The genome of Sporomusa ovata strain H1 DSM 2662, an anaerobic, Gram-negative endospore-forming bacterium, was sequenced. S. ovata uses N-methyl compounds, primary alcohols, fatty acids, and H2 and CO2 as energy and carbon sources to produce acetate. The genome harbors one chromosome, which encodes proteins typical for sporulation.
Thermacetogenium phaeum is a thermophilic strictly anaerobic bacterium oxidizing acetate to CO2 in syntrophic association with a methanogenic partner. It can also grow in pure culture, e.g., by fermentation of methanol to acetate. The key enzymes of homoacetate fermentation (Wood-Ljungdahl pathway) are used both in acetate oxidation and acetate formation. The obvious reversibility of this pathway in this organism is of specific interest since syntrophic acetate oxidation operates close to the energetic limitations of microbial life.
The genome of Th. phaeum is organized on a single circular chromosome and has a total size of 2,939,057 bp. It comprises 3.215 open reading frames of which 75% could be assigned to a gene function. The G+C content is 53.88 mol%. Many CRISPR sequences were found, indicating heavy phage attack in the past. A complete gene set for a phage was found in the genome, and indications of phage action could also be observed in culture. The genome contained all genes required for CO2 reduction through the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway, including two formyl tetrahydrofolate ligases, three carbon monoxide dehydrogenases, one formate hydrogenlyase complex, three further formate dehydrogenases, and three further hydrogenases. The bacterium contains a menaquinone MQ-7. No indications of cytochromes or Rnf complexes could be found in the genome.
The information obtained from the genome sequence indicates that Th. phaeum differs basically from the three homoacetogenic bacteria sequenced so far, i.e., the sodium ion-dependent Acetobacterium woodii, the ethanol-producing Clostridium ljungdahlii, and the cytochrome-containing Moorella thermoacetica. The specific enzyme outfit of Th. phaeum obviously allows ATP formation both in acetate formation and acetate oxidation.
The increasing emergence of multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a problem of global importance. Here, we report the genome of S. aureus VC40, which is resistant to the last-resort antibiotics vancomycin and daptomycin. Its genome sequence will allow insights into the mechanisms that convey full resistance to these compounds.
Synthesis of acetate from carbon dioxide and molecular hydrogen is considered to be the first carbon assimilation pathway on earth. It combines carbon dioxide fixation into acetyl-CoA with the production of ATP via an energized cell membrane. How the pathway is coupled with the net synthesis of ATP has been an enigma. The anaerobic, acetogenic bacterium Acetobacterium woodii uses an ancient version of this pathway without cytochromes and quinones. It generates a sodium ion potential across the cell membrane by the sodium-motive ferredoxin:NAD oxidoreductase (Rnf). The genome sequence of A. woodii solves the enigma: it uncovers Rnf as the only ion-motive enzyme coupled to the pathway and unravels a metabolism designed to produce reduced ferredoxin and overcome energetic barriers by virtue of electron-bifurcating, soluble enzymes.
We report on genome sequencing of Oligotropha carboxidovorans strain OM4 and resequencing of strain OM5. The genomes of both are composed of one chromosome and two plasmids. The presence of two plasmids in the OM5 genome is inconsistent with the previously published sequence, for which only one plasmid was described (D. Paul, S. Bridges, S. Burgess, Y. Dandass, and M. Lawrence, BMC Genomics 11:511, 2010).
Many strains of Thermus have been isolated from hot environments around the world. Thermus scotoductus SA-01 was isolated from fissure water collected 3.2 km below surface in a South African gold mine. The isolate is capable of dissimilatory iron reduction, growth with oxygen and nitrate as terminal electron acceptors and the ability to reduce a variety of metal ions, including gold, chromate and uranium, was demonstrated. The genomes from two different Thermus thermophilus strains have been completed. This paper represents the completed genome from a second Thermus species - T. scotoductus.
