April 21, 2020  |  

The Ptr1 locus of Solanum lycopersicoides confers resistance to race 1 strains of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato and to Ralstonia pseudosolanacearum by recognizing the type III effectors AvrRpt2/RipBN.

Race 1 strains of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato, which cause bacterial speck disease of tomato, are becoming increasingly common and no simply-inherited genetic resistance to such strains is known. We discovered that a locus in Solanum lycopersicoides, termed Pseudomonas tomato race 1 (Ptr1), confers resistance to race 1 Pst strains by detecting the activity of type III effector AvrRpt2. In Arabidopsis, AvrRpt2 degrades the RIN4 protein thereby activating RPS2-mediated immunity. Using site-directed mutagenesis of AvrRpt2 we found that, like RPS2, activation of Ptr1 requires AvrRpt2 proteolytic activity. Ptr1 also detected the activity of AvrRpt2 homologs from diverse bacteria including one in Ralstonia pseudosolanacearum. The genome sequence of S. lycopersicoides revealed no RPS2 homolog in the Ptr1 region. Ptr1 could play an important role in controlling bacterial speck disease and its future cloning may shed light on an example of convergent evolution for recognition of a widespread type III effector.


April 21, 2020  |  

The role of long-term mineral and organic fertilisation treatment in changing pathogen and symbiont community composition in soil

Application of organic fertilisers to soil prevents erosion, improves fertility and may suppress certain soil-borne plant pathogens, but it is still unclear how different trophic groups of fungi and oomycetes respond to long-term fertilisation treatment. The objective of the study was to examine the effect of different fertilisation regimes on fungal and oomycete pathogen- and mycorrhizal symbiont diversity and community structure in both soil and roots, using PacBio SMRT sequencing. The field experiment included three fertilisation treatments that have been applied since 1989: nitrogen fertilisation (WOM), nitrogen fertilisation with manure amendment (FYM) and alternative organic fertilisation (AOF), each applied at five different rates. Soil samples were collected three times during the growing season, while root samples were collected during the flowering stage. There was no influence of the studied variables on soil and root pathogen richness. Contrary to our hypothesis, pathogen relative abundance in both soil and roots was significantly higher in plots with the AOF treatment. Furthermore, richness and relative abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi decreased significantly in the AOF treatment. Permutational analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) demonstrated the effect of fertilisation treatment on pathogen community composition in both soil and roots. Our findings indicate that organic fertilisers may not always benefit soil microbial community composition. Therefore, further studies are needed to understand how fertilisation affects mycorrhizal mutualists and pathogens.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of Sequevar 14M Ralstonia solanacearum Strain HA4-1 Reveals Novel Type III Effectors Acquired Through Horizontal Gene Transfer.

Ralstonia solanacearum, which causes bacterial wilt in a broad range of plants, is considered a “species complex” due to its significant genetic diversity. Recently, we have isolated a new R. solanacearum strain HA4-1 from Hong’an county in Hubei province of China and identified it being phylotype I, sequevar 14M (phylotype I-14M). Interestingly, we found that it can cause various disease symptoms among different potato genotypes and display different pathogenic behavior compared to a phylogenetically related strain, GMI1000. To dissect the pathogenic mechanisms of HA4-1, we sequenced its whole genome by combined sequencing technologies including Illumina HiSeq2000, PacBio RS II, and BAC-end sequencing. Genome assembly results revealed the presence of a conventional chromosome, a megaplasmid as well as a 143 kb plasmid in HA4-1. Comparative genome analysis between HA4-1 and GMI1000 shows high conservation of the general virulence factors such as secretion systems, motility, exopolysaccharides (EPS), and key regulatory factors, but significant variation in the repertoire and structure of type III effectors, which could be the determinants of their differential pathogenesis in certain potato species or genotypes. We have identified two novel type III effectors that were probably acquired through horizontal gene transfer (HGT). These novel R. solanacearum effectors display homology to several YopJ and XopAC family members. We named them as RipBR and RipBS. Notably, the copy of RipBR on the plasmid is a pseudogene, while the other on the megaplasmid is normal. For RipBS, there are three copies located in the megaplasmid and plasmid, respectively. Our results have not only enriched the genome information on R. solanacearum species complex by sequencing the first sequevar 14M strain and the largest plasmid reported in R. solanacearum to date but also revealed the variation in the repertoire of type III effectors. This will greatly contribute to the future studies on the pathogenic evolution, host adaptation, and interaction between R. solanacearum and potato.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Assembly of the Genome of an Acidovorax citrulli Strain Reveals a Naturally Occurring Plasmid in This Species.

