[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current identification of microRNAs (miRNAs) in insects is largely dependent on genome sequences. However, the lack of available genome sequences inhibits the identification of miRNAs in various insect species. In this study, we used a miRNA database of the silkworm Bombyx mori as a reference to identify miRNAs in Helicoverpa armigera and Spodoptera litura using deep sequencing and homology analysis. Because all three species belong to the Lepidoptera, the experiment produced reliable results. Our study identified 97 and 91 conserved miRNAs in H. armigera and S. litura, respectively. Using the genome of B. mori and BAC sequences of H. armigera as references, 1 novel miRNA and 8 novel miRNA candidates were identified in H. armigera, and 4 novel miRNA candidates were identified in S. litura. An evolutionary analysis revealed that most of the identified miRNAs were insect-specific, and more than 20 miRNAs were Lepidoptera-specific. The investigation of the expression patterns of miR-2a, miR-34, miR-2796-3p and miR-11 revealed their potential roles in insect development. miRNA target prediction revealed that conserved miRNA target sites exist in various genes in the 3 species. Conserved miRNA target sites for the Hsp90 gene among the 3 species were validated in the mammalian 293T cell line using a dual-luciferase reporter assay. Our study provides a new approach with which to identify miRNAs in insects lacking genome information and contributes to the functional analysis of insect miRNAs.
International journal of biological sciences 01/2013; 9(1):1-15. · 3.17 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leptospira interrogans is the causative agent of leptospirosis. The in vitro growth of L. interrogans requires CO(2) and a partial 3-hydroxypropionate pathway involving two acyl-CoA carboxylases was suggested by genomic analysis to assimilate CO(2). Either set of the candidate genes heterologously co-expressed in Escherichia coli was able to demonstrate both acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and propionyl-CoA carboxylase (PCC) activities. The tri-subunit holoenzyme (LA_2736-LA_2735 and LA_3803), although failed to be purified, was designated ACC based on its substrate preference toward acetyl-CoA. The partially purified bi-subunit holoenzyme (LA_2432-LA_2433) has a considerably higher activity against propionyl-CoA as the substrate than that of acetyl-CoA, and thus, designated PCC. Native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis indicated that this PCC has a molecular mass of around 669 kDa, suggesting an α(4)β(4) quaternary structure and both structural homology modeling and site-directed mutagenesis analysis of its carboxyltransferase subunit (LA_2433) indicated that the A431 residue located at the bottom of the putative substrate binding pocket may play an important role in substrate specificity determination. Both transcriptomic and proteomic data indicated that enzymes involved in the suggested partial 3-hydroxypropionate pathway were expressed in vivo in addition to ACC/PCC and the homologous genes in genomes of other Leptospira species were re-annotated accordingly. However, as the in vitro detected specific activity of ACC in the crude cell extract was too low to account for the growth of the bacterium in Ellinghausen-McCullough-Johnson-Harris minimal medium, further systematic analysis is required to unveil the mechanism of gluconeogenesis via anaplerotic CO(2) assimilation in Leptospira species.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The symbiotic protists in the hindgut of lower termites are critical for lignocellulose decomposition. Due to the unculturability of these protists, information on lignocellulases and their abundance within the gut is unavailable. The advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies enables an investigation of the gene expression profile in this community without culturing these organisms. Here, we carried out 454 pyrosequencing to profile the metatranscriptome of the protistan community in Coptotermes formosanus. In total, 223,477 reads were obtained by sequencing the enriched protistan mRNA. Phagocytosis and cytoskeletal homeostasis pathways were highly represented in the metatranscriptome. Among the metabolic pathways, starch and sucrose metabolism were dominant. A detailed analysis combining Pfam and KEGG annotation identified 118 glycosyl hydrolases belonging to 18 different glycosyl hydrolase families (GHFs). Subsequently, a novel GHF10 endo-1,4-beta-xylanase was functionally characterized to complement our understanding of the protistan hemicellulases.