April 21, 2020  |  

Evolution of a 72-kb cointegrant, conjugative multiresistance plasmid from early community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates.

Horizontal transfer of plasmids encoding antimicrobial-resistance and virulence determinants has been instrumental in Staphylococcus aureus evolution, including the emergence of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA). In the early 1990s the first CA-MRSA isolated in Western Australia (WA), WA-5, encoded cadmium, tetracycline and penicillin-resistance genes on plasmid pWBG753 (~30 kb). WA-5 and pWBG753 appeared only briefly in WA, however, fusidic-acid-resistance plasmids related to pWBG753 were also present in the first European CA-MRSA at the time. Here we characterized a 72-kb conjugative plasmid pWBG731 present in multiresistant WA-5-like clones from the same period. pWBG731 was a cointegrant formed from pWBG753 and a pWBG749-family conjugative plasmid. pWBG731 carried mupirocin, trimethoprim, cadmium and penicillin-resistance genes. The stepwise evolution of pWBG731 likely occurred through the combined actions of IS257, IS257-dependent miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) and the BinL resolution system of the ß-lactamase transposon Tn552 An evolutionary intermediate ~42-kb non-conjugative plasmid pWBG715, possessed the same resistance genes as pWBG731 but retained an integrated copy of the small tetracycline-resistance plasmid pT181. IS257 likely facilitated replacement of pT181 with conjugation genes on pWBG731, thus enabling autonomous transfer. Like conjugative plasmid pWBG749, pWBG731 also mobilized non-conjugative plasmids carrying oriT mimics. It seems likely that pWBG731 represents the product of multiple recombination events between the WA-5 pWBG753 plasmid and other mobile genetic elements present in indigenous CA-MSSA. The molecular evolution of pWBG731 saliently illustrates how diverse mobile genetic elements can together facilitate rapid accrual and horizontal dissemination of multiresistance in S. aureus CA-MRSA.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Virus-host coexistence in phytoplankton through the genomic lens

Phytoplankton-virus interactions are major determinants of geochemical cycles in the oceans. Viruses are responsible for the redirection of carbon and nutrients away from larger organisms back towards microorganisms via the lysis of microalgae in a process coined the “viral shunt”. Virus-host interactions are generally expected to follow “boom and bust” dynamics, whereby a numerically dominant strain is lysed and replaced by a virus resistant strain. Here, we isolated a microalga and its infective nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA virus (NCLDV) concomitantly from the environment in the surface NW Mediterranean Sea, Ostreococcus mediterraneus, and show continuous growth in culture of both the microalga and the virus. Evolution experiments through single cell bottlenecks demonstrate that, in the absence of the virus, susceptible cells evolve from one ancestral resistant single cell, and vice-versa; that is that resistant cells evolve from one ancestral susceptible cell. This provides evidence that the observed sustained viral production is the consequence of a minority of virus-susceptible cells. The emergence of these cells is explained by low-level phase switching between virus-resistant and virus-susceptible phenotypes, akin to a bet hedging strategy. Whole genome sequencing and analysis of the ~14 Mb microalga and the ~200 kb virus points towards ancient speciation of the microalga within the Ostreococcus species complex and frequent gene exchanges between prasinoviruses infecting Ostreococcus species. Re-sequencing of one susceptible strain demonstrated that the phase switch involved a large 60 Kb deletion of one chromosome. This chromosome is an outlier chromosome compared to the streamlined, gene dense, GC-rich standard chromosomes, as it contains many repeats and few orthologous genes. While this chromosome has been described in three different genera, its size increments have been previously associated to antiviral immunity and resistance in another species from the same genus. Mathematical modelling of this mechanism predicts microalga-virus population dynamics consistent with the observation of continuous growth of both virus and microalga. Altogether, our results suggest a previously overlooked strategy in phytoplankton-virus interactions.


April 21, 2020  |  

Large-scale ruminant genome sequencing provides insights into their evolution and distinct traits.

