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1.  Characterization of bacterial community shift in human Ulcerative Colitis patients revealed by Illumina based 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing 
Gut Pathogens  2014;6:22.
Background
The healthy human intestine is represented by the presence of bacterial communities predominantly belonging to obligate anaerobes; however disparity and dysanaerobiosis in intestinal microflora may lead to the progression of ulcerative colitis (UC). The foremost aim of this study is to consider and compare the gut microbiota composition in patients suffering from different stages of UC.
Methods
This study represents data from the biopsy samples of six individuals suffering from UC. The samples were collected by colonoscopy and were processed immediately for isolation of DNA. Mucosal microbiota was analyzed by means of 16S rRNA gene-based Illumina high throughput sequencing. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) was performed to determine total bacterial abundances.
Results
Analysis of 23,927 OTUs demonstrated a significant reduction of bacterial diversity consistently from phylum to species level (p < 0.05) for individuals suffering from severe stage of UC. Significant increase in abundance of unusual aerobes and facultative anaerobes, including members from the phylum Proteobacteria (p- = 0.031) was also observed. A 10 fold increase in the total bacterial count was detected in patients suffering from severe inflammatory stage (2.98 +/-0.49 E + 09/ml) when compared with patients with moderate (1.03+/-0.29 E + 08/ml) and mild (1.76 +/-0.34 E + 08/ml) stages of inflammation.
Conclusion
The reduction of bacterial diversity with an increase in the total bacterial count indicates a shift of bacterial communities which signifies dysbiosis and dysanaerobiosis at the mucosal level for patients suffering from UC.
doi:10.1186/1757-4749-6-22
PMCID: PMC4094692  PMID: 25018784
Inflammatory disease; Bacterial community shift; 16S rRNA gene; High through-put sequencing; QIIME analysis
3.  ε-Caprolactam Utilization by Proteus sp. and Bordetella sp. Isolated From Solid Waste Dumpsites in Lagos State, Nigeria, First Report 
Indian Journal of Microbiology  2013;53(2):221-226.
The ε-caprolactam is the monomer of the synthetic non-degradable nylon-6 and often found as nonreactive component of nylon-6 manufacturing waste effluent. Environmental consequences of its toxicity to natural habitats and humans pose a global public concern. Soil samples were collected from three designated solid waste dumpsites, namely, Abule-Egba, Olusosun and Isheri-Igando in Lagos State, Nigeria. Sixteen bacteria isolated from these samples were found to utilize the ε-caprolactam as a sole source of carbon and nitrogen at concentration of ≤20 g l−1. The isolates were characterized using their 16S rRNA gene sequence and showed similarity with Pseudomonas sp., Proteus sp., Providencia sp., Corynebacterium sp., Lysinibacillus sp., Leucobacter sp., Alcaligenes sp. and Bordetella sp. Their optimal growth conditions were found to be at temperature range of 30 to 35 °C and pH range of 7.0–7.5. High Performance liquid chromatography analysis of the ε-caprolactam from supernatant of growth medium revealed that these isolates have potential to remove 31.6–95.7 % of ε-caprolactam. To the best of our knowledge, this study is first to report the ability of Proteus sp. and Bordetella sp. for ε-caprolactam utilization.
doi:10.1007/s12088-013-0356-5
PMCID: PMC3626951  PMID: 24426112
ε-Caprolactam; Biodegradation; Bacteria; 16S rRNA; HPLC
4.  Acquired Genetic Mechanisms of a Multiresistant Bacterium Isolated from a Treatment Plant Receiving Wastewater from Antibiotic Production 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(23):7256-7263.
The external environment, particularly wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), where environmental bacteria meet human commensals and pathogens in large numbers, has been highlighted as a potential breeding ground for antibiotic resistance. We have isolated the extensively drug-resistant Ochrobactrum intermedium CCUG 57381 from an Indian WWTP receiving industrial wastewater from pharmaceutical production contaminated with high levels of quinolones. Antibiotic susceptibility testing against 47 antibiotics showed that the strain was 4 to >500 times more resistant to sulfonamides, quinolones, tetracyclines, macrolides, and the aminoglycoside streptomycin than the type strain O. intermedium LMG 3301T. Whole-genome sequencing identified mutations in the Indian strain causing amino acid substitutions in the target enzymes of quinolones. We also characterized three acquired regions containing resistance genes to sulfonamides (sul1), tetracyclines [tet(G) and tetR], and chloramphenicol/florfenicol (floR). Furthermore, the Indian strain harbored acquired mechanisms for horizontal gene transfer, including a type I mating pair-forming system (MPFI), a MOBP relaxase, and insertion sequence transposons. Our results highlight that WWTPs serving antibiotic manufacturing may provide nearly ideal conditions for the recruitment of resistance genes into human commensal and pathogenic bacteria.
doi:10.1128/AEM.02141-13
PMCID: PMC3837729  PMID: 24038701
5.  Microbiology of Lonar Lake and other soda lakes 
The ISME Journal  2012;7(3):468-476.