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amycolatopsis mediterranei produces an important antibiotic rifamycin, the biosynthesis of which involves many unusual modifications. Previous work suggested a putative P450 enzyme encoded by rif16 within the rifamycin biosynthetic gene cluster (rif) was required for the conversion of the intermediate rifamycin SV into the end product rifamycin B. In this study, we genetically proved that a putative transketolase encoded by rif15 is another essential enzyme for this conversion. Expression of merely rif15 and rif16 in a rif cluster null mutant of A. mediterranei U32 was able to convert rifamycin SV into B. However, this Rif15- and Rif16-mediated conversion was only detected in intact cells of A. meidterranei, but not in Streptomyce coelicolor or Mycobacterium smegmatis, suggesting that yet-characterized gene(s) in A. mediterranei other than those encoded by the rif cluster should be involved in this process.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although Leptospira interrogans is unable to utilize glucose as its carbon/energy source, the LA_1437 gene of L. interrogans serovar Lai potentially encodes a group III glucokinase (GLK). The L. interrogans GLK (LiGLK) heterogeneously expressed in Escherichia coli was purified and proved to be a homodimeric enzyme with its specific activity of 12.3 ± 0.6 U/mg x protein determined under an improved assay condition (pH 9.0, 50 ° C), 7.5-fold higher than that assayed under the previously used condition (pH 7.3, 25 ° C). The improved sensitivity allowed us to detect this enzymatic activity of (5.0 ± 0.6) × 10(-3) U/mg x protein in the crude extract of L. interrogans serovar Lai cultured in standard Ellinghausen-McCullough-Johnson-Harris medium. The k(cat) and K(m) values for d-glucose and ATP were similar to those of other group III GLKs, although the K(m) value for ATP was slightly higher. Site-directed mutagenesis analysis targeting the conserved amino acid residues in the potential ATP-binding motif hinted that a proper array of Gly residues in the motif might be important for maintaining the conformation that was essential for its function. Gene expression profiling and quantitative proteomic data mining provided preliminary evidence for the absence of efficient systems involved in glucose transport and glycolysis that might account for the failure of glucose utilization in L. interrogans.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The virulence-attenuated Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai strain IPAV was derived by prolonged laboratory passage from a highly virulent ancestral strain isolated in China. We studied the genetic variations of IPAV that render it avirulent via comparative analysis against the pathogenic L. interrogans serovar Lai strain 56601. The complete genome sequence of the IPAV strain was determined and used to compare with, and then rectify and reannotate the genome sequence of strain 56601. Aside from their highly similar genomic structure and gene order, a total of 33 insertions, 53 deletions and 301 single-nucleotide variations (SNVs) were detected throughout the genome of IPAV directly affecting 101 genes, either in their 5' upstream region or within their coding region. Among them, the majority of the 44 functional genes are involved in signal transduction, stress response, transmembrane transport and nitrogen metabolism. Comparative proteomic analysis based on quantitative liquid chromatography (LC)-MS/MS data revealed that among 1 627 selected pairs of orthologs, 174 genes in the IPAV strain were upregulated, with enrichment mainly in classes of energy production and lipid metabolism. In contrast, 228 genes in strain 56601 were upregulated, with the majority enriched in the categories of protein translation and DNA replication/repair. The combination of genomic and proteomic approaches illustrated that altered expression or mutations in critical genes, such as those encoding a Ser/Thr kinase, carbon-starvation protein CstA, glutamine synthetase, GTP-binding protein BipA, ribonucleotide-diphosphate reductase and phosphate transporter, and alterations in the translational profile of lipoproteins or outer membrane proteins are likely to account for the virulence attenuation in strain IPAV.
