Oxidative stress has been implicated in Down syndrome (DS) pathology. This study compares DS individuals and controls on their urinary levels of allantoin and 2,3-dinor-iPF2α-III; these biomarkers have been previously validated in a clinical model of oxidative stress. Urine samples were collected from 48 individuals with DS and 130 controls. Biomarkers were assayed by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, normalized by urinary creatinine concentration. After adjusting for age and gender, mean allantoin levels were lower among DS individuals versus controls (p = 0.04). The adjusted mean levels of 2,3-dinor-iPF2α-III were similar in DS individuals and controls (p = 0.7). Our results do not support the hypothesis that DS individuals have chronic systemic oxidative stress.
Down syndrome; biomarker; urine; tandem mass spectrometry
Microsporidia from the Encephalitozoonidae are obligate intracellular parasites with highly conserved and compacted nuclear genomes: they have few introns, short intergenic regions, and almost identical gene complements and chromosome arrangements. Comparative genomics of Encephalitozoon and microsporidia in general have focused largely on the genomic diversity between different species, and we know very little about the levels of genetic diversity within species. Polymorphism studies with Encephalitozoon are so far restricted to a small number of genes, and a few genetically distinct strains have been identified; most notably, three genotypes (ECI, ECII, and ECIII) of the model species E. cuniculi have been identified based on variable repeats in the rRNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS). To determine if E. cuniculi genotypes are genetically distinct lineages across the entire genome and at the same time to examine the question of intraspecies genetic diversity in microsporidia in general, we sequenced de novo genomes from each of the three genotypes and analyzed patterns of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertions/deletions across the genomes. Although the strains have almost identical gene contents, they harbor large numbers of SNPs, including numerous nonsynonymous changes, indicating massive intraspecies variation within the Encephalitozoonidae. Based on this diversity, we conclude that the recognized genotypes are genetically distinct and propose new molecular markers for microsporidian genotyping.
Enterococcus faecium, natively a gut commensal organism, emerged as a leading cause of multidrug-resistant hospital-acquired infection in the 1980s. As the living record of its adaptation to changes in habitat, we sequenced the genomes of 51 strains, isolated from various ecological environments, to understand how E. faecium emerged as a leading hospital pathogen. Because of the scale and diversity of the sampled strains, we were able to resolve the lineage responsible for epidemic, multidrug-resistant human infection from other strains and to measure the evolutionary distances between groups. We found that the epidemic hospital-adapted lineage is rapidly evolving and emerged approximately 75 years ago, concomitant with the introduction of antibiotics, from a population that included the majority of animal strains, and not from human commensal lines. We further found that the lineage that included most strains of animal origin diverged from the main human commensal line approximately 3,000 years ago, a time that corresponds to increasing urbanization of humans, development of hygienic practices, and domestication of animals, which we speculate contributed to their ecological separation. Each bifurcation was accompanied by the acquisition of new metabolic capabilities and colonization traits on mobile elements and the loss of function and genome remodeling associated with mobile element insertion and movement. As a result, diversity within the species, in terms of sequence divergence as well as gene content, spans a range usually associated with speciation.
Enterococci, in particular vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, recently emerged as a leading cause of hospital-acquired infection worldwide. In this study, we examined genome sequence data to understand the bacterial adaptations that accompanied this transformation from microbes that existed for eons as members of host microbiota. We observed changes in the genomes that paralleled changes in human behavior. An initial bifurcation within the species appears to have occurred at a time that corresponds to the urbanization of humans and domestication of animals, and a more recent bifurcation parallels the introduction of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture. In response to the opportunity to fill niches associated with changes in human activity, a rapidly evolving lineage emerged, a lineage responsible for the vast majority of multidrug-resistant E. faecium infections.
Auditory hallucinations (AH) are a cardinal feature of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. They are not disease specific, however, and can occur in other conditions, including affective psychoses.
In this descriptive, cross-sectional study, we examined AH in relation to other psychotic symptoms, mood symptoms, illness severity, and functional status in 569 patients with psychosis (n=172 schizophrenia, n=153 schizoaffective disorder, n=244 bipolar disorder with psychotic features).
323 (56.7%) patients reported a lifetime history of AH (75.6% of patients with schizophrenia, 71.9% schizoaffective disorder, and 34.0% bipolar disorder). The mean score for the hallucinations item (P3) of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) in the AH group was 3.66 ± 1.79, indicating mild to moderate state hallucinations severity. AH were strongly associated with hallucinations in other sensory modalities and with the first-rank symptoms of delusions of control, thought insertion, and thought broadcasting. Multivariate analysis showed that AH were associated with lower education even after controlling for diagnosis, age, and gender. There was no association between AH and functional status as measured by the Multnomah Community Ability Scale (MCAS).
