June 1, 2021  |  

Comparative metagenome-assembled genome analysis of “Candidatus Lachnocurva vaginae”, formerly known as Bacterial Vaginosis Associated bacterium – 1 (BVAB1)

Bacterial Vaginosis Associated bacterium 1 (BVAB1) is an as-yet uncultured bacterial species found in the human vagina that belongs to the family Lachnospiraceae within the order Clostridiales. As its name suggests, this bacterium is often associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common vaginal disorder that has been shown to increase a woman’s risk for HIV, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections as well as preterm birth. Further, BVAB1 is associated with the persistence of BV following metronidazole treatment, increased vaginal inflammation, and adverse obstetrics outcomes. There is no available complete genome sequence of BVAB1, which has made it di?cult to mechanistically understand its role in disease. We present here a circularized metagenome-assembled genome (cMAG) of B VAB1 as well as a comparative analysis including an additional six metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of this species. These sequences were derived from cervicovaginal samples of seven separate women. The cMAG is 1.649 Mb in size and encodes 1,578 genes. We propose to rename BVAB1 to “Candidatus Lachnocurva vaginae” based on phylogenetic analyses, and provide genomic evidence that this candidate species may metabolize D-lactate, produce trimethylamine (one of the chemicals responsible for BV-associated odor), and be motile. The cMAG and the six MAGs are valuable resources that will further contribute to our understanding of the heterogeneous etiology of bacterial vaginosis.


April 21, 2020  |  

RNA sequencing: the teenage years.

Over the past decade, RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) has become an indispensable tool for transcriptome-wide analysis of differential gene expression and differential splicing of mRNAs. However, as next-generation sequencing technologies have developed, so too has RNA-seq. Now, RNA-seq methods are available for studying many different aspects of RNA biology, including single-cell gene expression, translation (the translatome) and RNA structure (the structurome). Exciting new applications are being explored, such as spatial transcriptomics (spatialomics). Together with new long-read and direct RNA-seq technologies and better computational tools for data analysis, innovations in RNA-seq are contributing to a fuller understanding of RNA biology, from questions such as when and where transcription occurs to the folding and intermolecular interactions that govern RNA function.


April 21, 2020  |  

Short translational ramp determines efficiency of protein synthesis

It is generally assumed that translation efficiency is governed by translation initiation. However, the efficiency of protein synthesis is regulated by multiple factors including tRNA abundance, codon composition, mRNA motifs and amino-acid sequence1textendash4. These factors influence the rate of protein synthesis beyond the initiation phase of translation, typically by modulating the rate of peptide-bond formation and to a lesser extent that of translocation. The slowdown in translation during the early elongation phase, known as the 5textquoteright translational ramp, likely contributes to the efficiency of protein synthesis 5textendash9. Multiple mechanisms, which could explain the molecular basis for this translational ramp, have been proposed that include tRNA abundance bias6,9, the rate of translation initiation10textendash15, mRNA and ribosome structure 11,12,14,16textendash18, or retention of initiation factors during early elongation events 19. Here, we show that the amount of synthesized protein (translation efficiency) depends on a short translational ramp that comprises the first 5 codons in mRNA. Using a library of more than 250,000 reporter sequences combined with in vitro and in vivo protein expression assays, we show that differences in the short ramp can lead to 3 to 4 orders of magnitude changes in protein abundance. The observed difference is not dependent on tRNA abundance, efficiency of translation initiation, or overall mRNA structure. Instead, we show that translation is regulated by amino-acid-sequence composition and local mRNA sequence. Single-molecule measurements of translation kinetics indicate substantial pausing of ribosome and abortion of protein synthesis on the 4th or 5th codon for distinct amino acid or nucleotide compositions. Introduction of preferred sequence motifs, only at the exact positions within the mRNA, improves protein synthesis for recombinant proteins, indicating an evolutionarily conserved mechanism for controlling translational efficiency.