Cell Research 03/2011; 21(8):1210-29. · 10.53 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metarhizium spp. are being used as environmentally friendly alternatives to chemical insecticides, as model systems for studying insect-fungus interactions, and as a resource of genes for biotechnology. We present a comparative analysis of the genome sequences of the broad-spectrum insect pathogen Metarhizium anisopliae and the acridid-specific M. acridum. Whole-genome analyses indicate that the genome structures of these two species are highly syntenic and suggest that the genus Metarhizium evolved from plant endophytes or pathogens. Both M. anisopliae and M. acridum have a strikingly larger proportion of genes encoding secreted proteins than other fungi, while ~30% of these have no functionally characterized homologs, suggesting hitherto unsuspected interactions between fungal pathogens and insects. The analysis of transposase genes provided evidence of repeat-induced point mutations occurring in M. acridum but not in M. anisopliae. With the help of pathogen-host interaction gene database, ~16% of Metarhizium genes were identified that are similar to experimentally verified genes involved in pathogenicity in other fungi, particularly plant pathogens. However, relative to M. acridum, M. anisopliae has evolved with many expanded gene families of proteases, chitinases, cytochrome P450s, polyketide synthases, and nonribosomal peptide synthetases for cuticle-degradation, detoxification, and toxin biosynthesis that may facilitate its ability to adapt to heterogeneous environments. Transcriptional analysis of both fungi during early infection processes provided further insights into the genes and pathways involved in infectivity and specificity. Of particular note, M. acridum transcribed distinct G-protein coupled receptors on cuticles from locusts (the natural hosts) and cockroaches, whereas M. anisopliae transcribed the same receptor on both hosts. This study will facilitate the identification of virulence genes and the development of improved biocontrol strains with customized properties.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amycolatopsis mediterranei is used for industry-scale production of rifamycin, which plays a vital role in antimycobacterial therapy. As the first sequenced genome of the genus Amycolatopsis, the chromosome of strain U32 comprising 10,236,715 base pairs, is one of the largest prokaryotic genomes ever sequenced so far. Unlike the linear topology found in streptomycetes, this chromosome is circular, particularly similar to that of Saccharopolyspora erythraea and Nocardia farcinica, representing their close relationship in phylogeny and taxonomy. Although the predicted 9,228 protein-coding genes in the A. mediterranei genome shared the greatest number of orthologs with those of S. erythraea, it was unexpectedly followed by Streptomyces coelicolor rather than N. farcinica, indicating the distinct metabolic characteristics evolved via adaptation to diverse ecological niches. Besides a core region analogous to that common in streptomycetes, a novel 'quasi-core' with typical core characteristics is defined within the non-core region, where 21 out of the total 26 gene clusters for secondary metabolite production are located. The rifamycin biosynthesis gene cluster located in the core encodes a cytochrome P450 enzyme essential for the conversion of rifamycin SV to B, revealed by comparing to the highly homologous cluster of the rifamycin B-producing strain S699 and further confirmed by genetic complementation. The genomic information of A. mediterranei demonstrates a metabolic network orchestrated not only for extensive utilization of various carbon sources and inorganic nitrogen compounds but also for effective funneling of metabolic intermediates into the secondary antibiotic synthesis process under the control of a seemingly complex regulatory mechanism.
Cell Research 10/2010; 20(10):1096-108. · 10.53 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MazG nucleoside triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase (NTP-PPase, EC 220.127.116.11) from the avirulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Ra contains a spontaneous mutation on a highly conserved residue, resulting in an A219E substitution (MtMazG[A219E]). In this work, we show that mycobacterial MazG from either the virulent M. tuberculosis H37Rv (MtMazG) or the fast-growing Mycobacterium smegmatis (MsMazG) is a potent NTP-PPase capable of hydrolyzing all canonical (d)NTPs, as well as the mutagenic dUTP and 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-dGTP. However, this hydrolysis activity is diminished by the MtMazG[A219E] mutation. Moreover, deletion of mazG in M. smegmatis rendered the mycobacteria defective in response to oxidative stress. Importantly, expression of the wild-type MtMazG, but not the A219E mutant, restored cell viability under oxidative stress. Intriguingly, under oxidative stress, both the mazG-null and MtMazG[A219E]-expressing M. smegmatis strains failed to elevate relA, while retaining their ability to up-regulate sigE, suggesting a specific role for the MazG NTP-PPase activity in oxidative stress-triggered, transcriptional activation of relA. The MtMazG is a homotetramer with each subunit containing a single MazG core domain flanked by two regions, both of which are essential for NTP-PPase activity. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the mycobacterial MazG is a potent NTP-PPase and that this activity is required to maintain the full capacity of the mycobacteria to respond to oxidative stress. Our work implicates a role for the MazG activity in the virulence of M. tuberculosis.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2010; 285(36):28076-85. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leptospira is the causative agent of leptospirosis. The O-antigen is the distal part of the lipopolysaccharide, which is a key component of outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and confers serological specificity. The epidemiology and clinical characteristics of leptospirosis are relative to the serology based taxonomic unit. Identification of Leptospira strains by serotyping is laborious and has several drawbacks.
In this study, the O-antigen gene clusters of four epidemic Leptospira serogroups (serogroup Canicola, Autumnalis, Grippotyphosa and Hebdomadis) in China were sequenced and all genes were predicted in silico. Adding published sequences of two serogroups, Icterohaemorrhagiae (strain Lai and Fiocruz L1-130) and Sejroe (strain JB197 and L550), we identified six O-antigen-specific genes for six epidemic serogroups in China. PCR assays using these genes were developed and tested on 75 reference strains and 40 clinical isolates.
