Claire M Fraser

University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Are you Claire M Fraser?

Claim your profile

Publications (195)2326.02 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background. The contemporary Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex (CC) 30 lineage is associated with complicated infections, including endocarditis and osteomyelitis. This lineage diverged from the phage-type 80/81 S aureus clone responsible for a major bacterial epidemic of the 20th century. The genome and transcriptome features that contribute to complicated infections of the CC30 lineage are unknown. Methods. Twenty-nine clinical methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA) strains (8 from CC30 and 21 from other major CCs were evaluated for virulence using murine and Galleria mellonella sepsis models. Genomic features of CC30 were identified by comparative genome sequencing and RNA-Seq transcriptome analysis of the 29 strains and 31 previously sequenced S aureus genomes. Results. The CC30 isolates displayed lower virulence in the sepsis models compared with other CCs [P < .0001]. Comparisons of orthologous proteins and transcriptome analysis identified genes (eg, nitric oxide reductase) and changes in metabolic pathways (eg, pyrimidine metabolism) that contribute to the distinct CC30 phenotype. Previously reported nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were found in accessory gene regulator C (agrC) and α-hemolysin (hla), molecules important for virulence. Additional nonsynonymous SNPs conserved across clinical CC30 isolates when compared with the first sequenced contemporary CC30 clone, MRSA-16, were identified in multiple genes, suggesting continuing evolutionary divergence in this lineage. Conclusions. Genomic and transcriptional analyses suggest that the CC30 lineage has acquired metabolic features that contribute to persistent and complicated infections. Absence of sepsis-induced mortality in animal models may be due in part to its unique genomic profile and suggests that specific genotypes of S aureus elicit distinct types of infection types.
    09/2015; 2(3):ofv093. DOI:10.1093/ofid/ofv093
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The oral microbial community (microbiota) plays a critical role in human health and disease. Alterations in the oral microbiota may be associated with disorders such as gingivitis, periodontitis, childhood caries, alveolar osteitis, oral candidiasis and endodontic infections. In the immunosuppressed population, the spectrum of potential oral disease is even broader, encompassing candidiasis, necrotizing gingivitis, parotid gland enlargement, Kaposi's sarcoma, oral warts and other diseases. Here, we used 454 pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes to examine the oral microbiome of saliva, mucosal and tooth samples from HIV-positive and negative children. Patient demographics and clinical characteristics were collected from a cross-section of patients undergoing routine dental care. Multiple specimens from different sampling sites in the mouth were collected for each patient. The goal of the study was to observe the potential diversity of the oral microbiota among individual patients, sample locations, HIV status and various dental characteristics. We found that there were significant differences in the microbiome among the enrolled patients, and between sampling locations. The analysis was complicated by uneven enrollment in the patient cohorts, with only five HIV-negative patients enrolled in the study and by the rapid improvement in the health of HIV-infected children between the time the study was conceived and completed. The generally good oral health of the HIV-negative patients limited the number of dental plaque samples that could be collected. We did not identify significant differences between well-controlled HIV-positive patients and HIV-negative controls, suggesting that well-controlled HIV-positive patients essentially harbor similar oral flora compared to patients without HIV. Nor were significant differences in the oral microbiota identified between different teeth or with different dental characteristics. Additional studies are needed to better characterize the oral microbiome in children and those with poorly-controlled HIV infections.