The ruminants are one of the most successful mammalian lineages, exhibiting morphological and habitat diversity and containing several key livestock species. To better understand their evolution, we generated and analyzed de novo assembled genomes of 44 ruminant species, representing all six Ruminantia families. We used these genomes to create a time-calibrated phylogeny to resolve topological controversies, overcoming the challenges of incomplete lineage sorting. Population dynamic analyses show that population declines commenced between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago, which is concomitant with expansion in human populations. We also reveal genes and regulatory elements that possibly contribute to the evolution of the digestive system, cranial appendages, immune system, metabolism, body size, cursorial locomotion, and dentition of the ruminants. Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Modern View of B Chromosomes Under the Impact of High Scale Omics Analyses.

Supernumerary B chromosomes (Bs) are extra karyotype units in addition to A chromosomes, and are found in some fungi and thousands of animals and plant species. Bs are uniquely characterized due to their non-Mendelian inheritance, and represent one of the best examples of genomic conflict. Over the last decades, their genetic composition, function and evolution have remained an unresolved query, although a few successful attempts have been made to address these phenomena. A classical concept based on cytogenetics and genetics is that Bs are selfish and abundant with DNA repeats and transposons, and in most cases, they do not carry any function. However, recently, the modern quantum development of high scale multi-omics techniques has shifted B research towards a new-born field that we call “B-omics”. We review the recent literature and add novel perspectives to the B research, discussing the role of new technologies to understand the mechanistic perspectives of the molecular evolution and function of Bs. The modern view states that B chromosomes are enriched with genes for many significant biological functions, including but not limited to the interesting set of genes related to cell cycle and chromosome structure. Furthermore, the presence of B chromosomes could favor genomic rearrangements and influence the nuclear environment affecting the function of other chromatin regions. We hypothesize that B chromosomes might play a key function in driving their transmission and maintenance inside the cell, as well as offer an extra genomic compartment for evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

Investigating the bacterial microbiota of traditional fermented dairy products using propidium monoazide with single-molecule real-time sequencing.

Traditional fermented dairy foods have been the major components of the Mongolian diet for millennia. In this study, we used propidium monoazide (PMA; binds to DNA of nonviable cells so that only viable cells are enumerated) and single-molecule real-time sequencing (SMRT) technology to investigate the total and viable bacterial compositions of 19 traditional fermented dairy foods, including koumiss from Inner Mongolia (KIM), koumiss from Mongolia (KM), and fermented cow milk from Mongolia (CM); sample groups treated with PMA were designated PKIM, PKM, and PCM. Full-length 16S rRNA sequencing identified 195 bacterial species in 121 genera and 13 phyla in PMA-treated and untreated samples. The PMA-treated and untreated samples differed significantly in their bacterial community composition and a-diversity values. The predominant species in KM, KIM, and CM were Lactobacillus helveticus, Streptococcus parauberis, and Lactobacillus delbrueckii, whereas the predominant species in PKM, PKIM, and PCM were Enterobacter xiangfangensis, Lactobacillus helveticus, and E. xiangfangensis, respectively. Weighted and unweighted principal coordinate analyses showed a clear clustering pattern with good separation and only minor overlapping. In addition, a pure culture method was performed to obtain lactic acid bacteria resources in dairy samples according to the results of SMRT sequencing. A total of 102 LAB strains were identified and Lb. helveticus (68.63%) was the most abundant, in agreement with SMRT sequencing results. Our results revealed that the bacterial communities of traditional dairy foods are complex and vary by type of fermented dairy product. The PMA treatment induced significant changes in bacterial community structure.Copyright © 2019 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic investigation of Staphylococcus aureus recovered from Gambian women and newborns following an oral dose of intra-partum azithromycin.

