Dengue virus infection causes significant morbidity and mortality in humans world-wide. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the major vector that spread dengue virus to humans. Interaction between dengue viruses and A. aegypti is a multi-factorial phenomena that is determined by both virus and mosquito genotypes. Although, studies have suggested significant association of mosquito vectorial capacity with population variation of dengue virus, specifications of the vector factors that may influence vector-virus compatibility have are very limited in the literature. Recently, we have shown that a large number of genes are differentially expressed between MOYO-S (susceptible) and MOYO-R (refractory) A. aegypti strains upon infection with dengue virus (JAM-1409 genotype). In the current study, we show that specific intrinsic features of A. aegypti genes are significantly associated with `responsiveness' of mosquito genes to dengue infection. Binomial logistic regression analysis further reveals differential marginal effects of these features on gene responsiveness of mosquito to the viral infection. Thus, our result shows that intrinsic features of genes significantly affect differential expression of A. aegypti genes to dengue infection. The information will benefit further investigation on evolution of genes among natural populations A. aegypti conferring differential susceptibility to dengue virus.
Aedes aegypti; vector-virus interaction; logit; gene context; codon bias; intron; co-evolution
The biased usage of synonymous codons affects translational efficiency of genes. We studied codon usage patterns of genes that are perfectly conserved at the amino acid level among three important mosquito vector species: Aedes aegypti (vector of dengue virus), Anopheles gambiae (vector of malaria) and Culex quinquefasciatus (vector of lymphatic filariasis and West Nile Virus). Although these proteins have same amino acid sequences, non-random usage of synonymous codons is evident among the orthologous genes. The coding sequences of these genes were simulated to generate random mutation sites to be further investigated for patterns of codon bias. It was found that codon usage bias is significantly higher in genes that represented perfectly conserved proteins than genes where variation was apparent at the amino acid sequence. Our results suggest that genes coding for perfectly conserved proteins are highly biased with optimized codons and may be under stringent translational selection in these vector species.
Vector mosquitoes; Selection; Codon bias; Translational efficiency; Codon context
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
São Paulo is the most populous Brazilian state and reports the largest number of tuberculosis cases in the country annually (over 18,500). This study included 193 isolates obtained during the 2nd Nationwide Survey on Mycobacterium tuberculosis Drug Resistance that was conducted in São Paulo state and 547 isolates from a laboratory based study of drug resistance that were analyzed by the Mycobacteria Reference Laboratory at the Institute Adolfo Lutz. Both studies were conducted from 2006 to 2008 and sought to determine the genetic diversity and pattern of drug resistance of M. tuberculosis isolates (MTC) circulating in São Paulo. The patterns obtained from the spoligotyping analysis demonstrated that 51/740 (6.9%) of the isolates corresponded to orphan patterns and that 689 (93.1%) of the isolates distributed into 144 shared types, including 119 that matched a preexisting shared type in the SITVIT2 database and 25 that were new isolates. A total of 77/144 patterns corresponded to unique isolates, while the remaining 67 corresponded to clustered patterns (n = 612 isolates clustered into groups of 2–84 isolates each). The evolutionarily ancient PGG1 lineages (Beijing, CAS1-DEL, EAI3-IND, and PINI2) were rarely detected in São Paulo and comprised only 13/740, or 1.76%, of the total isolates; all of the remaining 727/740, or 98.24%, of the MTC isolates from São Paulo state were from the recent PGG2/3 evolutionary isolates belonging to the LAM, T, S, X, and Haarlem lineages, i.e., the Euro-American group. This study provides the first overview of circulating genotypes of M. tuberculosis in São Paulo state and demonstrates that the clustered shared types containing seven or more M. tuberculosis isolates that are spread in São Paulo state included both resistant and susceptible isolates.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Population-structure; Spoligotyping; Brazil; Database
Escherichia coliO157:H7 is a human pathogen that has emerged from its less pathogenic progenitor, E. coli O55:H7, to form the EHEC 1 clade. In its emergence, E. coli O157:H7 formed three distinct clusters, each of which exists today. Sequencing and SNP analysis of Cluster 1 of this clade demonstrated constrained radiation from the cluster founder. Here we investigated the diversity of Cluster 2 strains by sequencing signature SNPs in six strains collected throughout Washington State. Our results suggest that successful Cluster 2 strains have radiated on only two branches from their founder; one of these two branches leads to Cluster 3. Constrained radiation appears to be a common theme among this pathogenic clade.
