[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic diversity represented by .2,500 different Salmonella serovars provides a yet largely uncharacterized reservoir of mobile elements that can contribute to the frequent emergence of new pathogenic strains of this important zoonotic pathogen. Currently, our understanding of Salmonella mobile elements is skewed by the fact that most studies have focused on highly virulent or common serovars. To gain a more global picture of mobile elements in Salmonella, we used prediction algorithms to screen for mobile elements in 16 sequenced Salmonella genomes representing serovars for which no prior genome scale mobile element data were available. From these results, selected mobile elements underwent further analyses in the form of validation studies, comparative analyses, and PCR-based population screens. Through this analysis we identified a novel plasmid that has two cointegrated replicons (IncI1-IncFIB); this plasmid type was found in four genomes representing different Salmonella serovars and contained a virulence gene array that had not been previously identified. A Salmonella Montevideo isolate contained an IncHI and an IncN2 plasmid, which both encoded antimicrobial resistance genes. We also identified two novel genomic islands (SGI2 and SGI3), and 42 prophages with mosaic architecture, seven of them harboring known virulence genes. Finally, we identified a novel integrative conjugative element (ICE) encoding a type IVb pilus operon in three non-typhoidal Salmonella serovars. Our analyses not only identified a considerable number of mobile elements that have not been previously reported in Salmonella, but also found evidence that these elements facilitate transfer of genes that were previously thought to be limited in their distribution among Salmonella serovars. The abundance of mobile elements encoding pathogenic properties may facilitate the emergence of strains with novel combinations of pathogenic traits. 2009-34459-19750, and 2010-34459-20756 (to MW). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. In addition, Life Technologies Corporation partially funded this study by providing sequencing reagents and instruments and by compensating its employees (GG, CAC, LD, EB and MRF), who participated in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, and preparation of the manuscript. Competing Interests: The authors have the following competing interests. Life Technologies Corporation partially funded this study by providing sequencing reagents and instruments and by compensating its employees (GG, CAC, LD, EB and MRF), who participated in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, and preparation of the manuscript. GG is currently affiliated to AvidBiotics Corp.. GG's contribution to the study ended prior to his departure from Life Technologies. The work presented in this study did not receive commercial support from AvidBiotics Corp., nor did the affiliation of GG to AvidBiotics Corp. influence study design, data collection and analysis, the decision to publish, and preparation of the manuscript. There are no patents, products in development or marketed products to declare related to this study. This does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLoS ONE policies on sharing data and materials, as detailed online in the guide for authors.
PLoS ONE 07/2012; 7(7):e41247. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) continues to be a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in children around the world. Two EPEC genomes have been fully sequenced: those of EPEC O127:H6 strain E2348/69 (United Kingdom, 1969) and EPEC O55:H7 strain CB9615 (Germany, 2003). The O55:H7 serotype is a recent precursor to the virulent enterohemorrhagic E. coli O157:H7. To explore the diversity of O55:H7 and better understand the clonal evolution of O157:H7, we fully sequenced EPEC O55:H7 strain RM12579 (California, 1974), which was collected 1 year before the first U.S. isolate of O157:H7 was identified in California. Phage-related sequences accounted for nearly all differences between the two O55:H7 strains. Additionally, O55:H7 and O157:H7 strains were tested for the presence and insertion sites of Shiga toxin gene (stx)-containing bacteriophages. Analysis of non-phage-associated genes supported core elements of previous O157:H7 stepwise evolutionary models, whereas phage composition and insertion analyses suggested a key refinement. Specifically, the placement and presence of lambda-like bacteriophages (including those containing stx) should not be considered stable evolutionary markers or be required in placing O55:H7 and O157:H7 strains within the stepwise evolutionary models. Additionally, we suggest that a 10.9-kb region (block 172) previously believed unique to O55:H7 strains can be used to identify early O157:H7 strains. Finally, we defined two subsets of O55:H7 strains that share an as-yet-unobserved or extinct common ancestor with O157:H7 strains. Exploration of O55:H7 diversity improved our understanding of the evolution of E. coli O157:H7 and suggested a key revision to accommodate existing and future configurations of stx-containing bacteriophages into current models.
Journal of bacteriology 02/2012; 194(8):1885-96. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Species of Cronobacter are widespread in the environment and are occasional food-borne pathogens associated with serious neonatal diseases, including bacteraemia, meningitis, and necrotising enterocolitis. The genus is composed of seven species: C. sakazakii, C. malonaticus, C. turicensis, C. dublinensis, C. muytjensii, C. universalis, and C. condimenti. Clinical cases are associated with three species, C. malonaticus, C. turicensis and, in particular, with C. sakazakii multilocus sequence type 4. Thus, it is plausible that virulence determinants have evolved in certain lineages.