    PLoS ONE 07/2015; 10(7):e0131615. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0131615 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Unlabelled: Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) can cause severe diarrhea and death in children in developing countries; however, bacterial diversity in natural infection is uncharacterized. In this study, we explored the natural population variation of ETEC from individuals with cholera-like diarrhea. Genomic sequencing and comparative analysis of multiple ETEC isolates from twelve cases of severe diarrhea demonstrated clonal populations in the majority of subjects (10/12). In contrast, a minority of individuals (2/12) yielded phylogenomically divergent ETEC isolates. Detailed examination revealed that isolates also differed in virulence factor content. These genomic data suggest that severe, cholera-like ETEC infections are largely caused by a clonal population of organisms within individual patients. Additionally, the isolation of similar clones from geographically and temporally dispersed cases with similar clinical presentations suggests that some isolates are particularly suited for virulence. The identification of multiple genomically diverse isolates with variable virulence factor profiles from a single subject highlights the dynamic nature of ETEC, as well as a potential weakness in the examination of cultures obtained from a single colony in clinical settings. These findings have implications for vaccine design and provide a framework for the study of population variation in other human pathogens. Importance: Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) has been identified as one of the major causes of diarrheal diseases in children as well as travelers. It has been previously appreciated that this pathogenic variant of E. coli is diverse, both at the genomic level, as defined with multilocus sequence typing, and with regard to the presence or absence of virulence factors within clonal groups. Using whole-genome sequencing and comparative analysis, we identified and characterized diverse enterotoxigenic E. coli isolates from individual patients. In 17% of patients, we identified multiple distinct ETEC isolates, each with unique genomic features and in some cases diverse virulence factor profiles. These studies ascertained that any one person may be colonized by multiple pathogenic ETEC isolates, which may impact how we think about the development of vaccines and therapeutics against these organisms.
    mBio 06/2015; 6(3). DOI:10.1128/mBio.00501-15 · 6.79 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The clinical features of patients with pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacterial (PNTM) infection are well described, but the genetic components of infection susceptibility are not. To examine genetic variants in PNTM-affected patients, PNTM-unaffected family members and controls. Whole exome sequencing was done on 69 white PNTM-affected patients and 18 white PNTM-unaffected family members. We performed a candidate gene analysis using immune, CFTR, cilia, and connective tissue gene sets. The numbers of patients, family members, and controls with variants in each category were compared, as well as the average number of variants per person. A significantly higher number of PNTM-affected patients had low-frequency, protein-affecting variants in immune, CFTR, cilia, and connective tissue categories (35%, 26%, 90%, and 90%, respectively). PNTM-affected patients also had significantly more cilia and connective tissue variants per person than did controls (2.47 and 2.55 compared to 1.38 and 1.40, p=1.4x10-6 and p=2.7x10-8, respectively). PNTM-affected patients had an average of 5.26 variants across all categories (1.98 in controls, p=2.8x10-17), and were more likely than controls to have variants in multiple categories. We observed similar results for PNTM-unaffected family members, with the exception of the immune category. PNTM-affected patients have more low-frequency, protein-affecting variants in immune, CFTR, cilia, and connective tissue genes. We propose that PNTM is a multigenic disease, in which combinations of variants across gene categories, plus environmental exposures, increase susceptibility to infection.
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 06/2015; 192(5). DOI:10.1164/rccm.201502-0387OC · 13.00 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Candida albicans, the major invasive fungal pathogen of humans, can cause both debilitating mucosal infections and fatal invasive infections. Understanding the complex nature of the host-pathogen interaction in each of these contexts is essential to developing desperately needed therapies to treat fungal infections. RNA-seq enables a systems-level understanding of infection by facilitating comprehensive analysis of transcriptomes from multiple species (e.g., host and pathogen) simultaneously. We used RNA-seq to characterize the transcriptomes of both C. albicans and human endothelial cells or oral epithelial cells during in vitro infection. Network analysis of the differentially expressed genes identified the activation of several signaling pathways that have not previously been associated with the host response to fungal pathogens. Using an siRNA knockdown approach, we demonstrate that two of these pathways-platelet-derived growth factor BB (PDGF BB) and neural precursor-cell-expressed developmentally down-regulated protein 9 (NEDD9)-govern the host-pathogen interaction by regulating the uptake of C. albicans by host cells. Using RNA-seq analysis of a mouse model of hematogenously disseminated candidiasis (HDC) and episodes of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) in humans, we found evidence that many of the same signaling pathways are activated during mucosal (VVC) and/or disseminated (HDC) infections in vivo. Our analyses have uncovered several signaling pathways at the interface between C. albicans and host cells in various contexts of infection, and suggest that PDGF BB and NEDD9 play important roles in this interaction. In addition, these data provide a valuable community resource for better understanding host-fungal pathogen interactions.
