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2.  Upper Palaeolithic Siberian genome reveals dual ancestry of Native Americans 
Nature  2013;505(7481):87-91.
The origins of the First Americans remain contentious. Although Native Americans seem to be genetically most closely related to east Asians1–3, there is no consensus with regard to which specific Old World populations they are closest to4–8. Here we sequence the draft genome of an approximately 24,000-year-old individual (MA-1), from Mal’ta in south-central Siberia9, to an average depth of 13. To our knowledge this is the oldest anatomically modern human genome reported to date. The MA-1 mitochondrial genome belongs to haplogroup U, which has also been found at high frequency among Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic European hunter-gatherers10–12, and the Y chromosome of MA-1 is basal to modern-day western Eurasians and near the root of most Native American lineages5. Similarly, we find autosomal evidence that MA-1 is basal to modern-day western Eurasians and genetically closely related to modern-day Native Americans, with no close affinity to east Asians. This suggests that populations related to contemporary western Eurasians had a more north-easterly distribution 24,000 years ago than commonly thought. Furthermore, we estimate that 14 to 38% of Native American ancestry may originate through gene flow from this ancient population. This is likely to have occurred after the divergence of Native American ancestors from east Asian ancestors, but before the diversification of Native American populations in the New World. Gene flow from the MA-1 lineage into Native American ancestors could explain why several crania from the First Americans have been reported as bearing morphological characteristics that do not resemble those of east Asians2,13. Sequencing of another south-central Siberian, Afontova Gora-2 dating to approximately 17,000 years ago14, revealed similar autosomal genetic signatures as MA-1, suggesting that the region was continuously occupied by humans throughout the Last Glacial Maximum. Our findings reveal that western Eurasian genetic signatures in modern-day Native Americans derive not only from post-Columbian admixture, as commonly thought, but also from a mixed ancestry of the First Americans.
PMCID: PMC4105016  PMID: 24256729
3.  Rapid Whole-Genome Sequencing for Detection and Characterization of Microorganisms Directly from Clinical Samples 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(1):139-146.
Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is becoming available as a routine tool for clinical microbiology. If applied directly on clinical samples, this could further reduce diagnostic times and thereby improve control and treatment. A major bottleneck is the availability of fast and reliable bioinformatic tools. This study was conducted to evaluate the applicability of WGS directly on clinical samples and to develop easy-to-use bioinformatic tools for the analysis of sequencing data. Thirty-five random urine samples from patients with suspected urinary tract infections were examined using conventional microbiology, WGS of isolated bacteria, and direct sequencing on pellets from the urine samples. A rapid method for analyzing the sequence data was developed. Bacteria were cultivated from 19 samples but in pure cultures from only 17 samples. WGS improved the identification of the cultivated bacteria, and almost complete agreement was observed between phenotypic and predicted antimicrobial susceptibilities. Complete agreement was observed between species identification, multilocus sequence typing, and phylogenetic relationships for Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis isolates when the results of WGS of cultured isolates and urine samples were directly compared. Sequencing directly from the urine enabled bacterial identification in polymicrobial samples. Additional putative pathogenic strains were observed in some culture-negative samples. WGS directly on clinical samples can provide clinically relevant information and drastically reduce diagnostic times. This may prove very useful, but the need for data analysis is still a hurdle to clinical implementation. To overcome this problem, a publicly available bioinformatic tool was developed in this study.
PMCID: PMC3911411  PMID: 24172157
4.  A human gut microbial gene catalog established by metagenomic sequencing 
Nature  2010;464(7285):59-65.
To understand the impact of gut microbes on human health and well-being it is crucial to assess their genetic potential. Here we describe the Illumina-based metagenomic sequencing, assembly and characterization of 3.3 million nonredundant microbial genes, derived from 576.7 Gb sequence, from faecal samples of 124 European individuals. The gene set, ~150 times larger than the human gene complement, contains an overwhelming majority of the prevalent microbial genes of the cohort and likely includes a large proportion of the prevalent human intestinal microbial genes. The genes are largely shared among individuals of the cohort. Over 99% of the genes are bacterial, suggesting that the entire cohort harbours between 1000 and 1150 prevalent bacterial species and each individual at least 160 such species, which are also largely shared. We define and describe the minimal gut metagenome and the minimal gut bacterial genome in terms of functions encoded by the gene set.
PMCID: PMC3779803  PMID: 20203603
5.  Enterotypes of the human gut microbiome 
Nature  2011;473(7346):174-180.
Our knowledge on species and function composition of the human gut microbiome is rapidly increasing, but it is still based on very few cohorts and little is known about their variation across the world. Combining 22 newly sequenced fecal metagenomes of individuals from 4 countries with previously published datasets, we identified three robust clusters (enterotypes hereafter) that are not nation or continent-specific. We confirmed the enterotypes also in two published, larger cohorts suggesting that intestinal microbiota variation is generally stratified, not continuous. This further indicates the existence of a limited number of well-balanced host-microbial symbiotic states that might respond differently to diet and drug intake. The enterotypes are mostly driven by species composition, but abundant molecular functions are not necessarily provided by abundant species, highlighting the importance of a functional analysis for a community understanding. While individual host properties such as body mass index, age, or gender cannot explain the observed enterotypes, data-driven marker genes or functional modules can be identified for each of these host properties. For example, twelve genes significantly correlate with age and three functional modules with the body mass index, hinting at a diagnostic potential of microbial markers.
PMCID: PMC3728647  PMID: 21508958
6.  Complete Genes May Pass from Food to Human Blood 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69805.
Our bloodstream is considered to be an environment well separated from the outside world and the digestive tract. According to the standard paradigm large macromolecules consumed with food cannot pass directly to the circulatory system. During digestion proteins and DNA are thought to be degraded into small constituents, amino acids and nucleic acids, respectively, and then absorbed by a complex active process and distributed to various parts of the body through the circulation system. Here, based on the analysis of over 1000 human samples from four independent studies, we report evidence that meal-derived DNA fragments which are large enough to carry complete genes can avoid degradation and through an unknown mechanism enter the human circulation system. In one of the blood samples the relative concentration of plant DNA is higher than the human DNA. The plant DNA concentration shows a surprisingly precise log-normal distribution in the plasma samples while non-plasma (cord blood) control sample was found to be free of plant DNA.
PMCID: PMC3728338  PMID: 23936105
7.  The chemical interactome space between the human host and the genetically defined gut metabotypes 
The ISME Journal  2012;7(4):730-742.
The bacteria that colonize the gastrointestinal tracts of mammals represent a highly selected microbiome that has a profound influence on human physiology by shaping the host's metabolic and immune system activity. Despite the recent advances on the biological principles that underlie microbial symbiosis in the gut of mammals, mechanistic understanding of the contributions of the gut microbiome and how variations in the metabotypes are linked to the host health are obscure. Here, we mapped the entire metabolic potential of the gut microbiome based solely on metagenomics sequencing data derived from fecal samples of 124 Europeans (healthy, obese and with inflammatory bowel disease). Interestingly, three distinct clusters of individuals with high, medium and low metabolic potential were observed. By illustrating these results in the context of bacterial population, we concluded that the abundance of the Prevotella genera is a key factor indicating a low metabolic potential. These metagenome-based metabolic signatures were used to study the interaction networks between bacteria-specific metabolites and human proteins. We found that thirty-three such metabolites interact with disease-relevant protein complexes several of which are highly expressed in cells and tissues involved in the signaling and shaping of the adaptive immune system and associated with squamous cell carcinoma and bladder cancer. From this set of metabolites, eighteen are present in DrugBank providing evidence that we carry a natural pharmacy in our guts. Furthermore, we established connections between the systemic effects of non-antibiotic drugs and the gut microbiome of relevance to drug side effects and health-care solutions.
PMCID: PMC3603391  PMID: 23178670
microbiome; metabolic network; drugs; protein interactions; diseases
8.  Patterns of prokaryotic lateral gene transfers affecting parasitic microbial eukaryotes 
Genome Biology  2013;14(2):R19.
The influence of lateral gene transfer on gene origins and biology in eukaryotes is poorly understood compared with those of prokaryotes. A number of independent investigations focusing on specific genes, individual genomes, or specific functional categories from various eukaryotes have indicated that lateral gene transfer does indeed affect eukaryotic genomes. However, the lack of common methodology and criteria in these studies makes it difficult to assess the general importance and influence of lateral gene transfer on eukaryotic genome evolution.
We used a phylogenomic approach to systematically investigate lateral gene transfer affecting the proteomes of thirteen, mainly parasitic, microbial eukaryotes, representing four of the six eukaryotic super-groups. All of the genomes investigated have been significantly affected by prokaryote-to-eukaryote lateral gene transfers, dramatically affecting the enzymes of core pathways, particularly amino acid and sugar metabolism, but also providing new genes of potential adaptive significance in the life of parasites. A broad range of prokaryotic donors is involved in such transfers, but there is clear and significant enrichment for bacterial groups that share the same habitats, including the human microbiota, as the parasites investigated.
Our data show that ecology and lifestyle strongly influence gene origins and opportunities for gene transfer and reveal that, although the outlines of the core eukaryotic metabolism are conserved among lineages, the genes making up those pathways can have very different origins in different eukaryotes. Thus, from the perspective of the effects of lateral gene transfer on individual gene ancestries in different lineages, eukaryotic metabolism appears to be chimeric.
PMCID: PMC4053834  PMID: 23442822
Genome evolution; phylogenomics; lateral gene transfer; eukaryotes; parasites
9.  Microbial community structure of Arctic multiyear sea ice and surface seawater by 454 sequencing of the 16S RNA gene 
The ISME Journal  2011;6(1):11-20.
Dramatic decreases in the extent of Arctic multiyear ice (MYI) suggest this environment may disappear as early as 2100, replaced by ecologically different first-year ice. To better understand the implications of this loss on microbial biodiversity, we undertook a detailed census of the microbial community in MYI at two sites near the geographic North Pole using parallel tag sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Although the composition of the MYI microbial community has been characterized by previous studies, microbial community structure has not been. Although richness was lower in MYI than in underlying surface water, we found diversity to be comparable using the Simpson and Shannon's indices (for Simpson t=0.65, P=0.56; for Shannon t=0.25, P=0.84 for a Student's t-test of mean values). Cyanobacteria, comprising 6.8% of reads obtained from MYI, were observed for the first time in Arctic sea ice. In addition, several low-abundance clades not previously reported in sea ice were present, including the phylum TM7 and the classes Spartobacteria and Opitutae. Members of Coraliomargarita, a recently described genus of the class Opitutae, were present in sufficient numbers to suggest niche occupation within MYI.
PMCID: PMC3246233  PMID: 21716307
multiyear sea ice; 454 pyrosequencing; sea ice bacteria
10.  Trichomonas vaginalis vast BspA-like gene family: evidence for functional diversity from structural organisation and transcriptomics 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:99.
Trichomonas vaginalis is the most common non-viral human sexually transmitted pathogen and importantly, contributes to facilitating the spread of HIV. Yet very little is known about its surface and secreted proteins mediating interactions with, and permitting the invasion and colonisation of, the host mucosa. Initial annotations of T. vaginalis genome identified a plethora of candidate extracellular proteins.
Data mining of the T. vaginalis genome identified 911 BspA-like entries (TvBspA) sharing TpLRR-like leucine-rich repeats, which represent the largest gene family encoding potential extracellular proteins for the pathogen. A broad range of microorganisms encoding BspA-like proteins was identified and these are mainly known to live on mucosal surfaces, among these T. vaginalis is endowed with the largest gene family. Over 190 TvBspA proteins with inferred transmembrane domains were characterised by a considerable structural diversity between their TpLRR and other types of repetitive sequences and two subfamilies possessed distinct classic sorting signal motifs for endocytosis. One TvBspA subfamily also shared a glycine-rich protein domain with proteins from Clostridium difficile pathogenic strains and C. difficile phages. Consistent with the hypothesis that TvBspA protein structural diversity implies diverse roles, we demonstrated for several TvBspA genes differential expression at the transcript level in different growth conditions. Identified variants of repetitive segments between several TvBspA paralogues and orthologues from two clinical isolates were also consistent with TpLRR and other repetitive sequences to be functionally important. For one TvBspA protein cell surface expression and antibody responses by both female and male T. vaginalis infected patients were also demonstrated.
The biased mucosal habitat for microbial species encoding BspA-like proteins, the characterisation of a vast structural diversity for the TvBspA proteins, differential expression of a subset of TvBspA genes and the cellular localisation and immunological data for one TvBspA; all point to the importance of the TvBspA proteins to various aspects of T. vaginalis pathobiology at the host-pathogen interface.
PMCID: PMC2843621  PMID: 20144183
11.  Whole-Genome Pyrosequencing of an Epidemic Multidrug-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii Strain Belonging to the European Clone II Group ▿ †  
The whole-genome sequence of an epidemic, multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii strain (strain ACICU) belonging to the European clone II group and carrying the plasmid-mediated blaOXA-58 carbapenem resistance gene was determined. The A. baumannii ACICU genome was compared with the genomes of A. baumannii ATCC 17978 and Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1, with the aim of identifying novel genes related to virulence and drug resistance. A. baumannii ACICU has a single chromosome of 3,904,116 bp (which is predicted to contain 3,758 genes) and two plasmids, pACICU1 and pACICU2, of 28,279 and 64,366 bp, respectively. Genome comparison showed 86.4% synteny with A. baumannii ATCC 17978 and 14.8% synteny with A. baylyi ADP1. A conspicuous number of transporters belonging to different superfamilies was predicted for A. baumannii ACICU. The relative number of transporters was much higher in ACICU than in ATCC 17978 and ADP1 (76.2, 57.2, and 62.5 transporters per Mb of genome, respectively). An antibiotic resistance island, AbaR2, was identified in ACICU and had plausibly evolved by reductive evolution from the AbaR1 island previously described in multiresistant strain A. baumannii AYE. Moreover, 36 putative alien islands (pAs) were detected in the ACICU genome; 24 of these had previously been described in the ATCC 17978 genome, 4 are proposed here for the first time and are present in both ATCC 17978 and ACICU, and 8 are unique to the ACICU genome. Fifteen of the pAs in the ACICU genome encode genes related to drug resistance, including membrane transporters and ex novo acquired resistance genes. These findings provide novel insight into the genetic basis of A. baumannii resistance.
PMCID: PMC2443898  PMID: 18411315
12.  Draft Genome Sequence of the Sexually Transmitted Pathogen Trichomonas vaginalis 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2007;315(5809):207-212.
We describe the genome sequence of the protist Trichomonas vaginalis, a sexually transmitted human pathogen. Repeats and transposable elements comprise about two-thirds of the ~160-megabase genome, reflecting a recent massive expansion of genetic material. This expansion, in conjunction with the shaping of metabolic pathways that likely transpired through lateral gene transfer from bacteria, and amplification of specific gene families implicated in pathogenesis and phagocytosis of host proteins may exemplify adaptations of the parasite during its transition to a urogenital environment. The genome sequence predicts previously unknown functions for the hydrogenosome, which support a common evolutionary origin of this unusual organelle with mitochondria.
PMCID: PMC2080659  PMID: 17218520
13.  GenePublisher: automated analysis of DNA microarray data 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(13):3471-3476.
GenePublisher, a system for automatic analysis of data from DNA microarray experiments, has been implemented with a web interface at Raw data are uploaded to the server together with a specification of the data. The server performs normalization, statistical analysis and visualization of the data. The results are run against databases of signal transduction pathways, metabolic pathways and promoter sequences in order to extract more information. The results of the entire analysis are summarized in report form and returned to the user.
PMCID: PMC169191  PMID: 12824347

Results 1-13 (13)