We generated high quality sequence drafts for eleven Cronobacter genomes representing the seven Cronobacter species, including an ST4 strain of C. sakazakii. Comparative analysis of these genomes together with the two publicly available genomes revealed Cronobacter has over 6,000 genes in one or more strains and over 2,000 genes shared by all Cronobacter. Considerable variation in the presence of traits such as type six secretion systems, metal resistance (tellurite, copper and silver), and adhesins were found. C. sakazakii is unique in the Cronobacter genus in encoding genes enabling the utilization of exogenous sialic acid which may have clinical significance. The C. sakazakii ST4 strain 701 contained additional genes as compared to other C. sakazakii but none of them were known specific virulence-related genes.
Genome comparison revealed that pair-wise DNA sequence identity varies between 89 and 97% in the seven Cronobacter species, and also suggested various degrees of divergence. Sets of universal core genes and accessory genes unique to each strain were identified. These gene sequences can be used for designing genus/species specific detection assays. Genes encoding adhesins, T6SS, and metal resistance genes as well as prophages are found in only subsets of genomes and have contributed considerably to the variation of genomic content. Differences in gene content likely contribute to differences in the clinical and environmental distribution of species and sequence types.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e49455. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we report a whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based evolutionary approach to study the epidemiology of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Montevideo. This outbreak included 272 cases that occurred in 44 states between July 2009 and April 2010. A case-control study linked the consumption of salami made with contaminated black and red pepper to the outbreak. We sequenced, on the SOLiD System, 47 isolates with XbaI PFGE pattern JIXX01.0011, a common pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern associated with isolates from the outbreak. These isolates represented 20 isolates collected from human sources during the period of the outbreak and 27 control isolates collected from human, food, animal, and environmental sources before the outbreak. Based on 253 high-confidence SNPs, we were able to reconstruct a tip-dated molecular clock phylogeny of the isolates and to assign four human isolates to the actual outbreak. We developed an SNP typing assay to rapidly discriminate between outbreak-related cases and non-outbreak-related cases and tested this assay on an extended panel of 112 isolates. These results suggest that only a very small percentage of the human isolates with the outbreak PFGE pattern and obtained during the outbreak period could be attributed to the actual pepper-related outbreak (20%), while the majority (80%) of the putative cases represented background cases. This study demonstrates that next-generation-based SNP typing provides the resolution and accuracy needed for outbreak investigations of food-borne pathogens that cannot be distinguished by currently used subtyping methods.
Applied and environmental microbiology 12/2011; 77(24):8648-55. · 3.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Divergence of bacterial populations into distinct subpopulations is often the result of ecological isolation. While some studies have suggested the existence of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica subclades, evidence for these subdivisions has been ambiguous. Here we used a comparative genomics approach to define the population structure of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica, and identify clade-specific genes that may be the result of ecological specialization.
Multi-locus sequence analysis (MLSA) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) data for 16 newly sequenced and 30 publicly available genomes showed an unambiguous subdivision of S. enterica subsp. enterica into at least two subpopulations, which we refer to as clade A and clade B. Clade B strains contain several clade-specific genes or operons, including a β-glucuronidase operon, a S-fimbrial operon, and cell surface related genes, which strongly suggests niche specialization of this subpopulation. An additional set of 123 isolates was assigned to clades A and B by using qPCR assays targeting subpopulation-specific SNPs and genes of interest. Among 98 serovars examined, approximately 20% belonged to clade B. All clade B isolates contained two pathogenicity related genomic islands, SPI-18 and a cytolethal distending toxin islet; a combination of these two islands was previously thought to be exclusive to serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. Presence of β-glucuronidase in clade B isolates specifically suggests an adaptation of this clade to the vertebrate gastrointestinal environment.
S. enterica subsp. enterica consists of at least two subpopulations that differ specifically in genes involved in host and tissue tropism, utilization of host specific carbon and nitrogen sources and are therefore likely to differ in ecology and transmission characteristics.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An ongoing outbreak of exceptionally virulent Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 centered in Germany, has caused over 830 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and 46 deaths since May 2011. Serotype O104:H4, which has not been detected in animals, has rarely been associated with HUS in the past. To prospectively elucidate the unique characteristics of this strain in the early stages of this outbreak, we applied whole genome sequencing on the Life Technologies Ion Torrent PGM™ sequencer and Optical Mapping to characterize one outbreak isolate (LB226692) and a historic O104:H4 HUS isolate from 2001 (01-09591). Reference guided draft assemblies of both strains were completed with the newly introduced PGM™ within 62 hours. The HUS-associated strains both carried genes typically found in two types of pathogenic E. coli, enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). Phylogenetic analyses of 1,144 core E. coli genes indicate that the HUS-causing O104:H4 strains and the previously published sequence of the EAEC strain 55989 show a close relationship but are only distantly related to common EHEC serotypes. Though closely related, the outbreak strain differs from the 2001 strain in plasmid content and fimbrial genes. We propose a model in which EAEC 55989 and EHEC O104:H4 strains evolved from a common EHEC O104:H4 progenitor, and suggest that by stepwise gain and loss of chromosomal and plasmid-encoded virulence factors, a highly pathogenic hybrid of EAEC and EHEC emerged as the current outbreak clone. In conclusion, rapid next-generation technologies facilitated prospective whole genome characterization in the early stages of an outbreak.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(7):e22751. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the event of biocrimes or infectious disease outbreaks, high-resolution genetic characterization for identifying the agent and attributing it to a specific source can be crucial for an effective response. Until recently, in-depth genetic characterization required expensive and time-consuming Sanger sequencing of a few strains, followed by genotyping of a small number of marker loci in a panel of isolates at or by gel-based approaches such as pulsed field gel electrophoresis, which by necessity ignores most of the genome. Next-generation, massively parallel sequencing (MPS) technology (specifically the Applied Biosystems sequencing by oligonucleotide ligation and detection (SOLiD™) system) is a powerful investigative tool for rapid, cost-effective and parallel microbial whole-genome characterization.