AH are associated with specific clinical features across the continuum of both schizophrenic and affective psychoses independent of DSM-IV diagnosis.
Hallucinations, auditory; Psychotic disorders; Schizophrenia; Bipolar disorder
Deficiency of acid alpha glucosidase (GAA) causes Pompe disease, which is usually fatal if onset occurs in infancy. Patients synthesize a non-functional form of GAA or are unable to form native enzyme. Enzyme replacement therapy with recombinant human GAA (rhGAA) prolongs survival in infantile Pompe patients but may be less effective in cross-reactive immunologic material (CRIM)-negative patients. We retrospectively analyzed the influence of CRIM status on outcome in 21 CRIM-positive and 11 CRIM-negative infantile Pompe patients receiving rhGAA. Patients were from the clinical setting and from clinical trials of rhGAA, were ≤6 months of age, were not invasively ventilated, and were treated with IV rhGAA at a cumulative or total dose of 20 or 40 mg/kg/2 weeks. Outcome measures included survival, invasive ventilator-free survival, cardiac status, gross motor development, development of antibodies to rhGAA, and levels of urinary Glc4.
Following 52 weeks of treatment, 6/11 (54.5%) CRIM-negative and 1/21 (4.8%) CRIM-positive patients were deceased or invasively ventilated (p < 0.0001). By age 27.1 months, all CRIM-negative patients and 4/21 (19.0%) CRIM-positive patients were deceased or invasively ventilated. Cardiac function and gross motor development improved significantly more in the CRIM-positive group. IgG antibodies to rhGAA developed earlier and serotiters were higher and more sustained in the CRIM-negative group. CRIM-negative status predicted reduced overall survival and invasive ventilator-free survival and poorer clinical outcomes in infants with Pompe disease treated with rhGAA. The effect of CRIM status on outcome appears to be mediated by antibody responses to the exogenous protein.
Pompe disease; Glycogen storage disease; Enzyme replacement therapy; Lysosomal storage disease; Acid alpha glucosidase; GAA; Cross-reactive immunologic material; CRIM; Antibody
Infantile Pompe disease resulting from a deficiency of lysosomal acid α-glucosidase (GAA) requires enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with recombinant human GAA (rhGAA). Cross-reactive immunologic material negative (CRIM-negative) Pompe patients develop high-titer antibody to the rhGAA and do poorly. We describe successful tolerance induction in CRIM-negative patients.
Two CRIM-negative patients with preexisting anti-GAA antibodies were treated therapeutically with rituximab, methotrexate, and gammaglobulins. Two additional CRIM-negative patients were treated prophylactically with a short course of rituximab and methotrexate, in parallel with initiating rhGAA.
In both patients treated therapeutically, anti-rhGAA was eliminated after 3 and 19 months. All four patients are immune tolerant to rhGAA, off immune therapy, showing B-cell recovery while continuing to receive ERT at ages 36 and 56 months (therapeutic) and 18 and 35 months (prophylactic). All patients show clinical response to ERT, in stark contrast to the rapid deterioration of their nontolerized CRIM-negative counterparts.
The combination of rituximab with methotrexate ± intravenous gammaglobulins (IVIG) is an option for tolerance induction of CRIM-negative Pompe to ERT when instituted in the naïve setting or following antibody development. It should be considered in other conditions in which antibody response to the therapeutic protein elicits robust antibody response that interferes with product efficacy.
immune tolerance; methotrexate; Pompe disease; rituximab
We report the clinical course of a patient with severe infantile onset Pompe disease [cross-reactive immunologic material (CRIM) negative, R854X/R854X] who was diagnosed prenatally and received standard dosing of alglucosidase alfa (Myozyme®) enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) from day 10 of life until she passed away at the age of 3 years 9 months. In the immediate neonatal period there was cardiomegaly on chest X-ray, cardiac hypertrophy by echocardiogram, and development of a wide complex tachycardia. CRIM negative (CN) status was suspected based on her family history, and the available data at the time indicated that CN patients had limited survival even with ERT. However, given the opportunity for very early treatment, the treating provider and family elected to initiate treatment with ERT, without immune modulation. By 9 months of age echocardiogram was normal. Early motor development was within normal limits but by 2 years of age her developmental progress had slowed. She seroconverted by the 4th month of ERT, and anti-rhGAA antibody titers peaked at 25,600 in the 27th month. Immunomodulatory therapy was considered but declined by family. She acquired Influenza A at 2 years 6 months, which led to a prolonged hospitalization with invasive respiratory support, and placement of tracheostomy and gastrostomy tube. Her developmental progress ceased, and she died suddenly at home from a presumed cardiac event at age 3 years 9 months. The poor outcomes observed in CN patients have been attributed to the development of high sustained antibody titers. Although this CN patient’s anti-rhGAA response was elevated and sustained, it is unlike any of the 3 patterns that have been previously described: high titer CN, high titer CRIM positive (HTCP), and low titer CP (LTCP) patients. This patient’s clinical course, with achievement of 24 months of motor gains, 30 months of ventilator-free survival and 45 month survival, is like that of only a fraction of ERT treated CN patients, yet it is identical to other reported CN patients in its relentless progression and early fatality. The immunologic response (moderate sustained antibody titers) described here has not been previously reported and may have played a role in the overall pattern of developmental decline. In light of proposed universal newborn screening for Pompe disease, there is an urgent need for improved understanding of the interplay between immunologic responses to the only available treatment, ERT, and the relentless nature of this disease in CN patients.
