The Gram-negative bacterium Cronobacter sakazakii is an emerging food-borne pathogen that causes severe invasive infections in neonates. Variation in the O-antigen lipopolysaccharide in the outer membrane provides the basis for Gram-negative bacteria serotyping. The O-antigen serotyping scheme for C. sakazakii, which includes seven serotypes (O1 to O7), has been recently established, and the O-antigen gene clusters and specific primers for three C. sakazakii serotypes (O1, O2, and O3) have been characterized. In this study, the C. sakazakii O4, O5, O6, and O7 O-antigen gene clusters were sequenced, and gene functions were predicted on the basis of homology. C. sakazakii O4 shared a similar O-antigen gene cluster with Escherichia coli O103. The general features and anomalies of all seven C. sakazakii O-antigen gene clusters were evaluated and the relationship between O-antigen structures and their gene clusters were investigated. Serotype-specific genes for O4 to O7 were identified, and a molecular serotyping method for all C. sakazakii O serotypes, a multiplex PCR assay, was developed by screening against 136 strains of C. sakazakii and closely related species. The sensitivity of PCR-based serotyping method was determined to be 0.01 ng of genomic DNA and 103 CFU of each strain/ml. This study completes the elucidation of C. sakazakii O-antigen genetics and provides a molecular method suitable for the identification of C. sakazakii O1 to O7 strains.
The present study was the first to use the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) methodology to investigate the neural correlates of race categorization of own- and other-race faces. We found that Chinese participants categorized the race of Caucasian faces more accurately and faster than that of Chinese faces, replicating the robust effect of the other-race categorization advantage. Regions of interest (ROI) analyses revealed greater neural activations when participants were categorizing own-race faces than other-race faces in the bilateral ventral occipito-temporal cortex (VOT) such as the fusiform face areas (FFA) and the occipital face areas (OFA). Within the left FFA, there was also a significant negative correlation between the behavioral difference of own- and other-race face categorization accuracy and the activation difference between categorizing own- and other-race faces. Whole brain analyses showed that categorizing own-race faces induced greater activations in the right medial frontal cortex (MFC) and right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) than categorizing other-race faces. Psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analyses revealed that the frontal cortical regions interacted more strongly with the posterior VOT during the categorization of own-race faces than that of other-race faces. Overall, our findings suggest that relative to the categorization of other-race faces, more cortical resources are engaged during the categorization of own-race faces with which we have a higher level of processing expertise. This increased involvement of cortical neural sources perhaps serves to provide more in-depth processing of own-race faces (such as individuation), which in turn paradoxically results in the behavioral other-race categorization advantage.
face processing; other-race effect; face categorization; face recognition; fusiform face area; occipital face area; fMRI; cortical neural resources
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major human pathogen associated with many diseases worldwide. Capsular polysaccharides (CPSs) are the major virulence factor. The biosynthetic pathway of d-arabinitol, which is present in the CPSs of several S. pneumoniae serotypes, has never been identified. In this study, the genes abpA (previously known as abp1) and abpB (previously known as abp2), which have previously been reported to be responsible for nucleoside diphosphate (NDP)-d-arabinitol (the nucleotide-activated form of d-arabinitol) synthesis, were cloned. The enzyme products were overexpressed, purified, and analyzed for their respective activities. Novel products produced by AbpA- and AbpB-catalyzing reactions were detected by capillary electrophoresis, and the structures of the products were elucidated using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. As a result, abpA was identified to be a d-xylulose-5-phosphate cytidylyltransferase-encoding gene, responsible for the transfer of CTP to d-xylulose-5-phosphate (d-Xlu-5-P) to form CDP-d-xylulose, and abpB was characterized to be a CDP-d-xylulose reductase-encoding gene, responsible for the conversion of CDP-d-xylulose to CDP-d-arabinitol as the final product. The kinetic parameters of AbpA for the substrates d-Xlu-5-P and CTP and those of AbpB for the substrate CDP-d-xylulose and the cofactors NADH or NADPH were measured, and the effects of temperature, pH, and cations on the two enzymes were analyzed. This study confirmed the involvement of the genes abpA and abpB and their products in the biosynthetic pathway of CDP-d-arabinitol.
