Maria Fookes

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (30)187.68 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Shigella flexneri is an important human pathogen that has to adapt to the anaerobic environment in the gastrointestinal tract to cause dysentery. To define the influence of anaerobiosis on the virulence of Shigella, we performed deep RNA sequencing to identify transcriptomic differences that are induced by anaerobiosis and modulated by the anaerobic Fumarate and Nitrate Reduction regulator, FNR.
    BMC genomics. 06/2014; 15(1):438.
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    ABSTRACT: The genus Yersinia has been used as a model system to study pathogen evolution. Using whole-genome sequencing of all Yersinia species, we delineate the gene complement of the whole genus and define patterns of virulence evolution. Multiple distinct ecological specializations appear to have split pathogenic strains from environmental, nonpathogenic lineages. This split demonstrates that contrary to hypotheses that all pathogenic Yersinia species share a recent common pathogenic ancestor, they have evolved independently but followed parallel evolutionary paths in acquiring the same virulence determinants as well as becoming progressively more limited metabolically. Shared virulence determinants are limited to the virulence plasmid pYV and the attachment invasion locus ail. These acquisitions, together with genomic variations in metabolic pathways, have resulted in the parallel emergence of related pathogens displaying an increasingly specialized lifestyle with a spectrum of virulence potential, an emerging theme in the evolution of other important human pathogens.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2014; 111(18):6768-73. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2014; 111:6768. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Author Summary Streptococcus pneumoniae (‘the pneumococcus’) is a bacterium commonly found asymptomatically in the human nasopharynx that represents a common cause of diseases such as pneumonia, bacteraemia and meningitis. Some strains have been found to exchange DNA with other bacteria at a high rate. However, serotype 3 pneumococci are unusual both in not exhibiting much genetic variation and causing disease with a comparatively high relative rate of mortality. Here we used whole genome sequencing to characterise 82 serotype 3 pneumococci, finding that the majority of the population accumulate variation very slowly. However, comparing two isolates from a single case of disease revealed a small number of mutations had occurred over a short period of time. These resulted in differences in the activity of several genes, including two encoding a drug efflux pump. The pair of isolates was found to differ in their tolerance of different antimicrobial compounds and thei
    PLoS Genet. 10/2013; 9(10):e1003868.
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    ABSTRACT: Streptococcus pneumoniae of serotype 3 possess a mucoid capsule and cause disease associated with high mortality rates relative to other pneumococci. Phylogenetic analysis of a complete reference genome and 81 draft sequences from clonal complex 180, the predominant serotype 3 clone in much of the world, found most sampled isolates belonged to a clade affected by few diversifying recombinations. However, other isolates indicate significant genetic variation has accumulated over the clonal complex's entire history. Two closely related genomes, one from the blood and another from the cerebrospinal fluid, were obtained from a patient with meningitis. The pair differed in their behaviour in a mouse model of disease and in their susceptibility to antimicrobials, with at least some of these changes attributable to a mutation that up-regulated the patAB efflux pump. This indicates clinically important phenotypic variation can accumulate rapidly through small alterations to the genotype.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2013; 9(10):e1003868. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The global epidemic of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 provides an important example, both in terms of the agent and its resistance, of a widely disseminated zoonotic pathogen. Here, with an unprecedented national collection of isolates collected contemporaneously from humans and animals and including a sample of internationally derived isolates, we have used whole-genome sequencing to dissect the phylogenetic associationsof the bacterium and its antimicrobial resistance genes through the course of an epidemic. Contrary to current tenets supporting a single homogeneous epidemic, we demonstrate that the bacterium and its resistance genes were largely maintained within animal and human populations separately and that there was limited transmission, in either direction. We also show considerable variation in the resistance profiles, in contrast to the largely stable bacterial core genome, which emphasizes the critical importance of integrated genotypic data sets in understanding the ecology of bacterial zoonoses and antimicrobial resistance.
