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1.  Cloning, Expression and Characterization of a Lipase Encoding Gene from Human Oral Metagenome 
Indian Journal of Microbiology  2014;54(3):284-292.
The human oral metagenomic DNA cloned into plasmid pUC19 was used to construct a DNA library in Escherichia coli. Functional screening of 40,000 metagenomic clones led to identification of a clone LIP2 that exhibited halo on tributyrin agar plate. Sequence analysis of LIP2 insert DNA revealed a 939 bp ORF (omlip1) which showed homology to lipase 1 of Acinetobacter junii SH205. The omlip1 ORF was cloned and expressed in E. coli BL21 (DE3) using pET expression system. The recombinant enzyme was purified to homogeneity and the biochemical properties were studied. The purified OMLip1 hydrolyzed p-nitrophenyl esters and triacylglycerol esters of medium and long chain fatty acids, indicating the enzyme is a true lipase. The purified protein exhibited a pH and temperature optima of 7 and 37 °C respectively. The lipase was found to be stable at pH range of 6–7 and at temperatures lower than 40 °C. Importantly, the enzyme activity was unaltered, by the presence or absence of many divalent cations. The metal ion insensitivity of OMLip1offers its potential use in industrial processes.
PMCID: PMC4039722  PMID: 24891735
Lipase; Human oral cavity; Metagenome; Biosensor
2.  Draft Genome Sequence of Brucella abortus Virulent Strain 544 
Genome Announcements  2015;3(3):e00419-15.
Here, we present the draft genome sequence and annotation of Brucella abortus virulent strain 544. The genome of this strain is 3,289,405 bp long, with 57.2% G+C content. A total of 3,259 protein-coding genes and 60 RNA genes were predicted.
PMCID: PMC4424312  PMID: 25953161
3.  Draft Genome Sequence of Brucella abortus S99: Designated Antigenic Smooth Reference Strain Used in Diagnostic Tests in India 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(4):e00824-14.
Brucella abortus strain S99 is widely used for the preparation of colored, plain, recombinant and smooth lipopolysaccharide antigens for the preparation of Brucella diagnostic kits. The genome of this strain was sequenced and the length of the genome was 3,253,175 bp, with 57.2% G+C content. A total of 3,365 protein coding genes and 53 RNA genes were predicted.
PMCID: PMC4153478  PMID: 25146137
4.  Elevated Levels of Circulating DNA in Cardiovascular Disease Patients: Metagenomic Profiling of Microbiome in the Circulation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105221.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide. An expanding body of evidence supports the role of human microbiome in the establishment of CVDs and, this has gained much attention recently. This work was aimed to study the circulating human microbiome in CVD patients and healthy subjects. The levels of circulating cell free DNA (circDNA) was higher in CVD patients (n = 80) than in healthy controls (n = 40). More specifically, the relative levels of circulating bacterial DNA and the ratio of 16S rRNA/β-globin gene copy numbers were higher in the circulation of CVD patients than healthy individuals. In addition, we found a higher circulating microbial diversity in CVD patients (n = 3) in comparison to healthy individuals (n = 3) by deep shotgun sequencing. At the phylum level, we observed a dominance of Actinobacteria in CVD patients, followed by Proteobacteria, in contrast to that in healthy controls, where Proteobacteria was predominantly enriched, followed by Actinobacteria. The circulating virome in CVD patients was enriched with bacteriophages with a preponderance of Propionibacterium phages, followed by Pseudomonas phages and Rhizobium phages in contrast to that in healthy individuals, where a relatively greater abundance of eukaryotic viruses dominated by Lymphocystis virus (LCV) and Torque Teno viruses (TTV) was observed. Thus, the release of bacterial and viral DNA elements in the circulation could play a major role leading to elevated circDNA levels in CVD patients. The increased circDNA levels could be either the cause or consequence of CVD incidence, which needs to be explored further.