The genome of Thermus scotoductus SA-01 consists of a chromosome of 2,346,803 bp and a small plasmid which, together are about 11% larger than the Thermus thermophilus genomes. The T. thermophilus megaplasmid genes are part of the T. scotoductus chromosome and extensive rearrangement, deletion of nonessential genes and acquisition of gene islands have occurred, leading to a loss of synteny between the chromosomes of T. scotoductus and T. thermophilus. At least nine large inserts of which seven were identified as alien, were found, the most remarkable being a denitrification cluster and two operons relating to the metabolism of phenolics which appear to have been acquired from Meiothermus ruber. The majority of acquired genes are from closely related species of the Deinococcus-Thermus group, and many of the remaining genes are from microorganisms with a thermophilic or hyperthermophilic lifestyle. The natural competence of Thermus scotoductus was confirmed experimentally as expected as most of the proteins of the natural transformation system of Thermus thermophilus are present. Analysis of the metabolic capabilities revealed an extensive energy metabolism with many aerobic and anaerobic respiratory options. An abundance of sensor histidine kinases, response regulators and transporters for a wide variety of compounds are indicative of an oligotrophic lifestyle.
The genome of Thermus scotoductus SA-01 shows remarkable plasticity with the loss, acquisition and rearrangement of large portions of its genome compared to Thermus thermophilus. Its ability to naturally take up foreign DNA has helped it adapt rapidly to a subsurface lifestyle in the presence of a dense and diverse population which acted as source of nutrients. The genome of Thermus scotoductus illustrates how rapid adaptation can be achieved by a highly dynamic and plastic genome.
The genome sequences of two Escherichia coli O104:H4 strains derived from two different patients of the 2011 German E. coli outbreak were determined. The two analyzed strains were designated E. coli GOS1 and GOS2 (German outbreak strain). Both isolates comprise one chromosome of approximately 5.31 Mbp and two putative plasmids. Comparisons of the 5,217 (GOS1) and 5,224 (GOS2) predicted protein-encoding genes with various E. coli strains, and a multilocus sequence typing analysis revealed that the isolates were most similar to the entero-aggregative E. coli (EAEC) strain 55989. In addition, one of the putative plasmids of the outbreak strain is similar to pAA-type plasmids of EAEC strains, which contain aggregative adhesion fimbrial operons. The second putative plasmid harbors genes for extended-spectrum β-lactamases. This type of plasmid is widely distributed in pathogenic E. coli strains. A significant difference of the E. coli GOS1 and GOS2 genomes to those of EAEC strains is the presence of a prophage encoding the Shiga toxin, which is characteristic for enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) strains. The unique combination of genomic features of the German outbreak strain, containing characteristics from pathotypes EAEC and EHEC, suggested that it represents a new pathotype Entero-Aggregative-Haemorrhagic Escherichiacoli (EAHEC).
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EHEC outbreak; EAHEC; Genome sequencing; Pathotype; Genome evolution
The anaerobic Gram-positive bacterium Propionibacterium acnes is a human skin commensal that is occasionally associated with inflammatory diseases. Recent work has indicated that evolutionary distinct lineages of P. acnes play etiologic roles in disease while others are associated with maintenance of skin homeostasis. To shed light on the molecular basis for differential strain properties, we carried out genomic and transcriptomic analysis of distinct P. acnes strains. We sequenced the genome of the P. acnes strain 266, a type I-1a strain. Comparative genome analysis of strain 266 and four other P. acnes strains revealed that overall genome plasticity is relatively low; however, a number of island-like genomic regions, encoding a variety of putative virulence-associated and fitness traits differ between phylotypes, as judged from PCR analysis of a collection of P. acnes strains. Comparative transcriptome analysis of strains KPA171202 (type I-2) and 266 during exponential growth revealed inter-strain differences in gene expression of transport systems and metabolic pathways. In addition, transcript levels of genes encoding possible virulence factors such as dermatan-sulphate adhesin, polyunsaturated fatty acid isomerase, iron acquisition protein HtaA and lipase GehA were upregulated in strain 266. We investigated differential gene expression during exponential and stationary growth phases. Genes encoding components of the energy-conserving respiratory chain as well as secreted and virulence-associated factors were transcribed during the exponential phase, while the stationary growth phase was characterized by upregulation of genes involved in stress responses and amino acid metabolism. Our data highlight the genomic basis for strain diversity and identify, for the first time, the actively transcribed part of the genome, underlining the important role growth status plays in the inflammation-inducing activity of P. acnes. We argue that the disease-causing potential of different P. acnes strains is not only determined by the phylotype-specific genome content but also by variable gene expression.
The circular genome sequence of the chemolithoautotrophic euryarchaeon Methanothermobacter marburgensis, with 1,639,135 bp, was determined and compared with that of Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus. The genomes of the two model methanogens differ substantially in protein coding sequences, in insertion sequence (IS)-like elements, and in clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) loci.
The hydrogenotrophic methanogens Methanothermobacter marburgensis and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus can easily be mass cultured. They have therefore been used almost exclusively to study the biochemistry of methanogenesis from H2 and CO2, and the genomes of these two model organisms have been sequenced. The close relationship of the two organisms is reflected in their genomic architecture and coding potential. Within the 1,607 protein coding sequences (CDS) in common, we identified approximately 200 CDS required for the synthesis of the enzymes, coenzymes, and prosthetic groups involved in CO2 reduction to methane and in coupling this process with the phosphorylation of ADP. Approximately 20 additional genes, such as those for the biosynthesis of F430 and methanofuran and for the posttranslational modifications of the two methyl-coenzyme M reductases, remain to be identified.
Bacteria lose or gain genetic material and through selection, new variants become fixed in the population. Here we provide the first, genome-wide example of a single bacterial strain's evolution in different deliberately colonized patients and the surprising insight that hosts appear to personalize their microflora. By first obtaining the complete genome sequence of the prototype asymptomatic bacteriuria strain E. coli 83972 and then resequencing its descendants after therapeutic bladder colonization of different patients, we identified 34 mutations, which affected metabolic and virulence-related genes. Further transcriptome and proteome analysis proved that these genome changes altered bacterial gene expression resulting in unique adaptation patterns in each patient. Our results provide evidence that, in addition to stochastic events, adaptive bacterial evolution is driven by individual host environments. Ongoing loss of gene function supports the hypothesis that evolution towards commensalism rather than virulence is favored during asymptomatic bladder colonization.
Bacterial virulence results from the interaction between bacteria and their hosts. This interaction provides selection pressure for bacterial adaptation towards increased fitness or virulence. Basic mechanisms involved in bacterial adaptation at the genetic level are point mutations and recombination. As bacterial genome plasticity is higher in vivo than in vitro, host-pathogen interaction may facilitate bacterial adaptation. Comparative genomics has so far been almost entirely focused on genomic changes upon prolonged bacterial growth in vitro. To achieve a better comprehension of bacterial genome plasticity and the capacity to adapt in response to their host, we studied bacterial genome evolution in vivo. We analyzed the impact of individual hosts on genome-wide bacterial adaptation under controlled conditions, by administration of asymptomatic bacteriuria E. coli isolate 83972 to several hosts. Interestingly, the different hosts appeared to personalize their microflora. Adaptation at the genomic level included point mutations in several metabolic and virulence-related genes, often affecting pleiotropic regulators, but re-isolates from each patient showed a distinct pattern of genetic alterations in addition to random changes. Our results provide new insights into bacterial traits under selection during E. coli in vivo growth, further explaining the mechanisms of bacterial adaptation to specific host environments.
Anthrax is a fatal disease caused by strains of Bacillus anthracis. Members of this monophyletic species are non motile and are all characterized by the presence of four prophages and a nonsense mutation in the plcR regulator gene. Here we report the complete genome sequence of a Bacillus strain isolated from a chimpanzee that had died with clinical symptoms of anthrax. Unlike classic B. anthracis, this strain was motile and lacked the four prohages and the nonsense mutation. Four replicons were identified, a chromosome and three plasmids. Comparative genome analysis revealed that the chromosome resembles those of non-B. anthracis members of the Bacillus cereus group, whereas two plasmids were identical to the anthrax virulence plasmids pXO1 and pXO2. The function of the newly discovered third plasmid with a length of 14 kbp is unknown. A detailed comparison of genomic loci encoding key features confirmed a higher similarity to B. thuringiensis serovar konkukian strain 97-27 and B. cereus E33L than to B. anthracis strains. For the first time we describe the sequence of an anthrax causing bacterium possessing both anthrax plasmids that apparently does not belong to the monophyletic group of all so far known B. anthracis strains and that differs in important diagnostic features. The data suggest that this bacterium has evolved from a B. cereus strain independently from the classic B. anthracis strains and established a B. anthracis lifestyle. Therefore we suggest to designate this isolate as “B. cereus variety (var.) anthracis”.
Rhizobium sp. strain NGR234 is a unique alphaproteobacterium (order Rhizobiales) that forms nitrogen-fixing nodules with more legumes than any other microsymbiont. We report here that the 3.93-Mbp chromosome (cNGR234) encodes most functions required for cellular growth. Few essential functions are encoded on the 2.43-Mbp megaplasmid (pNGR234b), and none are present on the second 0.54-Mbp symbiotic plasmid (pNGR234a). Among many striking features, the 6.9-Mbp genome encodes more different secretion systems than any other known rhizobia and probably most known bacteria. Altogether, 132 genes and proteins are linked to secretory processes. Secretion systems identified include general and export pathways, a twin arginine translocase secretion system, six type I transporter genes, one functional and one putative type III system, three type IV attachment systems, and two putative type IV conjugation pili. Type V and VI transporters were not identified, however. NGR234 also carries genes and regulatory networks linked to the metabolism of a wide range of aromatic and nonaromatic compounds. In this way, NGR234 can quickly adapt to changing environmental stimuli in soils, rhizospheres, and plants. Finally, NGR234 carries at least six loci linked to the quenching of quorum-sensing signals, as well as one gene (ngrI) that possibly encodes a novel type of autoinducer I molecule.
Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) belonging to the metabolically versatile Desulfobacteriaceae are abundant in marine sediments and contribute to the global carbon cycle by complete oxidation of organic compounds. Desulfobacterium autotrophicum HRM2 is the first member of this ecophysiologically important group with a now available genome sequence. With 5.6 megabasepairs (Mbp) the genome of Db. autotrophicum HRM2 is about 2 Mbp larger than the sequenced genomes of other sulfate reducers (SRB). A high number of genome plasticity elements (> 100 transposon-related genes), several regions of GC discontinuity and a high number of repetitive elements (132 paralogous genes Mbp−1) point to a different genome evolution when comparing with Desulfovibrio spp. The metabolic versatility of Db. autotrophicum HRM2 is reflected in the presence of genes for the degradation of a variety of organic compounds including long-chain fatty acids and for the Wood–Ljungdahl pathway, which enables the organism to completely oxidize acetyl-CoA to CO2 but also to grow chemolithoautotrophically. The presence of more than 250 proteins of the sensory/regulatory protein families should enable Db. autotrophicum HRM2 to efficiently adapt to changing environmental conditions. Genes encoding periplasmic or cytoplasmic hydrogenases and formate dehydrogenases have been detected as well as genes for the transmembrane TpII-c3, Hme and Rnf complexes. Genes for subunits A, B, C and D as well as for the proposed novel subunits L and F of the heterodisulfide reductases are present. This enzyme is involved in energy conservation in methanoarchaea and it is speculated that it exhibits a similar function in the process of dissimilatory sulfate reduction in Db. autotrophicum HRM2.
Clostridial collagenases are foe and friend: on the one hand, these enzymes enable host infiltration and colonization by pathogenic clostridia, and on the other hand, they are valuable biotechnological tools due to their capacity to degrade various types of collagen and gelatine. However, the demand for high-grade preparations exceeds supply due to their pathogenic origin and the intricate purification of homogeneous isoforms. We present the establishment of an Escherichia coli expression system for a variety of constructs of collagenase G (ColG) and H (ColH) from Clostridium histolyticum and collagenase T (ColT) from Clostridium tetani, mimicking the isoforms in vivo. Based on a setup of five different expression strains and two expression vectors, 12 different constructs were expressed, and a flexible purification platform was established, consisting of various orthogonal chromatography steps adaptable to the individual needs of the respective variant. This fast, cost-effective, and easy-to-establish platform enabled us to obtain at least 10 mg of highly pure mono-isoformic protein per liter of culture, ideally suited for numerous sophisticated downstream applications. This production and purification platform paves the way for systematic screenings of recombinant collagenases to enlighten the biochemical function and to identify key residues and motifs in collagenolysis.
Clostridial collagenases; Expression; Purification; Platform
The synthesis of citrate from acetyl-coenzyme A and oxaloacetate is catalyzed in most organisms by a Si-citrate synthase, which is Si-face stereospecific with respect to C-2 of oxaloacetate. However, in Clostridium kluyveri and some other strictly anaerobic bacteria, the reaction is catalyzed by a Re-citrate synthase, whose primary structure has remained elusive. We report here that Re-citrate synthase from C. kluyveri is the product of a gene predicted to encode isopropylmalate synthase. C. kluyveri is also shown to contain a gene for Si-citrate synthase, which explains why cell extracts of the organism always exhibit some Si-citrate synthase activity.
Metagenomics is emerging as a powerful method to study the function and physiology of the unexplored microbial biosphere, and is causing us to re-evaluate basic precepts of microbial ecology and evolution. Most marine metagenomic analyses have been nearly exclusively devoted to photic waters.
We constructed a metagenomic fosmid library from 3,000 m-deep Mediterranean plankton, which is much warmer (∼14°C) than waters of similar depth in open oceans (∼2°C). We analyzed the library both by phylogenetic screening based on 16S rRNA gene amplification from clone pools and by sequencing both insert extremities of ca. 5,000 fosmids. Genome recruitment strategies showed that the majority of high scoring pairs corresponded to genomes from Rhizobiales within the Alphaproteobacteria, Cenarchaeum symbiosum, Planctomycetes, Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi and Gammaproteobacteria. We have found a community structure similar to that found in the aphotic zone of the Pacific. However, the similarities were significantly higher to the mesopelagic (500–700 m deep) in the Pacific than to the single 4000 m deep sample studied at this location. Metabolic genes were mostly related to catabolism, transport and degradation of complex organic molecules, in agreement with a prevalent heterotrophic lifestyle for deep-sea microbes. However, we observed a high percentage of genes encoding dehydrogenases and, among them, cox genes, suggesting that aerobic carbon monoxide oxidation may be important in the deep ocean as an additional energy source.
The comparison of metagenomic libraries from the deep Mediterranean and the Pacific ALOHA water column showed that bathypelagic Mediterranean communities resemble more mesopelagic communities in the Pacific, and suggests that, in the absence of light, temperature is a major stratifying factor in the oceanic water column, overriding pressure at least over 4000 m deep. Several chemolithotrophic metabolic pathways could supplement organic matter degradation in this most depleted habitat.
The nucleotide sequence of the linear catabolic plasmid pAL1 from the 2-methylquinoline (quinaldine)-degrading strain Arthrobacter nitroguajacolicus Rü61a comprises 112,992 bp. A total of 103 open reading frames (ORFs) were identified on pAL1, 49 of which had no annotatable function. The ORFs were assigned to the following functional groups: (i) catabolism of quinaldine and anthranilate, (ii) conjugation, and (iii) plasmid maintenance and DNA replication and repair. The genes for conversion of quinaldine to anthranilate are organized in two operons that include ORFs presumed to code for proteins involved in assembly of the quinaldine-4-oxidase holoenzyme, namely, a MobA-like putative molybdopterin cytosine dinucleotide synthase and an XdhC-like protein that could be required for insertion of the molybdenum cofactor. Genes possibly coding for enzymes involved in anthranilate degradation via 2-aminobenzoyl coenzyme A form another operon. These operons were expressed when cells were grown on quinaldine or on aromatic compounds downstream in the catabolic pathway. Single-stranded 3′ overhangs of putative replication intermediates of pAL1 were predicted to form elaborate secondary structures due to palindromic and superpalindromic terminal sequences; however, the two telomeres appear to form different structures. Sequence analysis of ORFs 101 to 103 suggested that pAL1 codes for one or two putative terminal proteins, presumed to be covalently bound to the 5′ termini, and a multidomain telomere-associated protein (Tap) comprising 1,707 amino acids. Even if the putative proteins encoded by ORFs 101 to 103 share motifs with the Tap and terminal proteins involved in telomere patching of Streptomyces linear replicons, their overall sequences and domain structures differ significantly.
Although bacterial polyketides are of considerable biomedical interest, the molecular biology of polyketide biosynthesis in Bacillus spp., one of the richest bacterial sources of bioactive natural products, remains largely unexplored. Here we assign for the first time complete polyketide synthase (PKS) gene clusters to Bacillus antibiotics. Three giant modular PKS systems of the trans-acyltransferase type were identified in Bacillus amyloliquefaciens FZB 42. One of them, pks1, is an ortholog of the pksX operon with a previously unknown function in the sequenced model strain Bacillus subtilis 168, while the pks2 and pks3 clusters are novel gene clusters. Cassette mutagenesis combined with advanced mass spectrometric techniques such as matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry revealed that the pks1 (bae) and pks3 (dif) gene clusters encode the biosynthesis of the polyene antibiotics bacillaene and difficidin or oxydifficidin, respectively. In addition, B. subtilis OKB105 (pheA sfp0), a transformant of the B. subtilis 168 derivative JH642, was shown to produce bacillaene, demonstrating that the pksX gene cluster directs the synthesis of that polyketide.
Methanosphaera stadtmanae has the most restricted energy metabolism of all methanogenic archaea. This human intestinal inhabitant can generate methane only by reduction of methanol with H2 and is dependent on acetate as a carbon source. We report here the genome sequence of M. stadtmanae, which was found to be composed of 1,767,403 bp with an average G+C content of 28% and to harbor only 1,534 protein-encoding sequences (CDS). The genome lacks 37 CDS present in the genomes of all other methanogens. Among these are the CDS for synthesis of molybdopterin and for synthesis of the carbon monoxide dehydrogenase/acetyl-coenzyme A synthase complex, which explains why M. stadtmanae cannot reduce CO2 to methane or oxidize methanol to CO2 and why this archaeon is dependent on acetate for biosynthesis of cell components. Four sets of mtaABC genes coding for methanol:coenzyme M methyltransferases were found in the genome of M. stadtmanae. These genes exhibit homology to mta genes previously identified in Methanosarcina species. The M. stadtmanae genome also contains at least 323 CDS not present in the genomes of all other archaea. Seventy-three of these CDS exhibit high levels of homology to CDS in genomes of bacteria and eukaryotes. These 73 CDS include 12 CDS which are unusually long (>2,400 bp) with conspicuous repetitive sequence elements, 13 CDS which exhibit sequence similarity on the protein level to CDS encoding enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of cell surface antigens in bacteria, and 5 CDS which exhibit sequence similarity to the subunits of bacterial type I and III restriction-modification systems.
The K15 capsule determinant of uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain 536 (O6:K15:H31) is part of a novel 79.6-kb pathogenicity island (PAI) designated PAI V536 that is absent from the genome of nonpathogenic E. coli K-12 strain MG1655. PAI V536 shows typical characteristics of a composite PAI that is associated with the pheV tRNA gene and contains the pix fimbriae determinant as well as genes coding for a putative phosphoglycerate transport system, an autotransporter protein, and hypothetical open reading frames. A gene cluster coding for a putative general secretion pathway system, together with a kpsK15 determinant, is localized downstream of a truncated pheV gene (′pheV) also present in this chromosomal region. The distribution of genes present on PAI V536 was studied by PCR in different pathogenic and nonpathogenic E. coli isolates of various sources. Analysis of the 20-kb kps locus revealed a so far unknown genetic organization. Generally, the kpsK15 gene cluster resembles that of group 2 and 3 capsules, where two conserved regions (regions 1 and 3) are located up- or downstream of a highly variable serotype-specific region (region 2). Interestingly, recombination of a group 2 and 3 determinant may have been involved in the evolution of the K15 capsule-encoding gene cluster. Expression of the K15 capsule is important for virulence in a murine model of ascending urinary tract infection but not for serum resistance of E. coli strain 536.
Nonpathogenic Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917 (O6:K5:H1) is used as a probiotic agent in medicine, mainly for the treatment of various gastroenterological diseases. To gain insight on the genetic level into its properties of colonization and commensalism, this strain's genome structure has been analyzed by three approaches: (i) sequence context screening of tRNA genes as a potential indication of chromosomal integration of horizontally acquired DNA, (ii) sequence analysis of 280 kb of genomic islands (GEIs) coding for important fitness factors, and (iii) comparison of Nissle 1917 genome content with that of other E. coli strains by DNA-DNA hybridization. PCR-based screening of 324 nonpathogenic and pathogenic E. coli isolates of different origins revealed that some chromosomal regions are frequently detectable in nonpathogenic E. coli and also among extraintestinal and intestinal pathogenic strains. Many known fitness factor determinants of strain Nissle 1917 are localized on four GEIs which have been partially sequenced and analyzed. Comparison of these data with the available knowledge of the genome structure of E. coli K-12 strain MG1655 and of uropathogenic E. coli O6 strains CFT073 and 536 revealed structural similarities on the genomic level, especially between the E. coli O6 strains. The lack of defined virulence factors (i.e., alpha-hemolysin, P-fimbrial adhesins, and the semirough lipopolysaccharide phenotype) combined with the expression of fitness factors such as microcins, different iron uptake systems, adhesins, and proteases, which may support its survival and successful colonization of the human gut, most likely contributes to the probiotic character of E. coli strain Nissle 1917.