Soda lakes are saline and alkaline ecosystems that are believed to have existed throughout the geological record of Earth. They are widely distributed across the globe, but are highly abundant in terrestrial biomes such as deserts and steppes and in geologically interesting regions such as the East African Rift valley. The unusual geochemistry of these lakes supports the growth of an impressive array of microorganisms that are of ecological and economic importance. Haloalkaliphilic Bacteria and Archaea belonging to all major trophic groups have been described from many soda lakes, including lakes with exceptionally high levels of heavy metals. Lonar Lake is a soda lake that is centered at an unusual meteorite impact structure in the Deccan basalts in India and its key physicochemical and microbiological characteristics are highlighted in this article. The occurrence of diverse functional groups of microbes, such as methanogens, methanotrophs, phototrophs, denitrifiers, sulfur oxidizers, sulfate reducers and syntrophs in soda lakes, suggests that these habitats harbor complex microbial food webs that (a) interconnect various biological cycles via redox coupling and (b) impact on the production and consumption of greenhouse gases. Soda lake microorganisms harbor several biotechnologically relevant enzymes and biomolecules (for example, cellulases, amylases, ectoine) and there is the need to augment bioprospecting efforts in soda lake environments with new integrated approaches. Importantly, some saline and alkaline lake ecosystems around the world need to be protected from anthropogenic pressures that threaten their long-term existence.
doi:10.1038/ismej.2012.137
PMCID: PMC3578565  PMID: 23178675
Lonar Lake; soda lakes; alkaliphiles; stable-isotope probing; microbial prospecting
6.  Functional sub-division of the Drosophila genome via chromatin looping 
Nucleus  2013;4(2):115-122.
Insulators help in organizing the eukaryotic genomes into physically and functionally autonomous regions through the formation of chromatin loops. Recent findings in Drosophila and vertebrates suggest that insulators anchor multiple loci through long-distance interactions which may be mechanistically linked to insulator function. Important to such processes in Drosophila is CP190, a common co-factor of insulator complexes. CP190 is also known to associate with the nuclear matrix, components of the RNAi machinery, active promoters and borders of the repressive chromatin domains. Although CP190 plays a pivotal role in insulator function in Drosophila, vertebrates lack a probable functional equivalent of CP190 and employ CTCF as the major factor to carry out insulator function/chromatin looping. In this review, we discuss the emerging role of CP190 in tethering genome, specifically in the perspective of insulator function in Drosophila. Future studies aiming genome-wide role of CP190 in chromatin looping is likely to give important insights into the mechanism of genome organization.
doi:10.4161/nucl.23389
PMCID: PMC3621743  PMID: 23333867
Insulators; CP190; long-range interactions; chromatin organization
7.  Ectopically tethered CP190 induces large-scale chromatin decondensation 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3917.
Insulator mediated alteration in higher-order chromatin and/or nucleosome organization is an important aspect of epigenetic gene regulation. Recent studies have suggested a key role for CP190 in such processes. In this study, we analysed the effects of ectopically tethered insulator factors on chromatin structure and found that CP190 induces large-scale decondensation when targeted to a condensed lacO array in mammalian and Drosophila cells. In contrast, dCTCF alone, is unable to cause such a decondensation, however, when CP190 is present, dCTCF recruits it to the lacO array and mediates chromatin unfolding. The CP190 induced opening of chromatin may not be correlated with transcriptional activation, as binding of CP190 does not enhance luciferase activity in reporter assays. We propose that CP190 may mediate histone modification and chromatin remodelling activity to induce an open chromatin state by its direct recruitment or targeting by a DNA binding factor such as dCTCF.
doi:10.1038/srep03917
PMCID: PMC3905270  PMID: 24472778
8.  Midgut Microbial Community of Culex quinquefasciatus Mosquito Populations from India 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80453.
The mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus is a ubiquitous species that serves as a major vector for west nile virus and lymphatic filariasis. Ingestion of bloodmeal by females triggers a series of physiological processes in the midgut and also exposes them to infection by these pathogens. The bacteria normally harbored in the midgut are known to influence physiology and can also alter the response to various pathogens. The midgut bacteria in female Cx. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes collected over a large geographical area from India was studied. Examination of 16S ribosomal DNA amplicons from culturable microflora revealed the presence of 83 bacterial species belonging to 31 bacterial genera. All of these species belong to three phyla i.e. Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Actinobacteria. Phylum Proteobacteria was the most dominant phylum (37 species), followed by Firmicutes (33 species) and Actinobacteria (13 species). Phylum Proteobacteria, was dominated by members of γ-proteobacteria class. The genus Staphylococcus was the largest genus represented by 11 species whereas Enterobacter was the most prevalent genus and recovered from all the field stations except Leh. Highest bacterial prevalence was observed from Bhuj (22 species) followed by Nagrota (18 species), Masimpur (18 species) and Hathigarh (16 species). Whereas, least species were observed from Leh (8 species). It has been observed that individual mosquito harbor extremely diverse gut bacteria and have very small overlap bacterial taxa in their gut. This variation in midgut microbiota may be one of the factors responsible for variation in disease transmission rates or vector competence within mosquito population. The present data strongly encourage further investigations to verify the potential role of the detected bacteria in mosquito for the transmission of lymphatic filariasis and west nile virus. To the best of our knowledge this is the first study on midgut microbiota of wild Cx. quinquefasciatus from over a large geographical area.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080453
PMCID: PMC3843677  PMID: 24312223
9.  Comparative Genome Analysis of Megasphaera sp. Reveals Niche Specialization and Its Potential Role in the Human Gut 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79353.
With increasing number of novel bacteria being isolated from the human gut ecosystem, there is a greater need to study their role in the gut ecosystem and their effect on the host health. In the present study, we carried out in silico genome-wide analysis of two novel Megasphaera sp. isolates NM10 (DSM25563) and BL7 (DSM25562), isolated from feces of two healthy individuals and validated the key features by in vitro studies. The analysis revealed the general metabolic potential, adaptive features and the potential effects of these isolates on the host. The comparative genome analysis of the two human gut isolates NM10 and BL7 with ruminal isolate Megasphaera elsdenii (DSM20460) highlighted the differential adaptive features for their survival in human gut. The key findings include features like bile resistance, presence of various sensory and regulatory systems, stress response systems, membrane transporters and resistance to antibiotics. Comparison of the “glycobiome” based on the genomes of the ruminal isolate with the human gut isolates NM10 and BL revealed the presence of diverse and unique sets of Carbohydrate-Active enzymes (CAZymes) amongst these isolates, with a higher collection of CAZymes in the human gut isolates. This could be attributed to the difference in host diet and thereby the environment, consequently suggesting host specific adaptation in these isolates. In silico analysis of metabolic potential predicted the ability of these isolates to produce important metabolites like short chain fatty acids (butyrate, acetate, formate, and caproate), vitamins and essential amino acids, which was further validated by in vitro experiments. The ability of these isolates to produce important metabolites advocates for a potential healthy influence on the host. Further in vivo studies including transcriptomic and proteomic analysis will be required for better understanding the role and impact of these Megasphaera sp. isolates NM10 and BL7 on the human host.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079353
PMCID: PMC3832451  PMID: 24260205
10.  A Treatment Plant Receiving Waste Water from Multiple Bulk Drug Manufacturers Is a Reservoir for Highly Multi-Drug Resistant Integron-Bearing Bacteria 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77310.
