[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of bacteriophages have been identified that target the Vi capsular antigen of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Here we show that these Vi phages represent a remarkably diverse set of phages belonging to three phage families, including Podoviridae and Myoviridae. Genome analysis facilitated the further classification of these phages and highlighted aspects of their independent evolution. Significantly, a conserved protein domain carrying an acetyl esterase was found to be associated with at least one tail fiber gene for all Vi phages, and the presence of this domain was confirmed in representative phage particles by mass spectrometric analysis. Thus, we provide a simple explanation and paradigm of how a diverse group of phages target a single key virulence antigen associated with this important human-restricted pathogen.
Journal of bacteriology 11/2010; 192(21):5746-54. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent advances in high-throughput sequencing present a new opportunity to deeply probe an organism's transcriptome. In this study, we used Illumina-based massively parallel sequencing to gain new insight into the transcriptome (RNA-Seq) of the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Using data collected at seven time points during the intraerythrocytic developmental cycle, we (i) detect novel gene transcripts; (ii) correct hundreds of gene models; (iii) propose alternative splicing events; and (iv) predict 5' and 3' untranslated regions. Approximately 70% of the unique sequencing reads map to previously annotated protein-coding genes. The RNA-Seq results greatly improve existing annotation of the P. falciparum genome with over 10% of gene models modified. Our data confirm 75% of predicted splice sites and identify 202 new splice sites, including 84 previously uncharacterized alternative splicing events. We also discovered 107 novel transcripts and expression of 38 pseudogenes, with many demonstrating differential expression across the developmental time series. Our RNA-Seq results correlate well with DNA microarray analysis performed in parallel on the same samples, and provide improved resolution over the microarray-based method. These data reveal new features of the P. falciparum transcriptional landscape and significantly advance our understanding of the parasite's red blood cell-stage transcriptome.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two novel gammaherpesviruses were isolated, one from a field vole (Microtus agrestis) and the other from wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus). The genome of the latter, designated wood mouse herpesvirus (WMHV), was completely sequenced. WMHV had the same genome structure and predicted gene content as murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV4; murine gammaherpesvirus 68). Overall nucleotide sequence identity between WMHV and MuHV4 was 85 % and most of the 10 kb region at the left end of the unique region was particularly highly conserved, especially the viral tRNA-like sequences and the coding regions of genes M1 and M4. The partial sequence (71 913 bp) of another gammaherpesvirus, Brest herpesvirus (BRHV), which was isolated ostensibly from a white-toothed shrew (Crocidura russula), was also determined. The BRHV sequence was 99.2 % identical to the corresponding portion of the WMHV genome. Thus, WMHV and BRHV appeared to be strains of a new virus species. Biological characterization of WMHV indicated that it grew with similar kinetics to MuHV4 in cell culture. The pathogenesis of WMHV in wood mice was also extremely similar to that of MuHV4, except for the absence of inducible bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue at day 14 post-infection and a higher load of latently infected cells at 21 days post-infection.
Journal of General Virology 11/2009; 91(Pt 4):867-79. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus uberis, a Gram positive bacterial pathogen responsible for a significant proportion of bovine mastitis in commercial dairy herds, colonises multiple body sites of the cow including the gut, genital tract and mammary gland. Comparative analysis of the complete genome sequence of S. uberis strain 0140J was undertaken to help elucidate the biology of this effective bovine pathogen.
The genome revealed 1,825 predicted coding sequences (CDSs) of which 62 were identified as pseudogenes or gene fragments. Comparisons with related pyogenic streptococci identified a conserved core (40%) of orthologous CDSs. Intriguingly, S. uberis 0140J displayed a lower number of mobile genetic elements when compared with other pyogenic streptococci, however bacteriophage-derived islands and a putative genomic island were identified. Comparative genomics analysis revealed most similarity to the genomes of Streptococcus agalactiae and Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus. In contrast, streptococcal orthologs were not identified for 11% of the CDSs, indicating either unique retention of ancestral sequence, or acquisition of sequence from alternative sources. Functions including transport, catabolism, regulation and CDSs encoding cell envelope proteins were over-represented in this unique gene set; a limited array of putative virulence CDSs were identified.