Oral azithromycin given during labour reduces carriage of bacteria responsible for neonatal sepsis, including Staphylococcus aureus. However, there is concern that this may promote drug resistance.Here, we combine genomic and epidemiological data on S. aureus isolated from mothers and babies in a randomized intra-partum azithromycin trial (PregnAnZI) to describe bacterial population dynamics and resistance mechanisms.Participants from both arms of the trial, who carried S. aureus in day 3 and day 28 samples post-intervention, were included. Sixty-six S. aureus isolates (from 7 mothers and 10 babies) underwent comparative genome analyses and the data were then combined with epidemiological data. Trial registration (main trial): ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01800942.Seven S. aureus STs were identified, with ST5 dominant (n?=?40, 61.0%), followed by ST15 (n?=?11, 17.0%). ST5 predominated in the placebo arm (73.0% versus 49.0%, P?=?0.039) and ST15 in the azithromycin arm (27.0% versus 6.0%, P?=?0.022). In azithromycin-resistant isolates, msr(A) was the main macrolide resistance gene (n?=?36, 80%). Ten study participants, from both trial arms, acquired azithromycin-resistant S. aureus after initially harbouring a susceptible isolate. In nine (90%) of these cases, the acquired clone was an msr(A)-containing ST5 S. aureus. Long-read sequencing demonstrated that in ST5, msr(A) was found on an MDR plasmid.Our data reveal in this Gambian population the presence of a dominant clone of S. aureus harbouring plasmid-encoded azithromycin resistance, which was acquired by participants in both arms of the study. Understanding these resistance dynamics is crucial to defining the public health drug resistance impacts of azithromycin prophylaxis given during labour in Africa. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.


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  |  

Agricultural intensification reduces microbial network complexity and the abundance of keystone taxa in roots.

Root-associated microbes play a key role in plant performance and productivity, making them important players in agroecosystems. So far, very few studies have assessed the impact of different farming systems on the root microbiota and it is still unclear whether agricultural intensification influences the structure and complexity of microbial communities. We investigated the impact of conventional, no-till, and organic farming on wheat root fungal communities using PacBio SMRT sequencing on samples collected from 60 farmlands in Switzerland. Organic farming harbored a much more complex fungal network with significantly higher connectivity than conventional and no-till farming systems. The abundance of keystone taxa was the highest under organic farming where agricultural intensification was the lowest. We also found a strong negative association (R2?=?0.366; P?


April 21, 2020  |  

High-Resolution Evolutionary Analysis of Within-Host Hepatitis C Virus Infection.

Despite recent breakthroughs in treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, we have limited understanding of how virus diversity generated within individuals impacts the evolution and spread of HCV variants at the population scale. Addressing this gap is important for identifying the main sources of disease transmission and evaluating the risk of drug-resistance mutations emerging and disseminating in a population.We have undertaken a high-resolution analysis of HCV within-host evolution from 4 individuals coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1). We used long-read, deep-sequenced data of full-length HCV envelope glycoprotein, longitudinally sampled from acute to chronic HCV infection to investigate the underlying viral population and evolutionary dynamics.We found statistical support for population structure maintaining the within-host HCV genetic diversity in 3 out of 4 individuals. We also report the first population genetic estimate of the within-host recombination rate for HCV (0.28 × 10-7 recombination/site/year), which is considerably lower than that estimated for HIV-1 and the overall nucleotide substitution rate estimated during HCV infection.Our findings indicate that population structure and strong genetic linkage shapes within-host HCV evolutionary dynamics. These results will guide the future investigation of potential HCV drug resistance adaptation during infection, and at the population scale. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.


April 21, 2020  |  

The complete mitogenome of clam Corbicula fluminea determined using next-generation and PacBio sequencing

Corbicula fluminea is an important aquatic commercial species in China. In this study, we present the complete mitogenome and a phylogenetic analysis of C. fluminea, determined using next-generation and PacBio long read sequencing. The mitogenome of C. fluminea is 17,423bp in size, including 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal RNA genes, 22 tRNA genes, and a putative control region, all located on the same strand. The base composition of the entire mitogenome showed a conspicuous AþT bias of 70.5 %. The entire mitogenome data produced in this study provides the genomic resour- ces available for future evolutionary studies.


