[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidia comprise a phylum of over 1400 species of obligate intracellular pathogens that can infect almost all animals, but little is known about the host response to these parasites. Here we use the whole-animal host C. elegans to show an in vivo role for ubiquitin-mediated response to the microsporidian species Nematocida parisii, as well to the Orsay virus, another natural intracellular pathogen of C. elegans. We analyze gene expression of C. elegans in response to N. parisii, and find that it is similar to response to viral infection. Notably, we find an upregulation of SCF ubiquitin ligase components, such as the cullin ortholog cul-6, which we show is important for ubiquitin targeting of N. parisii cells in the intestine. We show that ubiquitylation components, the proteasome, and the autophagy pathway are all important for defense against N. parisii infection. We also find that SCF ligase components like cul-6 promote defense against viral infection, where they have a more robust role than against N. parisii infection. This difference may be due to suppression of the host ubiquitylation system by N. parisii: when N. parisii is crippled by anti-microsporidia drugs, the host can more effectively target pathogen cells for ubiquitylation. Intriguingly, inhibition of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) increases expression of infection-upregulated SCF ligase components, indicating that a trigger for transcriptional response to intracellular infection by N. parisii and virus may be perturbation of the UPS. Altogether, our results demonstrate an in vivo role for ubiquitin-mediated defense against microsporidian and viral infections in C. elegans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization predicts later infection, with both host and pathogen determinants of invasive disease.Methods. This nested case-control study evaluates predictors of MRSA bacteremia in an 8-ICU prospective adult cohort from 9/1/03-4/30/05 with active MRSA surveillance and collection of ICU, post-ICU, and readmission MRSA isolates. We selected MRSA carriers who did (cases) and did not (controls) develop MRSA bacteremia. Generating assembled genome sequences, we evaluated 30 MRSA genes potentially associated with virulence and invasion. Using multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression, we assessed the association of these genes with MRSA bacteremia, controlling for host risk factors.Results. We collected 1,578 MRSA isolates from 520 patients. We analyzed host and pathogen factors for 33 cases and 121 controls. Predictors of MRSA bacteremia included a diagnosis of cancer, presence of a central venous catheter, hyperglycemia (glucose >200), and infection with a MRSA strain carrying the gene for staphylococcal enterotoxin P (sep). Receipt of an anti-MRSA medication had a significant protective effect.Conclusions. Controlling for host factors, colonization with MRSA carrying sep increased risk of MRSA bacteremia. Identification of risk-adjusted genetic determinants of virulence may help to improve prediction of invasive disease and suggest new targets for therapeutic intervention.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 02/2014; 209(4):571-7. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loa loa, the African eyeworm, is a major filarial pathogen of humans. Unlike most filariae, L. loa does not contain the obligate intracellular Wolbachia endosymbiont. We describe the 91.4-Mb genome of L. loa and that of the related filarial parasite Wuchereria bancrofti and predict 14,907 L. loa genes on the basis of microfilarial RNA sequencing. By comparing these genomes to that of another filarial parasite, Brugia malayi, and to those of several other nematodes, we demonstrate synteny among filariae but not with nonparasitic nematodes. The L. loa genome encodes many immunologically relevant genes, as well as protein kinases targeted by drugs currently approved for use in humans. Despite lacking Wolbachia, L. loa shows no new metabolic synthesis or transport capabilities compared to other filariae. These results suggest that the role of Wolbachia in filarial biology is more subtle than previously thought and reveal marked differences between parasitic and nonparasitic nematodes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nasonia, a genus of four closely related parasitoid insect species, is a model system for genetic research. Their haplodiploid genetics (haploid males and diploid females) and interfertile species are advantageous for the genetic analysis of complex traits and the genetic basis of species differences. A fine-scale genomic map is an important tool for advancing genetic studies in this system. We developed and used a hybrid genotyping microarray to generate a high-resolution genetic map that covers 79% of the sequenced genome of Nasonia