S. uberis utilises nutritional flexibility derived from a diversity of metabolic options to successfully occupy a discrete ecological niche. The features observed in S. uberis are strongly suggestive of an opportunistic pathogen adapted to challenging and changing environmental parameters.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial infections of the lungs of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients cause major complications in the treatment of this common genetic disease. Burkholderia cenocepacia infection is particularly problematic since this organism has high levels of antibiotic resistance, making it difficult to eradicate; the resulting chronic infections are associated with severe declines in lung function and increased mortality rates. B. cenocepacia strain J2315 was isolated from a CF patient and is a member of the epidemic ET12 lineage that originated in Canada or the United Kingdom and spread to Europe. The 8.06-Mb genome of this highly transmissible pathogen comprises three circular chromosomes and a plasmid and encodes a broad array of functions typical of this metabolically versatile genus, as well as numerous virulence and drug resistance functions. Although B. cenocepacia strains can be isolated from soil and can be pathogenic to both plants and man, J2315 is representative of a lineage of B. cenocepacia rarely isolated from the environment and which spreads between CF patients. Comparative analysis revealed that ca. 21% of the genome is unique in comparison to other strains of B. cenocepacia, highlighting the genomic plasticity of this species. Pseudogenes in virulence determinants suggest that the pathogenic response of J2315 may have been recently selected to promote persistence in the CF lung. The J2315 genome contains evidence that its unique and highly adapted genetic content has played a significant role in its success as an epidemic CF pathogen.
Journal of bacteriology 11/2008; 191(1):261-77. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmodium knowlesi is an intracellular malaria parasite whose natural vertebrate host is Macaca fascicularis (the 'kra' monkey); however, it is now increasingly recognized as a significant cause of human malaria, particularly in southeast Asia. Plasmodium knowlesi was the first malaria parasite species in which antigenic variation was demonstrated, and it has a close phylogenetic relationship to Plasmodium vivax, the second most important species of human malaria parasite (reviewed in ref. 4). Despite their relatedness, there are important phenotypic differences between them, such as host blood cell preference, absence of a dormant liver stage or 'hypnozoite' in P. knowlesi, and length of the asexual cycle (reviewed in ref. 4). Here we present an analysis of the P. knowlesi (H strain, Pk1(A+) clone) nuclear genome sequence. This is the first monkey malaria parasite genome to be described, and it provides an opportunity for comparison with the recently completed P. vivax genome and other sequenced Plasmodium genomes. In contrast to other Plasmodium genomes, putative variant antigen families are dispersed throughout the genome and are associated with intrachromosomal telomere repeats. One of these families, the KIRs, contains sequences that collectively match over one-half of the host CD99 extracellular domain, which may represent an unusual form of molecular mimicry.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We undertook a genome-wide search for novel noncoding RNAs (ncRNA) in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. We used the RNAz program to predict structures in the noncoding regions of the P. falciparum 3D7 genome that were conserved with at least one of seven other Plasmodium spp. genome sequences. By using Northern blot analysis for 76 high-scoring predictions and microarray analysis for the majority of candidates, we have verified the expression of 33 novel ncRNA transcripts including four members of a ncRNA family in the asexual blood stage. These transcripts represent novel structured ncRNAs in P. falciparum and are not represented in any RNA databases. We provide supporting evidence for purifying selection acting on the experimentally verified ncRNAs by comparing the nucleotide substitutions in the predicted ncRNA candidate structures in P. falciparum with the closely related chimp malaria parasite P. reichenowi. The high confirmation rate within a single parasite life cycle stage suggests that many more of the predictions may be expressed in other stages of the organism's life cycle.
Genome Research 03/2008; 18(2):281-92. · 14.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To understand the evolution, attenuation, and variable protective efficacy of bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccines, Mycobacterium bovis BCG Pasteur 1173P2 has been subjected to comparative genome and transcriptome analysis. The 4,374,522-bp genome contains 3,954 protein-coding genes, 58 of which are present in two copies as a result of two independent tandem duplications, DU1 and DU2. DU1 is restricted to BCG Pasteur, although four forms of DU2 exist; DU2-I is confined to early BCG vaccines, like BCG Japan, whereas DU2-III and DU2-IV occur in the late vaccines. The glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase gene, glpD2, is one of only three genes common to all four DU2 variants, implying that BCG requires higher levels of this enzyme to grow on glycerol. Further amplification of the DU2 region is ongoing, even within vaccine preparations used to immunize humans. An evolutionary scheme for BCG vaccines was established by analyzing DU2 and other markers. Lesions in genes encoding sigma-factors and pleiotropic transcriptional regulators, like PhoR and Crp, were also uncovered in various BCG strains; together with gene amplification, these affect gene expression levels, immunogenicity, and, possibly, protection against tuberculosis. Furthermore, the combined findings suggest that early BCG vaccines may even be superior to the later ones that are more widely used.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2007; 104(13):5596-601. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Comparisons of the 1.84-Mb genome of serotype M5 Streptococcus pyogenes strain Manfredo with previously sequenced genomes emphasized the role of prophages in diversification of S. pyogenes and the close relationship between strain Manfredo and MGAS8232, another acute rheumatic fever-associated strain.
