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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Comparative genomics of Spiraeoideae-infecting Erwinia amylovora strains provides novel insight to genetic diversity and identifies the genetic basis of a low-virulence strain.

Erwinia amylovora is the causal agent of fire blight, one of the most devastating diseases of apple and pear. Erwinia amylovora is thought to have originated in North America and has now spread to at least 50 countries worldwide. An understanding of the diversity of the pathogen population and the transmission to different geographical regions is important for the future mitigation of this disease. In this research, we performed an expanded comparative genomic study of the Spiraeoideae-infecting (SI) E. amylovora population in North America and Europe. We discovered that, although still highly homogeneous, the genetic diversity of 30 E. amylovora genomes examined…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Transcriptome analysis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae during natural infection reveals differential expression of antibiotic resistance determinants between men and women.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a bacterial pathogen responsible for the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea. Emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) of N. gonorrhoeae worldwide has resulted in limited therapeutic choices for this infection. Men who seek treatment often have symptomatic urethritis; in contrast, gonococcal cervicitis in women is usually minimally symptomatic, but may progress to pelvic inflammatory disease. Previously, we reported the first analysis of gonococcal transcriptome expression determined in secretions from women with cervical infection. Here, we defined gonococcal global transcriptional responses in urethral specimens from men with symptomatic urethritis and compared these with transcriptional responses in specimens obtained from women with…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

DNA Methylation by Restriction Modification Systems Affects the Global Transcriptome Profile in Borrelia burgdorferi.

Prokaryote restriction modification (RM) systems serve to protect bacteria from potentially detrimental foreign DNA. Recent evidence suggests that DNA methylation by the methyltransferase (MTase) components of RM systems can also have effects on transcriptome profiles. The type strain of the causative agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi B31, possesses two RM systems with N6-methyladenosine (m6A) MTase activity, which are encoded by the bbe02 gene located on linear plasmid lp25 and bbq67 on lp56. The specific recognition and/or methylation sequences had not been identified for either of these B. burgdorferi MTases, and it was not previously known whether these RM systems…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Characterization of multi-drug resistant Enterococcus faecalis isolated from cephalic recording chambers in research macaques (Macaca spp.).

Nonhuman primates are commonly used for cognitive neuroscience research and often surgically implanted with cephalic recording chambers for electrophysiological recording. Aerobic bacterial cultures from 25 macaques identified 72 bacterial isolates, including 15 Enterococcus faecalis isolates. The E. faecalis isolates displayed multi-drug resistant phenotypes, with resistance to ciprofloxacin, enrofloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, bacitracin, and erythromycin, as well as high-level aminoglycoside resistance. Multi-locus sequence typing showed that most belonged to two E. faecalis sequence types (ST): ST 4 and ST 55. The genomes of three representative isolates were sequenced to identify genes encoding antimicrobial resistances and other traits. Antimicrobial resistance genes identified…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Differing patterns of selection and geospatial genetic diversity within two leading Plasmodium vivax candidate vaccine antigens.

Although Plasmodium vivax is a leading cause of malaria around the world, only a handful of vivax antigens are being studied for vaccine development. Here, we investigated genetic signatures of selection and geospatial genetic diversity of two leading vivax vaccine antigens–Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein 1 (pvmsp-1) and Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite protein (pvcsp). Using scalable next-generation sequencing, we deep-sequenced amplicons of the 42 kDa region of pvmsp-1 (n?=?44) and the complete gene of pvcsp (n?=?47) from Cambodian isolates. These sequences were then compared with global parasite populations obtained from GenBank. Using a combination of statistical and phylogenetic methods to assess…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

DNA methylation on N6-adenine in C. elegans.

In mammalian cells, DNA methylation on the fifth position of cytosine (5mC) plays an important role as an epigenetic mark. However, DNA methylation was considered to be absent in C. elegans because of the lack of detectable 5mC, as well as homologs of the cytosine DNA methyltransferases. Here, using multiple approaches, we demonstrate the presence of adenine N(6)-methylation (6mA) in C. elegans DNA. We further demonstrate that this modification increases trans-generationally in a paradigm of epigenetic inheritance. Importantly, we identify a DNA demethylase, NMAD-1, and a potential DNA methyltransferase, DAMT-1, which regulate 6mA levels and crosstalk between methylations of histone…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Microplitis demolitor bracovirus proviral loci and clustered replication genes exhibit distinct DNA amplification patterns during replication.

Polydnaviruses are large, double-stranded DNA viruses that are beneficial symbionts of parasitoid wasps. Polydnaviruses in the genus Bracovirus (BVs) persist in wasps as proviruses, and their genomes consist of two functional components referred to as proviral segments and nudivirus-like genes. Prior studies established that the DNA domains where proviral segments reside are amplified during replication and that segments within amplified loci are circularized before packaging into nucleocapsids. One DNA domain where nudivirus-like genes are located is also amplified but never packaged into virions. We recently sequenced the genome of the braconid Microplitis demolitor, which carries M. demolitor bracovirus (MdBV). Here,…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

A role for the bacterial GATC methylome in antibiotic stress survival.

Antibiotic resistance is an increasingly serious public health threat. Understanding pathways allowing bacteria to survive antibiotic stress may unveil new therapeutic targets. We explore the role of the bacterial epigenome in antibiotic stress survival using classical genetic tools and single-molecule real-time sequencing to characterize genomic methylation kinetics. We find that Escherichia coli survival under antibiotic pressure is severely compromised without adenine methylation at GATC sites. Although the adenine methylome remains stable during drug stress, without GATC methylation, methyl-dependent mismatch repair (MMR) is deleterious and, fueled by the drug-induced error-prone polymerase Pol IV, overwhelms cells with toxic DNA breaks. In multiple…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Integrating DNA methylation and gene expression data in the development of the soybean-Bradyrhizobium N2-fixing symbiosis.

Very little is known about the role of epigenetics in the differentiation of a bacterium from the free-living to the symbiotic state. Here genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation changes between these states is described using the model of symbiosis between soybean and its root nodule-forming, nitrogen-fixing symbiont, Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens. PacBio resequencing of the B. diazoefficiens genome from both states revealed 43,061 sites recognized by five motifs with the potential to be methylated genome-wide. Of those sites, 3276 changed methylation states in 2921 genes or 35.5% of all genes in the genome. Over 10% of the methylation changes occurred within the…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Increased risk of low birth weight in women with placental malaria associated with P. falciparum VAR2CSA clade.

Pregnancy associated malaria (PAM) causes adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes owing to Plasmodium falciparum accumulation in the placenta. Placental accumulation is mediated by P. falciparum protein VAR2CSA, a leading PAM-specific vaccine target. The extent of its antigen diversity and impact on clinical outcomes remain poorly understood. Through amplicon deep-sequencing placental malaria samples from women in Malawi and Benin, we assessed sequence diversity of VAR2CSA’s ID1-DBL2x region, containing putative vaccine targets and estimated associations of specific clades with adverse birth outcomes. Overall, var2csa diversity was high and haplotypes subdivided into five clades, the largest two defined by homology to parasites strains,…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Editing out five Serpina1 paralogs to create a mouse model of genetic emphysema.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease affects 10% of the worldwide population, and the leading genetic cause is a-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency. Due to the complexity of the murine locus, which includes up to six Serpina1 paralogs, no genetic animal model of the disease has been successfully generated until now. Here we create a quintuple Serpina1a-e knockout using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing. The phenotype recapitulates the human disease phenotype, i.e., absence of hepatic and circulating AAT translates functionally to a reduced capacity to inhibit neutrophil elastase. With age, Serpina1 null mice develop emphysema spontaneously, which can be induced in younger mice by a…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Ultradeep single-molecule real-time sequencing of HIV envelope reveals complete compartmentalization of highly macrophage-tropic R5 proviral variants in brain and CXCR4-using variants in immune and peripheral tissues.

Despite combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), HIV+ patients still develop neurological disorders, which may be due to persistent HIV infection and selective evolution in brain tissues. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology offers an improved opportunity to study the relationship among HIV isolates in the brain and lymphoid tissues because it is capable of generating thousands of long sequence reads in a single run. Here, we used SMRT sequencing to generate ~?50,000 high-quality full-length HIV envelope sequences (>?2200 bp) from seven autopsy tissues from an HIV+/cART+ subject, including three brain and four non-brain sites. Sanger sequencing was used for comparison with SMRT data…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Human gene-centered transcription factor networks for enhancers and disease variants.

Gene regulatory networks (GRNs) comprising interactions between transcription factors (TFs) and regulatory loci control development and physiology. Numerous disease-associated mutations have been identified, the vast majority residing in non-coding regions of the genome. As current GRN mapping methods test one TF at a time and require the use of cells harboring the mutation(s) of interest, they are not suitable to identify TFs that bind to wild-type and mutant loci. Here, we use gene-centered yeast one-hybrid (eY1H) assays to interrogate binding of 1,086 human TFs to 246 enhancers, as well as to 109 non-coding disease mutations. We detect both loss and…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Novel recA-independent horizontal gene transfer in Escherichia coli K-12.

In bacteria, mechanisms that incorporate DNA into a genome without strand-transfer proteins such as RecA play a major role in generating novelty by horizontal gene transfer. We describe a new illegitimate recombination event in Escherichia coli K-12: RecA-independent homologous replacements, with very large (megabase-length) donor patches replacing recipient DNA. A previously uncharacterized gene (yjiP) increases the frequency of RecA-independent replacement recombination. To show this, we used conjugal DNA transfer, combining a classical conjugation donor, HfrH, with modern genome engineering methods and whole genome sequencing analysis to enable interrogation of genetic dependence of integration mechanisms and characterization of recombination products. As…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Genome sequence and description of the anaerobic lignin-degrading bacterium Tolumonas lignolytica sp. nov.

Tolumonas lignolytica BRL6-1(T) sp. nov. is the type strain of T. lignolytica sp. nov., a proposed novel species of the Tolumonas genus. This strain was isolated from tropical rainforest soils based on its ability to utilize lignin as a sole carbon source. Cells of Tolumonas lignolytica BRL6-1(T) are mesophilic, non-spore forming, Gram-negative rods that are oxidase and catalase negative. The genome for this isolate was sequenced and returned in seven unique contigs totaling 3.6Mbp, enabling the characterization of several putative pathways for lignin breakdown. Particularly, we found an extracellular peroxidase involved in lignin depolymerization, as well as several enzymes involved…

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