July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence and analysis of a stress-tolerant, wild-derived strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae used in biofuels research

The genome sequences of more than 100 strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been published. Unfortunately, most of these genome assemblies contain dozens to hundreds of gaps at repetitive sequences, including transposable elements, tRNAs, and subtelomeric regions, which is where novel genes generally reside. Relatively few strains have been chosen for genome sequencing based on their biofuel production potential, leaving an additional knowledge gap. Here, we describe the nearly complete genome sequence of GLBRCY22-3 (Y22-3), a strain of S. cerevisiae derived from the stress-tolerant wild strain NRRL YB-210 and subsequently engineered for xylose metabolism. After benchmarking several genome assembly approaches, we developed a pipeline to integrate Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) and Illumina sequencing data and achieved one of the highest quality genome assemblies for any S. cerevisiae strain. Specifically, the contig N50 is 693 kbp, and the sequences of most chromosomes, the mitochondrial genome, and the 2-micron plasmid are complete. Our annotation predicts 92 genes that are not present in the reference genome of the laboratory strain S288c, over 70% of which were expressed. We predicted functions for 43 of these genes, 28 of which were previously uncharacterized and unnamed. Remarkably, many of these genes are predicted to be involved in stress tolerance and carbon metabolism and are shared with a Brazilian bioethanol production strain, even though the strains differ dramatically at most genetic loci. The Y22-3 genome sequence provides an exceptionally high-quality resource for basic and applied research in bioenergy and genetics. Copyright © 2016 McIlwain et al.

July 7, 2019  |  

Use of multiple sequencing technologies to produce a high-quality genome of the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causative agent of bat white-nose syndrome.

White-nose syndrome has recently emerged as one of the most devastating wildlife diseases recorded, causing widespread mortality in numerous bat species throughout eastern North America. Here, we present an improved reference genome of the fungal pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans for use in comparative genomic studies. Copyright © 2016 Drees et al.

July 7, 2019  |  

Selvamicin, an atypical antifungal polyene from two alternative genomic contexts.

The bacteria harbored by fungus-growing ants produce a variety of small molecules that help maintain a complex multilateral symbiosis. In a survey of antifungal compounds from these bacteria, we discovered selvamicin, an unusual antifungal polyene macrolide, in bacterial isolates from two neighboring ant nests. Selvamicin resembles the clinically important antifungals nystatin A1 and amphotericin B, but it has several distinctive structural features: a noncationic 6-deoxymannose sugar at the canonical glycosylation site and a second sugar, an unusual 4-O-methyldigitoxose, at the opposite end of selvamicin’s shortened polyene macrolide. It also lacks some of the pharmacokinetic liabilities of the clinical agents and appears to have a different target. Whole genome sequencing revealed the putative type I polyketide gene cluster responsible for selvamicin’s biosynthesis including a subcluster of genes consistent with selvamicin’s 4-O-methyldigitoxose sugar. Although the selvamicin biosynthetic cluster is virtually identical in both bacterial producers, in one it is on the chromosome, in the other it is on a plasmid. These alternative genomic contexts illustrate the biosynthetic gene cluster mobility that underlies the diversity and distribution of chemical defenses by the specialized bacteria in this multilateral symbiosis.

July 7, 2019  |  

Structure and dynamics underlying elementary ligand binding events in human pacemaking channels.

Although molecular recognition is crucial for cellular signaling, mechanistic studies have relied primarily on ensemble measures that average over and thereby obscure underlying steps. Single-molecule observations that resolve these steps are lacking due to diffraction-limited resolution of single fluorophores at relevant concentrations. Here, we combined zero-mode waveguides with fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) to directly observe binding at individual cyclic nucleotide-binding domains (CNBDs) from human pacemaker ion channels critical for heart and brain function. Our observations resolve the dynamics of multiple distinct steps underlying cyclic nucleotide regulation: a slow initial binding step that must select a ‘receptive’ conformation followed by a ligand-induced isomerization of the CNBD. X-ray structure of the apo CNBD and atomistic simulations reveal that the isomerization involves both local and global transitions. Our approach reveals fundamental mechanisms underpinning ligand regulation of pacemaker channels, and is generally applicable to weak-binding interactions governing a broad spectrum of signaling processes.

July 7, 2019  |  

Recent progress and prospects for advancing arachnid genomics

Arachnids exhibit tremendous species richness and adaptations of biomedical, industrial, and agricultural importance. Yet genomic resources for arachnids are limited, with the first few spider and scorpion genomes becoming accessible in the last four years. We review key insights from these genome projects, and recommend additional genomes for sequencing, emphasizing taxa of greatest value to the scientific community. We suggest greater sampling of spiders whose genomes are understudied but hold important protein recipes for silk and venom production. We further recommend arachnid genomes to address significant evolutionary topics, including the phenotypic impact of genome duplications. A barrier to high-quality arachnid genomes are assemblies based solely on short-read data, which may be overcome by long-range sequencing and other emerging methods.

July 7, 2019  |  

Low-level antimicrobials in the medicinal leech select for resistant pathogens that spread to patients.

Fluoroquinolones (FQs) and ciprofloxacin (Cp) are important antimicrobials that pollute the environment in trace amounts. Although Cp has been recommended as prophylaxis for patients undergoing leech therapy to prevent infections by the leech gut symbiont Aeromonas, a puzzling rise in Cp-resistant (Cpr) Aeromonas infections has been reported. We report on the effects of subtherapeutic FQ concentrations on bacteria in an environmental reservoir, the medicinal leech, and describe the presence of multiple antibiotic resistance mutations and a gain-of-function resistance gene. We link the rise of CprAeromonas isolates to exposure of the leech microbiota to very low levels of Cp (0.01 to 0.04 µg/ml), <1/100 of the clinical resistance breakpoint for Aeromonas Using competition experiments and comparative genomics of 37 strains, we determined the mechanisms of resistance in clinical and leech-derived Aeromonas isolates, traced their origin, and determined that the presence of merely 0.01 µg/ml Cp provides a strong competitive advantage for Cpr strains. Deep-sequencing the Cpr-conferring region of gyrA enabled tracing of the mutation-harboring Aeromonas population in archived gut samples, and an increase in the frequency of the Cpr-conferring mutation in 2011 coincides with the initial reports of CprAeromonas infections in patients receiving leech therapy.IMPORTANCE The role of subtherapeutic antimicrobial contamination in selecting for resistant strains has received increasing attention and is an important clinical matter. This study describes the relationship of resistant bacteria from the medicinal leech, Hirudo verbana, with patient infections following leech therapy. While our results highlight the need for alternative antibiotic therapies, the rise of Cpr bacteria demonstrates the importance of restricting the exposure of animals to antibiotics approved for veterinary use. The shift to a more resistant community and the dispersion of Cpr-conferring mechanisms via mobile elements occurred in a natural setting due to the presence of very low levels of fluoroquinolones, revealing the challenges of controlling the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and highlighting the importance of a holistic approach in the management of antibiotic use. Copyright © 2018 Beka et al.

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