The intra- and postoperative complications resulting from surgery for giant thyroid gland tumors (diameter greater than 10 cm) present serious challenges to patient recovery. Although there are a number of methods, all have limitations. In this study, we present our experience with several complications of surgical treatment of giant thyroid gland tumors to increase the awareness and aid the prevention of these complications. A total of 137 consecutive patients who underwent surgical treatment in Henan Tumor Hospital were retrospectively analyzed. Statistics pertaining to the patients’ clinical factors were gathered. We found that the most common surgical complications were recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury and symptomatic hypoparathyroidism. Other complications included incision site infections, bleeding, infection and chyle fistula, the incidence of which increased significantly with increasing extent of surgery from group I (near-total thyroidectomy) to group V (total thyroidectomy plus lateral neck dissection). Low complication rates may be achieved with more accurate knowledge of the surgical anatomy, skilled surgical treatment and experience. More extensive surgery results in a greater number of complications.
complications; giant thyroid gland; recurrent laryngeal nerve; hypoparathyroidism
We established a microarray for the simultaneous detection and identification of diverse putative pathogens often associated with fishery products by targeting specific genes of Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Shigella, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus, and Yersinia enterocolitica and the 16S-23S rRNA gene internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of Proteus mirabilis and Proteus vulgaris. The microarray contained 26 specific probes and was tested against a total of 123 target bacterial strains that included 55 representative strains, 68 clinical isolates, and 45 strains of other bacterial species that belonged to 8 genera and 34 species, and it was shown to be specific and reproducible. A detection sensitivity of 10 ng DNA or 10 CFU/ml for pure cultures of each target organism demonstrated that the assay was highly sensitive and reproducible. Mock and real fishery product samples were tested by the microarray, and the accuracy was 100%. The DNA microarray method described in this communication is specific, sensitive, and reliable and has several advantages over traditional methods of bacterial culture and antiserum agglutination assays.
Pusillimonas sp. T7-7 is a diesel oil-degrading cold-tolerant bacterium isolated from the benthal mud of a petroleum-contaminated site in Bohai Sea, China. We present here the complete genome sequence of T7-7. Genome analysis revealed many features of typical marine bacteria, including the absence of intact sugar metabolic pathways, the presence of glyoxylate and gluconeogenesis pathways, and the abilities for nitrate assimilation and denitrification, as well as sulfate reduction and sulfite oxidation. The presence of novel genes for the degradation of diesel oils was suggested.
Flagella contribute to the virulence of bacteria through chemotaxis, adhesion to and invasion of host surfaces. Flagellar phase variation is believed to facilitate bacterial evasion of the host immune response. In this study, the flnA gene that encodes Escherichia coli H17 flagellin was examined by whole genome sequencing and genetic deletion analysis. Unilateral flagellar phase variation has been reported in E. coli H3, H47 and H17 strains, although the mechanism for phase variation in the H17 strain has not been previously understood. Analysis of phase variants indicated that the flagellar phase variation in the H17 strain was caused by the deletion of an ∼35 kb DNA region containing the flnA gene from diverse excision sites. The presence of covalently closed extrachromosomal circular forms of this excised 35 kb region was confirmed by the two-step polymerase chain reaction. The deletion and complementation test revealed that the Int1157 integrase, a tyrosine recombinase, mediates the excision of this region. Unlike most tyrosine recombinases, Int1157 is suggested to recognize diverse sites and mediate recombination between non-homologous DNA sequences. This is the first report of non-homologous recombination mediating flagellar phase variation.
