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1.  Diet Complexity and Estrogen Receptor β Status Affect the Composition of the Murine Intestinal Microbiota 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(18):5763-5773.
Intestinal microbial dysbiosis contributes to the dysmetabolism of luminal factors, including steroid hormones (sterones) that affect the development of chronic gastrointestinal inflammation and the incidence of sterone-responsive cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon. Little is known, however, about the role of specific host sterone nucleoreceptors, including estrogen receptor β (ERβ), in microbiota maintenance. Herein, we test the hypothesis that ERβ status affects microbiota composition and determine if such compositionally distinct microbiota respond differently to changes in diet complexity that favor Proteobacteria enrichment. To this end, conventionally raised female ERβ+/+ and ERβ−/− C57BL/6J mice (mean age of 27 weeks) were initially reared on 8604, a complex diet containing estrogenic isoflavones, and then fed AIN-76, an isoflavone-free semisynthetic diet, for 2 weeks. 16S rRNA gene surveys revealed that the fecal microbiota of 8604-fed mice and AIN-76-fed mice differed, as expected. The relative diversity of Proteobacteria, especially the Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria, increased significantly following the transition to AIN-76. Distinct patterns for beneficial Lactobacillales were exclusive to and highly abundant among 8604-fed mice, whereas several Proteobacteria were exclusive to AIN-76-fed mice. Interestingly, representative orders of the phyla Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes, including the Lactobacillales, also differed as a function of murine ERβ status. Overall, these interactions suggest that sterone nucleoreceptor status and diet complexity may play important roles in microbiota maintenance. Furthermore, we envision that this model for gastrointestinal dysbiosis may be used to identify novel probiotics, prebiotics, nutritional strategies, and pharmaceuticals for the prevention and resolution of Proteobacteria-rich dysbiosis.
PMCID: PMC3754184  PMID: 23872567
2.  Draft Genome Sequence of the Pediocin-Encoding Biopreservative and Biocontrol Strain Pediococcus acidilactici D3 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(3):e00208-13.
We describe a draft genome sequence for Pediococcus acidilactici strain D3, a component of multistrain commercial cultures with biopreservative and biocontrol properties in food-based applications. Strain D3 encodes at least one antimicrobial peptide, pediocin AMPd3. The AMPd3-encoding operon exhibits high sequence similarity to the archetype pediocin, PA-1, encoded by P. acidilactici PAC 1.0.
PMCID: PMC3707583  PMID: 23788534
3.  Disruption of inducible 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase impairs the suppressive effect of PPARγ activation on diet-induced intestine inflammatory response☆ 
PFKFB3is a target gene of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) and encodes for inducible 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase (iPFK2). As a key regulatory enzyme that stimulates glycolysis, PFKFB3/iPFK2 links adipocyte metabolic and inflammatory responses. Additionally, PFKFB3/iPFK2 is involved in the effect of active PPARγ on suppressing overnutrition-induced adipose tissue inflammatory response, which accounts for the insulin-sensitizing and antidiabetic effects of PPARγ activation. Using PFKFB3/iPFK2-disrupted mice, the present study investigated the role of PFKFB3/iPFK2 in regulating overnutrition-associated intestine inflammatory response and in mediating the effects of PPARγ activation. In wild-type mice, intestine PFKFB3/iPFK2 was increased in response to high-fat diet (HFD) feeding compared with that in mice fed a low-fat diet. However, intestine PFKFB3/iPFK2 was decreased in PFKFB3/iPFK2-disrupted mice and did not respond to HFD feeding. Furthermore, on an HFD, PFKFB3/iPFK2-disrupted mice displayed a significant increase in major intestine proinflammatory indicators such as toll-like receptor 4 expression, c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 and nuclear factor kappa B phosphorylation, and proinflammatory cytokine expression compared with wild-type littermates. Upon treatment with rosiglitazone, an agonist of PPARγ, intestine proinflammatory indicators were markedly decreased in wild-type mice, but to a much lesser degree in PFKFB3/iPFK2-disrupted mice. Overall, the status of HFD-induced intestine inflammatory response in all treated mice correlated inversely with systemic insulin sensitivity, indicated by the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance data. Together, these results suggest that PFKFB3/iPFK2 is critically involved in the effect of PPARγ activation on suppressing diet-induced intestine inflammatory response.
PMCID: PMC3584194  PMID: 22841546
Inducible 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase; PPARγ; Overnutrition; Intestine; Inflammatory response
4.  Statistical Methods for Comparative Phenomics Using High-Throughput Phenotype Microarrays* 
We propose statistical methods for comparing phenomics data generated by the Biolog Phenotype Microarray (PM) platform for high-throughput phenotyping. Instead of the routinely used visual inspection of data with no sound inferential basis, we develop two approaches. The first approach is based on quantifying the distance between mean or median curves from two treatments and then applying a permutation test; we also consider a permutation test applied to areas under mean curves. The second approach employs functional principal component analysis. Properties of the proposed methods are investigated on both simulated data and data sets from the PM platform.