The complete nucleotide sequence of the linear plasmid pBD2 from Rhodococcus erythropolis BD2 comprises 210,205 bp. Sequence analyses of pBD2 revealed 212 putative open reading frames (ORFs), 97 of which had an annotatable function. These ORFs could be assigned to six functional groups: plasmid replication and maintenance, transport and metalloresistance, catabolism, transposition, regulation, and protein modification. Many of the transposon-related sequences were found to flank the isopropylbenzene pathway genes. This finding together with the significant sequence similarities of the ipb genes to genes of the linear plasmid-encoded biphenyl pathway in other rhodococci suggests that the ipb genes were acquired via transposition events and subsequently distributed among the rhodococci via horizontal transfer.
To isolate genes encoding coenzyme B12-dependent glycerol and diol dehydratases, metagenomic libraries from three different environmental samples were constructed after allowing growth of the dehydratase-containing microorganisms present for 48 h with glycerol under anaerobic conditions. The libraries were searched for the targeted genes by an activity screen, which was based on complementation of a constructed dehydratase-negative Escherichia coli strain. In this way, two positive E. coli clones out of 560,000 tested clones were obtained. In addition, screening was performed by colony hybridization with dehydratase-specific DNA fragments as probes. The screening of 158,000 E. coli clones by this method yielded five positive clones. Two of the plasmids (pAK6 and pAK8) recovered from the seven positive clones contained genes identical to those encoding the glycerol dehydratase of Citrobacter freundii and were not studied further. The remaining five plasmids (pAK2 to -5 and pAK7) contained two complete and three incomplete dehydratase-encoding gene regions, which were similar to the corresponding regions of enteric bacteria. Three (pAK2, -3, and -7) coded for glycerol dehydratases and two (pAK4 and -5) coded for diol dehydratases. We were able to perform high-level production and purification of three of these dehydratases. The glycerol dehydratases purified from E. coli Bl21/pAK2.1 and E. coli Bl21/pAK7.1 and the complemented hybrid diol dehydratase purified from E. coli Bl21/pAK5.1 were subject to suicide inactivation by glycerol and were cross-reactivated by the reactivation factor (DhaFG) for the glycerol dehydratase of C. freundii. The activities of the three environmentally derived dehydratases and that of glycerol dehydratase of C. freundii with glycerol or 1,2-propanediol as the substrate were inhibited in the presence of the glycerol fermentation product 1,3-propanediol. Taking the catalytic efficiency, stability against inactivation by glycerol, and inhibition by 1,3-propanediol into account, the hybrid diol dehydratase produced by E. coli Bl21/pAK5.1 exhibited the best properties of all tested enzymes for application in the biotechnological production of 1,3-propanediol.
Genomes of prokaryotes differ significantly in size and DNA composition. Escherichia coli is considered a model organism to analyze the processes involved in bacterial genome evolution, as the species comprises numerous pathogenic and commensal variants. Pathogenic and nonpathogenic E. coli strains differ in the presence and absence of additional DNA elements contributing to specific virulence traits and also in the presence and absence of additional genetic information. To analyze the genetic diversity of pathogenic and commensal E. coli isolates, a whole-genome approach was applied. Using DNA arrays, the presence of all translatable open reading frames (ORFs) of nonpathogenic E. coli K-12 strain MG1655 was investigated in 26 E. coli isolates, including various extraintestinal and intestinal pathogenic E. coli isolates, 3 pathogenicity island deletion mutants, and commensal and laboratory strains. Additionally, the presence of virulence-associated genes of E. coli was determined using a DNA “pathoarray” developed in our laboratory. The frequency and distributional pattern of genomic variations vary widely in different E. coli strains. Up to 10% of the E. coli K-12-specific ORFs were not detectable in the genomes of the different strains. DNA sequences described for extraintestinal or intestinal pathogenic E. coli are more frequently detectable in isolates of the same origin than in other pathotypes. Several genes coding for virulence or fitness factors are also present in commensal E. coli isolates. Based on these results, the conserved E. coli core genome is estimated to consist of at least 3,100 translatable ORFs. The absence of K-12-specific ORFs was detectable in all chromosomal regions. These data demonstrate the great genome heterogeneity and genetic diversity among E. coli strains and underline the fact that both the acquisition and deletion of DNA elements are important processes involved in the evolution of prokaryotes.