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2.  Whole Genome Sequence of the Treponema pallidum subsp. endemicum Strain Bosnia A: The Genome Is Related to Yaws Treponemes but Contains Few Loci Similar to Syphilis Treponemes 
T. pallidum subsp. endemicum (TEN) is the causative agent of bejel (also known as endemic syphilis). Clinical symptoms of syphilis and bejel are overlapping and the epidemiological context is important for correct diagnosis of both diseases. In contrast to syphilis, caused by T. pallidum subsp. pallidum (TPA), TEN infections are usually spread by direct contact or contaminated utensils rather than by sexual contact. Bejel is most often seen in western Africa and in the Middle East. The strain Bosnia A was isolated in 1950 in Bosnia, southern Europe.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The complete genome of the Bosnia A strain was amplified and sequenced using the pooled segment genome sequencing (PSGS) method and a combination of three next-generation sequencing techniques (SOLiD, Roche 454, and Illumina). Using this approach, a total combined average genome coverage of 513× was achieved. The size of the Bosnia A genome was found to be 1,137,653 bp, i.e. 1.6–2.8 kbp shorter than any previously published genomes of uncultivable pathogenic treponemes. Conserved gene synteny was found in the Bosnia A genome compared to other sequenced syphilis and yaws treponemes. The TEN Bosnia A genome was distinct but very similar to the genome of yaws-causing T. pallidum subsp. pertenue (TPE) strains. Interestingly, the TEN Bosnia A genome was found to contain several sequences, which so far, have been uniquely identified only in syphilis treponemes.
The genome of TEN Bosnia A contains several sequences thought to be unique to TPA strains; these sequences very likely represent remnants of recombination events during the evolution of TEN treponemes. This finding emphasizes a possible role of repeated horizontal gene transfer between treponemal subspecies in shaping the Bosnia A genome.
Author Summary
Uncultivable treponemes represent bacterial species and subspecies that are obligate pathogens of humans and animals causing diseases with distinct clinical manifestations. Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum causes sexually transmitted syphilis, a multistage disease characterized in humans by localized, disseminated, and chronic forms of infection, whereas Treponema pallidum subsp. pertenue (agent of yaws) and Treponema pallidum subsp. endemicum (agent of bejel) cause milder, non-venereally transmitted diseases affecting skin, bones and joints. The genetic basis of the pathogenesis and evolution of these microorganisms are still unknown. In this study, a high quality whole genome sequence of the T. pallidum subsp. endemicum Bosnia A strain was obtained using a combination of next-generation sequencing approaches and compared to the genomes of available uncultivable pathogenic treponemes. Relative to all known genomes of Treponema pallidum subspecies, no major genome rearrangements were found in the Bosnia A. The Bosnia A strain clustered with other yaws-causing strains, while syphilis-causing strains clustered separately. In general, the Bosnia A genome showed similar genetic characteristics to yaws treponemes but also contained several sequences thought to be unique to syphilis-causing strains. This finding suggests a possible role of repeated horizontal gene transfer between treponemal subspecies in shaping the Bosnia A genome.
PMCID: PMC4222731  PMID: 25375929
3.  Metagenomic analysis of double-stranded DNA viruses in healthy adults 
BMC Biology  2014;12(1):71.
The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) was undertaken with the goal of defining microbial communities in and on the bodies of healthy individuals using high-throughput metagenomic sequencing analysis. The viruses present in these microbial communities, the ‘human virome,’ are an important aspect of the human microbiome that is particularly understudied in the absence of overt disease. We analyzed eukaryotic double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses, together with dsDNA replicative intermediates of single-stranded DNA viruses, in metagenomic sequence data generated by the HMP. We studied 706 samples from 102 subjects were studied, with each subject sampled at up to five major body habitats: nose, skin, mouth, vagina, and stool. Fifty-one individuals had samples taken at two or three time points 30 to 359 days apart from at least one of the body habitats.
We detected an average of 5.5 viral genera in each individual. At least one virus was detected in 92% of the individuals sampled. These viruses included herpesviruses, papillomaviruses, polyomaviruses, adenoviruses, anelloviruses, parvoviruses, and circoviruses. Each individual had a distinct viral profile, demonstrating the high interpersonal diversity of the virome. Some components of the virome were stable over time.
This study is the first to use high-throughput DNA sequencing to describe the diversity of eukaryotic dsDNA viruses in a large cohort of normal individuals who were sampled at multiple body sites. Our results show that the human virome is a complex component of the microbial flora. Some viruses establish long-term infections that may be associated with increased risk or possibly with protection from disease. A better understanding of the composition and dynamics of the virome may hold important keys to human health.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12915-014-0071-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4177058  PMID: 25212266
Metagenomics; Microbiome; Virome
4.  Precise Dissection of an Escherichia coli O157:H7 Outbreak by Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Analysis 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(12):3950-3954.
The current pathogen-typing methods have suboptimal sensitivities and specificities. DNA sequencing offers an opportunity to type pathogens with greater degrees of discrimination using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) than with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and other methodologies. In a recent cluster of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections attributed to salad bar exposures and romaine lettuce, a subset of cases denied exposure to either source, although PFGE and multiple-locus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) suggested that all isolates had the same recent progenitor. Interrogation of a preselected set of 3,442,673 nucleotides in backbone open reading frames (ORFs) identified only 1 or 2 single nucleotide differences in 3 of 12 isolates from the cases who denied exposure. The backbone DNAs of 9 of 9 and 3 of 3 cases who reported or were unsure about exposure, respectively, were isogenic. Backbone ORF SNP set sequencing offers pathogen differentiation capabilities that exceed those of PFGE and MLVA.
PMCID: PMC3838074  PMID: 24048526
5.  Widespread Colonization of the Lung by Tropheryma whipplei in HIV Infection 
Rationale: Lung infections caused by opportunistic or virulent pathogens are a principal cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV infection. It is unknown whether HIV infection leads to changes in basal lung microflora, which may contribute to chronic pulmonary complications that increasingly are being recognized in individuals infected with HIV.
Objectives: To determine whether the immunodeficiency associated with HIV infection resulted in alteration of the lung microbiota.
Methods: We used 16S ribosomal RNA targeted pyrosequencing and shotgun metagenomic sequencing to analyze bacterial gene sequences in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and mouths of 82 HIV-positive and 77 HIV-negative subjects.
Measurements and Main Results: Sequences representing Tropheryma whipplei, the etiologic agent of Whipple’s disease, were significantly more frequent in BAL of HIV-positive compared with HIV-negative individuals. T. whipplei dominated the community (>50% of sequence reads) in 11 HIV-positive subjects, but only 1 HIV-negative individual (13.4 versus 1.3%; P = 0.0018). In 30 HIV-positive individuals sampled longitudinally, antiretroviral therapy resulted in a significantly reduced relative abundance of T. whipplei in the lung. Shotgun metagenomic sequencing was performed on eight BAL samples dominated by T. whipplei 16S ribosomal RNA. Whole genome assembly of pooled reads showed that uncultured lung-derived T. whipplei had similar gene content to two isolates obtained from subjects with Whipple’s disease.
Conclusions: Asymptomatic subjects with HIV infection have unexpected colonization of the lung by T. whipplei, which is reduced by effective antiretroviral therapy and merits further study for a potential pathogenic role in chronic pulmonary complications of HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3734615  PMID: 23392441
human; microbiome; metagenome; 16S ribosomal RNA; bronchoalveolar lavage
6.  Comparison of the Respiratory Microbiome in Healthy Nonsmokers and Smokers 
Rationale: Results from 16S rDNA-encoding gene sequence–based, culture-independent techniques have led to conflicting conclusions about the composition of the lower respiratory tract microbiome.
Objectives: To compare the microbiome of the upper and lower respiratory tract in healthy HIV-uninfected nonsmokers and smokers in a multicenter cohort.
Methods: Participants were nonsmokers and smokers without significant comorbidities. Oral washes and bronchoscopic alveolar lavages were collected in a standardized manner. Sequence analysis of bacterial 16S rRNA-encoding genes was performed, and the neutral model in community ecology was used to identify bacteria that were the most plausible members of a lung microbiome.
Measurements and Main Results: Sixty-four participants were enrolled. Most bacteria identified in the lung were also in the mouth, but specific bacteria such as Enterobacteriaceae, Haemophilus, Methylobacterium, and Ralstonia species were disproportionally represented in the lungs compared with values predicted by the neutral model. Tropheryma was also in the lung, but not the mouth. Mouth communities differed between nonsmokers and smokers in species such as Porphyromonas, Neisseria, and Gemella, but lung bacterial populations did not.
Conclusions: This study is the largest to examine composition of the lower respiratory tract microbiome in healthy individuals and the first to use the neutral model to compare the lung to the mouth. Specific bacteria appear in significantly higher abundance in the lungs than would be expected if they originated from the mouth, demonstrating that the lung microbiome does not derive entirely from the mouth. The mouth microbiome differs in nonsmokers and smokers, but lung communities were not significantly altered by smoking.
PMCID: PMC3734620  PMID: 23491408
lung; microbiome; smoking; bronchoscopy; metagenome
7.  Exploration of bacterial community classes in major human habitats 
Genome Biology  2014;15(5):R66.
Determining bacterial abundance variation is the first step in understanding bacterial similarity between individuals. Categorization of bacterial communities into groups or community classes is the subsequent step in describing microbial distribution based on abundance patterns. Here, we present an analysis of the groupings of bacterial communities in stool, nasal, skin, vaginal and oral habitats in a healthy cohort of 236 subjects from the Human Microbiome Project.
We identify distinct community group patterns in the anterior nares, four skin sites, and vagina at the genus level. We also confirm three enterotypes previously identified in stools. We identify two clusters with low silhouette values in most oral sites, in which bacterial communities are more homogeneous. Subjects sharing a community class in one habitat do not necessarily share a community class in another, except in the three vaginal sites and the symmetric habitats of the left and right retroauricular creases. Demographic factors, including gender, age, and ethnicity, significantly influence community composition in several habitats. Community classes in the vagina, retroauricular crease and stool are stable over approximately 200 days.
The community composition, association of demographic factors with community classes, and demonstration of community stability deepen our understanding of the variability and dynamics of human microbiomes. This also has significant implications for experimental designs that seek microbial correlations with clinical phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC4073010  PMID: 24887286
8.  Quantitation and Composition of Cutaneous Microbiota in Diabetic and Nondiabetic Men 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;207(7):1105-1114.
Background. Diabetic foot infections are a leading cause of lower extremity amputations. Our study examines the microbiota of diabetic skin prior to ulcer development or infection.
Methods. In a case-control study, outpatient males were recruited at a veterans hospital. Subjects were swabbed at 4 cutaneous sites, 1 on the forearm and 3 on the foot. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) with primers and probes specific for bacteria, Staphylococcus species, Staphylococcus aureus, and fungi were performed on all samples. High-throughput 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing was performed on samples from the forearm and the plantar aspect of the foot.
Results. qPCR analysis of swab specimens from 30 diabetic subjects and 30 control subjects showed no differences in total numbers of bacteria or fungi at any sampled site. Increased log10 concentrations of Staphylococcus aureus, quantified by the number of nuc gene copies, were present in diabetic men on the plantar aspect of the foot. High-throughput 16S rRNA sequencing found that, on the foot, the microbiota in controls (n = 24) was dominated by Staphylococcus species, whereas the microbiota in diabetics (n = 23) was more diverse at the genus level. The forearm microbiota had similar diversity in diabetic and control groups.
Conclusions. The feet of diabetic men had decreased populations of Staphylococcus species, increased populations of S. aureus, and increased bacterial diversity, compared with the feet of controls. These ecologic changes may affect the risk for wound infections.
PMCID: PMC3583274  PMID: 23300163
microbiota; microbiome; diabetic foot; cutaneous; Staphylococcus; Staphylococcus aureus
9.  Propionibacterium acnes strain populations in the human skin microbiome associated with acne 
The human skin microbiome plays important roles in skin health and disease. However, bacterial population structure and diversity at the strain level is poorly understood. We compared the skin microbiome at the strain level and genome level of Propionibacterium acnes, a dominant skin commensal, between 49 acne patients and 52 healthy individuals by sampling the pilosebaceous units on their noses. Metagenomic analysis demonstrated that while the relative abundances of P. acnes were similar, the strain population structures were significantly different in the two cohorts. Certain strains were highly associated with acne and other strains were enriched in healthy skin. By sequencing 66 previously unreported P. acnes strains and comparing 71 P. acnes genomes, we identified potential genetic determinants of various P. acnes strains in association with acne or health. Our analysis suggests that acquired DNA sequences and bacterial immune elements may play roles in determining virulence properties of P. acnes strains and some could be future targets for therapeutic interventions. This study demonstrates a previously unreported paradigm of commensal strain populations that could explain the pathogenesis of human diseases. It underscores the importance of strain level analysis of the human microbiome to define the role of commensals in health and disease.
PMCID: PMC3745799  PMID: 23337890
10.  Pervasive Genetic Hitchhiking and Clonal Interference in 40 Evolving Yeast Populations 
Nature  2013;500(7464):571-574.
The dynamics of adaptation determines which mutations fix in a population, and hence how reproducible evolution will be. This is central to understanding the spectra of mutations recovered in evolution of antibiotic resistance1, the response of pathogens to immune selection2,3, and the dynamics of cancer progression4,5. In laboratory evolution experiments, demonstrably beneficial mutations are found repeatedly6–8, but are often accompanied by other mutations with no obvious benefit. Here we use whole-genome whole-population sequencing to examine the dynamics of genome sequence evolution at high temporal resolution in 40 replicate Saccharomyces cerevisiae populations growing in rich medium for 1,000 generations. We find pervasive genetic hitchhiking: multiple mutations arise and move synchronously through the population as mutational “cohorts.” Multiple clonal cohorts are often present simultaneously, competing with each other in the same population. Our results show that patterns of sequence evolution are driven by a balance between these chance effects of hitchhiking and interference, which increase stochastic variation in evolutionary outcomes, and the deterministic action of selection on individual mutations, which favors parallel evolutionary solutions in replicate populations.
PMCID: PMC3758440  PMID: 23873039
11.  Resequencing of Treponema pallidum ssp. pallidum Strains Nichols and SS14: Correction of Sequencing Errors Resulted in Increased Separation of Syphilis Treponeme Subclusters 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74319.
Treponema pallidum ssp. pallidum (TPA), the causative agent of syphilis, is a highly clonal bacterium showing minimal genetic variability in the genome sequence of individual strains. Nevertheless, genetically characterized syphilis strains can be clearly divided into two groups, Nichols-like strains and SS14-like strains. TPA Nichols and SS14 strains were completely sequenced in 1998 and 2008, respectively. Since publication of their complete genome sequences, a number of sequencing errors in each genome have been reported. Therefore, we have resequenced TPA Nichols and SS14 strains using next-generation sequencing techniques.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The genomes of TPA strains Nichols and SS14 were resequenced using the 454 and Illumina sequencing methods that have a combined average coverage higher than 90x. In the TPA strain Nichols genome, 134 errors were identified (25 substitutions and 109 indels), and 102 of them affected protein sequences. In the TPA SS14 genome, a total of 191 errors were identified (85 substitutions and 106 indels) and 136 of them affected protein sequences. A set of new intrastrain heterogenic regions in the TPA SS14 genome were identified including the tprD gene, where both tprD and tprD2 alleles were found. The resequenced genomes of both TPA Nichols and SS14 strains clustered more closely with related strains (i.e. strains belonging to same syphilis treponeme subcluster). At the same time, groups of Nichols-like and SS14-like strains were found to be more distantly related.
We identified errors in 11.5% of all annotated genes and, after correction, we found a significant impact on the predicted proteomes of both Nichols and SS14 strains. Corrections of these errors resulted in protein elongations, truncations, fusions and indels in more than 11% of all annotated proteins. Moreover, it became more evident that syphilis is caused by treponemes belonging to two separate genetic subclusters.
PMCID: PMC3769245  PMID: 24058545
12.  Revised Sequence and Annotation of the Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1 Genome 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(24):7016-7017.
The DNA sequences of chromosomes I and II of Rhodobacter sphaeroides strain 2.4.1 have been revised, and the annotation of the entire genomic sequence, including both chromosomes and the five plasmids, has been updated. Errors in the originally published sequence have been corrected, and ∼11% of the coding regions in the original sequence have been affected by the revised annotation.
PMCID: PMC3510577  PMID: 23209255
13.  Pan-Genome and Comparative Genome Analyses of Propionibacterium acnes Reveal Its Genomic Diversity in the Healthy and Diseased Human Skin Microbiome 
mBio  2013;4(3):e00003-13.
Propionibacterium acnes constitutes a major part of the skin microbiome and contributes to human health. However, it has also been implicated as a pathogenic factor in several diseases, including acne, one of the most common skin diseases. Its pathogenic role, however, remains elusive. To better understand the genetic landscape and diversity of the organism and its role in human health and disease, we performed a comparative genome analysis of 82 P. acnes strains, 69 of which were sequenced by our group. This collection covers all known P. acnes lineages, including types IA, IB, II, and III. Our analysis demonstrated that although the P. acnes pan-genome is open, it is relatively small and expands slowly. The core regions, shared by all the sequenced genomes, accounted for 88% of the average genome. Comparative genome analysis showed that within each lineage, the strains isolated from the same individuals were more closely related than the ones isolated from different individuals, suggesting that clonal expansions occurred within each individual microbiome. We also identified the genetic elements specific to each lineage. Differences in harboring these elements may explain the phenotypic and functional differences of P. acnes in functioning as a commensal in healthy skin and as a pathogen in diseases. Our findings of the differences among P. acnes strains at the genome level underscore the importance of identifying the human microbiome variations at the strain level in understanding its association with diseases and provide insight into novel and personalized therapeutic approaches for P. acnes-related diseases.
Propionibacterium acnes is a major human skin bacterium. It plays an important role in maintaining skin health. However, it has also been hypothesized to be a pathogenic factor in several diseases, including acne, a common skin disease affecting 85% of teenagers. To understand whether different strains have different virulent properties and thus play different roles in health and diseases, we compared the genomes of 82 P. acnes strains, most of which were isolated from acne or healthy skin. We identified lineage-specific genetic elements that may explain the phenotypic and functional differences of P. acnes as a commensal in health and as a pathogen in diseases. By analyzing a large number of sequenced strains, we provided an improved understanding of the genetic landscape and diversity of the organism at the strain level and at the molecular level that can be further applied in the development of new and personalized therapies.
PMCID: PMC3663185  PMID: 23631911
14.  Whole Genome Sequence of the Treponema Fribourg-Blanc: Unspecified Simian Isolate Is Highly Similar to the Yaws Subspecies 
Unclassified simian strain Treponema Fribourg-Blanc was isolated in 1966 from baboons (Papio cynocephalus) in West Africa. This strain was morphologically indistinguishable from T. pallidum ssp. pallidum or ssp. pertenue strains, and it was shown to cause human infections.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To precisely define genetic differences between Treponema Fribourg-Blanc (unclassified simian isolate, FB) and T. pallidum ssp. pertenue strains (TPE), a high quality sequence of the whole Fribourg-Blanc genome was determined with 454-pyrosequencing and Illumina sequencing platforms. Combined average coverage of both methods was greater than 500×. Restriction target sites (n = 1,773), identified in silico, of selected restriction enzymes within the Fribourg-Blanc genome were verified experimentally and no discrepancies were found. When compared to the other three sequenced TPE genomes (Samoa D, CDC-2, Gauthier), no major genome rearrangements were found. The Fribourg-Blanc genome clustered with other TPE strains (especially with the TPE CDC-2 strain), while T. pallidum ssp. pallidum strains clustered separately as well as the genome of T. paraluiscuniculi strain Cuniculi A. Within coding regions, 6 deletions, 5 insertions and 117 substitutions differentiated Fribourg-Blanc from other TPE genomes.
The Fribourg-Blanc genome showed similar genetic characteristics as other TPE strains. Therefore, we propose to rename the unclassified simian isolate to Treponema pallidum ssp. pertenue strain Fribourg-Blanc. Since the Fribourg-Blanc strain was shown to cause experimental infection in human hosts, non-human primates could serve as possible reservoirs of TPE strains. This could considerably complicate recent efforts to eradicate yaws. Genetic differences specific for Fribourg-Blanc could then contribute for identification of cases of animal-derived yaws infections.