PMCID: PMC4136842  PMID: 25133738
5.  Genome Sequencing of a Mung Bean Plant Growth Promoting Strain of P. aeruginosa with Biocontrol Ability 
Pseudomonas aeruginosa PGPR2 is a mung bean rhizosphere strain that produces secondary metabolites and hydrolytic enzymes contributing to excellent antifungal activity against Macrophomina phaseolina, one of the prevalent fungal pathogens of mung bean. Genome sequencing was performed using the Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine generating 1,354,732 reads (6,772,433 sequenced bases) achieving ~25-fold coverage of the genome. Reference genome assembly using MIRA 3.4.0 yielded 198 contigs. The draft genome of PGPR2 encoded 6803 open reading frames, of which 5314 were genes with predicted functions, 1489 were genes of known functions, and 80 were RNA-coding genes. Strain specific and core genes of P. aeruginosa PGPR2 that are relevant to rhizospheric habitat were identified by pangenome analysis. Genes involved in plant growth promoting function such as synthesis of ACC deaminase, indole-3-acetic acid, trehalose, mineral scavenging siderophores, hydrogen cyanide, chitinases, acyl homoserine lactones, acetoin, 2,3-butanediol, and phytases were identified. In addition, niche-specific genes such as phosphate solubilising 3-phytase, adhesins, pathway-specific transcriptional regulators, a diguanylate cyclase involved in cellulose synthesis, a receptor for ferrienterochelin, a DEAD/DEAH-box helicase involved in stress tolerance, chemotaxis/motility determinants, an HtpX protease, and enzymes involved in the production of a chromanone derivative with potent antifungal activity were identified.
PMCID: PMC4144306  PMID: 25184130
6.  Insect gut microbiome - An unexploited reserve for biotechnological application 
Metagenomics research has been developed over the past decade to elucidate the genomes of the uncultured microorganisms with an aim of understanding microbial ecology. On the other hand, it has also been provoked by the increasing biotechnological demands for novel enzymes, antibiotic and signal mimics. The gut microbiota of insects plays crucial roles in the growth, development and environmental adaptation to the host insects. Very recently, the insect microbiota and their genomes (microbiome), isolated from insects were recognized as a major genetic resources for bio-processing industry. Consequently, the exploitation of insect gut microbiome using metagenomic approaches will enable us to find novel biocatalysts and to develop innovative strategies for identifying smart molecules for biotechnological applications. In this review, we discuss the critical footstep in extraction and purification of metagenomic DNA from insect gut, construction of metagenomic libraries and screening procedure for novel gene identification. Recent innovations and potential applications in bioprocess industries are highlighted.
PMCID: PMC4025310  PMID: 25183073
Microbiome; Metagenomics; Non-cultivable microbes; 16S rRNA; Gypsy moth; Termite gut
7.  Assessment of Microbial Richness in Pelagic Sediment of Andaman Sea by Bacterial Tag Encoded FLX Titanium Amplicon Pyrosequencing (bTEFAP) 
Indian Journal of Microbiology  2012;52(4):544-550.
Microbial diversity of 1,000 m deep pelagic sediment from off Coast of Andaman Sea was analyzed by a culture independent technique, bacterial tag encoded FLX titanium amplicon pyrosequencing. The hypervariable region of small subunit ribosomal rRNA gene covering V6–V9, was amplified from the metagenomic DNA and sequenced. We obtained 19,271 reads, of which 18,206 high quality sequences were subjected to diversity analysis. A total of 305 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were obtained corresponding to the members of firmicutes, proteobacteria, plantomycetes, actinobacteria, chloroflexi, bacteroidetes, and verucomicrobium. Firmicutes was the predominant phylum, which was largely represented with the family bacillaceae. More than 44 % of sequence reads could not be classified up to the species level and more than 14 % of the reads could not be assigned to any genus. Thus, the data indicates the possibility for the presence of uncultivable or unidentified novel bacterial species. In addition, the community structure identified in this study significantly differs with other reports from marine sediments.
PMCID: PMC3516664  PMID: 24293708
Metagenomics; 16S rRNA; Pyrosequencing; Microbial richness; Andaman Sea
8.  Draft Genome Sequence of Brucella melitensis Strain ADMAS-G1, Isolated from Placental Fluids of an Aborted Goat 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(5):e00809-13.
Here, we report the draft genome sequence and annotation of the Brucella melitensis strain designated ADMAS-G1, isolated from placental fluids of an aborted goat. The length of the genome is 3,284,982 bp, with a 57.3% GC content. A total of 3,325 protein-coding genes and 63 RNA genes were predicted.
