April 21, 2020  |  

Pangenomic Approach To Understanding Microbial Adaptations within a Model Built Environment, the International Space Station, Relative to Human Hosts and Soil.

Understanding underlying mechanisms involved in microbial persistence in the built environment (BE) is essential for strategically mitigating potential health risks. To test the hypothesis that BEs impose selective pressures resulting in characteristic adaptive responses, we performed a pangenomics meta-analysis leveraging 189 genomes (accessed from GenBank) of two epidemiologically important taxa, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus, isolated from various origins: the International Space Station (ISS; a model BE), Earth-based BEs, soil, and humans. Our objectives were to (i) identify differences in the pangenomic composition of generalist and host-associated organisms, (ii) characterize genes and functions involved in BE-associated selection, and (iii) identify genomic signatures of ISS-derived strains of potential relevance for astronaut health. The pangenome of B. cereus was more expansive than that of S. aureus, which had a dominant core component. Genomic contents of both taxa significantly correlated with isolate origin, demonstrating an importance for biogeography and potential niche adaptations. ISS/BE-enriched functions were often involved in biosynthesis, catabolism, materials transport, metabolism, and stress response. Multiple origin-enriched functions also overlapped across taxa, suggesting conserved adaptive processes. We further characterized two mobile genetic elements with local neighborhood genes encoding biosynthesis and stress response functions that distinctively associated with B. cereus from the ISS. Although antibiotic resistance genes were present in ISS/BE isolates, they were also common in counterparts elsewhere. Overall, despite differences in microbial lifestyle, some functions appear common to remaining viable in the BE, and those functions are not typically associated with direct impacts on human health. IMPORTANCE The built environment contains a variety of microorganisms, some of which pose critical human health risks (e.g., hospital-acquired infection, antibiotic resistance dissemination). We uncovered a combination of complex biological functions that may play a role in bacterial survival under the presumed selective pressures in a model built environment-the International Space Station-by using an approach to compare pangenomes of bacterial strains from two clinically relevant species (B. cereus and S. aureus) isolated from both built environments and humans. Our findings suggest that the most crucial bacterial functions involved in this potential adaptive response are specific to bacterial lifestyle and do not appear to have direct impacts on human health.


April 21, 2020  |  

Human contamination in bacterial genomes has created thousands of spurious proteins.

Contaminant sequences that appear in published genomes can cause numerous problems for downstream analyses, particularly for evolutionary studies and metagenomics projects. Our large-scale scan of complete and draft bacterial and archaeal genomes in the NCBI RefSeq database reveals that 2250 genomes are contaminated by human sequence. The contaminant sequences derive primarily from high-copy human repeat regions, which themselves are not adequately represented in the current human reference genome, GRCh38. The absence of the sequences from the human assembly offers a likely explanation for their presence in bacterial assemblies. In some cases, the contaminating contigs have been erroneously annotated as containing protein-coding sequences, which over time have propagated to create spurious protein “families” across multiple prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes. As a result, 3437 spurious protein entries are currently present in the widely used nr and TrEMBL protein databases. We report here an extensive list of contaminant sequences in bacterial genome assemblies and the proteins associated with them. We found that nearly all contaminants occurred in small contigs in draft genomes, which suggests that filtering out small contigs from draft genome assemblies may mitigate the issue of contamination while still keeping nearly all of the genuine genomic sequences. © 2019 Breitwieser et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genetic variation in the conjugative plasmidome of a hospital effluent multidrug resistant Escherichia coli strain.