vitripennis. The microarray is based on differential hybridization of species-specific oligos between N. vitripennis and Nasonia giraulti at more than 20,000 markers spanning the Nasonia genome. The map places 729 scaffolds onto the five linkage groups of Nasonia, including locating many smaller scaffolds that would be difficult to map by other means. The microarray was used to characterize 26 segmental introgression lines containing chromosomal regions from one species in the genetic background of another. These segmental introgression lines have been used for rapid screening and mapping of quantitative trait loci involved in species differences. Finally, the microarray is extended to bulk-segregant analysis and genotyping of other Nasonia species combinations. These resources should further expand the usefulness of Nasonia for studies of the genetic basis and architecture of complex traits and speciation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Listeria monocytogenes, a foodborne bacterial pathogen, is comprised of four phylogenetic lineages that vary with regard to their serotypes and distribution among sources. In order to characterize lineage-specific genomic diversity within L. monocytogenes, we sequenced the genomes of eight strains from several lineages and serotypes, and characterized the accessory genome, which was hypothesized to contribute to phenotypic differences across lineages. The eight L. monocytogenes genomes sequenced range in size from 2.85-3.14 Mb, encode 2,822-3,187 genes, and include the first publicly available sequenced representatives of serotypes 1/2c, 3a and 4c. Mapping of the distribution of accessory genes revealed two distinct regions of the L. monocytogenes chromosome: an accessory-rich region in the first 65° adjacent to the origin of replication and a more stable region in the remaining 295°. This pattern of genome organization is distinct from that of related bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus. The accessory genome of all lineages is enriched for cell surface-related genes and phosphotransferase systems, and transcriptional regulators, highlighting the selective pressures faced by contemporary strains from their hosts, other microbes, and their environment. Phylogenetic analysis of O-antigen genes and gene clusters predicts that serotype 4 was ancestral in L. monocytogenes and serotype 1/2 associated gene clusters were putatively introduced through horizontal gene transfer in the ancestral population of L. monocytogenes lineage I and II.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e67511. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidia comprise a large phylum of obligate intracellular eukaryotes that are fungal-related parasites responsible for widespread disease, and here we address questions about microsporidia biology and evolution. We sequenced three microsporidian genomes from two species, Nematocida parisii and Nematocida sp1, which are natural pathogens of Caenorhabditis nematodes and provide model systems for studying microsporidian pathogenesis. We performed deep sequencing of transcripts from a time course of N. parisii infection. Examination of pathogen gene expression revealed compact transcripts and a dramatic takeover of host cells by Nematocida. We also performed phylogenomic analyses of Nematocida and other microsporidian genomes to refine microsporidian phylogeny and identify evolutionary events of gene loss, acquisition, and modification. In particular, we found that all microsporidia lost the tumor-suppressor gene retinoblastoma, which we speculate could accelerate the parasite cell cycle and increase the mutation rate. We also found that microsporidia acquired transporters that could import nucleosides to fuel rapid growth. In addition, microsporidian hexokinases gained secretion signal sequences, and in a functional assay these were sufficient to export proteins out of the cell; thus hexokinase may be targeted into the host cell to reprogram it toward biosynthesis. Similar molecular changes appear during formation of cancer cells and may be evolutionary strategies adopted independently by microsporidia to proliferate rapidly within host cells. Finally, analysis of genome polymorphisms revealed evidence for a sexual cycle that may provide genetic diversity to alleviate problems caused by clonal growth. Together these events may explain the emergence and success of these diverse intracellular parasites.