The arenas and detailed mechanisms for transfer of antibiotic resistance genes between environmental bacteria and pathogens are largely unclear. Selection pressures from antibiotics in situations where environmental bacteria and human pathogens meet are expected to increase the risks for such gene transfer events. We hypothesize that waste-water treatment plants (WWTPs) serving antibiotic manufacturing industries may provide such spawning grounds, given the high bacterial densities present there together with exceptionally strong and persistent selection pressures from the antibiotic-contaminated waste. Previous analyses of effluent from an Indian industrial WWTP that processes waste from bulk drug production revealed the presence of a range of drugs, including broad spectrum antibiotics at extremely high concentrations (mg/L range). In this study, we have characterized the antibiotic resistance profiles of 93 bacterial strains sampled at different stages of the treatment process from the WWTP against 39 antibiotics belonging to 12 different classes. A large majority (86%) of the strains were resistant to 20 or more antibiotics. Although there were no classically-recognized human pathogens among the 93 isolated strains, opportunistic pathogens such as Ochrobactrum intermedium, Providencia rettgeri, vancomycin resistant Enterococci (VRE), Aerococcus sp. and Citrobacter freundii were found to be highly resistant. One of the O. intermedium strains (ER1) was resistant to 36 antibiotics, while P. rettgeri (OSR3) was resistant to 35 antibiotics. Class 1 and 2 integrons were detected in 74/93 (80%) strains each, and 88/93 (95%) strains harbored at least one type of integron. The qPCR analysis of community DNA also showed an unprecedented high prevalence of integrons, suggesting that the bacteria living under such high selective pressure have an appreciable potential for genetic exchange of resistance genes via mobile gene cassettes. The present study provides insight into the mechanisms behind and the extent of multi-drug resistance among bacteria living under an extreme antibiotic selection pressure.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077310
PMCID: PMC3812170  PMID: 24204801
11.  In vitro antibacterial activity of Tabernaemontana alternifolia (Roxb) stem bark aqueous extracts against clinical isolates of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
Background
The rise of antibiotic resistance among methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), have caused concerns for the treatment of MRSA infections. Hence, search for an alternative therapy for these infections is inevitable. Folk Indian medicine refers to the use of leaf and stem bark powder of Tabernaemontana alternifolia (Roxb) in treatment of skin infections, but no scientific report establishes its antibacterial activity.
Methods
Direct aqueous extracts and sequential aqueous extracts of the stem bark of T. alternifolia (using petroleum ether and ethyl acetate as other solvents) were prepared by soxhlet extraction. The antibiotic sensitivity profiles of the clinical isolates were determined against 18 antibiotics using disc diffusion method. The isolates were identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The methicillin resistance among S. aureus (MRSA) was confirmed by PCR amplification of mecA gene. The disc diffusion method was used to determine the antibacterial activity of the extracts. The micro-dilution method was used to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the extract against the test organism. To further evaluate the therapeutic potential of the extract, cell cytotoxicity was checked on Vero cells by MTT assay. Chemical profiling of the extract was done by HPTLC method.
Results
The aqueous extracts of T. alternifolia stem bark exhibited antibacterial activity against Gram-positive microorganisms, particularly against clinical isolates of MRSA and vancomycin resistant S. aureus (VRSA). The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of extract against the isolates ranged from 600–800 μg/ml. The extract did not exhibit cytotoxic activity against Vero cells even at the concentration of 4 mg/ml. The chemical profiling revealed presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, coumarins, saponins and steroids. Petroleum ether and ethyl acetate extracts did not exhibit antibacterial activity.
Conclusion
Our results offer a scientific basis for the traditional use of T. alternifolia in the treatment of skin infections, showing that the plant extract has an enormous potential as a prospective alternative therapy against MRSA skin infections. The present study lays the basis for future studies, to validate the possible use of T. alternifolia as a candidate in the treatment of MRSA infections.
doi:10.1186/1476-0711-12-26
PMCID: PMC3851168  PMID: 24066905
Tabernaemontana alternifolia (Roxb); Anti-MRSA; Cytotoxicity; Plant extract; Antimicrobial
12.  Opportunities and challenges for gut microbiome studies in the Indian population 
Microbiome  2013;1:24.
The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem that affects the development, immunological responses and nutritional status of the host. Efforts are being made to unravel the complex interaction between the gut microbiome and host to have a greater understanding about its role in human health. Colonization of the gut by microbes begins at birth, but the succession and composition of the microbial community depends on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the age, diet, genetic composition, gender, geographic location, and health status of an individual. Therefore, inclusion of diverse human subjects in the study of the gut microbiome is indispensable. However, conducting such studies in India presents unique opportunities and challenges. The vast diversity in human genetic composition, dietary habits, and geographic distribution that exists in the Indian population adds to the complexity in understanding the gut microbiome. Gut microbiome-related studies from other parts of the world have reported a possible association of diseases such as obesity and diabetes with the human gut microbiome. In contrast, an in-depth assessment of risk factors associated with altered gut microbiome in such diseases in the Indian population is lacking. Studies including the Indian population may give insights into the association of the gut microbiome with various factors and diseases that may not be possible from studies on western populations. This review briefly discusses the significance of the gut microbiome on human health and the present status of gut microbiome studies in the Indian population. In addition, this review will highlight the unique opportunities and challenges for gut microbiome studies in the Indian population.
doi:10.1186/2049-2618-1-24
PMCID: PMC3971629  PMID: 24451035
Gut microbiome; Indian population; Diversity; Genetics; Diet
13.  Draft Genome Sequence of Methylophaga lonarensis MPLT, a Haloalkaliphilic (Non-Methane-Utilizing) Methylotroph 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(3):e00202-13.