April 21, 2020  |  

Development of CRISPR-Cas systems for genome editing and beyond

The development of clustered regularly interspaced short-palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas systems for genome editing has transformed the way life science research is conducted and holds enormous potential for the treatment of disease as well as for many aspects of biotech- nology. Here, I provide a personal perspective on the development of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome editing within the broader context of the field and discuss our work to discover novel Cas effectors and develop them into additional molecular tools. The initial demonstra- tion of Cas9-mediated genome editing launched the development of many other technologies, enabled new lines of biological inquiry, and motivated a deeper examination of natural CRISPR-Cas systems, including the discovery of new types of CRISPR-Cas systems. These new discoveries in turn spurred further technological developments. I review these exciting discoveries and technologies as well as provide an overview of the broad array of applications of these technologies in basic research and in the improvement of human health. It is clear that we are only just beginning to unravel the potential within microbial diversity, and it is quite likely that we will continue to discover other exciting phenomena, some of which it may be possible to repurpose as molecular technologies. The transformation of mysterious natural phenomena to powerful tools, however, takes a collective effort to discover, characterize, and engineer them, and it has been a privilege to join the numerous researchers who have contributed to this transformation of CRISPR-Cas systems.


April 21, 2020  |  

Population dynamics of an Escherichia coli ST131 lineage during recurrent urinary tract infection.

Recurrent urinary tract infections (rUTIs) are extremely common, with ~?25% of all women experiencing a recurrence within 1 year of their original infection. Escherichia coli ST131 is a globally dominant multidrug resistant clone associated with high rates of rUTI. Here, we show the dynamics of an ST131 population over a 5-year period from one elderly woman with rUTI since the 1970s. Using whole genome sequencing, we identify an indigenous clonal lineage (P1A) linked to rUTI and persistence in the fecal flora, providing compelling evidence of an intestinal reservoir of rUTI. We also show that the P1A lineage possesses substantial plasmid diversity, resulting in the coexistence of antibiotic resistant and sensitive intestinal isolates despite frequent treatment. Our longitudinal study provides a unique comprehensive genomic analysis of a clonal lineage within a single individual and suggests a population-wide resistance mechanism enabling rapid adaptation to fluctuating antibiotic exposure.


April 21, 2020  |  

Modulation of metabolome and bacterial community in whole crop corn silage by inoculating homofermentative Lactobacillus plantarum and heterofermentative Lactobacillus buchneri.

The present study investigated the species level based microbial community and metabolome in corn silage inoculated with or without homofermentative Lactobacillus plantarum and heterofermentative Lactobacillus buchneri using the PacBio SMRT Sequencing and time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOF/MS). Chopped whole crop corn was treated with (1) deionized water (control), (2) Lactobacillus plantarum, or (3) Lactobacillus buchneri. The chopped whole crop corn was ensiled in vacuum-sealed polyethylene bags containing 300 g of fresh forge for 90 days, with three replicates for each treatment. The results showed that a total of 979 substances were detected, and 316 different metabolites were identified. Some metabolites with antimicrobial activity were detected in whole crop corn silage, such as catechol, 3-phenyllactic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, azelaic acid, 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid and 4-hydroxycinnamic acid. Catechol, pyrogallol and ferulic acid with antioxidant property, 4-hydroxybutyrate with nervine activity, and linoleic acid with cholesterol lowering effects, were detected in present study. In addition, a flavoring agent of myristic acid and a depression mitigation substance of phenylethylamine were also found in this study. Samples treated with inoculants presented more biofunctional metabolites of organic acids, amino acids and phenolic acids than untreated samples. The Lactobacillus species covered over 98% after ensiling, and were mainly comprised by the L. acetotolerans, L. silagei, L. parafarraginis, L. buchneri and L. odoratitofui. As compared to the control silage, inoculation of L. plantarum increased the relative abundances of L. acetotolerans, L. buchneri and L. parafarraginis, and a considerable decline in the proportion of L. silagei was observed; whereas an obvious decrease in L. acetotolerans and increases in L. odoratitofui and L. farciminis were observed in the L. buchneri inoculated silage. Therefore, inoculation of L. plantarum and L. buchneri regulated the microbial composition and metabolome of the corn silage with different behaviors. The present results indicated that profiling of silage microbiome and metabolome might improve our current understanding of the biological process underlying silage formation.