April 21, 2020  |  

Detection of transferable oxazolidinone resistance determinants in Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium of swine origin in Sichuan Province, China.

The aim of this study was to detect the transferable oxazolidinone resistance determinants (cfr, optrA and poxtA) in E. faecalis and E. faecium of swine origin in Sichuan Province, China.A total of 158 enterococci strains (93 E. faecalis and 65 E. faecium) isolated from 25 large-scale swine farms were screened for the presence of cfr, optrA and poxtA by PCR. The genetic environments of cfr, optrA and poxtA were characterized by whole genome sequencing. Transfer of oxazolidinone resistance determinants was determined by conjugation or electrotransformation experiments.The transferable oxazolidinone resistance determinants, cfr, optrA and poxtA, were detected in zero, six, and one enterococci strains, respectively. The poxtA in one E. faecalis strain was located on a 37,990 bp plasmid, which co-harbored fexB, cat, tet(L) and tet(M), and could be conjugated to E. faecalis JH2-2. One E. faecalis strain harbored two different OptrA variants, including one variant with a single substitution, Q219H, which has not been reported previously. Two optrA-carrying plasmids, pC25-1, with a size of 45,581 bp, and pC54, with a size of 64,500 bp, shared a 40,494 bp identical region that contained genetic context IS1216E-fexA-optrA-erm(A)-IS1216E, which could be electrotransformed into Staphylococcus aureus. Four different chromosomal optrA gene clusters were found in five strains, in which optrA was associated with Tn554 or Tn558 that were inserted into the radC gene.Our study highlights the fact that mobile genetic elements, such as plasmids, IS1216E, Tn554 and Tn558, may facilitate the horizontal transmission of optrA or poxtA.Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

A microbial factory for defensive kahalalides in a tripartite marine symbiosis.

Chemical defense against predators is widespread in natural ecosystems. Occasionally, taxonomically distant organisms share the same defense chemical. Here, we describe an unusual tripartite marine symbiosis, in which an intracellular bacterial symbiont (“Candidatus Endobryopsis kahalalidefaciens”) uses a diverse array of biosynthetic enzymes to convert simple substrates into a library of complex molecules (the kahalalides) for chemical defense of the host, the alga Bryopsis sp., against predation. The kahalalides are subsequently hijacked by a third partner, the herbivorous mollusk Elysia rufescens, and employed similarly for defense. “Ca E. kahalalidefaciens” has lost many essential traits for free living and acts as a factory for kahalalide production. This interaction between a bacterium, an alga, and an animal highlights the importance of chemical defense in the evolution of complex symbioses.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  |  

A Novel Bacteriophage Exclusion (BREX) System Encoded by the pglX Gene in Lactobacillus casei Zhang.

The bacteriophage exclusion (BREX) system is a novel prokaryotic defense system against bacteriophages. To our knowledge, no study has systematically characterized the function of the BREX system in lactic acid bacteria. Lactobacillus casei Zhang is a probiotic bacterium originating from koumiss. By using single-molecule real-time sequencing, we previously identified N6-methyladenine (m6A) signatures in the genome of L. casei Zhang and a putative methyltransferase (MTase), namely, pglX This work further analyzed the genomic locus near the pglX gene and identified it as a component of the BREX system. To decipher the biological role of pglX, an L. casei Zhang pglX mutant (?pglX) was constructed. Interestingly, m6A methylation of the 5′-ACRCAG-3′ motif was eliminated in the ?pglX mutant. The wild-type and mutant strains exhibited no significant difference in morphology or growth performance in de Man-Rogosa-Sharpe (MRS) medium. A significantly higher plasmid acquisition capacity was observed for the ?pglX mutant than for the wild type if the transformed plasmids contained pglX recognition sites (i.e., 5′-ACRCAG-3′). In contrast, no significant difference was observed in plasmid transformation efficiency between the two strains when plasmids lacking pglX recognition sites were tested. Moreover, the ?pglX mutant had a lower capacity to retain the plasmids than the wild type, suggesting a decrease in genetic stability. Since the Rebase database predicted that the L. casei PglX protein was bifunctional, as both an MTase and a restriction endonuclease, the PglX protein was heterologously expressed and purified but failed to show restriction endonuclease activity. Taken together, the results show that the L. casei Zhang pglX gene is a functional adenine MTase that belongs to the BREX system.IMPORTANCELactobacillus casei Zhang is a probiotic that confers beneficial effects on the host, and it is thus increasingly used in the dairy industry. The possession of an effective bacterial immune system that can defend against invasion of phages and exogenous DNA is a desirable feature for industrial bacterial strains. The bacteriophage exclusion (BREX) system is a recently described phage resistance system in prokaryotes. This work confirmed the function of the BREX system in L. casei and that the methyltransferase (pglX) is an indispensable part of the system. Overall, our study characterizes a BREX system component gene in lactic acid bacteria. Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Chromulinavorax destructans, a pathogen of microzooplankton that provides a window into the enigmatic candidate phylum Dependentiae.