Methylophaga lonarensis strain MPLT is a haloalkaliphilic methylotroph isolated from Lonar Lake, a saline and alkaline lake in Maharashtra, India. Strain MPLT utilizes methanol as its sole carbon and energy source. Here, we present the draft genome sequence of M. lonarensis MPLT (VKM B-2684T = MCC 1002T).
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00202-13
PMCID: PMC3650440  PMID: 23661481
14.  Conserved boundary elements from the Hox complex of mosquito, Anopheles gambiae 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;41(2):804-816.
The conservation of hox genes as well as their genomic organization across the phyla suggests that this system of anterior–posterior axis formation arose early during evolution and has come under strong selection pressure. Studies in the split Hox cluster of Drosophila have shown that proper expression of hox genes is dependent on chromatin domain boundaries that prevent inappropriate interactions among different types of cis-regulatory elements. To investigate whether boundary function and their role in regulation of hox genes is conserved in insects with intact Hox clusters, we used an algorithm to locate potential boundary elements in the Hox complex of mosquito, Anopheles gambiae. Several potential boundary elements were identified that could be tested for their functional conservation. Comparative analysis revealed that like Drosophila, the bithorax region in A. gambiae contains an extensive array of boundaries and enhancers organized into domains. We analysed a subset of candidate boundary elements and show that they function as enhancer blockers in Drosophila. The functional conservation of boundary elements from mosquito in fly suggests that regulation of hox genes involving chromatin domain boundaries is an evolutionary conserved mechanism and points to an important role of such elements in key developmentally regulated loci.
doi:10.1093/nar/gks1178
PMCID: PMC3553964  PMID: 23221647
15.  Determination of Wolbachia Diversity in Butterflies from Western Ghats, India, by a Multigene Approach 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(12):4458-4467.
Members of the genus Wolbachia are intracellular bacteria that are widespread in arthropods and establish diverse symbiotic associations with their hosts, ranging from mutualism to parasitism. Here we present the first detailed analyses of Wolbachia in butterflies from India with screening of 56 species. Twenty-nine species (52%) representing five families were positive for Wolbachia. This is the first report of Wolbachia infection in 27 of the 29 species; the other two were reported previously. This study also provides the first evidence of infection in the family Papilionidae. A striking diversity was observed among Wolbachia strains in butterfly hosts based on five multilocus sequence typing (MLST) genes, with 15 different sequence types (STs). Thirteen STs are new to the MLST database, whereas ST41 and ST125 were reported earlier. Some of the same host species from this study carried distinctly different Wolbachia strains, whereas the same or different butterfly hosts also harbored closely related Wolbachia strains. Butterfly-associated STs in the Indian sample originated by recombination and point mutation, further supporting the role of both processes in generating Wolbachia diversity. Recombination was detected only among the STs in this study and not in those from the MLST database. Most of the strains were remarkably similar in their wsp genotype, despite divergence in MLST. Only two wsp alleles were found among 25 individuals with complete hypervariable region (HVR) peptide profiles. Although both wsp and MLST show variability, MLST gives better separation between the strains. Completely different STs were characterized for the individuals sharing the same wsp alleles.
doi:10.1128/AEM.07298-11
PMCID: PMC3370507  PMID: 22504801
16.  Bacterial diversity in different regions of gastrointestinal tract of Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) 
MicrobiologyOpen  2012;1(4):415-426.
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract of invasive land snail Achatina fulica is known to harbor metabolically active bacterial communities. In this study, we assessed the bacterial diversity in the different regions of GI tract of Giant African snail, A. fulica by culture-independent and culture-dependent methods. Five 16S rRNA gene libraries from different regions of GI tract of active snails indicated that sequences affiliated to phylum γ-Proteobacteria dominated the esophagus, crop, intestine, and rectum libraries, whereas sequences affiliated to Tenericutes dominated the stomach library. On phylogenetic analysis, 30, 27, 9, 27, and 25 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from esophagus, crop, stomach, intestine, and rectum libraries were identified, respectively. Estimations of the total bacterial diversity covered along with environmental cluster analysis showed highest bacterial diversity in the esophagus and lowest in the stomach. Thirty-three distinct bacterial isolates were obtained, which belonged to 12 genera of two major bacterial phyla namely γ-Proteobacteria and Firmicutes. Among these, Lactococcus lactis and Kurthia gibsonii were the dominant bacteria present in all GI tract regions. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis indicated significant differences in bacterial load in different GI tract regions of active and estivating snails. The difference in the bacterial load between the intestines of active and estivating snail was maximum. Principal component analysis (PCA) of terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism suggested that bacterial community structure changes only in intestine when snail enters estivation state.
doi:10.1002/mbo3.38
PMCID: PMC3535387  PMID: 23233413
16S rRNA; bacterial diversity; Giant African Snail; quantitative PCR; T-RFLP
17.  Changes in human gut flora with age: an Indian familial study 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:222.
Background
The gut micro flora plays vital role in health status of the host. The majority of microbes residing in the gut have a profound influence on human physiology and nutrition. Different human ethnic groups vary in genetic makeup as well as the environmental conditions they live in. The gut flora changes with genetic makeup and environmental factors and hence it is necessary to understand the composition of gut flora of different ethnic groups. Indian population is different in physiology from western population (YY paradox) and thus the gut flora in Indian population is likely to differ from the extensively studied gut flora in western population. In this study we have investigated the gut flora of two Indian families, each with three individuals belonging to successive generations and living under the same roof.
Results
Denaturation gradient gel electrophoresis analysis showed age-dependant variation in gut microflora amongst the individuals within a family. Different bacterial genera were dominant in the individual of varying age in clone library analysis. Obligate anaerobes isolated from individuals within a family showed age related differences in isolation pattern, with 27% (6 out of 22) of the isolates being potential novel species based on 16S rRNA gene sequence. In qPCR a consistent decrease in Firmicutes number and increase in Bacteroidetes number with increasing age was observed in our subjects, this pattern of change in Firmicutes / Bacteroidetes ratio with age is different than previously reported in European population.
Conclusion
There is change in gut flora with age amongst the individuals within a family. The isolation of high percent of novel bacterial species and the pattern of change in Firmicutes /Bacteroidetes ratio with age suggests that the composition of gut flora in Indian individuals may be different than the western population. Thus, further extensive study is needed to define the gut flora in Indian population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-222
PMCID: PMC3511239  PMID: 23013146
Indian population; Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio; Human gut microflora; YY-paradox
18.  A Variant Quorum Sensing System in Aeromonas veronii MTCC 3249 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2012;12(4):3814-3830.
We have investigated the quorum sensing control in Aeromonas veronii MTCC 3249, originally isolated as A. culicicola from the midgut of Culex quinquefasciatus. Based on biosensor assays, the bacterium showed constant production of multiple acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) with increasing cell-density. The luxRI gene homologs, acuR (A. culicicola transcriptional Regulator) and acuI (A. culicicola autoInducer) were successfully amplified by inverse-PCR. Sequence analysis indicated acuRI were divergent from all known quorum sensing gene homologs in Aeromonas. Two localized regions in the C-terminal autoinducer binding domain of acuR showed indels suggesting variations in autoinducer specificity. Further, only a single copy of the quorum sensing genes was detected, suggesting a tight regulation of mechanisms under its control. Chromatography and further chemical analysis identified two AHLs in the culture supernatant: 6-carboxy-HHL (homoadipyl homoserine lactone), a novel AHL, and N-tetradecanoylhomoserine lactone. The existence of a potentially variant quorum sensing system might therefore, reflect in some way the ecological strategies adopted by this bacterium in the mosquito midgut.
doi:10.3390/s120403814
PMCID: PMC3355384  PMID: 22666003
Aeromonas; luxRI homolog; acuR; acuI; quorum sensing; AHL; mosquito midgut; 6-carboxy-HHL
19.  A Physical Map for an Asian Malaria Mosquito, Anopheles stephensi 
Physical mapping is a useful approach for studying genome organization and evolution as well as for genome sequence assembly. The availability of polytene chromosomes in malaria mosquitoes provides a unique opportunity to develop high-resolution physical maps. We report a 0.6-Mb-resolution physical map consisting of 422 DNA markers hybridized to 379 chromosomal sites of the Anopheles stephensi polytene chromosomes. This makes An. stephensi second only to Anopheles gambiae in density of a physical map among malaria mosquitoes. Three hundred sixty-three (363) probes hybridized to single chromosomal sites, whereas 59 clones yielded multiple signals. This physical map provided a suitable basis for comparative genomics, which was used for determining inversion breakpoints, duplications, and origin of novel genes across species.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.2010.10-0366
PMCID: PMC2963963  PMID: 21036831
20.  Characterization of novel extracellular protease produced by marine bacterial isolate from the Indian Ocean 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2011;42(4):1364-1373.
