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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Staying alive: growth and survival of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. animalis under in vitro and in vivo conditions.

Members of the Bifidobacterium genus are widely used as probiotics in fermented milk products. Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. animalis CNCM I-4602 grows and survives poorly in reconstituted skimmed milk (RSM). Availing of genome and transcriptome information, this poor growth and survival phenotype in milk was substantially improved by the addition of certain compounds, such as yeast extract, uric acid, glutathione, cysteine, ferrous sulfate, and a combination of magnesium sulfate and manganese sulfate. Carbohydrate utilization of CNCM I-4602 was also investigated, allowing the identification of several carbohydrate utilization gene clusters, and highlighting this strain’s inability to utilize lactose, unlike the type strain…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Desiccation Tolerance Evolved through Gene Duplication and Network Rewiring in Lindernia.

Although several resurrection plant genomes have been sequenced, the lack of suitable dehydration-sensitive outgroups has limited genomic insights into the origin of desiccation tolerance. Here, we utilized a comparative system of closely related desiccation-tolerant (Lindernia brevidens) and -sensitive (Lindernia subracemosa) species to identify gene- and pathway-level changes associated with the evolution of desiccation tolerance. The two high-quality Lindernia genomes we assembled are largely collinear, and over 90% of genes are conserved. L. brevidens and L. subracemosa have evidence of an ancient, shared whole-genome duplication event, and retained genes have neofunctionalized, with desiccation-specific expression in L. brevidens Tandem gene duplicates also…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Stress-induced formation of cell wall-deficient cells in filamentous actinomycetes.

The cell wall is a shape-defining structure that envelopes almost all bacteria and protects them from environmental stresses. Bacteria can be forced to grow without a cell wall under certain conditions that interfere with cell wall synthesis, but the relevance of these wall-less cells (known as L-forms) is unclear. Here, we show that several species of filamentous actinomycetes have a natural ability to generate wall-deficient cells in response to hyperosmotic stress, which we call S-cells. This wall-deficient state is transient, as S-cells are able to switch to the normal mycelial mode of growth. However, prolonged exposure of S-cells to hyperosmotic…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The genomic landscape of molecular responses to natural drought stress in Panicum hallii

Environmental stress is a major driver of ecological community dynamics and agricultural productivity. This is especially true for soil water availability, because drought is the greatest abiotic inhibitor of worldwide crop yields. Here, we test the genetic basis of drought responses in the genetic model for C4perennial grasses, Panicum hallii, through population genomics, field-scale gene-expression (eQTL) analysis, and comparison of two complete genomes. While gene expression networks are dominated by local cis-regulatory elements, we observe three genomic hotspots of unlinked trans-regulatory loci. These regulatory hubs are four times more drought responsive than the genome-wide average. Additionally, cis- and trans-regulatory networks…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Regulation of yeast-to-hyphae transition in Yarrowia lipolytica.

The yeast Yarrowia lipolytica undergoes a morphological transition from yeast-to-hyphal growth in response to environmental conditions. A forward genetic screen was used to identify mutants that reliably remain in the yeast phase, which were then assessed by whole-genome sequencing. All the smooth mutants identified, so named because of their colony morphology, exhibit independent loss of DNA at a repetitive locus made up of interspersed ribosomal DNA and short 10- to 40-mer telomere-like repeats. The loss of repetitive DNA is associated with downregulation of genes with stress response elements (5′-CCCCT-3′) and upregulation of genes with cell cycle box (5′-ACGCG-3′) motifs in…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

N6-methyladenine DNA methylation in Japonica and Indica rice genomes and its association with gene expression, plant development, and stress responses.

N6-Methyladenine (6mA) DNA methylation has recently been implicated as a potential new epigenetic marker in eukaryotes, including the dicot model Arabidopsis thaliana. However, the conservation and divergence of 6mA distribution patterns and functions in plants remain elusive. Here we report high-quality 6mA methylomes at single-nucleotide resolution in rice based on substantially improved genome sequences of two rice cultivars, Nipponbare (Nip; Japonica) and 93-11 (Indica). Analysis of 6mA genomic distribution and its association with transcription suggest that 6mA distribution and function is rather conserved between rice and Arabidopsis. We found that 6mA levels are positively correlated with the expression of key…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

How resurrection plants survive being hung out to dry.

Resurrection plants have the unique ability to survive extreme dehydration (desiccation), lying dormant for months or sometimes years until rehydration is possible. This formidable survival strategy has independently evolved several times across the land plant phylogeny, and several phylogenetically diverse resurrection plant genomes have been sequenced and assembled in an attempt to understand the causal genetic mechanisms. Large-scale comparisons across each of these phylogenetically distant resurrection plant genomes reveals that some conserved molecular signatures may underlie desiccation tolerance (Illing et al., 2005; Zhang and Bartels, 2018), but overall the genes, networks, and regulatory factors that underlie desiccation tolerance remain largely…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Comparative analysis of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii genomes shows a high level of genome plasticity and warrants separation into new species-level taxa.

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is a ubiquitous member of the human gut microbiome, constituting up to 15% of the total bacteria in the human gut. Substantial evidence connects decreased levels of F. prausnitzii with the onset and progression of certain forms of inflammatory bowel disease, which has been attributed to its anti-inflammatory potential. Two phylogroups of F. prausnitzii have been identified, with a decrease in phylogroup I being a more sensitive marker of intestinal inflammation. Much of the genomic and physiological data available to date was collected using phylogroup II strains. Little analysis of F. prausnitzii genomes has been performed so far…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Transcriptional landscape of a blaKPC-2 plasmid and response to imipenem exposure in Escherichia coli TOP10.