April 21, 2020  |  

Within-host evolution of Helicobacter pylori shaped by niche-specific adaptation, intragastric migrations and selective sweeps.

The human pathogen Helicobacter pylori displays extensive genetic diversity. While H. pylori is known to evolve during infection, population dynamics inside the gastric environment have not been extensively investigated. Here we obtained gastric biopsies from multiple stomach regions of 16 H. pylori-infected adults, and analyze the genomes of 10 H. pylori isolates from each biopsy. Phylogenetic analyses suggest location-specific evolution and bacterial migration between gastric regions. Migration is significantly more frequent between the corpus and the fundus than with the antrum, suggesting that physiological differences between antral and oxyntic mucosa contribute to spatial partitioning of H. pylori populations. Associations between H. pylori gene polymorphisms and stomach niches suggest that chemotaxis, regulatory functions and outer membrane proteins contribute to specific adaptation to the antral and oxyntic mucosa. Moreover, we show that antibiotics can induce severe population bottlenecks and likely play a role in shaping the population structure of H. pylori.


April 21, 2020  |  

Long-read based de novo assembly of low-complexity metagenome samples results in finished genomes and reveals insights into strain diversity and an active phage system.

Complete and contiguous genome assemblies greatly improve the quality of subsequent systems-wide functional profiling studies and the ability to gain novel biological insights. While a de novo genome assembly of an isolated bacterial strain is in most cases straightforward, more informative data about co-existing bacteria as well as synergistic and antagonistic effects can be obtained from a direct analysis of microbial communities. However, the complexity of metagenomic samples represents a major challenge. While third generation sequencing technologies have been suggested to enable finished metagenome-assembled genomes, to our knowledge, the complete genome assembly of all dominant strains in a microbiome sample has not been demonstrated. Natural whey starter cultures (NWCs) are used in cheese production and represent low-complexity microbiomes. Previous studies of Swiss Gruyère and selected Italian hard cheeses, mostly based on amplicon metagenomics, concurred that three species generally pre-dominate: Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus helveticus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii.Two NWCs from Swiss Gruyère producers were subjected to whole metagenome shotgun sequencing using the Pacific Biosciences Sequel and Illumina MiSeq platforms. In addition, longer Oxford Nanopore Technologies MinION reads had to be generated for one to resolve repeat regions. Thereby, we achieved the complete assembly of all dominant bacterial genomes from these low-complexity NWCs, which was corroborated by a 16S rRNA amplicon survey. Moreover, two distinct L. helveticus strains were successfully co-assembled from the same sample. Besides bacterial chromosomes, we could also assemble several bacterial plasmids and phages and a corresponding prophage. Biologically relevant insights were uncovered by linking the plasmids and phages to their respective host genomes using DNA methylation motifs on the plasmids and by matching prokaryotic CRISPR spacers with the corresponding protospacers on the phages. These results could only be achieved by employing long-read sequencing data able to span intragenomic as well as intergenomic repeats.Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of complete de novo genome assembly of all dominant strains from low-complexity NWCs based on whole metagenomics shotgun sequencing data. This allowed to gain novel biological insights and is a fundamental basis for subsequent systems-wide omics analyses, functional profiling and phenotype to genotype analysis of specific microbial communities.


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