Escherichia coli O157:H7; SNPs; Evolution
Rotavirus (RV) vaccination programs have been established in several countries using the human-attenuated G1P monovalent vaccine Rotarix™ (GlaxoSmithKline) and/or the human-bovine reassortant G1, G2, G3, G4, P pentavalent vaccine RotaTeq™ (Merck). The efficacy of both vaccines is high (~90%) in developed countries, but can be remarkably lower in developing countries. For example, a vaccine efficacy against severe diarrhea of only 58% was observed in a 2007–2009 Nicaraguan study using RotaTeq. To gain insight into the significant level of vaccine failure in this country, we sequenced the genomes of RVs recovered from vaccinated Nicaraguan children with gastroenteritis. The results revealed that all had genotype specificities typical for human RVs (11 G1P, 1 G3P) and that the sequences and antigenic epitopes of the outer capsid proteins (VP4 and VP7) of these viruses were similar to those reported for RVs isolated elsewhere in the world. As expected, nine of the G1P viruses and the single G3P virus had genome constellations typical of human G1P and G3P RVs: G1/3-P-I1-R1-C1-M1-A1-N1-T1-E1-H1. However, two of the G1P viruses had atypical constellations, G1-P-I1-R1-C1-M1-A1-N2-T1-E1-H1, due to the presence of a genotype-2 NSP2 (N2) gene. The sequence of the N2 NSP2 gene was identical to the bovine N2 NSP2 gene of RotaTeq, indicating that the two atypical viruses originated via reassortment of human G1P RVs with RotaTeq viruses. Together, our data suggest that the high level of vaccine failure in Nicaraguan is probably not due to antigenic drift of commonly circulating virus strains nor the emergence of new antigenetically distinct virus strains. Furthermore, our data suggests that the widespread use of the RotaTeq vaccine has led to the introduction of vaccine genes into circulating human RVs.
rotavirus; genomics; vaccine; RotaTeq
Parasites of the genus Cryptosporidium infect the intestinal and gastric epithelium of different vertebrate species. Some of the many Cryptosporidium species described to date differ with respect to host range; whereas some species’ host range appears to be narrow, others have been isolated from taxonomically unrelated vertebrates. To begin to investigate the genetic basis of Cryptosporidium host specificity, the genome of a C. parvum isolate belonging to a sub-specific group found exclusively in humans was sequenced and compared to the reference C. parvum genome representative of the zoonotic group. Over 12,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), or 1.4 SNP per kilobase, were identified. The genome distribution of SNPs was highly heterogeneous, but non-synonymous and silent SNPs were similarly distributed. On many chromosomes, the most highly divergent regions were located near the ends. Genes in the most diverged regions were almost twice as large as the genome-wide average. Transporters, and ABC transporters in particular, were over-represented among these genes, as were proteins with predicted signal peptide. Possibly reflecting the presence of regulatory sequences, the distribution of intergenic SNPs differed according to the function of the downstream open reading frame. A 3-way comparison of the newly sequenced anthroponotic C. parvum, the reference zoonotic C. parvum and the human parasite C. hominis identified genetic loci where the anthroponotic C. parvum sequence is more similar to C. hominis than to the zoonotic C. parvum reference. Because C. hominis and anthroponotic C. parvum share a similar host range, this unexpected observation suggests that proteins encoded by these genes may influence the host range.
