[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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human microbiome has become a recognized factor in promoting and maintaining health. We outline opportunities in interdisciplinary research, analytical rigor, standardization, and policy development for this relatively new and rapidly developing field. Advances in these aspects of the research community may in turn advance our understanding of human microbiome biology.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Intravaginal practices (IVP) are common among African women and are associated with HIV acquisition. A behavioral intervention to reduce IVP is a potential new HIV risk-reduction strategy. Fifty-eight HIV-1-uninfected Kenyan women reporting IVP and 42 women who denied IVP were followed for 3 months. Women using IVP attended a skill-building, theory-based group intervention occurring weekly for 3 weeks to encourage IVP cessation. Vaginal swabs at each visit were used to detect yeast, to detect bacterial vaginosis, and to characterize the vaginal microbiota. Intravaginal insertion of soapy water (59%) and lemon juice (45%) was most common among 58 IVP women. The group-counseling intervention led to a decrease in IVP from 95% (54/58) at baseline to 0% (0/39) at month 3 (p=0.001). After 3 months of cessation, there was a reduction in yeast on vaginal wet preparation (22% to 7%, p=0.011). Women in the IVP group were more likely to have a Lactobacillus iners-dominated vaginal microbiota at baseline compared to controls [odds ratio (OR), 6.4, p=0.006] without significant change in the microbiota after IVP cessation. The group counseling intervention was effective in reducing IVP for 3 months. Reducing IVP may be important in itself, as well as to support effective use of vaginal microbicides, to prevent HIV acquisition.
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses 09/2014; · 2.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context: The gut microbiota may influence the risk of breast cancer through effects on endogenous estrogens. Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate whether urinary estrogens and estrogen metabolites are associated with the diversity and composition of the fecal microbiome. Design and Setting: This was a cross-sectional study among women enrolled in Kaiser Permanente of Colorado. Participants: A total of 60 women drawn from a random sample of healthy postmenopausal women (aged 55-69 y), without current or recent use of antibiotics or hormone therapy and no history of cancer or gastrointestinal disease participated in the study. Outcome Measures and Methods: Creatinine-standardized urinary estrogens (estrone and estradiol) and 13 hydroxylated estrogen metabolites were measured in spot urines by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The fecal microbiome was assessed using pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA amplicons. General linear models were used to test for associations of diversity and composition of the fecal microbiome with parent estrogen (estrone + estradiol), total estrogens, and estrogen metabolites and the ratio of estrogen metabolites to parent estrogen, which has been predictive of postmenopausal breast cancer risk in previous studies. Results: The ratio of metabolites to parents was directly associated with whole-tree phylogenetic diversity (R = 0.35, P= .01). Relative abundances of the order Clostridiale (R = 0.32, P= .02) and the genus Bacteroides (R = -0.30, P= .03) were also correlated with the ratio of metabolites to parents. Associations were independent of age, body mass index, and study design factors. Conclusions: Our data suggest that women with a more diverse gut microbiome exhibit an elevated urinary ratio of hydroxylated estrogen metabolites to parent estrogen. Further research is warranted to confirm and relate these findings to clinical disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Smoking has been identified in observational studies as a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis (BV), a condition defined in part by decimation of Lactobacillus spp. The anti-estrogenic effect of smoking and trace amounts of benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide (BPDE) may predispose women to BV. BPDE increases bacteriophage induction in Lactobacillus spp. and is found in the vaginal secretions of smokers. We compared the vaginal microbiota between smokers and non-smokers and followed microbiota changes in a smoking cessation pilot study.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sequence analyses and subtyping of Bacillus anthracis strains from Georgia reveal a single distinct lineage (Aust94) that is ecologically established. Phylogeographic analysis and comparisons to a global collection reveals a clade that is mostly restricted to Georgia. Within this clade, many groups are found around the country, however at least one subclade is only found in the eastern part. This pattern suggests that dispersal into and out of Georgia has been rare and despite historical dispersion within the country, for at least for one lineage, current spread is limited.
PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e102651. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lactobacillus dominates the lower genital tract microbiota of many women, producing a low vaginal pH, and is important for healthy pregnancy outcomes and protection against several sexually transmitted pathogens. Yet, factors that promote Lactobacillus remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that the amount of free glycogen in the lumen of the lower genital tract is an important determinant of Lactobacillus colonization and a low vaginal pH.
PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e102467. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is not currently possible to predict the probability of whether a woman with a chlamydial genital infection will develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). To determine if specific biomarkers may be associated with distinct chlamydial pathotypes, we utilized two Chlamydia muridarum variants (C. muridarum Var001 [CmVar001] and CmVar004) that differ in their abilities to elicit upper genital tract pathology in a mouse model. CmVar004 has a lower growth rate in vitro and induces pathology in only 20% of C57BL/6 mouse oviducts versus 83.3% of oviducts in CmVar001-infected mice. To determine if chemokine and cytokine production within 24 h of infection is associated with the outcome of pathology, levels of 15 chemokines and cytokines were measured. CmVar004 infection induced significantly lower levels of CXCL1, CXCL2, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and CCL2 in comparison to CmVar001 infection with similar rRNA (rs16) levels for Chlamydiae. A combination of microRNA (miRNA) sequencing and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis of 134 inflammation-related miRNAs was performed 24 h postinfection to determine if the chemokine/cytokine responses would also be reflected in miRNA expression profiles. Interestingly, 12 miRNAs (miR-135a-5p, miR298-5p, miR142-3p, miR223-3p, miR299a-3p, miR147-3p, miR105, miR325-3p, miR132-3p, miR142-5p, miR155-5p, and miR-410-3p) were overexpressed during CmVar004 infection compared to CmVar001 infection, inversely correlating with the respective chemokine/cytokine responses. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating that early biomarkers elicited in the host can differentiate between two pathological variants of chlamydiae and be predictive of upper tract disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The field of microbiome research is growing rapidly. We developed a method for self-collection of fecal specimens that can be used in population-based studies of the gut microbiome. We conducted a pilot study to test the feasibility of our methods among a random sample of healthy, postmenopausal women who are members of Kaiser Permanente Colorado (KPCO). We aimed to collect questionnaire data, fecal and urine specimens from 60 women, aged 55-69, who recently had a normal screening mammogram. We designed the study such that all questionnaire data and specimens could be collected at home.
We mailed an invitation packet, consent form and opt-out postcard to 300 women, then recruited by telephone women who did not opt-out. Verbally consented women were mailed an enrollment package including a risk factor questionnaire, link to an online diet questionnaire, specimen collection kit, and instructions for collecting stool and urine. Specimens were shipped overnight to the biorepository. Of the 300 women mailed an invitation packet, 58 (19%) returned the opt-out postcard. Up to 3 attempts were made to telephone the remaining women, of whom 130 (43%) could not be contacted, 23 (8%) refused, and 12 (4%) were ineligible. Enrollment packages were mailed to 77 women, of whom 59 returned the risk factor questionnaire and specimens. We found no statistically significant differences between enrolled women and those who refused participation or could not be contacted.
We demonstrated that a representative sample of women can be successfully recruited for a gut microbiome study; however, significant personal contact and carefully timed follow-up from the study personnel are required. The methods employed by our study could successfully be applied to analytic studies of a wide range of clinical conditions that have been postulated to be influenced by the gut microbial population.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: At its core, microbiome research relies on complex and sophisticated statistical analyses of large datasets and their associated metadata (e.g., experimental parameters, sample characteristics). Reproducibility is a pillar of sound research, and scientific journals need to embrace transparency and make every effort to enable reproducibility through comprehensive and clear reporting of analytical approaches. Without reproducibility, microbiome science will battle to regain credibility and opportunities for scientific advancement will be lost. In this editorial we discuss ways for the field to improve data access and reproducibility.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To take advantage of affordable high-throughput next-generation sequencing technologies to characterize microbial community composition often requires the development of improved methods to overcome technical limitations inherent to the sequencing platforms. Sequencing low sequence diversity libraries such as 16S rRNA amplicons has been problematic on the Illumina MiSeq platform and often generates sequences of suboptimal quality.
Here we present an improved dual-indexing amplification and sequencing approach to assess the composition of microbial communities from clinical samples using the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene on the Illumina MiSeq platform. We introduced a 0 to 7 bp "heterogeneity spacer" to the index sequence that allows an equal proportion of samples to be sequenced out of phase.
Our approach yields high quality sequence data from 16S rRNA gene amplicons using both 250 bp and 300 bp paired-end MiSeq protocols and provides a flexible and cost-effective sequencing option.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study was undertaken to characterize the vaginal microbiota throughout normal human pregnancy using sequence-based techniques. We compared the vaginal microbial composition of non-pregnant patients with a group of pregnant women who delivered at term.
A retrospective case-control longitudinal study was designed and included non-pregnant women (n = 32) and pregnant women who delivered at term (38 to 42 weeks) without complications (n = 22). Serial samples of vaginal fluid were collected from both non-pregnant and pregnant subjects. A 16S rRNA gene sequence-based survey was conducted using pyrosequencing to characterize the structure and stability of the vaginal microbiota. Linear mixed effects models and generalized estimating equations were used to identify the phylotypes whose relative abundance was different between the two study groups. The vaginal microbiota of normal pregnant women was different from that of non-pregnant women (higher abundance of Lactobacillus vaginalis, L. crispatus, L. gasseri and L. jensenii and lower abundance of 22 other phylotypes in pregnant women). Bacterial community state type (CST) IV-B or CST IV-A characterized by high relative abundance of species of genus Atopobium as well as the presence of Prevotella, Sneathia, Gardnerella, Ruminococcaceae, Parvimonas, Mobiluncus and other taxa previously shown to be associated with bacterial vaginosis were less frequent in normal pregnancy. The stability of the vaginal microbiota of pregnant women was higher than that of non-pregnant women; however, during normal pregnancy, bacterial communities do shift but almost exclusively from one CST dominated by Lactobacillus spp. to another CST dominated by Lactobacillus spp.
We report the first longitudinal study of the vaginal microbiota in normal pregnancy. Differences in the composition and stability of the microbial community between pregnant and non-pregnant women were observed. Lactobacillus spp. were the predominant members of the microbial community in normal pregnancy. These results can serve as the basis to study the relationship between the vaginal microbiome and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: First identified in 1982 as a human pathogen, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli of the O157:H7 serotype is a major cause of food-borne acquired human infections. Here, we report the genome sequence of the first known strain of this serotype isolated in the United States.