Although previous bacterial typing methods have been informative about potential relatedness of isolates collected during outbreaks, next-generation sequencing has emerged as a powerful tool to not only look at similarity between isolates, but also put differences into biological context. In this study, we have investigated the whole genome sequence of five Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates collected during a persistent six-year outbreak at Nottingham University Hospitals National Health Service (NHS) Trust - City Campus, United Kingdom. Sequencing, using both Roche 454 and Illumina, reveals that most of these isolates are closely related. Some regions of difference are noted between this cluster of isolates and previously published genome sequences. These include regions containing prophages and prophage remnants such as the serotype-converting bacteriophage D3 and the cytotoxin-converting phage phi CTX. Additionally, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) between the genomic sequence data reveal key single base differences that have accumulated during the course of this outbreak, giving insight into the evolution of the outbreak strain. Differentiating SNPs were found within a wide variety of genes, including lasR, nrdG, tadZ, and algB. These have been generated at a rate estimated to be one SNP every four to five months. In conclusion, we demonstrate that the single base resolution of whole genome sequencing is a powerful tool in analysis of outbreak isolates that can not only show strain similarity, but also evolution over time and potential adaptation through gene sequence changes.
"The advances of next-generation sequencing progressively turned genome sequence of bacteria and microbial eukaryotes somewhat feasible and inexpensive. In addition, it allows the analysis of several thousand of SNPs and may link epidemiology to pathogen biology, genome evolution, gene characterization in terms of resistance and virulence, gather information from noncoding and coding regions across the entire genome, give relevant evidence regarding linkage, recombination, chromosomal aberrations, and low frequency events such as horizontal gene transfer (Araujo 2014; Snyder et al. 2013). Microbial identification, SNP genotyping, resequencing, and analyses of difficult DNA secondary structures are some of the fields under exploitation by next-generation sequencing (Schuster 2008). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Practical schemes based on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) have been proposed as alternatives to simplify and replace the molecular methodologies based on the extensive sequencing analysis of genes. SNaPshot mini-sequencing has been progressively experienced during the last decade and represents a fast and robust strategy to analyze critical polymorphisms. Such assays have been proposed to characterize some bacteria and microbial eukaryotes, and its feasibility was now reviewed in the present manuscript. The mini-sequencing schemes showed high discriminatory power and competence for identification of microorganisms, but some specificity errors were still found, particularly for species of the Burkholderia cepacia complex and mycobacteria. SNP assays designed for other goals, e.g., comparison of strains, detection of serotypes, virulence, epidemic, and phylogenetic-related subgroups of isolates, can be very useful by facilitating the investigation of large collections of isolates. The next-generation of SNP assays might consider the inclusion of large number of markers to fully characterize microbial taxonomy and strains; nevertheless, these new technologies are still prone to errors and can largely benefit from integration with well-established mini-sequencing assays. Newly proposed molecular tools should be systematically tested in collections of isolates with high indexes of diversity and guarantee interlaboratorial validation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic bacterial infections are a key feature of a variety of lung conditions. The opportunistic bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is extremely skilled at both colonizing and persisting in the airways of patients with lung damage. It has been suggested that the upper airways (including the paranasal sinuses and nasopharynx) play an important role as a silent reservoir of bacteria. Over time, P. aeruginosa can adapt to its niche, leading to increased resistance in the face of the immune system and intense therapy regimes. Here we describe a mouse inhalation model of P. aeruginosa chronic infection that can be studied for at least 28 days. We present evidence for adaptation in vivo, in terms of genotype and phenotype including antibiotic resistance. Our data suggest that there is persistence in the upper respiratory tract and that this is key in the establishment of lung infection. This model provides a unique platform for studying evolutionary dynamics and therapeutics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High-throughput DNA sequencing produces vast amounts of data, with millions of short reads that usually have to be mapped to a reference genome or newly assembled. Both reference-based mapping and de novo assembly are computationally intensive, generating large intermediary data files, and thus require bioinformatics skills that are often lacking in the laboratories producing the data. Moreover, many research and practical applications in microbiology require only a small fraction of the whole genome data.
We developed KvarQ, a new tool that directly scans fastq files of bacterial genome sequences for known variants, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), bypassing the need of mapping all sequencing reads to a reference genome and de novo assembly. Instead, KvarQ loads “testsuites” that define specific SNPs or short regions of interest in a reference genome, and directly synthesizes the relevant results based on the occurrence of these markers in the fastq files. KvarQ has a versatile command line interface and a graphical user interface. KvarQ currently ships with two “testsuites” for Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but new “testsuites” for other organisms can easily be created and distributed. In this article, we demonstrate how KvarQ can be used to successfully detect all main drug resistance mutations and phylogenetic markers in 880 bacterial whole genome sequences. The average scanning time per genome sequence was two minutes. The variant calls of a subset of these genomes were validated with a standard bioinformatics pipeline and revealed >99% congruency.
KvarQ is a user-friendly tool that directly extracts relevant information from fastq files. This enables researchers and laboratory technicians with limited bioinformatics expertise to scan and analyze raw sequencing data in a matter of minutes. KvarQ is open-source, and pre-compiled packages with a graphical user interface are available at http://www.swisstph.ch/kvarq.
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