To demonstrate the utility of MPS for whole-genome typing of monomorphic pathogens, four Bacillus anthracis and four Yersinia pestis strains were sequenced in parallel. Reads were aligned to complete reference genomes, and genomic variations were identified. Resequencing of the B. anthracis Ames ancestor strain detected no false-positive single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and mapping of reads to the Sterne strain correctly identified 98% of the 133 SNPs that are not clustered or associated with repeats. Three geographically distinct B. anthracis strains from the A branch lineage were found to have between 352 and 471 SNPs each, relative to the Ames genome, and one strain harbored a genomic amplification. Sequencing of four Y. pestis strains from the Orientalis lineage identified between 20 and 54 SNPs per strain relative to the CO92 genome, with the single Bolivian isolate having approximately twice as many SNPs as the three more closely related North American strains. Coverage plotting also revealed a common deletion in two strains and an amplification in the Bolivian strain that appear to be due to insertion element-mediated recombination events. Most private SNPs (that is, a, variant found in only one strain in this set) selected for validation by Sanger sequencing were confirmed, although rare false-positive SNPs were associated with variable nucleotide tandem repeats.
The high-throughput, multiplexing capability, and accuracy of this system make it suitable for rapid whole-genome typing of microbial pathogens during a forensic or epidemiological investigation. By interrogating nearly every base of the genome, rare polymorphisms can be reliably discovered, thus facilitating high-resolution strain tracking and strengthening forensic attribution.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The bacterial genus Listeria contains pathogenic and non-pathogenic species, including the pathogens L. monocytogenes and L. ivanovii, both of which carry homologous virulence gene clusters such as the prfA cluster and clusters of internalin genes. Initial evidence for multiple deletions of the prfA cluster during the evolution of Listeria indicates that this genus provides an interesting model for studying the evolution of virulence and also presents practical challenges with regard to definition of pathogenic strains.
To better understand genome evolution and evolution of virulence characteristics in Listeria, we used a next generation sequencing approach to generate draft genomes for seven strains representing Listeria species or clades for which genome sequences were not available. Comparative analyses of these draft genomes and six publicly available genomes, which together represent the main Listeria species, showed evidence for (i) a pangenome with 2,032 core and 2,918 accessory genes identified to date, (ii) a critical role of gene loss events in transition of Listeria species from facultative pathogen to saprotroph, even though a consistent pattern of gene loss seemed to be absent, and a number of isolates representing non-pathogenic species still carried some virulence associated genes, and (iii) divergence of modern pathogenic and non-pathogenic Listeria species and strains, most likely circa 47 million years ago, from a pathogenic common ancestor that contained key virulence genes.
Genome evolution in Listeria involved limited gene loss and acquisition as supported by (i) a relatively high coverage of the predicted pan-genome by the observed pan-genome, (ii) conserved genome size (between 2.8 and 3.2 Mb), and (iii) a highly syntenic genome. Limited gene loss in Listeria did include loss of virulence associated genes, likely associated with multiple transitions to a saprotrophic lifestyle. The genus Listeria thus provides an example of a group of bacteria that appears to evolve through a loss of virulence rather than acquisition of virulence characteristics. While Listeria includes a number of species-like clades, many of these putative species include clades or strains with atypical virulence associated characteristics. This information will allow for the development of genetic and genomic criteria for pathogenic strains, including development of assays that specifically detect pathogenic Listeria strains.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the event of bioterrorism, infectious disease outbreaks in the food supply chain, or hospital acquired infections, rapid, high-resolution genetic characterization is critical for determining the identity of the agent and attributing it to a specific source. Four Bacillus anthracis strains were sequenced to demonstrate the utility of next-generation sequencing technology, specifically the SOLiD™ system (Applied Biosystems™, Foster City, CA), for microbial forensics investigations. Reads from the B. anthracis Ames ancestor strain detected only a single false positive SNP. Of the 148 SNPs that distinguish the Ames and Sterne strains, 126 (85%) were identified with 19 of the 22 uncalled SNPs in two dense clusters that precluded mapping of reads. Three previously unsequenced, geographically distinct B. anthracis strains from the A branch lineage were found to have between 352 and 471 SNPs each, relative to the Ames ancestor reference genome. The high throughput, multiplexing capability, and accuracy of the SOLiD™ system make it suitable for rapid whole-genome typing of microbial pathogens during a forensic or epidemiological investigation.
Forensic Science International Genetics Supplement Series 01/2009; 2(1):300-301.