Cryptosporidium parvum; Cryptosporidium hominis; genome; single-nucleotide polymorphism; ABC transporters
Chromosome 6q26–27 is linked to susceptibility to visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Brazil and Sudan. DLL1 encoding the Delta-like 1 ligand for Notch 3 was implicated as the etiological gene. DLL1 belongs to the family of Notch ligands known to selectively drive antigen-specific CD4 T helper 1 cell responses, which are important in protective immune response in leishmaniasis. Here we provide further genetic and functional evidence that supports a role for DLL1 in a well-powered population-based study centred in the largest global focus of VL in India. Twenty-one single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at PHF10/C6orf70/DLL1/FAM120B/PSMB1/TBP were genotyped in 941 cases and 992 controls. Logistic regression analysis under an additive model showed association between VL and variants at DLL1 and FAM120B, with top associations (rs9460106, OR=1.17, 95%CI 1.01–1.35, P=0.033; rs2103816, OR=1.16, 95%CI 1.01–1.34, P=0.039) robust to analysis using caste as a covariate to take account of population substructure. Haplotype analysis taking population substructure into account identified a common 2-SNP risk haplotype (frequency 0.43; P=0.028) at FAM120B, while the most significant protective haplotype (frequency 0.18; P=0.007) was a 5-SNP haplotype across the interval 5’ of both DLL1 (negative strand) and FAM120B (positive strand) and extending to intron 4 of DLL1. Quantitative RT/PCR was used to compare expression of 6q27 genes in paired pre- and post-treatment splenic aspirates from VL patients (N=19). DLL1 was the only gene to show differential expression that was higher (P<0.0001) in pre- compared to post-treatment samples, suggesting that regulation of gene expression was important in disease pathogenesis. This well-powered genetic and functional study in an Indian population provides evidence supporting DLL1 as the etiological gene contributing to susceptibility to VL at Chromosome 6q27, confirming the potential for polymorphism at DLL1 to act as a genetic risk factor across the epidemiological divides of geography and parasite species.
visceral leishmaniasis; DLL1; genetic association; Notch signalling
•We evaluated amino acid diversity of the major capsid protein of HPV.•Residues displaying high entropy were found within surface-exposed domains.•We discuss the implications of this diversity on the current and next generation HPV vaccines.
Despite the fidelity of host cell polymerases, the human papillomavirus (HPV) displays a degree of genomic polymorphism resulting in distinct genotypes and intra-type variants. The current HPV vaccines target the most prevalent genotypes associated with cervical cancer (HPV16/18) and genital warts (HPV6/11). Although these vaccines confer some measure of cross-protection, a multivalent HPV vaccine is in the pipeline that aims to broaden vaccine protection against other cervical cancer-associated genotypes including HPV31, HPV33, HPV45, HPV52 and HPV58. Both current and next generation vaccines comprise virus-like particles, based upon the major capsid protein, L1, and vaccine-induced, type-specific protection is likely mediated by neutralizing antibodies targeting L1 surface-exposed domains.
The aim of this study was to perform an in silico analysis of existing full length L1 sequences representing vaccine-relevant HPV genotypes in order to address the degree of naturally-occurring, intra-type polymorphisms. In total, 1281 sequences from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe were assembled. Intra-type entropy was low and/or limited to non-surface-exposed residues for HPV6, HPV11 and HPV52 suggesting a minimal effect on vaccine antibodies for these genotypes. For HPV16, intra-type entropy was high but the present analysis did not reveal any significant polymorphisms not previously identified. For HPV31, HPV33, HPV58, however, intra-type entropy was high, mostly mapped to surface-exposed domains and in some cases within known neutralizing antibody epitopes. For HPV18 and HPV45 there were too few sequences for a definitive analysis, but HPV45 displayed some degree of surface-exposed residue diversity. In most cases, the reference sequence for each genotype represented a minority variant and the consensus L1 sequences for HPV18, HPV31, HPV45 and HPV58 did not reflect the L1 sequence of the currently available HPV pseudoviruses. These data highlight a number of variant amino acid residues that warrant further investigation for vaccine and natural history studies of HPV.
Papillomavirus; HPV; Diversity; Entropy; L1
Malaria is endemic in lowland and coastal regions of Papua New Guinea (PNG), and is caused by Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale. Infection by P. vivax is attributed to distinct strains, VK210 and VK247, which differ in the sequence of the circumsporozoite protein (pvcsp). Here, based upon sequence polymorphisms in pvcsp, we developed a post-PCR ligation detection reaction-fluorescent microsphere assay (LDR-FMA) to distinguish these P. vivax strains. This diagnostic assay was designed to detect the presence of both VK210 and VK247 P. vivax strains simultaneously in a high-throughput 96-well format. Using this assay, we analyzed human blood samples from the Wosera (n = 703) and Mugil (n = 986) regions to evaluate the prevalence of these P. vivax strains. VK210 and VK247 strains were found in both study sites. In the Wosera, single infections with VK210 strain were observed to be most common (41.7%), followed by mixed-strain (36.8%) and VK247 single-strain infections (21.5%). Similarly, in Mugil, VK210 single-strain infections were most common (51.6%), followed by mixed-strain (34.4%) and VK247 single-strain infections (14%). These results suggest that the distribution of P. vivax infections was similar between the two study sites. Interestingly, we observed a non-random distribution of these two P. vivax strains, as mixed-strain infections were significantly more prevalent than expected in both study sites (Wosera and Mugil χ2
p-value < 0.001). Additionally, DNA sequence analysis of a subset of P. vivax infections showed that no individual pvcsp alleles were shared between the two study sites. Overall, our results illustrate that PNG malaria-endemic regions harbor a complex mixture of P. vivax strains, and emphasize the importance of malaria control strategies that would be effective against a highly diverse parasite population.