Journal of Bacteriology 03/2007; 189(4):1473-7. · 3.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The bacterium Neisseria meningitidis is commonly found harmlessly colonising the mucosal surfaces of the human nasopharynx. Occasionally strains can invade host tissues causing septicaemia and meningitis, making the bacterium a major cause of morbidity and mortality in both the developed and developing world. The species is known to be diverse in many ways, as a product of its natural transformability and of a range of recombination and mutation-based systems. Previous work on pathogenic Neisseria has identified several mechanisms for the generation of diversity of surface structures, including phase variation based on slippage-like mechanisms and sequence conversion of expressed genes using information from silent loci. Comparison of the genome sequences of two N. meningitidis strains, serogroup B MC58 and serogroup A Z2491, suggested further mechanisms of variation, including C-terminal exchange in specific genes and enhanced localised recombination and variation related to repeat arrays. We have sequenced the genome of N. meningitidis strain FAM18, a representative of the ST-11/ET-37 complex, providing the first genome sequence for the disease-causing serogroup C meningococci; it has 1,976 predicted genes, of which 60 do not have orthologues in the previously sequenced serogroup A or B strains. Through genome comparison with Z2491 and MC58 we have further characterised specific mechanisms of genetic variation in N. meningitidis, describing specialised loci for generation of cell surface protein variants and measuring the association between noncoding repeat arrays and sequence variation in flanking genes. Here we provide a detailed view of novel genetic diversification mechanisms in N. meningitidis. Our analysis provides evidence for the hypothesis that the noncoding repeat arrays in neisserial genomes (neisserial intergenic mosaic elements) provide a crucial mechanism for the generation of surface antigen variants. Such variation will have an impact on the interaction with the host tissues, and understanding these mechanisms is important to aid our understanding of the intimate and complex relationship between the human nasopharynx and the meningococcus.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toxoplasma gondii is a globally distributed protozoan parasite that can infect virtually all warm-blooded animals and humans. Despite the existence of a sexual phase in the life cycle, T. gondii has an unusual population structure dominated by three clonal lineages that predominate in North America and Europe, (Types I, II, and III). These lineages were founded by common ancestors approximately10,000 yr ago. The recent origin and widespread distribution of the clonal lineages is attributed to the circumvention of the sexual cycle by a new mode of transmission-asexual transmission between intermediate hosts. Asexual transmission appears to be multigenic and although the specific genes mediating this trait are unknown, it is predicted that all members of the clonal lineages should share the same alleles. Genetic mapping studies suggested that chromosome Ia was unusually monomorphic compared with the rest of the genome. To investigate this further, we sequenced chromosome Ia and chromosome Ib in the Type I strain, RH, and the Type II strain, ME49. Comparative genome analyses of the two chromosomal sequences revealed that the same copy of chromosome Ia was inherited in each lineage, whereas chromosome Ib maintained the same high frequency of between-strain polymorphism as the rest of the genome. Sampling of chromosome Ia sequence in seven additional representative strains from the three clonal lineages supports a monomorphic inheritance, which is unique within the genome. Taken together, our observations implicate a specific combination of alleles on chromosome Ia in the recent origin and widespread success of the clonal lineages of T. gondii.
