Maria Fookes

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (34)217.15 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A typical prokaryote population sequencing study can now consist of hundreds or thousands of isolates. Interrogating these datasets can provide detailed insights into the genetic structure of prokaryotic genomes. We introduce Roary, a tool that rapidly builds large-scale pan genomes, identifying the core and accessory genes. Roary makes construction of the pan genome of thousands of prokaryote samples possible on a standard desktop without compromising on the accuracy of results. Using a single CPU Roary can produce a pan genome consisting of 1000 isolates in 4.5 hours using 13 GB of RAM, with further speedups possible using multiple processors. Roary is implemented in Perl and is freely available under an open source GPLv3 license from http://sanger-pathogens.github.io/Roary CONTACT: roary@sanger.ac.uk SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Bioinformatics
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    Adi Behar · Maria C Fookes · Sophy Goren · Nicholas R Thomson · Dani Cohen
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    ABSTRACT: Shigellosis or bacillary dysentery is endemic worldwide and is a significant cause of death in children less than five years of age in developing countries. There are no licensed Shigella vaccines and glycoconjugates are among the leading candidate vaccines against shigellosis today. We used whole genome sequence analysis (WGA) to find out whether immunization, with an investigational Shigella sonnei glycoconjugate, could induce selective pressure leading to changes in the genome of S. sonnei. An outbreak of culture-proven S. sonnei shigellosis which occurred immediately after vaccination in one of the cohorts of volunteers participating in a phase III trial of the vaccine in Israel created a unique condition in which the epidemic agent "co-existed" with the developing immune responses induced by the vaccine and natural infection among vaccinees who developed S. sonnei shigellosis. By comparing the whole genomes of S. sonnei isolated from vaccinees and from volunteers in the control group, we show at a very high sensitivity that a potent S. sonnei glycoconjugate that conferred 74% protective efficacy against the homologous disease did not induce changes in the genome of S. sonnei and in particular on the O-antigen gene cluster. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Vaccine
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    ABSTRACT: Klebsiella pneumoniae is a significant human pathogen, in part due to high rates of multidrug resistance. RamA is an intrinsic regulator in K. pneumoniae established to be important for the bacterial response to antimicrobial challenge; however, little is known about its possible wider regulatory role in this organism during infection. In this work, we demonstrate that RamA is a global transcriptional regulator that significantly perturbs the transcriptional landscape of K. pneumoniae, resulting in altered microbe-drug or microbe-host response. This is largely due to the direct regulation of 68 genes associated with a myriad of cellular functions. Importantly, RamA directly binds and activates the lpxC, lpxL-2 and lpxO genes associated with lipid A biosynthesis, thus resulting in modifications within the lipid A moiety of the lipopolysaccharide. RamA-mediated alterations decrease susceptibility to colistin E, polymyxin B and human cationic antimicrobial peptide LL-37. Increased RamA levels reduce K. pneumoniae adhesion and uptake into macrophages, which is supported by in vivo infection studies, that demonstrate increased systemic dissemination of ramA overexpressing K. pneumoniae. These data establish that RamA-mediated regulation directly perturbs microbial surface properties, including lipid A biosynthesis, which facilitate evasion from the innate host response. This highlights RamA as a global regulator that confers pathoadaptive phenotypes with implications for our understanding of the pathogenesis of Enterobacter, Salmonella and Citrobacter spp. that express orthologous RamA proteins.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · PLoS Pathogens
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    ABSTRACT: Many bacterial pathogens are specialized, infecting one or few hosts, and this is often associated with more acute disease presentation. Specific genomes show markers of this specialization, which often reflect a balance between gene acquisition and functional gene loss. Within Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica, a single lineage exists that includes human and animal pathogens adapted to cause infection in different hosts, including S. enterica serovar Enteritidis (multiple hosts), S. Gallinarum (birds), and S. Dublin (cattle). This provides an excellent evolutionary context in which differences between these pathogen genomes can be related to host range. Genome sequences were obtained from ∼60 isolates selected to represent the known diversity of this lineage. Examination and comparison of the clades within the phylogeny of this lineage revealed signs of host restriction as well as evolutionary events that mark a path to host generalism. We have identified the nature and order of events for both evolutionary trajectories. The impact of functional gene loss was predicted based upon position within metabolic pathways and confirmed with phenotyping assays. The structure of S. Enteritidis is more complex than previously known, as a second clade of S. Enteritidis was revealed that is distinct from those commonly seen to cause disease in humans or animals, and that is more closely related to S. Gallinarum. Isolates from this second clade were tested in a chick model of infection and exhibited a reduced colonization phenotype, which we postulate represents an intermediate stage in pathogen-host adaptation.