    Genome Research 05/2015; 25(5). DOI:10.1101/gr.187427.114 · 14.63 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A mechanistic understanding of the purported health benefits conferred by consumption of probiotic bacteria has been limited by our knowledge of the resident gut microbiota and its interaction with the host. Here, we detail the impact of a single-organism probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG ATCC 53103 (LGG), on the structure and functional dynamics (gene expression) of the gut microbiota in a study of 12 healthy individuals, 65 to 80 years old. The analysis revealed that while the overall community composition was stable as assessed by 16S rRNA profiling, the transcriptional response of the gut microbiota was modulated by probiotic treatment. Comparison of transcriptional profiles based on taxonomic composition yielded three distinct transcriptome groups that displayed considerable differences in functional dynamics. The transcriptional profile of LGG in vivo was remarkably concordant across study subjects despite the considerable interindividual nature of the gut microbiota. However, we identified genes involved in flagellar motility, chemotaxis, and adhesion from Bifidobacterium and the dominant butyrate producers Roseburia and Eubacterium whose expression was increased during probiotic consumption, suggesting that LGG may promote interactions between key constituents of the microbiota and the host epithelium. These results provide evidence for the discrete functional effects imparted by a specific single-organism probiotic and challenge the prevailing notion that probiotics substantially modify the resident microbiota within nondiseased individuals in an appreciable fashion. Probiotic bacteria have been used for over a century to promote digestive health. Many individuals report that probiotics alleviate a number of digestive issues, yet little evidence links how probiotic microbes influence human health. Here, we show how the resident microbes that inhabit the healthy human gut respond to a probiotic. The well-studied probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG ATCC 53103 (LGG) was administered in a clinical trial, and a suite of measurements of the resident microbes were taken to evaluate potential changes over the course of probiotic consumption. We found that LGG transiently enriches for functions to potentially promote anti-inflammatory pathways in the resident microbes. Copyright © 2015 Eloe-Fadrosh et al.
    mBio 04/2015; 6(2). DOI:10.1128/mBio.00231-15 · 6.79 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Phylogenomic footprinting is an approach for ab initio identification of genome-wide regulatory elements in bacterial species based on sequence conservation. The statistical power of the phylogenomic approach depends on the degree of sequence conservation, the length of regulatory elements, and the level of phylogenetic divergence among genomes. Building on an earlier model, we propose a binomial model that uses synonymous tree lengths as neutral expectations for determining the statistical significance of conserved intergenic spacer (IGS) sequences. Simulations show that the binomial model is robust to variations in the value of evolutionary parameters, including base frequencies and the transition-to-transversion ratio. We used the model to search for regulatory sequences in the Lyme disease species group (Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato) using 23 genomes. The model indicates that the currently available set of Borrelia genomes would not yield regulatory sequences shorter than five bases, suggesting that genome sequences of additional B. burgdorferi sensu lato species are needed. Nevertheless, we show that previously known regulatory elements are indeed strongly conserved in sequence or structure across these Borrelia species. Further, we predict with sufficient confidence two new RpoS binding sites, 39 promoters, 19 transcription terminators, 28 noncoding RNAs, and four sets of coregulated genes. These putative cis- and trans-regulatory elements suggest novel, Borrelia-specific mechanisms regulating the transition between the tick and host environments, a key adaptation and virulence mechanism of B. burgdorferi. Alignments of IGS sequences are available on, an online database of orthologous open reading frame (ORF) and IGS sequences in Borrelia. While bacterial genomes contain mostly protein-coding genes, they also house DNA sequences regulating the expression of these genes. Gene regulatory sequences tend to be conserved during evolution. By sequencing and comparing related genomes, one can therefore identify regulatory sequences in bacteria based on sequence conservation. Here, we describe a statistical framework by which one may determine how many genomes need to be sequenced and at what level of evolutionary relatedness in order to achieve a high level of statistical significance. We applied the framework to Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease agent, and identified a large number of candidate regulatory sequences, many of which are known to be involved in regulating the phase transition between the tick vector and mammalian hosts. Copyright © 2015 Martin et al.