Genome Research 10/2006; 16(9):1119-25. · 14.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We determined the complete genome sequence of Clostridium difficile strain 630, a virulent and multidrug-resistant strain. Our analysis indicates that a large proportion (11%) of the genome consists of mobile genetic elements, mainly in the form of conjugative transposons. These mobile elements are putatively responsible for the acquisition by C. difficile of an extensive array of genes involved in antimicrobial resistance, virulence, host interaction and the production of surface structures. The metabolic capabilities encoded in the genome show multiple adaptations for survival and growth within the gut environment. The extreme genome variability was confirmed by whole-genome microarray analysis; it may reflect the organism's niche in the gut and should provide information on the evolution of virulence in this organism.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several major invasive bacterial pathogens are encapsulated. Expression of a polysaccharide capsule is essential for survival in the blood, and thus for virulence, but also is a target for host antibodies and the basis for effective vaccines. Encapsulated species typically exhibit antigenic variation and express one of a number of immunochemically distinct capsular polysaccharides that define serotypes. We provide the sequences of the capsular biosynthetic genes of all 90 serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae and relate these to the known polysaccharide structures and patterns of immunological reactivity of typing sera, thereby providing the most complete understanding of the genetics and origins of bacterial polysaccharide diversity, laying the foundations for molecular serotyping. This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a complete repertoire of capsular biosynthetic genes has been available, enabling a holistic analysis of a bacterial polysaccharide biosynthesis system. Remarkably, the total size of alternative coding DNA at this one locus exceeds 1.8 Mbp, almost equivalent to the entire S. pneumoniae chromosomal complement.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aspergillus fumigatus is exceptional among microorganisms in being both a primary and opportunistic pathogen as well as a major allergen. Its conidia production is prolific, and so human respiratory tract exposure is almost constant. A. fumigatus is isolated from human habitats and vegetable compost heaps. In immunocompromised individuals, the incidence of invasive infection can be as high as 50% and the mortality rate is often about 50% (ref. 2). The interaction of A. fumigatus and other airborne fungi with the immune system is increasingly linked to severe asthma and sinusitis. Although the burden of invasive disease caused by A. fumigatus is substantial, the basic biology of the organism is mostly obscure. Here we show the complete 29.4-megabase genome sequence of the clinical isolate Af293, which consists of eight chromosomes containing 9,926 predicted genes. Microarray analysis revealed temperature-dependent expression of distinct sets of genes, as well as 700 A. fumigatus genes not present or significantly diverged in the closely related sexual species Neosartorya fischeri, many of which may have roles in the pathogenicity phenotype. The Af293 genome sequence provides an unparalleled resource for the future understanding of this remarkable fungus.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genus Coccolithovirus is a recently discovered group of viruses that infect the globally important marine calcifying microalga Emiliania huxleyi. Among the 472 predicted genes of the 407,339-base pair genome are a variety of unexpected genes, most notably those involved in biosynthesis of ceramide, a sphingolipid known to induce apoptosis. Uniquely for algal viruses, it also contains six RNA polymerase subunits and a novel promoter, suggesting this virus encodes its own transcription machinery. Microarray transcriptomic analysis reveals that 65% of the predicted virus-encoded genes are expressed during lytic infection of E. huxleyi.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Theileria annulata and T. parva are closely related protozoan parasites that cause lymphoproliferative diseases of cattle. We sequenced the genome of T. annulata and compared it with that of T. parva to understand the mechanisms underlying transformation and tropism. Despite high conservation of gene sequences and synteny, the analysis reveals unequally expanded gene families and species-specific genes. We also identify divergent families of putative secreted polypeptides that may reduce immune recognition, candidate regulators of host-cell transformation, and a Theileria-specific protein domain [frequently associated in Theileria (FAINT)] present in a large number of secreted proteins.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leishmania species cause a spectrum of human diseases in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. We have sequenced the 36 chromosomes of the 32.8-megabase haploid genome of Leishmania major (Friedlin strain) and predict 911 RNA genes, 39 pseudogenes, and 8272 protein-coding genes, of which 36% can be ascribed a putative function. These include genes involved in host-pathogen interactions, such as proteolytic enzymes, and extensive machinery for synthesis of complex surface glycoconjugates. The organization of protein-coding genes into long, strand-specific, polycistronic clusters and lack of general transcription factors in the L. major, Trypanosoma brucei, and Trypanosoma cruzi (Tritryp) genomes suggest that the mechanisms regulating RNA polymerase II-directed transcription are distinct from those operating in other eukaryotes, although the trypanosomatids appear capable of chromatin remodeling. Abundant RNA-binding proteins are encoded in the Tritryp genomes, consistent with active posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression.