciders). The 16S rRNA gene sequence was identical between the two isolates and showed 97 % similarity with respect to the closest related species Oenococcus oeni and O. kitaharae. Therefore, the two isolates were classified within the genus Oenococcus. The phylogeny based on the pheS gene sequences also confirmed the position of the new taxon. DNA-DNA hybridizations based on in silico genome-to-genome comparisons (GGDC) and Average Nucleotide Identity (ANI) values, as well as species-specific PCR, validated the novelty of the taxon. Various phenotypic characteristics such as the optimum temperature and pH for growth, the ability to metabolise sugars, the aptitude to perform the malolactic fermentation, and the resistance to ethanol and NaCl, revealed that the two strains are distinguishable from the other members of the Oenococcus genus. The combined genotypic and phenotypic data support the classification of strains UCMA15228T and UCMA17102 into a novel species of Oenococcus, for which the name O. sicerae sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is UCMA15228T (=DSM107163T=CIRM-BIA2288T).Copyright © 2018 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Multiple modes of convergent adaptation in the spread of glyphosate-resistant Amaranthus tuberculatus.

The selection pressure exerted by herbicides has led to the repeated evolution of herbicide resistance in weeds. The evolution of herbicide resistance on contemporary timescales in turn provides an outstanding opportunity to investigate key questions about the genetics of adaptation, in particular the relative importance of adaptation from new mutations, standing genetic variation, or geographic spread of adaptive alleles through gene flow. Glyphosate-resistant Amaranthus tuberculatus poses one of the most significant threats to crop yields in the Midwestern United States, with both agricultural populations and herbicide resistance only recently emerging in Canada. To understand the evolutionary mechanisms driving the spread of resistance, we sequenced and assembled the A. tuberculatus genome and investigated the origins and population genomics of 163 resequenced glyphosate-resistant and susceptible individuals from Canada and the United States. In Canada, we discovered multiple modes of convergent evolution: in one locality, resistance appears to have evolved through introductions of preadapted US genotypes, while in another, there is evidence for the independent evolution of resistance on genomic backgrounds that are historically nonagricultural. Moreover, resistance on these local, nonagricultural backgrounds appears to have occurred predominantly through the partial sweep of a single haplotype. In contrast, resistant haplotypes arising from the Midwestern United States show multiple amplification haplotypes segregating both between and within populations. Therefore, while the remarkable species-wide diversity of A. tuberculatus has facilitated geographic parallel adaptation of glyphosate resistance, more recently established agricultural populations are limited to adaptation in a more mutation-limited framework.Copyright © 2019 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.


April 21, 2020  |  

Liriodendron genome sheds light on angiosperm phylogeny and species-pair differentiation.

The genus Liriodendron belongs to the family Magnoliaceae, which resides within the magnoliids, an early diverging lineage of the Mesangiospermae. However, the phylogenetic relationship of magnoliids with eudicots and monocots has not been conclusively resolved and thus remains to be determined1-6. Liriodendron is a relict lineage from the Tertiary with two distinct species-one East Asian (L. chinense (Hemsley) Sargent) and one eastern North American (L. tulipifera Linn)-identified as a vicariad species pair. However, the genetic divergence and evolutionary trajectories of these species remain to be elucidated at the whole-genome level7. Here, we report the first de novo genome assembly of a plant in the Magnoliaceae, L. chinense. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that magnoliids are sister to the clade consisting of eudicots and monocots, with rapid diversification occurring in the common ancestor of these three lineages. Analyses of population genetic structure indicate that L. chinense has diverged into two lineages-the eastern and western groups-in China. While L. tulipifera in North America is genetically positioned between the two L. chinense groups, it is closer to the eastern group. This result is consistent with phenotypic observations that suggest that the eastern and western groups of China may have diverged long ago, possibly before the intercontinental differentiation between L. chinense and L. tulipifera. Genetic diversity analyses show that L. chinense has tenfold higher genetic diversity than L. tulipifera, suggesting that the complicated regions comprising east-west-orientated mountains and the Yangtze river basin (especially near 30°?N latitude) in East Asia offered more successful refugia than the south-north-orientated mountain valleys in eastern North America during the Quaternary glacial period.


April 21, 2020  |  

Wild relatives of maize

Crop domestication changed the course of human evolution, and domestication of maize (Zea mays L. subspecies mays), today the world’s most important crop, enabled civilizations to flourish and has played a major role in shaping the world we know today. Archaeological and ethnobotanical research help us understand the development of the cultures and the movements of the peoples who carried maize to new areas where it continued to adapt. Ancient remains of maize cobs and kernels have been found in the place of domestication, the Balsas River Valley (~9,000 years before present era), and the cultivation center, the Tehuacan Valley (~5,000 years before present era), and have been used to study the process of domestication. Paleogenomic data showed that some of the genes controlling the stem and inflorescence architecture were comparable to modern maize, while other genes controlling ear shattering and starch biosynthesis retain high levels of variability, similar to those found in the wild relative teosinte. These results indicate that the domestication process was both gradual and complex, where different genetic loci were selected at different points in time, and that the transformation of teosinte to maize was completed in the last 5,000 years. Mesoamerican native cultures domesticated teosinte and developed maize from a 6 cm long, popping-kernel ear to what we now recognize as modern maize with its wide variety in ear size, kernel texture, color, size, and adequacy for diverse uses and also invented nixtamalization, a process key to maximizing its nutrition. Used directly for human and animal consumption, processed food products, bioenergy, and many cultural applications, it is now grown on six of the world’s seven continents. The study of its evolution and domestication from the wild grass teosinte helps us understand the nature of genetic diversity of maize and its wild relatives and gene expression. Genetic barriers to direct use of teosinte or Tripsacum in maize breeding have challenged our ability to identify valuable genes and traits, let alone incorporate them into elite, modern varieties. Genomic information and newer genetic technologies will facilitate the use of wild relatives in crop improvement; hence it is more important than ever to ensure their conservation and availability, fundamental to future food security. In situ conservation efforts dedicated to preserving remnant populations of wild relatives in Mexico are key to safeguarding the genetic diversity of maize and its genepool, as well as enabling these species to continue to adapt to dynamic climate and environmental changes. Genebank ex situ efforts are crucial to securely maintain collected wild relative resources and to provide them for gene discovery and other research efforts.


April 21, 2020  |  

Arcobacter cryaerophilus Isolated From New Zealand Mussels Harbor a Putative Virulence Plasmid.

A wide range of Arcobacter species have been described from shellfish in various countries but their presence has not been investigated in Australasia, in which shellfish are a popular delicacy. Since several arcobacters are considered to be emerging pathogens, we undertook a small study to evaluate their presence in several different shellfish, including greenshell mussels, oysters, and abalone (paua) in New Zealand. Arcobacter cryaerophilus, a species associated with human gastroenteritis, was the only species isolated, from greenshell mussels. Whole-genome sequencing revealed a range of genomic traits in these strains that were known or associated virulence factors. Furthermore, we describe the first putative virulence plasmid in Arcobacter, containing lytic, immunoavoidance, adhesion, antibiotic resistance, and gene transfer traits, among others. Complete genome sequence determination using a combination of long- and short-read genome sequencing strategies, was needed to identify the plasmid, clearly identifying its benefits. The potential for plasmids to disseminate virulence traits among Arcobacter and other species warrants further consideration by researchers interested in the risks to public health from these organisms.


April 21, 2020  |  

In-Depth Genomic and Phenotypic Characterization of the Antarctic Psychrotolerant Strain Pseudomonas sp. MPC6 Reveals Unique Metabolic Features, Plasticity, and Biotechnological Potential.

We obtained the complete genome sequence of the psychrotolerant extremophile Pseudomonas sp. MPC6, a natural Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) producing bacterium able to rapidly grow at low temperatures. Genomic and phenotypic analyses allowed us to situate this isolate inside the Pseudomonas fluorescens phylogroup of pseudomonads as well as to reveal its metabolic versatility and plasticity. The isolate possesses the gene machinery for metabolizing a variety of toxic aromatic compounds such as toluene, phenol, chloroaromatics, and TNT. In addition, it can use both C6- and C5-carbon sugars like xylose and arabinose as carbon substrates, an uncommon feature for bacteria of this genus. Furthermore, Pseudomonas sp. MPC6 exhibits a high-copy number of genes encoding for enzymes involved in oxidative and cold-stress response that allows it to cope with high concentrations of heavy metals (As, Cd, Cu) and low temperatures, a finding that was further validated experimentally. We then assessed the growth performance of MPC6 on glycerol using a temperature range from 0 to 45°C, the latter temperature corresponding to the limit at which this Antarctic isolate was no longer able to propagate. On the other hand, the MPC6 genome comprised considerably less virulence and drug resistance factors as compared to pathogenic Pseudomonas strains, thus supporting its safety. Unexpectedly, we found five PHA synthases within the genome of MPC6, one of which clustered separately from the other four. This PHA synthase shared only 40% sequence identity at the amino acid level against the only PHA polymerase described for Pseudomonas (63-1 strain) able to produce copolymers of short- and medium-chain length PHAs. Batch cultures for PHA synthesis in Pseudomonas sp. MPC6 using sugars, decanoate, ethylene glycol, and organic acids as carbon substrates result in biopolymers with different monomer compositions. This indicates that the PHA synthases play a critical role in defining not only the final chemical structure of the biosynthesized PHA, but also the employed biosynthetic pathways. Based on the results obtained, we conclude that Pseudomonas sp. MPC6 can be exploited as a bioremediator and biopolymer factory, as well as a model strain to unveil molecular mechanisms behind adaptation to cold and extreme environments.


April 21, 2020  |  

Resource Concentration Modulates the Fate of Dissimilated Nitrogen in a Dual-Pathway Actinobacterium.

Respiratory ammonification and denitrification are two evolutionarily unrelated dissimilatory nitrogen (N) processes central to the global N cycle, the activity of which is thought to be controlled by carbon (C) to nitrate (NO3-) ratio. Here we find that Intrasporangium calvum C5, a novel dual-pathway denitrifier/respiratory ammonifier, disproportionately utilizes ammonification rather than denitrification when grown under low C concentrations, even at low C:NO3- ratios. This finding is in conflict with the paradigm that high C:NO3- ratios promote ammonification and low C:NO3- ratios promote denitrification. We find that the protein atomic composition for denitrification modules (NirK) are significantly cost minimized for C and N compared to ammonification modules (NrfA), indicating that limitation for C and N is a major evolutionary selective pressure imprinted in the architecture of these proteins. The evolutionary precedent for these findings suggests ecological importance for microbial activity as evidenced by higher growth rates when I. calvum grows predominantly using its ammonification pathway and by assimilating its end-product (ammonium) for growth under ammonium-free conditions. Genomic analysis of I. calvum further reveals a versatile ecophysiology to cope with nutrient stress and redox conditions. Metabolite and transcriptional profiles during growth indicate that enzyme modules, NrfAH and NirK, are not constitutively expressed but rather induced by nitrite production via NarG. Mechanistically, our results suggest that pathway selection is driven by intracellular redox potential (redox poise), which may be lowered when resource concentrations are low, thereby decreasing catalytic activity of upstream electron transport steps (i.e., the bc1 complex) needed for denitrification enzymes. Our work advances our understanding of the biogeochemical flexibility of N-cycling organisms, pathway evolution, and ecological food-webs.


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