Members of the major candidate phylum Dependentiae (a.k.a. TM6) are widespread across diverse environments from showerheads to peat bogs; yet, with the exception of two isolates infecting amoebae, they are only known from metagenomic data. The limited knowledge of their biology indicates that they have a long evolutionary history of parasitism. Here, we present Chromulinavorax destructans (Strain SeV1) the first isolate of this phylum to infect a representative from a widespread and ecologically significant group of heterotrophic flagellates, the microzooplankter Spumella elongata (Strain CCAP 955/1). Chromulinavorax destructans has a reduced 1.2 Mb genome that is so specialized for infection that it shows no evidence of complete metabolic pathways, but encodes an extensive transporter system for importing nutrients and energy in the form of ATP from the host. Its replication causes extensive reorganization and expansion of the mitochondrion, effectively surrounding the pathogen, consistent with its dependency on the host for energy. Nearly half (44%) of the inferred proteins contain signal sequences for secretion, including many without recognizable similarity to proteins of known function, as well as 98 copies of proteins with an ankyrin-repeat domain; ankyrin-repeats are known effectors of host modulation, suggesting the presence of an extensive host-manipulation apparatus. These observations help to cement members of this phylum as widespread and diverse parasites infecting a broad range of eukaryotic microbes.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic characterization of Nocardia seriolae strains isolated from diseased fish.

Members of the genus Nocardia are widespread in diverse environments; a wide range of Nocardia species are known to cause nocardiosis in several animals, including cat, dog, fish, and humans. Of the pathogenic Nocardia species, N. seriolae is known to cause disease in cultured fish, resulting in major economic loss. We isolated two N. seriolae strains, CK-14008 and EM15050, from diseased fish and sequenced their genomes using the PacBio sequencing platform. To identify their genomic features, we compared their genomes with those of other Nocardia species. Phylogenetic analysis showed that N. seriolae shares a common ancestor with a putative human pathogenic Nocardia species. Moreover, N. seriolae strains were phylogenetically divided into four clusters according to host fish families. Through genome comparison, we observed that the putative pathogenic Nocardia strains had additional genes for iron acquisition. Dozens of antibiotic resistance genes were detected in the genomes of N. seriolae strains; most of the antibiotics were involved in the inhibition of the biosynthesis of proteins or cell walls. Our results demonstrated the virulence features and antibiotic resistance of fish pathogenic N. seriolae strains at the genomic level. These results may be useful to develop strategies for the prevention of fish nocardiosis. © 2018 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome Analyses of a New Mycoplasma Species from the Scorpion Centruroides vittatus.

Arthropod Mycoplasma are little known endosymbionts in insects, primarily known as plant disease vectors. Mycoplasma in other arthropods such as arachnids are unknown. We report the first complete Mycoplasma genome sequenced, identified, and annotated from a scorpion, Centruroides vittatus, and designate it as Mycoplasma vittatus We find the genome is at least a 683,827 bp single circular chromosome with a GC content of 42.7% and with 987 protein-coding genes. The putative virulence determinants include 11 genes associated with the virulence operon associated with protein synthesis or DNA transcription and ten genes with antibiotic and toxic compound resistance. Comparative analysis revealed that the M. vittatus genome is smaller than other Mycoplasma genomes and exhibits a higher GC content. Phylogenetic analysis shows M. vittatus as part of the Hominis group of Mycoplasma As arthropod genomes accumulate, further novel Mycoplasma genomes may be identified and characterized. Copyright © 2019 Yamashita et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic and transcriptomic insights into the survival of the subaerial cyanobacterium Nostoc flagelliforme in arid and exposed habitats.

The cyanobacterium Nostoc flagelliforme is an extremophile that thrives under extraordinary desiccation and ultraviolet (UV) radiation conditions. To investigate its survival strategies, we performed whole-genome sequencing of N. flagelliforme CCNUN1 and transcriptional profiling of its field populations upon rehydration in BG11 medium. The genome of N. flagelliforme is 10.23 Mb in size and contains 10 825 predicted protein-encoding genes, making it one of the largest complete genomes of cyanobacteria reported to date. Comparative genomics analysis among 20 cyanobacterial strains revealed that genes related to DNA replication, recombination and repair had disproportionately high contributions to the genome expansion. The ability of N. flagelliforme to thrive under extreme abiotic stresses is supported by the acquisition of genes involved in the protection of photosynthetic apparatus, the formation of monounsaturated fatty acids, responses to UV radiation, and a peculiar role of ornithine metabolism. Transcriptome analysis revealed a distinct acclimation strategy to rehydration, including the strong constitutive expression of genes encoding photosystem I assembly factors and the involvement of post-transcriptional control mechanisms of photosynthetic resuscitation. Our results provide insights into the adaptive mechanisms of subaerial cyanobacteria in their harsh habitats and have important implications to understand the evolutionary transition of cyanobacteria from aquatic environments to terrestrial ecosystems. © 2019 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequences of a H2O2-resistant psychrophilic bacterium Colwellia sp. Arc7-D isolated from Arctic Ocean sediment

Colwellia sp. Arc7-D, a psychrophilic H2O2-resisitant bacterium, was isolated from Arctic Ocean sediment. Here we describe the complete genome of Colwellia sp. Arc7-D. The genome has one circular chromosome of 4,305,442?bp (37.67?mol%?G?+?C content), consisting of 3526 coding genes, 77 tRNA genes, as well as five rRNA operons as 16S–23S-5S rRNA and one rRNA operon as 16S-23S-5S-5S. According to KEGG analysis, strain Arc7-D encodes 23 genes related with antioxidant activity including superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and catalase. However, many additional genes affiliated with anti-oxidative stress were also identified, such as aconitase, thioredoxin and ascorbic acid.


April 21, 2020  |  

eIF5B gates the transition from translation initiation to elongation.

Translation initiation determines both the quantity and identity of the protein that is encoded in an mRNA by establishing the reading frame for protein synthesis. In eukaryotic cells, numerous translation initiation factors prepare ribosomes for polypeptide synthesis; however, the underlying dynamics of this process remain unclear1,2. A central question is how eukaryotic ribosomes transition from translation initiation to elongation. Here we use in vitro single-molecule fluorescence microscopy approaches in a purified yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae translation system to monitor directly, in real time, the pathways of late translation initiation and the transition to elongation. This transition was slower in our eukaryotic system than that reported for Escherichia coli3-5. The slow entry to elongation was defined by a long residence time of eukaryotic initiation factor 5B (eIF5B) on the 80S ribosome after the joining of individual ribosomal subunits-a process that is catalysed by this universally conserved initiation factor. Inhibition of the GTPase activity of eIF5B after the joining of ribosomal subunits prevented the dissociation of eIF5B from the 80S complex, thereby preventing elongation. Our findings illustrate how the dissociation of eIF5B serves as a kinetic checkpoint for the transition from initiation to elongation, and how its release may be governed by a change in the conformation of the ribosome complex that triggers GTP hydrolysis.