    mBio 04/2015; 6(2). DOI:10.1128/mBio.00011-15 · 6.79 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Differences in gut bacteria have been described in several autoimmune disorders. In this exploratory pilot study, we compared gut bacteria in patients with multiple sclerosis and healthy controls and evaluated the influence of glatiramer acetate and vitamin D treatment on the microbiota. Subjects were otherwise healthy white women with or without relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis who were vitamin D insufficient. Patients with multiple sclerosis were untreated or were receiving glatiramer acetate. Subjects collected stool at baseline and after 90 days of vitamin D3 (5000 IU/d) supplementation. The abundance of operational taxonomic units was evaluated by hybridization of 16S rRNA to a DNA microarray. While there was overlap of gut bacterial communities, the abundance of some operational taxonomic units, including Faecalibacterium, was lower in patients with multiple sclerosis. Glatiramer acetate-treated patients with multiple sclerosis showed differences in community composition compared with untreated subjects, including Bacteroidaceae, Faecalibacterium, Ruminococcus, Lactobacillaceae, Clostridium, and other Clostridiales. Compared with the other groups, untreated patients with multiple sclerosis had an increase in the Akkermansia, Faecalibacterium, and Coprococcus genera after vitamin D supplementation. While overall bacterial communities were similar, specific operational taxonomic units differed between healthy controls and patients with multiple sclerosis. Glatiramer acetate and vitamin D supplementation were associated with differences or changes in the microbiota. This study was exploratory, and larger studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results.
    Journal of Investigative Medicine 03/2015; 63(5). DOI:10.1097/JIM.0000000000000192 · 1.69 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Macrolide resistance, emerging in Streptococcus pneumoniae and other Gram-positive bacteria, is increasingly due to efflux pumps encoded by mef/mel(msr) operons found on discrete mobile genetic elements. The regulation of mef/mel(msr) in these elements is not well understood. We identified the mef(E)/mel transcriptional start, localized the mef(E)/mel promoter, and demonstrated attenuation of transcription as a mechanism of regulation of macrolide-inducible mef-mediated macrolide resistance in S. pneumoniae. The mef(E)/mel transcriptional start site was a guanine 327 bp upstream of mef(E). Consensus pneumococcal promoter -10 (5'-TATACT-3') and -35 (5'-TTGAAC-3') boxes separated by 17 bp were identified 7 bp upstream of the start site. Analysis of the predicted secondary structure of the 327 5' region identified four pairs of inverted repeats R1-R8 predicted to fold into stem-loops, a small leader peptide [MTASMRLR, (Mef(E)L)] required for macrolide induction and a Rho-independent transcription terminator. RNA-seq analyses provided confirmation of transcriptional attenuation. In addition, expression of mef(E)L was also influenced by mef(E)L-dependent mRNA stability. The regulatory region 5' of mef(E) was highly conserved in other mef/mel(msr)-containing elements including Tn1207.1 and the 5612IQ complex in pneumococci and Tn1207.3 in Group A streptococci, indicating a regulatory mechanism common to a wide variety of Gram-positive bacteria containing mef/mel(msr) elements.
    PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0116254. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0116254 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Claire M. Fraser ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The study of microbiomes depends heavily on the sequencing and analysis of the various microbes, including human pathogens. Dr. Fraser has made significant contributions in the area of bioinformatics and comparative genomics with her current research focused on the human gut microbiota. This presentation will highlight the structure and function of the microbiota as related to human health and will present the current status of microbiome research.