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Background Shigella flexneri is an important human pathogen that has to adapt to the anaerobic environment in the gastrointestinal tract to cause dysentery. To define the influence of anaerobiosis on the virulence of Shigella, we performed deep RNA sequencing to identify transcriptomic differences that are induced by anaerobiosis and modulated by the anaerobic Fumarate and Nitrate Reduction regulator, FNR. Results We found that 528 chromosomal genes were differentially expressed in response to anaerobic conditions; of these, 228 genes were also influenced by FNR. Genes that were up-regulated in anaerobic conditions are involved in carbon transport and metabolism (e.g. ptsG, manX, murQ, cysP, cra), DNA topology and regulation (e.g. ygiP, stpA, hns), host interactions (e.g. yciD, nmpC, slyB, gapA, shf, msbB) and survival within the gastrointestinal tract (e.g. shiA, ospI, adiY, cysP). Interestingly, there was a marked effect of available oxygen on genes involved in Type III secretion system (T3SS), which is required for host cell invasion and pathogenesis. These genes, located on the large Shigella virulence plasmid, were down regulated in anaerobiosis in an FNR-dependent manner. We also confirmed anaerobic induction of csrB and csrC small RNAs in an FNR-independent manner. Conclusions Anaerobiosis promotes survival and adaption strategies of Shigella, while modulating virulence plasmid genes involved in T3SS-mediated host cell invasion. The influence of FNR on this process is more extensive than previously appreciated, although aside from the virulence plasmid, this transcriptional regulator does not govern expression of genes on other horizontally acquired sequences on the chromosome such as pathogenicity islands.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · BMC Genomics
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    ABSTRACT: The genus Yersinia has been used as a model system to study pathogen evolution. Using whole-genome sequencing of all Yersinia species, we delineate the gene complement of the whole genus and define patterns of virulence evolution. Multiple distinct ecological specializations appear to have split pathogenic strains from environmental, nonpathogenic lineages. This split demonstrates that contrary to hypotheses that all pathogenic Yersinia species share a recent common pathogenic ancestor, they have evolved independently but followed parallel evolutionary paths in acquiring the same virulence determinants as well as becoming progressively more limited metabolically. Shared virulence determinants are limited to the virulence plasmid pYV and the attachment invasion locus ail. These acquisitions, together with genomic variations in metabolic pathways, have resulted in the parallel emergence of related pathogens displaying an increasingly specialized lifestyle with a spectrum of virulence potential, an emerging theme in the evolution of other important human pathogens.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: : The genus Yersinia has been used as a model system to study pathogen evolution. Using whole-genome sequencing of all Yersinia species, we delineate the gene complement of the whole genus and define patterns of virulence evolution. Multiple distinct ecological specializations appear to have split pathogenic strains from environmental, nonpathogenic lineages. This split demonstrates that contrary to hypotheses that all pathogenic Yersinia species share a recent common pathogenic ancestor, they have evolved independently but followed parallel evolutionary paths in acquiring the same virulence determinants as well as becoming progressively more limited metabolically. Shared virulence determinants are limited to the virulence plasmid pYV and the attachment invasion locus ail. These acquisitions, together with genomic variations in metabolic pathways, have resulted in the parallel emergence of related pathogens displaying an increasingly specialized lifestyle with a spectrum of virulence potential, an emerging theme in the evolution of other important human pathogens.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Invasive Non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) are an important cause of bacteraemia in children and HIV-infected adults in sub-Saharan Africa. Previous research has shown that iNTS strains exhibit a pattern of gene loss that resembles that of host adapted serovars such as Salmonella Typhi and Paratyphi A. Salmonella enterica serovar Bovismorbificans was a common serovar in Malawi between 1997 and 2004. We sequenced the genomes of 14 Malawian bacteraemia and four veterinary isolates from the UK, to identify genomic variations and signs of host adaptation in the Malawian strains. Whole genome phylogeny of invasive and veterinary S. Bovismorbificans isolates showed that the isolates are highly related, belonging to the most common international S. Bovismorbificans Sequence Type, ST142, in contrast to the findings for S. Typhimurium, where a distinct Sequence Type, ST313, is associated with invasive disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Although genome degradation through pseudogene formation was observed in ST142 isolates, there were no clear overlaps with the patterns of gene loss seen in iNTS ST313 isolates previously