Glycogen storage disease type II; Pompe disease; Enzyme replacement therapies; Immunologic response; Antibodies
Listeria monocytogenes, a foodborne bacterial pathogen, is comprised of four phylogenetic lineages that vary with regard to their serotypes and distribution among sources. In order to characterize lineage-specific genomic diversity within L. monocytogenes, we sequenced the genomes of eight strains from several lineages and serotypes, and characterized the accessory genome, which was hypothesized to contribute to phenotypic differences across lineages. The eight L. monocytogenes genomes sequenced range in size from 2.85–3.14 Mb, encode 2,822–3,187 genes, and include the first publicly available sequenced representatives of serotypes 1/2c, 3a and 4c. Mapping of the distribution of accessory genes revealed two distinct regions of the L. monocytogenes chromosome: an accessory-rich region in the first 65° adjacent to the origin of replication and a more stable region in the remaining 295°. This pattern of genome organization is distinct from that of related bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus. The accessory genome of all lineages is enriched for cell surface-related genes and phosphotransferase systems, and transcriptional regulators, highlighting the selective pressures faced by contemporary strains from their hosts, other microbes, and their environment. Phylogenetic analysis of O-antigen genes and gene clusters predicts that serotype 4 was ancestral in L. monocytogenes and serotype 1/2 associated gene clusters were putatively introduced through horizontal gene transfer in the ancestral population of L. monocytogenes lineage I and II.
Cervical cancer is caused by high-risk, cancer-causing human papillomaviruses (HPV) and is the second highest cause of cancer deaths in women globally. The majority of cervical cancers express well-characterized HPV oncogenes, which are potential targets for immunotherapeutic vaccination. Here we develop a rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccine designed for immunotherapy against HPV16 positive tumours. An RHDV-VLP, modified to contain the universal helper T cell epitope PADRE and decorated with an MHC I-restricted peptide (aa 48–57) from the HPV16 E6, was tested for its immunotherapeutic efficacy against the TC-1 HPV16 E6 and E7-expressing tumour in mice. The E6-RHDV-VLP-PADRE was administered therapeutically for the treatment of a pre-existing TC-1 tumour and was delivered with antibodies either to deplete regulatory T cells (anti-CD25) or to block T cell suppression mediated through CTLA-4. As a result, the tumour burden was reduced by around 50% and the median survival time of mice to the humane endpoint was almost doubled the compared to controls. The incorporation of PADRE into the RHDV-VLP was necessary for an E6-specific enhancement of the anti-tumour response and the co-administration of the immune modifying antibodies contributed to the overall efficacy of the immunotherapy. The E6-RHDV-VLP-PADRE shows immunotherapeutic efficacy, prolonging survival for HPV tumour-bearing mice. This was enhanced by the systemic administration of immune-modifying antibodies that are commercially available for use in humans. There is potential to further modify these particles for even greater efficacy in the path to development of an immunotherapeutic treatment for HPV precancerous and cancer stages.
Oomycetes in the class Saprolegniomycetidae of the Eukaryotic kingdom Stramenopila have evolved as severe pathogens of amphibians, crustaceans, fish and insects, resulting in major losses in aquaculture and damage to aquatic ecosystems. We have sequenced the 63 Mb genome of the fresh water fish pathogen, Saprolegnia parasitica. Approximately 1/3 of the assembled genome exhibits loss of heterozygosity, indicating an efficient mechanism for revealing new variation. Comparison of S. parasitica with plant pathogenic oomycetes suggests that during evolution the host cellular environment has driven distinct patterns of gene expansion and loss in the genomes of plant and animal pathogens. S. parasitica possesses one of the largest repertoires of proteases (270) among eukaryotes that are deployed in waves at different points during infection as determined from RNA-Seq data. In contrast, despite being capable of living saprotrophically, parasitism has led to loss of inorganic nitrogen and sulfur assimilation pathways, strikingly similar to losses in obligate plant pathogenic oomycetes and fungi. The large gene families that are hallmarks of plant pathogenic oomycetes such as Phytophthora appear to be lacking in S. parasitica, including those encoding RXLR effectors, Crinkler's, and Necrosis Inducing-Like Proteins (NLP). S. parasitica also has a very large kinome of 543 kinases, 10% of which is induced upon infection. Moreover, S. parasitica encodes several genes typical of animals or animal-pathogens and lacking from other oomycetes, including disintegrins and galactose-binding lectins, whose expression and evolutionary origins implicate horizontal gene transfer in the evolution of animal pathogenesis in S. parasitica.
Fish are an increasingly important source of animal protein globally, with aquaculture production rising dramatically over the past decade. Saprolegnia is a fungal-like oomycete and one of the most destructive fish pathogens, causing millions of dollars in losses to the aquaculture industry annually. Saprolegnia has also been linked to a worldwide decline in wild fish and amphibian populations. Here we describe the genome sequence of the first animal pathogenic oomycete and compare the genome content with the available plant pathogenic oomycetes. We found that Saprolegnia lacks the large effector families that are hallmarks of plant pathogenic oomycetes, showing evolutionary adaptation to the host. Moreover, Saprolegnia harbors pathogenesis-related genes that were derived by lateral gene transfer from the host and other animal pathogens. The retrotransposon LINE family also appears to be acquired from animal lineages. By transcriptome analysis we show a high rate of allelic variation, which reveals rapidly evolving genes and potentially adaptive evolutionary mechanisms coupled to selective pressures exerted by the animal host. The genome and transcriptome data, as well as subsequent biochemical analyses, provided us with insight in the disease process of Saprolegnia at a molecular and cellular level, providing us with targets for sustainable control of Saprolegnia.
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are a valuable resource for discovery of epigenetic changes critical to cell type-specific differentiation. Although iPS cells have been generated from other terminally differentiated cells, the reprogramming of normal adult human basal prostatic epithelial (E-PZ) cells to a pluripotent state has not been reported. Here, we attempted to reprogram E-PZ cells by forced expression of Oct4, Sox2, c-Myc, and Klf4 using lentiviral vectors and obtained embryonic stem cell (ESC)-like colonies at a frequency of 0.01%. These E-PZ-iPS-like cells with normal karyotype gained expression of pluripotent genes typical of iPS cells (Tra-1-81, SSEA-3, Nanog, Sox2, and Oct4) and lost gene expression characteristic of basal prostatic epithelial cells (CK5, CK14, and p63). E-PZ-iPS-like cells demonstrated pluripotency by differentiating into ectodermal, mesodermal, and endodermal cells in vitro, although lack of teratoma formation in vivo and incomplete demethylation of pluripotency genes suggested only partial reprogramming. Importantly, E-PZ-iPS-like cells re-expressed basal epithelial cell markers (CD44, p63, MAO-A) in response to prostate-specific medium in spheroid culture. Androgen induced expression of androgen receptor (AR), and co-culture with rat urogenital sinus further induced expression of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a hallmark of secretory cells, suggesting that E-PZ-iPS-like cells have the capacity to differentiate into prostatic basal and secretory epithelial cells. Finally, when injected into mice, E-PZ-iPS-like cells expressed basal epithelial cell markers including CD44 and p63. When co-injected with rat urogenital mesenchyme, E-PZ-iPS-like cells expressed AR and expression of p63 and CD44 was repressed. DNA methylation profiling identified epigenetic changes in key pathways and genes involved in prostatic differentiation as E-PZ-iPS-like cells converted to differentiated AR- and PSA-expressing cells. Our results suggest that iPS-like cells derived from prostatic epithelial cells are pluripotent and capable of prostatic differentiation; therefore, provide a novel model for investigating epigenetic changes involved in prostate cell lineage specification.
Infantile-onset glycogen storage disease type II (GSD-II; Pompe disease; MIM 232300) causes death early in childhood from cardiorespiratory failure in absence of effective treatment, whereas late-onset Pompe disease causes a progressive skeletal myopathy. The limitations of enzyme replacement therapy could potentially be addressed with adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector-mediated gene therapy.