    Science 09/2013; · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Bacterial DNA is maintained in a supercoiled state controlled by the action of topoisomerases. Alterations in supercoiling affect fundamental cellular processes, including transcription. Here, we show that substitution at position 87 of GyrA of Salmonella influences sensitivity to antibiotics, including nonquinolone drugs, alters global supercoiling, and results in an altered transcriptome with increased expression of stress response pathways. Decreased susceptibility to multiple antibiotics seen with a GyrA Asp87Gly mutant was not a result of increased efflux activity or reduced reactive-oxygen production. These data show that a frequently observed and clinically relevant substitution within GyrA results in altered expression of numerous genes, including those important in bacterial survival of stress, suggesting that GyrA mutants may have a selective advantage under specific conditions. Our findings help contextualize the high rate of quinolone resistance in pathogenic strains of bacteria and may partly explain why such mutant strains are evolutionarily successful. IMPORTANCE Fluoroquinolones are a powerful group of antibiotics that target bacterial enzymes involved in helping bacteria maintain the conformation of their chromosome. Mutations in the target enzymes allow bacteria to become resistant to these antibiotics, and fluoroquinolone resistance is common. We show here that these mutations also provide protection against a broad range of other antimicrobials by triggering a defensive stress response in the cell. This work suggests that fluoroquinolone resistance mutations may be beneficial under a range of conditions.
    mBio 01/2013; 4(4). · 6.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Invasive Non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) are an important cause of bacteraemia in children and HIV-infected adults in sub-Saharan Africa. Previous research has shown that iNTS strains exhibit a pattern of gene loss that resembles that of host adapted serovars such as Salmonella Typhi and Paratyphi A. Salmonella enterica serovar Bovismorbificans was a common serovar in Malawi between 1997 and 2004. We sequenced the genomes of 14 Malawian bacteraemia and four veterinary isolates from the UK, to identify genomic variations and signs of host adaptation in the Malawian strains. Whole genome phylogeny of invasive and veterinary S. Bovismorbificans isolates showed that the isolates are highly related, belonging to the most common international S. Bovismorbificans Sequence Type, ST142, in contrast to the findings for S. Typhimurium, where a distinct Sequence Type, ST313, is associated with invasive disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Although genome degradation through pseudogene formation was observed in ST142 isolates, there were no clear overlaps with the patterns of gene loss seen in iNTS ST313 isolates previously described from Malawi, and no clear distinction between S. Bovismorbificans isolates from Malawi and the UK. The only defining differences between S. Bovismorbificans bacteraemia and veterinary isolates were prophage-related regions and the carriage of a S. Bovismorbificans virulence plasmid (pVIRBov). iNTS S. Bovismorbificans isolates, unlike iNTS S. Typhiumrium isolates, are only distinguished from those circulating elsewhere by differences in the mobile genome. It is likely that these strains have entered a susceptible population and are able to take advantage of this niche. There are tentative signs of convergent evolution to a more human adapted iNTS variant. Considering its importance in causing disease in this region, S. Bovismorbificans may be at the beginning of this process, providing a reference against which to compare changes that may become fixed in future lineages in sub-Saharan Africa.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 01/2013; 7(11):e2557. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the genome sequence of Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. pneumoniae Ecl8, a spontaneous streptomycin-resistant mutant of strain ECL4, derived from NCIB 418. K. pneumoniae Ecl8 has been shown to be genetically tractable for targeted gene deletion strategies and so provides a platform for in-depth analyses of this species.
    Genome announcements. 01/2013; 1(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) are self-mobile genetic elements found in the genomes of some bacteria. These elements may confer a fitness advantage upon their host bacteria through the cargo genes that they carry. Salmonella pathogenicity island 7 (SPI-7), found within some pathogenic strains of Salmonella enterica, possesses features indicative of an ICE and carries genes implicated in virulence. We aimed to identify and fully analyze ICEs related to SPI-7 within the genus Salmonella and other Enterobacteriaceae. We report the sequence of two novel SPI-7-like elements, found within strains of Salmonella bongori, which share 97% nucleotide identity over conserved regions with SPI-7 and with each other. Although SPI-7 within Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi appears to be fixed within the chromosome, we present evidence that these novel elements are capable of excision and self-mobility. Phylogenetic analyses show that these Salmonella mobile elements share an ancestor which existed approximately 3.6 to 15.8 million years ago. Additionally, we identified more distantly related ICEs, with distinct cargo regions, within other strains of Salmonella as well as within Citrobacter, Erwinia, Escherichia, Photorhabdus, and Yersinia species. In total, we report on a collection of 17 SPI-7 related ICEs within enterobacterial species, of which six are novel. Using comparative and mutational studies, we have defined a core of 27 genes essential for conjugation. We present a growing family of SPI-7-related ICEs whose mobility, abundance, and cargo variability indicate that these elements may have had a large impact on the evolution of the Enterobacteriaceae.
