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22 May 2024 at 01:30
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Bibliography on: Horizontal Gene Transfer


Robert J. Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, a publisher, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology. More About:  RJR | OUR TEAM | OUR SERVICES | THIS WEBSITE

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 22 May 2024 at 01:30 Created: 

Horizontal Gene Transfer

The pathology-inducing genes of O157:H7 appear to have been acquired, likely via prophage, by a nonpathogenic E. coli ancestor, perhaps 20,000 years ago. That is, horizontal gene transfer (HGT) can lead to the profound phenotypic change from benign commensal to lethal pathogen. "Horizontal" in this context refers to the lateral or "sideways" movement of genes between microbes via mechanisms not directly associated with reproduction. HGT among prokaryotes can occur between members of the same "species" as well as between microbes separated by vast taxonomic distances. As such, much prokaryotic genetic diversity is both created and sustained by high levels of HGT. Although HGT can occur for genes in the core-genome component of a pan-genome, it occurs much more frequently among genes in the optional, flex-genome component. In some cases, HGT has become so common that it is possible to think of some "floating" genes more as attributes of the environment in which they are useful rather than as attributes of any individual bacterium or strain or "species" that happens to carry them. For example, bacterial plasmids that occur in hospitals are capable of conferring pathogenicity on any bacterium that successfully takes them up. This kind of genetic exchange can occur between widely unrelated taxa.

Created with PubMed® Query: ( "horizontal gene transfer" OR "lateral gene transfer") NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2024-05-21

Tamayo-Leiva J, Alcorta J, Sepúlveda F, et al (2024)

Structure and dispersion of the conjugative mobilome in surface ocean bacterioplankton.

ISME communications, 4(1):ycae059.

Mobile genetic elements (MGEs), collectively referred to as the "mobilome", can have a significant impact on the fitness of microbial communities and therefore on ecological processes. Marine MGEs have mainly been associated with wide geographical and phylogenetic dispersal of adaptative traits. However, whether the structure of this mobilome exhibits deterministic patterns in the natural community is still an open question. The aim of this study was to characterize the structure of the conjugative mobilome in the ocean surface bacterioplankton by searching the publicly available marine metagenomes from the TARA Oceans survey, together with molecular markers, such as relaxases and type IV coupling proteins of the type IV secretion system (T4SS). The T4SS machinery was retrieved in more abundance than relaxases in the surface marine bacterioplankton. Moreover, among the identified MGEs, mobilizable elements were the most abundant, outnumbering self-conjugative sequences. Detection of a high number of incomplete T4SSs provides insight into possible strategies related to trans-acting activity between MGEs, and accessory functions of the T4SS (e.g. protein secretion), allowing the host to maintain a lower metabolic burden in the highly dynamic marine system. Additionally, the results demonstrate a wide geographical dispersion of MGEs throughout oceanic regions, while the Southern Ocean appears segregated from other regions. The marine mobilome also showed a high similarity of functions present in known plasmid databases. Moreover, cargo genes were mostly related to DNA processing, but scarcely associated with antibiotic resistance. Finally, within the MGEs, integrative and conjugative elements showed wider marine geographic dispersion than plasmids.

RevDate: 2024-05-20
CmpDate: 2024-05-20

Talat A, Khan F, AU Khan (2024)

Genome analyses of colistin-resistant high-risk blaNDM-5 producing Klebsiella pneumoniae ST147 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa ST235 and ST357 in clinical settings.

BMC microbiology, 24(1):174.

BACKGROUND: Colistin is a last-resort antibiotic used in extreme cases of multi-drug resistant (MDR) Gram-negative bacterial infections. Colistin resistance has increased in recent years and often goes undetected due to the inefficiency of predominantly used standard antibiotic susceptibility tests (AST). To address this challenge, we aimed to detect the prevalence of colistin resistance strains through both Vitek®2 and broth micro-dilution. We investigated 1748 blood, tracheal aspirate, and pleural fluid samples from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease centre (TBRD) in an India hospital. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of extremely drug-resitant (XDR) and pan-drug resistant (PDR) strains revealed the resistance mechanisms through the Resistance Gene Identifier (RGI.v6.0.0) and Snippy.v4.6.0. Abricate.v1.0.1, PlasmidFinder.v2.1, MobileElementFinder.v1.0.3 etc. detected virulence factors, and mobile genetic elements associated to uncover the pathogenecity and the role of horizontal gene transfer (HGT).

RESULTS: This study reveals compelling insights into colistin resistance among global high-risk clinical isolates: Klebsiella pneumoniae ST147 (16/20), Pseudomonas aeruginosa ST235 (3/20), and ST357 (1/20). Vitek®2 found 6 colistin-resistant strains (minimum inhibitory concentrations, MIC = 4 μg/mL), while broth microdilution identified 48 (MIC = 32-128 μg/mL), adhering to CLSI guidelines. Despite the absence of mobile colistin resistance (mcr) genes, mechanisms underlying colistin resistance included mgrB deletion, phosphoethanolamine transferases arnT, eptB, ompA, and mutations in pmrB (T246A, R256G) and eptA (V50L, A135P, I138V, C27F) in K. pneumoniae. P. aeruginosa harbored phosphoethanolamine transferases basS/pmrb, basR, arnA, cprR, cprS, alongside pmrB (G362S), and parS (H398R) mutations. Both strains carried diverse clinically relevant antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs), including plasmid-mediated blaNDM-5 (K. pneumoniae ST147) and chromosomally mediated blaNDM-1 (P. aeruginosa ST357).

CONCLUSION: The global surge in MDR, XDR and PDR bacteria necessitates last-resort antibiotics such as colistin. However, escalating resistance, particularly to colistin, presents a critical challenge. Inefficient colistin resistance detection methods, including Vitek2, alongside limited surveillance resources, accentuate the need for improved strategies. Whole-genome sequencing revealed alarming colistin resistance among K. pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa in an Indian hospital. The identification of XDR and PDR strains underscores urgency for enhanced surveillance and infection control. SNP analysis elucidated resistance mechanisms, highlighting the complexity of combatting resistance.

RevDate: 2024-05-20

S V, T J, E AP, et al (2024)

Antibiotic resistance of heterotrophic bacteria from the sediments of adjoining high Arctic fjords, Svalbard.

Brazilian journal of microbiology : [publication of the Brazilian Society for Microbiology] [Epub ahead of print].

Antibiotic resistance bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) are now considered major global threats. The Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden are the interlinked fjords in the Arctic that are currently experiencing the effects of climate change and receiving input of pollutants from distant and regional sources. The present study focused on understanding the prevalence of antibiotic resistance of retrievable heterotrophic bacteria from the sediments of adjacent Arctic fjords Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden. A total of 237 bacterial isolates were tested against 16 different antibiotics. The higher resistance observed towards Extended Spectrum β-lactam antibiotic (ESBL) includes ceftazidime (45.56%) followed by trimethoprim (27%) and sulphamethizole (24.05%). The extent of resistance was meagre against tetracycline (2.53%) and gentamycin (2.95%). The 16S rRNA sequencing analysis identified that Proteobacteria (56%) were the dominant antibiotic resistant phyla, followed by Firmicutes (35%), Actinobacteria (8%) and Bacteroidetes. The dominant resistant bacterial isolates are Bacillus cereus (10%), followed by Alcaligenes faecalis (6.47%), Cytobacillus firmus (5.75%) Salinibacterium sp. (5%) and Marinobacter antarcticus (5%). Our study reveals the prevalence of antibiotic resistance showed significant differences in both the inner and outer fjords of Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden (p < 0.05). This may be the input of antibiotic resistance bacteria released into the fjords from the preserved permafrost due to the melting of glaciers, horizontal gene transfer, and human influence in the Arctic region act as a selection pressure for the development and dissemination of more antibiotic resistant bacteria in Arctic fjords.

RevDate: 2024-05-20

Mancuso CP, Baker JS, Qu E, et al (2024)

Intraspecies warfare restricts strain coexistence in human skin microbiomes.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.05.07.592803.

Determining why only a fraction of encountered or applied bacterial strains engraft in a given person's microbiome is crucial for understanding and engineering these communities [1] . Previous work has established that metabolism can determine colonization success in vivo [2-4] , but relevance of bacterial warfare in preventing engraftment has been less explored. Here, we demonstrate that intraspecies warfare presents a significant barrier to strain transmission in the skin microbiome by profiling 14,884 pairwise interactions between Staphylococcus epidermidis cultured from eighteen human subjects from six families. We find that intraspecies antagonisms are abundant; these interactions are mechanistically diverse, independent of the relatedness between strains, and consistent with rapid evolution via horizontal gene transfer. Ability to antagonize more strains is associated with reaching a higher fraction of the on-person S. epidermidis community. Moreover, antagonisms are significantly depleted among strains residing on the same person relative to random assemblages. Two notable exceptions, in which bacteria evolved to become sensitive to antimicrobials found on the same host, are explained by mutations that provide phage resistance, contextualizing the importance of warfare among other lethal selective pressures. Taken together, our results emphasize that accounting for intraspecies bacterial warfare is essential to the design of long-lasting probiotic therapeutics.

RevDate: 2024-05-21
CmpDate: 2024-05-21

Garrido V, Arrieta-Gisasola A, Migura-García L, et al (2024)

Multidrug resistance in Salmonella isolates of swine origin: mobile genetic elements and plasmids associated with cephalosporin resistance with potential transmission to humans.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 90(5):e0026424.

The emergence of foodborne Salmonella strains carrying antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in mobile genetic elements (MGE) is a significant public health threat in a One Health context requiring continuous surveillance. Resistance to ciprofloxacin and cephalosporins is of particular concern. Since pigs are a relevant source of foodborne Salmonella for human beings, we studied transmissible AMR genes and MGE in a collection of 83 strains showing 9 different serovars and 15 patterns of multidrug resistant (MDR) previously isolated from pigs raised in the conventional breeding system of Northern Spain. All isolates were susceptible to ciprofloxacin and three isolates carried blaCMY-2 or blaCTX-M-9 genes responsible for cefotaxime resistance. Filter mating experiments showed that the two plasmids carrying blaCTX-M-9 were conjugative while that carrying blaCMY-2 was self-transmissible by transformation. Whole-genome sequencing and comparative analyses were performed on the isolates and plasmids. The IncC plasmid pSB109, carrying blaCMY-2, was similar to one found in S. Reading from cattle, indicating potential horizontal transfer between serovars and animal sources. The IncHI2 plasmids pSH102 in S. Heidelberg and pSTM45 in S. Typhimurium ST34, carrying blaCTX-M-9, shared similar backbones and two novel "complex class 1 integrons" containing different AMR and heavy metal genes. Our findings emphasize the importance of sequencing techniques to identify emerging AMR regions in conjugative and stable plasmids from livestock production. The presence of MGE carrying clinically relevant AMR genes raises public health concerns, requiring monitoring to mitigate the emergence of bacteria carrying AMR genes and subsequent spread through animals and food.IMPORTANCEThe emergence of foodborne Salmonella strains carrying antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in mobile genetic elements (MGE) is a significant public health threat in a One Health context. Since pigs are a relevant source of foodborne Salmonella for humans, in this study, we investigate different aspects of AMR in a collection of 83 Salmonella showing nine different serovars and 15 patterns of multidrug resistant (MDR) isolated from pigs raised in the conventional breeding system. Our findings emphasize the importance of sequencing techniques to identify emerging AMR regions in conjugative and stable plasmids from livestock production. The presence of MGE carrying clinically relevant AMR genes raises public health concerns, requiring monitoring to mitigate the emergence of bacteria carrying AMR genes and subsequent spread through animals and food.

RevDate: 2024-05-21
CmpDate: 2024-05-21

Zhang J, Zhao L, Wang W, et al (2024)

Large language model for horizontal transfer of resistance gene: From resistance gene prevalence detection to plasmid conjugation rate evaluation.

The Science of the total environment, 931:172466.

The burgeoning issue of plasmid-mediated resistance genes (ARGs) dissemination poses a significant threat to environmental integrity. However, the prediction of ARGs prevalence is overlooked, especially for emerging ARGs that are potentially evolving gene exchange hotspot. Here, we explored to classify plasmid or chromosome sequences and detect resistance gene prevalence by using DNABERT. Initially, the DNABERT fine-tuned in plasmid and chromosome sequences followed by multilayer perceptron (MLP) classifier could achieve 0.764 AUC (Area under curve) on external datasets across 23 genera, outperforming 0.02 AUC than traditional statistic-based model. Furthermore, Escherichia, Pseudomonas single genera based model were also be trained to explore its predict performance to ARGs prevalence detection. By integrating K-mer frequency attributes, our model could boost the performance to predict the prevalence of ARGs in an external dataset in Escherichia with 0.0281-0.0615 AUC and Pseudomonas with 0.0196-0.0928 AUC. Finally, we established a random forest model aimed at forecasting the relative conjugation transfer rate of plasmids with 0.7956 AUC, drawing on data from existing literature. It identifies the plasmid's repression status, cellular density, and temperature as the most important factors influencing transfer frequency. With these two models combined, they provide useful reference for quick and low-cost integrated evaluation of resistance gene transfer, accelerating the process of computer-assisted quantitative risk assessment of ARGs transfer in environmental field.

RevDate: 2024-05-20

Tan BSY, Mohan L, Watthanaworawit W, et al (2024)

Detection of florfenicol resistance in opportunistic Acinetobacter spp. infections in rural Thailand.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1368813.

Florfenicol (Ff) is an antimicrobial agent belonging to the class amphenicol used for the treatment of bacterial infections in livestock, poultry, and aquaculture (animal farming). It inhibits protein synthesis. Ff is an analog of chloramphenicol, an amphenicol compound on the WHO essential medicine list that is used for the treatment of human infections. Due to the extensive usage of Ff in animal farming, zoonotic pathogens have developed resistance to this antimicrobial agent. There are numerous reports of resistance genes from organisms infecting or colonizing animals found in human pathogens, suggesting a possible exchange of genetic materials. One of these genes is floR, a gene that encodes for an efflux pump that removes Ff from bacterial cells, conferring resistance against amphenicol, and is often associated with mobile genetic elements and other resistant determinants. In this study, we analyzed bacterial isolates recovered in rural Thailand from patients and environmental samples collected for disease monitoring. Whole genome sequencing was carried out for all the samples collected. Speciation and genome annotation was performed revealing the presence of the floR gene in the bacterial genome. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined for Ff and chloramphenicol. Chromosomal and phylogenetic analyses were performed to investigate the acquisition pattern of the floR gene. The presence of a conserved floR gene in unrelated Acinetobacter spp. isolated from human bacterial infections and environmental samples was observed, suggesting multiple and independent inter-species genetic exchange of drug-resistant determinants. The floR was found to be in the variable region containing various mobile genetic elements and other antibiotic resistance determinants; however, no evidence of HGT could be found. The floR gene identified in this study is chromosomal for all isolates. The study highlights a plausible impact of antimicrobials used in veterinary settings on human health. Ff shares cross-resistance with chloramphenicol, which is still in use in several countries. Furthermore, by selecting for floR-resistance genes, we may be selecting for and facilitating the zoonotic and reverse zoonotic exchange of other flanking resistance markers between human and animal pathogens or commensals with detrimental public health consequences.

RevDate: 2024-05-20
CmpDate: 2024-05-17

Nguyen Q, Nguyen YTP, Ha TT, et al (2024)

Genomic insights unveil the plasmid transfer mechanism and epidemiology of hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae in Vietnam.

Nature communications, 15(1):4187.

Hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (hvKp) is a significant cause of severe invasive infections in Vietnam, yet data on its epidemiology, population structure and dynamics are scarce. We screened hvKp isolates from patients with bloodstream infections (BSIs) at a tertiary infectious diseases hospital in Vietnam and healthy individuals, followed by whole genome sequencing and plasmid analysis. Among 700 BSI-causing Kp strains, 100 (14.3%) were hvKp. Thirteen hvKp isolates were identified from 350 rectal swabs of healthy adults; none from 500 rectal swabs of healthy children. The hvKp isolates were genetically diverse, encompassing 17 sequence types (STs), predominantly ST23, ST86 and ST65. Among the 113 hvKp isolates, 14 (12.6%) carried at least one antimicrobial resistance (AMR) gene, largely mediated by IncFII, IncR, and IncA/C plasmids. Notably, the acquisition of AMR conjugative plasmids facilitated horizontal transfer of the non-conjugative virulence plasmid between K. pneumoniae strains. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated hvKp isolates from BSIs and human carriage clustered together, suggesting a significant role of intestinal carriage in hvKp transmission. Enhanced surveillance is crucial to understand the factors driving intestinal carriage and hvKp transmission dynamics for informing preventive measures. Furthermore, we advocate the clinical use of our molecular assay for diagnosing hvKp infections to guide effective management.

RevDate: 2024-05-18

Roughgarden J (2024)

Lytic/Lysogenic Transition as a Life-History Switch.

Virus evolution, 10(1):veae028.

The transition between lytic and lysogenic life cycles is the most important feature of the life-history of temperate viruses. To explain this transition, an optimal life-history model is offered based a discrete-time formulation of phage/bacteria population dynamics that features infection of bacteria by Poisson sampling of virions from the environment. The time step is the viral latency period. In this model, density-dependent viral absorption onto the bacterial surface produces virus/bacteria coexistence and density dependence in bacterial growth is not needed. The formula for the transition between lytic and lysogenic phases is termed the 'fitness switch'. According to the model, the virus switches from lytic to lysogenic when its population grows faster as prophage than as virions produced by lysis of the infected cells, and conversely for the switch from lysogenic to lytic. A prophage that benefits the bacterium it infects automatically incurs lower fitness upon exiting the bacterial genome, resulting in its becoming locked into the bacterial genome in what is termed here as a 'prophage lock'. The fitness switch qualitatively predicts the ecogeographic rule that environmental enrichment leads to microbialization with a concomitant increase in lysogeny, fluctuating environmental conditions promote virus-mediated horizontal gene transfer, and prophage-containing bacteria can integrate into the microbiome of a eukaryotic host forming a functionally integrated tripartite holobiont. These predictions accord more with the 'Piggyback-the-Winner' hypothesis than with the 'Kill-the-Winner' hypothesis in virus ecology.

RevDate: 2024-05-18
CmpDate: 2024-05-17

Pobeguts OV, Galaymina MA, Sikamov KV, et al (2024)

Unraveling the adaptive strategies of Mycoplasma hominis through proteogenomic profiling of clinical isolates.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 14:1398706.

INTRODUCTION: Mycoplasma hominis (M. hominis) belongs to the class Mollicutes, characterized by a very small genome size, reduction of metabolic pathways, including transcription factors, and the absence of a cell wall. Despite this, they adapt well not only to specific niches within the host organism but can also spread throughout the body, colonizing various organs and tissues. The adaptation mechanisms of M. hominis, as well as their regulatory pathways, are poorly understood. It is known that, when adapting to adverse conditions, Mycoplasmas can undergo phenotypic switches that may persist for several generations.

METHODS: To investigate the adaptive properties of M. hominis related to survival in the host, we conducted a comparative phenotypic and proteogenomic analysis of eight clinical isolates of M. hominis obtained from patients with urogenital infections and the laboratory strain H-34.