    American Association for the Advancement of Science 2014 Annual Meeting; 02/2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Shigellae cause significant diarrheal disease and mortality in humans, as there are approximately 163 million episodes of shigellosis and 1.1 million deaths annually. While significant strides have been made in the understanding of the pathogenesis, few studies on the genomic content of the Shigella species have been completed. The goal of this study was to characterize the genomic diversity of Shigella species through sequencing of 55 isolates representing members of each of the four Shigella species: S. flexneri, S. sonnei, S. boydii, and S. dysenteriae. Phylogeny inferred from 336 available Shigella and E. coli genomes defined exclusive clades of Shigella; conserved genomic markers were then identified that can identify each clade. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were developed for each clade-specific marker, which was combined with an amplicon for the conserved Shigella invasion antigen, IpaH3, into a multiplex PCR assay. This assay demonstrated high specificity, correctly identifying 218 of 221 presumptive Shigella isolates, and sensitivity, by not identifying any of 151 diverse E. coli isolates incorrectly as Shigella. This new phylogenomic-based PCR assay represents a valuable tool for rapid typing of uncharacterized Shigella isolates and provides a framework that can be utilized for the identification of novel genomic markers from genomic data. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Journal of Clinical Microbiology 01/2015; 53(3). DOI:10.1128/JCM.03527-14 · 3.99 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG ATCC 53103 (LGG) has been consumed by 2 to 5 million people daily since the mid 1990s, there are few clinical trials describing potential harms of LGG, particularly in the elderly. The primary objective of this open label clinical trial is to assess the safety and tolerability of 1×1010 colony forming units (CFU) of LGG administered orally twice daily to elderly volunteers for 28 days. The secondary objectives were to evaluate the effects of LGG on the gastrointestinal microbiome, host immune response and plasma cytokines. Fifteen elderly volunteers, aged 66-80 years received LGG capsules containing 1×1010 CFU, twice daily for 28 days and were followed through day 56. Volunteers completed a daily diary, a telephone call on study days 3, 7 and 14 and study visits in the Clinical Research Center at baseline, day 28 and day 56 to determine whether adverse events had occurred. Assessments included prompted and open-ended questions. There were no serious adverse events. The 15 volunteers had a total of 47 events (range 1-7 per volunteer), 39 (83%) of which were rated as mild and 40% of which were considered related to consuming LGG. Thirty-one (70%) of the events were expected, prompted symptoms while 16 were unexpected events. The most common adverse events were gastrointestinal (bloating, gas, and nausea), 27 rated as mild and 3 rated as moderate. In the exploratory analysis, the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 8 decreased during LGG consumption, returning towards baseline one month after discontinuing LGG (p = 0.038) while there was no difference in other pro- or anti-inflammatory plasma cytokines. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG ATCC 53103 is safe and well tolerated in healthy adults aged 65 years and older. NCT 01274598.
    PLoS ONE 12/2014; 9(12):e113456. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0113456 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: For centuries, cholera has been one of the most feared diseases. The causative agent Vibrio cholerae is a waterborne Gram-negative enteric pathogen eliciting a severe watery diarrheal disease. In October 2010, the seventh pandemic reached Haiti, a country that had not experienced cholera for more than a century. By using whole-genome sequence typing and mapping strategies of 116 serotype O1 strains from global sources, including 44 Haitian genomes, we present a detailed reconstructed evolutionary history of the seventh pandemic with a focus on the Haitian outbreak. We catalogued subtle genomic alterations at the nucleotide level in the genome core and architectural rearrangements from whole-genome map comparisons. Isolates closely related to the Haitian isolates caused several recent outbreaks in southern Asia. This study provides evidence for a single-source introduction of cholera from Nepal into Haiti followed by rapid, extensive, and continued clonal expansion. The phylogeographic patterns in both southern Asia and Haiti argue for the rapid dissemination of V. cholerae across the landscape necessitating real-time surveillance efforts to complement the whole-genome epidemiological analysis. As eradication efforts move forward, phylogeographic knowledge will be important for identifying persistent sources and monitoring success at regional levels. The results of molecular and epidemiological analyses of this outbreak suggest that an indigenous Haitian source of V. cholerae is unlikely and that an indigenous source has not contributed to the genomic evolution of this clade.
    mBio 11/2014; 5(6). DOI:10.1128/mBio.01721-14. · 6.79 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background More than 20% of the world’s population is at risk for infection by filarial nematodes and >180 million people worldwide are already infected. Along with infection comes significant morbidity that has a socioeconomic impact. The eight filarial nematodes that infect humans are Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, Brugia timori, Onchocerca volvulus, Loa loa, Mansonella perstans, Mansonella streptocerca, and Mansonella ozzardi, of which three have published draft genome sequences. Since all have humans as the definitive host, standard avenues of research that rely on culturing and genetics have often not been possible. Therefore, genome sequencing provides an important window into understanding the biology of these parasites. The need for large amounts of high quality genomic DNA from homozygous, inbred lines; the availability of only short sequence reads from next-generation sequencing platforms at a reasonable expense; and the lack of random large insert libraries has limited our ability to generate high quality genome sequences for these parasites. However, the Pacific Biosciences single molecule, real-time sequencing platform holds great promise in reducing input amounts and generating sufficiently long sequences that bypass the need for large insert paired libraries. Results Here, we report on efforts to generate a more complete genome assembly for L. loa using genetically heterogeneous DNA isolated from a single clinical sample and sequenced on the Pacific Biosciences platform. To obtain the best assembly, numerous assemblers and sequencing datasets were analyzed, combined, and compared. Quiver-informed trimming of an assembly of only Pacific Biosciences reads by HGAP2 was selected as the final assembly of 96.4 Mbp in 2,250 contigs. This results in ~9% more of the genome in ~85% fewer contigs from ~80% less starting material at a fraction of the cost of previous Roche 454-based sequencing efforts. Conclusions The result is the most complete filarial nematode assembly produced thus far and demonstrates the utility of single molecule sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences platform for genetically heterogeneous metazoan genomes. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-788) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    BMC Genomics 09/2014; 15(1):788. DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-15-788 · 3.99 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The development and marketing of new probiotic products, substances containing live microorganisms that have a beneficial effect on the human body, have dramatically increased over the last few years. This article examines how the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission currently regulate probiotics and makes recommendations as to changes that might be made to ensure that probiotic products are made available to the general public in a way that is both safe and effective.
    Food and drug law journal 08/2014; 69(2):237-72, ii. · 0.42 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Microbes hold the key to life. They hold the secrets to our past (as the descendants of the earliest forms of life) and the prospects for our future (as we mine their genes for solutions to some of the planet’s most pressing problems, from global warming to antibiotic resistance). However, the piecemeal approach that has defined efforts to study microbial genetic diversity for over 20 years and in over 30,000 genome projects risks squandering that promise. These efforts have covered less than 20% of the diversity of the cultured archaeal and bacterial species, which represent just 15% of the overall known prokaryotic diversity. Here we call for the funding of a systematic effort to produce a comprehensive genomic catalog of all cultured Bacteria and Archaea by sequencing, where available, the type strain of each species with a validly published name (currently,11,000). This effort will provide an unprecedented level of coverage of our planet’s genetic diversity, allow for the large-scale discovery of novel genes and functions, and lead to an improved understanding of microbial evolution and function in the environment.
    PLoS Biology 08/2014; 12(8):e1001920. DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001920.t001 · 9.34 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Microbes hold the key to life. They hold the secrets to our past (as the descendants of the earliest forms of life) and the prospects for our future (as we mine their genes for solutions to some of the planet's most pressing problems, from global warming to antibiotic resistance). However, the piecemeal approach that has defined efforts to study microbial genetic diversity for over 20 years and in over 30,000 genome projects risks squandering that promise. These efforts have covered less than 20% of the diversity of the cultured archaeal and bacterial species, which represent just 15% of the overall known prokaryotic diversity. Here we call for the funding of a systematic effort to produce a comprehensive genomic catalog of all cultured Bacteria and Archaea by sequencing, where available, the type strain of each species with a validly published name (currently ∼11,000). This effort will provide an unprecedented level of coverage of our planet's genetic diversity, allow for the large-scale discovery of novel genes and functions, and lead to an improved understanding of microbial evolution and function in the environment.
    PLoS Biology 08/2014; 12(8):e1001920. DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001920 · 9.34 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background The bacterial genus Borrelia (phylum Spirochaetes) consists of two groups of pathogens represented respectively by B. burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme borreliosis, and B. hermsii, the agent of tick-borne relapsing fever. The number of publicly available Borrelia genomic sequences is growing rapidly with the discovery and sequencing of Borrelia strains worldwide. There is however a lack of dedicated online databases to facilitate comparative analyses of Borrelia genomes. Description We have developed BorreliaBase, an online database for comparative browsing of Borrelia genomes. The database is currently populated with sequences from 35 genomes of eight Lyme-borreliosis (LB) group Borrelia species and 7 Relapsing-fever (RF) group Borrelia species. Distinct from genome repositories and aggregator databases, BorreliaBase serves manually curated comparative-genomic data including genome-based phylogeny, genome synteny, and sequence alignments of orthologous genes and intergenic spacers. Conclusions With a genome phylogeny at its center, BorreliaBase allows online identification of hypervariable lipoprotein genes, potential regulatory elements, and recombination footprints by providing evolution-based expectations of sequence variability at each genomic locus. The phylo-centric design of BorreliaBase ( is a novel model for interactive browsing and comparative analysis of bacterial genomes online.