Malaria; Plasmodium vivax; Circumsporozoite protein; VK210; VK247; Papua New Guinea
Phylogenetic analysis of 10 amino acid sequences from 19 Streptococcus species showed that S. oligofermentans clustered within the mitis group. However, the L-amino acid oxidase (LAAO) of S. oligofermentans showed a different clustering pattern from the other proteins analyzed implicating horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in the origin of the S. oligofermentans LAAO gene. LAAO of S. oligofermentans is known to confer ability to compete with other oral cavity bacteria, most notably S. mutans; therefore, the HGT event may have been important in extending the ecological niche occupied by this species, consistent with those of other studies suggesting that HGT can play a key role in enabling bacterial species to occupy new ecological niches.
horizontal gene transfer; L-amino acid oxidase; Streptococcus oligofermentans
Leishmania braziliensis causes cutaneous (CL) and mucosal (ML) leishmaniasis. In the mouse, Fli1 was identified as a gene influencing enhanced wound healing and resistance to CL caused by L. major. Polymorphism at FLI1 is associated with CL caused by L. braziliensis in humans, with an inverse association observed for ML disease. Here we extend the analysis to look at other wound healing genes, including CTGF, TGFB1, TGFBR1/2, SMADS 2/3/4/7 and FLII, all functionally linked along with FLI1 in the TGF beta pathway. Haplotype tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tag-SNPs) were genotyped using Taqman technology in 325 nuclear families (652 CL cases; 126 ML cases) from Brazil. Robust case-pseudocontrol (CPC) conditional logistic regression analysis showed associations between CL and SNPs at CTGF (SNP rs6918698; CC genotype; OR 1.67; 95%CI 1.10–2.54; P=0.016), TGFBR2 (rs1962859; OR 1.50; 95%CI 1.12–1.99; P=0.005), SMAD2 (rs1792658; OR 1.57; 95%CI 1.04–2.38; P=0.03), SMAD7 (rs4464148; AA genotype; OR 2.80; 95%CI 1.00–7.87; P=0.05) and FLII (rs2071242; OR 1.60; 95%CI 1.14–2.24; P=0.005), and between ML and SNPs at SMAD3 (rs1465841; OR 2.15; 95%CI 1.13–4.07; P=0.018) and SMAD7 (rs2337107; TT genotype; OR 3.70; 95%CI 1.27–10.7; P=0.016). Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that all SNPs associated with CL at FLI1, CTGF, TGFBR2, and FLII showed independent effects from each other, but SNPs at SMAD2 and SMAD7 did not add independent effects to SNPs from other genes. These results suggest that TGFβ signalling via SMAD2 is important in directing events that contribute to CL, whereas signalling via SMAD3 is important in ML. Both are modulated by the inhibitory SMAD7 that acts upstream of SMAD2 and SMAD3 in this signalling pathway. Along with the published FLI1 association, these data further contribute to the hypothesis that wound healing processes are important determinants of pathology associated with cutaneous forms of leishmaniasis.
leishmaniasis; wound healing; TGFB pathway; CTGF; SMADs; FLII; FLI1
To gain an understanding of the genetic structure and dispersal dynamics of T. infestans populations, we analyzed the multilocus genotype of 10 microsatellite loci for 352 T. infestans collected in 21 houses of 11 rural communities in October 2002. Genetic structure was analyzed at the community and house compound levels. Analysis revealed that vector control actions affected the genetic structure of T. infestans populations. Bug populations from communities under sustained vector control (core area) were highly structured and genetic differentiation between neighboring house compounds was significant. In contrast, bug populations from communities with sporadic vector control actions were more homogeneous and lacked defined genetic clusters. Genetic differentiation between population pairs did not fit a model of isolation by distance at the microgeographical level. Evidence consistent with flight or walking bug dispersal was detected within and among communities, dispersal was more female-biased in the core area and results suggested that houses received immigrants from more than one source. Putative sources and mechanisms of re-infestation are described. These data may be use to design improved vector control strategies
Chagas disease; Triatoma infestans; vector control; population structure; microsatellite loci
Tuberculosis (TB) has been affecting humans for millennia. There is increasing indication that human-adapted Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) has been co-evolving with different human populations. Some of the most important drivers of MTBC evolution have been the host immune response and human demography. These old selective forces have shaped many of the features of human TB we see today. Two new selective pressures have emerged only a few decades ago, namely HIV co-infection and the use of anti-TB drugs. Here we discuss how the emergence of HIV/TB and drug resistance could impact the long-term balance between MTBC and its human host, and how these changes might influence the future evolutionary trajectory of MTBC.
Tuberculosis; HIV; co-infection; selection; immunity; drug resistance
Genetic tracking of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a cornerstone of tuberculosis (TB) control programs. The RDRio
M. tuberculosis sublineage was previously associated with TB in Brazil. We investigated 3847 M. tuberculosis isolates and registry data from New York City (NYC) (2001–2005) to: 1) affirm the position of RDRio strains within the M. tuberculosis phylogenetic structure, 2) determine its prevalence, and 3) define transmission, demographic, and clinical characteristics associated with RDRio TB.
Isolates classified as RDRio or non-RDRio
M. tuberculosis by multiplex PCR were further classified as clustered (≥2 isolates) or unique based primarily upon IS6110-RFLP patterns and lineage-specific cluster proportions were calculated. The secondary case rate of RDRio was compared with other prevalent M. tuberculosis lineages. Genotype data were merged with the data from the NYC TB Registry to assess demographic and clinical characteristics.
RDRio strains were found to: 1) be restricted to the Latin American-Mediterranean family, 2) cause approximately 8% of TB cases in NYC, and 3) be associated with heightened transmission as shown by: i) a higher cluster proportion compared to other prevalent lineages, ii) a higher secondary case rate, and iii) cases in children. Furthermore, RDRio strains were significantly associated with US-born Black or Hispanic race, birth in Latin American and Caribbean countries, and isoniazid resistance.
The RDRio genotype is a single M. tuberculosis strain population that is emerging in NYC. The findings suggest that expanded RDRio case and exposure identification could be of benefit due to its association with heightened transmission.
tuberculosis; lineage; epidemiology; transmission; RDRio
Trichostrongylus colubriformis (Strongylida), a small intestinal nematode of small ruminants, is a major cause of production and economic losses in many countries. The aims of the present study were to define the transcriptome of the adult stage of T. colubriformis, using 454 sequencing technology and bioinformatic analyses, and to predict the main pathways that key groups of molecules are linked to in this nematode. A total of 21,259 contigs were assembled from the sequence data produced from a normalized cDNA library; 7,876 of these contigs had known orthologues in the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and encoded, amongst others, proteins with ‘transthyretin-like’ (8.8%), ‘RNA recognition’ (8.4%) and ‘metridin-like ShK toxin’ (7.6%) motifs. Bioinformatic analyses inferred that relatively high proportions of the C. elegans homologues are involved in biological pathways linked to ‘peptidases’ (4%), ‘ribosome’ (3.6%) and ‘oxidative phosphorylation’ (3%). Highly represented were peptides predicted to be associated with the nervous system, digestion of host proteins or inhibition of host proteases. Probabilistic functional gene networking of the complement of C. elegans orthologues (n = 2,126) assigned significance to particular subsets of molecules, such as protein kinases and serine/threonine phosphatases. The present study represents the first, comprehensive insight into the transcriptome of adult T. colubriformis, which provides a foundation for fundamental studies of the molecular biology and biochemistry of this parasitic nematode as well as prospects for identifying targets for novel nematocides. Future investigations should focus on comparing the transcriptomes of different developmental stages, both genders and various tissues of this parasitic nematode for the prediction of essential genes/gene products that are specific to nematodes.