PMCID: PMC3795211  PMID: 24115541
9.  Genome Sequence of Lactobacillus fermentum Strain MTCC 8711, a Probiotic Bacterium Isolated from Yogurt 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(5):e00770-13.
Lactobacillus fermentum strain MTCC 8711 is a lactic acid bacterium isolated from yogurt. Here, we describe the draft genome sequence and annotation of this strain. The 2,566,297-bp-long genome consisted of a single chromosome and seven plasmids. The genome contains 2,609 protein-coding and 74 RNA genes.
PMCID: PMC3784788  PMID: 24072868
10.  Mechanisms of the Antifungal Action of Marine Metagenome-Derived Peptide, MMGP1, against Candida albicans 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69316.
Development of resistant variants to existing antifungal drugs continues to be the serious problem in Candida albicans-induced fungal pathogenesis, which has a considerable impact on animal and human health. Identification and characterization of newer drugs against C. albicans is, therefore, essential. MMGP1 is a direct cell-penetrating peptide recently identified from marine metagenome, which was found to possess potent antifungal activity against C. albicans.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study, we investigated the mechanism of antifungal action of MMGP1 against C. albicans. Agarose gel shift assay found the peptide to be having a remarkable DNA-binding ability. The modification of the absorption spectra and fluorescence quenching of the tryptophyl residue correspond to the stacking between indole ring and nucleotide bases. The formation of peptide–DNA complexes was confirmed by fluorescence quenching of SYTO 9 probe. The interaction of peptide with plasmid DNA afforded protection of DNA from enzymatic degradation by DNase I. In vitro transcription of mouse β-actin gene in the presence of peptide led to a decrease in the level of mRNA synthesis. The C. albicans treated with MMGP1 showed strong inhibition of biosynthetic incorporation of uridine analog 5-ethynyluridine (EU) into nascent RNA, suggesting the peptide’s role in the inhibition of macromolecular synthesis. Furthermore, the peptide also induces endogenous accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in C. albicans. MMGP1 supplemented with glutathione showed an increased viability of C. albicans cells. The hyper-produced ROS by MMGP1 leads to increased levels of protein carbonyls and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances and it also causes dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential and DNA fragmentation in C. albicans cells.
And Significance: Therefore, the antifungal activity of MMGP1 could be attributed to its binding with DNA, causing inhibition of transcription followed by endogenous production of ROS, which triggers cascade of events that leads to cell death.
PMCID: PMC3699656  PMID: 23844258
11.  Inactivation of the Transcriptional Regulator-Encoding Gene sdiA Enhances Rice Root Colonization and Biofilm Formation in Enterobacter cloacae GS1 
Journal of Bacteriology  2013;195(1):39-45.
Enterobacter cloacae GS1 is a plant growth-promoting bacterium which colonizes rice roots. In the rhizosphere environment, N-acyl homoserine lactone (NAHL)-like quorum-sensing signals are known to be produced by host plants and other microbial inhabitants. E. cloacae GS1 was unable to synthesize NAHL quorum-sensing signals but had the NAHL-dependent transcriptional regulator-encoding gene sdiA. This study was aimed at understanding the effects of SdiA and NAHL-dependent cross talk in rice root colonization by E. cloacae GS1. Pleiotropic effects of sdiA inactivation included substantial increases in root colonization and biofilm formation, suggesting a negative role for SdiA in bacterial adhesion. We provide evidence that sdiA inactivation leads to elevated levels of biosynthesis of curli, which is involved in cellular adhesion. Extraneous addition of NAHLs had a negative effect on root colonization and biofilm formation. However, the sdiA mutant of E. cloacae GS1 was insensitive to NAHLs, suggesting that this NAHL-induced inhibition of root colonization and biofilm formation is SdiA dependent. Therefore, it is proposed that NAHLs produced by both plant and microbes in the rice rhizosphere act as cross-kingdom and interspecies signals to negatively impact cellular adhesion and, thereby, root colonization in E. cloacae GS1.
PMCID: PMC3536174  PMID: 23086212
12.  Antimicrobial Peptides: Versatile Biological Properties 
Antimicrobial peptides are diverse group of biologically active molecules with multidimensional properties. In recent past, a wide variety of AMPs with diverse structures have been reported from different sources such as plants, animals, mammals, and microorganisms. The presence of unusual amino acids and structural motifs in AMPs confers unique structural properties to the peptide that attribute for their specific mode of action. The ability of these active AMPs to act as multifunctional effector molecules such as signalling molecule, immune modulators, mitogen, antitumor, and contraceptive agent makes it an interesting candidate to study every aspect of their structural and biological properties for prophylactic and therapeutic applications. In addition, easy cloning and recombinant expression of AMPs in heterologous plant host systems provided a pipeline for production of disease resistant transgenic plants. Besides these properties, AMPs were also used as drug delivery vectors to deliver cell impermeable drugs to cell interior. The present review focuses on the diversity and broad spectrum antimicrobial activity of AMPs along with its multidimensional properties that could be exploited for the application of these bioactive peptides as a potential and promising drug candidate in pharmaceutical industries.
PMCID: PMC3710626  PMID: 23935642
13.  Genome Sequence of Staphylococcus arlettae Strain CVD059, Isolated from the Blood of a Cardiovascular Disease Patient 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(23):6615-6616.
We have isolated a Staphylococcus arlettae strain, strain CVD059, from the blood of a rheumatic mitral stenosis patient. Here, we report the genome sequence and potential virulence factors of this clinical isolate. The draft genome of S. arlettae CVD059 is 2,565,675 bp long with a G+C content of 33.5%.
PMCID: PMC3497490  PMID: 23144377
14.  Genome Sequence of the Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacterium Pseudomonas putida S11 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(21):6015.
Here we report the genome sequence of a plant growth-promoting rhizobacterium, Pseudomonas putida S11. The length of the draft genome sequence is approximately 5,970,799 bp, with a G+C content of 62.4%. The genome contains 6,076 protein-coding sequences.
PMCID: PMC3486102  PMID: 23045515
15.  Computational Small RNA Prediction in Bacteria 
Bacterial, small RNAs were once regarded as potent regulators of gene expression and are now being considered as essential for their diversified roles. Many small RNAs are now reported to have a wide array of regulatory functions, ranging from environmental sensing to pathogenesis. Traditionally, noncoding transcripts were rarely detected by means of genetic screens. However, the availability of approximately 2200 prokaryotic genome sequences in public databases facilitates the efficient computational search of those molecules, followed by experimental validation. In principle, the following four major computational methods were applied for the prediction of sRNA locations from bacterial genome sequences: (1) comparative genomics, (2) secondary structure and thermodynamic stability, (3) ‘Orphan’ transcriptional signals and (4) ab initio methods regardless of sequence or structure similarity; most of these tools were applied to locate the putative genomic sRNA locations followed by experimental validation of those transcripts. Therefore, computational screening has simplified the sRNA identification process in bacteria. In this review, a plethora of small RNA prediction methods and tools that have been reported in the past decade are discussed comprehensively and assessed based on their attributes, compatibility, and their prediction accuracy.
PMCID: PMC3596055  PMID: 23516022
comparative genomics; base composition; ncRNA; sRNA prediction; structure stability; transcriptional signal
16.  Genome Sequence of the Plant Growth-Promoting Bacterium Enterobacter cloacae GS1 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(16):4479.
Here, we present the genome sequence of Enterobacter cloacae GS1. This strain proficiently colonizes rice roots and promotes plant growth by improving plant nutrition. Analyses of the E. cloacae GS1 genome will throw light on the genetic factors involved in root colonization, growth promotion, and ecological success of this rhizobacterium.
PMCID: PMC3416234  PMID: 22843603
17.  Superantigen profiles of emm and emm-like typeable and nontypeable pharyngeal streptococcal isolates of South India 
The major virulence factors determining the pathogenicity of streptococcal strains include M protein encoded by emm and emm-like (emmL) genes and superantigens. In this study, the distribution of emm, emmL and superantigen genes was analyzed among the streptococcal strains isolated from the patients of acute pharyngitis.
The streptococcal strains were isolated from the throat swabs of 1040 patients of acute pharyngitis. The emm and emmL genes were PCR amplified from each strain and sequenced to determine the emm types. The dot-blot hybridization was performed to confirm the pathogens as true emm nontypeable strains. The presence of eleven currently known superantigens was determined in all the strains by multiplex PCR.
