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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genomic comparison of highly virulent, moderately virulent, and avirulent strains from a genetically closely-related MRSA ST239 sub-lineage provides insights into pathogenesis.

The genomic comparison of virulent (TW20), moderately virulent (CMRSA6/CMRSA3), and avirulent (M92) strains from a genetically closely-related MRSA ST239 sub-lineage revealed striking similarities in their genomes and antibiotic resistance profiles, despite differences in virulence and pathogenicity. The main differences were in the spa gene (coding for staphylococcal protein A), lpl genes (coding for lipoprotein-like membrane proteins), cta genes (genes involved in heme synthesis), and the dfrG gene (coding for a trimethoprim-resistant dihydrofolate reductase), as well as variations in the presence or content of some prophages and plasmids, which could explain the virulence differences of these strains. TW20 was positive for…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

An outbreak of a rare Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli serotype (O117:H7) among men who have sex with men.

Sexually transmissible enteric infections (STEIs) are commonly associated with transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM). In the past decade, the UK has experienced multiple parallel STEI emergences in MSM caused by a range of bacterial species of the genus Shigella, and an outbreak of an uncommon serotype (O117?:?H7) of Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Here, we used microbial genomics on 6 outbreak and 30 sporadic STEC O117?:?H7 isolates to explore the origins and pathogenic drivers of the STEC O117?:?H7 emergence in MSM. Using genomic epidemiology, we found that the STEC O117?:?H7 outbreak lineage was potentially imported from Latin…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Biology and genome of a newly discovered sibling species of Caenorhabditis elegans.

A ‘sibling’ species of the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans has long been sought for use in comparative analyses that would enable deep evolutionary interpretations of biological phenomena. Here, we describe the first sibling species of C. elegans, C. inopinata n. sp., isolated from fig syconia in Okinawa, Japan. We investigate the morphology, developmental processes and behaviour of C. inopinata, which differ significantly from those of C. elegans. The 123-Mb C. inopinata genome was sequenced and assembled into six nuclear chromosomes, allowing delineation of Caenorhabditis genome evolution and revealing unique characteristics, such as highly expanded transposable elements that might have contributed…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Evolutionary history of human Plasmodium vivax revealed by genome-wide analyses of related ape parasites.

Wild-living African apes are endemically infected with parasites that are closely related to human Plasmodium vivax, a leading cause of malaria outside Africa. This finding suggests that the origin of P. vivax was in Africa, even though the parasite is now rare in humans there. To elucidate the emergence of human P. vivax and its relationship to the ape parasites, we analyzed genome sequence data of P. vivax strains infecting six chimpanzees and one gorilla from Cameroon, Gabon, and Côte d’Ivoire. We found that ape and human parasites share nearly identical core genomes, differing by only 2% of coding sequences.…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Multi-population genomic analysis of malaria parasites indicates local selection and differentiation at the gdv1 locus regulating sexual development.

Parasites infect hosts in widely varying environments, encountering diverse challenges for adaptation. To identify malaria parasite genes under locally divergent selection across a large endemic region with a wide spectrum of transmission intensity, genome sequences were obtained from 284 clinical Plasmodium falciparum infections from four newly sampled locations in Senegal, The Gambia, Mali and Guinea. Combining these with previous data from seven other sites in West Africa enabled a multi-population analysis to identify discrete loci under varying local selection. A genome-wide scan showed the most exceptional geographical divergence to be at the early gametocyte gene locus gdv1 which is essential…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Whole genome sequencing and microsatellite analysis of the Plasmodium falciparum E5 NF54 strain show that the var, rifin and stevor gene families follow Mendelian inheritance.

Plasmodium falciparum exhibits a high degree of inter-isolate genetic diversity in its variant surface antigen (VSA) families: P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1, repetitive interspersed family (RIFIN) and subtelomeric variable open reading frame (STEVOR). The role of recombination for the generation of this diversity is a subject of ongoing research. Here the genome of E5, a sibling of the 3D7 genome strain is presented. Short and long read whole genome sequencing (WGS) techniques (Ilumina, Pacific Bioscience) and a set of 84 microsatellites (MS) were employed to characterize the 3D7 and non-3D7 parts of the E5 genome. This is the first…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genomic surveillance of Enterococcus faecium reveals limited sharing of strains and resistance genes between livestock and humans in the United Kingdom.

Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) is a major cause of nosocomial infection and is categorized as high priority by the World Health Organization global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In the past, livestock have been proposed as a putative reservoir for drug-resistant E. faecium strains that infect humans, and isolates of the same lineage have been found in both reservoirs. We undertook cross-sectional surveys to isolate E. faecium (including VREfm) from livestock farms, retail meat, and wastewater treatment plants in the United Kingdom. More than 600 isolates from these sources were sequenced, and their relatedness and antibiotic resistance genes were compared…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The changing landscape of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium in Australia: a population-level genomic study.

Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) represent a major source of nosocomial infection worldwide. In Australia, there has been a recent concerning increase in bacteraemia associated with the vanA genotype, prompting investigation into the genomic epidemiology of VREfm.A population-level study of VREfm (10 November-9 December 2015) was conducted. A total of 321 VREfm isolates (from 286 patients) across Victoria State were collected and sequenced with Illumina NextSeq. SNPs were used to assess relatedness. STs and genes associated with resistance and virulence were identified. The vanA-harbouring plasmid from an isolate from each ST was assembled using long-read data. Illumina reads from remaining isolates…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

PacBio assembly of a Plasmodium knowlesi genome sequence with Hi-C correction and manual annotation of the SICAvar gene family.

Plasmodium knowlesi has risen in importance as a zoonotic parasite that has been causing regular episodes of malaria throughout South East Asia. The P. knowlesi genome sequence generated in 2008 highlighted and confirmed many similarities and differences in Plasmodium species, including a global view of several multigene families, such as the large SICAvar multigene family encoding the variant antigens known as the schizont-infected cell agglutination proteins. However, repetitive DNA sequences are the bane of any genome project, and this and other Plasmodium genome projects have not been immune to the gaps, rearrangements and other pitfalls created by these genomic features.…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

The extant World War 1 dysentery bacillus NCTC1: a genomic analysis.

Shigellosis (previously bacillary dysentery) was the primary diarrhoeal disease of World War 1, but outbreaks still occur in military operations, and shigellosis causes hundreds of thousands of deaths per year in developing nations. We aimed to generate a high-quality reference genome of the historical Shigella flexneri isolate NCTC1 and to examine the isolate for resistance to antimicrobials.In this genomic analysis, we sequenced the oldest extant Shigella flexneri serotype 2a isolate using single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology. Isolated from a soldier with dysentery from the British forces fighting on the Western Front in World War 1, this bacterium, NCTC1, was the…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Comparative genome analysis of Wolbachia strain wAu

BACKGROUND:Wolbachia intracellular bacteria can manipulate the reproduction of their arthropod hosts, including inducing sterility between populations known as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). Certain strains have been identified that are unable to induce or rescue CI, including wAu from Drosophila. Genome sequencing and comparison with CI-inducing related strain wMel was undertaken in order to better understand the molecular basis of the phenotype.RESULTS:Although the genomes were broadly similar, several rearrangements were identified, particularly in the prophage regions. Many orthologous genes contained single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) between the two strains, but a subset containing major differences that would likely cause inactivation in wAu were…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Comparison of genome sequencing technology and assembly methods for the analysis of a GC-rich bacterial genome.

Improvements in technology and decreases in price have made de novo bacterial genomic sequencing a reality for many researchers, but it has created a need to evaluate the methods for generating a complete and accurate genome assembly. We sequenced the GC-rich Caulobacter henricii genome using the Illumina MiSeq, Roche 454, and Pacific Biosciences RS II sequencing systems. To generate a complete genome sequence, we performed assemblies using eight readily available programs and found that builds using the Illumina MiSeq and the Roche 454 data produced accurate yet numerous contigs. SPAdes performed the best followed by PANDAseq. In contrast, the Celera…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Genetic stabilization of the drug-resistant PMEN1 Pneumococcus lineage by its distinctive DpnIII restriction-modification system.

The human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) exhibits a high degree of genomic diversity and plasticity. Isolates with high genomic similarity are grouped into lineages that undergo homologous recombination at variable rates. PMEN1 is a pandemic, multidrug-resistant lineage. Heterologous gene exchange between PMEN1 and non-PMEN1 isolates is directional, with extensive gene transfer from PMEN1 strains and only modest transfer into PMEN1 strains. Restriction-modification (R-M) systems can restrict horizontal gene transfer, yet most pneumococcal strains code for either the DpnI or DpnII R-M system and neither limits homologous recombination. Our comparative genomic analysis revealed that PMEN1 isolates code for DpnIII, a third…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Genomic epidemiology of hypervirulent serogroup W, ST-11 Neisseria meningitidis

Neisseria meningitidis is a leading bacterial cause of sepsis and meningitis globally with dynamic strain distribution over time. Beginning with an epidemic among Hajj pilgrims in 2000, serogroup W (W) sequence type (ST) 11 emerged as a leading cause of epidemic meningitis in the African ‘meningitis belt’ and endemic cases in South America, Europe, Middle East and China. Previous genotyping studies were unable to reliably discriminate sporadic W ST-11 strains in circulation since 1970 from the Hajj outbreak strain (Hajj clone). It is also unclear what proportion of more recent W ST-11 disease clusters are caused by direct descendants of…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Major improvements to the Heliconius melpomene genome assembly used to confirm 10 chromosome fusion events in 6 million years of butterfly evolution.

The Heliconius butterflies are a widely studied adaptive radiation of 46 species spread across Central and South America, several of which are known to hybridize in the wild. Here, we present a substantially improved assembly of the Heliconius melpomene genome, developed using novel methods that should be applicable to improving other genome assemblies produced using short read sequencing. First, we whole-genome-sequenced a pedigree to produce a linkage map incorporating 99% of the genome. Second, we incorporated haplotype scaffolds extensively to produce a more complete haploid version of the draft genome. Third, we incorporated ~20x coverage of Pacific Biosciences sequencing, and…

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