Author Summary
A bacterial strain isolated in 1966 from baboons (Papio cynocephalus) in West Africa was preliminarily characterized as unclassified simian strain Treponema Fribourg-Blanc (FB). This strain was morphologically identical to T. pallidum ssp. pallidum (TPA, agent of syphilis) or ssp. pertenue (TPE, agent of yaws). In this study, we completed a high quality whole genome sequence of simian isolate Treponema Fribourg-Blanc and compared it to known genome sequences of Treponema pallidum strains. No major differences in the gene order of the FB genome were found when compared to all known genomes of Treponema pallidum subspecies. Moreover, the FB genome clustered with other TPE strains, while T. pallidum ssp. pallidum strains clustered separately. In general, the FB genome showed similar genetic characteristics to other TPE strains. Therefore, we proposed that the simian isolate Fribourg-Blanc be classified as a bacterial strain belonging to Treponema pallidum ssp. pertenue. It appears that, except for humans, the reservoir of yaws-causing treponemes may also include free-living primates, especially in Africa.
PMCID: PMC3630124  PMID: 23638193
15.  Biogeography of the ecosystems of the healthy human body 
Genome Biology  2013;14(1):R1.
Characterizing the biogeography of the microbiome of healthy humans is essential for understanding microbial associated diseases. Previous studies mainly focused on a single body habitat from a limited set of subjects. Here, we analyzed one of the largest microbiome datasets to date and generated a biogeographical map that annotates the biodiversity, spatial relationships, and temporal stability of 22 habitats from 279 healthy humans.
We identified 929 genera from more than 24 million 16S rRNA gene sequences of 22 habitats, and we provide a baseline of inter-subject variation for healthy adults. The oral habitat has the most stable microbiota with the highest alpha diversity, while the skin and vaginal microbiota are less stable and show lower alpha diversity. The level of biodiversity in one habitat is independent of the biodiversity of other habitats in the same individual. The abundances of a given genus at a body site in which it dominates do not correlate with the abundances at body sites where it is not dominant. Additionally, we observed the human microbiota exhibit both cosmopolitan and endemic features. Finally, comparing datasets of different projects revealed a project-based clustering pattern, emphasizing the significance of standardization of metagenomic studies.
The data presented here extend the definition of the human microbiome by providing a more complete and accurate picture of human microbiome biogeography, addressing questions best answered by a large dataset of subjects and body sites that are deeply sampled by sequencing.
PMCID: PMC4054670  PMID: 23316946
Biogeography; Human microbiome; Biodiversity; Temporal stability
16.  Hypothesis Testing and Power Calculations for Taxonomic-Based Human Microbiome Data 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52078.
This paper presents new biostatistical methods for the analysis of microbiome data based on a fully parametric approach using all the data. The Dirichlet-multinomial distribution allows the analyst to calculate power and sample sizes for experimental design, perform tests of hypotheses (e.g., compare microbiomes across groups), and to estimate parameters describing microbiome properties. The use of a fully parametric model for these data has the benefit over alternative non-parametric approaches such as bootstrapping and permutation testing, in that this model is able to retain more information contained in the data. This paper details the statistical approaches for several tests of hypothesis and power/sample size calculations, and applies them for illustration to taxonomic abundance distribution and rank abundance distribution data using HMP Jumpstart data on 24 subjects for saliva, subgingival, and supragingival samples. Software for running these analyses is available.
PMCID: PMC3527355  PMID: 23284876
17.  A framework for human microbiome research 
Methé, Barbara A. | Nelson, Karen E. | Pop, Mihai | Creasy, Heather H. | Giglio, Michelle G. | Huttenhower, Curtis | Gevers, Dirk | Petrosino, Joseph F. | Abubucker, Sahar | Badger, Jonathan H. | Chinwalla, Asif T. | Earl, Ashlee M. | FitzGerald, Michael G. | Fulton, Robert S. | Hallsworth-Pepin, Kymberlie | Lobos, Elizabeth A. | Madupu, Ramana | Magrini, Vincent | Martin, John C. | Mitreva, Makedonka | Muzny, Donna M. | Sodergren, Erica J. | Versalovic, James | Wollam, Aye M. | Worley, Kim C. | Wortman, Jennifer R. | Young, Sarah K. | Zeng, Qiandong | Aagaard, Kjersti M. | Abolude, Olukemi O. | Allen-Vercoe, Emma | Alm, Eric J. | Alvarado, Lucia | Andersen, Gary L. | Anderson, Scott | Appelbaum, Elizabeth | Arachchi, Harindra M. | Armitage, Gary | Arze, Cesar A. | Ayvaz, Tulin | Baker, Carl C. | Begg, Lisa | Belachew, Tsegahiwot | Bhonagiri, Veena | Bihan, Monika | Blaser, Martin J. | Bloom, Toby | Vivien Bonazzi, J. | Brooks, Paul | Buck, Gregory A. | Buhay, Christian J. | Busam, Dana A. | Campbell, Joseph L. | Canon, Shane R. | Cantarel, Brandi L. | Chain, Patrick S. | Chen, I-Min A. | Chen, Lei | Chhibba, Shaila | Chu, Ken | Ciulla, Dawn M. | Clemente, Jose C. | Clifton, Sandra W. | Conlan, Sean | Crabtree, Jonathan | Cutting, Mary A. | Davidovics, Noam J. | Davis, Catherine C. | DeSantis, Todd Z. | Deal, Carolyn | Delehaunty, Kimberley D. | Dewhirst, Floyd E. | Deych, Elena | Ding, Yan | Dooling, David J. | Dugan, Shannon P. | Dunne, Wm. Michael | Durkin, A. Scott | Edgar, Robert C. | Erlich, Rachel L. | Farmer, Candace N. | Farrell, Ruth M. | Faust, Karoline | Feldgarden, Michael | Felix, Victor M. | Fisher, Sheila | Fodor, Anthony A. | Forney, Larry | Foster, Leslie | Di Francesco, Valentina | Friedman, Jonathan | Friedrich, Dennis C. | Fronick, Catrina C. | Fulton, Lucinda L. | Gao, Hongyu | Garcia, Nathalia | Giannoukos, Georgia | Giblin, Christina | Giovanni, Maria Y. | Goldberg, Jonathan M. | Goll, Johannes | Gonzalez, Antonio | Griggs, Allison | Gujja, Sharvari | Haas, Brian J. | Hamilton, Holli A. | Harris, Emily L. | Hepburn, Theresa A. | Herter, Brandi | Hoffmann, Diane E. | Holder, Michael E. | Howarth, Clinton | Huang, Katherine H. | Huse, Susan M. | Izard, Jacques | Jansson, Janet K. | Jiang, Huaiyang | Jordan, Catherine | Joshi, Vandita | Katancik, James A. | Keitel, Wendy A. | Kelley, Scott T. | Kells, Cristyn | Kinder-Haake, Susan | King, Nicholas B. | Knight, Rob | Knights, Dan | Kong, Heidi H. | Koren, Omry | Koren, Sergey | Kota, Karthik C. | Kovar, Christie L. | Kyrpides, Nikos C. | La Rosa, Patricio S. | Lee, Sandra L. | Lemon, Katherine P. | Lennon, Niall | Lewis, Cecil M. | Lewis, Lora | Ley, Ruth E. | Li, Kelvin | Liolios, Konstantinos | Liu, Bo | Liu, Yue | Lo, Chien-Chi | Lozupone, Catherine A. | Lunsford, R. Dwayne | Madden, Tessa | Mahurkar, Anup A. | Mannon, Peter J. | Mardis, Elaine R. | Markowitz, Victor M. | Mavrommatis, Konstantinos | McCorrison, Jamison M. | McDonald, Daniel | McEwen, Jean | McGuire, Amy L. | McInnes, Pamela | Mehta, Teena | Mihindukulasuriya, Kathie A. | Miller, Jason R. | Minx, Patrick J. | Newsham, Irene | Nusbaum, Chad | O’Laughlin, Michelle | Orvis, Joshua | Pagani, Ioanna | Palaniappan, Krishna | Patel, Shital M. | Pearson, Matthew | Peterson, Jane | Podar, Mircea | Pohl, Craig | Pollard, Katherine S. | Priest, Margaret E. | Proctor, Lita M. | Qin, Xiang | Raes, Jeroen | Ravel, Jacques | Reid, Jeffrey G. | Rho, Mina | Rhodes, Rosamond | Riehle, Kevin P. | Rivera, Maria C. | Rodriguez-Mueller, Beltran | Rogers, Yu-Hui | Ross, Matthew C. | Russ, Carsten | Sanka, Ravi K. | Pamela Sankar, J. | Sathirapongsasuti, Fah | Schloss, Jeffery A. | Schloss, Patrick D. | Schmidt, Thomas M. | Scholz, Matthew | Schriml, Lynn | Schubert, Alyxandria M. | Segata, Nicola | Segre, Julia A. | Shannon, William D. | Sharp, Richard R. | Sharpton, Thomas J. | Shenoy, Narmada | Sheth, Nihar U. | Simone, Gina A. | Singh, Indresh | Smillie, Chris S. | Sobel, Jack D. | Sommer, Daniel D. | Spicer, Paul | Sutton, Granger G. | Sykes, Sean M. | Tabbaa, Diana G. | Thiagarajan, Mathangi | Tomlinson, Chad M. | Torralba, Manolito | Treangen, Todd J. | Truty, Rebecca M. | Vishnivetskaya, Tatiana A. | Walker, Jason | Wang, Lu | Wang, Zhengyuan | Ward, Doyle V. | Warren, Wesley | Watson, Mark A. | Wellington, Christopher | Wetterstrand, Kris A. | White, James R. | Wilczek-Boney, Katarzyna | Wu, Yuan Qing | Wylie, Kristine M. | Wylie, Todd | Yandava, Chandri | Ye, Liang | Ye, Yuzhen | Yooseph, Shibu | Youmans, Bonnie P. | Zhang, Lan | Zhou, Yanjiao | Zhu, Yiming | Zoloth, Laurie | Zucker, Jeremy D. | Birren, Bruce W. | Gibbs, Richard A. | Highlander, Sarah K. | Weinstock, George M. | Wilson, Richard K. | White, Owen
Nature  2012;486(7402):215-221.
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.
PMCID: PMC3377744  PMID: 22699610
18.  Increased Prevalence of Anellovirus in Pediatric Patients with Fever 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50937.
The Anelloviridae family consists of non-enveloped, circular, single-stranded DNA viruses. Three genera of anellovirus are known to infect humans, named TTV, TTMDV, and TTMV. Although anelloviruses were initially thought to cause non-A-G viral hepatitis, continued research has shown no definitive associations between anellovirus and human disease to date. Using high-throughput sequencing, we investigated the association between anelloviruses and fever in pediatric patients 2–36 months of age. We determined that although anelloviruses were present in a large number of specimens from both febrile and afebrile patients, they were more prevalent in the plasma and nasopharyngeal (NP) specimens of febrile patients compared to afebrile controls. Using PCR to detect each of the three species of anellovirus that infect humans, we found that anellovirus species TTV and TTMDV were more prevalent in the plasma and NP specimens of febrile patients compared to afebrile controls. This was not the case for species TTMV which was found in similar percentages of febrile and afebrile patient specimens. Analysis of patient age showed that the percentage of plasma and NP specimens containing anellovirus increased with age until patients were 19–24 months of age, after which the percentage of anellovirus positive patient specimens dropped. This trend was striking for TTV and TTMDV and very modest for TTMV in both plasma and NP specimens. Finally, as the temperature of febrile patients increased, so too did the frequency of TTV and TTMDV detection. Again, TTMV was equally present in both febrile and afebrile patient specimens. Taken together these data indicate that the human anellovirus species TTV and TTMDV are associated with fever in children, while the highly related human anellovirus TTMV has no association with fever.
PMCID: PMC3511395  PMID: 23226428
19.  Statistical Object Data Analysis of Taxonomic Trees from Human Microbiome Data 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48996.
Human microbiome research characterizes the microbial content of samples from human habitats to learn how interactions between bacteria and their host might impact human health. In this work a novel parametric statistical inference method based on object-oriented data analysis (OODA) for analyzing HMP data is proposed. OODA is an emerging area of statistical inference where the goal is to apply statistical methods to objects such as functions, images, and graphs or trees. The data objects that pertain to this work are taxonomic trees of bacteria built from analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences (e.g. using RDP); there is one such object for each biological sample analyzed. Our goal is to model and formally compare a set of trees. The contribution of our work is threefold: first, a weighted tree structure to analyze RDP data is introduced; second, using a probability measure to model a set of taxonomic trees, we introduce an approximate MLE procedure for estimating model parameters and we derive LRT statistics for comparing the distributions of two metagenomic populations; and third the Jumpstart HMP data is analyzed using the proposed model providing novel insights and future directions of analysis.
PMCID: PMC3494672  PMID: 23152838
21.  A dominant mutation in RPE65 identified by whole-exome sequencing causes retinitis pigmentosa with choroidal involvement 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2011;19(10):1074-1081.
Linkage testing using Affymetrix 6.0 SNP Arrays mapped the disease locus in TCD-G, an Irish family with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP), to an 8.8 Mb region on 1p31. Of 50 known genes in the region, 11 candidates, including RPE65 and PDE4B, were sequenced using di-deoxy capillary electrophoresis. Simultaneously, a subset of family members was analyzed using Agilent SureSelect All Exome capture, followed by sequencing on an Illumina GAIIx platform. Candidate gene and exome sequencing resulted in the identification of an Asp477Gly mutation in exon 13 of the RPE65 gene tracking with the disease in TCD-G. All coding exons of genes not sequenced to sufficient depth by next generation sequencing were sequenced by di-deoxy sequencing. No other potential disease-causing variants were found to segregate with disease in TCD-G. The Asp477Gly mutation was not present in Irish controls, but was found in a second Irish family provisionally diagnosed with choroideremia, bringing the combined maximum two-point LOD score to 5.3. Mutations in RPE65 are a known cause of recessive Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) and recessive RP, but no dominant mutations have been reported. Protein modeling suggests that the Asp477Gly mutation may destabilize protein folding, and mutant RPE65 protein migrates marginally faster on SDS-PAGE, compared with wild type. Gene therapy for LCA patients with RPE65 mutations has shown great promise, raising the possibility of related therapies for dominant-acting mutations in this gene.
PMCID: PMC3190249  PMID: 21654732
retinitis pigmentosa; choroideremia; RPE65; exome capture; next-generation sequencing
22.  The “Most Wanted” Taxa from the Human Microbiome for Whole Genome Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41294.
The goal of the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) is to generate a comprehensive catalog of human-associated microorganisms including reference genomes representing the most common species. Toward this goal, the HMP has characterized the microbial communities at 18 body habitats in a cohort of over 200 healthy volunteers using 16S rRNA gene (16S) sequencing and has generated nearly 1,000 reference genomes from human-associated microorganisms. To determine how well current reference genome collections capture the diversity observed among the healthy microbiome and to guide isolation and future sequencing of microbiome members, we compared the HMP’s 16S data sets to several reference 16S collections to create a ‘most wanted’ list of taxa for sequencing. Our analysis revealed that the diversity of commonly occurring taxa within the HMP cohort microbiome is relatively modest, few novel taxa are represented by these OTUs and many common taxa among HMP volunteers recur across different populations of healthy humans. Taken together, these results suggest that it should be possible to perform whole-genome sequencing on a large fraction of the human microbiome, including the ‘most wanted’, and that these sequences should serve to support microbiome studies across multiple cohorts. Also, in stark contrast to other taxa, the ‘most wanted’ organisms are poorly represented among culture collections suggesting that novel culture- and single-cell-based methods will be required to isolate these organisms for sequencing.