PMCID: PMC2942029  PMID: 20865133
functional data analysis; principal components; permutation tests; phenotype microarrays; high-throughput phenotyping; phenomics; Biolog
5.  Antisense RNA Targeting of Primase Interferes with Bacteriophage Replication in Streptococcus thermophilus 
The putative primase gene and other genes associated with the Sfi21-prototype genome replication module are highly conserved in Streptococcus thermophilus bacteriophages. Expression of antisense RNAs complementary to the putative primase gene (pri3.1) from S. thermophilus phage κ3 provided significant protection from κ3 and two other Sfi21-type phages. Expression of pri3.10-AS, an antisense RNA that covered the entire primase gene, reduced the efficiency of plaquing (EOP) of κ3 to 3 × 10−3 and reduced its burst size by 20%. Mutant phages capable of overcoming antisense inhibition were not recovered. Thirteen primase-specific antisense cassettes of different lengths (478 to 1,512 bp) were systematically designed to target various regions of the gene. Each cassette conferred some effect, reducing the EOP to between 0.8 and 3 × 10−3. The largest antisense RNAs (1.5 kb) were generally found to confer the greatest reductions in EOP, but shorter (0.5 kb) antisense RNAs were also effective, especially when directed to the 5′ region of the gene. The impacts of primase-targeted antisense RNAs on phage development were examined. The expression of pri3.10-AS resulted in reductions in target RNA abundance and the number of phage genomes synthesized. Targeting a key genome replication function with antisense RNA provided effective phage protection in S. thermophilus.
PMCID: PMC368297  PMID: 15006799
6.  Expression of Antisense RNA Targeted against Streptococcus thermophilus Bacteriophages† 
Antisense RNA complementary to a putative helicase gene (hel3.1) of a cos-type Streptococcus thermophilus bacteriophage was used to impede the proliferation of a number of cos-type S. thermophilus bacteriophages and one pac-type bacteriophage. The putative helicase gene is a component of the Sfi21-type DNA replication module, which is found in a majority of the S. thermophilus bacteriophages of industrial importance. All bacteriophages that strongly hybridized a 689-bp internal hel3.1 probe were sensitive to the expression of antisense hel3.1 RNA. A 40 to 70% reduction in efficiency of plaquing (EOP) was consistently observed, with a concomitant decrease in plaque size relative to that of the S. thermophilus parental strain. When progeny were released, the burst size was reduced. Growth curves of S. thermophilus NCK1125, in the presence of variable levels of bacteriophage κ3, showed that antisense hel3.1 conferred protection, even at a multiplicity of infection of approximately 1.0. When the hel3.1 antisense RNA cassette was expressed in cis from the κ3-derived phage-encoded resistance (PER) plasmid pTRK690::ori3.1, the EOP for bacteriophages sensitive to PER and antisense targeting was reduced to between 10−7 and 10−8, beyond the resistance conferred by the PER element alone (less than 10−6). These results illustrate the first successful applications of antisense RNA and explosive delivery of antisense RNA to inhibit the proliferation of S. thermophilus bacteriophages.
PMCID: PMC126690  PMID: 11823195
7.  Cryptic prophages help bacteria cope with adverse environments 
Nature Communications  2010;1:147-.
Phages are the most abundant entity in the biosphere and outnumber bacteria by a factor of 10. Phage DNA may also constitute 20% of bacterial genomes; however, its role is ill defined. Here, we explore the impact of cryptic prophages on cell physiology by precisely deleting all nine prophage elements (166 kbp) using Escherichia coli. We find that cryptic prophages contribute significantly to resistance to sub-lethal concentrations of quinolone and β-lactam antibiotics primarily through proteins that inhibit cell division (for example, KilR of rac and DicB of Qin). Moreover, the prophages are beneficial for withstanding osmotic, oxidative and acid stresses, for increasing growth, and for influencing biofilm formation. Prophage CPS-53 proteins YfdK, YfdO and YfdS enhanced resistance to oxidative stress, prophages e14, CPS-53 and CP4-57 increased resistance to acid, and e14 and rac proteins increased early biofilm formation. Therefore, cryptic prophages provide multiple benefits to the host for surviving adverse environmental conditions.
Up to 20% of bacterial genomes are made up of cryptic prophages, but their function is relatively unknown. In this study, the authors demonstrate that prophages influence the response of the host cell to stress and provide a competitive growth advantage in the presence of antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC3105296  PMID: 21266997

Results 1-7 (7)