Mortierella alpina is an oleaginous fungus which can produce lipids accounting for up to 50% of its dry weight in the form of triacylglycerols. It is used commercially for the production of arachidonic acid. Using a combination of high throughput sequencing and lipid profiling, we have assembled the M. alpina genome, mapped its lipogenesis pathway and determined its major lipid species. The 38.38 Mb M. alpina genome shows a high degree of gene duplications. Approximately 50% of its 12,796 gene models, and 60% of genes in the predicted lipogenesis pathway, belong to multigene families. Notably, M. alpina has 18 lipase genes, of which 11 contain the class 2 lipase domain and may share a similar function. M. alpina's fatty acid synthase is a single polypeptide containing all of the catalytic domains required for fatty acid synthesis from acetyl-CoA and malonyl-CoA, whereas in many fungi this enzyme is comprised of two polypeptides. Major lipids were profiled to confirm the products predicted in the lipogenesis pathway. M. alpina produces a complex mixture of glycerolipids, glycerophospholipids and sphingolipids. In contrast, only two major sterol lipids, desmosterol and 24(28)-methylene-cholesterol, were detected. Phylogenetic analysis based on genes involved in lipid metabolism suggests that oleaginous fungi may have acquired their lipogenic capacity during evolution after the divergence of Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Chytridiomycota and Mucoromycota. Our study provides the first draft genome and comprehensive lipid profile for M. alpina, and lays the foundation for possible genetic engineering of M. alpina to produce higher levels and diverse contents of dietary lipids.
Nematode-trapping fungi are “carnivorous” and attack their hosts using specialized trapping devices. The morphological development of these traps is the key indicator of their switch from saprophytic to predacious lifestyles. Here, the genome of the nematode-trapping fungus Arthrobotrys oligospora Fres. (ATCC24927) was reported. The genome contains 40.07 Mb assembled sequence with 11,479 predicted genes. Comparative analysis showed that A. oligospora shared many more genes with pathogenic fungi than with non-pathogenic fungi. Specifically, compared to several sequenced ascomycete fungi, the A. oligospora genome has a larger number of pathogenicity-related genes in the subtilisin, cellulase, cellobiohydrolase, and pectinesterase gene families. Searching against the pathogen-host interaction gene database identified 398 homologous genes involved in pathogenicity in other fungi. The analysis of repetitive sequences provided evidence for repeat-induced point mutations in A. oligospora. Proteomic and quantitative PCR (qPCR) analyses revealed that 90 genes were significantly up-regulated at the early stage of trap-formation by nematode extracts and most of these genes were involved in translation, amino acid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, cell wall and membrane biogenesis. Based on the combined genomic, proteomic and qPCR data, a model for the formation of nematode trapping device in this fungus was proposed. In this model, multiple fungal signal transduction pathways are activated by its nematode prey to further regulate downstream genes associated with diverse cellular processes such as energy metabolism, biosynthesis of the cell wall and adhesive proteins, cell division, glycerol accumulation and peroxisome biogenesis. This study will facilitate the identification of pathogenicity-related genes and provide a broad foundation for understanding the molecular and evolutionary mechanisms underlying fungi-nematodes interactions.
The fungus Arthrobotrys oligospora has multiple lifestyles. It's not only a nematode pathogen, but also a saprophyte, a pathogen of other fungi, and a colonizer of plant roots. As a nematode pathogen, A. oligospora forms adhesive networks to capture nematodes and is a model organism for understanding the interaction between these fungi and their host nematodes. In this study, the whole genome sequence of A. oligospora was reported. Our analyses of the proteome profiles of intracellular proteins from cells treated with nematode extracts for 10 h and 48 h revealed a key set of genes involved in trap formation. The changes in protein levels for some trap formation related genes were further confirmed by qPCR. The combined genome and proteome analysis identified the major genetic and metabolic pathways involved in trap formation in A. oligospora. Our results provide the first glimpse into the genome and proteome of this fascinating group of carnivorous fungi. The data should serve as a roadmap for further investigations into the interaction between nematode-trapping fungi and their host nematodes, providing broad foundations for research on the biocontrol of pathogenic nematodes.
The O antigen is the outer part of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and contains many repeats of an oligosaccharide unit. It contributes to antigenic variability and is essential to the full function and virulence of bacteria. Shigella is a Gram-negative human pathogen that causes diarrhea in humans. The O antigen of Shigella boydii type 14 consists of repeating oligosaccharide units with the structure [→6-d-Galpα1→4-d-GlcpAβ1→6-d-Galpβ1→4-d-Galpβ1→4-d-GlcpNAcβ1→]n. The wfeD gene in the O-antigen gene cluster of Shigella boydii type 14 was proposed to encode a galactosyltransferase (GalT) involved in O-antigen synthesis. We confirmed here that the wfeD gene product is a β4-GalT that synthesizes the Galβ1-4GlcNAcα-R linkage. WfeD was expressed in Escherichia coli, and the activity was characterized by using UDP-[3H]Gal as the donor substrate as well as the synthetic acceptor substrate GlcNAcα-pyrophosphate-(CH2)11-O-phenyl. The enzyme product was analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and galactosidase digestion. The enzyme was shown to be specific for the UDP-Gal donor substrate and required pyrophosphate in the acceptor substrate. Divalent metal ions such as Mn2+, Ni2+, and, surprisingly, also Pb2+ enhanced the enzyme activity. Mutational analysis showed that the Glu101 residue within a DxD motif is essential for activity, possibly by forming the catalytic nucleophile. The Lys211 residue was also shown to be required for activity and may be involved in the binding of the negatively charged acceptor substrate. Our study revealed that the β4-GalT WfeD is a novel enzyme that has virtually no sequence similarity to mammalian β4-GalT, although it catalyzes a similar reaction.
Capsule polysaccharide (CPS) plays an important role in the virulence of Streptococcus pneumoniae and is usually used as the pneumococcal vaccine target. Glycerol-2-phosphate is found in the CPS of S. pneumoniae types 15A and 23F and is rarely found in the polysaccharides of other bacteria. The biosynthetic pathway of the nucleotide-activated form of glycerol-2-phosphate (NDP-2-glycerol) has never been identified. In this study, three genes (gtp1, gtp2, and gtp3) from S. pneumoniae 23F that have been proposed to be involved in the synthesis of NDP-2-glycerol were cloned and the enzyme products were expressed, purified, and assayed for their respective activities. Capillary electrophoresis was used to detect novel products from the enzyme-substrate reactions, and the structure of the product was elucidated using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Gtp1 was identified as a reductase that catalyzes the conversion of 1,3-dihydroxyacetone to glycerol, Gtp3 was identified as a glycerol-2-phosphotransferase that catalyzes the conversion of glycerol to glycerol-2-phosphate, and Gtp2 was identified as a cytidylyltransferase that transfers CTP to glycerol-2-phosphate to form CDP-2-glycerol as the final product. The kinetic parameters of Gtp1 and Gtp2 were characterized in depth, and the effects of temperature, pH, and cations on these two enzymes were analyzed. This is the first time that the biosynthetic pathway of CDP-2-glycerol has been identified biochemically; this pathway provides a method to enzymatically synthesize this compound.
Proteus species are well-characterized opportunistic pathogens primarily associated with urinary tract infections (UTI) of humans. The Proteus O antigen is one of the most variable constituents of the cell surface, and O antigen heterogeneity is used for serological classification of Proteus isolates. Even though most Proteus O antigen structures have been identified, the O antigen locus has not been well characterized. In this study, we identified the putative Proteus O antigen locus and demonstrated this region's high degree of heterogeneity by comparing sequences of 40 Proteus isolates using PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). This analysis identified five putative Proteus O antigen gene clusters, and the probable functions of these O antigen-related genes were proposed, based on their similarity to genes in the available databases. Finally, Proteus-specific genes from these five serogroups were identified by screening 79 strains belonging to the 68 Proteus O antigen serogroups. To our knowledge, this is the first molecular characterization of the putative Proteus O antigen locus, and we describe a novel molecular classification method for the identification of different Proteus serogroups.
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a common pathogen worldwide causing infectious diarrhea, especially traveler's diarrhea. Traditional physiological assays, immunoassays, and PCR-based methods for the detection of ETEC target the heat-labile enterotoxin and/or the heat-stable enterotoxin. Separate serotyping methods using antisera are required to determine the ETEC serogroup. In this study, we developed a DNA microarray that can simultaneously detect enterotoxin genes and the 19 most common O serogroup genes in ETEC strains. The specificity and reproducibility of this approach were verified by hybridization to 223 strains: 50 target reference or clinical strains and 173 other strains, including those belonging to other E. coli O serogroups and closely related species. The sensitivity of detection was determined to be 50 ng of genomic DNA or 108 CFU per ml of organisms in pure culture. The random PCR strategy used in this study with minimal bias provides an effective alternative to multiplex PCR for the detection of pathogens using DNA microarrays. The assay holds promise for applications in the clinical diagnosis and epidemiological surveillance of pathogenic microorganisms.
V-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 (BRAF) is a significant member of the MAPK pathway, the point mutation (V600E) of which is a common genetic event in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). Investigators showed that the variations in BRAF expression levels were independent of the V600E mutation. These variations were involved in the pathogenesis of thyroid carcinomas. This study evaluated the feasibility of BRAF, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and hMSH2 as markers for the prediction of the metastatic potential of PTC. Using immunohistochemistry, the expression of BRAF, PCNA and hMSH2 proteins was studied in 70 PTC and 29 nodular goiter (NG) tissues. The results indicated that i) the positive rate of BRAF, PCNA and hMSH2 expression in PTCs was significantly higher than that in NGs (P=0.000, P=0.000 and P=0.003, respectively), ii) the positive rate of BRAF expression in the lymph node metastasis (LNM) group was significantly higher than that in the non-LNM group (P=0.019), iii) the age at diagnosis of PTC patients with LNM was significantly older compared to that without LNM (P=0.021) and iv) the positive rate of BRAF expression significantly correlated with that of PCNA and hMSH2 expression (P=0.000 and P=0.019, respectively). In conclusion, BRAF, PCNA and hMSH2 overexpression appeared to be molecular events of PTC carcinogenesis. Older patients with BRAF overexpression appear to be a high-risk group for PTC metastasis. Detection of BRAF expression is likely to aid in the prediction of the metastatic potential of the carcinoma.
papillary thyroid carcinoma; V-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1; proliferating cell nuclear antigen; hMSH2; immunohistochemistry
Enterobacter cloacae is an important nosocomial pathogen. Here, we report the completion of the genome sequence of E. cloacae ATCC 13047, the type strain of E. cloacae subsp. cloacae. Multiple sets of virulence determinant and heavy-metal resistance genes have been found in the genome. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first complete genome sequence of the E. cloacae species.
Many of the important changes in evolution are regulatory in nature. Sequenced bacterial genomes point to flexibility in regulatory circuits but we do not know how regulation is remodeled in evolving bacteria. Here, we study the regulatory changes that emerge in populations evolving under controlled conditions during experimental evolution of Escherichia coli in a phosphate-limited chemostat culture. Genomes were sequenced from five clones with different combinations of phenotypic properties that coexisted in a population after 37 days. Each of the distinct isolates contained a different mutation in 1 of 3 highly pleiotropic regulatory genes (hfq, spoT, or rpoS). The mutations resulted in dissimilar proteomic changes, consistent with the documented effects of hfq, spoT, and rpoS mutations. The different mutations do share a common benefit, however, in that the mutations each redirect cellular resources away from stress responses that are redundant in a constant selection environment. The hfq mutation lowers several individual stress responses as well the small RNA–dependent activation of rpoS translation and hence general stress resistance. The spoT mutation reduces ppGpp levels, decreasing the stringent response as well as rpoS expression. The mutations in and upstream of rpoS resulted in partial or complete loss of general stress resistance. Our observations suggest that the degeneracy at the core of bacterial stress regulation provides alternative solutions to a common evolutionary challenge. These results can explain phenotypic divergence in a constant environment and also how evolutionary jumps and adaptive radiations involve altered gene regulation.
