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1.  Genome Sequencing of 15 Clinical Vibrio Isolates, Including 13 Non-O1/Non-O139 Serogroup Strains 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(5):e00893-14.
We present draft genome sequences of 15 clinical Vibrio isolates of various serogroups. These are valuable data for use in studying Vibrio cholerae genetic diversity, epidemic potential, and strain attribution.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00893-14
PMCID: PMC4161747  PMID: 25212618
2.  Beyond the Chromosome: The Prevalence of Unique Extra-Chromosomal Bacteriophages with Integrated Virulence Genes in Pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100502.
In Staphylococcus aureus, the disease impact of chromosomally integrated prophages on virulence is well described. However, the existence of extra-chromosomal prophages, both plasmidial and episomal, remains obscure. Despite the recent explosion in bacterial and bacteriophage genomic sequencing, studies have failed to specifically focus on extra-chromosomal elements. We selectively enriched and sequenced extra-chromosomal DNA from S. aureus isolates using Roche-454 technology and uncovered evidence for the widespread distribution of multiple extra-chromosomal prophages (ExPΦs) throughout both antibiotic-sensitive and -resistant strains. We completely sequenced one such element comprised of a 43.8 kbp, circular ExPΦ (designated ФBU01) from a vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (VISA) strain. Assembly and annotation of ФBU01 revealed a number of putative virulence determinants encoded within a bacteriophage immune evasion cluster (IEC). Our identification of several potential ExPΦs and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) also revealed numerous putative virulence factors and antibiotic resistance genes. We describe here a previously unidentified level of genetic diversity of stealth extra-chromosomal elements in S. aureus, including phages with a larger presence outside the chromosome that likely play a prominent role in pathogenesis and strain diversity driven by horizontal gene transfer (HGT).
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100502
PMCID: PMC4070920  PMID: 24963913
3.  Genome Sequencing of Four Strains of Rickettsia prowazekii, the Causative Agent of Epidemic Typhus, Including One Flying Squirrel Isolate 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(3):e00399-13.
Rickettsia prowazekii is a notable intracellular pathogen, the agent of epidemic typhus, and a potential biothreat agent. We present here whole-genome sequence data for four strains of R. prowazekii, including one from a flying squirrel.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00399-13
PMCID: PMC3695431  PMID: 23814035
4.  Genomic Comparison of Escherichia coli O104:H4 Isolates from 2009 and 2011 Reveals Plasmid, and Prophage Heterogeneity, Including Shiga Toxin Encoding Phage stx2 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48228.
In May of 2011, an enteroaggregative Escherichia coli O104:H4 strain that had acquired a Shiga toxin 2-converting phage caused a large outbreak of bloody diarrhea in Europe which was notable for its high prevalence of hemolytic uremic syndrome cases. Several studies have described the genomic inventory and phylogenies of strains associated with the outbreak and a collection of historical E. coli O104:H4 isolates using draft genome assemblies. We present the complete, closed genome sequences of an isolate from the 2011 outbreak (2011C–3493) and two isolates from cases of bloody diarrhea that occurred in the Republic of Georgia in 2009 (2009EL–2050 and 2009EL–2071). Comparative genome analysis indicates that, while the Georgian strains are the nearest neighbors to the 2011 outbreak isolates sequenced to date, structural and nucleotide-level differences are evident in the Stx2 phage genomes, the mer/tet antibiotic resistance island, and in the prophage and plasmid profiles of the strains, including a previously undescribed plasmid with homology to the pMT virulence plasmid of Yersinia pestis. In addition, multiphenotype analysis showed that 2009EL–2071 possessed higher resistance to polymyxin and membrane-disrupting agents. Finally, we show evidence by electron microscopy of the presence of a common phage morphotype among the European and Georgian strains and a second phage morphotype among the Georgian strains. The presence of at least two stx2 phage genotypes in host genetic backgrounds that may derive from a recent common ancestor of the 2011 outbreak isolates indicates that the emergence of stx2 phage-containing E. coli O104:H4 strains probably occurred more than once, or that the current outbreak isolates may be the result of a recent transfer of a new stx2 phage element into a pre-existing stx2-positive genetic background.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048228
PMCID: PMC3486847  PMID: 23133618
5.  A Yersinia pestis-specific, lytic phage preparation significantly reduces viable Y. pestis on various hard surfaces experimentally contaminated with the bacterium 
Bacteriophage  2012;2(3):168-177.
Five Y. pestis bacteriophages obtained from various sources were characterized to determine their biological properties, including their taxonomic classification, host range and genomic diversity. Four of the phages (YpP-G, Y, R and YpsP-G) belong to the Podoviridae family, and the fifth phage (YpsP-PST) belongs to the Myoviridae family, of the order Caudovirales comprising of double-stranded DNA phages. The genomes of the four Podoviridae phages were fully sequenced and found to be almost identical to each other and to those of two previously characterized Y. pestis phages Yepe2 and φA1122. However, despite their genomic homogeneity, they varied in their ability to lyse Y. pestis and Y. pseudotuberculosis strains. The five phages were combined to yield a “phage cocktail” (tentatively designated “YPP-100”) capable of lysing the 59 Y. pestis strains in our collection. YPP-100 was examined for its ability to decontaminate three different hard surfaces (glass, gypsum board and stainless steel) experimentally contaminated with a mixture of three genetically diverse Y. pestis strains CO92, KIM and 1670G. Five minutes of exposure to YPP-100 preparations containing phage concentrations of ca. 109, 108 and 107 PFU/mL completely eliminated all viable Y. pestis cells from all three surfaces, but a few viable cells were recovered from the stainless steel coupons treated with YPP-100 diluted to contain ca. 106 PFU/mL. However, even that highly diluted preparation significantly (p = < 0.05) reduced Y. pestis levels by ≥ 99.97%. Our data support the idea that Y. pestis phages may be useful for decontaminating various hard surfaces naturally- or intentionally-contaminated with Y. pestis.
doi:10.4161/bact.22240
PMCID: PMC3530526  PMID: 23275868
bacteriophage; phage; Yersinia pestis; surface decontamination
6.  A bioinformatic filter for improved base-call accuracy and polymorphism detection using the Affymetrix GeneChip® whole-genome resequencing platform 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;35(21):e148.
DNA resequencing arrays enable rapid acquisition of high-quality sequence data. This technology represents a promising platform for rapid high-resolution genotyping of microorganisms. Traditional array-based resequencing methods have relied on the use of specific PCR-amplified fragments from the query samples as hybridization targets. While this specificity in the target DNA population reduces the potential for artifacts caused by cross-hybridization, the subsampling of the query genome limits the sequence coverage that can be obtained and therefore reduces the technique's resolution as a genotyping method. We have developed and validated an Affymetrix Inc. GeneChip® array-based, whole-genome resequencing platform for Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia. A set of bioinformatic filters that targeted systematic base-calling errors caused by cross-hybridization between the whole-genome sample and the array probes and by deletions in the sample DNA relative to the chip reference sequence were developed. Our approach eliminated 91% of the false-positive single-nucleotide polymorphism calls identified in the SCHU S4 query sample, at the cost of 10.7% of the true positives, yielding a total base-calling accuracy of 99.992%.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkm918
PMCID: PMC2175352  PMID: 18006572

Results 1-6 (6)