PMCID: PMC3406062  PMID: 22848458
23.  Complete genome sequence of Enterococcus faecium strain TX16 and comparative genomic analysis of Enterococcus faecium genomes 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:135.
Enterococci are among the leading causes of hospital-acquired infections in the United States and Europe, with Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium being the two most common species isolated from enterococcal infections. In the last decade, the proportion of enterococcal infections caused by E. faecium has steadily increased compared to other Enterococcus species. Although the underlying mechanism for the gradual replacement of E. faecalis by E. faecium in the hospital environment is not yet understood, many studies using genotyping and phylogenetic analysis have shown the emergence of a globally dispersed polyclonal subcluster of E. faecium strains in clinical environments. Systematic study of the molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis of E. faecium has been hindered by the lack of closed, complete E. faecium genomes that can be used as references.
In this study, we report the complete genome sequence of the E. faecium strain TX16, also known as DO, which belongs to multilocus sequence type (ST) 18, and was the first E. faecium strain ever sequenced. Whole genome comparison of the TX16 genome with 21 E. faecium draft genomes confirmed that most clinical, outbreak, and hospital-associated (HA) strains (including STs 16, 17, 18, and 78), in addition to strains of non-hospital origin, group in the same clade (referred to as the HA clade) and are evolutionally considerably more closely related to each other by phylogenetic and gene content similarity analyses than to isolates in the community-associated (CA) clade with approximately a 3–4% average nucleotide sequence difference between the two clades at the core genome level. Our study also revealed that many genomic loci in the TX16 genome are unique to the HA clade. 380 ORFs in TX16 are HA-clade specific and antibiotic resistance genes are enriched in HA-clade strains. Mobile elements such as IS16 and transposons were also found almost exclusively in HA strains, as previously reported.
Our findings along with other studies show that HA clonal lineages harbor specific genetic elements as well as sequence differences in the core genome which may confer selection advantages over the more heterogeneous CA E. faecium isolates. Which of these differences are important for the success of specific E. faecium lineages in the hospital environment remain(s) to be determined.
PMCID: PMC3433357  PMID: 22769602
24.  Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Phenotype, C. difficile and NOD2 Genotype Are Associated with Shifts in Human Ileum Associated Microbial Composition 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e26284.
We tested the hypothesis that Crohn’s disease (CD)-related genetic polymorphisms involved in host innate immunity are associated with shifts in human ileum–associated microbial composition in a cross-sectional analysis of human ileal samples. Sanger sequencing of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene and 454 sequencing of 16S rRNA gene hypervariable regions (V1–V3 and V3–V5), were conducted on macroscopically disease-unaffected ileal biopsies collected from 52 ileal CD, 58 ulcerative colitis and 60 control patients without inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) undergoing initial surgical resection. These subjects also were genotyped for the three major NOD2 risk alleles (Leu1007fs, R708W, G908R) and the ATG16L1 risk allele (T300A). The samples were linked to clinical metadata, including body mass index, smoking status and Clostridia difficile infection. The sequences were classified into seven phyla/subphyla categories using the Naïve Bayesian Classifier of the Ribosome Database Project. Centered log ratio transformation of six predominant categories was included as the dependent variable in the permutation based MANCOVA for the overall composition with stepwise variable selection. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were conducted to measure the relative frequencies of the Clostridium coccoides – Eubacterium rectales group and the Faecalibacterium prausnitzii spp. Empiric logit transformations of the relative frequencies of these two microbial groups were included in permutation-based ANCOVA. Regardless of sequencing method, IBD phenotype, Clostridia difficile and NOD2 genotype were selected as associated (FDR ≤0.05) with shifts in overall microbial composition. IBD phenotype and NOD2 genotype were also selected as associated with shifts in the relative frequency of the C. coccoides – E. rectales group. IBD phenotype, smoking and IBD medications were selected as associated with shifts in the relative frequency of F. prausnitzii spp. These results indicate that the effects of genetic and environmental factors on IBD are mediated at least in part by the enteric microbiota.
PMCID: PMC3374607  PMID: 22719818
25.  Host Genes Related to Paneth Cells and Xenobiotic Metabolism Are Associated with Shifts in Human Ileum-Associated Microbial Composition 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e30044.
The aim of this study was to integrate human clinical, genotype, mRNA microarray and 16 S rRNA sequence data collected on 84 subjects with ileal Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or control patients without inflammatory bowel diseases in order to interrogate how host-microbial interactions are perturbed in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Ex-vivo ileal mucosal biopsies were collected from the disease unaffected proximal margin of the ileum resected from patients who were undergoing initial intestinal surgery. Both RNA and DNA were extracted from the mucosal biopsy samples. Patients were genotyped for the three major NOD2 variants (Leufs1007, R702W, and G908R) and the ATG16L1T300A variant. Whole human genome mRNA expression profiles were generated using Agilent microarrays. Microbial composition profiles were determined by 454 pyrosequencing of the V3–V5 hypervariable region of the bacterial 16 S rRNA gene. The results of permutation based multivariate analysis of variance and covariance (MANCOVA) support the hypothesis that host mucosal Paneth cell and xenobiotic metabolism genes play an important role in host microbial interactions.
PMCID: PMC3374611  PMID: 22719822

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