    Journal of bacteriology 03/2012; 194(6):1494-504. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Enteritidis and Dublin serovars of Salmonella enterica are closely related, yet they differ significantly in pathogenicity and epidemiology. S. Enteritidis is a broad host range serovar that commonly causes gastroenteritis and infrequently causes invasive disease in humans. S. Dublin mainly colonizes cattle but upon infecting humans often results in invasive disease.To gain a broader view of the extent of these differences we conducted microarray-based comparative genomics between several field isolates from each serovar. Genome degradation has been correlated with host adaptation in Salmonella, thus we also compared at whole genome scale the available genomic sequences of them to evaluate pseudogene composition within each serovar.Microarray analysis revealed 3771 CDS shared by both serovars while 33 were only present in Enteritidis and 87 were exclusive to Dublin. Pseudogene evaluation showed 177 inactive CDS in S. Dublin which correspond to active genes in S. Enteritidis, nine of which are also inactive in the host adapted S. Gallinarum and S. Choleraesuis serovars. Sequencing of these 9 CDS in several S. Dublin clinical isolates revealed that they are pseudogenes in all of them, indicating that this feature is not peculiar to the sequenced strain. Among these CDS, shdA (Peyer´s patch colonization factor) and mglA (galactoside transport ATP binding protein), appear also to be inactive in the human adapted S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A, suggesting that functionality of these genes may be relevant for the capacity of certain Salmonella serovars to infect a broad range of hosts.
    The Open Microbiology Journal 01/2012; 6:5-13.
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    ABSTRACT: The initial aim of this study was to use a systems biology approach to analyse a ciprofloxacin-selected multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium, L664. The whole genome sequence and transcriptome of L664 were analysed. Site-directed mutagenesis to recreate each mutation was carried out, followed by phenotypic characterization and mutation frequency analysis. As a mutation in the TCA cycle was detected we tested the controversial hypothesis regarding the bacterial response to bactericidal antibiotics, put forward by Kohanski et al. (Cell 2007; 130: 797-810 and Mol Cell 2010; 37: 311-20), that exposure of bacteria to agents such as ciprofloxacin produces reactive oxygen species (ROS), which transiently increase the mutation rate giving rise to MDR bacteria. L664 contained a mutation in ramR that conferred MDR. A mutation in tctA affected the TCA cycle and conferred the inability to grow on minimal agar. The virulence of L664 was not attenuated. Ciprofloxacin exposure produced ROS in L664 and SL1344 (tctA::aph), but it was reduced and occurred later. There were no significant differences in the rates of killing or mutations per generation to antibiotic resistance between the strains. Whilst we confirm production of ROS in response to ciprofloxacin, we have no data to support the hypothesis that this leads to selection of MDR strains. Our results indicate that the mutations in tctA and glgA were random as they did not pre-exist in the parental strain, and that the mutation in tctA did not provide a survival advantage or disadvantage in the presence of antibiotic.
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 12/2011; 67(3):589-99. · 5.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The genus Salmonella contains two species, S. bongori and S. enterica. Compared to the well-studied S. enterica there is a marked lack of information regarding the genetic makeup and diversity of S. bongori. S. bongori has been found predominantly associated with cold-blooded animals, but it can infect humans. To define the phylogeny of this species, and compare it to S. enterica, we have sequenced 28 isolates representing most of the known diversity of S. bongori. This cross-species analysis allowed us to confidently differentiate ancestral functions from those acquired following speciation, which include both metabolic and virulence-associated capacities. We show that, although S. bongori inherited a basic set of Salmonella common virulence functions, it has subsequently elaborated on this in a different direction to S. enterica. It is an established feature of S. enterica evolution that the acquisition of the type III secretion systems (T3SS-1 and T3SS-2) has been followed by the sequential acquisition of genes encoding secreted targets, termed effectors proteins. We show that this is also true of S. bongori, which has acquired an array of novel effector proteins (sboA-L). All but two of these effectors have no significant S. enterica homologues and instead are highly similar to those found in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC). Remarkably, SboH is found to be a chimeric effector protein, encoded by a fusion of the T3SS-1 effector gene sopA and a gene highly similar to the EPEC effector nleH from enteropathogenic E. coli. We demonstrate that representatives of these new effectors are translocated and that SboH, similarly to NleH, blocks intrinsic apoptotic pathways while being targeted to the mitochondria by the SopA part of the fusion. This work suggests that S. bongori has inherited the ancestral Salmonella virulence gene set, but has adapted by incorporating virulence determinants that resemble those employed by EPEC.