Escherichia coli genomics; experimental evolution; stress responses
Pathogen detection is critical to the process of generating and testing powdered infant formula (PIF). An obstacle associated with PIF microbial surveillance is that most current procedures are time-consuming and labor-intensive. We have developed a rapid, DNA microarray-based detection technique to identify 10 different pathogenic bacteria associated with PIF contamination based on the 16S-23S rRNA gene internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences and wzy (O antigen polymerase) gene. Using this procedure, Enterobacter sakazakii, Salmonella enterica, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella oxytoca, Serratia marcescens, Acinetobacter baumannii, Bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli O157 were identified. One hundred eighty-five strains were used to validate the microarray assay (including 134 target pathogen strains and 51 closely related bacteria). Twenty-seven probes reproducibly detected multiple pathogens with high specificity and sensitivity (0.100 ng genomic DNA or 104 CFU/ml). Twenty-one real PIF samples were tested by the microarray with 100% accuracy. The data presented reveal that the designed oligonucleotide microarray is a promising method for basic microbiology, clinical diagnosis, food safety, and epidemiological surveillance.
Papaya, a fruit crop cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions, is known for its nutritional benefits and medicinal applications. Here we report a 3× draft genome sequence of ‘SunUp’ papaya, the first commercial virus-resistant transgenic fruit tree1 to be sequenced. The papaya genome is three times the size of the Arabidopsis genome, but contains fewer genes, including significantly fewer disease-resistance gene analogues. Comparison of the five sequenced genomes suggests a minimal angiosperm gene set of 13,311. A lack of recent genome duplication, atypical of other angiosperm genomes sequenced so far2–5, may account for the smaller papaya gene number in most functional groups. Nonetheless, striking amplifications in gene number within particular functional groups suggest roles in the evolution of tree-like habit, deposition and remobilization of starch reserves, attraction of seed dispersal agents, and adaptation to tropical daylengths. Transgenesis at three locations is closely associated with chloroplast insertions into the nuclear genome, and with topoisomerase I recognition sites. Papaya offers numerous advantages as a system for fruit-tree functional genomics, and this draft genome sequence provides the foundation for revealing the basis of Carica's distinguishing morpho-physiological, medicinal and nutritional properties.
There are 29 E. coli genome sequences available, mostly related to studies of species diversity or mode of pathogenicity, including two genomes of the well-known O157:H7 clone. However, there have been no genome studies of closely related clones aimed at exposing the details of evolutionary change. Here we sequenced the genome of an O55:H7 strain, closely related to the major pathogenic O157:H7 clone, with published genome sequences, and undertook comparative genomic and proteomic analysis. We were able to allocate most differences between the genomes to individual mutations, recombination events, or lateral gene transfer events, in specific lineages. Major differences include a type II secretion system present only in the O55:H7 chromosome, fewer type III secretion system effectors in O55:H7, and 19 phage genomes or phagelike elements in O55:H7 compared to 23 in O157:H7, with only three common to both. Many other changes were found in both O55:H7 and O157:H7 lineages, but in general there has been more change in the O157:H7 lineages. For example, we found 50% more synonymous mutational substitutions in O157:H7 compared to O55:H7. The two strains also diverged at the proteomic level. Mutational synonymous SNPs were used to estimate a divergence time of 400 years using a new clock rate, in contrast to 14,000 to 70,000 years using the traditional clock rates. The same approaches were applied to three closely related extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli genomes, and similar levels of mutation and recombination were found. This study revealed for the first time the full range of events involved in the evolution of the O157:H7 clone from its O55:H7 ancestor, and suggested that O157:H7 arose quite recently. Our findings also suggest that E. coli has a much lower frequency of recombination relative to mutation than was observed in a comparable study of a Vibrio cholerae lineage.