RESULTS: We have shown that clinical isolates differ in phenotypic features from the laboratory strain, form biofilms more effectively and show resistance to ofloxacin. The comparative proteogenomic analysis revealed that, unlike the laboratory strain, the clinical isolates possess several features related to stress survival: they switch carbon metabolism, activating the energetically least advantageous pathway of nucleoside utilization, which allows slowing down cellular processes and transitioning to a starvation state; they reconfigure the repertoire of membrane proteins; they have integrative conjugative elements in their genomes, which are key mediators of horizontal gene transfer. The upregulation of the methylating subunit of the restriction-modification (RM) system type I and the additional components of RM systems found in clinical isolates suggest that DNA methylation may play a role in regulating the adaptation mechanisms of M. hominis in the host organism. It has been shown that based on the proteogenomic profile, namely the genome sequence, protein content, composition of the RM systems and additional subunits HsdM, HsdS and HsdR, composition and number of transposable elements, as well as the sequence of the main variable antigen Vaa, we can divide clinical isolates into two phenotypes: typical colonies (TC), which have a high growth rate, and atypical (aTC) mini-colonies, which have a slow growth rate and exhibit properties similar to persisters.

DISCUSSION: We believe that the key mechanism of adaptation of M. hominis in the host is phenotypic restructuring, leading to a slowing down cellular processes and the formation of small atypical colonies. This is due to a switch in carbon metabolism and activation the pathway of nucleoside utilization. We hypothesize that DNA methylation may play a role in regulating this switch.

RevDate: 2024-05-18
CmpDate: 2024-05-16

Fujino T, Sonoda R, Higashinagata T, et al (2024)

Ser/Leu-swapped cell-free translation system constructed with natural/in vitro transcribed-hybrid tRNA set.

Nature communications, 15(1):4143.

The Ser/Leu-swapped genetic code can act as a genetic firewall, mitigating biohazard risks arising from horizontal gene transfer in genetically modified organisms. Our prior work demonstrated the orthogonality of this swapped code to the standard genetic code using a cell-free translation system comprised of 21 in vitro transcribed tRNAs. In this study, to advance this system for protein engineering, we introduce a natural/in vitro transcribed-hybrid tRNA set. This set combines natural tRNAs from Escherichia coli (excluding Ser, Leu, and Tyr) and in vitro transcribed tRNAs, encompassing anticodon-swapped tRNA[Ser]GAG and tRNA[Leu]GGA. This approach reduces the number of in vitro transcribed tRNAs required from 21 to only 4. In this optimized system, the production of a model protein, superfolder green fluorescent protein, increases to 3.5-fold. With this hybrid tRNA set, the Ser/Leu-swapped cell-free translation system will stand as a potent tool for protein production with reduced biohazard concerns in future biological endeavors.

RevDate: 2024-05-16

Figueroa W, Cazares D, A Cazares (2024)

Phage-plasmids: missed links between mobile genetic elements.

Trends in microbiology pii:S0966-842X(24)00114-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Phages and plasmids are discrete mobile genetic elements (MGEs) with critical roles in gene dissemination across bacteria but limited scope for exchanging DNA between them. By investigating recent gene-sharing events, Pfeifer and Rocha describe how the hybrid elements phage-plasmids (P-Ps) promote gene flow between MGE types and evolve into new ones.

RevDate: 2024-05-16

Wei L, Han Y, Zheng J, et al (2024)

Accelerated dissemination of antibiotic resistant genes via conjugative transfer driven by deficient denitrification in biochar-based biofiltration systems.

The Science of the total environment pii:S0048-9697(24)03415-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Biofiltration systems harbored and disseminated antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), when confronting antibiotic-contained wastewater. Biochar, a widely used environmental remediation material, can mitigate antibiotic stress on adjoining microbes by lowering the availability of sorbed antibiotics, and enhance the attachment of denitrifiers. Herein, bench-scale biofiltration systems, packed with commercial biochars, were established to explore the pivotal drivers affecting ARG emergence. Results showed that biofiltration columns, achieving higher TN removal and denitrification capacity, showed a significant decrease in ARG accumulation (p < 0.05). The relative abundance of ARGs (0.014 ± 0.0008) in the attached biofilms decreased to 1/5-folds of that in the control group (0.065 ± 0.004). Functional analysis indicated ARGs' accumulation was less attributed to ARG activation or horizontal gene transfer (HGT) driven by sorbed antibiotics. Most denitrifiers, like Bradyrhizobium, Geothrix, etc., were found to be enriched and host ARGs. Nitrosative stress from deficient denitrification was demonstrated to be the dominant driver for affecting ARG accumulation and dissemination. Metagenomic and metaproteomic analysis revealed that nitrosative stress promoted the conjugative HGT of ARGs mainly via increasing the transmembrane permeability and enhancing the amino acid transport and metabolism, such as cysteine, methionine, and valine metabolism. Overall, this study highlighted the risks of deficient denitrification in promoting ARG transfer and transmission in biofiltration systems and natural ecosystems.

RevDate: 2024-05-17
CmpDate: 2024-05-17

Macesic N, Dennis A, Hawkey J, et al (2024)

Genomic investigation of multispecies and multivariant blaNDM outbreak reveals key role of horizontal plasmid transmission.

Infection control and hospital epidemiology, 45(6):709-716.

OBJECTIVES: New Delhi metallo-β-lactamases (NDMs) are major contributors to the spread of carbapenem resistance globally. In Australia, NDMs were previously associated with international travel, but from 2019 we noted increasing incidence of NDM-positive clinical isolates. We investigated the clinical and genomic epidemiology of NDM carriage at a tertiary-care Australian hospital from 2016 to 2021.

METHODS: We identified 49 patients with 84 NDM-carrying isolates in an institutional database, and we collected clinical data from electronic medical record. Short- and long-read whole genome sequencing was performed on all isolates. Completed genome assemblies were used to assess the genetic setting of blaNDM genes and to compare NDM plasmids.

RESULTS: Of 49 patients, 38 (78%) were identified in 2019-2021 and only 11 (29%) of 38 reported prior travel, compared with 9 (82%) of 11 in 2016-2018 (P = .037). In patients with NDM infection, the crude 7-day mortality rate was 0% and the 30-day mortality rate was 14% (2 of 14 patients). NDMs were noted in 41 bacterial strains (ie, species and sequence type combinations). Across 13 plasmid groups, 4 NDM variants were detected: blaNDM-1, blaNDM-4, blaNDM-5, and blaNDM-7. We noted a change from a diverse NDM plasmid repertoire in 2016-2018 to the emergence of conserved blaNDM-1 IncN and blaNDM-7 IncX3 epidemic plasmids, with interstrain spread in 2019-2021. These plasmids were noted in 19 (50%) of 38 patients and 35 (51%) of 68 genomes in 2019-2021.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased NDM case numbers were due to local circulation of 2 epidemic plasmids with extensive interstrain transfer. Our findings underscore the challenges of outbreak detection when horizontal transmission of plasmids is the primary mode of spread.

RevDate: 2024-05-16

He Z, Dechesne A, Schreiber F, et al (2024)

Understanding Stimulation of Conjugal Gene Transfer by Nonantibiotic Compounds: How Far Are We?.

Environmental science & technology [Epub ahead of print].

A myriad of nonantibiotic compounds is released into the environment, some of which may contribute to the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance by stimulating conjugation. Here, we analyzed a collection of studies to (i) identify patterns of transfer stimulation across groups and concentrations of chemicals, (ii) evaluate the strength of evidence for the proposed mechanisms behind conjugal stimulation, and (iii) examine the plausibility of alternative mechanisms. We show that stimulatory nonantibiotic compounds act at concentrations from 1/1000 to 1/10 of the minimal inhibitory concentration for the donor strain but that stimulation is always modest (less than 8-fold). The main proposed mechanisms for stimulation via the reactive oxygen species/SOS cascade and/or an increase in cell membrane permeability are not unequivocally supported by the literature. However, we identify the reactive oxygen species/SOS cascade as the most likely mechanism. This remains to be confirmed by firm molecular evidence. Such evidence and more standardized and high-throughput conjugation assays are needed to create technologies and solutions to limit the stimulation of conjugal gene transfer and contribute to mitigating global antibiotic resistance.

RevDate: 2024-05-16
CmpDate: 2024-05-16

Ortiz Charneco G, McDonnell B, Kelleher P, et al (2024)

Plasmid-mediated horizontal gene mobilisation: Insights from two lactococcal conjugative plasmids.

Microbial biotechnology, 17(5):e14421.

The distinct conjugation machineries encoded by plasmids pNP40 and pUC11B represent the most prevalent plasmid transfer systems among lactococcal strains. In the current study, we identified genetic determinants that underpin pNP40- and pUC11B-mediated, high-frequency mobilisation of other, non-conjugative plasmids. The mobilisation frequencies of the smaller, non-conjugative plasmids and the minimal sequences required for their mobilisation were determined, owing to the determination of the oriT sequences of both pNP40 and pUC11B, which allowed the identification of similar sequences in some of the non-conjugative plasmids that were shown to promote their mobilisation. Furthermore, the auxiliary gene mobC, two distinct functional homologues of which are present in several plasmids harboured by the pNP40- and pUC11B-carrying host strains, was observed to confer a high-frequency mobilisation phenotype. These findings provide mechanistic insights into how lactococcal conjugative plasmids achieve conjugation and promote mobilisation of non-conjugative plasmids. Ultimately, these insights would be harnessed to optimise conjugation and mobilisation strategies for the rapid and predictable development of robust and technologically improved strains.

RevDate: 2024-05-16

Tomasch J, Kopejtka K, Shivaramu S, et al (2024)

On the evolution of chromosomal regions with high gene strand bias in bacteria.

mBio [Epub ahead of print].

On circular bacterial chromosomes, the majority of genes are coded on the leading strand. This gene strand bias (GSB) ranges from up to 85% in some Bacillota to a little more than 50% in other phyla. The factors determining the extent of the strand bias remain to be found. Here, we report that species in the phylum Gemmatimonadota share a unique chromosome architecture, distinct from neighboring phyla: in a conserved 600-kb region around the terminus of replication, almost all genes were located on the leading strands, while on the remaining part of the chromosome, the strand preference was more balanced. The high strand bias (HSB) region harbors the rRNA clusters, core, and highly expressed genes. Selective pressure for reduction of collisions with DNA replication to minimize detrimental mutations can explain the conservation of essential genes in this region. Repetitive and mobile elements are underrepresented, suggesting reduced recombination frequency by structural isolation from other parts of the chromosome. We propose that the HSB region forms a distinct chromosomal domain. Gemmatimonadota chromosomes evolved mainly by expansion through horizontal gene transfer and duplications outside of the ancient high strand bias region. In support of our hypothesis, we could further identify two Spiroplasma strains on a similar evolutionary path.IMPORTANCEOn bacterial chromosomes, a preferred location of genes on the leading strand has evolved to reduce conflicts between replication and transcription. Despite a vast body of research, the question why bacteria show large differences in their gene strand bias is still not solved. The discovery of "hybrid" chromosomes in different phyla, including Gemmatimonadota, in which a conserved high strand bias is found exclusively in a region at ter, points toward a role of nucleoid structure, additional to replication, in the evolution of strand preferences. A fine-grained structural analysis of the ever-increasing number of available bacterial genomes could help to better understand the forces that shape the sequential and spatial organization of the cell's information content.

RevDate: 2024-05-15

Mrnjavac N, Nagies FSP, Wimmer JLE, et al (2024)

The radical impact of oxygen on prokaryotic evolution-enzyme inhibition first, uninhibited essential biosyntheses second, aerobic respiration third.

FEBS letters [Epub ahead of print].

Molecular oxygen is a stable diradical. All O2-dependent enzymes employ a radical mechanism. Generated by cyanobacteria, O2 started accumulating on Earth 2.4 billion years ago. Its evolutionary impact is traditionally sought in respiration and energy yield. We mapped 365 O2-dependent enzymatic reactions of prokaryotes to phylogenies for the corresponding 792 protein families. The main physiological adaptations imparted by O2-dependent enzymes were not energy conservation, but novel organic substrate oxidations and O2-dependent, hence O2-tolerant, alternative pathways for O2-inhibited reactions. Oxygen-dependent enzymes evolved in ancestrally anaerobic pathways for essential cofactor biosynthesis including NAD[+], pyridoxal, thiamine, ubiquinone, cobalamin, heme, and chlorophyll. These innovations allowed prokaryotes to synthesize essential cofactors in O2-containing environments, a prerequisite for the later emergence of aerobic respiratory chains.

RevDate: 2024-05-15

Stindt KR, MN McClean (2024)

Tuning interdomain conjugation to enable in situ population modification in yeasts.

mSystems [Epub ahead of print].

The ability to modify and control natural and engineered microbiomes is essential for biotechnology and biomedicine. Fungi are critical members of most microbiomes, yet technology for modifying the fungal members of a microbiome has lagged far behind that for bacteria. Interdomain conjugation (IDC) is a promising approach, as DNA transfer from bacterial cells to yeast enables in situ modification. While such genetic transfers have been known to naturally occur in a wide range of eukaryotes and are thought to contribute to their evolution, IDC has been understudied as a technique to control fungal or fungal-bacterial consortia. One major obstacle to the widespread use of IDC is its limited efficiency. In this work, we manipulated metabolic and physical interactions between genetically tractable Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae to control the incidence of IDC. We test the landscape of population interactions between the bacterial donors and yeast recipients to find that bacterial commensalism leads to maximized IDC, both in culture and in mixed colonies. We demonstrate the capacity of cell-to-cell binding via mannoproteins to assist both IDC incidence and bacterial commensalism in culture and model how these tunable controls can predictably yield a range of IDC outcomes. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these controls can be utilized to irreversibly alter a recipient yeast population, by both "rescuing" a poor-growing recipient population and collapsing a stable population via a novel IDC-mediated CRISPR/Cas9 system.IMPORTANCEFungi are important but often unaddressed members of most natural and synthetic microbial communities. This work highlights opportunities for modifying yeast microbiome populations through bacterial conjugation. While conjugation has been recognized for its capacity to deliver engineerable DNA to a range of cells, its dependence on cell contact has limited its efficiency. Here, we find "knobs" to control DNA transfer, by engineering the metabolic dependence between bacterial donors and yeast recipients and by changing their ability to physically adhere to each other. Importantly, we functionally validate these "knobs" by irreversibly altering yeast populations. We use these controls to "rescue" a failing yeast population, demonstrate the capacity of conjugated CRISPR/Cas9 to depress or collapse populations, and show that conjugation can be easily interrupted by disrupting cell-to-cell binding. These results offer building blocks toward in situ mycobiome editing, with significant implications for clinical treatments of fungal pathogens and other fungal system engineering.

RevDate: 2024-05-15

García-Bayona L, Said N, Coyne MJ, et al (2024)

A pervasive large conjugative plasmid mediates multispecies biofilm formation in the intestinal microbiota increasing resilience to perturbations.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.04.29.590671.

Although horizontal gene transfer is pervasive in the intestinal microbiota, we understand only superficially the roles of most exchanged genes and how the mobile repertoire affects community dynamics. Similarly, little is known about the mechanisms underlying the ability of a community to recover after a perturbation. Here, we identified and functionally characterized a large conjugative plasmid that is one of the most frequently transferred elements among Bacteroidales species and is ubiquitous in diverse human populations. This plasmid encodes both an extracellular polysaccharide and fimbriae, which promote the formation of multispecies biofilms in the mammalian gut. We use a hybridization-based approach to visualize biofilms in clarified whole colon tissue with unprecedented 3D spatial resolution. These biofilms increase bacterial survival to common stressors encountered in the gut, increasing strain resiliency, and providing a rationale for the plasmid's recent spread and high worldwide prevalence.

RevDate: 2024-05-14
CmpDate: 2024-05-14

Dewar AE, Hao C, Belcher LJ, et al (2024)

Bacterial lifestyle shapes pangenomes.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(21):e2320170121.

Pangenomes vary across bacteria. Some species have fluid pangenomes, with a high proportion of genes varying between individual genomes. Other species have less fluid pangenomes, with different genomes tending to contain the same genes. Two main hypotheses have been suggested to explain this variation: differences in species' bacterial lifestyle and effective population size. However, previous studies have not been able to test between these hypotheses because the different features of lifestyle and effective population size are highly correlated with each other, and phylogenetically conserved, making it hard to disentangle their relative importance. We used phylogeny-based analyses, across 126 bacterial species, to tease apart the causal role of different factors. We found that pangenome fluidity was lower in i) host-associated compared with free-living species and ii) host-associated species that are obligately dependent on a host, live inside cells, and are more pathogenic and less motile. In contrast, we found no support for the competing hypothesis that larger effective population sizes lead to more fluid pangenomes. Effective population size appears to correlate with pangenome variation because it is also driven by bacterial lifestyle, rather than because of a causal relationship.

RevDate: 2024-05-14

Mies US, Hervé V, Kropp T, et al (2024)

Genome reduction and horizontal gene transfer in the evolution of Endomicrobia-rise and fall of an intracellular symbiosis with termite gut flagellates.

mBio [Epub ahead of print].

Bacterial endosymbionts of eukaryotic hosts typically experience massive genome reduction, but the underlying evolutionary processes are often obscured by the lack of free-living relatives. Endomicrobia, a family-level lineage of host-associated bacteria in the phylum Elusimicrobiota that comprises both free-living representatives and endosymbionts of termite gut flagellates, are an excellent model to study evolution of intracellular symbionts. We reconstructed 67 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of Endomicrobiaceae among more than 1,700 MAGs from the gut microbiota of a wide range of termites. Phylogenomic analysis confirmed a sister position of representatives from termites and ruminants, and allowed to propose eight new genera in the radiation of Endomicrobiaceae. Comparative genome analysis documented progressive genome erosion in the new genus Endomicrobiellum, which comprises all flagellate endosymbionts characterized to date. Massive gene losses were accompanied by the acquisition of new functions by horizontal gene transfer, which led to a shift from a glucose-based energy metabolism to one based on sugar phosphates. The breakdown of glycolysis and many anabolic pathways for amino acids and cofactors in several subgroups was compensated by the independent acquisition of new uptake systems, including an ATP/ADP antiporter, from other gut microbiota. The putative donors are mostly flagellate endosymbionts from other bacterial phyla, including several, hitherto unknown lineages of uncultured Alphaproteobacteria, documenting the importance of horizontal gene transfer in the convergent evolution of these intracellular symbioses. The loss of almost all biosynthetic capacities in some lineages of Endomicrobiellum suggests that their originally mutualistic relationship with flagellates is on its decline.IMPORTANCEUnicellular eukaryotes are frequently colonized by bacterial and archaeal symbionts. A prominent example are the cellulolytic gut flagellates of termites, which harbor diverse but host-specific bacterial symbionts that occur exclusively in termite guts. One of these lineages, the so-called Endomicrobia, comprises both free-living and endosymbiotic representatives, which offers the unique opportunity to study the evolutionary processes underpinning the transition from a free-living to an intracellular lifestyle. Our results revealed a progressive gene loss in energy metabolism and biosynthetic pathways, compensated by the acquisition of new functions via horizontal gene transfer from other gut bacteria, and suggest the eventual breakdown of an initially mutualistic symbiosis. Evidence for convergent evolution of unrelated endosymbionts reflects adaptations to the intracellular environment of termite gut flagellates.

RevDate: 2024-05-15
CmpDate: 2024-05-14

Carrera Páez LC, Olivier M, Gambino AS, et al (2024)

Sporadic clone Escherichia coli ST615 as a vector and reservoir for dissemination of crucial antimicrobial resistance genes.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 14:1368622.