described from Malawi, and no clear distinction between S. Bovismorbificans isolates from Malawi and the UK. The only defining differences between S. Bovismorbificans bacteraemia and veterinary isolates were prophage-related regions and the carriage of a S. Bovismorbificans virulence plasmid (pVIRBov). iNTS S. Bovismorbificans isolates, unlike iNTS S. Typhiumrium isolates, are only distinguished from those circulating elsewhere by differences in the mobile genome. It is likely that these strains have entered a susceptible population and are able to take advantage of this niche. There are tentative signs of convergent evolution to a more human adapted iNTS variant. Considering its importance in causing disease in this region, S. Bovismorbificans may be at the beginning of this process, providing a reference against which to compare changes that may become fixed in future lineages in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: Author Summary Streptococcus pneumoniae (‘the pneumococcus’) is a bacterium commonly found asymptomatically in the human nasopharynx that represents a common cause of diseases such as pneumonia, bacteraemia and meningitis. Some strains have been found to exchange DNA with other bacteria at a high rate. However, serotype 3 pneumococci are unusual both in not exhibiting much genetic variation and causing disease with a comparatively high relative rate of mortality. Here we used whole genome sequencing to characterise 82 serotype 3 pneumococci, finding that the majority of the population accumulate variation very slowly. However, comparing two isolates from a single case of disease revealed a small number of mutations had occurred over a short period of time. These resulted in differences in the activity of several genes, including two encoding a drug efflux pump. The pair of isolates was found to differ in their tolerance of different antimicrobial compounds and thei
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Author Summary Streptococcus pneumoniae (‘the pneumococcus’) is a bacterium commonly found asymptomatically in the human nasopharynx that represents a common cause of diseases such as pneumonia, bacteraemia and meningitis. Some strains have been found to exchange DNA with other bacteria at a high rate. However, serotype 3 pneumococci are unusual both in not exhibiting much genetic variation and causing disease with a comparatively high relative rate of mortality. Here we used whole genome sequencing to characterise 82 serotype 3 pneumococci, finding that the majority of the population accumulate variation very slowly. However, comparing two isolates from a single case of disease revealed a small number of mutations had occurred over a short period of time. These resulted in differences in the activity of several genes, including two encoding a drug efflux pump. The pair of isolates was found to differ in their tolerance of different antimicrobial compounds and their behaviour in a mouse model of disease. However, moving the mutation that caused the change in resistance into a distantly-related pneumococcus failed to fully replicate the other changes in behaviour, which indicates that interpretation of the impact of mutations in different strains of diverse bacterial species will be difficult.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: The global epidemic of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 provides an important example, both in terms of the agent and its resistance, of a widely disseminated zoonotic pathogen. Here, with an unprecedented national collection of isolates collected contemporaneously from humans and animals and including a sample of internationally derived isolates, we have used whole-genome sequencing to dissect the phylogenetic associationsof the bacterium and its antimicrobial resistance genes through the course of an epidemic. Contrary to current tenets supporting a single homogeneous epidemic, we demonstrate that the bacterium and its resistance genes were largely maintained within animal and human populations separately and that there was limited transmission, in either direction. We also show considerable variation in the resistance profiles, in contrast to the largely stable bacterial core genome, which emphasizes the critical importance of integrated genotypic data sets in understanding the ecology of bacterial zoonoses and antimicrobial resistance.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Science
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    ABSTRACT: Unlabelled: Bacterial DNA is maintained in a supercoiled state controlled by the action of topoisomerases. Alterations in supercoiling affect fundamental cellular processes, including transcription. Here, we show that substitution at position 87 of GyrA of Salmonella influences sensitivity to antibiotics, including nonquinolone drugs, alters global supercoiling, and results in an altered transcriptome with increased expression of stress response pathways. Decreased susceptibility to multiple antibiotics seen with a GyrA Asp87Gly mutant was not a result of increased efflux activity or reduced reactive-oxygen production. These data show that a frequently observed and clinically relevant substitution within GyrA results in altered expression of numerous genes, including those important in bacterial survival of stress, suggesting that GyrA mutants may have a selective advantage under specific conditions. Our findings help contextualize the high rate of quinolone resistance in pathogenic strains of bacteria and may partly explain why such mutant strains are evolutionarily successful. Importance: Fluoroquinolones are a powerful group of antibiotics that target bacterial enzymes involved in helping bacteria maintain the conformation of their chromosome. Mutations in the target enzymes allow bacteria to become resistant to these antibiotics, and fluoroquinolone resistance is common. We show here that these mutations also provide protection against a broad range of other antimicrobials by triggering a defensive stress response in the cell. This work suggests that fluoroquinolone resistance mutations may be beneficial under a range of conditions.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · mBio
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    ABSTRACT: We report the genome sequence of Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. pneumoniae Ecl8, a spontaneous streptomycin-resistant mutant of strain ECL4, derived from NCIB 418. K. pneumoniae Ecl8 has been shown to be genetically tractable for targeted gene deletion strategies and so provides a platform for in-depth analyses of this species.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Genome Announcements
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    ABSTRACT: Integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) are self-mobile genetic elements found in the genomes of some bacteria. These elements may confer a fitness advantage upon their host bacteria through the cargo genes that they carry. Salmonella pathogenicity island 7 (SPI-7), found within some pathogenic strains of Salmonella enterica, possesses features indicative of an ICE and carries genes implicated in virulence. We aimed to identify and fully analyze ICEs related to SPI-7 within the genus Salmonella and other Enterobacteriaceae. We report the sequence of two novel SPI-7-like elements, found within strains of Salmonella bongori, which share 97% nucleotide identity over conserved regions with SPI-7 and with each other. Although SPI-7 within Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi appears to be fixed within the chromosome, we present evidence that these novel elements are capable of excision and self-mobility. Phylogenetic analyses show that these Salmonella mobile elements share an ancestor which existed approximately 3.6 to 15.8 million years ago. Additionally, we identified more distantly related ICEs, with distinct cargo regions, within other strains of Salmonella as well as within Citrobacter, Erwinia, Escherichia, Photorhabdus, and Yersinia species. In total, we report on a collection of 17 SPI-7 related ICEs within enterobacterial species, of which six are novel. Using comparative and mutational studies, we have defined a core of 27 genes essential for conjugation. We present a growing family of SPI-7-related ICEs whose mobility, abundance, and cargo variability indicate that these elements may have had a large impact on the evolution of the Enterobacteriaceae.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of bacteriology
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    ABSTRACT: The Enteritidis and Dublin serovars of Salmonella enterica are closely related, yet they differ significantly in pathogenicity and epidemiology. S. Enteritidis is a broad host range serovar that commonly causes gastroenteritis and infrequently causes invasive disease in humans. S. Dublin mainly colonizes cattle but upon infecting humans often results in invasive disease.To gain a broader view of the extent of these differences we conducted microarray-based comparative genomics between several field isolates from each serovar. Genome degradation has been correlated with host adaptation in Salmonella, thus we also compared at whole genome scale the available genomic sequences of them to evaluate pseudogene composition within each serovar. Microarray analysis revealed 3771 CDS shared by both serovars while 33 were only present in Enteritidis and 87 were exclusive to Dublin. Pseudogene evaluation showed 177 inactive CDS in S. Dublin which correspond to active genes in S. Enteritidis, nine of which are also inactive in the host adapted S. Gallinarum and S. Choleraesuis serovars. Sequencing of these 9 CDS in several S. Dublin clinical isolates revealed that they are pseudogenes in all of them, indicating that this feature is not peculiar to the sequenced strain. Among these CDS, shdA (Peyer´s patch colonization factor) and mglA (galactoside transport ATP binding protein), appear also to be inactive in the human adapted S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A, suggesting that functionality of these genes may be relevant for the capacity of certain Salmonella serovars to infect a broad range of hosts.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · The Open Microbiology Journal
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    ABSTRACT: The initial aim of this study was to use a systems biology approach to analyse a ciprofloxacin-selected multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium, L664. The whole genome sequence and transcriptome of L664 were analysed. Site-directed mutagenesis to recreate each mutation was carried out, followed by phenotypic characterization and mutation frequency analysis. As a mutation in the TCA cycle was detected we tested the controversial hypothesis regarding the bacterial response to bactericidal antibiotics, put forward by Kohanski et al. (Cell 2007; 130: 797-810 and Mol Cell 2010; 37: 311-20), that exposure of bacteria to agents such as ciprofloxacin produces reactive oxygen species (ROS), which transiently increase the mutation rate giving rise to MDR bacteria. L664 contained a mutation in ramR that conferred MDR. A mutation in tctA affected the TCA cycle and conferred the inability to grow on minimal agar. The virulence of L664 was not attenuated. Ciprofloxacin exposure produced ROS in L664 and SL1344 (tctA::aph), but it was reduced and occurred later. There were no significant differences in the rates of killing or mutations per generation to antibiotic resistance between the strains. Whilst we confirm production of ROS in response to ciprofloxacin, we have no data to support the hypothesis that this leads to selection of MDR strains. Our results indicate that the mutations in tctA and glgA were random as they did not pre-exist in the parental strain, and that the mutation in tctA did not provide a survival advantage or disadvantage in the presence of antibiotic.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