Trichostrongylus colubriformis; Transcriptome; Next-generation sequencing; Bioinformatics; Peptidases; Ancylostoma-secreted proteins
Anopheles funestus is one of the most proficient malaria vectors in the world, mainly because of its remarkable ability to populate a wide range of ecological settings across Africa. Its formidable environmental plasticity has been primarily associated to high amounts of genetic and inversion polymorphisms. However, very little is known about the morphological changes that this ecological adaptation entails. Here, we report on wing morphometric variations in karyotyped specimens of this species collected throughout a wide range of eco-geographical conditions in Cameroon (Central Africa). Our results revealed strong selection on mosquito wing traits. Variation of wing size was dependent on temperature and elevation (p<0.001), while wing shape did not exhibit a specific environmental pattern. On the other hand, we observed a significant correlation of wing shape variation (p<0.001), but not size (p>0.05), with regard to karyotype. This pattern was maintained across different environmental conditions. In conclusion, our findings cast strong evidence that change in morphometric traits are under natural selection and contribute to local adaptation in Anopheles funestus populations. Furthermore, the robust relation between chromosome polymorphisms and wing shape suggests new evolutionary hypotheses about the effect of chromosomal inversions on phenotypic variation in this malaria vector.
Anopheles funestus; morphometric variation; environmental adaptation; chromosomal inversions; Cameroon
Mosquito-borne viruses are predominantly RNA viruses which exist within hosts as diverse mutant swarms. Defining the way in which stochastic forces within mosquito vectors shape these swarms is critical to advancing our understanding of the evolutionary and adaptive potential of these pathogens. There are multiple barriers within a mosquito which a viral swarm must traverse in order to ultimately be transmitted. Here, using artificial mutant swarms composed of neutral variants of West Nile virus (WNV), we tracked changes to swarm breadth over time and space in Culex pipiens mosquitoes. Our results demonstrate that all variants have the potential to survive intrahost bottlenecks, yet mean swarm breadth decreases during both midgut infection and transmission when starting populations contain higher levels of minority variants. In addition, WNV swarms are subject to temporal sweeps which act to significantly decrease intrahost diversity over time. Taken together, these data demonstrate the profound effects that stochastic forces can have in shaping arboviral mutant swarms.
West Nile virus; flavivirus; Culex pipiens; intrahost diversity; intrahost bottlenecks; arbovirus evolution
Dengue viruses (DENV) are the most important arboviral pathogens in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world, putting at risk of infection nearly a third of the global human population. Evidence from the historical record suggests a long association between these viruses and humans. The transmission of DENV includes a sylvatic, enzootic cycle between nonhuman primates and arboreal mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, and an urban, endemic/epidemic cycle between Aedes aegypti, a mosquito with larval development in peridomestic water containers, and human reservoir hosts. DENV are members of the genus Flavivirus in the Family Flaviviridae and comprise of 4 antigenically distinct serotypes (DENV-1-4). Although they are nearly identical epidemiologically, the 4 DENV serotypes are genetically quite distinct. Utilization of phylogenetic analyses based on partial and/or complete genomic sequences has elucidated the origins, epidemiology (genetic diversity, transmission dynamics and epidemic potential), and the forces that shape DENV molecular evolution (rates of evolution, selection pressures, population sizes, putative recombination and evolutionary constraints) in nature. In this review, we examine how phylogenetics have improved understanding of DENV population dynamics and sizes at various stages of infection and transmission, and how this information may influence pathogenesis and improve our ability to understand and predict DENV emergence.
Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) has been widely deployed in Africa for malaria control and molecular evidence of parasite drug-resistance is prevalent. However, the temporal effects on the selection of Plasmodium falciparum are not well understood. We conducted a retrospective serial cross-sectional study between 1997 and 2006 to investigate changes in drug-resistant malaria among pregnant women delivering at a single hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. P. falciparum parasites were genotyped for parasite clone multiplicity and drug-resistance mutations, and the strength of selection upon mutant genotypes was quantified. Five mutations in the dihydrofolate reductase and dihydropteroate synthase genes began at moderate frequencies and achieved fixation by 2005; the frequency of the highly-SP-resistant “quintuple mutant” haplotype increased from 19% to 100%. The selective advantage of alleles and haplotypes were quantified with selection coefficients: Selection was positive on all mutant alleles and haplotypes associated with SP resistance, and the relative fitness of the quintuple mutant haplotype was 0.139 (95% C.I. 0.067 – 0.211), indicating a substantial positive selective advantage. Mutations that confer higher levels of resistance to SP did not emerge. SP-resistant haplotypes were rapidly selected for and fixed in P. falciparum populations infecting pregnant women while SP was widely deployed in Malawi. These results underscore the pressing need for new preventive measures for pregnancy-associated malaria and provide a real-world model of the selection landscape malaria parasites.