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The enterococci are Gram-positive lactic acid bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tracts of diverse hosts. However, Enterococcus faecium and E. faecalis have emerged as leading causes of multidrug-resistant hospital-acquired infections. The mechanism by which a well-adapted commensal evolved into a hospital pathogen is poorly understood. In this study, we examined high-quality draft genome data for evidence of key events in the evolution of the leading causes of enterococcal infections, including E. faecalis, E. faecium, E. casseliflavus, and E. gallinarum. We characterized two clades within what is currently classified as E. faecium and identified traits characteristic of each, including variation in operons for cell wall carbohydrate and putative capsule biosynthesis. We examined the extent of recombination between the two E. faecium clades and identified two strains with mosaic genomes. We determined the underlying genetics for the defining characteristics of the motile enterococci E. casseliflavus and E. gallinarum. Further, we identified species-specific traits that could be used to advance the detection of medically relevant enterococci and their identification to the species level.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains are leading causes of hospital-acquired infections in the United States, and clonal cluster 5 (CC5) is the predominant lineage responsible for these infections. Since 2002, there have been 12 cases of vancomycin-resistant S. aureus (VRSA) infection in the United States-all CC5 strains. To understand this genetic background and what distinguishes it from other lineages, we generated and analyzed high-quality draft genome sequences for all available VRSA strains. Sequence comparisons show unambiguously that each strain independently acquired Tn1546 and that all VRSA strains last shared a common ancestor over 50 years ago, well before the occurrence of vancomycin resistance in this species. In contrast to existing hypotheses on what predisposes this lineage to acquire Tn1546, the barrier posed by restriction systems appears to be intact in most VRSA strains. However, VRSA (and other CC5) strains were found to possess a constellation of traits that appears to be optimized for proliferation in precisely the types of polymicrobic infection where transfer could occur. They lack a bacteriocin operon that would be predicted to limit the occurrence of non-CC5 strains in mixed infection and harbor a cluster of unique superantigens and lipoproteins to confound host immunity. A frameshift in dprA, which in other microbes influences uptake of foreign DNA, may also make this lineage conducive to foreign DNA acquisition. IMPORTANCE: Invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection now ranks among the leading causes of death in the United States. Vancomycin is a key last-line bactericidal drug for treating these infections. However, since 2002, vancomycin resistance has entered this species. Of the now 12 cases of vancomycin-resistant S. aureus (VRSA), each was believed to represent a new acquisition of the vancomycin-resistant transposon Tn1546 from enterococcal donors. All acquisitions of Tn1546 so far have occurred in MRSA strains of the clonal cluster 5 genetic background, the most common hospital lineage causing hospital-acquired MRSA infection. To understand the nature of these strains, we determined and examined the nucleotide sequences of the genomes of all available VRSA. Genome comparison identified candidate features that position strains of this lineage well for acquiring resistance to antibiotics in mixed infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Segniliparus rugosus represents one of two species in the genus Segniliparus, the sole genus in the family Segniliparaceae. A unique and interesting feature of this family is the presence of extremely long carbon-chain length mycolic acids bound in the cell wall. S. rugosus is also a medically important species because it is an opportunistic pathogen associated with mammalian lung disease. This report represents the second species in the genus to have its genome sequenced. The 3,567,567 bp long genome with 3,516 protein-coding and 49 RNA genes is part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, Human Microbiome Project.
Standards in Genomic Sciences 12/2011; 5(3):389-97. · 3.17 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Paracoccidioides is a fungal pathogen and the cause of paracoccidioidomycosis, a health-threatening human systemic mycosis endemic to Latin America. Infection by Paracoccidioides, a dimorphic fungus in the order Onygenales, is coupled with a thermally regulated transition from a soil-dwelling filamentous form to a yeast-like pathogenic form. To better understand the genetic basis of growth and pathogenicity in Paracoccidioides, we sequenced the genomes of two strains of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (Pb03 and Pb18) and one strain of Paracoccidioides lutzii (Pb01). These genomes range in size from 29.1 Mb to 32.9 Mb and encode 7,610 to 8,130 genes. To enable genetic studies, we mapped 94% of the P. brasiliensis Pb18 assembly onto five chromosomes. We characterized gene family content across Onygenales and related fungi, and