Acidovorax citrulli is the causal agent of bacterial fruit blotch (BFB), a serious threat to cucurbit crop production worldwide. Based on genetic and phenotypic properties, A. citrulli strains are divided into two major groups: group I strains have been generally isolated from melon and other non-watermelon cucurbits, while group II strains are closely associated with watermelon. In a previous study, we reported the genome of the group I model strain, M6. At that time, the M6 genome was sequenced by MiSeq Illumina technology, with reads assembled into 139 contigs. Here, we report the assembly of the M6 genome following sequencing with PacBio technology. This approach not only allowed full assembly of the M6 genome, but it also revealed the occurrence of a ~53 kb plasmid. The M6 plasmid, named pACM6, was further confirmed by plasmid extraction, Southern-blot analysis of restricted fragments and obtention of M6-derivative cured strains. pACM6 occurs at low copy numbers (average of ~4.1 ± 1.3 chromosome equivalents) in A. citrulli M6 and contains 63 open reading frames (ORFs), most of which (55.6%) encoding hypothetical proteins. The plasmid contains several genes encoding type IV secretion components, and typical plasmid-borne genes involved in plasmid maintenance, replication and transfer. The plasmid also carries an operon encoding homologs of a Fic-VbhA toxin-antitoxin (TA) module. Transcriptome data from A. citrulli M6 revealed that, under the tested conditions, the genes encoding the components of this TA system are among the highest expressed genes in pACM6. Whether this TA module plays a role in pACM6 maintenance is still to be determined. Leaf infiltration and seed transmission assays revealed that, under tested conditions, the loss of pACM6 did not affect the virulence of A. citrulli M6. We also show that pACM6 or similar plasmids are present in several group I strains, but absent in all tested group II strains of A. citrulli.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Not-so-Sterile Womb: Evidence That the Human Fetus Is Exposed to Bacteria Prior to Birth.

The human microbiome includes trillions of bacteria, many of which play a vital role in host physiology. Numerous studies have now detected bacterial DNA in first-pass meconium and amniotic fluid samples, suggesting that the human microbiome may commence in utero. However, these data have remained contentious due to underlying contamination issues. Here, we have used a previously described method for reducing contamination in microbiome workflows to determine if there is a fetal bacterial microbiome beyond the level of background contamination. We recruited 50 women undergoing non-emergency cesarean section deliveries with no evidence of intra-uterine infection and collected first-pass meconium and amniotic fluid samples. Full-length 16S rRNA gene sequencing was performed using PacBio SMRT cell technology, to allow high resolution profiling of the fetal gut and amniotic fluid bacterial microbiomes. Levels of inflammatory cytokines were measured in amniotic fluid, and levels of immunomodulatory short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) were quantified in meconium. All meconium samples and most amniotic fluid samples (36/43) contained bacterial DNA. The meconium microbiome was dominated by reads that mapped to Pelomonas puraquae. Aside from this species, the meconium microbiome was remarkably heterogeneous between patients. The amniotic fluid microbiome was more diverse and contained mainly reads that mapped to typical skin commensals, including Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus spp. All meconium samples contained acetate and propionate, at ratios similar to those previously reported in infants. P. puraquae reads were inversely correlated with meconium propionate levels. Amniotic fluid cytokine levels were associated with the amniotic fluid microbiome. Our results demonstrate that bacterial DNA and SCFAs are present in utero, and have the potential to influence the developing fetal immune system.


April 21, 2020  |  

A Pathovar of Xanthomonas oryzae Infecting Wild Grasses Provides Insight Into the Evolution of Pathogenicity in Rice Agroecosystems

Xanthomonas oryzae (Xo) are critical rice pathogens. Virulent lineages from Africa and Asia and less virulent strains from the US have been well characterized. X. campestris pv. leersiae (Xcl), first described in 1957, causes bacterial streak on the perennial grass, Leersia hexandra, and is a close relative of Xo. L. hexandra, a member of the Poaceae, is highly similar to rice phylogenetically, is globally ubiquitous around rice paddies, and is a reservoir of pathogenic Xo. We used long read, single molecule, real time (SMRT) genome sequences of five strains of Xcl from Burkina Faso, China, Mali and Uganda to determine the genetic relatedness of this organism with Xo. Novel Transcription Activator-Like Effectors (TALEs) were discovered in all five strains of Xcl. Predicted TALE target sequences were identified in the L. perrieri genome and compared to rice susceptibility gene homologs. Pathogenicity screening on L. hexandra and diverse rice cultivars confirmed that Xcl are able to colonize rice and produce weak but not progressive symptoms. Overall, based on average nucleotide identity, type III effector repertoires and disease phenotype, we propose to rename Xcl to X. oryzae pv. leersiae (Xol) and use this parallel system to improve understanding of the evolution of bacterial pathogenicity in rice agroecosystems.


April 21, 2020  |  

Prediction of Host-Specific Genes by Pan-Genome Analyses of the Korean Ralstonia solanacearum Species Complex.

The soil-borne pathogenic Ralstonia solanacearum species complex (RSSC) is a group of plant pathogens that is economically destructive worldwide and has a broad host range, including various solanaceae plants, banana, ginger, sesame, and clove. Previously, Korean RSSC strains isolated from samples of potato bacterial wilt were grouped into four pathotypes based on virulence tests against potato, tomato, eggplant, and pepper. In this study, we sequenced the genomes of 25 Korean RSSC strains selected based on these pathotypes. The newly sequenced genomes were analyzed to determine the phylogenetic relationships between the strains with average nucleotide identity values, and structurally compared via multiple genome alignment using Mauve software. To identify candidate genes responsible for the host specificity of the pathotypes, functional genome comparisons were conducted by analyzing pan-genome orthologous group (POG) and type III secretion system effectors (T3es). POG analyses revealed that a total of 128 genes were shared only in tomato-non-pathogenic strains, 8 genes in tomato-pathogenic strains, 5 genes in eggplant-non-pathogenic strains, 7 genes in eggplant-pathogenic strains, 1 gene in pepper-non-pathogenic strains, and 34 genes in pepper-pathogenic strains. When we analyzed T3es, three host-specific effectors were predicted: RipS3 (SKWP3) and RipH3 (HLK3) were found only in tomato-pathogenic strains, and RipAC (PopC) were found only in eggplant-pathogenic strains. Overall, we identified host-specific genes and effectors that may be responsible for virulence functions in RSSC in silico. The expected characters of those genes suggest that the host range of RSSC is determined by the comprehensive actions of various virulence factors, including effectors, secretion systems, and metabolic enzymes.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of 3-chlorobenzoate-degrading bacterium Cupriavidus necator NH9 and reclassification of the strains of the genera Cupriavidus and Ralstonia based on phylogenetic and whole-genome sequence analyses.

Cupriavidus necator NH9, a 3-chlorobenzoate (3-CB)-degrading bacterium, was isolated from soil in Japan. In this study, the complete genome sequence of NH9 was obtained via PacBio long-read sequencing to better understand the genetic components contributing to the strain’s ability to degrade aromatic compounds, including 3-CB. The genome of NH9 comprised two circular chromosomes (4.3 and 3.4 Mb) and two circular plasmids (427 and 77 kb) containing 7,290 coding sequences, 15 rRNA and 68 tRNA genes. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis of the protein-coding sequences in NH9 revealed a capacity to completely degrade benzoate, 2-, 3-, or 4-hydroxybenzoate, 2,3-, 2,5-, or 3,4-dihydroxybenzoate, benzoylformate, and benzonitrile. To validate the identification of NH9, phylogenetic analyses (16S rRNA sequence-based tree and multilocus sequence analysis) and whole-genome sequence analyses (average nucleotide identity, percentage of conserved proteins, and tetra-nucleotide analyses) were performed, confirming that NH9 is a C. necator strain. Over the course of our investigation, we noticed inconsistencies in the classification of several strains that were supposed to belong to the two closely-related genera Cupriavidus and Ralstonia. As a result of whole-genome sequence analysis of 46 Cupriavidus strains and 104 Ralstonia strains, we propose that the taxonomic classification of 41 of the 150 strains should be changed. Our results provide a clear delineation of the two genera based on genome sequences, thus allowing taxonomic identification of strains belonging to these two genera.


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