There is scarce information concerning the role of sporadic clones in the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) within the nosocomial niche. We confirmed that the clinical Escherichia coli M19736 ST615 strain, one of the first isolates of Latin America that harbors a plasmid with an mcr-1 gene, could receive crucial ARG by transformation and conjugation using as donors critical plasmids that harbor bla CTX-M-15, bla KPC-2, bla NDM-5, bla NDM-1, or aadB genes. Escherichia coli M19736 acquired bla CTX-M-15, bla KPC-2, bla NDM-5, bla NDM-1, and aadB genes, being only blaNDM-1 maintained at 100% on the 10th day of subculture. In addition, when the evolved MDR-E. coli M19736 acquired sequentially bla CTX-M-15 and bla NDM-1 genes, the maintenance pattern of the plasmids changed. In addition, when the evolved XDR-E. coli M19736 acquired in an ulterior step the paadB plasmid, a different pattern of the plasmid's maintenance was found. Interestingly, the evolved E. coli M19736 strains disseminated simultaneously the acquired conjugative plasmids in different combinations though selection was ceftazidime in all cases. Finally, we isolated and characterized the extracellular vesicles (EVs) from the native and evolved XDR-E. coli M19736 strains. Interestingly, EVs from the evolved XDR-E. coli M19736 harbored bla CTX-M-15 though the pDCAG1-CTX-M-15 was previously lost as shown by WGS and experiments, suggesting that EV could be a relevant reservoir of ARG for susceptible bacteria. These results evidenced the genetic plasticity of a sporadic clone of E. coli such as ST615 that could play a relevant transitional link in the clinical dynamics and evolution to multidrug/extensively/pandrug-resistant phenotypes of superbugs within the nosocomial niche by acting simultaneously as a vector and reservoir of multiple ARGs which later could be disseminated.

RevDate: 2024-05-15

Ghaly TM, Gillings MR, Rajabal V, et al (2024)

Horizontal gene transfer in plant microbiomes: integrons as hotspots for cross-species gene exchange.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1338026.

Plant microbiomes play important roles in plant health and fitness. Bacterial horizontal gene transfer (HGT) can influence plant health outcomes, driving the spread of both plant growth-promoting and phytopathogenic traits. However, community dynamics, including the range of genetic elements and bacteria involved in this process are still poorly understood. Integrons are genetic elements recently shown to be abundant in plant microbiomes, and are associated with HGT across broad phylogenetic boundaries. They facilitate the spread of gene cassettes, small mobile elements that collectively confer a diverse suite of adaptive functions. Here, we analysed 5,565 plant-associated bacterial genomes to investigate the prevalence and functional diversity of integrons in this niche. We found that integrons are particularly abundant in the genomes of Pseudomonadales, Burkholderiales, and Xanthomonadales. In total, we detected nearly 9,000 gene cassettes, and found that many could be involved in plant growth promotion or phytopathogenicity, suggesting that integrons might play a role in bacterial mutualistic or pathogenic lifestyles. The rhizosphere was enriched in cassettes involved in the transport and metabolism of diverse substrates, suggesting that they may aid in adaptation to this environment, which is rich in root exudates. We also found that integrons facilitate cross-species HGT, which is particularly enhanced in the phyllosphere. This finding may provide an ideal opportunity to promote plant growth by fostering the spread of genes cassettes relevant to leaf health. Together, our findings suggest that integrons are important elements in plant microbiomes that drive HGT, and have the potential to facilitate plant host adaptation.

RevDate: 2024-05-13
CmpDate: 2024-05-14

Blanco-Melo D, Campbell MA, Zhu H, et al (2024)

A novel approach to exploring the dark genome and its application to mapping of the vertebrate virus fossil record.

Genome biology, 25(1):120.

BACKGROUND: Genomic regions that remain poorly understood, often referred to as the dark genome, contain a variety of functionally relevant and biologically informative features. These include endogenous viral elements (EVEs)-virus-derived sequences that can dramatically impact host biology and serve as a virus fossil record. In this study, we introduce a database-integrated genome screening (DIGS) approach to investigate the dark genome in silico, focusing on EVEs found within vertebrate genomes.

RESULTS: Using DIGS on 874 vertebrate genomes, we uncover approximately 1.1 million EVE sequences, with over 99% originating from endogenous retroviruses or transposable elements that contain EVE DNA. We show that the remaining 6038 sequences represent over a thousand distinct horizontal gene transfer events across 10 virus families, including some that have not previously been reported as EVEs. We explore the genomic and phylogenetic characteristics of non-retroviral EVEs and determine their rates of acquisition during vertebrate evolution. Our study uncovers novel virus diversity, broadens knowledge of virus distribution among vertebrate hosts, and provides new insights into the ecology and evolution of vertebrate viruses.

CONCLUSIONS: We comprehensively catalog and analyze EVEs within 874 vertebrate genomes, shedding light on the distribution, diversity, and long-term evolution of viruses and reveal their extensive impact on vertebrate genome evolution. Our results demonstrate the power of linking a relational database management system to a similarity search-based screening pipeline for in silico exploration of the dark genome.

RevDate: 2024-05-13

Liao L, Qin Q, Yi D, et al (2024)

Evolution and adaptation of terrestrial plant-associated Plantibacter species into remote marine environments.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Microbes are thought to be distributed and circulated around the world, but the connection between marine and terrestrial microbiomes remains largely unknown. We use Plantibacter, a representative genus associated with plants, as our research model to investigate the global distribution and adaptation of plant-related bacteria in plant-free environments, particularly in the remote Southern Ocean and the deep Atlantic Ocean. The marine isolates and their plant-associated relatives shared over 98% whole-genome average nucleotide identity (ANI), indicating recent divergence and ongoing speciation from plant-related niches to marine environments. Comparative genomics revealed that the marine strains acquired new genes via horizontal gene transfer from non-Plantibacter species and refined existing genes through positive selection to improve adaptation to new habitats. Meanwhile, marine strains retained the ability to interact with plants, such as modifying root system architecture and promoting germination. Furthermore, Plantibacter species were found to be widely distributed in marine environments, revealing an unrecognized phenomenon that plant-associated microbiomes have colonized the ocean, which could serve as a reservoir for plant growth-promoting microbes. This study demonstrates the presence of an active reservoir of terrestrial plant growth-promoting bacteria in remote marine systems and advances our understanding of the microbial connections between plant-associated and plant-free environments at the genome level.

RevDate: 2024-05-13

Singh H, Gibb B, R Abdi (2024)

Abundance and diversity of methicillin-resistant bacteria from bathroom surfaces at workplaces using CHROMagar media, 16S, and dnaJ gene sequence typing.

International journal of molecular epidemiology and genetics, 15(2):12-21.

University campus communities consist of dynamic and diverse human populations originated from different regions of the country or the world. Their national/global movement to and from campus may contribute to the spread and buildup of methicillin-resistant (MR) bacteria, including MR Staphylococci (MRS) on high-touch surfaces, sinks, and toilets. However, studies on MR bacteria contamination of surfaces, sinks, and toilets are scarce in workplaces outside of healthcare settings. Hence, little is known whether university communities contaminate campus bathrooms by MR bacteria. This study evaluated the abundance, identity, and phylogenetics of MR bacteria grown on CHROMagar MRSA media from bathrooms at workplaces. We collected 21 sink and 21 toilet swab samples from 10 buildings on campus and cultured them on CHROMagar MRSA media, extracted DNA from MR bacteria colonies, sequenced PCR products of 16S and dnaJ primers, determined the sequence identities by BLAST search, and constructed a phylogenetic tree. Of 42 samples, 57.1% (24/42) harbored MR bacteria. MR bacteria were more prevalent on the sink (61.9%) than in the toilet (52.2%) and in male bathrooms (54.2%) than in female bathrooms (41.7%). The colony count on the bathroom surfaces of 42 samples varied in that 42.9% (18/42), 33.3, 14.3, and 9.5% of samples harbored 0, 100, and > 1000 MR bacteria colonies, respectively. Of MR bacteria sequenced, BLAST search and phylogenetic analysis showed that Staphylococcus accounted for 60% of the MR bacteria and the rest were non-Staphylococci. Of Staphylococcus carrying MR (n = 15), 53.3% were S. hemolyticus followed by S. lugdunensis (26.7%), S. epidermidis (8%), and a newly discovered S. borealis in 2020 (4%). Of non-Staphylococci MR bacteria, 20% accounted for Sphingomonas koreensis. Campus bathrooms serve as a reservoir for diverse bacteria carrying MR, which pose a direct risk of infection and a potential source of horizontal gene transfer. To reduce the health risk posed by MR bacteria in high traffic areas such as bathrooms additional environmental monitoring and improved decontamination practices are needed.

RevDate: 2024-05-11

Musat F, Kjeldsen KU, Rotaru AE, et al (2024)

Archaea oxidizing alkanes through alkyl-coenzyme M reductases.

Current opinion in microbiology, 79:102486 pii:S1369-5274(24)00062-6 [Epub ahead of print].

This review synthesizes recent discoveries of novel archaea clades capable of oxidizing higher alkanes, from volatile ones like ethane to longer-chain alkanes like hexadecane. These archaea, termed anaerobic multicarbon alkane-oxidizing archaea (ANKA), initiate alkane oxidation using alkyl-coenzyme M reductases, enzymes similar to the methyl-coenzyme M reductases of methanogenic and anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME). The polyphyletic alkane-oxidizing archaea group (ALOX), encompassing ANME and ANKA, harbors increasingly complex alkane degradation pathways, correlated with the alkane chain length. We discuss the evolutionary trajectory of these pathways emphasizing metabolic innovations and the acquisition of metabolic modules via lateral gene transfer. Additionally, we explore the mechanisms by which archaea couple alkane oxidation with the reduction of electron acceptors, including electron transfer to partner sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). The phylogenetic and functional constraints that shape ALOX-SRB associations are also discussed. We conclude by highlighting the research needs in this emerging research field and its potential applications in biotechnology.

RevDate: 2024-05-11
CmpDate: 2024-05-11

Quiñonero-Coronel MDM, Devos DP, MP Garcillán-Barcia (2024)

Specificities and commonalities of the Planctomycetes plasmidome.

Environmental microbiology, 26(5):e16638.

Plasmids, despite their critical role in antibiotic resistance and modern biotechnology, are understood in only a few bacterial groups in terms of their natural ecological dynamics. The bacterial phylum Planctomycetes, known for its unique molecular and cellular biology, has a largely unexplored plasmidome. This study offers a thorough exploration of the diversity of natural plasmids within Planctomycetes, which could serve as a foundation for developing various genetic research tools for this phylum. Planctomycetes plasmids encode a broad range of biological functions and appear to have coevolved significantly with their host chromosomes, sharing many homologues. Recent transfer events of insertion sequences between cohabiting chromosomes and plasmids were also observed. Interestingly, 64% of plasmid genes are distantly related to either chromosomally encoded genes or have homologues in plasmids from other bacterial groups. The planctomycetal plasmidome is composed of 36% exclusive proteins. Most planctomycetal plasmids encode a replication initiation protein from the Replication Protein A family near a putative iteron-containing replication origin, as well as active type I partition systems. The identification of one conjugative and three mobilizable plasmids suggests the occurrence of horizontal gene transfer via conjugation within this phylum. This comprehensive description enhances our understanding of the plasmidome of Planctomycetes and its potential implications in antibiotic resistance and biotechnology.

RevDate: 2024-05-10

Wen X, Xu J, Worrich A, et al (2024)

Priority establishment of soil bacteria in rhizosphere limited the spread of tetracycline resistance genes from pig manure to soil-plant systems based on synthetic communities approach.

Environment international, 187:108732 pii:S0160-4120(24)00318-0 [Epub ahead of print].

The spread of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in agroecosystems through the application of animal manure is a global threat to human and environmental health. However, the adaptability and colonization ability of animal manure-derived bacteria determine the spread pathways of ARG in agroecosystems, which have rarely been studied. Here, we performed an invasion experiment by creating a synthetic communities (SynCom) with ten isolates from pig manure and followed its assembly during gnotobiotic cultivation of a soil-Arabidopsis thaliana (A. thaliana) system. We found that Firmicutes in the SynCom were efficiently filtered out in the rhizosphere, thereby limiting the entry of tetracycline resistance genes (TRGs) into the plant. However, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria in the SynCom were able to establish in all compartments of the soil-plant system thereby spreading TRGs from manure to soil and plant. The presence of native soil bacteria prevented the establishment of manure-borne bacteria and effectively reduced the spread of TRGs. Achromobacter mucicolens and Pantoea septica were the main vectors for the entry of tetA into plants. Furthermore, doxycycline stress promoted the horizontal gene transfer (HGT) of the conjugative resistance plasmid RP4 within the SynCom in A. thaliana by upregulating the expression of HGT-related mRNAs. Therefore, this study provides evidence for the dissemination pathways of ARGs in agricultural systems through the invasion of manure-derived bacteria and HGT by conjugative resistance plasmids and demonstrates that the priority establishment of soil bacteria in the rhizosphere limited the spread of TRGs from pig manure to soil-plant systems.

RevDate: 2024-05-10

Lee D-H, Lee K, Kim Y-S, et al (2024)

Comprehensive genomic landscape of antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus epidermidis.

mSystems [Epub ahead of print].

UNLABELLED: Staphylococcus epidermidis, a common commensal bacterium found on human skin, can cause infections in clinical settings, and the presence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) impedes the treatment of S. epidermidis infections. However, studies characterizing the ARGs in S. epidermidis with regard to genomic and ecological diversities are limited. Thus, we performed a comprehensive and comparative analysis of 405 high-quality S. epidermidis genomes, including those of 35 environmental isolates from the Han River, to investigate the genomic diversity of antibiotic resistance in this pathogen. Comparative genomic analysis revealed the prevalence of ARGs in S. epidermidis genomes associated with multi-locus sequence types. The genes encoding dihydrofolate reductase (dfrC) and multidrug efflux pump (norA) were genome-wide core ARGs. β-Lactam class ARGs were also highly prevalent in the S. epidermidis genomes, which was consistent with the resistance phenotype observed in river isolates. Furthermore, we identified chloramphenicol acetyltransferase genes (cat) in the plasmid-like sequences of the six river isolates, which have not been reported previously in S. epidermidis genomes. These genes were identical to those harbored by the Enterococcus faecium plasmids and associated with the insertion sequence 6 family transposases, homologous to those found in Staphylococcus aureus plasmids, suggesting the possibility of horizontal gene transfer between these Gram-positive pathogens. Comparison of the ARG and virulence factor profiles between S. epidermidis and S. aureus genomes revealed that these two species were clearly distinguished, suggesting genomic demarcation despite ecological overlap. Our findings provide a comprehensive understanding of the genomic diversity of antibiotic resistance in S. epidermidis.

IMPORTANCE: A comprehensive understanding of the antibiotic resistance gene (ARG) profiles of the skin commensal bacterium and opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus epidermidis needs to be documented from a genomic point of view. Our study encompasses a comparative analysis of entire S. epidermidis genomes from various habitats, including those of 35 environmental isolates from the Han River sequenced in this study. Our results shed light on the distribution and diversity of ARGs within different S. epidermidis multi-locus sequence types, providing valuable insights into the ecological and genetic factors associated with antibiotic resistance. A comparison between S. epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus revealed marked differences in ARG and virulence factor profiles, despite their overlapping ecological niches.

RevDate: 2024-05-10

Yang Z, Chai Z, Wang X, et al (2024)

Comparative genomic analysis provides insights into the genetic diversity and pathogenicity of the genus Brucella.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1389859.

Some Brucella spp. are important pathogens. According to the latest prokaryotic taxonomy, the Brucella genus consists of facultative intracellular parasitic Brucella species and extracellular opportunistic or environmental Brucella species. Intracellular Brucella species include classical and nonclassical types, with different species generally exhibiting host preferences. Some classical intracellular Brucella species can cause zoonotic brucellosis, including B. melitensis, B. abortus, B. suis, and B. canis. Extracellular Brucella species comprise opportunistic or environmental species which belonged formerly to the genus Ochrobactrum and thus nowadays renamed as for example Brucella intermedia or Brucella anthropi, which are the most frequent opportunistic human pathogens within the recently expanded genus Brucella. The cause of the diverse phenotypic characteristics of different Brucella species is still unclear. To further investigate the genetic evolutionary characteristics of the Brucella genus and elucidate the relationship between its genomic composition and prediction of phenotypic traits, we collected the genomic data of Brucella from the NCBI Genome database and conducted a comparative genomics study. We found that classical and nonclassical intracellular Brucella species and extracellular Brucella species exhibited differences in phylogenetic relationships, horizontal gene transfer and distribution patterns of mobile genetic elements, virulence factor genes, and antibiotic resistance genes, showing the close relationship between the genetic variations and prediction of phenotypic traits of different Brucella species. Furthermore, we found significant differences in horizontal gene transfer and the distribution patterns of mobile genetic elements, virulence factor genes, and antibiotic resistance genes between the two chromosomes of Brucella, indicating that the two chromosomes had distinct dynamics and plasticity and played different roles in the survival and evolution of Brucella. These findings provide new directions for exploring the genetic evolutionary characteristics of the Brucella genus and could offer new clues to elucidate the factors influencing the phenotypic diversity of the Brucella genus.

RevDate: 2024-05-08
CmpDate: 2024-05-08

Nair S, Barker CR, Bird M, et al (2024)

Presence of phage-plasmids in multiple serovars of Salmonella enterica.

Microbial genomics, 10(5):.

Evidence is accumulating in the literature that the horizontal spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes mediated by bacteriophages and bacteriophage-like plasmid (phage-plasmid) elements is much more common than previously envisioned. For instance, we recently identified and characterized a circular P1-like phage-plasmid harbouring a bla CTX-M-15 gene conferring extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) resistance in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. As the prevalence and epidemiological relevance of such mechanisms has never been systematically assessed in Enterobacterales, in this study we carried out a follow-up retrospective analysis of UK Salmonella isolates previously sequenced as part of routine surveillance protocols between 2016 and 2021. Using a high-throughput bioinformatics pipeline we screened 47 784 isolates for the presence of the P1 lytic replication gene repL, identifying 226 positive isolates from 25 serovars and demonstrating that phage-plasmid elements are more frequent than previously thought. The affinity for phage-plasmids appears highly serovar-dependent, with several serovars being more likely hosts than others; most of the positive isolates (170/226) belonged to S. Typhimurium ST34 and ST19. The phage-plasmids ranged between 85.8 and 98.2 kb in size, with an average length of 92.1 kb; detailed analysis indicated a high amount of diversity in gene content and genomic architecture. In total, 132 phage-plasmids had the p0111 plasmid replication type, and 94 the IncY type; phylogenetic analysis indicated that both horizontal and vertical gene transmission mechanisms are likely to be involved in phage-plasmid propagation. Finally, phage-plasmids were present in isolates that were resistant and non-resistant to antimicrobials. In addition to providing a first comprehensive view of the presence of phage-plasmids in Salmonella, our work highlights the need for a better surveillance and understanding of phage-plasmids as AMR carriers, especially through their characterization with long-read sequencing.

RevDate: 2024-05-08

Zhang Y, Wang J, J Yu (2024)

PSA: an effective method for predicting horizontal gene transfers through parsimonious phylogenetic networks.

Cladistics : the international journal of the Willi Hennig Society [Epub ahead of print].

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from one organism to another, according to some researchers, can be abundant in the evolution of species. A phylogenetic network is a network structure that describes the HGTs among species. Several studies have proposed methods to construct phylogenetic networks to predict HGTs based on parsimony values. Existing definitions of parsimony values for a phylogenetic network are based on the assumption that each gene site or segment evolves independently along different trees in the network. However, in the current study, we define a novel parsimony value, denoted the p definition, for phylogenetic networks, considering that a gene as a whole typically evolves along a tree. Using Simulated Annealing, a new method called the Phylogeny with Simulated Annealing (PSA) algorithm is proposed to search for an optimal network based on the p definition. The PSA method is tested on the simulated data. The results reveal that the parsimonious networks constructed using PSA can better represent the evolutionary relationships of species involving HGTs. Additionally, the HGTs predicted using PSA are more accurate than those predicted using other methods. The PSA algorithm is publicly accessible at http://github.com/imustu/sap.

RevDate: 2024-05-09
CmpDate: 2024-05-08

Cheewapat R, Redkimned J, Lekuthai S, et al (2024)

Genomic Landscape Reveals Chromosomally-Mediated Antimicrobial Resistome and Virulome of a High-Risk International Clone II Acinetobacter baumannii AB073 from Thailand.

Global health, epidemiology and genomics, 2024:8872463.

This study utilized integrative bioinformatics' tools together with phenotypic assays to understand the whole-genome features of a carbapenem-resistant international clone II Acinetobacter baumannii AB073. Overall, we found the isolate to be resistant to seven antibiotic classes, penicillins, β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor combinations, cephalosporins, carbapenems, aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, and folate pathway antagonists. These resistance phenotypes are related to various chromosomal-located antibiotic resistance determinants involved in different mechanisms such as reduced permeability, antibiotic target protection, antibiotic target alteration, antibiotic inactivation, and antibiotic efflux. IC2 A. baumannii AB073 could not transfer antibiotic resistance by conjugation experiments. Likewise, mobilome analysis found that AB073 did not carry genetic determinants involving horizontal gene transfer. Moreover, this isolate also carried multiple genes associated with the ability of iron uptake, biofilm formation, immune invasion, virulence regulations, and serum resistance. In addition, the genomic epidemiological study showed that AB073-like strains were successful pathogens widespread in various geographic locations and clinical sources. In conclusion, the comprehensive analysis demonstrated that AB073 contained multiple genomic determinants which were important characteristics to classify this isolate as a successful international clone II obtained from Thailand.

RevDate: 2024-05-07

Wang S, Tian R, Bi Y, et al (2024)

A review of distribution and functions of extracellular DNA in the environment and wastewater treatment systems.

Chemosphere pii:S0045-6535(24)01157-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Extracellular DNA referred to DNA fragments existing outside the cell, originating from various cell release mechanisms, including active secretion, cell lysis, and phage-mediated processes. Extracellular DNA serves as a vital environmental biomarker, playing crucial ecological and environmental roles in water bodies. This review is summarized the mechanisms of extracellular DNA release, including pathways involving cell lysis, extracellular vesicles, and type IV secretion systems. Then, the extraction and detection methods of extracellular DNA from water, soil, and biofilm are described and analyzed. Finally, we emphasize the role of extracellular DNA in microbial community systems, including its significant contributions to biofilm formation, biodiversity through horizontal gene transfer (HGT), and electron transfer processes. This review offers a comprehensive insight into the sources, distribution, functions, and impacts of extracellular DNA within aquatic environments, aiming to foster further exploration and understanding of extracellular DNA dynamics in aquatic environments as well as other environments.

RevDate: 2024-05-07

Wang YL, Ikuma K, Brown AMV, et al (2024)

Global survey of hgcA-carrying genomes in marine and freshwater sediments: Insights into mercury methylation processes.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987) pii:S0269-7491(24)00831-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Mercury (Hg) methylation is a microbially mediated process that produces methylmercury (MeHg), a bioaccumulative neurotoxin. A highly conserved gene pair, hgcAB, is required for Hg methylation, which provides a basis for identifying Hg methylators and evaluating their genomic composition. In this study, we conducted a large-scale omics analysis in which 281 metagenomic freshwater and marine sediment samples from 46 geographic locations across the globe were queried. Specific objectives were to examine the prevalence of Hg methylators, to identify horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events involving hgcAB within Hg methylator communities, and to identify associations between hgcAB and microbial biochemical functions/genes. Hg methylators from the phyla Desulfobacterota and Bacteroidota were dominant in both freshwater and marine sediments while Firmicutes and methanogens belonging to Euryarchaeota were identified only in freshwater sediments. Novel Hg methylators were found in the Phycisphaerae and Planctomycetia classes within the phylum Planctomycetota, including potential hgcA-carrying anammox metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) from Candidatus Brocadiia. HGT of hgcA and hgcB were identified in both freshwater and marine methylator communities. Spearman's correlation analysis of methylator genomes suggested that in addition to sulfide, thiosulfate, sulfite, and ammonia may be important parameters for Hg methylation processes in sediments. Overall, our results indicated that the biochemical drivers of Hg methylation vary between marine and freshwater sites, lending insight into the influence of environmental perturbances, such as a changing climate, on Hg methylation processes.

RevDate: 2024-05-08

Fidopiastis PM, Childs C, Esin JJ, et al (2024)

Corrected and republished from: "Vibrio fischeri Possesses Xds and Dns Nucleases That Differentially Influence Phosphate Scavenging, Aggregation, Competence, and Symbiotic Colonization of Squid".

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Cells of Vibrio fischeri colonize the light organ of Euprymna scolopes, providing the squid bioluminescence in exchange for nutrients and protection. The bacteria encounter DNA-rich mucus throughout their transition to a symbiotic lifestyle, leading us to hypothesize a role for nuclease activity in the colonization process. In support of this, we detected abundant extracellular nuclease activity in growing cells of V. fischeri. To discover the gene(s) responsible for this activity, we screened a V. fischeri transposon mutant library for nuclease-deficient strains. Interestingly, only one strain, whose transposon insertion mapped to nuclease gene VF_1451, showed a complete loss of nuclease activity in our screens. A database search revealed that VF_1451 is homologous to the nuclease-encoding gene xds in Vibrio cholerae. However, V. fischeri strains lacking xds eventually revealed slight nuclease activity on plates upon prolonged incubation. This led us to hypothesize that a second secreted nuclease, identified through a database search as VF_0437, a homolog of V. cholerae dns, might be responsible for the residual nuclease activity. Here, we show that Xds and/or Dns are involved in essential aspects of V. fischeri biology, including natural transformation, aggregation, and phosphate scavenging. Furthermore, strains lacking either nuclease were outcompeted by the wild type for squid colonization. Understanding the specific role of nuclease activity in the squid colonization process represents an intriguing area of future research.IMPORTANCEFrom soil and water to host-associated secretions such as mucus, environments that bacteria inhabit are awash in DNA. Extracellular DNA (eDNA) is a nutritious resource that microbes dedicate significant energy to exploit. Calcium binds eDNA to promote cell-cell aggregation and horizontal gene transfer. eDNA hydrolysis impacts the construction of and dispersal from biofilms. Strategies in which pathogens use nucleases to avoid phagocytosis or disseminate by degrading host secretions are well-documented; significantly less is known about nucleases in mutualistic associations. This study describes the role of nucleases in the mutualism between Vibrio fischeri and its squid host Euprymna scolopes. We find that nuclease activity is an important determinant of colonization in V. fischeri, broadening our understanding of how microbes establish and maintain beneficial associations.

RevDate: 2024-05-07

Muelbaier H, Arthen F, Collins G, et al (2024)

Genomic evidence for the widespread presence of GH45 cellulases among soil invertebrates.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Lignocellulose is a major component of vascular plant biomass. Its decomposition is crucial for the terrestrial carbon cycle. Microorganisms are considered primary decomposers, but evidence increases that some invertebrates may also decompose lignocellulose. We investigated the taxonomic distribution and evolutionary origins of GH45 hydrolases, important enzymes for the decomposition of cellulose and hemicellulose, in a collection of soil invertebrate genomes. We found that these genes are common in springtails and oribatid mites. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that cellulase genes were acquired early in the evolutionary history of these groups. Domain architectures and predicted 3D enzyme structures indicate that these cellulases are functional. Patterns of presence and absence of these genes across different lineages prompt further investigation into their evolutionary and ecological benefits. The ubiquity of cellulase genes suggests that soil invertebrates may play a role in lignocellulose decomposition, independently or in synergy with microorganisms. Understanding the ecological and evolutionary implications might be crucial for understanding soil food webs and the carbon cycle.

RevDate: 2024-05-07

Buck CB, Welch N, Belford AK, et al (2024)

Widespread Horizontal Gene Transfer Among Animal Viruses.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.03.25.586562.

The initial objective of this study was to shed light on the evolution of small DNA tumor viruses by analyzing de novo assemblies of publicly available deep sequencing datasets. The survey generated a searchable database of contig snapshots representing more than 100,000 Sequence Read Archive records. Using modern structure-aware search tools, we iteratively broadened the search to include an increasingly wide range of other virus families. The analysis revealed a surprisingly diverse range of chimeras involving different virus groups. In some instances, genes resembling known DNA-replication modules or known virion protein operons were paired with unrecognizable sequences that structural predictions suggest may represent previously unknown replicases and novel virion architectures. Discrete clades of an emerging group called adintoviruses were discovered in datasets representing humans and other primates. As a proof of concept, we show that the contig database is also useful for discovering RNA viruses and candidate archaeal phages. The ancillary searches revealed additional examples of chimerization between different virus groups. The observations support a gene-centric taxonomic framework that should be useful for future virus-hunting efforts.

RevDate: 2024-05-06

Zuo Y, Yang J, Zhang H, et al (2024)

Genome comparison of long-circulating field CnmeGV isolates from the same region.

Virus research pii:S0168-1702(24)00083-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Cnaphalocrocis medinalis granulovirus (CnmeGV), belonging to Betabaculovirus cnamedinalis, can infect the rice pest, the rice leaf roller. In 1979, a CnmeGV isolate, CnmeGV-EP, was collected from Enping County, China. In 2014, we collected another CnmeGV isolate, CnmeGV-EPDH3, at the same location and obtained the complete virus genome sequence using Illumina and ONT sequencing technologies. By combining these two virus isolates, we updated the genome annotation of CnmeGV and conducted an in-depth analysis of its genome features. CnmeGV genome contains abundant tandem repeat sequences, and the repeating units in the homologous regions (hrs) exhibit overlapping and nested patterns. The genetic variations within EPDH3 population show the high stability of CnmeGV genome, and tandem repeats are the only region of high genetic variation in CnmeGV genome replication. Some defective viral genomes formed by recombination were found within the population. Comparison analysis of the two virus isolates collected from Enping showed that the proteins encoded by the CnmeGV-specific genes were less conserved relative to the baculovirus core genes. At the genomic level, there are a large number of SNPs and InDels between the two virus isolates, especially in and around the bro genes and hrs. Additionally, we discovered that CnmeGV acquired a segment of non-ORF sequence from its host, which does not provide any new proteins but rather serves as redundant genetic material integrated into the viral genome. Furthermore, we observed that the host's transposon piggyBac has inserted into some virus genes. Together, dsDNA viruses could acquire non-coding genetic material from their hosts to expand the size of their genomes. These findings provide new insights into the evolution of dsDNA viruses.

RevDate: 2024-05-06

Zhao F, J Wang (2024)

Another piece of the puzzle for the human microbiome: the gut virome under dietary modulation.

Journal of genetics and genomics = Yi chuan xue bao pii:S1673-8527(24)00098-5 [Epub ahead of print].

The virome is the most abundant and highly variable microbial consortium in the gut. Because of difficulties in isolating and culturing gut viruses and consequently shorting of reference genomes, the virome has remained a relatively elusive aspect of the human microbiome. In recent years, studies on the virome have accumulated growing evidence showing that the virome is diet-modulated and widely involved in regulating health. Here, we review the responses of the gut virome to dietary intake and the potential health implications, presenting changes in the gut viral community, preferences of viral members to particular diets. We further discuss how viral-bacterial interactions and phage lifestyle shifts shape the gut microbiota. We also discuss the specific functions conferred by diet on the gut virome and bacterial community in the context of horizontal gene transfer, as well as the import of new viral members along with the diet. Collating these studies will expand our understanding of the dietary regulation of the gut virome and inspire dietary interventions and health maintenance strategies targeting the gut microbiota.

RevDate: 2024-05-07

Cochran JP, Zhang L, Parrott BB, et al (2024)

Plasmid size determines adsorption to clay and breakthrough in a saturated sand column.

Heliyon, 10(9):e29679.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a major factor in the spread of antibiotic resistant genes (ARG). Transformation, one mode of HGT, involves the acquisition and expression of extracellular DNA (eDNA). eDNA in soils is degraded rapidly by extracellular nucleases. However, if bound to a clay particle, eDNA can persist for long periods of time without losing its transformation ability. To better understand the mechanism of eDNA persistence in soil, this experiment assessed the effects of 1) clay mineralogy, 2) mixed salt solution, 3) plasmid size on DNA adsorption to clay and 4) breakthrough behavior of three differently sized plasmids in an environmentally relevant solution. Batch test methods were used to determine adsorption trends of three differently sized DNA plasmids, pUC19, pBR322, and pTYB21, to several pure clay minerals, goethite (α-FeOOH), illite, and kaolinite, and one environmental soil sample. Results show not all sorbents have equal adsorption capacity based on surface area with adsorption capacities decreasing from goethite > illite = kaolinite > bulk soil, and low ionic strength solutions will likely not significantly alter sorption trends. Additionally, plasmid DNA size (i.e., length) was shown to be a significant predictor of adsorption efficiency and that size affects DNA breakthrough, with breakthroughs occurring later with larger plasmids. Given that DNA persistence is linked to its adsorption to soil constituents and breakthrough, eDNA size is likely an important contributor to the spread of ARG within natural microbial communities.

RevDate: 2024-05-07
CmpDate: 2024-05-07

Wilson CG, Pieszko T, Nowell RW, et al (2024)

Recombination in bdelloid rotifer genomes: asexuality, transfer and stress.

Trends in genetics : TIG, 40(5):422-436.

Bdelloid rotifers constitute a class of microscopic animals living in freshwater habitats worldwide. Several strange features of bdelloids have drawn attention: their ability to tolerate desiccation and other stresses, a lack of reported males across the clade despite centuries of study, and unusually high numbers of horizontally acquired, non-metazoan genes. Genome sequencing is transforming our understanding of their lifestyle and its consequences, while in turn providing wider insights about recombination and genome organisation in animals. Many questions remain, not least how to reconcile apparent genomic signatures of sex with the continued absence of reported males, why bdelloids have so many horizontally acquired genes, and how their remarkable ability to survive stress interacts with recombination and other genomic processes.

RevDate: 2024-05-05
CmpDate: 2024-05-05

Bui QTN, Kim HS, JS Ki (2024)

Polyphyletic origin of saxitoxin biosynthesis genes in the marine dinoflagellate Alexandrium revealed by comparative transcriptomics.

Harmful algae, 134:102620.

The marine dinoflagellate Alexandrium is known to form harmful algal blooms, and at least 14 species within the genus can produce saxitoxins (STXs). STX biosynthesis genes (sxt) are individually revealed in toxic dinoflagellates; however, the evolutionary history remains controversial. Herein, we determined the transcriptome sequences of toxic Alexandrium (A. catenella and A. pacificum) and non-toxic Alexandrium (A. fraterculus and A. fragae) and characterized their sxt by focusing on evolutionary events and STX production. Comparative transcriptome analysis revealed higher homology of the sxt in toxic Alexandrium than in non-toxic species. Notably, non-toxic Alexandrium spp. were found to have lost two sxt core genes, namely sxtA4 and sxtG. Expression levels of 28 transcripts related to eight sxt core genes showed that sxtA, sxtG, and sxtI were relatively high (>1.5) in the toxic group compared to the non-toxic group. In contrast, the non-toxic group showed high expression levels in sxtU (1.9) and sxtD (1.7). Phylogenetic tree comparisons revealed distinct evolutionary patterns between 28S rDNA and sxtA, sxtB, sxtI, sxtD, and sxtU. However, similar topology was observed between 28S rDNA, sxtS, and sxtH/T. In the sxtB and sxtI phylogeny trees, toxic Alexandrium and cyanobacteria were clustered together, separating from non-toxic species. These suggest that Alexandrium may acquire sxt genes independently via horizontal gene transfer from toxic cyanobacteria and other multiple sources, demonstrating monocistronic transcripts of sxt in dinoflagellates.

RevDate: 2024-05-05

Xu Q, Ali S, Afzal M, et al (2024)

Advancements in bacterial chemotaxis: Utilizing the navigational intelligence of bacteria and its practical applications.

The Science of the total environment pii:S0048-9697(24)03114-0 [Epub ahead of print].

The fascinating world of microscopic life unveils a captivating spectacle as bacteria effortlessly maneuver through their surroundings with astonishing accuracy, guided by the intricate mechanism of chemotaxis. This review explores the complex mechanisms behind this behavior, analyzing the flagellum as the driving force and unraveling the intricate signaling pathways that govern its movement. We delve into the hidden costs and benefits of this intricate skill, analyzing its potential to propagate antibiotic resistance gene while shedding light on its vital role in plant colonization and beneficial symbiosis. We explore the realm of human intervention, considering strategies to manipulate bacterial chemotaxis for various applications, including nutrient cycling, algal bloom and biofilm formation. This review explores the wide range of applications for bacterial capabilities, from targeted drug delivery in medicine to bioremediation and disease control in the environment. Ultimately, through unraveling the intricacies of bacterial movement, we can enhance our comprehension of the intricate web of life on our planet. This knowledge opens up avenues for progress in fields such as medicine, agriculture, and environmental conservation.

RevDate: 2024-05-04
CmpDate: 2024-05-04

Kobakhidze S, Koulouris S, Kakabadze N, et al (2024)

Genetic recombination-mediated evolutionary interactions between phages of potential industrial importance and prophages of their hosts within or across the domains of Escherichia, Listeria, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Staphylococcus.

BMC microbiology, 24(1):155.

BACKGROUND: The in-depth understanding of the role of lateral genetic transfer (LGT) in phage-prophage interactions is essential to rationalizing phage applications for human and animal therapy, as well as for food and environmental safety. This in silico study aimed to detect LGT between phages of potential industrial importance and their hosts.

METHODS: A large array of genetic recombination detection algorithms, implemented in SplitsTree and RDP4, was applied to detect LGT between various Escherichia, Listeria, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, and Vibrio phages and their hosts. PHASTER and RAST were employed respectively to identify prophages across the host genome and to annotate LGT-affected genes with unknown functions. PhageAI was used to gain deeper insights into the life cycle history of recombined phages.

RESULTS: The split decomposition inferences (bootstrap values: 91.3-100; fit: 91.433-100), coupled with the Phi (0.0-2.836E-12) and RDP4 (P being well below 0.05) statistics, provided strong evidence for LGT between certain Escherichia, Listeria, Salmonella, and Campylobacter virulent phages and prophages of their hosts. The LGT events entailed mainly the phage genes encoding for hypothetical proteins, while some of these genetic loci appeared to have been affected even by intergeneric recombination in specific E. coli and S. enterica virulent phages when interacting with their host prophages. Moreover, it is shown that certain L. monocytogenes virulent phages could serve at least as the donors of the gene loci, involved in encoding for the basal promoter specificity factor, for L. monocytogenes. In contrast, the large genetic clusters were determined to have been simultaneously exchanged by many S. aureus prophages and some Staphylococcus temperate phages proposed earlier as potential therapeutic candidates (in their native or modified state). The above genetic clusters were found to encompass multiple genes encoding for various proteins, such as e.g., phage tail proteins, the capsid and scaffold proteins, holins, and transcriptional terminator proteins.

CONCLUSIONS: It is suggested that phage-prophage interactions, mediated by LGT (including intergeneric recombination), can have a far-reaching impact on the co-evolutionary trajectories of industrial phages and their hosts especially when excessively present across microbially rich environments.

RevDate: 2024-05-04

Lv B, Jiang C, Han Y, et al (2024)

Diverse bacterial hosts and potential risk of antibiotic resistomes in ship ballast water revealed by metagenomic binning.

Environmental research pii:S0013-9351(24)00960-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Ship ballast water promoting the long-range migration of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) has raised a great concern. This study attempted to reveal ARGs profile in ballast water and decipher their hosts and potential risk using metagenomic approaches. In total, 710 subtypes across 26 ARG types were identified among the ballast water samples from 13 ships of 11 countries and regions, and multidrug resistance genes were the most dominant ARGs. The composition of ARGs were obviously different across samples, and only 5% of the ARG subtypes were shared by all samples. Procrustes analysis showed the bacterial community contributed more than the mobile genetic elements (MGEs) in shaping the antibiotic resistome. Further, 79 metagenome-assembled genomes (46 genera belong to four phyla) were identified as ARG hosts, with predominantly affiliated with the Proteobacteria. Notably, potential human pathogens (Alcaligenes, Mycolicibacterium, Rhodococcus and Pseudomonas) were also recognized as the ARG hosts. Above 30% of the ARGs hosts contained the MGEs simultaneously, supporting a pronounced horizontal gene transfer capability. A total of 43 subtypes (six percent of overall ARGs) of ARGs were assessed with high-risk, of which 23 subtypes belonged to risk Rank I (including rsmA, ugd, etc.) and 20 subtypes to the risk Rank II (including aac(6)-I, sul1, etc.). In addition, antibiotic resistance risk index indicated the risk of ARGs in ballast water from choke points of maritime trade routes was significantly higher than that from other regions. Overall, this study offers insights for risk evaluation and management of antibiotic resistance in ballast water.

RevDate: 2024-05-03

Zhang Y, Ji Y, Tang X, et al (2024)

Spread of plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes in soil-lettuce-snail food chain.

Environmental science and pollution research international [Epub ahead of print].

Fertilization can change the composition of antibiotic resistance genes(ARGs) and their host bacteria in agricultural fields, while complex microbial activities help ARGs into crops and transmit them to humans through agricultural products.Therefore, this study constructed a farmland food chain with soil-lettuce-snail as a typical structure, added genetically engineered Pseudomonas fluorescens containing multidrug-resistant plasmid RP4 to track its spread in the farmland food chain, and used different fertilization methods to explore its influence on the spread and diffusion of ARGs and intl1 in the farmland food chain. It was found that exogenous Pseudomonas can enter plants from soil and pass into snails' intestines, and there is horizontal gene transfer phenomenon of RP4 plasmid in bacteria. At different interfaces of the constructed food chain, the addition of exogenous drug-resistant bacteria had different effects on the total abundance of ARGs and intl1. Fertilization, especially manure, not only promoted the spread of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the transfer of RP4 plasmid levels, but also significantly increased the total abundance of ARGs and intl1 at all interfaces of the constructed food chain. The main ARGs host bacteria in the constructed food chain include Proteobacteria, Bacteroides, and Firmicutes, while Flavobacterium of Bacteroides is the unique potential host bacteria of RP4 plasmid. In conclusion, this study provides a reference for the risk assessment of ARGs transmitted to the human body through the food chain, and has important practical significance to reduce the antibiotic resistance contamination of agricultural products and ensure the safety of vegetable basket.

RevDate: 2024-05-05
CmpDate: 2024-05-02

Da Silva Morais E, Grimaud GM, Warda A, et al (2024)

Genome plasticity shapes the ecology and evolution of Phocaeicola dorei and Phocaeicola vulgatus.

Scientific reports, 14(1):10109.

Phocaeicola dorei and Phocaeicola vulgatus are very common and abundant members of the human gut microbiome and play an important role in the infant gut microbiome. These species are closely related and often confused for one another; yet, their genome comparison, interspecific diversity, and evolutionary relationships have not been studied in detail so far. Here, we perform phylogenetic analysis and comparative genomic analyses of these two Phocaeicola species. We report that P. dorei has a larger genome yet a smaller pan-genome than P. vulgatus. We found that this is likely because P. vulgatus is more plastic than P. dorei, with a larger repertoire of genetic mobile elements and fewer anti-phage defense systems. We also found that P. dorei directly descends from a clade of P. vulgatus¸ and experienced genome expansion through genetic drift and horizontal gene transfer. Overall, P. dorei and P. vulgatus have very different functional and carbohydrate utilisation profiles, hinting at different ecological strategies, yet they present similar antimicrobial resistance profiles.

RevDate: 2024-05-04
CmpDate: 2024-05-02

Aldaihani R, LS Heath (2024)

Investigating the nature of prokaryotic genomic island locations within a genome.

PloS one, 19(5):e0301172.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a powerful evolutionary force that considerably shapes the structure of prokaryotic genomes and is associated with genomic islands (GIs). A GI is a DNA segment composed of transferred genes that can be found within a prokaryotic genome, obtained through HGT. Much research has focused on detecting GIs in genomes, but here we pursue a new course, which is identifying possible preferred locations of GIs in the prokaryotic genome. Here, we identify the locations of the GIs within prokaryotic genomes to examine patterns in those locations. Prokaryotic GIs were analyzed according to the genome structure that they are located in, whether it be a circular or a linear genome. The analytical investigations employed are: (1) studying the GI locations in relation to the origin of replication (oriC); (2) exploring the distances between GIs; and (3) determining the distribution of GIs across the genomes. For each of the investigations, the analysis was performed on all of the GIs in the data set. Moreover, to void bias caused by the distribution of the genomes represented, the GIs in one genome from each species and the GIs of the most frequent species are also analyzed. Overall, the results showed that there are preferred sites for the GIs in the genome. In the linear genomes, these sites are usually located in the oriC region and terminus region, while in the circular genomes, they are located solely in the terminus region. These results also showed that the distance distribution between the GIs is almost exponential, which proves that GIs have preferred sites within genomes. The oriC and termniuns are preferred sites for the GIs and a possible natural explanation for this could be connected to the content of the oriC region. Moreover, the content of the GIs in terms of its protein families was studied and the results demonstrated that the majority of frequent protein families are close to identical in each section.

RevDate: 2024-05-02

Fang L, Li M, Zhang J, et al (2024)

Chromosome-level genome assembly of Pedicularis kansuensis illuminates genome evolution of facultative parasitic plant.

Molecular ecology resources [Epub ahead of print].

Parasitic plants have a heterotrophic lifestyle, in which they withdraw all or part of their nutrients from their host through the haustorium. Despite the release of many draft genomes of parasitic plants, the genome evolution related to the parasitism feature of facultative parasites remains largely unknown. In this study, we present a high-quality chromosomal-level genome assembly for the facultative parasite Pedicularis kansuensis (Orobanchaceae), which invades both legume and grass host species in degraded grasslands on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. This species has the largest genome size compared with other parasitic species, and expansions of long terminal repeat retrotransposons accounting for 62.37% of the assembly greatly contributed to the genome size expansion of this species. A total of 42,782 genes were annotated, and the patterns of gene loss in P. kansuensis differed from other parasitic species. We also found many mobile mRNAs between P. kansuensis and one of its host species, but these mobile mRNAs could not compensate for the functional losses of missing genes in P. kansuensis. In addition, we identified nine horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events from rosids and monocots, as well as one single-gene duplication events from HGT genes, which differ distinctly from that of other parasitic species. Furthermore, we found evidence for HGT through transferring genomic fragments from phylogenetically remote host species. Taken together, these findings provide genomic insights into the evolution of facultative parasites and broaden our understanding of the diversified genome evolution in parasitic plants and the molecular mechanisms of plant parasitism.

RevDate: 2024-05-02

Wang X-Q, Du K, Chen C, et al (2024)

Profiling the interplay and coevolution of Microcystis aeruginosa and cyanosiphophage Mic1.

Microbiology spectrum [Epub ahead of print].

UNLABELLED: The cyanosiphophage Mic1 specifically infects the bloom-forming Microcystis aeruginosa FACHB 1339 from Lake Chaohu, China. Previous genomic analysis showed that its 92,627 bp double-stranded DNA genome consists of 98 putative open reading frames, 63% of which are of unknown function. Here, we investigated the transcriptome dynamics of Mic1 and its host using RNA sequencing. In the early, middle, and late phases of the 10 h lytic cycle, the Mic1 genes are sequentially expressed and could be further temporally grouped into two distinct clusters in each phase. Notably, six early genes, including gp49 that encodes a TnpB-like transposase, immediately reach the highest transcriptional level in half an hour, representing a pioneer cluster that rapidly regulates and redirects host metabolism toward the phage. An in-depth analysis of the host transcriptomic profile in response to Mic1 infection revealed significant upregulation of a polyketide synthase pathway and a type III-B CRISPR system, accompanied by moderate downregulation of the photosynthesis and key metabolism pathways. The constant increase of phage transcripts and relatively low replacement rate over the host transcripts indicated that Mic1 utilizes a unique strategy to gradually take over a small portion of host metabolism pathways after infection. In addition, genomic analysis of a less-infective Mic1 and a Mic1-resistant host strain further confirmed their dynamic interplay and coevolution via the frequent horizontal gene transfer. These findings provide insights into the mutual benefit and symbiosis of the highly polymorphic cyanobacteria M. aeruginosa and cyanophages.

IMPORTANCE: The highly polymorphic Microcystis aeruginosa is one of the predominant bloom-forming cyanobacteria in eutrophic freshwater bodies and is infected by diverse and abundant cyanophages. The presence of a large number of defense systems in M. aeruginosa genome suggests a dynamic interplay and coevolution with the cyanophages. In this study, we investigated the temporal gene expression pattern of Mic1 after infection and the corresponding transcriptional responses of its host. Moreover, the identification of a less-infective Mic1 and a Mic1-resistant host strain provided the evolved genes in the phage-host coevolution during the multiple-generation cultivation in the laboratory. Our findings enrich the knowledge on the interplay and coevolution of M. aeruginosa and its cyanophages and lay the foundation for the future application of cyanophage as a potential eco-friendly and bio-safe agent in controlling the succession of harmful cyanobacterial blooms.

RevDate: 2024-05-02
CmpDate: 2024-05-02

Van Etten J, Stephens TG, Chille E, et al (2024)

Diverse fates of ancient horizontal gene transfers in extremophilic red algae.

Environmental microbiology, 26(5):e16629.

Horizontal genetic transfer (HGT) is a common phenomenon in eukaryotic genomes. However, the mechanisms by which HGT-derived genes persist and integrate into other pathways remain unclear. This topic is of significant interest because, over time, the stressors that initially favoured the fixation of HGT may diminish or disappear. Despite this, the foreign genes may continue to exist if they become part of a broader stress response or other pathways. The conventional model suggests that the acquisition of HGT equates to adaptation. However, this model may evolve into more complex interactions between gene products, a concept we refer to as the 'Integrated HGT Model' (IHM). To explore this concept further, we studied specialized HGT-derived genes that encode heavy metal detoxification functions. The recruitment of these genes into other pathways could provide clear examples of IHM. In our study, we exposed two anciently diverged species of polyextremophilic red algae from the Galdieria genus to arsenic and mercury stress in laboratory cultures. We then analysed the transcriptome data using differential and coexpression analysis. Our findings revealed that mercury detoxification follows a 'one gene-one function' model, resulting in an indivisible response. In contrast, the arsH gene in the arsenite response pathway demonstrated a complex pattern of duplication, divergence and potential neofunctionalization, consistent with the IHM. Our research sheds light on the fate and integration of ancient HGTs, providing a novel perspective on the ecology of extremophiles.

RevDate: 2024-05-02

Zhang Y, Xue G, Wang F, et al (2024)

The impact of antibiotic exposure on antibiotic resistance gene dynamics in the gut microbiota of inflammatory bowel disease patients.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1382332.

BACKGROUND: While antibiotics are commonly used to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), their widespread application can disturb the gut microbiota and foster the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance. However, the dynamic changes to the human gut microbiota and direction of resistance gene transmission under antibiotic effects have not been clearly elucidated.

METHODS: Based on the Human Microbiome Project, a total of 90 fecal samples were collected from 30 IBD patients before, during and after antibiotic treatment. Through the analysis workflow of metagenomics, we described the dynamic process of changes in bacterial communities and resistance genes pre-treatment, during and post-treatment. We explored potential consistent relationships between gut microbiota and resistance genes, and established gene transmission networks among species before and after antibiotic use.

RESULTS: Exposure to antibiotics can induce alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota in IBD patients, particularly a reduction in probiotics, which gradually recovers to a new steady state after cessation of antibiotics. Network analyses revealed intra-phylum transfers of resistance genes, predominantly between taxonomically close organisms. Specific resistance genes showed increased prevalence and inter-species mobility after antibiotic cessation.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that antibiotics shape the gut resistome through selective enrichment and promotion of horizontal gene transfer. The findings provide insights into ecological processes governing resistance gene dynamics and dissemination upon antibiotic perturbation of the microbiota. Optimizing antibiotic usage may help limit unintended consequences like increased resistance in gut bacteria during IBD management.

RevDate: 2024-05-02

Reem A, Almansoob S, Senan AM, et al (2024)

Pseudomonas aeruginosa and related antibiotic resistance genes as indicators for wastewater treatment.

Heliyon, 10(9):e29798 pii:S2405-8440(24)05829-8.

This review aims to examine the existence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) and their antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in aquatic settings and the alternative treatment ways. P. aeruginosa in a various aquatic environment have been identified as contaminants with impacts on human health and the environment. P. aeruginosa resistance to multiple antibiotics, such as sulfamethoxazole, ciprofloxacin, quinolone, trimethoprim, tetracycline, vancomycin, as well as specific antibiotic resistance genes including sul1, qnrs, blaVIM, blaTEM, blaCTX, blaAIM-1, tetA, ampC, blaVIM. The development of resistance can occur naturally, through mutations, or via horizontal gene transfer facilitated by sterilizing agents. In addition, an overview of the current knowledge on inactivation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and ARG and the mechanisms of action of various disinfection processes in water and wastewater (UV chlorine processes, catalytic oxidation, Fenton reaction, and ozonation) is given. An overview of the effects of nanotechnology and the resulting wetlands is also given.

RevDate: 2024-05-02

Filgueiras JPC, Zámocký M, AC Turchetto-Zolet (2024)

Unraveling the evolutionary origin of the P5CS gene: a story of gene fusion and horizontal transfer.

Frontiers in molecular biosciences, 11:1341684 pii:1341684.

The accumulation of proline in response to the most diverse types of stress is a widespread defense mechanism. In prokaryotes, fungi, and certain unicellular eukaryotes (green algae), the first two reactions of proline biosynthesis occur through two distinct enzymes, γ-glutamyl kinase (GK E.C. and γ-glutamyl phosphate reductase (GPR E.C., encoded by two different genes, ProB and ProA, respectively. Plants, animals, and a few unicellular eukaryotes carry out these reactions through a single bifunctional enzyme, the Δ[1]-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthase (P5CS), which has the GK and GPR domains fused. To better understand the origin and diversification of the P5CS gene, we use a robust phylogenetic approach with a broad sampling of the P5CS, ProB and ProA genes, including species from all three domains of life. Our results suggest that the collected P5CS genes have arisen from a single fusion event between the ProA and ProB gene paralogs. A peculiar fusion event occurred in an ancestral eukaryotic lineage and was spread to other lineages through horizontal gene transfer. As for the diversification of this gene family, the phylogeny of the P5CS gene in plants shows that there have been multiple independent processes of duplication and loss of this gene, with the duplications being related to old polyploidy events.

RevDate: 2024-05-01
CmpDate: 2024-05-02

Rork AM, Bala AS, T Renner (2024)

Dynamic evolution of the mTHF gene family associated with primary metabolism across life.

BMC genomics, 25(1):432.

BACKGROUND: The folate cycle of one-carbon (C1) metabolism, which plays a central role in the biosynthesis of nucleotides and amino acids, demonstrates the significance of metabolic adaptation. We investigated the evolutionary history of the methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (mTHF) gene family, one of the main drivers of the folate cycle, across life.

RESULTS: Through comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses, we found that several lineages of Archaea lacked domains vital for folate cycle function such as the mTHF catalytic and NAD(P)-binding domains of FolD. Within eukaryotes, the mTHF gene family diversified rapidly. For example, several duplications have been observed in lineages including the Amoebozoa, Opisthokonta, and Viridiplantae. In a common ancestor of Opisthokonta, FolD and FTHFS underwent fusion giving rise to the gene MTHFD1, possessing the domains of both genes.

CONCLUSIONS: Our evolutionary reconstruction of the mTHF gene family associated with a primary metabolic pathway reveals dynamic evolution, including gene birth-and-death, gene fusion, and potential horizontal gene transfer events and/or amino acid convergence.

RevDate: 2024-05-01

Li C, Li CQ, Chen ZB, et al (2024)

Wolbachia symbionts control sex in a parasitoid wasp using a horizontally acquired gene.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(24)00475-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Host reproduction can be manipulated by bacterial symbionts in various ways. Parthenogenesis induction is the most effective type of reproduction manipulation by symbionts for their transmission. Insect sex is determined by regulation of doublesex (dsx) splicing through transformer2 (tra2) and transformer (tra) interaction. Although parthenogenesis induction by symbionts has been studied since the 1970s, its underlying molecular mechanism is unknown. Here we identify a Wolbachia parthenogenesis-induction feminization factor gene (piff) that targets sex-determining genes and causes female-producing parthenogenesis in the haplodiploid parasitoid Encarsia formosa. We found that Wolbachia elimination repressed expression of female-specific dsx and enhanced expression of male-specific dsx, which led to the production of wasp haploid male offspring. Furthermore, we found that E. formosa tra is truncated and non-functional, and Wolbachia has a functional tra homolog, termed piff, with an insect origin. Wolbachia PIFF can colocalize and interact with wasp TRA2. Moreover, Wolbachia piff has coordinated expression with tra2 and dsx of E. formosa. Our results demonstrate the bacterial symbiont Wolbachia has acquired an insect gene to manipulate the host sex determination cascade and induce parthenogenesis in wasps. This study reveals insect-to-bacteria horizontal gene transfer drives the evolution of animal sex determination systems, elucidating a striking mechanism of insect-microbe symbiosis.

RevDate: 2024-05-01

Li H, Wang Q, Wang Y, et al (2024)

EDTA enables to alleviate impacts of metal ions on conjugative transfer of antibiotic resistance genes.

Water research, 257:121659 pii:S0043-1354(24)00560-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Various heavy metals are reported to be able to accelerate horizontal transfer of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). In real water environmental settings, ubiquitous complexing agents would affect the environmental behaviors of heavy metal ions due to the formation of metal-organic complexes. However, little is known whether the presence of complexing agents would change horizontal gene transfer due to heavy metal exposure. This study aimed to fill this gap by investigating the impacts of a typical complexing agent ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) on the conjugative transfer of plasmid-mediated ARGs induced by a range of heavy metal ions. At the environmentally relevant concentration (0.64 mg L[-1]) of metal ions, all the tested metal ions (Mg[2+], Ca[2+], Co[2+], Pb[2+], Ni[2+], Cu[2+], and Fe[3+]) promoted conjugative transfer of ARGs, while an inhibitory effect was observed at a relatively higher concentration (3.20 mg L[-1]). In contrast, EDTA (0.64 mg L[-1]) alleviated the effects of metal ions on ARGs conjugation transfer, evidenced by 11 %-66 % reduction in the conjugate transfer frequency. Molecular docking and dynamics simulations disclosed that this is attributed to the stronger binding of metal ions with the lipids in cell membranes. Under metal-EDTA exposure, gene expressions related to oxidative stress response, cell membrane permeability, intercellular contact, energy driving force, mobilization, and channels of plasmid transfer were suppressed compared with the metal ions exposure. This study offers insights into the alleviation mechanisms of complexing agents on ARGs transfer induced by free metal ions.

RevDate: 2024-05-02
CmpDate: 2024-05-02

Tang X-F, Sun Y-F, Liang Y-S, et al (2024)

Metabolism, digestion, and horizontal transfer: potential roles and interaction of symbiotic bacteria in the ladybird beetle Novius pumilus and their prey Icerya aegyptiaca.

Microbiology spectrum, 12(5):e0295523.

In this study, we first time sequenced and analyzed the 16S rRNA gene data of predator ladybird beetles Novius pumilus and globally distributed invasive pest Icerya aegyptiaca at different stages, and combined data with bacterial genome sequences in N. pumilus to explored the taxonomic distribution, alpha and beta diversity, differentially abundant bacteria, co-occurrence network, and putative functions of their microbial community. Our finding revealed that Candidatus Walczuchella, which exhibited a higher abundance in I. aegyptiaca, possessed several genes in essential amino acid biosynthesis and seemed to perform roles in providing nutrients to the host, similar to other obligate symbionts in scale insects. Lactococcus, Serratia, and Pseudomonas, more abundant in N. pumilus, were predicted to have genes related to hydrocarbon, fatty acids, and chitin degradation, which may assist their hosts in digesting the wax shell covering the scale insects. Notably, our result showed that Lactococcus had relatively higher abundances in adults and eggs compared to other stages in N. pumilus, indicating potential vertical transmission. Additionally, we found that Arsenophonus, known to influence sex ratios in whitefly and wasp, may also function in I. aegyptiaca, probably by influencing nutrient metabolism as it similarly had many genes corresponding to vitamin B and essential amino acid biosynthesis. Also, we observed a potential horizontal transfer of Arsenophonus between the scale insect and its predator, with a relatively high abundance in the ladybirds compared to other bacteria from the scale insects.IMPORTANCEThe composition and dynamic changes of microbiome in different developmental stages of ladybird beetles Novius pumilus with its prey Icerya aegyptiaca were detected. We found that Candidatus Walczuchella, abundant in I. aegyptiaca, probably provide nutrients to their host based on their amino acid biosynthesis-related genes. Abundant symbionts in N. pumilus, including Lactococcus, Serratia, and Pseudophonus, may help the host digest the scale insects with their hydrocarbon, fatty acid, and chitin degrading-related genes. A key endosymbiont Arsenophonus may play potential roles in the nutrient metabolisms and sex determination in I. aegyptiaca, and is possibly transferred from the scale insect to the predator.

RevDate: 2024-05-01

Cai Y, Chen C, Sun T, et al (2024)

Mariculture waters as yet another hotbed for the creation and transfer of new antibiotic-resistant pathogenome.

Environment international, 187:108704 pii:S0160-4120(24)00290-3 [Epub ahead of print].

With the rapid growth of aquaculture globally, large amounts of antibiotics have been used to treat aquatic disease, which may accelerate induction and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in aquaculture environments. Herein, metagenomic and 16S rRNA analyses were used to analyze the potentials and co-occurrence patterns of pathogenome (culturable and unculturable pathogens), antibiotic resistome (ARGs), and mobilome (mobile genetic elements (MGEs)) from mariculture waters near 5000 km coast of South China. Total 207 species of pathogens were identified, with only 10 culturable species. Furthermore, more pathogen species were detected in mariculture waters than those in coastal waters, and mariculture waters were prone to become reservoirs of unculturable pathogens. In addition, 913 subtypes of 21 ARG types were also identified, with multidrug resistance genes as the majority. MGEs including plasmids, integrons, transposons, and insertion sequences were abundantly present in mariculture waters. The co-occurrence network pattern between pathogenome, antibiotic resistome, and mobilome suggested that most of pathogens may be potential multidrug resistant hosts, possibly due to high frequency of horizontal gene transfer. These findings increase our understanding of mariculture waters as reservoirs of antibiotic resistome and mobilome, and as yet another hotbed for creation and transfer of new antibiotic-resistant pathogenome.

RevDate: 2024-04-30

Shepherd MJ, Fu T, Harrington NE, et al (2024)

Ecological and evolutionary mechanisms driving within-patient emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

Nature reviews. Microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

The ecological and evolutionary mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) emergence within patients and how these vary across bacterial infections are poorly understood. Increasingly widespread use of pathogen genome sequencing in the clinic enables a deeper understanding of these processes. In this Review, we explore the clinical evidence to support four major mechanisms of within-patient AMR emergence in bacteria: spontaneous resistance mutations; in situ horizontal gene transfer of resistance genes; selection of pre-existing resistance; and immigration of resistant lineages. Within-patient AMR emergence occurs across a wide range of host niches and bacterial species, but the importance of each mechanism varies between bacterial species and infection sites within the body. We identify potential drivers of such differences and discuss how ecological and evolutionary analysis could be embedded within clinical trials of antimicrobials, which are powerful but underused tools for understanding why these mechanisms vary between pathogens, infections and individuals. Ultimately, improving understanding of how host niche, bacterial species and antibiotic mode of action combine to govern the ecological and evolutionary mechanism of AMR emergence in patients will enable more predictive and personalized diagnosis and antimicrobial therapies.

RevDate: 2024-04-30
CmpDate: 2024-04-30

Yang QE, Ma X, Li M, et al (2024)

Evolution of triclosan resistance modulates bacterial permissiveness to multidrug resistance plasmids and phages.

Nature communications, 15(1):3654.

The horizontal transfer of plasmids has been recognized as one of the key drivers for the worldwide spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) across bacterial pathogens. However, knowledge remain limited about the contribution made by environmental stress on the evolution of bacterial AMR by modulating horizontal acquisition of AMR plasmids and other mobile genetic elements. Here we combined experimental evolution, whole genome sequencing, reverse genetic engineering, and transcriptomics to examine if the evolution of chromosomal AMR to triclosan (TCS) disinfectant has correlated effects on modulating bacterial pathogen (Klebsiella pneumoniae) permissiveness to AMR plasmids and phage susceptibility. Herein, we show that TCS exposure increases the evolvability of K. pneumoniae to evolve TCS-resistant mutants (TRMs) by acquiring mutations and altered expression of several genes previously associated with TCS and antibiotic resistance. Notably, nsrR deletion increases conjugation permissiveness of K. pneumoniae to four AMR plasmids, and enhances susceptibility to various Klebsiella-specific phages through the downregulation of several bacterial defense systems and changes in membrane potential with altered reactive oxygen species response. Our findings suggest that unrestricted use of TCS disinfectant imposes a dual impact on bacterial antibiotic resistance by augmenting both chromosomally and horizontally acquired AMR mechanisms.

RevDate: 2024-04-30

Szczepankowska AK, M Łobocka (2024)

Exploring the role of phage plasmids in gene transfers.

Trends in genetics : TIG pii:S0168-9525(24)00098-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Bacteriophages and plasmids drive horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in bacteria. Phage-plasmids (P-Ps) are hybrids of plasmid and phages. Pfeifer and Rocha recently demonstrated that P-Ps can serve as intermediates in gene exchanges between these two types of elements, identified categories of preferentially transferred genes, and reconstructed gene flows involving phage P1-like P-Ps.

RevDate: 2024-04-29
CmpDate: 2024-04-29

Guillén-Chable F, Valdez Iuit JO, Avila Castro LA, et al (2024)

Geographical distribution of mobile genetic elements in microbial communities along the Yucatan coast.

PloS one, 19(4):e0301642 pii:PONE-D-23-40123.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a well-documented strategy used by bacteria to enhance their adaptability to challenging environmental conditions. Through HGT, a group of conserved genetic elements known as mobile genetic elements (MGEs) is disseminated within bacterial communities. MGEs offer numerous advantages to the host, increasing its fitness by acquiring new functions that help bacteria contend with adverse conditions, including exposure to heavy metal and antibiotics. This study explores MGEs within microbial communities along the Yucatan coast using a metatranscriptomics approach. Prior to this research, nothing was known about the coastal Yucatan's microbial environmental mobilome and HGT processes between these bacterial communities. This study reveals a positive correlation between MGEs and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) along the Yucatan coast, with higher MGEs abundance in more contaminated sites. The Proteobacteria and Firmicutes groups exhibited the highest number of MGEs. It's important to highlight that the most abundant classes of MGEs might not be the ones most strongly linked to ARGs, as observed for the recombination/repair class. This work presents the first geographical distribution of the environmental mobilome in Yucatan Peninsula mangroves.

RevDate: 2024-04-29
CmpDate: 2024-04-29

Ferrari E, Di Benedetto G, Firrincieli A, et al (2024)

Unravelling the role of the group 6 soluble di-iron monooxygenase (SDIMO) SmoABCD in alkane metabolism and chlorinated alkane degradation.

Microbial biotechnology, 17(5):e14453.

Soluble di-iron monooxygenases (SDIMOs) are multi-component enzymes catalysing the oxidation of various substrates. These enzymes are characterized by high sequence and functional diversity that is still not well understood despite their key role in biotechnological processes including contaminant biodegradation. In this study, we analysed a mutant of Rhodoccocus aetherivorans BCP1 (BCP1-2.10) characterized by a transposon insertion in the gene smoA encoding the alpha subunit of the plasmid-located SDIMO SmoABCD. The mutant BCP1-2.10 showed a reduced capacity to grow on propane, lost the ability to grow on butane, pentane and n-hexane and was heavily impaired in the capacity to degrade chloroform and trichloroethane. The expression of the additional SDIMO prmABCD in BCP1-2.10 probably allowed the mutant to partially grow on propane and to degrade it, to some extent, together with the other short-chain n-alkanes. The complementation of the mutant, conducted by introducing smoABCD in the genome as a single copy under a constitutive promoter or within a plasmid under a thiostreptone-inducible promoter, allowed the recovery of the alkanotrophic phenotype as well as the capacity to degrade chlorinated n-alkanes. The heterologous expression of smoABCD allowed a non-alkanotrophic Rhodococcus strain to grow on pentane and n-hexane when the gene cluster was introduced together with the downstream genes encoding alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenases and a GroEL chaperon. BCP1 smoA gene was shown to belong to the group 6 SDIMOs, which is a rare group of monooxygenases mostly present in Mycobacterium genus and in a few Rhodococcus strains. SmoABCD originally evolved in Mycobacterium and was then acquired by Rhodococcus through horizontal gene transfer events. This work extends the knowledge of the biotechnologically relevant SDIMOs by providing functional and evolutionary insights into a group 6 SDIMO in Rhodococcus and demonstrating its key role in the metabolism of short-chain alkanes and degradation of chlorinated n-alkanes.

RevDate: 2024-04-29

Taylor AJ, Yahara K, Pascoe B, et al (2024)

Epistasis, core-genome disharmony, and adaptation in recombining bacteria.

mBio [Epub ahead of print].

Recombination of short DNA fragments via horizontal gene transfer (HGT) can introduce beneficial alleles, create genomic disharmony through negative epistasis, and create adaptive gene combinations through positive epistasis. For non-core (accessory) genes, the negative epistatic cost is likely to be minimal because the incoming genes have not co-evolved with the recipient genome and are frequently observed as tightly linked cassettes with major effects. By contrast, interspecific recombination in the core genome is expected to be rare because disruptive allelic replacement is likely to introduce negative epistasis. Why then is homologous recombination common in the core of bacterial genomes? To understand this enigma, we take advantage of an exceptional model system, the common enteric pathogens Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli that are known for very high magnitude interspecies gene flow in the core genome. As expected, HGT does indeed disrupt co-adapted allele pairings, indirect evidence of negative epistasis. However, multiple HGT events enable recovery of the genome's co-adaption between introgressing alleles, even in core metabolism genes (e.g., formate dehydrogenase). These findings demonstrate that, even for complex traits, genetic coalitions can be decoupled, transferred, and independently reinstated in a new genetic background-facilitating transition between fitness peaks. In this example, the two-step recombinational process is associated with C. coli that are adapted to the agricultural niche.IMPORTANCEGenetic exchange among bacteria shapes the microbial world. From the acquisition of antimicrobial resistance genes to fundamental questions about the nature of bacterial species, this powerful evolutionary force has preoccupied scientists for decades. However, the mixing of genes between species rests on a paradox: 0n one hand, promoting adaptation by conferring novel functionality; on the other, potentially introducing disharmonious gene combinations (negative epistasis) that will be selected against. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to analyze natural populations of the enteric bacteria Campylobacter, an ideal example of long-range admixture, we demonstrate that genes can independently transfer across species boundaries and rejoin in functional networks in a recipient genome. The positive impact of two-gene interactions appears to be adaptive by expanding metabolic capacity and facilitating niche shifts through interspecific hybridization. This challenges conventional ideas and highlights the possibility of multiple-step evolution of multi-gene traits by interspecific introgression.

RevDate: 2024-04-30
CmpDate: 2024-04-30

Cui J, Dong Y, Chen Q, et al (2024)

Horizontal transfer characterization of ColV plasmids in blaCTX-M-bearing avian Escherichia coli.

Poultry science, 103(5):103631.

Extended-spectrum-β-lactamases (ESBLs)-producing Escherichia coli conferred resistance to most β-lactams, except for carbapenems. To date, the transmission mechanism of blaCTX-M, as the most common ESBLs subtype, in E. coli has received sustained attention around the worldwide, but the research on the pathogenicity of blaCTX-M-bearing E. coli is still scarce. The aims of this study were to discern the spread characteristics of ColV (encoding colicin V) plasmids in blaCTX-M-positive E. coli. The multi-drug resistance traits, phylogroups, and ColV plasmid profilings were screened in 76 blaCTX-M-positive E. coli. Thereafter, the genetic profiles of E. coli G12 and GZM7 were determined by whole genome sequencing, conjugation and S1-pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. The median lethal dose was analyzed in E. coli G12 and TG12A, the ColV-plasmid transconjugant of G12. Of all 76 blaCTX-M-bearing E. coli, 67.11% exhibited resistance to at least 2 drugs in addition to ceftiofur, 14.47% carried ColV-positive plasmids, and 53.95% were phylogroup C. Further studies demonstrated that the blaCTX-M-bearing E. coli G12 was assigned to the predominant lineage O78:H4-ST117 of phylogroup G. In addition, its ColV-positive plasmid simultaneously carried multiple resistance genes, and could be independently transferred to confer partial pathogenicity on its host by plasmid mating. E. coli GZM7 was O53:H9-ST23 of phylogroup C, which belonged to another representative lineage of APEC (avian pathogenic E. coli). Its ColV-positive plasmid could complete conjugation with the help of the other coexisting-resistance conjugative plasmid, although it failed to transfer alone. Our findings highlight the flexibly horizontal transfer of ColV plasmids along with multidrug-resistant genes among blaCTX-M-bearing E. coli poses a threat to poultry health and food safety, which contributes to elucidate the concept of "One Health" and deserves particular concern.

RevDate: 2024-04-30
CmpDate: 2024-04-30

Yang W, Tang C, Shen S, et al (2024)

Spread and evolution of blaKPC-plasmid between Serratia marcescens and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

International journal of antimicrobial agents, 63(5):107149.

OBJECTIVES: blaKPC-carrying Enterobacterales have post great challenges to global healthcare systems. In this study, we reported the evolution and spread of blaKPC between Serratia marcescens and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

METHODS: Four S. marcescens and one K. pneumoniae strains were isolated from the sputum samples of the patient. Antimicrobial susceptibility tests and whole genome sequencing were performed to investigate the phenotype & genotype of strains. Conjugation assays, cloning experiment and kinetic parameters measuring were performed to explore the spread and antimicrobial resistance mechanisms.

RESULTS: The evolution and transmission of blaKPC-2 occurred during the treatment of ceftazidime-avibactam and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Analysis of the antimicrobial susceptibility and genetic profiles of the clinical strains showed that blaKPC-2 evolved into blaKPC-71 and blaKPC-44, together with resistance to ceftazidime-avibactam and carbapenems susceptibility recovery under antimicrobial pressure. Cloning and expression of blaKPC-44 & blaKPC-71 in E. coli DH5α showed that KPC-44 and KPC-71 resulted in a 64∼128-fold increase in the MIC value for ceftazidime-avibactam. Meanwhile, the kinetic assays also showed that the enzyme activity of KPC-44 and KPC-71 towards carbapenems was destroyed and couldn't be inhibited by avibactam. Based on the conjugation assay and whole genome sequence analyses, we provided evolutionary insights into the transmission pathway trace of blaKPC-bearing plasmids between S. marcescens and K. pneumoniae.

CONCLUSIONS: Mixed-species co-infection is one of the risk factors leading to the spread of plasmids carrying carbapenem-resistant genes, and increased surveillance of multidrug-resistant Enterobacterales is urgently needed.

RevDate: 2024-04-29
CmpDate: 2024-04-29

Almatroudi A (2024)

Investigating Biofilms: Advanced Methods for Comprehending Microbial Behavior and Antibiotic Resistance.

Frontiers in bioscience (Landmark edition), 29(4):133.

Biofilms, which consist of microorganisms enclosed in an extracellular polymeric material (EPS), hold immense importance in the fields of environmental research, industry, and medicine. They play a significant role in ecosystem dynamics and stability, but they also pose issues such as biofouling, corrosion, and pollution. Biofilms in medical environments are linked to persistent infections and elevated healthcare expenses. The EPS matrix plays a crucial role in maintaining the structural integrity and antibiotic resistance of these structures. The research primarily investigates the role of the EPS matrix in facilitating horizontal gene transfer among biofilm communities, with a particular emphasis on EPS and its impact on this process. The process is recognized as a pivotal mechanism in the emergence of antibiotic resistance, underscoring the crucial function of EPS in the dynamics of biofilms. The analysis also highlights the significant financial constraints caused by biofilms in several industries. Biofilm-associated infections in the healthcare sector result in escalated treatment expenses and extended hospitalization periods. In an industrial context, biofilms have a role in increasing maintenance expenses and product contamination, emphasizing the need for efficient management solutions. This review presents the most recent progress in biofilm research, emphasizing the utilization of sophisticated imaging tools and molecular methodologies. In addition to conventional imaging techniques, the research explores the utilization of sophisticated molecular tools, such as DNA and RNA sequencing, in conjunction with proteomics. These approaches are essential for assessing the genetic and metabolic mechanisms that regulate biofilm development and antibiotic resistance. The review underscores the significance of employing an interdisciplinary methodology in the study of biofilms. By incorporating a range of approaches, such as sophisticated imaging and molecular analysis, a comprehensive understanding of biofilm dynamics may be achieved. This approach also opens up possibilities for developing novel solutions to address the negative impacts of biofilms on health, industry, and the environment.

RevDate: 2024-04-27
CmpDate: 2024-04-27

Alexa EA, Cobo-Díaz JF, Renes E, et al (2024)

The detailed analysis of the microbiome and resistome of artisanal blue-veined cheeses provides evidence on sources and patterns of succession linked with quality and safety traits.

Microbiome, 12(1):78.

BACKGROUND: Artisanal cheeses usually contain a highly diverse microbial community which can significantly impact their quality and safety. Here, we describe a detailed longitudinal study assessing the impact of ripening in three natural caves on the microbiome and resistome succession across three different producers of Cabrales blue-veined cheese.

RESULTS: Both the producer and cave in which cheeses were ripened significantly influenced the cheese microbiome. Lactococcus and the former Lactobacillus genus, among other taxa, showed high abundance in cheeses at initial stages of ripening, either coming from the raw material, starter culture used, and/or the environment of processing plants. Along cheese ripening in caves, these taxa were displaced by other bacteria, such as Tetragenococcus, Corynebacterium, Brevibacterium, Yaniella, and Staphylococcus, predominantly originating from cave environments (mainly food contact surfaces), as demonstrated by source-tracking analysis, strain analysis at read level, and the characterization of 613 metagenome-assembled genomes. The high abundance of Tetragenococcus koreensis and Tetragenococcus halophilus detected in cheese has not been found previously in cheese metagenomes. Furthermore, Tetragenococcus showed a high level of horizontal gene transfer with other members of the cheese microbiome, mainly with Lactococcus and Staphylococcus, involving genes related to carbohydrate metabolism functions. The resistome analysis revealed that raw milk and the associated processing environments are a rich reservoir of antimicrobial resistance determinants, mainly associated with resistance to aminoglycosides, tetracyclines, and β-lactam antibiotics and harbored by aerobic gram-negative bacteria of high relevance from a safety point of view, such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, Acinetobacter, and Klebsiella pneumoniae, and that the displacement of most raw milk-associated taxa by cave-associated taxa during ripening gave rise to a significant decrease in the load of ARGs and, therefore, to a safer end product.

CONCLUSION: Overall, the cave environments represented an important source of non-starter microorganisms which may play a relevant role in the quality and safety of the end products. Among them, we have identified novel taxa and taxa not previously regarded as being dominant components of the cheese microbiome (Tetragenococcus spp.), providing very valuable information for the authentication of this protected designation of origin artisanal cheese. Video Abstract.

RevDate: 2024-04-27

Wang X, Tang Y, Yue X, et al (2024)

The role of rhizosphere phages in soil health.

FEMS microbiology ecology pii:7659364 [Epub ahead of print].

While the One Health framework has emphasized the importance of soil microbiomes for plant and human health, one of the most diverse and abundant groups-bacterial viruses, i.e. phages-has been mostly neglected. This perspective reviews the significance of phages for plant health in rhizosphere and explores their ecological and evolutionary impacts on soil ecosystems. We first summarize our current understanding of the diversity and ecological roles of phages in soil microbiomes in terms of nutrient cycling, top-down density regulation and pathogen suppression. We then consider how phages drive bacterial evolution in soils by promoting horizontal gene transfer, encoding auxiliary metabolic genes that increase host bacterial fitness and selecting for phage-resistant mutants with altered ecology due to trade-offs with pathogen competitiveness and virulence. Finally, we consider challenges and avenues for phage research in soil ecosystems and how to elucidate the significance of phages for microbial ecology and evolution and soil ecosystem functioning in the future. We conclude that similar to bacteria, phages likely play important roles in connecting different One Health compartments, affecting microbiome diversity and functions in soils. From the applied perspective, phages could offer novel approaches to modulate and optimize microbial and microbe-plant interactions to enhance soil health.

RevDate: 2024-04-26

Liu H, Al-Dhabi NA, Jiang H, et al (2024)

Toward nitrogen recovery: Co-cultivation of microalgae and bacteria enhances the production of high-value nitrogen-rich cyanophycin.

Water research, 256:121624 pii:S0043-1354(24)00525-6 [Epub ahead of print].

The algal-bacterial wastewater treatment process has been proven to be highly efficient in removing nutrients and recovering nitrogen (N). However, the recovery of the valuable N-rich biopolymer, cyanophycin, remains limited. This research explored the synthesis mechanism and recovery potential of cyanophycin within two algal-bacterial symbiotic reactors. The findings reveal that the synergy between algae and bacteria enhances the removal of N and phosphorus. The crude contents of cyanophycin in the algal-bacterial consortia reached 115 and 124 mg/g of mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS), respectively, showing an increase of 11.7 %-20.4 % (p < 0.001) compared with conventional activated sludge. Among the 170 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) analyzed, 50 were capable of synthesizing cyanophycin, indicating that cyanophycin producers are common in algal-bacterial systems. The compositions of cyanophycin producers in the two algal-bacterial reactors were affected by different lighting initiation time. The study identified two intracellular synthesis pathways for cyanophycin. Approximately 36 MAGs can synthesize cyanophycin de novo using ammonium and glucose, while the remaining 14 MAGs require exogenous arginine for production. Notably, several MAGs with high abundance are capable of assimilating both nitrate and ammonium into cyanophycin, demonstrating a robust N utilization capability. This research also marks the first identification of potential horizontal gene transfer of the cyanophycin synthase encoding gene (cphA) within the wastewater microbial community. This suggests that the spread of cphA could expand the population of cyanophycin producers. The study offers new insights into recycling the high-value N-rich biopolymer cyanophycin, contributing to the advancement of wastewater resource utilization.

RevDate: 2024-04-25
CmpDate: 2024-04-25

Vincent J, Tenore A, Mattei MR, et al (2024)

Modelling Plasmid-Mediated Horizontal Gene Transfer in Biofilms.

Bulletin of mathematical biology, 86(6):63.

In this study, we present a mathematical model for plasmid spread in a growing biofilm, formulated as a nonlocal system of partial differential equations in a 1-D free boundary domain. Plasmids are mobile genetic elements able to transfer to different phylotypes, posing a global health problem when they carry antibiotic resistance factors. We model gene transfer regulation influenced by nearby potential receptors to account for recipient-sensing. We also introduce a promotion function to account for trace metal effects on conjugation, based on literature data. The model qualitatively matches experimental results, showing that contaminants like toxic metals and antibiotics promote plasmid persistence by favoring plasmid carriers and stimulating conjugation. Even at higher contaminant concentrations inhibiting conjugation, plasmid spread persists by strongly inhibiting plasmid-free cells. The model also replicates higher plasmid density in biofilm's most active regions.

RevDate: 2024-04-27
CmpDate: 2024-04-25

Xie O, Zachreson C, Tonkin-Hill G, et al (2024)

Overlapping Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus dysgalactiae subspecies equisimilis household transmission and mobile genetic element exchange.

Nature communications, 15(1):3477.

Streptococcus dysgalactiae subspecies equisimilis (SDSE) and Streptococcus pyogenes share skin and throat niches with extensive genomic homology and horizontal gene transfer (HGT) possibly underlying shared disease phenotypes. It is unknown if cross-species transmission interaction occurs. Here, we conduct a genomic analysis of a longitudinal household survey in remote Australian First Nations communities for patterns of cross-species transmission interaction and HGT. Collected from 4547 person-consultations, we analyse 294 SDSE and 315 S. pyogenes genomes. We find SDSE and S. pyogenes transmission intersects extensively among households and show that patterns of co-occurrence and transmission links are consistent with independent transmission without inter-species interference. We identify at least one of three near-identical cross-species mobile genetic elements (MGEs) carrying antimicrobial resistance or streptodornase virulence genes in 55 (19%) SDSE and 23 (7%) S. pyogenes isolates. These findings demonstrate co-circulation of both pathogens and HGT in communities with a high burden of streptococcal disease, supporting a need to integrate SDSE and S. pyogenes surveillance and control efforts.

RevDate: 2024-04-24
CmpDate: 2024-04-25

Kuwata K, Sato-Takabe Y, Nakai R, et al (2024)

Novel aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic bacterium Jannaschia pagri sp. nov., isolated from seawater around a fish farm.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 117(1):70.

The genus Jannaschia is one of the representatives of aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic (AAP) bacteria, which is a strictly aerobic bacterium, producing a photosynthetic pigment bacteriochlorophyll (BChl) a. However, a part of the genus Jannaschia members have not been confirmed the photosynthetic ability. The partly presence of the ability in the genus Jannaschia could suggest the complexity of evolutionary history for anoxygenic photosynthesis in the genus, which is expected as gene loss and/or horizontal gene transfer. Here a novel AAP bacterium designated as strain AI_62[T] (= DSM 115720[ T] = NBRC 115938[ T]), was isolated from coastal seawater around a fish farm in the Uwa Sea, Japan. Its closest relatives were identified as Jannaschia seohaensis SMK-146[ T] (95.6% identity) and J. formosa 12N15[T] (94.6% identity), which have been reported to produce BChl a. The genomic characteristic of strain AI_62[T] clearly showed the possession of the anoxygenic photosynthesis related gene sets. This could be a useful model organism to approach the evolutionary mystery of anoxygenic photosynthesis in the genus Jannaschia. Based on a comprehensive consideration of both phylogenetic and phenotypic characteristics, we propose the classification of a novel species within the genus Jannaschia, designated as Jannaschia pagri sp. nov. The type strain for this newly proposed species is AI_62[T] (= DSM 115720[ T] = NBRC 115938[ T]).

RevDate: 2024-04-24

Gong W, Guo L, Huang C, et al (2024)

A systematic review of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in mariculture wastewater: Antibiotics removal by microalgal-bacterial symbiotic system (MBSS), ARGs characterization on the metagenomic.

The Science of the total environment pii:S0048-9697(24)02747-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Antibiotic residues in mariculture wastewater seriously affect the aquatic environment. Antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARGs) produced under antibiotic stress flow through the environment and eventually enter the human body, seriously affecting human health. Microalgal-bacterial symbiotic system (MBSS) can remove antibiotics from mariculture and reduce the flow of ARGs into the environment. This review encapsulates the present scenario of mariculture wastewater, the removal mechanism of MBSS for antibiotics, and the biomolecular information under metagenomic assay. When confronted with antibiotics, there was a notable augmentation in the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) content within MBSS, along with a concurrent elevation in the proportion of protein (PN) constituents within the EPS, which limits the entry of antibiotics into the cellular interior. Quorum sensing stimulates the microorganisms to produce biological responses (DNA synthesis - for adhesion) through signaling. Oxidative stress promotes gene expression (coupling, conjugation) to enhance horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in MBSS. The microbial community under metagenomic detection is dominated by aerobic bacteria in the bacterial-microalgal system. Compared to aerobic bacteria, anaerobic bacteria had the significant advantage of decreasing the distribution of ARGs. Overall, MBSS exhibits remarkable efficacy in mitigating the challenges posed by antibiotics and resistant genes from mariculture wastewater.

RevDate: 2024-04-23

Gomathinayagam S, G Kodiveri Muthukaliannan (2024)

Dynamics of antibiotic resistance genes in plasmids and bacteriophages.

Critical reviews in microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

This brief review explores the intricate interplay between bacteriophages and plasmids in the context of antibiotic resistance gene (ARG) dissemination. Originating from studies in the late 1950s, the review traces the evolution of knowledge regarding extrachromosomal factors facilitating horizontal gene transfer and adaptation in bacteria. Analyzing the gene repertoires of plasmids and bacteriophages, the study highlights their contributions to bacterial evolution and adaptation. While plasmids encode essential and accessory genes influencing host characteristics, bacteriophages carry auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) that augment host metabolism. The debate on phages carrying ARGs is explored through a critical evaluation of various studies, revealing contrasting findings from researchers. Additionally, the review addresses the interplay between prophages and plasmids, underlining their similarities and divergences. Based on the available literature evidence, we conclude that plasmids generally encode ARGs while bacteriophages typically do not contain ARGs. But extra-chromosomaly present prophages with plasmid characteristics can encode and disseminate ARGs.

RevDate: 2024-04-22

Se J, Xie Y, Ma Q, et al (2024)

Drying-wetting cycle enhances stress resistance of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in a model soil.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987) pii:S0269-7491(24)00702-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Outbreaks of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 in farms are often triggered by heavy rains and flooding. Most cells die with the decreasing of soil moisture, while few cells enter a dormant state and then resuscitate after rewetting. The resistance of dormant cells to stress has been extensively studied, whereas the molecular mechanisms of the cross-resistance development of the resuscitated cells are poorly known. We performed a comparative proteomic analysis on O157:H7 before and after undergoing soil dry-wet alternation. A differential expression of 820 proteins was identified in resuscitated cells compared to exponential-phase cells, as determined by proteomics analysis. The GO and KEGG pathway enrichment analyses revealed that up-regulated proteins were associated with oxidative phosphorylation, glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, the citrate cycle (TCA cycle), aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, ribosome activity, and transmembrane transporters, indicating increased energy production and protein synthesis in resuscitated O157:H7. Moreover, proteins related to acid, osmotic, heat, oxidative, antibiotic stress and horizontal gene transfer efficiency were up-regulated, suggesting a potential improvement in stress resistance. Subsequent validation experiments demonstrated that the survival rates of the resuscitated cells were 476.54 and 7786.34 times higher than the exponential-phase cells, with pH levels of 1.5 and 2.5, respectively. Similarly, resuscitated cells showed higher survival rates under osmotic stress, with 7.5%, 15%, and 30% NaCl resulting in survival rates that were 460.58, 1974.55, and 3475.31 times higher. Resuscitated cells also exhibited increased resistance to heat stress, with survival rates 69.64 and 139.72 times higher at 55°C and 90°C, respectively. Furthermore, the horizontal gene transfer (HGT) efficiency of resuscitated cells was significantly higher (153.12-fold) compared to exponential phase cells. This study provides new insights into bacteria behavior under changing soil moisture and this may explain O157:H7 outbreaks following rainfall and flooding, as the dry-wet cycle promotes stress cross-resistance development.

RevDate: 2024-04-22

Ruhluel D, Fisher L, Barton TE, et al (2024)

Secondary messenger signalling influences Pseudomonas aeruginosa adaptation to sinus and lung environments.

The ISME journal pii:7655876 [Epub ahead of print].

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a cause of chronic respiratory tract infections in people with cystic fibrosis (CF), non-CF bronchiectasis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Prolonged infection allows accumulation of mutations and horizontal gene transfer, increasing the likelihood of adaptive phenotypic traits. Adaptation is proposed to arise first in bacterial populations colonising upper airway environments. Here, we model this process using an experimental evolution approach. P. aeruginosa PAO1, which is not airway adapted, was serially passaged, separately, in media chemically reflective of upper or lower airway environments. To explore whether the CF environment selects for unique traits, we separately passaged PAO1 in airway-mimicking media with or without CF-specific factors. Our findings demonstrated that all airway environments - sinus and lungs, under CF and non-CF conditions - selected for loss of twitching motility, increased resistance to multiple antibiotic classes and a hyper-biofilm phenotype. These traits conferred increased airway colonisation potential in an in vivo model. CF-like conditions exerted stronger selective pressures, leading to emergence of more pronounced phenotypes. Loss of twitching was associated with mutations in type IV pili genes. Type IV pili mediate surface attachment, twitching and induction of cAMP signalling. We additionally identified multiple evolutionary routes to increased biofilm formation involving regulation of cyclic-di-GMP signalling. These included loss of function mutations in bifA and dipA phosphodiesterase genes and activating mutations in the siaA phosphatase. These data highlight that airway environments select for traits associated with sessile lifestyles and suggest upper airway niches support emergence of phenotypes that promote establishment of lung infection.

RevDate: 2024-04-23
CmpDate: 2024-04-23

Kogay R, Wolf YI, EV Koonin (2024)

Defence systems and horizontal gene transfer in bacteria.

Environmental microbiology, 26(4):e16630.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a fundamental process in prokaryotic evolution, contributing significantly to diversification and adaptation. HGT is typically facilitated by mobile genetic elements (MGEs), such as conjugative plasmids and phages, which often impose fitness costs on their hosts. However, a considerable number of bacterial genes are involved in defence mechanisms that limit the propagation of MGEs, suggesting they may actively restrict HGT. In our study, we investigated whether defence systems limit HGT by examining the relationship between the HGT rate and the presence of 73 defence systems across 12 bacterial species. We discovered that only six defence systems, three of which were different CRISPR-Cas subtypes, were associated with a reduced gene gain rate at the species evolution scale. Hosts of these defence systems tend to have a smaller pangenome size and fewer phage-related genes compared to genomes without these systems. This suggests that these defence mechanisms inhibit HGT by limiting prophage integration. We hypothesize that the restriction of HGT by defence systems is species-specific and depends on various ecological and genetic factors, including the burden of MGEs and the fitness effect of HGT in bacterial populations.

RevDate: 2024-04-23
CmpDate: 2024-04-22

Bartoš O, Chmel M, I Swierczková (2024)

The overlooked evolutionary dynamics of 16S rRNA revises its role as the "gold standard" for bacterial species identification.

Scientific reports, 14(1):9067.

The role of 16S rRNA has been and largely remains crucial for the identification of microbial organisms. Although 16S rRNA could certainly be described as one of the most studied sequences ever, the current view of it remains somewhat ambiguous. While some consider 16S rRNA to be a variable marker with resolution power down to the strain level, others consider them to be living fossils that carry information about the origin of domains of cellular life. We show that 16S rRNA is clearly an evolutionarily very rigid sequence, making it a largely unique and irreplaceable marker, but its applicability beyond the genus level is highly limited. Interestingly, it seems that the evolutionary rigidity is not driven by functional constraints of the sequence (RNA-protein interactions), but rather results from the characteristics of the host organism. Our results suggest that, at least in some lineages, Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) within genera plays an important role for the evolutionary non-dynamics (stasis) of 16S rRNA. Such genera exhibit an apparent lack of diversification at the 16S rRNA level in comparison to the rest of a genome. However, why it is limited specifically and solely to 16S rRNA remains enigmatic.

RevDate: 2024-04-22
CmpDate: 2024-04-22

Singh CK, Sodhi KK, Shree P, et al (2024)

Heavy Metals as Catalysts in the Evolution of Antimicrobial Resistance and the Mechanisms Underpinning Co-selection.

Current microbiology, 81(6):148.

The menace caused by antibiotic resistance in bacteria is acknowledged on a global scale. Concerns over the same are increasing because of the selection pressure exerted by a huge number of different antimicrobial agents, including heavy metals. Heavy metals are non-metabolizable and recalcitrant to degradation, therefore the bacteria can expel the pollutants out of the system and make it less harmful via different mechanisms. The selection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria may be influenced by heavy metals present in environmental reservoirs. Through co-resistance and cross-resistance processes, the presence of heavy metals in the environment can act as co-selecting agents, hence increasing resistance to both heavy metals and antibiotics. The horizontal gene transfer or mutation assists in the selection of mutant bacteria resistant to the polluted environment. Hence, bioremediation and biodegradation are sustainable methods for the natural clean-up of pollutants. This review sheds light on the occurrence of metal and antibiotic resistance in the environment via the co-resistance and cross-resistance mechanisms underpinning co-selection emphasizing the dearth of studies that specifically examine the method of co-selection in clinical settings. Furthermore, it is advised that future research incorporate both culture- and molecular-based methodologies to further our comprehension of the mechanisms underlying bacterial co- and cross-resistance to antibiotics and heavy metals.

RevDate: 2024-04-19

Sha G, Wu Z, Chen T, et al (2024)

Mechanisms for more efficient antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes removal during industrialized treatment of over 200 tons of tylosin and spectinomycin mycelial dregs by integrated meta-omics.

Bioresource technology pii:S0960-8524(24)00418-8 [Epub ahead of print].

To mitigate the environmental risks posed by the accumulation of antibiotic mycelial dregs (AMDs), this study first attempted over 200 tons of mass production fermentation (MP) using tylosin and spectinomycin mycelial dregs alongside pilot-scale fermentation (PS) for comparison, utilizing the integrated-omics and qPCR approaches. Co-fermentation results showed that both antibiotics were effectively removed in all treatments, with an average removal rate of 92%. Antibiotic resistance gene (ARG)-related metabolic pathways showed that rapid degradation of antibiotics was associated with enzymes that inactivate macrolides and aminoglycosides (e.g., K06979, K07027, K05593). Interestingly, MP fermentations with optimized conditions had more efficient ARGs removal because homogenization permitted faster microbial succession, with more stable removal of antibiotic resistant bacteria and mobile genetic elements. Moreover, Bacillus reached 75% and secreted antioxidant enzymes that might inhibit horizontal gene transfer of ARGs. The findings confirmed the advantages of MP fermentation and provided a scientific basis for other AMDs.

RevDate: 2024-04-19

Ouzounis CA (2024)

The Net of Life, a short story: Intricate patterns of gene flows across hundreds of extant genomes, all the way to LUCA.

Bio Systems pii:S0303-2647(24)00084-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Over the past quarter-century, the field of evolutionary biology has been transformed by the emergence of complete genome sequences and the conceptual framework known as the 'Net of Life.' This paradigm shift challenges traditional notions of evolution as a tree-like process, emphasizing the complex, interconnected network of gene flow that may blur the boundaries between distinct lineages. In this context, gene loss, rather than horizontal gene transfer, is the primary driver of gene content, with vertical inheritance playing a principal role. The 'Net of Life' not only impacts our understanding of genome evolution but also has profound implications for classification systems, the rapid appearance of new traits, and the spread of diseases. Here, we explore the core tenets of the 'Net of Life' and its implications for genome-scale phylogenetic divergence, providing a comprehensive framework for further investigations in evolutionary biology.

RevDate: 2024-04-19

De R, Jani M, RK Azad (2024)

DICEP: An integrative approach to augmenting genomic island detection.

Journal of biotechnology pii:S0168-1656(24)00110-X [Epub ahead of print].

Mobilization of clusters of genes called genomic islands (GIs) across bacterial lineages facilitates dissemination of traits, such as, resistance against antibiotics, virulence or hypervirulence, and versatile metabolic capabilities. Robust delineation of GIs is critical to understanding bacterial evolution that has a vast impact on different life forms. Methods for identification of GIs exploit different evolutionary features or signals encoded within the genomes of bacteria, however, the current state-of-the-art in GI detection still leaves much to be desired. Here, we have taken a combinatorial approach that accounted for GI specific features such as compositional bias, aberrant phyletic pattern, and marker gene enrichment within an integrative framework to delineate GIs in bacterial genomes. Our GI prediction tool, DICEP, was assessed on simulated genomes and well-characterized bacterial genomes. DICEP compared favorably with current GI detection tools on real and synthetic datasets.

RevDate: 2024-04-19

Liu Y, Chu K, Hua Z, et al (2024)

Dynamics of antibiotic resistance genes in the sediments of a water-diversion lake and its human exposure risk behaviour.

The Science of the total environment pii:S0048-9697(24)02709-8 [Epub ahead of print].

The dynamics and exposure risk behaviours of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in the sediments of water-diversion lakes remain poorly understood. In this study, spatiotemporal investigations of ARG profiles in sediments targeting non-water (NWDP) and water diversion periods (WDP) were conducted in Luoma Lake, a typical water-diversion lake, and an innovative dynamics-based risk assessment framework was constructed to evaluate ARG exposure risks to local residents. ARGs in sediments were significantly more abundant in the WDP than in the NWDP, but there was no significant variation in their spatial distribution in either period. Moreover, the pattern of ARG dissemination in sediments was unchanged between the WDP and NWDP, with horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and vertical gene transfer (VGT) contributing to ARG dissemination in both periods. However, water diversion altered the pattern in lake water, with HGT and VGT in the NWDP but only HGT in the WDP, which were critical pathways for the dissemination of ARGs. The significantly lower ARG sediment-water partition coefficient in the WDP indicated that water diversion could shift the fate of ARGs and facilitate their aqueous partitioning. Risk assessment showed that all age groups faced a higher human exposure risk of ARGs (HERA) in the WDP than in the NWDP, with the 45-59 age group having the highest risk. Furthermore, HERA increased overall with the bacterial carrying capacity in the local environment and peaked when the carrying capacity reached three (NWDP) or four (WDP) orders of magnitude higher than the observed bacterial population. HGT and VGT promoted, whereas ODF covering gene mutation and loss mainly reduced HERA in the lake. As the carrying capacity increased, the relative contribution of ODF to HERA remained relatively stable, whereas the dominant mechanism of HERA development shifted from HGT to VGT.

RevDate: 2024-04-19

Xie S, Hamid N, Zhang T, et al (2024)

Unraveling the nexus: Microplastics, antibiotics, and ARGs interactions, threats and control in aquaculture - A review.

Journal of hazardous materials, 471:134324 pii:S0304-3894(24)00903-8 [Epub ahead of print].

In recent years, aquaculture has expanded rapidly to address food scarcity and provides high-quality aquatic products. However, this growth has led to the release of significant effluents, containing emerging contaminants like antibiotics, microplastics (MPs), and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). This study investigated the occurrence and interactions of these pollutants in aquaculture environment. Combined pollutants, such as MPs and coexisting adsorbents, were widespread and could include antibiotics, heavy metals, resistance genes, and pathogens. Elevated levels of chemical pollutants on MPs could lead to the emergence of resistance genes under selective pressure, facilitated by bacterial communities and horizontal gene transfer (HGT). MPs acted as vectors, transferring pollutants into the food web. Various technologies, including membrane technology, coagulation, and advanced oxidation, have been trialed for pollutants removal, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Future research should focus on ecologically friendly treatment technologies for emerging contaminants in aquaculture wastewater. This review provided insights into understanding and addressing newly developing toxins, aiming to develop integrated systems for effective aquaculture wastewater treatment.

RevDate: 2024-04-19

Liu F, Luo Y, Xu T, et al (2024)

Current examining methods and mathematical models of horizontal transfer of antibiotic resistance genes in the environment.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1371388.

The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in the environment has garnered significant attention due to their health risk to human beings. Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is considered as an important way for ARG dissemination. There are four general routes of HGT, including conjugation, transformation, transduction and vesiduction. Selection of appropriate examining methods is crucial for comprehensively understanding characteristics and mechanisms of different HGT ways. Moreover, combined with the results obtained from different experimental methods, mathematical models could be established and serve as a powerful tool for predicting ARG transfer dynamics and frequencies. However, current reviews of HGT for ARG spread mainly focus on its influencing factors and mechanisms, overlooking the important roles of examining methods and models. This review, therefore, delineated four pathways of HGT, summarized the strengths and limitations of current examining methods, and provided a comprehensive summing-up of mathematical models pertaining to three main HGT ways of conjugation, transformation and transduction. Finally, deficiencies in current studies were discussed, and proposed the future perspectives to better understand and assess the risks of ARG dissemination through HGT.

RevDate: 2024-04-19

Nasrollahian S, Graham JP, M Halaji (2024)

A review of the mechanisms that confer antibiotic resistance in pathotypes of E. coli.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 14:1387497.

The dissemination of antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli poses a significant threat to public health worldwide. This review provides a comprehensive update on the diverse mechanisms employed by E. coli in developing resistance to antibiotics. We primarily focus on pathotypes of E. coli (e.g., uropathogenic E. coli) and investigate the genetic determinants and molecular pathways that confer resistance, shedding light on both well-characterized and recently discovered mechanisms. The most prevalent mechanism continues to be the acquisition of resistance genes through horizontal gene transfer, facilitated by mobile genetic elements such as plasmids and transposons. We discuss the role of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and carbapenemases in conferring resistance to β-lactam antibiotics, which remain vital in clinical practice. The review covers the key resistant mechanisms, including: 1) Efflux pumps and porin mutations that mediate resistance to a broad spectrum of antibiotics, including fluoroquinolones and aminoglycosides; 2) adaptive strategies employed by E. coli, including biofilm formation, persister cell formation, and the activation of stress response systems, to withstand antibiotic pressure; and 3) the role of regulatory systems in coordinating resistance mechanisms, providing insights into potential targets for therapeutic interventions. Understanding the intricate network of antibiotic resistance mechanisms in E. coli is crucial for the development of effective strategies to combat this growing public health crisis. By clarifying these mechanisms, we aim to pave the way for the design of innovative therapeutic approaches and the implementation of prudent antibiotic stewardship practices to preserve the efficacy of current antibiotics and ensure a sustainable future for healthcare.

RevDate: 2024-04-16

Sewell HL, Criddle CS, Woo SG, et al (2024)

Pseudomonas stutzeri KC carries the pdt genes for carbon tetrachloride degradation on an integrative and conjugative element.

Microbial physiology pii:000538783 [Epub ahead of print].

Pseudomonas stutzeri KC can rapidly degrade carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) to CO2 by a fortuitous reaction with pyridine-2,6-bis(thiocarboxylic acid), a metal chelator encoded by pdt genes. These genes were first identified after a spontaneous mutant, strain CTN1, lost the ability to degrade CCl4. Here we report the complete genome of strain KC and show that these pdt genes are located on an integrative and conjugative element (ICE), designated ICEPsstKC. Comparative genome analyses revealed homologues of pdt genes in genomes of members of other gammaproteobacterial orders. Discrepancies between the tree topologies of the deduced pdt gene products and the host phylogeny based on 16S rRNA provided evidence for horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in several sequenced strains of these orders. In addition to ICEPsstKC, HGT may be have been facilitated by other mobile genetic elements, as indicated by the location of the pdt gene cluster adjacent to fragments of other ICEs and prophages in several genome assemblies. We could here show that the majority of cells from the culture collection DSMZ had lost the ICE. The presence of the pdt gene cluster on mobile genetic elements has important implications for the bioremediation of CCl4 for bioremediation of CCl4 and needs consideration when selecting suitable strains.

RevDate: 2024-04-15

Sarkar S, Anyaso-Samuel S, Qiu P, et al (2024)

Multiblock partial least squares and rank aggregation: Applications to detection of bacteriophages associated with antimicrobial resistance in the presence of potential confounding factors.

Statistics in medicine [Epub ahead of print].

Urban environments, characterized by bustling mass transit systems and high population density, host a complex web of microorganisms that impact microbial interactions. These urban microbiomes, influenced by diverse demographics and constant human movement, are vital for understanding microbial dynamics. We explore urban metagenomics, utilizing an extensive dataset from the Metagenomics & Metadesign of Subways & Urban Biomes (MetaSUB) consortium, and investigate antimicrobial resistance (AMR) patterns. In this pioneering research, we delve into the role of bacteriophages, or "phages"-viruses that prey on bacteria and can facilitate the exchange of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) through mechanisms like horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Despite their potential significance, existing literature lacks a consensus on their significance in ARG dissemination. We argue that they are an important consideration. We uncover that environmental variables, such as those on climate, demographics, and landscape, can obscure phage-resistome relationships. We adjust for these potential confounders and clarify these relationships across specific and overall antibiotic classes with precision, identifying several key phages. Leveraging machine learning tools and validating findings through clinical literature, we uncover novel associations, adding valuable insights to our comprehension of AMR development.

RevDate: 2024-04-16

Guinet B, Leobold M, Herniou EA, et al (2024)

A novel and diverse family of filamentous DNA viruses associated with parasitic wasps.

Virus evolution, 10(1):veae022.

Large dsDNA viruses from the Naldaviricetes class are currently composed of four viral families infecting insects and/or crustaceans. Since the 1970s, particles described as filamentous viruses (FVs) have been observed by electronic microscopy in several species of Hymenoptera parasitoids but until recently, no genomic data was available. This study provides the first comparative morphological and genomic analysis of these FVs. We analyzed the genomes of seven FVs, six of which were newly obtained, to gain a better understanding of their evolutionary history. We show that these FVs share all genomic features of the Naldaviricetes while encoding five specific core genes that distinguish them from their closest relatives, the Hytrosaviruses. By mining public databases, we show that FVs preferentially infect Hymenoptera with parasitoid lifestyle and that these viruses have been repeatedly integrated into the genome of many insects, particularly Hymenoptera parasitoids, overall suggesting a long-standing specialization of these viruses to parasitic wasps. Finally, we propose a taxonomical revision of the class Naldaviricetes in which FVs related to the Leptopilina boulardi FV constitute a fifth family. We propose to name this new family, Filamentoviridae.

RevDate: 2024-04-15

Lyulina AS, Liu Z, BH Good (2024)

Linkage equilibrium between rare mutations.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.03.28.587282.

Recombination breaks down genetic linkage by reshuffling existing variants onto new genetic backgrounds. These dynamics are traditionally quantified by examining the correlations between alleles, and how they decay as a function of the recombination rate. However, the magnitudes of these correlations are strongly influenced by other evolutionary forces like natural selection and genetic drift, making it difficult to tease out the effects of recombination. Here we introduce a theoretical framework for analyzing an alternative family of statistics that measure the homoplasy produced by recombination. We derive analytical expressions that predict how these statistics depend on the rates of recombination and recurrent mutation, the strength of negative selection and genetic drift, and the present-day frequencies of the mutant alleles. We find that the degree of homoplasy can strongly depend on this frequency scale, which reflects the underlying timescales over which these mutations occurred. We show how these scaling properties can be used to isolate the effects of recombination, and discuss their implications for the rates of horizontal gene transfer in bacteria.

RevDate: 2024-04-14

Fu X, Gao J, Wang Q, et al (2024)

Mechanisms on the removal of gram-negative/positive antibiotic resistant bacteria and inhibition of horizontal gene transfer by ferrate coupled with peroxydisulfate or peroxymonosulfate.

Journal of hazardous materials, 470:134254 pii:S0304-3894(24)00833-1 [Epub ahead of print].

The existence of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) has been a global public environment and health issue. Due to the different cell structures, gram-positive/negative ARB exhibit various inactivation mechanisms in water disinfection. In this study, a gram-negative ARB Escherichia coli DH5α (E. coli DH5α) was used as a horizontal gene transfer (HGT) donor, while a gram-positive ARB Bacillus as a recipient. To develop an efficient and engineering applicable method in water disinfection, ARB and ARGs removal efficiency of Fe(VI) coupled peroxydisulfate (PDS) or peroxymonosulfate (PMS) was compared, wherein hydroxylamine (HA) was added as a reducing agent. The results indicated that Fe(VI)/PMS/HA showed higher disinfection efficiency than Fe(VI)/PDS/HA. When the concentration of each Fe(VI), PMS, HA was 0.48 mM, 5.15 log E. coli DH5α and 3.57 log Bacillus lost cultivability, while the proportion of recovered cells was 0.0017 % and 0.0566 %, respectively, and HGT was blocked. Intracellular tetA was reduced by 2.49 log. Fe(IV) and/or Fe(V) were proved to be the decisive reactive species. Due to the superiority of low cost as well as high efficiency and practicality, Fe(VI)/PMS/HA has significant application potential in ARB, ARGs removal and HGT inhibition, offering a new insight for wastewater treatment.

RevDate: 2024-04-15
CmpDate: 2024-04-15

Quinones-Olvera N, Owen SV, McCully LM, et al (2024)

Diverse and abundant phages exploit conjugative plasmids.

Nature communications, 15(1):3197.

Phages exert profound evolutionary pressure on bacteria by interacting with receptors on the cell surface to initiate infection. While the majority of phages use chromosomally encoded cell surface structures as receptors, plasmid-dependent phages exploit plasmid-encoded conjugation proteins, making their host range dependent on horizontal transfer of the plasmid. Despite their unique biology and biotechnological significance, only a small number of plasmid-dependent phages have been characterized. Here we systematically search for new plasmid-dependent phages targeting IncP and IncF plasmids using a targeted discovery platform, and find that they are common and abundant in wastewater, and largely unexplored in terms of their genetic diversity. Plasmid-dependent phages are enriched in non-canonical types of phages, and all but one of the 65 phages we isolated were non-tailed, and members of the lipid-containing tectiviruses, ssDNA filamentous phages or ssRNA phages. We show that plasmid-dependent tectiviruses exhibit profound differences in their host range which is associated with variation in the phage holin protein. Despite their relatively high abundance in wastewater, plasmid-dependent tectiviruses are missed by metaviromic analyses, underscoring the continued importance of culture-based phage discovery. Finally, we identify a tailed phage dependent on the IncF plasmid, and find related structural genes in phages that use the orthogonal type 4 pilus as a receptor, highlighting the evolutionarily promiscuous use of these distinct contractile structures by multiple groups of phages. Taken together, these results indicate plasmid-dependent phages play an under-appreciated evolutionary role in constraining horizontal gene transfer via conjugative plasmids.

RevDate: 2024-04-12

Xu Z, Hu S, Zhao D, et al (2024)

Molybdenum disulfide nanosheets promote the plasmid-mediated conjugative transfer of antibiotic resistance genes.

Journal of environmental management, 358:120827 pii:S0301-4797(24)00813-2 [Epub ahead of print].

The environmental safety of nanoscale molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) has attracted considerable attention, but its influence on the horizontal migration of antibiotic resistance genes and the ecological risks entailed have not been reported. This study addressed the influence of exposure to MoS2 at different concentrations up to 100 mg/L on the conjugative transfer of antibiotic resistance genes carried by RP4 plasmids with two strains of Escherichia coli. As a result, MoS2 facilitated RP4 plasmid-mediated conjugative transfer in a dose-dependent manner. The conjugation of RP4 plasmids was enhanced as much as 7-fold. The promoting effect is mainly attributable to increased membrane permeability, oxidative stress induced by reactive oxygen species, changes in extracellular polymer secretion and differential expression of the genes involved in horizontal gene transfer. The data highlight the distinct dose dependence of the conjugative transfer of antibiotic resistance genes and the need to improve awareness of the ecological and health risks of nanoscale transition metal dichalcogenides.

RevDate: 2024-04-12

Yi S, Zhou K, X Xu (2024)

Characterization of erm(B)-Carrying Integrative and Conjugative Elements Transferred from Streptococcus anginosus to Other Streptococci and Enterococci.

Microbial drug resistance (Larchmont, N.Y.) [Epub ahead of print].

Integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) are important vectors of lateral gene transfer and contribute to the evolution of bacterial pathogens. However, studies on the transfer among species and the physiological consequences of ICEs are rare. The objective of this study was to investigate the cross-species transferability of newly identified erm(B)-carried ICE in Streptococcus anginosus San95 and its physiological consequences after transfer. The erm(B)-carried ICE, characterized by a triple serine integrase module, integrated into hsdM genes, thus designated ICESan95_hsdM. Analysis of ICESan95_hsdM revealed 32 additional ICESan95-like ICEs in the available NCBI genome (n = 24) and sequence of clinical isolates (n = 8). Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to evaluate the 467 clinical isolates, of which 84 were positive for core genes (integrase, relaxase, and T4SS genes) of ICESan95_hsdM. Cross-species transfer experiments demonstrated that ICESan95_hsdM could transfer from S. anginosus to different streptococcal and enterococcal recipients. Growth and competitive culture assays showed acquisition of ICESan95_hsdM incurred no fitness cost. Our work discovered a group of ICEs in Streptococci and Enterococci. For the first time, we demonstrated the broad cross-species transferability to different species or genera of ICEs with no fitness cost that enables commensal S. anginosus to deliver antimicrobial resistance genes to other streptococci and enterococci.

RevDate: 2024-04-11

Rafiq MS, Shabbir MA, Raza A, et al (2024)

CRISPR-Cas System: A New Dawn to Combat Antibiotic Resistance.

BioDrugs : clinical immunotherapeutics, biopharmaceuticals and gene therapy [Epub ahead of print].

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) can potentially harm global public health. Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), which speeds up the emergence of AMR and increases the burden of drug resistance in mobile genetic elements (MGEs), is the primary method by which AMR genes are transferred across bacterial pathogens. New approaches are urgently needed to halt the spread of bacterial diseases and antibiotic resistance. Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR), an RNA-guided adaptive immune system, protects prokaryotes from foreign DNA like plasmids and phages. This approach may be essential in limiting horizontal gene transfer and halting the spread of antibiotic resistance. The CRISPR-Cas system has been crucial in identifying and understanding resistance mechanisms and developing novel therapeutic approaches. This review article investigates the CRISPR-Cas system's potential as a tool to combat bacterial AMR. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be targeted and eliminated by the CRISPR-Cas system. It has been proven to be an efficient method for removing carbapenem-resistant plasmids and regaining antibiotic susceptibility. The CRISPR-Cas system has enormous potential as a weapon against bacterial AMR. It precisely targets and eliminates antibiotic-resistant bacteria, facilitates resistance mechanism identification, and offers new possibilities in diagnostics and therapeutics.


RJR Experience and Expertise


Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.


Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.


Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.


Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.


While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.


Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.


Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.


Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field—the study of life’s diversity and relatedness at the molecular level—is horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines. It turns out that HGT has been widespread and important; we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived sideways by viral infection—a type of HGT. In The Tangled Tree, “the grandest tale in biology….David Quammen presents the science—and the scientists involved—with patience, candor, and flair” (Nature). We learn about the major players, such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about “mosaic” creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health.

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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