The genome of an Escherichia coli MC4100 strain with a λ placMu50 fusion revealed numerous regulatory differences from MG1655, including one that arose during laboratory storage. The 194 mutational differences between MC4100(MuLac) and other K-12 sequences were mostly allocated to specific lineages, indicating the considerable mutational divergence between K-12 strains.
The 16S-23S rRNA gene internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of Klebsiella spp., including Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. pneumoniae, Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. ozaenae, Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. rhinoscleromatis, Klebsiella oxytoca, Klebsiella planticola, Klebsiella terrigena, and Klebsiella ornithinolytica, were characterized, and the feasibility of using ITS sequences to discriminate Klebsiella species and subspecies was explored. A total of 336 ITS sequences from 21 representative strains and 11 clinical isolates of Klebsiella were sequenced and analyzed. Three distinct ITS types—ITSnone (without tRNA genes), ITSglu [with a tRNAGlu (UUC) gene], and ITSile+ala [with tRNAIle (GAU) and tRNAAla (UGC) genes]—were detected in all species except for K. pneumoniae subsp. rhinoscleromatis, which has only ITSglu and ITSile+ala. The presence of ITSnone in Enterobacteriaceae had never been reported before. Both the length and the sequence of each ITS type are highly conserved within the species, with identity levels from 0.961 to 1.000 for ITSnone, from 0.967 to 1.000 for ITSglu, and from 0.968 to 1.000 for ITSile+ala. Interspecies sequence identities range from 0.775 to 0.989 for ITSnone, from 0.798 to 0.997 for ITSglu, and from 0.712 to 0.985 for ITSile+ala. Regions with significant interspecies variations but low intraspecies polymorphisms were identified; these may be targeted in the design of probes for the identification of Klebsiella to the species level. Phylogenetic analysis based on ITS regions reveals the relationships among Klebsiella species similarly to that based on 16S rRNA genes.
Globally, about 20% of cultivated land is now affected by salinity. Salt tolerance is a trait of importance to all crops in saline soils. Previous efforts to improve salt tolerance in crop plants have met with only limited success. Bacteria of the genus Deinococcus are known for their ability to survive highly stressful conditions, and therefore possess a unique pool of genes conferring extreme resistance. In Deinococcus radiodurans, the irrE gene encodes a global regulator responsible for extreme radioresistance.
Using plate assays, we showed that IrrE protected E. coli cells against salt shock and other abiotic stresses such as oxidative, osmotic and thermal shocks. Comparative proteomic analysis revealed that IrrE functions as a switch to regulate different sets of proteins such as stress responsive proteins, protein kinases, glycerol-degrading enzymes, detoxification proteins, and growth-related proteins in E. coli. We also used quantitative RT-PCR to investigate expression of nine selected stress-responsive genes in transgenic and wild-type Brassica napus plants. Transgenic B. napus plants expressing the IrrE protein can tolerate 350 mM NaCl, a concentration that inhibits the growth of almost all crop plants.
Expression of IrrE, a global regulator for extreme radiation resistance in D. radiodurans, confers significantly enhanced salt tolerance in both E. coli and B. napus. We thus propose that the irrE gene might be used as a potentially promising transgene to improve abiotic stress tolerances in crop plants.
Cholera, caused by Vibrio cholerae, erupted globally from South Asia in 7 pandemics, but there were also local outbreaks between the 6th (1899–1923) and 7th (1961–present) pandemics. All the above are serotype O1, whereas environmental or invertebrate isolates are antigenically diverse. The pre 7th pandemic isolates mentioned above, and other minor pathogenic clones, are related to the 7th pandemic clone, while the 6th pandemic clone is in the same lineage but more distantly related, and non-pathogenic isolates show no clonal structure. To understand the origins and relationships of the pandemic clones, we sequenced the genomes of a 1937 prepandemic strain and a 6th pandemic isolate, and compared them with the published 7th pandemic genome. We distinguished mutational and recombinational events, and allocated these and other events, to specific branches in the evolutionary tree. There were more mutational than recombinational events, but more genes, and 44 times more base pairs, changed by recombination. We used the mutational single-nucleotide polymorphisms and known isolation dates of the prepandemic and 7th pandemic isolates to estimate the mutation rate, and found it to be 100 fold higher than usually assumed. We then used this to estimate the divergence date of the 6th and 7th pandemic clones to be about 1880. While there is a large margin of error, this is far more realistic than the 10,000–50,000 years ago estimated using the usual assumptions. We conclude that the 2 pandemic clones gained pandemic potential independently, and overall there were 29 insertions or deletions of one or more genes. There were also substantial changes in the major integron, attributed to gain of individual cassettes including copying from within, or loss of blocks of cassettes. The approaches used open up new avenues for analysing the origin and history of other important pathogens.