The results show that the PCR-based assays can be reliable and alternative means for rapid typing of these six serogroups of Leptospira.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Type III secretion systems (T3SSs) have been documented in many Gram-negative bacteria, including enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli. We have previously shown the existence of a putative T3SS in meningitis-causing E. coli K1 strains, referred to as E. coli type III secretion 2 (ETT2). The sequence of ETT2 in meningitis-causing E. coli K1 strain EC10 (O7:K1) revealed that ETT2 comprises the epr, epa and eiv genes, but bears mutations, deletions and insertions. We constructed the EC10 mutants deleted of ETT2 or eivA gene, and their contributions to bacterial pathogenesis were evaluated in human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMECs). The deletion mutant of ETT2 exhibited defects in invasion and intracellular survival compared with the parental E. coli K1 strain EC10. The mutant deleted of eivA within ETT2 was also significantly defective in invasion and intracellular survival in HBMECs, and the defects of the eiv mutant were restored to the levels of the parent strain EC10 by transcomplementation. These findings suggest that ETT2 plays a role in the pathogenesis of E. coli K1 infection, including meningitis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lactobacillus plantarum is a lactic acid bacterium (LAB) species commonly used as a probiotic. We have sequenced the genome of Lactobacillus plantarum JDM1, which is a Chinese commercial LAB with several probiotic functions, using a GS 20 system. We recommend that each commercial probiotic strain should undergo complete genome sequencing to ensure safety and stability.
Journal of bacteriology 06/2009; 191(15):5020-1. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Whooping cough (pertussis) caused by B. pertussis (B.p) is still serious public health threat. B. parapertussis (B.pp), closely related to B.p, also causes whooping cough. The incidence of B.pp infections has been increasing over the last decades, partly because pertussis vaccines have low efficiency against B.pp infections. Moreover, because the majority of pertussis patients are infants, common antimicrobial agents producing serious adverse reactions in infants are not fully satisfactory. Therefore, we try to identify potential vaccine candidates and alternative drug targets against both B.p and B.pp. This preliminary work integrates several different kinds of data from in silico analysis, comparative genomic hybridization, global transcriptional profiling, and protein-protein interaction (PPI) network to screen potential vaccine candidates and drug targets against the two species. Finally, 191 potential crossprotective vaccine candidates are identified. They have high transcriptional levels in both species, or are associated with virulence and pathogenesis. Moreover, these proteins are not only potentially surface-exposed in the bacteria, but also well conserved among the 165 B.p and B.pp strains. Among them, 22 candidates with high essentiality in the two PPI networks of B.p and B.pp are regarded as suitable drug targets against the two species. We just selected Bordetella as an example to develop a rapid and reliable approach for screening alternative drug targets that associated with novel protein pathways, complexes, and cellular functions against these antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Further researches focusing on the 191 vaccine candidates could accelerate the development of more effective vaccines and drug therapy against B.p and B.pp infection.
Omics: a journal of integrative biology 10/2008; 12(3):161-9. · 2.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA microarray analysis was used to compare the differential gene expression profiles between Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai type strain 56601 and its corresponding attenuated strain IPAV. A 22-kb genomic island covering a cluster of 34 genes (i.e., genes LA0186 to LA0219) was actively expressed in both strains but concomitantly upregulated in strain 56601 in contrast to that of IPAV. Reverse transcription-PCR assays proved that the gene cluster comprised five transcripts. Gene annotation of this cluster revealed characteristics of a putative prophage-like remnant with at least 8 of 34 sequences encoding prophage-like proteins, of which the LA0195 protein is probably a putative prophage CI-like regulator. The transcription initiation activities of putative promoter-regulatory sequences of transcripts I, II, and III, all proximal to the LA0195 gene, were further analyzed in the Escherichia coli promoter probe vector pKK232-8 by assaying the reporter chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) activities. The strong promoter activities of both transcripts I and II indicated by the E. coli CAT assay were well correlated with the in vitro sequence-specific binding of the recombinant LA0195 protein to the corresponding promoter probes detected by the electrophoresis mobility shift assay. On the other hand, the promoter activity of transcript III was very low in E. coli and failed to show active binding to the LA0195 protein in vitro. These results suggested that the LA0195 protein is likely involved in the transcription of transcripts I and II. However, the identical complete DNA sequences of this prophage remnant from these two strains strongly suggests that possible regulatory factors or signal transduction systems residing outside of this region within the genome may be responsible for the differential expression profiling in these two strains.
Infection and immunity 07/2008; 76(6):2411-9. · 4.21 Impact Factor