within Paracoccidioides we found expansions of the fungal-specific kinase family FunK1. Additionally, the Onygenales have lost many genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism and fewer genes involved in protein metabolism, resulting in a higher ratio of proteases to carbohydrate active enzymes in the Onygenales than their relatives. To determine if gene content correlated with growth on different substrates, we screened the non-pathogenic onygenale Uncinocarpus reesii, which has orthologs for 91% of Paracoccidioides metabolic genes, for growth on 190 carbon sources. U. reesii showed growth on a limited range of carbohydrates, primarily basic plant sugars and cell wall components; this suggests that Onygenales, including dimorphic fungi, can degrade cellulosic plant material in the soil. In addition, U. reesii grew on gelatin and a wide range of dipeptides and amino acids, indicating a preference for proteinaceous growth substrates over carbohydrates, which may enable these fungi to also degrade animal biomass. These capabilities for degrading plant and animal substrates suggest a duality in lifestyle that could enable pathogenic species of Onygenales to transfer from soil to animal hosts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Actinomycetales bacteria Rhodococcus opacus PD630 and Rhodococcus jostii RHA1 bioconvert a diverse range of organic substrates through lipid biosynthesis into large quantities of energy-rich triacylglycerols (TAGs). To describe the genetic basis of the Rhodococcus oleaginous metabolism, we sequenced and performed comparative analysis of the 9.27 Mb R. opacus PD630 genome. Metabolic-reconstruction assigned 2017 enzymatic reactions to the 8632 R. opacus PD630 genes we identified. Of these, 261 genes were implicated in the R. opacus PD630 TAGs cycle by metabolic reconstruction and gene family analysis. Rhodococcus synthesizes uncommon straight-chain odd-carbon fatty acids in high abundance and stores them as TAGs. We have identified these to be pentadecanoic, heptadecanoic, and cis-heptadecenoic acids. To identify bioconversion pathways, we screened R. opacus PD630, R. jostii RHA1, Ralstonia eutropha H16, and C. glutamicum 13032 for growth on 190 compounds. The results of the catabolic screen, phylogenetic analysis of the TAGs cycle enzymes, and metabolic product characterizations were integrated into a working model of prokaryotic oleaginy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The fission yeast clade--comprising Schizosaccharomyces pombe, S. octosporus, S. cryophilus, and S. japonicus--occupies the basal branch of Ascomycete fungi and is an important model of eukaryote biology. A comparative annotation of these genomes identified a near extinction of transposons and the associated innovation of transposon-free centromeres. Expression analysis established that meiotic genes are subject to antisense transcription during vegetative growth, which suggests a mechanism for their tight regulation. In addition, trans-acting regulators control new genes within the context of expanded functional modules for meiosis and stress response. Differences in gene content and regulation also explain why, unlike the budding yeast of Saccharomycotina, fission yeasts cannot use ethanol as a primary carbon source. These analyses elucidate the genome structure and gene regulation of fission yeast and provide tools for investigation across the Schizosaccharomyces clade.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wolbachia infect a variety of arthropod and nematode hosts, but in arthropods, host phylogenetic relationships are usually poor predictors of strain similarity. This suggests that new infections are often established by horizontal transmission. To gain insight into the factors affecting the probability of horizontal transmission among host species, we ask how host phylogeny, geographical distribution and ecology affect patterns of Wolbachia strain similarity. We used multilocus sequence typing (MLST) to characterize Wolbachia strain similarity among dipteran hosts associated with fleshy mushrooms. Wolbachia Supergroup A was more common than Supergroup B in Diptera, and also more common in mycophagous than non-mycophagous Diptera. Within Supergroup A, host family within Diptera had no effect on strain similarity, and there was no tendency for Wolbachia strains from sympatric host species to be more similar to one another than to strains from hosts in different biogeographical realms. Supergroup A strains differed between mycophagous and non-mycophagous Diptera more than expected by chance, suggesting that ecological associations can facilitate horizontal transmission of Wolbachia within mycophagous fly communities. For Supergroup B, there were no significant associations between strain similarity and host phylogeny, biogeography, or ecology. We identified only two cases in which