Out of the vast pool of enzymes, proteolytic enzymes from microorganisms are the most widely used in different industries such as detergent, food, peptide production etc. Several marine microorganisms are known to produce proteases with commercially desirable characteristics. We have isolated nine different cultures from marine samples of the Indian Ocean. All of them were i) motile ii) rod shaped iii) non spore forming iv) catalase and amylase positive v) able to grow in presence of 10 % NaCl. They produced acid from glucose, fructose and maltose and grew optimally at 30 °C temperature and pH 7.0–8.0. None of them could grow above 45 °C and below 15 °C. Only one of them (MBRI 7) exhibited extracellular protease activity on skim milk agar plates. Based on 16S rDNA sequencing, it belonged to the genus Marinobacter (98% sequence similarity, 1201 bp). The cell free extract was used to study effects of temperature and pH on protease activity. The optimum temperature and pH for activity were found to be 40 °C and 7.0 respectively. The crude enzyme was stable at temperature range of 30–80 °C and pH 5.0–9.0. It retained 60 % activity at 80 °C after 4 h and more than 70 % activity at 70 °C after 1 h. D value was found to be 342 minutes and 78 minutes for 40 °C and 80 °C respectively. Interestingly the enzyme remained 50 % active at pH 9.0 after 1 h. Comparison with other proteases from different microbial sources indicated that the neutral protease from the halotolerant marine isolate MBRI 7 is a novel enzyme with high thermostability.
doi:10.1590/S1517-838220110004000018
PMCID: PMC3768751  PMID: 24031765
Halotolerant; mesophilic; neutral protease; thermostable
21.  Location, location, location: Beneficial effects of autologous fat transplantation 
Scientific Reports  2011;1:81.
Visceral adiposity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disorders, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and associated metabolic diseases. Sub-cutaneous fat is believed to be intrinsically different from visceral fat. To understand molecular mechanisms involved in metabolic advantages of fat transplantation, we studied a rat model of diet-induced adiposity. Adipokine genes (Adiponectin, Leptin, Resistin and Visfatin) were expressed at 10,000 to a million-fold lower in visceral fat depot as compared to peripheral (thigh/chest) fat depots. Interestingly, autologous transplantation of visceral fat to subcutaneous sites resulted in increased gene transcript abundance in the grafts by 3 weeks post-transplantation, indicating the impact of local (residence) factors influencing epigenetic memory. We show here that active transcriptional state of adipokine genes is linked with glucose mediated recruitment of enzymes that regulate histone methylation. Adipose depots have “residence memory” and autologous transplantation of visceral fat to sub-cutaneous sites offers metabolic advantage.
doi:10.1038/srep00081
PMCID: PMC3216568  PMID: 22355600
22.  Lactobacillus plantarum (VR1) isolated from an Ayurvedic medicine (Kutajarista) ameliorates in vitro cellular damage caused by Aeromonas veronii 
BMC Microbiology  2011;11:152.
Background
Lactobacillus plantarum is considered as a safe and effective probiotic microorganism. Among various sources of isolation, traditionally fermented foods are considered to be rich in Lactobacillus spp., which can be exploited for their probiotic attribute. Antibacterial property of L. plantarum has been demonstrated against various enteric pathogens in both in vitro and in vivo systems. This study was aimed at characterizing L. plantarum isolated from Kutajarista, an ayurvedic fermented biomedicine, and assessing its antagonistic property against a common enteropathogen Aeromonas veronii.
Results
We report the isolation of L. plantarum (VR1) from Kutajarista, and efficacy of its cell free supernatant (CFS) in amelioration of cytotoxicity caused by Aeromonas veronii. On the part of probiotic attributes, VR1 was tolerant to pH 2, 0.3% bile salts and simulated gastric juice. Additionally, VR1 also exhibited adhesive property to human intestinal HT-29 cell line. Furthermore, CFS of VR1 was antibacterial to enteric pathogens like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Aeromonas veronii and clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa and E. coli. Detailed study regarding the effect of VR1 CFS on A. veronii cytotoxicity showed a significant decrease in vacuole formation and detrimental cellular changes in Vero cells. On the other hand, A. veronii CFS caused disruption of tight junction proteins ZO-1 and actin in MDCK cell line, which was prevented by pre-incubation with CFS of VR1.
Conclusions
This is the first study to report isolation of L. plantarum (VR1) from Kutajarista and characterisation for its probiotic attributes. Our study demonstrates the antagonistic property of VR1 to A. veronii and effect of VR1 CFS in reduction of cellular damage caused by A. veronii in both Vero and MDCK cell lines.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-11-152
PMCID: PMC3145568  PMID: 21707995
23.  Genus-Wide Physicochemical Evidence of Extracellular Crystalline Silver Nanoparticles Biosynthesis by Morganella spp 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21401.