April 21, 2020  |  

Antarctic blackfin icefish genome reveals adaptations to extreme environments.

Icefishes (suborder Notothenioidei; family Channichthyidae) are the only vertebrates that lack functional haemoglobin genes and red blood cells. Here, we report a high-quality genome assembly and linkage map for the Antarctic blackfin icefish Chaenocephalus aceratus, highlighting evolved genomic features for its unique physiology. Phylogenomic analysis revealed that Antarctic fish of the teleost suborder Notothenioidei, including icefishes, diverged from the stickleback lineage about 77 million years ago and subsequently evolved cold-adapted phenotypes as the Southern Ocean cooled to sub-zero temperatures. Our results show that genes involved in protection from ice damage, including genes encoding antifreeze glycoprotein and zona pellucida proteins, are highly expanded in the icefish genome. Furthermore, genes that encode enzymes that help to control cellular redox state, including members of the sod3 and nqo1 gene families, are expanded, probably as evolutionary adaptations to the relatively high concentration of oxygen dissolved in cold Antarctic waters. In contrast, some crucial regulators of circadian homeostasis (cry and per genes) are absent from the icefish genome, suggesting compromised control of biological rhythms in the polar light environment. The availability of the icefish genome sequence will accelerate our understanding of adaptation to extreme Antarctic environments.


April 21, 2020  |  

In-depth analysis of the genome of Trypanosoma evansi, an etiologic agent of surra.

Trypanosoma evansi is the causative agent of the animal trypanosomiasis surra, a disease with serious economic burden worldwide. The availability of the genome of its closely related parasite Trypanosoma brucei allows us to compare their genetic and evolutionarily shared and distinct biological features. The complete genomic sequence of the T. evansi YNB strain was obtained using a combination of genomic and transcriptomic sequencing, de novo assembly, and bioinformatic analysis. The genome size of the T. evansi YNB strain was 35.2 Mb, showing 96.59% similarity in sequence and 88.97% in scaffold alignment with T. brucei. A total of 8,617 protein-coding genes, accounting for 31% of the genome, were predicted. Approximately 1,641 alternative splicing events of 820 genes were identified, with a majority mediated by intron retention, which represented a major difference in post-transcriptional regulation between T. evansi and T. brucei. Disparities in gene copy number of the variant surface glycoprotein, expression site-associated genes, microRNAs, and RNA-binding protein were clearly observed between the two parasites. The results revealed the genomic determinants of T. evansi, which encoded specific biological characteristics that distinguished them from other related trypanosome species.


April 21, 2020  |  

Alternative Splicing of the Delta-Opioid Receptor Gene Suggests Existence of New Functional Isoforms.

The delta-opioid receptor (DOPr) participates in mediating the effects of opioid analgesics. However, no selective agonists have entered clinical care despite potential to ameliorate many neurological and psychiatric disorders. In an effort to address the drug development challenges, the functional contribution of receptor isoforms created by alternative splicing of the three-exonic coding gene, OPRD1, has been overlooked. We report that the gene is transcriptionally more diverse than previously demonstrated, producing novel protein isoforms in humans and mice. We provide support for the functional relevance of splice variants through context-dependent expression profiling (tissues, disease model) and conservation of the transcriptional landscape in closely related vertebrates. The conserved alternative transcriptional events have two distinct patterns. First, cassette exon inclusions between exons 1 and 2 interrupt the reading frame, producing truncated receptor fragments comprising only the first transmembrane (TM) domain, despite the lack of exact exon orthologues between distant species. Second, a novel promoter and transcriptional start site upstream of exon 2 produces a transcript of an N-terminally truncated 6TM isoform. However, a fundamental difference in the exonic landscaping as well as translation and translation products poses limits for modelling the human DOPr receptor system in mice.


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