    PLoS Pathogens 08/2011; 7(8):e1002191. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Citrobacter rodentium is a natural mouse pathogen that causes attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions. It shares a common virulence strategy with the clinically significant human A/E pathogens enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and is widely used to model this route of pathogenesis. We previously reported the complete genome sequence of C. rodentium ICC168, where we found that the genome displayed many characteristics of a newly evolved pathogen. In this study, through PFGE, sequencing of isolates showing variation, whole genome transcriptome analysis and examination of the mobile genetic elements, we found that, consistent with our previous hypothesis, the genome of C. rodentium is unstable as a result of repeat-mediated, large-scale genome recombination and because of active transposition of mobile genetic elements such as the prophages. We sequenced an additional C. rodentium strain, EX-33, to reveal that the reference strain ICC168 is representative of the species and that most of the inactivating mutations were common to both isolates and likely to have occurred early on in the evolution of this pathogen. We draw parallels with the evolution of other bacterial pathogens and conclude that C. rodentium is a recently evolved pathogen that may have emerged alongside the development of inbred mice as a model for human disease.
    PLoS Pathogens 04/2011; 7(4):e1002018. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. typhi) causes typhoid fever. We show that exposure of S. typhi to neuroendocrine stress hormones results in haemolysis, which is associated with the release of haemolysin E in membrane vesicles. This effect is attributed to increased expression of the small RNA micA and RNA chaperone Hfq, with concomitant downregulation of outer membrane protein A. Deletion of micA or the two-component signal-transduction system, CpxAR, abolishes the phenotype. The hormone response is inhibited by the β-blocker propranolol. We provide mechanistic insights into the basis of neuroendocrine hormone-mediated haemolysis by S. typhi, increasing our understanding of inter-kingdom signalling.
    EMBO Reports 02/2011; 12(3):252-8. · 7.19 Impact Factor
  • 01/2011: pages 149-161; , ISBN: 978-1-904455-73-8
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    ABSTRACT: Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) is frequently associated with food-borne disease worldwide. Poultry-derived products are a major source. An epidemic of human infection with S. Enteritidis occurred in Uruguay, and to evaluate the extent of poultry contamination, we conducted a nationwide survey over 2 years that included the analysis of sera from 5,751 birds and 12,400 eggs. Serological evidence of infection with Salmonella group O:9 was found in 24.4% of the birds. All positive sera were retested with a gm flagellum-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and based on these results, the national prevalence of S. Enteritidis infection was estimated to be 6.3%. Salmonellae were recovered from 58 of 620 pools made up of 20 eggs each, demonstrating a prevalence of at least 1 in every 214 eggs. Surprisingly, the majority of the isolates were not S. Enteritidis. Thirty-nine isolates were typed as S. Derby, 9 as S. Gallinarum, 8 as S. Enteritidis, and 2 as S. Panama. Despite the highest prevalence in eggs, S. Derby was not isolated from humans in the period of analysis, suggesting a low capacity to infect humans. Microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization analysis of S. Derby and S. Enteritidis revealed more than 350 genetic differences. S. Derby lacked pathogenicity islands 13 and 14, the fimbrial lpf operon, and other regions encoding metabolic functions. Several of these regions are present not only in serovar Enteritidis but also in all sequenced strains of S. Typhimurium, suggesting that these regions might be related to the capacity of Salmonella to cause food-borne disease.