Bacteria harboring conjugative plasmids have the potential for spreading antibiotic resistance through horizontal gene transfer. It is described that the selection and dissemination of antibiotic resistance is enhanced by stressors, like metals or antibiotics, which can occur as environmental contaminants. This study aimed at unveiling the composition of the conjugative plasmidome of a hospital effluent multidrug resistant Escherichia coli strain (H1FC54) under different mating conditions. To meet this objective, plasmid pulsed field gel electrophoresis, optical mapping analyses and DNA sequencing were used in combination with phenotype analysis. Strain H1FC54 was observed to harbor five plasmids, three of which were conjugative and two of these, pH1FC54_330 and pH1FC54_140, contained metal and antibiotic resistance genes. Transconjugants obtained in the absence or presence of tellurite (0.5?µM or 5?µM), arsenite (0.5?µM, 5?µM or 15?µM) or ceftazidime (10?mg/L) and selected in the presence of sodium azide (100?mg/L) and tetracycline (16?mg/L) presented distinct phenotypes, associated with the acquisition of different plasmid combinations, including two co-integrate plasmids, of 310 kbp and 517 kbp. The variable composition of the conjugative plasmidome, the formation of co-integrates during conjugation, as well as the transfer of non-transferable plasmids via co-integration, and the possible association between antibiotic, arsenite and tellurite tolerance was demonstrated. These evidences bring interesting insights into the comprehension of the molecular and physiological mechanisms that underlie antibiotic resistance propagation in the environment. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Evolution of a major bovine mastitic genotype (rpoB sequence type 10-2) of Staphylococcus aureus in cows.

Staphylococcus aureus is the major pathogen leading to bovine mastitis globally while livestock-associated methicillin resistant S. aureus (LA-MRSA) has become a potential threat to public health. MRSA from bovine mastitis is not common but a methicillin susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) genotype, rpoB sequence type (RST)10-2 (RST10-2), is prevalent in Korea. To date, many genomic sequences from S. aureus have been elucidated, but the complete genome sequences of RST10-2 MSSA from bovine mastitis has never been reported. In this study, we determined the complete genome sequence of two RST10-2 MSSA that differ from each other in staphylococcal protein A and molecular prophage types [PMB64-1 (t2489/ mPPT0) and PMB81-4 (t127/mPPT1-2-3)] and conducted a comparative genomics study. The genomic sequences of PMB64-1 and PMB81-4 were more homologous to the representative human RST10-2 strains (MSSA476, MW2 etc.) compared to other RSTs. Most of them shared five common pseudogenes, along with high amino acid identity of four variable virulence genes that were identified in this study. However, PMB64-1 and PMB81-4 acquired different strainspecific pseudogenes and mobile genetic elements than the human strains. The unique pseudogene profile and high identity of the virulence genes were verified in RST10-2 field strains from bovine mastitis. Thus, bovine mastitic RST10-2 MSSA may have an evolutionary relationship with the human RST10-2 community-associated (CA) MSSA and CA-MRSA strains but may have adapted to cows.


April 21, 2020  |  

Transmission of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli between broilers and humans on broiler farms.

ESBL and AmpC ß-lactamases are an increasing concern for public health. Studies suggest that ESBL/pAmpC-producing Escherichia coli and their plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes can spread from broilers to humans working or living on broiler farms. These studies used traditional typing methods, which may not have provided sufficient resolution to reliably assess the relatedness of these isolates.Eleven suspected transmission events among broilers and humans living/working on eight broiler farms were investigated using whole-genome short-read (Illumina) and long-read sequencing (PacBio). Core genome MLST (cgMLST) was performed to investigate the occurrence of strain transmission. Horizontal plasmid and gene transfer were analysed using BLAST.Of eight suspected strain transmission events, six were confirmed. The isolate pairs had identical ESBL/AmpC genes and fewer than eight allelic differences according to the cgMLST, and five had an almost identical plasmid composition. On one of the farms, cgMLST revealed that the isolate pairs belonging to ST10 from a broiler and a household member of the farmer had 475 different alleles, but that the plasmids were identical, indicating horizontal transfer of mobile elements rather than strain transfer. Of three suspected horizontal plasmid transmission events, one was confirmed. In addition, gene transfer between plasmids was found.The present study confirms transmission of strains as well as horizontal plasmid and gene transfer between broilers and farmers and household members on the same farm. WGS is an important tool to confirm suspected zoonotic strain and resistance gene transmission. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of Lactic Acid Bacterium Pediococcus acidilactici Strain ATCC 8042, an Autolytic Anti-bacterial Peptidoglycan Hydrolase Producer

Pediococcus acidilactici is a probiotic bacterium that is industrially utilized in the food industry and antibiotics development. Here, we determine the complete nucleotide sequence of the genome of Pediococcus acidilactici ATCC 8042. The genome was sequenced by the PacBio RSII to generate a single contig consisting of circular chromosome sequence. Illumina MiniSeq sequencing platform and Sanger sequencing method were additionally utilized to correct errors resulting from the long-read sequencing platform. The sequence consists of 2,009,598 bp with a G + C content of 42.1% and contains 1,865 protein-coding sequences. Based on the sequence information, we could confirm and predict the presence of four peptidoglycan hydrolases by HyPe software. This work, therefore, provides the complete genomic information of P. acidilactici ATCC 8042 with a profitable potential of genome-scale comprehension of anti-pathogenic activity, which can be applied in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical biotechnology field.


April 21, 2020  |  

Phylogenetic barriers to horizontal transfer of antimicrobial peptide resistance genes in the human gut microbiota.

The human gut microbiota has adapted to the presence of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are ancient components of immune defence. Despite its medical importance, it has remained unclear whether AMP resistance genes in the gut microbiome are available for genetic exchange between bacterial species. Here, we show that AMP resistance and antibiotic resistance genes differ in their mobilization patterns and functional compatibilities with new bacterial hosts. First, whereas AMP resistance genes are widespread in the gut microbiome, their rate of horizontal transfer is lower than that of antibiotic resistance genes. Second, gut microbiota culturing and functional metagenomics have revealed that AMP resistance genes originating from phylogenetically distant bacteria have only a limited potential to confer resistance in Escherichia coli, an intrinsically susceptible species. Taken together, functional compatibility with the new bacterial host emerges as a key factor limiting the genetic exchange of AMP resistance genes. Finally, our results suggest that AMPs induce highly specific changes in the composition of the human microbiota, with implications for disease risks.


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  |  

A prophage and two ICESa2603-family integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) carrying optrA in Streptococcus suis.

To investigate the presence and transfer of the oxazolidinone/phenicol resistance gene optrA and identify the genetic elements involved in the horizontal transfer of the optrA gene in Streptococcus suis.A total of 237 S. suis isolates were screened for the presence of the optrA gene by PCR. Whole-genome DNA of three optrA-positive strains was completely sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq and Pacbio RSII platforms. MICs were determined by broth microdilution. Transferability of the optrA gene in S. suis was investigated by conjugation. The presence of circular intermediates was examined by inverse PCR.The optrA gene was present in 11.8% (28/237) of the S. suis strains. In three strains, the optrA gene was flanked by two copies of IS1216 elements in the same orientation, located either on a prophage or on ICESa2603-family integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs), including one tandem ICE. In one isolate, the optrA-carrying ICE transferred with a frequency of 2.1?×?10-8. After the transfer, the transconjugant displayed elevated MICs of the respective antimicrobial agents. Inverse PCRs revealed that circular intermediates of different sizes were formed in the three optrA-carrying strains, containing one copy of the IS1216E element and the optrA gene alone or in combination with other resistance genes.A prophage and two ICESa2603-family ICEs (including one tandem ICE) associated with the optrA gene were identified in S. suis. The association of the optrA gene with the IS1216E elements and its location on either a prophage or ICEs will aid its horizontal transfer. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.


April 21, 2020  |  

Iron-associated protein interaction networks reveal the key functional modules related to survival and virulence of Pasteurella multocida.