closely related hosts carried closely related Wolbachia strains, evidence that Wolbachia-host co-speciation or early introgression can occur but may not be a major contributor to overall strain diversity. Our results suggest that horizontal transmission of Wolbachia can be influenced by host ecology, thus leading to partial restriction of Wolbachia strains or strain groups to particular guilds of insects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nasonia (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) is a genus of parasitoid wasps, which is fast emerging as a model system for evolutionary, genetic, developmental and host-endosymbiont interaction studies. In this study, we report a new species, Nasonia oneida, distinguish its behavioral, genetic and morphological features, and characterize its pre-mating and post-mating isolation with the other Nasonia species. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that N. oneida is the sister species to Nasonia giraulti with its own uniquely distinct cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, behavioral characteristics and subtle morphological differences. An important characteristic of N. oneida is the strong mate discrimination shown by the females against all the other Nasonia species. A genetic analysis of this phenotype by interspecies hybridization indicates that this strong discriminating phenotype is recessive. A formal species description of N. oneida Raychoudhury & Desjardins is also provided.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic basis of host preference has been investigated in only a few species. It is relevant to important questions in evolutionary biology, including sympatric speciation, generalist versus specialist adaptation, and parasite-host co-evolution. Here we show that a major locus strongly influences host preference in Nasonia. Nasonia are parasitic wasps that utilize fly pupae; Nasonia vitripennis is a generalist that parasitizes a diverse set of hosts, whereas Nasonia giraulti specializes in Protocalliphora (bird blowflies). In laboratory choice experiments using Protocalliphora and Sarcophaga (flesh flies), N. vitripennis shows a preference for Sarcophaga, whereas N. giraulti shows a preference for Protocalliphora. Through a series of interspecies crosses, we have introgressed a major locus affecting host preference from N. giraulti into N. vitripennis. The N. giraulti allele is dominant and greatly increases preference for Protocalliphora pupae in the introgression line relative to the recessive N. vitripennis allele. Through the utilization of a Nasonia genotyping microarray, we have identified the introgressed region as 16 Mb of chromosome 4, although a more complete analysis is necessary to determine the exact genetic architecture of host preference in the genus. To our knowledge, this is the first introgression of the host preference of one parasitoid species into another, as well as one of the few cases of introgression of a behavioral gene between species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using bioinformatics methods, we identified a total of 221 and 199 tRNA genes in the nuclear genomes of Nasonia vitripennis and honey bee (Apis mellifera), respectively. We performed comparative analyses of Nasonia tRNA genes with honey bee and other selected insects to understand genomic distribution, sequence evolution and relationship of tRNA copy number with codon usage patterns. Many tRNA genes are located physically close to each other in the form of small clusters in the Nasonia genome. However, the number of clusters and the tRNA genes that form such clusters vary from species to species. In particular, the Ala-, Pro-, Tyr- and His-tRNA genes tend to accumulate in clusters in Nasonia but not in honey bee, whereas the bee contains a long cluster of 15 tRNA genes (of which 13 are Gln-tRNAs) that is absent in Nasonia. Though tRNA genes are highly conserved, contrasting patterns of nucleotide diversity are observed among the arm and loop regions of tRNAs between Nasonia and honey bee. Also, the sequence convergence between the reconstructed ancestral tRNAs and the present day tRNAs suggests a common ancestral origin of Nasonia and honey bee tRNAs. Furthermore, we also present evidence that the copy number of isoacceptor tRNAs (those having a different anticodon but charge the same amino acid) is correlated with codon usage patterns of highly expressed genes in Nasonia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Outer membrane proteins (OMPs) of Gram-negative bacteria are key players in the biology of bacterial-host interactions. However, while considerable attention has been given to OMPs of vertebrate pathogens, relatively little is known about the role of these proteins in bacteria that primarily infect invertebrates. One such OMP is found in the intracellular bacteria Wolbachia, which are widespread symbionts of arthropods and filarial nematodes. Recent experimental studies have shown that the Wolbachia surface protein (WSP) can trigger host immune responses and control cell death programming in humans, suggesting a key role of WSP for establishment and persistence of the symbiosis in arthropods.
Here we performed an analysis of 515 unique alleles found in 831 Wolbachia isolates, to investigate WSP structure, microevolution and population genetics. WSP shows an eight-strand transmembrane beta-barrel structure with four extracellular loops containing hypervariable regions (HVRs). A clustering approach based upon patterns of HVR haplotype diversity was used to group similar WSP sequences and to estimate the relative contribution of mutation and recombination during early stages of protein divergence. Results indicate that although point mutations generate most of the new protein haplotypes, recombination is a predominant force triggering diversity since the very first steps of protein evolution, causing at least 50% of the total amino acid variation observed in recently diverged proteins. Analysis of synonymous variants indicates that individual WSP protein types are subject to a very rapid turnover and that HVRs can accommodate a virtually unlimited repertoire of peptides. Overall distribution of WSP across hosts supports a non-random association of WSP with the host genus, although extensive horizontal transfer has occurred also in recent times.
In OMPs of vertebrate pathogens, large recombination impact, positive selection, reduced structural and compositional constraints, and extensive lateral gene transfer are considered hallmarks of evolution in response to the adaptive immune system. However, Wolbachia do not infect vertebrates. Here we predict that the rapid turnover of WSP loop motifs could aid in evading or inhibiting the invertebrate innate immune response. Overall, these features identify WSP as a strong candidate for future studies of host-Wolbachia interactions that affect establishment and persistence of this widespread endosymbiosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An in-depth proteomic study of previously unidentified two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis spots of honey bee (Apis mellifera, Hymenoptera) venom revealed a new protein with a C1q conserved domain (C1q-VP). BlastP searching revealed a strong identity with only two proteins from other insect species: the jewel wasp, Nasonia vitripennis (Hymenoptera), and the green pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera). In higher organisms, C1q is the first subcomponent of the classical complement pathway and constitutes a major link between innate and acquired immunity. Expression of C1q-VP in a variety of tissues of honey bee workers and drones was demonstrated. In addition, a wide spatial and temporal pattern of expression was observed in N. vitripennis. We suggest that C1q-VP represents a new member of the emerging group of venom trace elements. Using degenerate primers the corresponding gene was found to be highly conserved in eight hymenopteran species, including species of the Aculeata and the Parasitica groups (suborder Apocrita) and even the suborder Symphyta. A preliminary test using recombinant proteins failed to demonstrate Am_C1q-VP-specific immunoglobulin E recognition by serum from patients with a documented severe bee venom allergy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the Nasonia vitripennis genome sequences available, we attempted to determine the proteins present in venom by two different approaches. First, we searched for the transcripts of venom proteins by a bioinformatic approach using amino acid sequences of known hymenopteran venom proteins. Second, we performed proteomic analyses of crude N. vitripennis venom removed from the venom reservoir, implementing both an off-line two-dimensional liquid chromatography matrix-assisted laser desorption/ ionization time-of-flight (2D-LC-MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) and a two-dimensional liquid chromatography electrospray ionization Founer transform ion cyclotron resonance (2D-LC-ESI-FT-ICR) MS setup. This combination of bioinformatic and proteomic studies resulted in an extraordinary richness of identified venom constituents. Moreover, half of the 79 identified proteins were not yet associated with insect venoms: 16 proteins showed similarity only to known proteins from other tissues or secretions, and an additional 23 did not show similarity to any known protein. Serine proteases and their inhibitors were the most represented. Fifteen nonsecretory proteins were also identified by proteomic means and probably represent so-called 'venom trace elements'. The present study contributes greatly to the understanding of the biological diversity of the venom of parasitoid wasps at the molecular level.