The diffusion of KPC-2 carbapenemase is closely related to the spread of Klebsiella pneumoniae of the clonal-group 258 and linked to IncFIIK plasmids. Little is known about the biology of multi-drug resistant plasmids and the reasons of their successful dissemination. Using E. coli TOP10 strain harboring a multi-replicon IncFIIK-IncFIB blaKPC-2-gene carrying plasmid pBIC1a from K. pneumoniae ST-258 clinical isolate BIC-1, we aimed to identify basal gene expression and the effects of imipenem exposure using whole transcriptome approach by RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). Independently of the antibiotic pressure, most of the plasmid-backbone genes were expressed at low levels. The most expressed pBIC1a…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The plasmid-encoded transcription factor ArdK contributes to the repression of the IMP-6 metallo-ß-lactamase gene blaIMP-6, leading to a carbapenem-susceptible phenotype in the blaIMP-6-positive Escherichia coli strain A56-1S.

Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) are a global concern because these bacteria are resistant to almost all ß-lactams. Horizontal interspecies gene transfer via plasmid conjugation has increased the global dissemination of CPE. Recently, an Enterobacteriaceae strain positive for carbapenemase gene but showing a carbapenem-susceptible phenotype was identified, suggesting that these susceptible strains may be challenging to detect solely via antimicrobial susceptibility tests without molecular analysis. Here, we isolated a blaIMP-6 carbapenemase-gene positive but imipenem- and meropenem-susceptible Escherichia coli (ISMS-E) strain A56-1S (imipenem and meropenem minimum inhibitory concentration, = 0.125 mg/L), from a human urine specimen in Japan. A56-1S was carbapenemase negative by…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Approaches for surveying cosmic radiation damage in large populations of Arabidopsis thaliana seeds-Antarctic balloons and particle beams.

The Cosmic Ray Exposure Sequencing Science (CRESS) payload system is a proof of concept experiment to assess the genomic impact of space radiation on seeds. CRESS was designed as a secondary payload for the December 2016 high-altitude, high-latitude, and long-duration balloon flight carrying the Boron And Carbon Cosmic Rays in the Upper Stratosphere (BACCUS) experimental hardware. Investigation of the biological effects of Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR), particularly those of ions with High-Z and Energy (HZE), is of interest due to the genomic damage this type of radiation inflicts. The biological effects of upper-stratospheric mixed radiation above Antarctica (ANT) were sampled…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genotypes and phenotypes of Enterococci isolated from broiler chickens

The objective of this study was to compare the resistance phenotypes to genotypes of enterococci from broiler and to evaluate the persistence and distribution of resistant genotypes in broiler fed bambermycin (BAM), penicillin (PEN), salinomycin (SAL), bacitracin (BAC) or a salinomycin/bacitracin combination (SALBAC) for 35 days. A total of 95 enterococci from cloacal (n=40), cecal (n=38) and litter collected on day 36 (n=17) samples were isolated weekly from day 7 to 36. All isolates were identified by API-20 Strep and their antimicrobial susceptibilities were evaluated using the Sensititre system with the commercially available NARMS’s plates of Gram positive bacteria. Whole…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A novel probiotic, Lactobacillus johnsonii 456, resists acid and can persist in the human gut beyond the initial ingestion period.

Probiotics are considered to have multiple beneficial effects on the human gastrointestinal tract, including immunomodulation, pathogen inhibition, and improved host nutrient metabolism. However, extensive characterization of these properties is needed to define suitable clinical applications for probiotic candidates. Lactobacillus johnsonii 456 (LBJ 456) was previously demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory and anti-genotoxic effects in a mouse model. Here, we characterize its resistance to gastric and bile acids as well as its ability to inhibit gut pathogens and adhere to host mucosa. While bile resistance and in vitro host attachment properties of LBJ 456 were comparable to other tested probiotics, LBJ 456…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Chemical Synergy between Ionophore PBT2 and Zinc Reverses Antibiotic Resistance.

The World Health Organization reports that antibiotic-resistant pathogens represent an imminent global health disaster for the 21st century. Gram-positive superbugs threaten to breach last-line antibiotic treatment, and the pharmaceutical industry antibiotic development pipeline is waning. Here we report the synergy between ionophore-induced physiological stress in Gram-positive bacteria and antibiotic treatment. PBT2 is a safe-for-human-use zinc ionophore that has progressed to phase 2 clinical trials for Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease treatment. In combination with zinc, PBT2 exhibits antibacterial activity and disrupts cellular homeostasis in erythromycin-resistant group A Streptococcus (GAS), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). We were unable to…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Phototaxis in a wild isolate of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus.

Many cyanobacteria, which use light as an energy source via photosynthesis, have evolved the ability to guide their movement toward or away from a light source. This process, termed “phototaxis,” enables organisms to localize in optimal light environments for improved growth and fitness. Mechanisms of phototaxis have been studied in the coccoid cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803, but the rod-shaped Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942, studied for circadian rhythms and metabolic engineering, has no phototactic motility. In this study we report a recent environmental isolate of S. elongatus, the strain UTEX 3055, whose genome is 98.5% identical to that of…

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