AAV vectors containing tissue-specific regulatory cassettes, either liver-specific or muscle-specific, were administered to 12 and 17 month old Pompe disease mice to evaluate the efficacy of gene therapy in advanced Pompe disease. Biochemical correction was evaluated through GAA activity and glycogen content analyses of the heart and skeletal muscle. Western blotting, urinary biomarker, and Rotarod performance were evaluated following vector administration.
The AAV vector containing the liver-specific regulatory cassette secreted high-level hGAA into the blood and corrected glycogen storage in the heart and diaphragm. The biochemical correction of the heart and diaphragm was associated with efficacy, as reflected by increased Rotarod performance; however, the clearance of glycogen from skeletal muscles was relatively impaired, in comparison with younger Pompe disease mice. An alternative vector containing a muscle-specific regulatory cassette transduced skeletal muscle with high efficiency, but also failed to achieve complete clearance of accumulated glycogen. Decreased transduction of the heart and liver in older mice, especially in females, was implicated as a cause for reduced efficacy in advanced Pompe disease.
The impaired efficacy of AAV vector-mediated gene therapy in old Pompe disease mice emphasized the need for early treatment to achieve full efficacy.
Glycogen storage disease type II; adeno-associated virus; acid alpha-glucosidase; acid maltase; Pompe disease
Uric acid is a potent antioxidant and scavenger of singlet oxygen and other radicals in humans. Allantoin, the predominant product of free radical-induced oxidation of uric acid is efficiently excreted in the urine and has potential as a biomarker of oxidative stress. We developed a rapid and specific assay for urinary allantoin using ultra performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry suitable for high-throughput clinical studies. The method required minimal sample preparation, was accurate (mean error 6%), precise (intra- and inter-day imprecision: <8%) and sensitive (limit of detection: 0.06 pmol). Allantoin levels measured in control samples were comparable to literature values.
Oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species; allantoin; UPLC-MS/MS
We sequenced and annotated the genomes of four Plasmodium vivax strains collected from disparate geographical locations, tripling the number of genome sequences available for this understudied parasite and providing the first genome-wide perspective of global variability within this species. We observe approximately twice as much SNP diversity among these isolates as we do among a comparable collection of isolates of Plasmodium falciparum, a malaria parasite that causes higher mortality. This indicates a distinct history of global colonization and/or a more stable demographic history for P. vivax than P. falciparum, which is thought to have undergone a recent population bottleneck. The SNP diversity, as well as additional microsatellite and gene family variability, suggests the capacity for greater functional variation within the global population of P. vivax. These findings warrant a deeper survey of variation in P. vivax to equip disease interventions targeting the distinctive biology of this neglected but major pathogen.
The large outbreak of diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 in Europe from May to July 2011 highlighted the potential of a rarely identified E. coli serogroup to cause severe disease. Prior to the outbreak, there were very few reports of disease caused by this pathogen and thus little known of its diversity and evolution. The identification of cases of HUS caused by E. coli O104:H4 in France and Turkey after the outbreak and with no clear epidemiological links raises questions about whether these sporadic cases are derived from the outbreak. Here, we report genome sequences of five independent isolates from these cases and results of a comparative analysis with historical and 2011 outbreak isolates. These analyses revealed that the five isolates are not derived from the outbreak strain; however, they are more closely related to the outbreak strain and each other than to isolates identified prior to the 2011 outbreak. Over the short time scale represented by these closely related organisms, the majority of genome variation is found within their mobile genetic elements: none of the nine O104:H4 isolates compared here contain the same set of plasmids, and their prophages and genomic islands also differ. Moreover, the presence of closely related HUS-associated E. coli O104:H4 isolates supports the contention that fully virulent O104:H4 isolates are widespread and emphasizes the possibility of future food-borne E. coli O104:H4 outbreaks.
In the summer of 2011, a large outbreak of bloody diarrhea with a high rate of severe complications took place in Europe, caused by a previously rarely seen Escherichia coli strain of serogroup O104:H4. Identification of subsequent infections caused by E. coli O104:H4 raised questions about whether these new cases represented ongoing transmission of the outbreak strain. In this study, we sequenced the genomes of isolates from five recent cases and compared them with historical isolates. The analyses reveal that, in the very short term, evolution of the bacterial genome takes place in parts of the genome that are exchanged among bacteria, and these regions contain genes involved in adaptation to local environments. We show that these recent isolates are not derived from the outbreak strain but are very closely related and share many of the same disease-causing genes, emphasizing the concern that these bacteria may cause future severe outbreaks.
We have previously reported evidence of an inverse association between a urinary F2-isoprostane and type 2 diabetes risk in a pilot case-control study nested within the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS). Here, we report the results from the study extended to the entire IRAS cohort.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
This prospective study included 138 incident type 2 diabetes case and 714 noncase subjects. Four F2-isoprostanes (iPF2α-III; 2,3-dinor-iPF2α-III; iPF2α-VI; and 8,12-iso-iPF2α-VI) were assayed in baseline urine samples using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry.
Three F2-isoprostanes showed significant inverse associations with type 2 diabetes risk: the adjusted odds ratios were 0.52 (95% CI 0.39–0.67), 0.56 (0.42–0.73), 0.62 (0.48–0.79), and 0.91 (0.72–1.12) for iPF2α-III; 2,3-dinor-iPF2α-III; iPF2α-VI; and 8,12-iso-iPF2α-VI, respectively.
Our findings indicate that urinary F2-isoprostanes are inversely associated with type 2 diabetes risk beyond the traditional risk factors and may be useful in identifying high-risk populations.
Pyrenophora tritici-repentis is a necrotrophic fungus causal to the disease tan spot of wheat, whose contribution to crop loss has increased significantly during the last few decades. Pathogenicity by this fungus is attributed to the production of host-selective toxins (HST), which are recognized by their host in a genotype-specific manner. To better understand the mechanisms that have led to the increase in disease incidence related to this pathogen, we sequenced the genomes of three P. tritici-repentis isolates. A pathogenic isolate that produces two known HSTs was used to assemble a reference nuclear genome of approximately 40 Mb composed of 11 chromosomes that encode 12,141 predicted genes. Comparison of the reference genome with those of a pathogenic isolate that produces a third HST, and a nonpathogenic isolate, showed the nonpathogen genome to be more diverged than those of the two pathogens. Examination of gene-coding regions has provided candidate pathogen-specific proteins and revealed gene families that may play a role in a necrotrophic lifestyle. Analysis of transposable elements suggests that their presence in the genome of pathogenic isolates contributes to the creation of novel genes, effector diversification, possible horizontal gene transfer events, identified copy number variation, and the first example of transduplication by DNA transposable elements in fungi. Overall, comparative analysis of these genomes provides evidence that pathogenicity in this species arose through an influx of transposable elements, which created a genetically flexible landscape that can easily respond to environmental changes.
wheat (Triticum aestivum); copy number variation; histone H3 transduplication; ToxA; ToxB; anastomosis
A variety of microbial communities and their genes (microbiome) exist throughout the human body, playing fundamental roles in human health and disease. The NIH funded Human Microbiome Project (HMP) Consortium has established a population-scale framework which catalyzed significant development of metagenomic protocols resulting in a broad range of quality-controlled resources and data including standardized methods for creating, processing and interpreting distinct types of high-throughput metagenomic data available to the scientific community. Here we present resources from a population of 242 healthy adults sampled at 15 to 18 body sites up to three times, which to date, have generated 5,177 microbial taxonomic profiles from 16S rRNA genes and over 3.5 Tb of metagenomic sequence. In parallel, approximately 800 human-associated reference genomes have been sequenced. Collectively, these data represent the largest resource to date describing the abundance and variety of the human microbiome, while providing a platform for current and future studies.
Differences in redox homeostatic control between cancer patients may underlie predisposition to drug resistance and toxicities. To evaluate interindividual differences in redox response among newly diagnosed breast cancer patients undergoing standard chemotherapy, urine samples were collected before (T0), and at 1 (T1) and 24 h (T24) after chemotherapy administration. Oxidative status was assessed by urinary levels of allantoin and four F2-isoprostanes, quantified by LC–MS/MS. In all subjects, biomarker levels increased at T1 and returned to baseline at T24. Analyzing individual responses, two patterns were revealed: 10 subjects showed uniform increases of biomarker levels at T1 (“increase” pattern) and 8 subjects showed mixed (increase/unchanged/decrease) responses for different biomarkers (“mixed” pattern). The increase-pattern group had lower pre-treatment (T0) levels of the biomarkers and showed a sharp increase at T1 (64–141%) with a subsequent decrease at T24. The mixed-pattern group had higher pre-treatment biomarker levels and showed no change in biomarkers either at T1 or at T24. These findings indicate that there may be at least two distinct redox phenotypes with different homeostatic mechanisms balancing oxidative stress in humans. Recognizing redox phenotypes in human populations may lead to more precise assessment of health risks and benefits associated with individual redox make-up, and may also help to identify cancer patients who are especially susceptible to drug resistance and/or drug toxicity.