Sequencing of the complete genome of Anoxybacillus flavithermus reveals enzymes that are required for silica adaptation and biofilm formation.
Gram-positive bacteria of the genus Anoxybacillus have been found in diverse thermophilic habitats, such as geothermal hot springs and manure, and in processed foods such as gelatin and milk powder. Anoxybacillus flavithermus is a facultatively anaerobic bacterium found in super-saturated silica solutions and in opaline silica sinter. The ability of A. flavithermus to grow in super-saturated silica solutions makes it an ideal subject to study the processes of sinter formation, which might be similar to the biomineralization processes that occurred at the dawn of life.
We report here the complete genome sequence of A. flavithermus strain WK1, isolated from the waste water drain at the Wairakei geothermal power station in New Zealand. It consists of a single chromosome of 2,846,746 base pairs and is predicted to encode 2,863 proteins. In silico genome analysis identified several enzymes that could be involved in silica adaptation and biofilm formation, and their predicted functions were experimentally validated in vitro. Proteomic analysis confirmed the regulation of biofilm-related proteins and crucial enzymes for the synthesis of long-chain polyamines as constituents of silica nanospheres.
Microbial fossils preserved in silica and silica sinters are excellent objects for studying ancient life, a new paleobiological frontier. An integrated analysis of the A. flavithermus genome and proteome provides the first glimpse of metabolic adaptation during silicification and sinter formation. Comparative genome analysis suggests an extensive gene loss in the Anoxybacillus/Geobacillus branch after its divergence from other bacilli.
The O antigens of outer membrane-bound lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in gram-negative bacteria are oligosaccharides consisting of repeating units with various structures and antigenicities. The O56 and O152 antigens of Escherichia coli both contain a Glc-β1-3-GlcNAc linkage within the repeating unit. We have cloned and identified the genes (wfaP in O56 and wfgD in O152) within the two O-antigen gene clusters that encode glucosyltransferases involved in the synthesis of this linkage. A synthetic substrate analog of the natural acceptor substrate undecaprenol-pyrophosphate-lipid [GlcNAc-α-PO3-PO3-(CH2)11-O-phenyl] was used as an acceptor and UDP-Glc as a donor substrate to demonstrate that both wfgD and wfaP encode glucosyltransferases. Enzyme products from both glucosyltransferases were isolated by high-pressure liquid chromatography and analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance. The spectra showed the expected Glc-β1-3-GlcNAc linkage in the products, confirming that both WfaP and WfgD are forms of UDP-Glc: GlcNAc-pyrophosphate-lipid β-1,3-glucosyltransferases. Both WfaP and WfgD have a DxD sequence, which is proposed to interact with phosphate groups of the nucleotide donor through the coordination of a metal cation, and a short hydrophobic sequence at the C terminus that may help to associate the enzymes with the inner membrane. We showed that the enzymes have similar properties and substrate recognition. They both require a divalent cation (Mn2+ or Mg2+) for activity, are deactivated by detergents, have a broad pH optimum, and require the pyrophosphate-sugar linkage in the acceptor substrate for full activity. Substrates lacking phosphate or pyrophosphate linked to GlcNAc were inactive. The length of the aliphatic chain of acceptor substrates also contributes to the activity.