    BMC Bioinformatics 07/2014; 15(1):233. DOI:10.1186/1471-2105-15-233 · 2.58 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: High throughput sequencing has accelerated the determination of genome sequences for thousands of human infectious disease pathogens and dozens of their vectors. The scale and scope of these data are enabling genotype-phenotype association studies to identify genetic determinants of pathogen virulence and drug/insecticide resistance, and phylogenetic studies to track the origin and spread of disease outbreaks. To maximize the utility of genomic sequences for these purposes, it is essential that metadata about the pathogen/vector isolate characteristics be collected and made available in organized, clear, and consistent formats. Here we report the development of the GSCID/BRC Project and Sample Application Standard, developed by representatives of the Genome Sequencing Centers for Infectious Diseases (GSCIDs), the Bioinformatics Resource Centers (BRCs) for Infectious Diseases, and the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), informed by interactions with numerous collaborating scientists. It includes mapping to terms from other data standards initiatives, including the Genomic Standards Consortium's minimal information (MIxS) and NCBI's BioSample/BioProjects checklists and the Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI). The standard includes data fields about characteristics of the organism or environmental source of the specimen, spatial-temporal information about the specimen isolation event, phenotypic characteristics of the pathogen/vector isolated, and project leadership and support. By modeling metadata fields into an ontology-based semantic framework and reusing existing ontologies and minimum information checklists, the application standard can be extended to support additional project-specific data fields and integrated with other data represented with comparable standards. The use of this metadata standard by all ongoing and future GSCID sequencing projects will provide a consistent representation of these data in the BRC resources and other repositories that leverage these data, allowing investigators to identify relevant genomic sequences and perform comparative genomics analyses that are both statistically meaningful and biologically relevant.
    PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6):e99979. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0099979 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an important human pathogen, and yet diagnosis remains challenging. Little research has focused on the impact of M. tuberculosis on the gut microbiota, despite the significant immunological and homeostatic functions of the gastrointestinal tract. To determine the effect of M. tuberculosis infection on the gut microbiota, we followed mice from M. tuberculosis aerosol infection until death, using 16S rRNA sequencing. We saw a rapid change in the gut microbiota in response to infection, with all mice showing a loss and then recovery of microbial community diversity, and found that pre-infection samples clustered separately from post-infection samples, using ecological beta-diversity measures. The effect on the fecal microbiota was observed as rapidly as six days following lung infection. Analysis of additional mice infected by a different M. tuberculosis strain corroborated these results, together demonstrating that the mouse gut microbiota significantly changes with M. tuberculosis infection.
    PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e97048. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0097048 · 3.23 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

30k Citations
2,326.02 Total Impact Points


  • 2012-2015
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore
      • • Institute for Genome Sciences
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2014
    • University of Wisconsin–Madison
      Madison, Wisconsin, United States
  • 1979-2008
    • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
      • • Department of Biochemistry
      • • Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
      Buffalo, New York, United States
  • 1996-2006
    • Biomedical Research Institute, Rockville
      Maryland, United States
  • 2003-2004
    • George Washington University
      • Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
    • The Forsyth Institute
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • North Carolina State University
      • Department of Microbiology
      Raleigh, NC, United States
  • 2000
    • Virginia Commonwealth University
      • Department of Periodontics
      Ричмонд, Virginia, United States
    • University of Michigan
      • Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences
      Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 1993-1995
    • Molecular and Cellular Biology Program
      • Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 1991
    • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
      Роквилл, Maryland, United States
  • 1986-1990
    • National Institutes of Health
      • • Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
      • • Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 1983-1985
    • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
      • Department of Molecular Immunology
      Buffalo, New York, United States