June 1, 2021  |  

Accurately surveying uncultured microbial species with SMRT Sequencing

Background: Microbial ecology is reshaping our understanding of the natural world by revealing the large phylogenetic and functional diversity of microbial life. However the vast majority of these microorganisms remain poorly understood, as most cultivated representatives belong to just four phylogenetic groups and more than half of all identified phyla remain uncultivated. Characterization of this microbial ‘dark matter’ will thus greatly benefit from new metagenomic methods for in situ analysis. For example, sensitive high throughput methods for the characterization of community composition and structure from the sequencing of conserved marker genes. Methods: Here we utilize Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing of full-length 16S rRNA amplicons to phylogenetically profile microbial communities to below the genus-level. We test this method on a mock community of known composition, as well as a previously studied microbial community from a lake known to predominantly contain poorly characterized phyla. These results are compared to traditional 16S tag sequencing from short-read technologies and subsets of the full-length data corresponding to the same regions of the 16S gene. Results: We explore the benefits of using full-length amplicons for estimating community structure and diversity. In addition, we investigate the possible effects of context-specific and GC-content biases known to affect short-read sequencing technologies on the predicted community structure. We characterize the potential benefits of profiling metagenomic communities with full-length 16S rRNA genes from SMRT sequencing relative to standard methods.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence provides insights into the quorum sensing-related spoilage potential of Shewanella baltica 128 isolated from spoiled shrimp.

Shewanella baltica 128 is a specific spoilage organism (SSO) isolated from the refrigerated shrimp that results in shrimp spoilage. This study reported the complete genome sequencing of this strain, with the primary annotations associated with amino acid transport and metabolism (8.66%), indicating that S. baltica 128 has good potential for degrading proteins. In vitro experiments revealed Shewanella baltica 128 could adapt to the stress conditions by regulating its growth and biofilm formation. Genes that related to the spoilage-related metabolic pathways, including trimethylamine metabolism (torT), sulfur metabolism (cysM), putrescine metabolism (speC), biofilm formation (rpoS) and serine protease production (degS), were identified. Genes (LuxS, pfs, LuxR and qseC) that related to the specific QS system were also identified. Complete genome sequence of S. baltica 128 provide insights into the QS-related spoilage potential, which might provide novel information for the development of new approaches for spoilage detection and prevention based on QS target.Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic variation and strain-specific functional adaptation in the human gut microbiome during early life.

The human gut microbiome matures towards the adult composition during the first years of life and is implicated in early immune development. Here, we investigate the effects of microbial genomic diversity on gut microbiome development using integrated early childhood data sets collected in the DIABIMMUNE study in Finland, Estonia and Russian Karelia. We show that gut microbial diversity is associated with household location and linear growth of children. Single nucleotide polymorphism- and metagenomic assembly-based strain tracking revealed large and highly dynamic microbial pangenomes, especially in the genus Bacteroides, in which we identified evidence of variability deriving from Bacteroides-targeting bacteriophages. Our analyses revealed functional consequences of strain diversity; only 10% of Finnish infants harboured Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis, a subspecies specialized in human milk metabolism, whereas Russian infants commonly maintained a probiotic Bifidobacterium bifidum strain in infancy. Groups of bacteria contributing to diverse, characterized metabolic pathways converged to highly subject-specific configurations over the first two years of life. This longitudinal study extends the current view of early gut microbial community assembly based on strain-level genomic variation.


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  |  

Epidemiologic and genomic insights on mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella from diarrhoeal outpatients in Shanghai, China, 2006-2016.

Colistin resistance mediated by mcr-1-harbouring plasmids is an emerging threat in Enterobacteriaceae, like Salmonella. Based on its major contribution to the diarrhoea burden, the epidemic state and threat of mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella in community-acquired infections should be estimated.This retrospective study analysed the mcr-1 gene incidence in Salmonella strains collected from a surveillance on diarrhoeal outpatients in Shanghai Municipality, China, 2006-2016. Molecular characteristics of the mcr-1-positive strains and their plasmids were determined by genome sequencing. The transfer abilities of these plasmids were measured with various conjugation strains, species, and serotypes.Among the 12,053 Salmonella isolates, 37 mcr-1-harbouring strains, in which 35 were serovar Typhimurium, were detected first in 2012 and with increasing frequency after 2015. Most patients infected with mcr-1-harbouring strains were aged <5?years. All strains, including fluoroquinolone-resistant and/or extended-spectrum ß-lactamase-producing strains, were multi-drug resistant. S. Typhimurium had higher mcr-1 plasmid acquisition ability compared with other common serovars. Phylogeny based on the genomes combined with complete plasmid sequences revealed some clusters, suggesting the presence of mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella outbreaks in the community. Most mcr-1-positive strains were clustered together with the pork strains, strongly suggesting pork consumption as a main infection source.The mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella prevalence in community-acquired diarrhoea displays a rapid increase trend, and the ESBL-mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella poses a threat for children. These findings highlight the necessary and significance of prohibiting colistin use in animals and continuous monitoring of mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella.Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier B.V.


April 21, 2020  |  

Strain-level metagenomic assignment and compositional estimation for long reads with MetaMaps.

Metagenomic sequence classification should be fast, accurate and information-rich. Emerging long-read sequencing technologies promise to improve the balance between these factors but most existing methods were designed for short reads. MetaMaps is a new method, specifically developed for long reads, capable of mapping a long-read metagenome to a comprehensive RefSeq database with >12,000 genomes in <16?GB or RAM on a laptop computer. Integrating approximate mapping with probabilistic scoring and EM-based estimation of sample composition, MetaMaps achieves >94% accuracy for species-level read assignment and r2?>?0.97 for the estimation of sample composition on both simulated and real data when the sample genomes or close relatives are present in the classification database. To address novel species and genera, which are comparatively harder to predict, MetaMaps outputs mapping locations and qualities for all classified reads, enabling functional studies (e.g. gene presence/absence) and detection of incongruities between sample and reference genomes.


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