Pasteurella multocida causes respiratory infectious diseases in a multitude of birds and mammals. A number of virulence-associated genes were reported across different strains of P. multocida, including those involved in the iron transport and metabolism. Comparative iron-associated genes of P. multocida among different animal hosts towards their interaction networks have not been fully revealed. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the iron-associated genes from core- and pan-genomes of fourteen P. multocida strains and to construct iron-associated protein interaction networks using genome-scale network analysis which might be associated with the virulence. Results showed that these fourteen strains had 1587 genes in the core-genome and 3400 genes constituting their pan-genome. Out of these, 2651 genes associated with iron transport and metabolism were selected to construct the protein interaction networks and 361 genes were incorporated into the iron-associated protein interaction network (iPIN) consisting of nine different iron-associated functional modules. After comparing with the virulence factor database (VFDB), 21 virulence-associated proteins were determined and 11 of these belonged to the heme biosynthesis module. From this study, the core heme biosynthesis module and the core outer membrane hemoglobin receptor HgbA were proposed as candidate targets to design novel antibiotics and vaccines for preventing pasteurellosis across the serotypes or animal hosts for enhanced precision agriculture to ensure sustainability in food security. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Comparative genomic analysis of Lactobacillus mucosae LM1 identifies potential niche-specific genes and pathways for gastrointestinal adaptation.

Lactobacillus mucosae is currently of interest as putative probiotics due to their metabolic capabilities and ability to colonize host mucosal niches. L. mucosae LM1 has been studied in its functions in cell adhesion and pathogen inhibition, etc. It demonstrated unique abilities to use energy from carbohydrate and non-carbohydrate sources. Due to these functions, we report the first complete genome sequence of an L. mucosae strain, L. mucosae LM1. Analysis of the pan-genome in comparison with closely-related Lactobacillus species identified a complete glycogen metabolism pathway, as well as folate biosynthesis, complementing previous proteomic data on the LM1 strain. It also revealed common and unique niche-adaptation genes among the various L. mucosae strains. The aim of this study was to derive genomic information that would reveal the probable mechanisms underlying the probiotic effect of L. mucosae LM1, and provide a better understanding of the nature of L. mucosae sp. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Biomimetic hydroxyapatite nanocrystals are an active carrier for Salmonella bacteriophages.

The use of bacteriophages represents a valid alternative to conventional antimicrobial treatments, overcoming the widespread bacterial antibiotic resistance phenomenon. In this work, we evaluated whether biomimetic hydroxyapatite (HA) nanocrystals are able to enhance some properties of bacteriophages. The final goal of this study was to demonstrate that biomimetic HA nanocrystals can be used for bacteriophage delivery in the context of bacterial infections, and contribute – at the same time – to enhance some of the biological properties of the same bacteriophages such as stability, preservation, antimicrobial activity, and so on.Phage isolation and characterization were carried out by using Mitomycin C and following double-layer agar technique. The biomimetic HA water suspension was synthesized in order to obtain nanocrystals with plate-like morphology and nanometric dimensions. The interaction of phages with the HA was investigated by dynamic light scattering and Zeta potential analyses. The cytotoxicity and intracellular killing activities of the phage-HA complex were evaluated in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells. The bacterial inhibition capacity of the complex was assessed on chicken minced meat samples infected with Salmonella Rissen.Our data highlighted that the biomimetic HA nanocrystal-bacteriophage complex was more stable and more effective than phages alone in all tested experimental conditions.Our results evidenced the important contribution of biomimetic HA nanocrystals: they act as an excellent carrier for bacteriophage delivery and enhance its biological characteristics. This study confirmed the significant role of the mineral HA when it is complexed with biological entities like bacteriophages, as it has been shown for molecules such as lactoferrin.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization of a novel, type II staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec element from an endemic oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus lugdunensis clone in a hospital setting.

Staphylococcus lugdunensis is a significant pathogen that causes community-acquired and nosocomial infections. The high prevalence of oxacillin-resistant S. lugdunensis (ORSL) is of major concern. Resistance to ß-lactams is caused by acquisition of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) element. The cassette is highly diverse, both structurally and genetically, among CoNS. Isolates carrying SCCmec II-ST6 are the major persistent clones in hospitals.To investigate the structure and evolutionary origin of a novel type II SCCmec element in an endemic ST6 S. lugdunensis clone.The structure of the SCCmec II element carried by ST6 strain CGMH-SL118 was determined by WGS and compared with those reported previously.A novel 39 kb SCCmec element, SCCmecCGMH-SL118, with a unique mosaic structure comprising 41 ORFs integrated into the 3′ end of the rlmH gene, was observed. Some regions of SCCmecCGMH-SL118 were homologous to SCCmec IIa of the prototype MRSA strain N315. The structure of SCCmecCGMH-SL118 was similar to that of SCCmec IIb of the MRSA strain, JCSC3063, mainly lacking the aminoglycoside resistance determinant pUB110 in the J3 region but containing the insertion sequence IS256 in the J2 region. Notably, SCCmecCGMH-SL118 deletions in the J1 region compared with SCCmec types IIa and IIb, and a high homology to SCCmec elements of Staphylococcus aureus JCSC4610 and Staphylococcus haemolyticus strain 621 were found.The genetic diversity of the type II SCCmec element in ORSL suggests that CoNS is a potential reservoir for interspecies transfer of SCCmec to S. aureus in hospitals. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.


April 21, 2020  |  

Sequential evolution of virulence and resistance during clonal spread of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

The past two decades have witnessed an alarming expansion of staphylococcal disease caused by community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA). The factors underlying the epidemic expansion of CA-MRSA lineages such as USA300, the predominant CA-MRSA clone in the United States, are largely unknown. Previously described virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes that promote the dissemination of CA-MRSA are carried by mobile genetic elements, including phages and plasmids. Here, we used high-resolution genomics and experimental infections to characterize the evolution of a USA300 variant plaguing a patient population at increased risk of infection to understand the mechanisms underlying the emergence of genetic elements that facilitate clonal spread of the pathogen. Genetic analyses provided conclusive evidence that fitness (manifest as emergence of a dominant clone) changed coincidently with the stepwise emergence of (i) a unique prophage and mutation of the regulator of the pyrimidine nucleotide biosynthetic operon that promoted abscess formation and colonization, respectively, thereby priming the clone for success; and (ii) a unique plasmid that conferred resistance to two topical microbiocides, mupirocin and chlorhexidine, frequently used for decolonization and infection prevention. The resistance plasmid evolved through successive incorporation of DNA elements from non-S. aureus spp. into an indigenous cryptic plasmid, suggesting a mechanism for interspecies genetic exchange that promotes antimicrobial resistance. Collectively, the data suggest that clonal spread in a vulnerable population resulted from extensive clinical intervention and intense selection pressure toward a pathogen lifestyle that involved the evolution of consequential mutations and mobile genetic elements.


April 21, 2020  |  

Systematic evasion of the restriction-modification barrier in bacteria.

Bacteria that are recalcitrant to genetic manipulation using modern in vitro techniques are termed genetically intractable. Genetic intractability is a fundamental barrier to progress that hinders basic, synthetic, and translational microbiology research and development beyond a few model organisms. The most common underlying causes of genetic intractability are restriction-modification (RM) systems, ubiquitous defense mechanisms against xenogeneic DNA that hinder the use of genetic approaches in the vast majority of bacteria and exhibit strain-level variation. Here, we describe a systematic approach to overcome RM systems. Our approach was inspired by a simple hypothesis: if a synthetic piece of DNA lacks the highly specific target recognition motifs for a host’s RM systems, then it is invisible to these systems and will not be degraded during artificial transformation. Accordingly, in this process, we determine the genome and methylome of an individual bacterial strain and use this information to define the bacterium’s RM target motifs. We then synonymously eliminate RM targets from the nucleotide sequence of a genetic tool in silico, synthesize an RM-silent “SyngenicDNA” tool, and propagate the tool as minicircle plasmids, termed SyMPL (SyngenicDNA Minicircle Plasmid) tools, before transformation. In a proof-of-principle of our approach, we demonstrate a profound improvement (five orders of magnitude) in the transformation of a clinically relevant USA300 strain of Staphylococcus aureus This stealth-by-engineering SyngenicDNA approach is effective, flexible, and we expect in future applications could enable microbial genetics free of the restraints of restriction-modification barriers.Copyright © 2019 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.


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