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    ABSTRACT: The genus Salmonella contains two species, S. bongori and S. enterica. Compared to the well-studied S. enterica there is a marked lack of information regarding the genetic makeup and diversity of S. bongori. S. bongori has been found predominantly associated with cold-blooded animals, but it can infect humans. To define the phylogeny of this species, and compare it to S. enterica, we have sequenced 28 isolates representing most of the known diversity of S. bongori. This cross-species analysis allowed us to confidently differentiate ancestral functions from those acquired following speciation, which include both metabolic and virulence-associated capacities. We show that, although S. bongori inherited a basic set of Salmonella common virulence functions, it has subsequently elaborated on this in a different direction to S. enterica. It is an established feature of S. enterica evolution that the acquisition of the type III secretion systems (T3SS-1 and T3SS-2) has been followed by the sequential acquisition of genes encoding secreted targets, termed effectors proteins. We show that this is also true of S. bongori, which has acquired an array of novel effector proteins (sboA-L). All but two of these effectors have no significant S. enterica homologues and instead are highly similar to those found in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC). Remarkably, SboH is found to be a chimeric effector protein, encoded by a fusion of the T3SS-1 effector gene sopA and a gene highly similar to the EPEC effector nleH from enteropathogenic E. coli. We demonstrate that representatives of these new effectors are translocated and that SboH, similarly to NleH, blocks intrinsic apoptotic pathways while being targeted to the mitochondria by the SopA part of the fusion. This work suggests that S. bongori has inherited the ancestral Salmonella virulence gene set, but has adapted by incorporating virulence determinants that resemble those employed by EPEC.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · PLoS Pathogens
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    ABSTRACT: Citrobacter rodentium is a natural mouse pathogen that causes attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions. It shares a common virulence strategy with the clinically significant human A/E pathogens enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and is widely used to model this route of pathogenesis. We previously reported the complete genome sequence of C. rodentium ICC168, where we found that the genome displayed many characteristics of a newly evolved pathogen. In this study, through PFGE, sequencing of isolates showing variation, whole genome transcriptome analysis and examination of the mobile genetic elements, we found that, consistent with our previous hypothesis, the genome of C. rodentium is unstable as a result of repeat-mediated, large-scale genome recombination and because of active transposition of mobile genetic elements such as the prophages. We sequenced an additional C. rodentium strain, EX-33, to reveal that the reference strain ICC168 is representative of the species and that most of the inactivating mutations were common to both isolates and likely to have occurred early on in the evolution of this pathogen. We draw parallels with the evolution of other bacterial pathogens and conclude that C. rodentium is a recently evolved pathogen that may have emerged alongside the development of inbred mice as a model for human disease.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · PLoS Pathogens
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    ABSTRACT: Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. typhi) causes typhoid fever. We show that exposure of S. typhi to neuroendocrine stress hormones results in haemolysis, which is associated with the release of haemolysin E in membrane vesicles. This effect is attributed to increased expression of the small RNA micA and RNA chaperone Hfq, with concomitant downregulation of outer membrane protein A. Deletion of micA or the two-component signal-transduction system, CpxAR, abolishes the phenotype. The hormone response is inhibited by the β-blocker propranolol. We provide mechanistic insights into the basis of neuroendocrine hormone-mediated haemolysis by S. typhi, increasing our understanding of inter-kingdom signalling.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · EMBO Reports

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Publication Stats

938 Citations
217.15 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004-2015
    • Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
      • Pathogen Genomics Group
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2006
    • Imperial College London
      • Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom