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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Density-dependent enhanced replication of a densovirus in Wolbachia-infected Aedes cells is associated with production of piRNAs and higher virus-derived siRNAs.

The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis has been shown to restrict a range of RNA viruses in Drosophila melanogaster and transinfected dengue mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Here, we show that Wolbachia infection enhances replication of Aedes albopictus densovirus (AalDNV-1), a single stranded DNA virus, in Aedes cell lines in a density-dependent manner. Analysis of previously produced small RNAs of Aag2 cells showed that Wolbachia-infected cells produced greater absolute abundance of virus-derived short interfering RNAs compared to uninfected cells. Additionally, we found production of virus-derived PIWI-like RNAs (vpiRNA) produced in response to AalDNV-1 infection. Nuclear fractions of Aag2 cells produced a primary vpiRNA…

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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

Mutators as drivers of adaptation in Streptococcus and a risk factor for host jumps and vaccine escape

Heritable hypermutable strains deficient in DNA repair genes (mutators) facilitate microbial adaptation as they may rapidly generate beneficial mutations. Mutators deficient in mismatch (MMR) and oxidised guanine (OG) repair are abundant in clinical samples and show increased adaptive potential in experimental infection models but their role in pathoadaptation is poorly understood. Here we investigate the role of mutators in epidemiology and evolution of the broad host pathogen, Streptococcus iniae, employing 80 strains isolated globally over 40 years. We determine phylogenetic relationship among S. iniae using 10,267 non-recombinant core genome single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), estimate their mutation rate by fluctuation analysis,…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

The complete genome sequence of Escherichia coli EC958: a high quality reference sequence for the globally disseminated multidrug resistant E. coli O25b:H4-ST131 clone.

Escherichia coli ST131 is now recognised as a leading contributor to urinary tract and bloodstream infections in both community and clinical settings. Here we present the complete, annotated genome of E. coli EC958, which was isolated from the urine of a patient presenting with a urinary tract infection in the Northwest region of England and represents the most well characterised ST131 strain. Sequencing was carried out using the Pacific Biosciences platform, which provided sufficient depth and read-length to produce a complete genome without the need for other technologies. The discovery of spurious contigs within the assembly that correspond to site-specific…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Molecular analysis of asymptomatic bacteriuria Escherichia coli strain VR50 reveals adaptation to the urinary tract by gene acquisition.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common infectious diseases of humans, with Escherichia coli responsible for >80% of all cases. One extreme of UTI is asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU), which occurs as an asymptomatic carrier state that resembles commensalism. To understand the evolution and molecular mechanisms that underpin ABU, the genome of the ABU E. coli strain VR50 was sequenced. Analysis of the complete genome indicated that it most resembles E. coli K-12, with the addition of a 94-kb genomic island (GI-VR50-pheV), eight prophages, and multiple plasmids. GI-VR50-pheV has a mosaic structure and contains genes encoding a number of…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Complete genome sequence of Sporisorium scitamineum and biotrophic interaction transcriptome with sugarcane.

Sporisorium scitamineum is a biotrophic fungus responsible for the sugarcane smut, a worldwide spread disease. This study provides the complete sequence of individual chromosomes of S. scitamineum from telomere to telomere achieved by a combination of PacBio long reads and Illumina short reads sequence data, as well as a draft sequence of a second fungal strain. Comparative analysis to previous available sequences of another strain detected few polymorphisms among the three genomes. The novel complete sequence described herein allowed us to identify and annotate extended subtelomeric regions, repetitive elements and the mitochondrial DNA sequence. The genome comprises 19,979,571 bases, 6,677…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

A biphasic epigenetic switch controls immunoevasion, virulence and niche adaptation in non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae.

Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae contains an N(6)-adenine DNA-methyltransferase (ModA) that is subject to phase-variable expression (random ON/OFF switching). Five modA alleles, modA2, modA4, modA5, modA9 and modA10, account for over two-thirds of clinical otitis media isolates surveyed. Here, we use single molecule, real-time (SMRT) methylome analysis to identify the DNA-recognition motifs for all five of these modA alleles. Phase variation of these alleles regulates multiple proteins including vaccine candidates, and key virulence phenotypes such as antibiotic resistance (modA2, modA5, modA10), biofilm formation (modA2) and immunoevasion (modA4). Analyses of a modA2 strain in the chinchilla model of otitis media show a clear…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

SMRT Sequencing of long tandem nucleotide repeats in SCA10 reveals unique insight of repeat expansion structure.

A large, non-coding ATTCT repeat expansion causes the neurodegenerative disorder, spinocerebellar ataxia type 10 (SCA10). In a subset of SCA10 patients, interruption motifs are present at the 5′ end of the expansion and strongly correlate with epileptic seizures. Thus, interruption motifs are a predictor of the epileptic phenotype and are hypothesized to act as a phenotypic modifier in SCA10. Yet, the exact internal sequence structure of SCA10 expansions remains unknown due to limitations in current technologies for sequencing across long extended tracts of tandem nucleotide repeats. We used the third generation sequencing technology, Single Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing, to…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Stepwise evolution of pandrug-resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) pose an urgent risk to global human health. CRE that are non-susceptible to all commercially available antibiotics threaten to return us to the pre-antibiotic era. Using Single Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing we determined the complete genome of a pandrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate, representing the first complete genome sequence of CRE resistant to all commercially available antibiotics. The precise location of acquired antibiotic resistance elements, including mobile elements carrying genes for the OXA-181 carbapenemase, were defined. Intriguingly, we identified three chromosomal copies of an ISEcp1-blaOXA-181 mobile element, one of which has disrupted the mgrB regulatory gene,…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Lineage-specific methyltransferases define the methylome of the globally disseminated Escherichia coli ST131 clone.

Escherichia coli sequence type 131 (ST131) is a clone of uropathogenic E. coli that has emerged rapidly and disseminated globally in both clinical and community settings. Members of the ST131 lineage from across the globe have been comprehensively characterized in terms of antibiotic resistance, virulence potential, and pathogenicity, but to date nothing is known about the methylome of these important human pathogens. Here we used single-molecule real-time (SMRT) PacBio sequencing to determine the methylome of E. coli EC958, the most-well-characterized completely sequenced ST131 strain. Our analysis of 52,081 methylated adenines in the genome of EC958 discovered three (m6)A methylation motifs that have…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Sequencing of Australian wild rice genomes reveals ancestral relationships with domesticated rice.

The related A genome species of the Oryza genus are the effective gene pool for rice. Here, we report draft genomes for two Australian wild A genome taxa: O. rufipogon-like population, referred to as Taxon A, and O. meridionalis-like population, referred to as Taxon B. These two taxa were sequenced and assembled by integration of short- and long-read next-generation sequencing (NGS) data to create a genomic platform for a wider rice gene pool. Here, we report that, despite the distinct chloroplast genome, the nuclear genome of the Australian Taxon A has a sequence that is much closer to that of domesticated rice…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Adaptation and conservation insights from the koala genome.

The koala, the only extant species of the marsupial family Phascolarctidae, is classified as ‘vulnerable’ due to habitat loss and widespread disease. We sequenced the koala genome, producing a complete and contiguous marsupial reference genome, including centromeres. We reveal that the koala’s ability to detoxify eucalypt foliage may be due to expansions within a cytochrome P450 gene family, and its ability to smell, taste and moderate ingestion of plant secondary metabolites may be due to expansions in the vomeronasal and taste receptors. We characterized novel lactation proteins that protect young in the pouch and annotated immune genes important for response…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Degradation and remobilization of endogenous retroviruses by recombination during the earliest stages of a germ-line invasion.

Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are proviral sequences that result from colonization of the host germ line by exogenous retroviruses. The majority of ERVs represent defective retroviral copies. However, for most ERVs, endogenization occurred millions of years ago, obscuring the stages by which ERVs become defective and the changes in both virus and host important to the process. The koala retrovirus, KoRV, only recently began invading the germ line of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), permitting analysis of retroviral endogenization on a prospective basis. Here, we report that recombination with host genomic elements disrupts retroviruses during the earliest stages of germ-line invasion. One…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Emergence of scarlet fever Streptococcus pyogenes emm12 clones in Hong Kong is associated with toxin acquisition and multidrug resistance.

A scarlet fever outbreak began in mainland China and Hong Kong in 2011 (refs. 1-6). Macrolide- and tetracycline-resistant Streptococcus pyogenes emm12 isolates represent the majority of clinical cases. Recently, we identified two mobile genetic elements that were closely associated with emm12 outbreak isolates: the integrative and conjugative element ICE-emm12, encoding genes for tetracycline and macrolide resistance, and prophage FHKU.vir, encoding the superantigens SSA and SpeC, as well as the DNase Spd1 (ref. 4). Here we sequenced the genomes of 141 emm12 isolates, including 132 isolated in Hong Kong between 2005 and 2011. We found that the introduction of several ICE-emm12…

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