malaria; pregnancy-associated malaria; drug resistance; parasite evolution
Helicobacter pylori infection is linked to various gastroduodenal diseases; however, only approximately 20% of infected individuals develop severe diseases. Despite the high prevalence of H. pylori infection in Africa and South Asia, the incidence of gastric cancer in these areas is much lower than in other countries. Furthermore, the incidence of gastric cancer tends to decrease from north to south in East Asia. Such geographic differences in the pathology can be explained, at least in part, by the presence of different types of H. pylori virulence factors, especially cagA, vacA, and the right end of the cag pathogenicity island. The genotype of the virulence genes is also useful as a tool to track human migration utilizing the high genetic diversity and frequent recombination between different H. pylori strains. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) analysis using 7 housekeeping genes can also help predict the history of human migrations. Population structure analysis based on MLST has revealed 7 modern population types of H. pylori, which derived from 6 ancestral populations. Interestingly, the incidence of gastric cancer is closely related to the distribution of H. pylori populations. The different incidence of gastric cancer can be partly attributed to the different genotypes of H. pylori circulating in different geographic areas. Although approaches by MLST and virulence factors are effective, these methods focus on a small number of genes and may miss information conveyed by the rest of the genome. Genome-wide analyses using DNA microarray or whole-genome sequencing technology give a broad view on the genome of H. pylori. In particular, next-generation sequencers, which can read DNA sequences in less time and at lower costs than Sanger sequencing, enabled us to efficiently investigate not only the evolution of H. pylori, but also novel virulence factors and genomic changes related to drug resistance.
Helicobacter pylori; cagA; vacA; multilocus sequence typing; whole genome sequencing technology; next-generation sequencer
Rates of nonsynonymous substitution (dN) significantly higher than rates of synonymous substitution (dS) have been used as evidence of positive selection for the fixation of advantageous point mutations. It has been suggested that positive selection contributes to the evolution of virulence factors and certain functional categories in bacterial pathogens. The genus Streptococcus contains a number of important human and agricultural pathogens. Here we assessed positive selection across 13 Streptococcus species, and their relationship with virulence factors and functional categories. We found that known virulence genes were subject to positive selection pressure as much as other genes. After false discovery rate correction for multiple comparisons, no functional categories were significantly over- or underrepresented in positively selected genes relative to other genes. Our results suggest that within the genus Streptococcus positive selection based on dN/dS ratios is not distributed with bias across biological functions.
Streptococcus; positive selection; gene functional categories; virulence factor
Dengue virus currently causes 50-100 million infections annually. Comprehensive knowledge about the evolution of Dengue in response to selection pressure is currently unavailable, but would greatly enhance vaccine design efforts. In the current study, we sequenced 187 new dengue virus serotype 3(DENV-3) genotype III whole genomes isolated from Asia and the Americas. We analyzed them together with previously-sequenced isolates to gain a more detailed understanding of the evolutionary adaptations existing in this prevalent American serotype. In order to analyze the phylogenetic dynamics of DENV-3 during outbreak periods; we incorporated datasets of 48 and 11 sequences spanning two major outbreaks in Venezuela during 2001 and 2007-2008 respectively. Our phylogenetic analysis of newly sequenced viruses shows that subsets of genomes cluster primarily by geographic location, and secondarily by time of virus isolation. DENV-3 genotype III sequences from Asia are significantly divergent from those from the Americas due to their geographical separation and subsequent speciation. We measured amino acid variation for the E protein by calculating the Shannon entropy at each position between Asian and American genomes. We found a cluster of 7 amino acid substitutions having high variability within E protein domain III, which has previously been implicated in serotype-specific neutralization escape mutants. No novel mutations were found in the E protein of sequences isolated during either Venezuelan outbreak. Shannon entropy analysis of the NS5 polymerase mature protein revealed that a G374E mutation, in a region that contributes to interferon resistance in other flaviviruses by interfering with JAK-STAT signaling was present in both the Asian and American sequences from the 2007-2008 Venezuelan outbreak, but was absent in the sequences from the 2001 Venezuelan outbreak. In addition to E, several NS5 amino acid changes were unique to the 2007-2008 epidemic in Venezuela and may give additional insight into the adaptive response of DENV-3 at the population level.
