The human virome is the collection of all viruses that are found in or on humans, including both eukaryotic and prokaryotic viruses. Eukaryotic viruses clearly have important effects on human health, ranging from mild, self-limited acute or chronic infections to those with serious or fatal consequences. Prokaryotic viruses can also affect human health by impacting bacterial community structure and function. Therefore, definition of the virome is an important step toward understanding how microbes affect human health and disease. We review progress in virome analysis, which has been driven by advances in high-throughput, deep sequencing technology. Highlights from these studies include the association of viruses with clinical phenotypes and description of novel viruses that may be important pathogens. Together these studies indicate that analysis of the human virome is critical as we aim to understand how microbial communities affect human health and disease. Descriptions of the human virome will stimulate future work to understand how the virome affects long-term human health, immunity, and response to co-infections. Ultimately analysis of the virome may affect the treatment of patients with a variety of clinical syndromes.
Pathogenic uncultivable treponemes, similar to syphilis-causing Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum, include T. pallidum ssp. pertenue, T. pallidum ssp. endemicum and Treponema carateum, which cause yaws, bejel and pinta, respectively. Genetic analyses of these pathogens revealed striking similarity among these bacteria and also a high degree of similarity to the rabbit pathogen, T. paraluiscuniculi, a treponeme not infectious to humans. Genome comparisons between pallidum and non-pallidum treponemes revealed genes with potential involvement in human infectivity, whereas comparisons between pallidum and pertenue treponemes identified genes possibly involved in the high invasivity of syphilis treponemes. Genetic variability within syphilis strains is considered as the basis of syphilis molecular epidemiology with potential to detect more virulent strains, whereas genetic variability within a single strain is related to its ability to elude the immune system of the host. Genome analyses also shed light on treponemal evolution and on chromosomal targets for molecular diagnostics of treponemal infections.
Treponema pallidum; T pallidum ssp. Pertenue; T. pallidum ssp. endemicum; T. paraluiscuniculi; whole genome sequencing; molecular evolution; molecular diagnostics
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.
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.
Non-human primates provide genetic model systems biologically intermediate between humans and other mammalian model organisms. Populations of Caribbean vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) are genetically homogeneous and large enough to permit well-powered genetic mapping studies of quantitative traits relevant to human health, including expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL). Previous transcriptome-wide investigation in an extended vervet pedigree identified 29 heritable transcripts for which levels of expression in peripheral blood correlate strongly with expression levels in the brain. Quantitative trait linkage analysis using 261 microsatellite markers identified significant (n = 8) and suggestive (n = 4) linkages for 12 of these transcripts, including both cis- and trans-eQTL. Seven transcripts, located on different chromosomes, showed maximum linkage to markers in a single region of vervet chromosome 9; this observation suggests the possibility of a master trans-regulator locus in this region. For one cis-eQTL (at B3GALTL, beta-1,3-glucosyltransferase), we conducted follow-up single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping and fine-scale association analysis in a sample of unrelated Caribbean vervets, localizing this eQTL to a region of <200 kb. These results suggest the value of pedigree and population samples of the Caribbean vervet for linkage and association mapping studies of quantitative traits. The imminent whole genome sequencing of many of these vervet samples will enhance the power of such investigations by providing a comprehensive catalog of genetic variation.
Treatment of multidrug-resistant enterococci has become a challenging clinical problem in hospitals around the world due to the lack of reliable therapeutic options. Daptomycin (DAP), a cell membrane-targeting cationic antimicrobial lipopeptide, is the only antibiotic with in vitro bactericidal activity against vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). However, the clinical use of DAP against VRE is threatened by emergence of resistance during therapy, but the mechanisms leading to DAP resistance are not fully understood. The mechanism of action of DAP involves interactions with the cell membrane in a calcium-dependent manner, mainly at the level of the bacterial septum. Previously, we demonstrated that development of DAP resistance in vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis is associated with mutations in genes encoding proteins with two main functions, (i) control of the cell envelope stress response to antibiotics and antimicrobial peptides (LiaFSR system) and (ii) cell membrane phospholipid metabolism (glycerophosphoryl diester phosphodiesterase and cardiolipin synthase). In this work, we show that these VRE can resist DAP-elicited cell membrane damage by diverting the antibiotic away from its principal target (division septum) to other distinct cell membrane regions. DAP septal diversion by DAP-resistant E. faecalis is mediated by initial redistribution of cell membrane cardiolipin-rich microdomains associated with a single amino acid deletion within the transmembrane protein LiaF (a member of a three-component regulatory system [LiaFSR] involved in cell envelope homeostasis). Full expression of DAP resistance requires additional mutations in enzymes
(glycerophosphoryl diester phosphodiesterase and cardiolipin synthase) that alter cell membrane phospholipid content. Our findings describe a novel mechanism of bacterial resistance to cationic antimicrobial peptides.
IMPORTANCE The emergence of antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens is a threat to public health. Understanding the mechanisms of resistance is of crucial importance to develop new strategies to combat multidrug-resistant microorganisms. Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are one of the most recalcitrant hospital-associated pathogens against which new therapies are urgently needed. Daptomycin (DAP) is a calcium-decorated antimicrobial lipopeptide whose target is the bacterial cell membrane. A current paradigm suggests that Gram-positive bacteria become resistant to cationic antimicrobial peptides via an electrostatic repulsion of the antibiotic molecule from a more positively charged cell surface. In this work, we provide evidence that VRE use a novel strategy to avoid DAP-elicited killing. Instead of “repelling” the antibiotic from the cell surface, VRE diverts the antibiotic molecule from the septum and “traps” it in distinct membrane regions. We provide genetic and biochemical bases responsible for the mechanism of resistance and disclose new targets for potential antimicrobial development.
The emergence of antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens is a threat to public health. Understanding the mechanisms of resistance is of crucial importance to develop new strategies to combat multidrug-resistant microorganisms. Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are one of the most recalcitrant hospital-associated pathogens against which new therapies are urgently needed. Daptomycin (DAP) is a calcium-decorated antimicrobial lipopeptide whose target is the bacterial cell membrane. A current paradigm suggests that Gram-positive bacteria become resistant to cationic antimicrobial peptides via an electrostatic repulsion of the antibiotic molecule from a more positively charged cell surface. In this work, we provide evidence that VRE use a novel strategy to avoid DAP-elicited killing. Instead of “repelling” the antibiotic from the cell surface, VRE diverts the antibiotic molecule from the septum and “traps” it in distinct membrane regions. We provide genetic and biochemical bases responsible for the mechanism of resistance and disclose new targets for potential antimicrobial development.
While large-scale efforts have rapidly advanced the understanding and practical impact of human genomic variation, the latter is largely unexplored in the human microbiome. We therefore developed a framework for metagenomic variation analysis and applied it to 252 fecal metagenomes of 207 individuals from Europe and North America. Using 7.4 billion reads aligned to 101 reference species, we detected 10.3 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 107,991 short indels, and 1,051 structural variants. The average ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous polymorphism rates of 0.11 was more variable between gut microbial species than across human hosts. Subjects sampled at varying time intervals exhibited individuality and temporal stability of SNP variation patterns, despite considerable composition changes of their gut microbiota. This implies that individual-specific strains are not easily replaced and that an individual might have a unique metagenomic genotype, which may be exploitable for personalized diet or drug intake.
Development of daptomycin (DAP) resistance in Enterococcus faecalis has recently been associated with mutations in genes encoding proteins with two main functions: (i) control of the cell envelope stress response to antibiotics and antimicrobial peptides (LiaFSR system) and (ii) cell membrane phospholipid metabolism (glycerophosphoryl diester phosphodiesterase and cardiolipin synthase [cls]). However, the genetic bases for DAP resistance in Enterococcus faecium are unclear. We performed whole-genome comparative analysis of a clinical strain pair, DAP-susceptible E. faecium S447 and its DAP-resistant derivative R446, which was recovered from a single patient during DAP therapy. By comparative whole-genome sequencing, DAP resistance in R446 was associated with changes in 8 genes. Two of these genes encoded proteins involved in phospholipid metabolism: (i) an R218Q substitution in Cls and (ii) an A292G reversion in a putative cyclopropane fatty acid synthase enzyme. The DAP-resistant derivative R446 also exhibited an S333L substitution in the putative histidine kinase YycG, a member of the YycFG system, which, similar to LiaFSR, has been involved in cell envelope homeostasis and DAP resistance in other Gram-positive cocci. Additional changes identified in E. faecium R446 (DAP resistant) included two putative proteins involved in transport (one for carbohydrate and one for sulfate) and three enzymes predicted to play a role in general metabolism. Exchange of the “susceptible” cls allele from S447 for the “resistant” one belonging to R446 did not affect DAP susceptibility. Our results suggest that, apart from the LiaFSR system, the essential YycFG system is likely to be an important mediator of DAP resistance in some E. faecium strains.
The spores of several Bacillus species, including Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032 and B. safensis FO-36b, which were isolated from the spacecraft assembly facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, are unusually resistant to UV radiation and hydrogen peroxide. In order to identify candidate genes that might be associated with these resistances, the whole genome of B. pumilus SAFR-032, and the draft genome of B. safensis FO-36b were compared in detail with the very closely related type strain B. pumilus ATCC7061T. 170 genes are considered characteristic of SAFR-032, because they are absent from both FO-36b and ATCC7061T. Forty of these SAFR-032 characteristic genes are entirely unique open reading frames. In addition, four genes are unique to the genomes of the resistant SAFR-032 and FO-36b. Fifty three genes involved in spore coat formation, regulation and germination, DNA repair, and peroxide resistance, are missing from all three genomes. The vast majority of these are cleanly deleted from their usual genomic context without any obvious replacement. Several DNA repair and peroxide resistance genes earlier reported to be unique to SAFR-032 are in fact shared with ATCC7061T and no longer considered to be promising candidates for association with the elevated resistances. Instead, several SAFR-032 characteristic genes were identified, which along with one or more of the unique SAFR-032 genes may be responsible for the elevated resistances. These new candidates include five genes associated with DNA repair, namely, BPUM_0608 a helicase, BPUM_0652 an ATP binding protein, BPUM_0653 an endonuclease, BPUM_0656 a DNA cytosine-5- methyltransferase, and BPUM_3674 a DNA helicase. Three of these candidate genes are in immediate proximity of two conserved hypothetical proteins, BPUM_0654 and BPUM_0655 that are also absent from both FO-36b and ATCC7061T. This cluster of five genes is considered to be an especially promising target for future experimental work.
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.
The human body is colonized by a vast array of microbes, which form communities of bacteria, viruses and microbial eukaryotes that are specific to each anatomical environment. Every community must be studied as a whole because many organisms have never been cultured independently, and this poses formidable challenges. The advent of next-generation DNA sequencing has allowed more sophisticated analysis and sampling of these complex systems by culture-independent methods. These methods are revealing differences in community structure between anatomical sites, between individuals, and between healthy and diseased states, and are transforming our view of human biology.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Six subspecies are currently recognized in Salmonella enterica. Subspecies I (subspecies enterica) is responsible for nearly all infections in humans and warm-blooded animals, while five other subspecies are isolated principally from cold-blooded animals. We sequenced 21 phylogenetically diverse strains, including two representatives from each of the previously unsequenced five subspecies and 11 diverse new strains from S. enterica subspecies enterica, to put this species into an evolutionary perspective. The phylogeny of the subspecies was partly obscured by abundant recombination events between lineages and a relatively short period of time within which subspeciation took place. Nevertheless, a variety of different tree-building methods gave congruent evolutionary tree topologies for subspeciation. A total of 285 gene families were identified that were recruited into subspecies enterica, and most of these are of unknown function. At least 2,807 gene families were identified in one or more of the other subspecies that are not found in subspecies I or Salmonella bongori. Among these gene families were 13 new candidate effectors and 7 new candidate fimbrial clusters. A third complete type III secretion system not present in subspecies enterica (I) isolates was found in both strains of subspecies salamae (II). Some gene families had complex taxonomies, such as the type VI secretion systems, which were recruited from four different lineages in five of six subspecies. Analysis of nonsynonymous-to-synonymous substitution rates indicated that the more-recently acquired regions in S. enterica are undergoing faster fixation rates than the rest of the genome. Recently acquired AT-rich regions, which often encode virulence functions, are under ongoing selection to maintain their high AT content.
We have sequenced 21 new genomes which encompass the phylogenetic diversity of Salmonella, including strains of the previously unsequenced subspecies arizonae, diarizonae, houtenae, salamae, and indica as well as new diverse strains of subspecies enterica. We have deduced possible evolutionary paths traversed by this very important zoonotic pathogen and identified novel putative virulence factors that are not found in subspecies I. Gene families gained at the time of the evolution of subspecies enterica are of particular interest because they include mechanisms by which this subspecies adapted to warm-blooded hosts.
This study examined the sequences of the two rRNA (rrn) operons of pathogenic non-cultivable treponemes, comprising 11 strains of T. pallidum ssp. pallidum (TPA), five strains of T. pallidum ssp. pertenue (TPE), two strains of T. pallidum ssp. endemicum (TEN), a simian Fribourg-Blanc strain and a rabbit T. paraluiscuniculi (TPc) strain. PCR was used to determine the type of 16S–23S ribosomal intergenic spacers in the rrn operons from 30 clinical samples belonging to five different genotypes. When compared with the TPA strains, TPc Cuniculi A strain had a 17 bp deletion, and the TPE, TEN and Fribourg-Blanc isolates had a deletion of 33 bp. Other than these deletions, only 17 heterogeneous sites were found within the entire region (excluding the 16S–23S intergenic spacer region encoding tRNA-Ile or tRNA-Ala). The pattern of nucleotide changes in the rrn operons corresponded to the classification of treponemal strains, whilst two different rrn spacer patterns (Ile/Ala and Ala/Ile) appeared to be distributed randomly across species/subspecies classification, time and geographical source of the treponemal strains. It is suggested that the random distribution of tRNA genes is caused by reciprocal translocation between repetitive sequences mediated by a recBCD-like system.
Motivation: No individual assembly algorithm addresses all the known limitations of assembling short-length sequences. Overall reduced sequence contig length is the major problem that challenges the usage of these assemblies. We describe an algorithm to take advantages of different assembly algorithms or sequencing platforms to improve the quality of next-generation sequence (NGS) assemblies.
Results: The algorithm is implemented as a graph accordance assembly (GAA) program. The algorithm constructs an accordance graph to capture the mapping information between the target and query assemblies. Based on the accordance graph, the contigs or scaffolds of the target assembly can be extended, merged or bridged together. Extra constraints, including gap sizes, mate pairs, scaffold order and orientation, are explored to enforce those accordance operations in the correct context. We applied GAA to various chicken NGS assemblies and the results demonstrate improved contiguity statistics and higher genome and gene coverage.
Availability: GAA is implemented in OO perl and is available here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/gaa-wugi/.
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.
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.
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.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia, estimated to cause 2 million deaths annually. The majority of pneumococcal mortality occurs in developing countries, with serotype 1 a leading cause in these areas. To begin to better understand the larger impact that serotype 1 strains have in developing countries, we characterized virulence and genetic content of PNI0373, a serotype 1 strain from a diseased patient in The Gambia. PNI0373 and another African serotype 1 strain showed high virulence in a mouse intraperitoneal challenge model, with 20% survival at a dose of 1 cfu. The PNI0373 genome sequence was similar in structure to other pneumococci, with the exception of a 100 kb inversion. PNI0373 showed only15 lineage specific CDS when compared to the pan-genome of pneumococcus. However analysis of non-core orthologs of pneumococcal genomes, showed serotype 1 strains to be closely related. Three regions were found to be serotype 1 associated and likely products of horizontal gene transfer. A detailed inventory of known virulence factors showed that some functions associated with colonization were absent, consistent with the observation that carriage of this highly virulent serotype is unusual. The African serotype 1 strains thus appear to be closely related to each other and different from other pneumococci despite similar genetic content.
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.
retinitis pigmentosa; choroideremia; RPE65; exome capture; next-generation sequencing
Treponema pallidum strain DAL-1 is a human uncultivable pathogen causing the sexually transmitted disease syphilis. Strain DAL-1 was isolated from the amniotic fluid of a pregnant woman in the secondary stage of syphilis. Here we describe the 1,139,971 bp long genome of T. pallidum strain DAL-1 which was sequenced using two independent sequencing methods (454 pyrosequencing and Illumina). In rabbits, strain DAL-1 replicated better than the T. pallidum strain Nichols. The comparison of the complete DAL-1 genome sequence with the Nichols sequence revealed a list of genetic differences that are potentially responsible for the increased rabbit virulence of the DAL-1 strain.
Spirochaetaceae; Treponema pallidum; syphilis
Treponema pallidum ssp. pallidum (TPA), the causative agent of syphilis, and Treponema pallidum ssp. pertenue (TPE), the causative agent of yaws, are closely related spirochetes causing diseases with distinct clinical manifestations. The TPA Mexico A strain was isolated in 1953 from male, with primary syphilis, living in Mexico. Attempts to cultivate TPA Mexico A strain under in vitro conditions have revealed lower growth potential compared to other tested TPA strains.
The complete genome sequence of the TPA Mexico A strain was determined using the Illumina sequencing technique. The genome sequence assembly was verified using the whole genome fingerprinting technique and the final sequence was annotated. The genome size of the Mexico A strain was determined to be 1,140,038 bp with 1,035 predicted ORFs. The Mexico A genome sequence was compared to the whole genome sequences of three TPA (Nichols, SS14 and Chicago) and three TPE (CDC-2, Samoa D and Gauthier) strains. No large rearrangements in the Mexico A genome were found and the identified nucleotide changes occurred most frequently in genes encoding putative virulence factors. Nevertheless, the genome of the Mexico A strain, revealed two genes (TPAMA_0326 (tp92) and TPAMA_0488 (mcp2-1)) which combine TPA- and TPE- specific nucleotide sequences. Both genes were found to be under positive selection within TPA strains and also between TPA and TPE strains.
The observed mosaic character of the TPAMA_0326 and TPAMA_0488 loci is likely a result of inter-strain recombination between TPA and TPE strains during simultaneous infection of a single host suggesting horizontal gene transfer between treponemal subspecies.
Treponema pallidum is a Gram-negative spirochete that causes diseases with distinct clinical manifestations and uses different transmission strategies. While syphilis (caused by subspecies pallidum) is a worldwide venereal and congenital disease, yaws (caused by subspecies pertenue) is a tropical disease transmitted by direct skin contact. Currently the genetic basis and evolution of these diseases remain unknown.
In this study, we describe a high quality whole genome sequence of T. pallidum ssp. pallidum strain Mexico A, determined using the ?next generation? sequencing technique (Illumina). Although the genome of this strain contains no large rearrangements in comparison with other treponemal genomes, we found two genes which combined sequences from both subspecies pallidum and pertenue. The observed mosaic character of these two genes is likely a result of inter-strain recombination between pallidum and pertenue during simultaneous infection of a single host.
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.