This study was performed to determine whether extracellular silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) production is a genus-wide phenotype associated with all the members of genus Morganella, or only Morganella morganii RP-42 isolate is able to synthesize extracellular Ag nanoparticles. To undertake this study, all the available Morganella isolates were exposed to Ag+ ions, and the obtained nanoproducts were thoroughly analyzed using physico-chemical characterization tools such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM), UV-visible spectrophotometry (UV-vis), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. It was identified that extracellular biosynthesis of crystalline silver nanoparticles is a unique biochemical character of all the members of genus Morganella, which was found independent of environmental changes. Significantly, the inability of other closely related members of the family Enterobacteriaceae towards AgNPs synthesis strongly suggests that AgNPs synthesis in the presence of Ag+ ions is a phenotypic character that is uniquely associated with genus Morganella.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021401
PMCID: PMC3119697  PMID: 21713008
24.  Phylogenetic profiling of bacterial community from two intimately located sites in Balramgari, North-East coast of India 
Indian Journal of Microbiology  2009;49(2):169-187.
Microbial communities in coastal subsurface sediments play an important role in biogeochemical cycles. In this study microbial communities in tidal subsurface sediments of Balramgari in the state of Orissa, India were investigated using a culture independent approach. Two 16S rDNA cloned libraries were prepared from the closely located (100 m along the coast) subsurface sediment samples. Library I sediment samples had higher organic carbon content but lower sand percentage in comparison to Library II. A total of 310 clone sequences were used for DOTUR analysis which revealed 51 unique phylotypes or operational taxonomic units (OTUs) for both libraries. The OTUs were affiliated with 13 major lineages of domain bacteria including Proteobacteria (α, β, δ and λ), Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Chloroflexi, Firmicutes, Verrucomicrobia, Bacteroidetes, Gemmatimonadetes and TM7. We encountered few pathogenic bacteria such as Aeromonas hydrophila and Ochrobactrum intermedium, in sediment from Library I. ∫-LIBSHUFF comparison depicts that the two libraries were significantly different communities. Most of the OTUs from both libraries possessed ≥85% to <97% similarity to RDP database sequences depicting the putative presence of new species, genera and phylum. This work revealed the complex and unique bacterial diversity from coastal habitat of Balramgari and shows that, in coastal habitat a variability of physical and chemical parameter has a prominent impact on the microbial community structure.
doi:10.1007/s12088-009-0034-9
PMCID: PMC3450138  PMID: 23100766
Ecosystem; Microbial diversity; Marine sediment; 16S rDNA
25.  Biochemical characterization of three putative ATPases from a new type IV secretion system of Aeromonas veronii plasmid pAC3249A 
BMC Biochemistry  2010;11:10.
Background
Type four secretion systems (TFSS) are bacterial macromolecular transport systems responsible for transfer of various substrates such as proteins, DNA or protein-DNA complexes. TFSSs encode two or three ATPases generating energy for the secretion process. These enzymes exhibit highest sequence conservation among type four secretion components.
Results
Here, we report the biochemical characterization of three ATPases namely TraE, TraJ and TraK (VirB4, VirB11 and VirD4 homologs of the Agrobacterium tumefaciens transfer system, respectively) from the transfer system of Aeromonas veronii plasmid pAC3249A. ATPases were expressed as His-tag fusion proteins in E. coli and purified by affinity chromatography. ATP binding and ATP hydrolysis experiments were performed with the purified ATPases. TraE and TraK showed strong binding to TNP-ATP and TNP-CTP (fluorescent analogs of ATP and CTP respectively) whereas TraJ showed weak binding. The optimum temperature range for the three ATPases was between 42°C and 50°C. Highest ATP hydrolysis activity for all the ATPases was observed in the presence of Mg2+ and Mn2+. However, TraJ and TraK also showed activity in the presence of Co2+. TraJ exhibited the highest specific activity of all the three ATPases with vmax 118 ± 5.68 nmol/min/mg protein and KM 0.58 ± 0.10 mM.
Conclusions
This is the first biochemical characterization of conjugative transport ATPases encoded by a conjugative plasmid from Aeromonas. Our study demonstrated that the three ATPases of a newly reported TFSS of A. veronii plasmid pAc3249A are functional in both ATP hydrolysis and ATP binding.
doi:10.1186/1471-2091-11-10
PMCID: PMC2831815  PMID: 20144229

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