    Journal of clinical microbiology 07/2010; 48(7):2413-23. · 4.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multidrug-resistant (MDR-AmpC) Salmonella enterica serovar Newport has caused serious disease in animals and humans in North America, whereas in the UK S. enterica serovar Newport is not associated with severe disease and usually sensitive to antibiotics; MDR S. Newport (not AmpC) strains have only been isolated from poultry. We found that UK poultry strains belonged to MLST type ST166 and were distinct from cattle isolates for being able to utilize D-tagotose and when compared by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and diversity arrays technology (DArT). Cattle strains belonged to the ST45 complex differing from ST166 at all seven loci. PFGE showed that 19 out of 27 cattle isolates were more than 85% similar to each other and some UK and US strains were indistinguishable. Both CGH and DArT identified genes (including phage-related ones) that were uniquely present in the US isolates and two such genes identified by DArT showed sequence similarities with the pertussis-like (artAB) toxin. This work demonstrates that MDR-AmpC S. Newport from the USA are genetically closely related to pan-susceptible strains from the UK, but contained three extra phage regions and a MDR plasmid.
    Environmental Microbiology Reports 04/2010; 2(2):228-35. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) has caused major epidemics of gastrointestinal infection in many different countries. In this study we investigate genome divergence and pathogenic potential in S. Enteritidis isolated before, during and after an epidemic in Uruguay. 266 S. Enteritidis isolates were genotyped using RAPD-PCR and a selection were subjected to PFGE analysis. From these, 29 isolates spanning different periods, genetic profiles and sources of isolation were assayed for their ability to infect human epithelial cells and subjected to comparative genomic hybridization using a Salmonella pan-array and the sequenced strain S. Enteritidis PT4 P125109 as reference. Six other isolates from distant countries were included as external comparators.Two hundred and thirty three chromosomal genes as well as the virulence plasmid were found as variable among S. Enteritidis isolates. Ten out of the 16 chromosomal regions that varied between different isolates correspond to phage-like regions. The 2 oldest pre-epidemic isolates lack phage SE20 and harbour other phage encoded genes that are absent in the sequenced strain. Besides variation in prophage, we found variation in genes involved in metabolism and bacterial fitness. Five epidemic strains lack the complete Salmonella virulence plasmid. Significantly, strains with indistinguishable genetic patterns still showed major differences in their ability to infect epithelial cells, indicating that the approach used was insufficient to detect the genetic basis of this differential behaviour. The recent epidemic of S. Enteritidis infection in Uruguay has been driven by the introduction of closely related strains of phage type 4 lineage. Our results confirm previous reports demonstrating a high degree of genetic homogeneity among S. Enteritidis isolates. However, 10 of the regions of variability described here are for the first time reported as being variable in S. Enteritidis. In particular, the oldest pre-epidemic isolates carry phage-associated genetic regions not previously reported in S. Enteritidis. Overall, our results support the view that phages play a crucial role in the generation of genetic diversity in S. Enteritidis and that phage SE20 may be a key marker for the emergence of particular isolates capable of causing epidemics.
    BMC Microbiology 11/2009; 9:237. · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High-throughput sequencing of cDNA has been used to study eukaryotic transcription on a genome-wide scale to single base pair resolution. In order to compensate for the high ribonuclease activity in bacterial cells, we have devised an equivalent technique optimized for studying complete prokaryotic transcriptomes that minimizes the manipulation of the RNA sample. This new approach uses Illumina technology to sequence single-stranded (ss) cDNA, generating information on both the direction and level of transcription throughout the genome. The protocol, and associated data analysis programs, are freely available from http://www.sanger.ac.uk/Projects/Pathogens/Transcriptome/. We have successfully applied this method to the bacterial pathogens Salmonella bongori and Streptococcus pneumoniae and the yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. This method enables experimental validation of genetic features predicted in silico and allows the easy identification of novel transcripts throughout the genome. We also show that there is a high correlation between the level of gene expression calculated from ss-cDNA and double-stranded-cDNA sequencing, indicting that ss-cDNA sequencing is both robust and appropriate for use in quantitative studies of transcription. Hence, this simple method should prove a useful tool in aiding genome annotation and gene expression studies in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
    Nucleic Acids Research 10/2009; 37(22):e148. · 8.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

628 Citations
187.68 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004–2013
    • Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
      • Pathogen Genomics Group
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2012
    • Oxford University Clinical Research Unit
      Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • 2003–2006
    • Imperial College London
      • Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom