June 1, 2021  |  

New discoveries from closing Salmonella genomes using Pacific Biosciences continuous long reads.

The newer hierarchical genome assembly process (HGAP) performs de novo assembly using data from a single PacBio long insert library. To assess the benefits of this method, DNA from several Salmonella enterica serovars was isolated from a pure culture. Genome sequencing was performed using Pacific Biosciences RS sequencing technology. The HGAP process enabled us to close sixteen Salmonella subsp. enterica genomes and their associated mobile elements: The ten serotypes include: Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) S. Bareilly, S. Heidelberg, S. Cubana, S. Javiana and S. Typhimurium, S. Newport, S. Montevideo, S. Agona, and S. Tennessee. In addition, we were able to detect novel methyltransferases (MTases) by using the Pacific Biosciences kinetic score distributions showing that each serovar appears to have a novel methylation pattern. For example while all Salmonella serovars examined so far have methylase specific activity for 5’-GATC-3’/3’-CTAG-5’ and 5’-CAGAG-3’/3’-GTCTC-5’ (underlined base indicates a modification), S. Heidelberg is uniquely specific for 5’-ACCANCC-3’/3’-TGGTNGG-5’, while S. Typhimurium has uniquely methylase specific for 5′-GATCAG-3’/3′- CTAGTC-5′ sites, for the samples examined so far. We believe that this may be due to the unique environments and phages that these serotypes have been exposed to. Furthermore, our analysis identified and closed a variety of plasmids such as mobilization plasmids, antimicrobial resistance plasmids and IncX plasmids carrying a Type IV secretion system (T4SS). The VirB/D4 T4SS apparatus is important in that it assists with rapid dissemination of antibiotic resistance and virulence determinants. Presently, only limited information exists regarding the genotypic characterization of drug resistance in S. Heidelberg isolates derived from various host species. Here, we characterize two S. Heidelberg outbreak isolates from two different outbreaks. Both isolates contain the IncX plasmid of approximately 35 kb, and carried the genes virB1, virB2, virB3/4, virB5, virB6, virB7, virB8, virB9, virB10, virB11, virD2, and virD4, that are associated with the T4SS. In addition, the outbreak isolate associated with ground turkey carries a 4,473 bp mobilization plasmid and an incompatibility group (Inc) I1 antimicrobial resistance plasmid encoding resistance to gentamicin (aacC2), beta-lactam (bl2b_tem), streptomycin (aadAI) and tetracycline (tetA, tetR) while the outbreak isolate associated with chicken breast carries the IncI1 plasmid encoding resistance to gentamicin (aacC2), streptomycin (aadAI) and sulfisoxazole (sul1). Using this new technology we explored the genetic elements present in resistant pathogens which will achieve a better understanding of the evolution of Salmonella.


April 21, 2020  |  

Rapid transcriptional responses to serum exposure are associated with sensitivity and resistance to antibody-mediated complement killing in invasive Salmonella Typhimurium ST313

Background: Salmonella Typhimurium ST313 exhibits signatures of adaptation to invasive human infection, including higher resistance to humoral immune responses than gastrointestinal isolates. Full resistance to antibody-mediated complement killing (serum resistance) among nontyphoidal Salmonellae is uncommon, but selection of highly resistant strains could compromise vaccine-induced antibody immunity. Here, we address the hypothesis that serum resistance is due to a distinct genotype or transcriptome response in S. Typhimurium ST313.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of Agrobacterium fabrum Strain 1D159.

This work reports the draft genome sequence of Agrobacterium fabrum strain 1D159 (also known as ATCC strain 27912). The assembled genome is composed of a 2,861,352-bp circular chromosome, a 2,058,040-bp linear chromosome, a 519,735-bp AT plasmid, and the 223,394-bp Ti virulence plasmid. The wild nondisarmed strain produces small gall-like structures in citrus.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Complete Genome of the Atypical Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli Archetype Isolate E110019 Highlights a Role for Plasmids in Dissemination of the Type III Secreted Effector EspT.

Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is a leading cause of moderate to severe diarrhea among young children in developing countries, and EPEC isolates can be subdivided into two groups. Typical EPEC (tEPEC) bacteria are characterized by the presence of both the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) and the plasmid-encoded bundle-forming pilus (BFP), which are involved in adherence and translocation of type III effectors into the host cells. Atypical EPEC (aEPEC) bacteria also contain the LEE but lack the BFP. In the current report, we describe the complete genome of outbreak-associated aEPEC isolate E110019, which carries four plasmids. Comparative genomic analysis demonstrated that the type III secreted effector EspT gene, an autotransporter gene, a hemolysin gene, and putative fimbrial genes are all carried on plasmids. Further investigation of 65 espT-containing E. coli genomes demonstrated that different espT alleles are associated with multiple plasmids that differ in their overall gene content from the E110019 espT-containing plasmid. EspT has been previously described with respect to its role in the ability of E110019 to invade host cells. While other type III secreted effectors of E. coli have been identified on insertion elements and prophages of the chromosome, we demonstrated in the current study that the espT gene is located on multiple unique plasmids. These findings highlight a role of plasmids in dissemination of a unique E. coli type III secreted effector that is involved in host invasion and severe diarrheal illness.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic Analysis of Emerging Florfenicol-Resistant Campylobacter coli Isolated from the Cecal Contents of Cattle in the United States.

Genomic analyses were performed on florfenicol-resistant (FFNr) Campylobacter coli isolates recovered from cattle, and the cfr(C) gene-associated multidrug resistance (MDR) plasmid was characterized. Sixteen FFNrC. coli isolates recovered between 2013 and 2018 from beef cattle were sequenced using MiSeq. Genomes and plasmids were found to be closed for three of the isolates using the PacBio system. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the genome and the structures of MDR plasmids were investigated. Conjugation experiments were performed to determine the transferability of cfr(C)-associated MDR plasmids. The spectrum of resistance encoded by the cfr(C) gene was further investigated by agar dilution antimicrobial susceptibility testing. All 16 FFNr isolates were MDR and exhibited coresistance to ciprofloxacin, nalidixic acid, clindamycin, and tetracycline. All isolates shared the same resistance genotype, carrying aph (3′)-III, hph, ?aadE (truncated), blaOXA-61, cfr(C), and tet(O) genes plus a mutation of GyrA (T86I). The cfr(C), aph (3′)-III, hph, ?aadE, and tet(O) genes were colocated on transferable MDR plasmids ranging in size from 48 to 50?kb. These plasmids showed high sequence homology with the pTet plasmid and carried several Campylobacter virulence genes, including virB2, virB4, virB5, VirB6, virB7, virB8, virb9, virB10, virB11, and virD4 The cfr(C) gene conferred resistance to florfenicol (8 to 32?µg/ml), clindamycin (512 to 1,024?µg/ml), linezolid (128 to 512?µg/ml), and tiamulin (1,024?µg/ml). Phylogenetic analysis showed SNP differences ranging from 11 to 2,248 SNPs among the 16 isolates. The results showed that the cfr(C) gene located in the conjugative pTet MDR/virulence plasmid is present in diverse strains, where it confers high levels of resistance to several antimicrobials, including linezolid, a critical drug for treating infections by Gram-positive bacteria in humans. This report highlights the power of genomic antimicrobial resistance surveillance to uncover the intricacies of transmissible coresistance and provides information that is needed for accurate risk assessment and mitigation strategies.IMPORTANCECampylobacter is a leading cause of foodborne diarrheal illness worldwide, with more than one million cases each year in the United States alone. The global emergence of antimicrobial resistance in this pathogen has become a growing public health concern. Florfenicol-resistant (FFNr) Campylobacter has been very rare in the United States. In this study, we employed whole-genome sequencing to characterize 16 multidrug-resistant Campylobacter coli isolates recovered from cattle in the United States. A gene [cfr(C)] was found to be responsible for resistance not only to florfenicol but also to several other antimicrobials, including linezolid, a critical drug for treating infections by Gram-positive bacteria in humans. The results showed that cfr(C) is located in a conjugative pTet MDR/virulence plasmid. This report highlights the power of antimicrobial resistance surveillance to uncover the intricacies of transmissible coresistance and provides information that is needed for accurate risk assessment and mitigation strategies.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genetic characterisation of variants of the virulence plasmid, pSLT, in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium provides evidence of a variety of evolutionary directions consistent with vertical rather than horizontal transmission.

The virulence plasmid pSLT as exemplified by the 94 Kb plasmid in Salmonella Typhimurium strain LT2 is only found in isolates of serovar Typhimurium. While it occurs commonly among such isolates recent genotyping methods have shown that it is mostly confined to certain genotypes. Although pSLT plasmids are capable of self-transmissibility under experimental conditions their confinement to certain host genotypes suggests that in practice they are maintained by vertical rather than by horizontal transmission. This would imply that evolution of the pSLT plasmid proceeds in parallel with evolution of its host. The development of a phylogenetic evolutionary framework for genotypes of S. Typhimurium based on single-nucleotide-polymorphism (SNPs) typing provided an opportunity to test whether the pSLT plasmid coevolves with its host genotype. Accordingly SNPs analysis was applied to the pSLT plasmids from 71 strains S. Typhimurium of Australian and international origins representing most of the genotypes which commonly have a pSLT. The phylogenetic tree showed that pSLT sequences clustered into almost the same groups as the host chromosomes so that each pSLT genotype was associated with a single host genotype. A search for tandem repeats in pSLT plasmids showed that a 9 bp VNTR in the traD gene occurred in the pSLT from all isolates belonging to Clade II but not from isolates belonging to Clade I. Another 9 bp repeat occurred only in three Clade I genotypes with a recent common ancestor. The evidence relating to both of these VNTRs supports the proposition that the pSLT plasmid is only transmitted vertically. Some isolates belonging to one S. Typhimurium genotype were found to have pSLTs which have lost a large block of genes when a resistance gene cassette has been acquired. Examples were found of pSLT plasmids which have recombined with other plasmids to form fusion plasmids sometimes with loss of some pSLT genes. In all cases the underlying genotype of the modified pSLT was the same as the genotype of regular pSLTs with the same host genotype implying that these changes have occurred within the host cell of the pSLT plasmid.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome mining identifies cepacin as a plant-protective metabolite of the biopesticidal bacterium Burkholderia ambifaria.

Beneficial microorganisms are widely used in agriculture for control of plant pathogens, but a lack of efficacy and safety information has limited the exploitation of multiple promising biopesticides. We applied phylogeny-led genome mining, metabolite analyses and biological control assays to define the efficacy of Burkholderia ambifaria, a naturally beneficial bacterium with proven biocontrol properties but potential pathogenic risk. A panel of 64 B.?ambifaria strains demonstrated significant antimicrobial activity against priority plant pathogens. Genome sequencing, specialized metabolite biosynthetic gene cluster mining and metabolite analysis revealed an armoury of known and unknown pathways within B.?ambifaria. The biosynthetic gene cluster responsible for the production of the metabolite cepacin was identified and directly shown to mediate protection of germinating crops against Pythium damping-off disease. B.?ambifaria maintained biopesticidal protection and overall fitness in the soil after deletion of its third replicon, a non-essential plasmid associated with virulence in Burkholderia?cepacia complex bacteria. Removal of the third replicon reduced B.?ambifaria persistence in a murine respiratory infection model. Here, we show that by using interdisciplinary phylogenomic, metabolomic and functional approaches, the mode of action of natural biological control agents related to pathogens can be systematically established to facilitate their future exploitation.


April 21, 2020  |  

Whole genome sequencing of NDM-1-producing serotype K1 ST23 hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae in China.

The emergence and spread of carbapenem-resistant hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (CR-hvKP) is causing worldwide concern, whereas NDM-producing hvKP is still rare. Here we report the complete genome sequence characteristics of an NDM-1-producing ST23 type clinical hvKP in PR China.Capsular polysaccharide serotyping was performed by PCR. The complete genome sequence of isolate 3214 was obtained using both the Illumina Hiseq platform and Pacbio RS platform. Multilocus sequence type was identified by submitting the genome sequence to mlst 2.0 and the antimicrobial resistance genes and plasmid replicons were identified using ResFinder and PlasmidFinder, respectively. Transferability of the blaNDM-1-bearing plasmid was determined by conjugation experiment, S1 pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and Southern hybridization.Isolate 3214 was classified to ST23 and belonged to the K1 capsular serotype. The isolate’s total genome size was 6 171 644?bp with a G+C content of 56.39 %, consisting of a 5 448 209?bp chromosome and seven plasmids. The resistome included 18 types of antibiotic resistance genes. Fourteen resistance genes including blaNDM-1 and blaCTX-M-14 were located on plasmids and five also including blaCTX-M-14 were in the chromosome. Plasmid pNDM_3214 carrying blaNDM-1 harboured six types of resistance genes surrounded by insertion sequences and was conjugative. The worldwide pLVPK-like virulence plasmid harbouring rmpA2 and rmpA was also found in this isolate.This study provides basic information of phenotypic and genomic features of ST23 CR-hvKP isolate 3214. Our data highlights the potential risk of spread of NDM-1-producing ST23 hvKP.


April 21, 2020  |  

Deciphering bacterial epigenomes using modern sequencing technologies.

Prokaryotic DNA contains three types of methylation: N6-methyladenine, N4-methylcytosine and 5-methylcytosine. The lack of tools to analyse the frequency and distribution of methylated residues in bacterial genomes has prevented a full understanding of their functions. Now, advances in DNA sequencing technology, including single-molecule, real-time sequencing and nanopore-based sequencing, have provided new opportunities for systematic detection of all three forms of methylated DNA at a genome-wide scale and offer unprecedented opportunities for achieving a more complete understanding of bacterial epigenomes. Indeed, as the number of mapped bacterial methylomes approaches 2,000, increasing evidence supports roles for methylation in regulation of gene expression, virulence and pathogen-host interactions.


April 21, 2020  |  

An African Salmonella Typhimurium ST313 sublineage with extensive drug-resistance and signatures of host adaptation.

Bloodstream infections by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium constitute a major health burden in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). These invasive non-typhoidal (iNTS) infections are dominated by isolates of the antibiotic resistance-associated sequence type (ST) 313. Here, we report emergence of ST313 sublineage II.1 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sublineage II.1 exhibits extensive drug resistance, involving a combination of multidrug resistance, extended spectrum ß-lactamase production and azithromycin resistance. ST313 lineage II.1 isolates harbour an IncHI2 plasmid we name pSTm-ST313-II.1, with one isolate also exhibiting decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility. Whole genome sequencing reveals that ST313 II.1 isolates have accumulated genetic signatures potentially associated with altered pathogenicity and host adaptation, related to changes observed in biofilm formation and metabolic capacity. Sublineage II.1 emerged at the beginning of the 21st century and is involved in on-going outbreaks. Our data provide evidence of further evolution within the ST313 clade associated with iNTS in SSA.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome-wide systematic identification of methyltransferase recognition and modification patterns.

Genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation patterns using single molecule real-time DNA sequencing has boosted the number of publicly available methylomes. However, there is a lack of tools coupling methylation patterns and the corresponding methyltransferase genes. Here we demonstrate a high-throughput method for coupling methyltransferases with their respective motifs, using automated cloning and analysing the methyltransferases in vectors carrying a strain-specific cassette containing all potential target sites. To validate the method, we analyse the genomes of the thermophile Moorella thermoacetica and the mesophile Acetobacterium woodii, two acetogenic bacteria having substantially modified genomes with 12 methylation motifs and a total of 23 methyltransferase genes. Using our method, we characterize the 23 methyltransferases, assign motifs to the respective enzymes and verify activity for 11 of the 12 motifs.


April 21, 2020  |  

Urinary tract colonization is enhanced by a plasmid that regulates uropathogenic Acinetobacter baumannii chromosomal genes.

Multidrug resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumannii poses a growing threat to global health. Research on Acinetobacter pathogenesis has primarily focused on pneumonia and bloodstream infections, even though one in five A. baumannii strains are isolated from urinary sites. In this study, we highlight the role of A. baumannii as a uropathogen. We develop the first A. baumannii catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) murine model using UPAB1, a recent MDR urinary isolate. UPAB1 carries the plasmid pAB5, a member of the family of large conjugative plasmids that represses the type VI secretion system (T6SS) in multiple Acinetobacter strains. pAB5 confers niche specificity, as its carriage improves UPAB1 survival in a CAUTI model and decreases virulence in a pneumonia model. Comparative proteomic and transcriptomic analyses show that pAB5 regulates the expression of multiple chromosomally-encoded virulence factors besides T6SS. Our results demonstrate that plasmids can impact bacterial infections by controlling the expression of chromosomal genes.


April 21, 2020  |  

Arcobacter cryaerophilus Isolated From New Zealand Mussels Harbor a Putative Virulence Plasmid.

A wide range of Arcobacter species have been described from shellfish in various countries but their presence has not been investigated in Australasia, in which shellfish are a popular delicacy. Since several arcobacters are considered to be emerging pathogens, we undertook a small study to evaluate their presence in several different shellfish, including greenshell mussels, oysters, and abalone (paua) in New Zealand. Arcobacter cryaerophilus, a species associated with human gastroenteritis, was the only species isolated, from greenshell mussels. Whole-genome sequencing revealed a range of genomic traits in these strains that were known or associated virulence factors. Furthermore, we describe the first putative virulence plasmid in Arcobacter, containing lytic, immunoavoidance, adhesion, antibiotic resistance, and gene transfer traits, among others. Complete genome sequence determination using a combination of long- and short-read genome sequencing strategies, was needed to identify the plasmid, clearly identifying its benefits. The potential for plasmids to disseminate virulence traits among Arcobacter and other species warrants further consideration by researchers interested in the risks to public health from these organisms.


April 21, 2020  |  

Plasmids of Shigella flexneri serotype 1c strain Y394 provide advantages to bacteria in the host.

Shigella flexneri has an extremely complex genome with a significant number of virulence traits acquired by mobile genetic elements including bacteriophages and plasmids. S. flexneri serotype 1c is an emerging etiological agent of bacillary dysentery in developing countries. In this study, the complete nucleotide sequence of two plasmids of S. flexneri serotype 1c strain Y394 was determined and analysed.The plasmid pINV-Y394 is an invasive or virulence plasmid of size 221,293?bp composed of a large number of insertion sequences (IS), virulence genes, regulatory and maintenance genes. Three hundred and twenty-eight open reading frames (ORFs) were identified in pINV-Y394, of which about a half (159 ORFs) were identified as IS elements. Ninety-seven ORFs were related to characterized genes (majority of which are associated with virulence and their regulons), and 72 ORFs were uncharacterized or hypothetical genes. The second plasmid pNV-Y394 is of size 10,866?bp and encodes genes conferring resistance against multiple antibiotics of clinical importance. The multidrug resistance gene cassette consists of tetracycline resistance gene tetA, streptomycin resistance gene strA-strB and sulfonamide-resistant dihydropteroate synthase gene sul2.These two plasmids together play a key role in the fitness of Y394 in the host environment. The findings from this study indicate that the pathogenic S. flexneri is a highly niche adaptive pathogen which is able to co-evolve with its host and respond to the selection pressure in its environment.


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