Totally, 124 beta-hemolytic streptococcal strains were isolated and they were classified as group A streptococcus (GAS) [15.3% (19/124)], group C streptococcus (GCS) [59.7% (74/124)] and group G streptococcus (GGS) [25.0% (31/124)]. Among 124 strains, only 35 strains were emm typeable and the remaining 89 strains were emm nontypeable. All GAS isolates were typeable, whereas most of the GCS and GGS strains were nontypeable. These nontypeable strains belong to S. anginosus [75.3% (67/89)] and S. dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis [24.7% (22/89)]. The emm and emmL types identified in this study include emm12.0 (28.6%), stG643.0 (28.6%), stC46.0 (17.0%), emm30.11 (8.5%), emm3.0 (2.9%), emm48.0 (5.7%), st3343.0 (2.9%), emm107.0 (2.9%) and stS104.2 (2.9%). Various superantigen profiles were observed in typeable as well as nontypeable strains.
Multiplex PCR analysis revealed the presence of superantigens in all the typeable strains irrespective of their emm types. However, the presence of superantigen genes in emm and emmL nontypeable strains has not been previously reported. In this study, presence of at least one or a combination of superantigen coding genes was identified in all the emm and emmL nontypeable strains. Thus, the superantigens may inevitably play an important role in the pathogenesis of these nontypeable strains in the absence of the primary virulence factor, M protein.
PMCID: PMC3296615  PMID: 22296671
Pharyngeal streptococci; emm typing; superantigen profiling
18.  Global transcriptome analysis of Bacillus cereus ATCC 14579 in response to silver nitrate stress 
Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were synthesized using Bacillus cereus strains. Earlier, we had synthesized monodispersive crystalline silver nanoparticles using B. cereus PGN1 and ATCC14579 strains. These strains have showed high level of resistance to silver nitrate (1 mM) but their global transcriptomic response has not been studied earlier. In this study, we investigated the cellular and metabolic response of B. cereus ATCC14579 treated with 1 mM silver nitrate for 30 & 60 min. Global expression profiling using genomic DNA microarray indicated that 10% (n = 524) of the total genes (n = 5234) represented on the microarray were up-regulated in the cells treated with silver nitrate. The majority of genes encoding for chaperones (GroEL), nutrient transporters, DNA replication, membrane proteins, etc. were up-regulated. A substantial number of the genes encoding chemotaxis and flagellar proteins were observed to be down-regulated. Motility assay of the silver nitrate treated cells revealed reduction in their chemotactic activity compared to the control cells. In addition, 14 distinct transcripts overexpressed from the 'empty' intergenic regions were also identified and proposed as stress-responsive non-coding small RNAs.
PMCID: PMC3247866  PMID: 22071005
silver nitrate stress; silver nanoparticles; transcriptomics; Bacillus cereus, sRNA
19.  Identification and characterization of alkaline serine protease from goat skin surface metagenome 
AMB Express  2011;1:3.
Metagenomic DNA isolated from goat skin surface was used to construct plasmid DNA library in Escherichia coli DH10B. Recombinant clones were screened for functional protease activity on skim milk agar plates. Upon screening 70,000 clones, a clone carrying recombinant plasmid pSP1 exhibited protease activity. In vitro transposon mutagenesis and sequencing of the insert DNA in this clone revealed an ORF of 1890 bp encoding a protein with 630 amino acids which showed significant sequence homology to the peptidase S8 and S53 subtilisin kexin sedolisin of Shewanella sp. This ORF was cloned in pET30b and expressed in E. coli BL21 (DE3). Although the cloned Alkaline Serine protease (AS-protease) was overexpressed, it was inactive as a result of forming inclusion bodies. After solubilisation, the protease was purified using Ni-NTA chromatography and then refolded properly to retain protease activity. The purified AS-protease with a molecular mass of ~63 kDa required a divalent cation (Co2+ or Mn2+) for its improved activity. The pH and temperature optima for this protease were 10.5 and 42°C respectively.
PMCID: PMC3159910  PMID: 21906326
goat skin; metagenome; metagenomic library; serine protease; alkaline protease

Results 1-19 (19)