Epidemiology; Oxidative stress; Chemotherapy; Biomarker
The major cause of athlete’s foot is Trichophyton rubrum, a dermatophyte or fungal pathogen of human skin. To facilitate molecular analyses of the dermatophytes, we sequenced T. rubrum and four related species, Trichophyton tonsurans, Trichophyton equinum, Microsporum canis, and Microsporum gypseum. These species differ in host range, mating, and disease progression. The dermatophyte genomes are highly colinear yet contain gene family expansions not found in other human-associated fungi. Dermatophyte genomes are enriched for gene families containing the LysM domain, which binds chitin and potentially related carbohydrates. These LysM domains differ in sequence from those in other species in regions of the peptide that could affect substrate binding. The dermatophytes also encode novel sets of fungus-specific kinases with unknown specificity, including nonfunctional pseudokinases, which may inhibit phosphorylation by competing for kinase sites within substrates, acting as allosteric effectors, or acting as scaffolds for signaling. The dermatophytes are also enriched for a large number of enzymes that synthesize secondary metabolites, including dermatophyte-specific genes that could synthesize novel compounds. Finally, dermatophytes are enriched in several classes of proteases that are necessary for fungal growth and nutrient acquisition on keratinized tissues. Despite differences in mating ability, genes involved in mating and meiosis are conserved across species, suggesting the possibility of cryptic mating in species where it has not been previously detected. These genome analyses identify gene families that are important to our understanding of how dermatophytes cause chronic infections, how they interact with epithelial cells, and how they respond to the host immune response.
Athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, and nail infections are common fungal infections, all caused by fungi known as dermatophytes (fungi that infect skin). This report presents the genome sequences of Trichophyton rubrum, the most frequent cause of athlete’s foot, as well as four other common dermatophytes. Dermatophyte genomes are enriched for four gene classes that may contribute to the ability of these fungi to cause disease. These include (i) proteases secreted to degrade skin; (ii) kinases, including pseudokinases, that are involved in signaling necessary for adapting to skin; (iii) secondary metabolites, compounds that act as toxins or signals in the interactions between fungus and host; and (iv) a class of proteins (LysM) that appear to bind and mask cell wall components and carbohydrates, thus avoiding the host’s immune response to the fungi. These genome sequences provide a strong foundation for future work in understanding how dermatophytes cause disease.
The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) aims to characterize the microbial communities of 18 body sites from healthy individuals. To accomplish this, the HMP generated two types of shotgun data: reference shotgun sequences isolated from different anatomical sites on the human body and shotgun metagenomic sequences from the microbial communities of each site. The alignment strategy for characterizing these metagenomic communities using available reference sequence is important to the success of HMP data analysis. Six next-generation aligners were used to align a community of known composition against a database comprising reference organisms known to be present in that community. All aligners report nearly complete genome coverage (>97%) for strains with over 6X depth of coverage, however they differ in speed, memory requirement and ease of use issues such as database size limitations and supported mapping strategies. The selected aligner was tested across a range of parameters to maximize sensitivity while maintaining a low false positive rate. We found that constraining alignment length had more impact on sensitivity than does constraining similarity in all cases tested. However, when reference species were replaced with phylogenetic neighbors, similarity begins to play a larger role in detection. We also show that choosing the top hit randomly when multiple, equally strong mappings are available increases overall sensitivity at the expense of taxonomic resolution. The results of this study identified a strategy that was used to map over 3 tera-bases of microbial sequence against a database of more than 5,000 reference genomes in just over a month.
The evolution of the amniotic egg was one of the great evolutionary innovations in the history of life, freeing vertebrates from an obligatory connection to water and thus permitting the conquest of terrestrial environments1. Among amniotes, genome sequences are available for mammals2 and birds3–5, but not for non-avian reptiles. Here we report the genome sequence of the North American green anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis. We find that A. carolinensis microchromosomes are highly syntenic with chicken microchromosomes, yet do not exhibit the high GC and low repeat content that are characteristic of avian microchromosomes3. Also, A. carolinensis mobile elements are very young and diverse – more so than in any other sequenced amniote genome. This lizard genome’s GC content is also unusual in its homogeneity, unlike the regionally variable GC content found in mammals and birds6. We describe and assign sequence to the previously unknown A. carolinensis X chromosome. Comparative gene analysis shows that amniote egg proteins have evolved significantly more rapidly than other proteins. An anole phylogeny resolves basal branches to illuminate the history of their repeated adaptive radiations.
Genomics studies are being revolutionized by the next generation sequencing technologies, which have made whole genome sequencing much more accessible to the average researcher. Whole genome sequencing with the new technologies is a developing art that, despite the large volumes of data that can be produced, may still fail to provide a clear and thorough map of a genome. The Plantagora project was conceived to address specifically the gap between having the technical tools for genome sequencing and knowing precisely the best way to use them.
For Plantagora, a platform was created for generating simulated reads from several different plant genomes of different sizes. The resulting read files mimicked either 454 or Illumina reads, with varying paired end spacing. Thousands of datasets of reads were created, most derived from our primary model genome, rice chromosome one. All reads were assembled with different software assemblers, including Newbler, Abyss, and SOAPdenovo, and the resulting assemblies were evaluated by an extensive battery of metrics chosen for these studies. The metrics included both statistics of the assembly sequences and fidelity-related measures derived by alignment of the assemblies to the original genome source for the reads. The results were presented in a website, which includes a data graphing tool, all created to help the user compare rapidly the feasibility and effectiveness of different sequencing and assembly strategies prior to testing an approach in the lab. Some of our own conclusions regarding the different strategies were also recorded on the website.
Plantagora provides a substantial body of information for comparing different approaches to sequencing a plant genome, and some conclusions regarding some of the specific approaches. Plantagora also provides a platform of metrics and tools for studying the process of sequencing and assembly further.
The fission yeast clade, comprising Schizosaccharomyces pombe, S. octosporus, S. cryophilus and S. japonicus, occupies the basal branch of Ascomycete fungi and is an important model of eukaryote biology. A comparative annotation of these genomes identified a near extinction of transposons and the associated innovation of transposon-free centromeres. Expression analysis established that meiotic genes are subject to antisense transcription during vegetative growth, suggesting a mechanism for their tight regulation. In addition, trans-acting regulators control new genes within the context of expanded functional modules for meiosis and stress response. Differences in gene content and regulation also explain why, unlike the Saccharomycotina, fission yeasts cannot use ethanol as a primary carbon source. These analyses elucidate the genome structure and gene regulation of fission yeast and provide tools for investigation across the Schizosaccharomyces clade.
Paracoccidioides is a fungal pathogen and the cause of paracoccidioidomycosis, a health-threatening human systemic mycosis endemic to Latin America. Infection by Paracoccidioides, a dimorphic fungus in the order Onygenales, is coupled with a thermally regulated transition from a soil-dwelling filamentous form to a yeast-like pathogenic form. To better understand the genetic basis of growth and pathogenicity in Paracoccidioides, we sequenced the genomes of two strains of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (Pb03 and Pb18) and one strain of Paracoccidioides lutzii (Pb01). These genomes range in size from 29.1 Mb to 32.9 Mb and encode 7,610 to 8,130 genes. To enable genetic studies, we mapped 94% of the P. brasiliensis Pb18 assembly onto five chromosomes. We characterized gene family content across Onygenales and related fungi, and within Paracoccidioides we found expansions of the fungal-specific kinase family FunK1. Additionally, the Onygenales have lost many genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism and fewer genes involved in protein metabolism, resulting in a higher ratio of proteases to carbohydrate active enzymes in the Onygenales than their relatives. To determine if gene content correlated with growth on different substrates, we screened the non-pathogenic onygenale Uncinocarpus reesii, which has orthologs for 91% of Paracoccidioides metabolic genes, for growth on 190 carbon sources. U. reesii showed growth on a limited range of carbohydrates, primarily basic plant sugars and cell wall components; this suggests that Onygenales, including dimorphic fungi, can degrade cellulosic plant material in the soil. In addition, U. reesii grew on gelatin and a wide range of dipeptides and amino acids, indicating a preference for proteinaceous growth substrates over carbohydrates, which may enable these fungi to also degrade animal biomass. These capabilities for degrading plant and animal substrates suggest a duality in lifestyle that could enable pathogenic species of Onygenales to transfer from soil to animal hosts.
Paracoccidioides sp. are fungal pathogens that cause paracoccidioidomycosis in humans. They are part of a larger group of dimorphic fungi causing pulmonary infections in immunocompetent people, whereas many other fungi cause opportunistic infections. We sequenced the genomes of two strains of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and one strain of the closely related species Paracoccidioides lutzii, and compared them to other fungal genomes. We found gene family expansions specific to Paracoccidioides, including the fungal-specific kinase family. By contrast we found that dimorphic fungi as a group have lost many genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism but retained most proteases. As the growth substrates for dimorphic fungi have not been well characterized, we tested a non-pathogenic relative, Uncinocarpus reesii, for growth on 190 carbon sources. We found that U. reesii is capable of growth on a limited set of carbohydrates, but grows more rapidly on a wide range of dipeptides and amino acids. Our analysis suggests that this genetic and phenotypic preference may underlie the ability of the dimorphic fungi to infect and grow on animal hosts.