Dengue 3 virus; phylogeny; E protein; NS5 protein; Venezuela; whole genome sequence
Influenza A viral nucleoprotein (NP) plays a critical role in virus replication and host adaptation, however, the underlying molecular evolutionary dynamics of NP lineages are less well-understood. In this study, large-scale analyses of 7,517 NP nucleotide sequences revealed eight distinct evolutionary lineages, including three host-specific lineages (human, classic swine and equine), two cross-host lineages (Eurasian avian-like swine and swine-origin human pandemic H1N1 2009) and three geographically isolated avian lineages (Eurasian, North American and Oceanian). The average nucleotide substitution rate of the NP lineages was estimated to be 2.4 × 10−3 substitutions per site per year, with the highest value observed in pandemic H1N1 2009 (3.4 × 10−3) and the lowest in equine (0.9 × 10−3). The estimated time of most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) for each lineage demonstrated that the earliest human lineage was derived around 1906, and the latest pandemic H1N1 2009 lineage dated back to Dec 17, 2008. A marked time gap was found between the times when the viruses emerged and were firstly sampled, suggesting the crucial role for long-term surveillance of newly emerging viruses. The selection analyses showed that human lineage had six positive selection sites, whereas pandemic H1N1 2009, classical swine, Eurasian avian and Eurasian swine had only one or two sites. Protein structure analyses revealed several positive selection sites located in epitope regions or host adaptation regions, indicating strong adaptation to host immune system pressures in influenza viruses. Along with previous studies, this study provides new insights into the evolutionary dynamics of influenza A NP lineages. Further lineage analyses of other gene segments will allow better understanding of influenza A virus evolution and assist in the improvement of global influenza surveillance.
influenza; nucleoprotein (NP); lineage; substitution rate; TMRCA; selection
Listeria monocytogenes lineages III and IV represent two uncommon lineages of the human and animal pathogen L. monocytogenes, characterized by occurrence of unusual phenotypic and genetic characteristics that differentiate them from the common lineages I and II. To gain further insights into the evolution of lineages III and IV, we amplified and sequenced housekeeping genes (i.e., gap, prs, purM, ribC, and sigB), internalin genes (i.e., inlA, inlB, inlC, inlG, inlC2, inlD, inlE, inlF, and inlH) and the virulence gene cluster containing prfA, plcA, hly, mpl, actA, and plcB for lineage III (n=7) and IV (n=4) isolates. Phylogenetic analyses of the sequences obtained along with previously reported sequence data for 40 isolates representing lineages I (n=18), II (n=21), and III (n=1), showed that lineages III and IV represent divergent and monophyletic lineages. The virulence gene cluster as well as the inlAB operon were present in all isolates, with inlF absent from all lineage III and IV isolates. While all lineage IV isolates contained only inlC (in addition to inlAB), lineage III isolates showed considerable diversity with regard to internalin gene presence, including presence of (i) only inlC (n=2), (ii) inlC and inlGC2DE (n=3), (iii) only inlGC2DE (n=2), and (iv) inlC and inlC2DE (n=1). In addition to evidence for horizontal gene transfer events, among lineage III and IV isolates, in prs, actA, plcB, mpl, inlA, inlB, inlG, inlD, and inlE, we also found significant evidence for positive selection in the hly promoter region and, along the lineage III and IV branches, for actA (including in sites recognized for interactions with proteins involved in actin tail polymerization). In conclusion, lineages III and IV represent two distinct monophyletic groups with contributions of intragenic recombination to the evolution of their internalin genes as well as contributions of positive selection to evolution of the virulence genes island.
Listeria monocytogenes; molecular evolution; positive selection; recombination; virulence genes; internalins