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Stenotrophomonas-Like Bacteria Are Widespread Symbionts in Cone Snail Venom Ducts.
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Stenotrophomonas-Like Bacteria Are Widespread Symbionts in Cone Snail Venom Ducts.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Torres JP, Tianero MD, Robes JMD, Kwan JC, Biggs JS, Concepcion GP, Olivera BM, Haygood MG, Schmidt EW

Abstract
Cone snails are biomedically important sources of peptide drugs, but it is not known whether snail-associated bacteria affect venom chemistry. To begin to answer this question, we performed 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of eight cone snail species, comparing their microbiomes with each other and with those from a variety of other marine invertebrates. We show that the cone snail microbiome is distinct from those in other marine invertebrates and conserved in specimens from around the world, including the Philippines, Guam, California, and Florida. We found that all venom ducts examined contain diverse 16S rRNA gene sequences bearing closest similarity to Stenotrophomonas bacteria. These sequences represent specific symbionts that live in the lumen of the venom duct, where bioactive venom peptides are synthesized.IMPORTANCE In animals, symbiotic bacteria contribute critically to metabolism. Cone snails are renowned for the production of venoms that are used as medicines and as probes for biological study. In principle, symbiotic bacterial metabolism could either degrade or synthesize active venom components, and previous publications show that bacteria do indeed contribute small molecules to some venoms. Therefore, understanding symbiosis in cone snails will contribute to further drug discovery efforts. Here, we describe an unexpected, specific symbiosis between bacteria and cone snails from around the world.

PMID: 28986377 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Expression of a Peptidoglycan Hydrolase from Lytic Bacteriophages Atu_ph02 and Atu_ph03 Triggers Lysis of Agrobacterium tumefaciens.
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Expression of a Peptidoglycan Hydrolase from Lytic Bacteriophages Atu_ph02 and Atu_ph03 Triggers Lysis of Agrobacterium tumefaciens.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Attai H, Rimbey J, Smith GP, Brown PJB

Abstract
To provide food security, innovative approaches to preventing plant disease are currently being explored. Here, we demonstrate that lytic bacteriophages and phage lysis proteins are effective at triggering lysis of the phytopathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens Phages Atu_ph02 and Atu_ph03 were isolated from wastewater and induced lysis of C58-derived strains of A. tumefaciens The coinoculation of A. tumefaciens with phages on potato discs limited tumor formation. The genomes of Atu_ph02 and Atu_ph03 are nearly identical and are ∼42% identical to those of T7 supercluster phages. In silico attempts to find a canonical lysis cassette were unsuccessful; however, we found a putative phage peptidoglycan hydrolase (PPH), which contains a C-terminal transmembrane domain. Remarkably, the endogenous expression of pph in the absence of additional phage genes causes a block in cell division and subsequent lysis of A. tumefaciens cells. When the presumed active site of the N-acetylmuramidase domain carries an inactivating mutation, PPH expression causes extensive cell branching due to a block in cell division but does not trigger rapid cell lysis. In contrast, the mutation of positively charged residues at the extreme C terminus of PPH causes more rapid cell lysis. Together, these results suggest that PPH causes a block in cell division and triggers cell lysis through two distinct activities. Finally, the potent killing activity of this single lysis protein can be modulated, suggesting that it could be engineered to be an effective enzybiotic.IMPORTANCE The characterization of bacteriophages such as Atu_ph02 and Atu_ph03, which infect plant pathogens such as Agrobacterium tumefaciens, may be the basis of new biocontrol strategies. First, cocktails of diverse bacteriophages could be used as a preventative measure to limit plant diseases caused by bacteria; a bacterial pathogen is unlikely to simultaneously develop resistances to multiple bacteriophage species. The specificity of bacteriophage treatment for the host is an asset in complex communities, such as in orchards where it would be detrimental to harm the symbiotic bacteria in the environment. Second, bacteriophages are potential sources of enzymes that efficiently lyse bacterial cells. These phage proteins may have a broad specificity, but since proteins do not replicate as phages do, their effect is highly localized, providing an alternative to traditional antibiotic treatments. Thus, studies of lytic bacteriophages that infect A. tumefaciens may provide insights for designing preventative strategies against bacterial pathogens.

PMID: 28970228 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Environmental Survey of Drinking Water Sources in Kampala, Uganda, during a Typhoid Fever Outbreak.
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Environmental Survey of Drinking Water Sources in Kampala, Uganda, during a Typhoid Fever Outbreak.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Murphy JL, Kahler AM, Nansubuga I, Nanyunja EM, Kaplan B, Jothikumar N, Routh J, Gómez GA, Mintz ED, Hill VR

Abstract
In 2015, a typhoid fever outbreak began in downtown Kampala, Uganda, and spread into adjacent districts. In response, an environmental survey of drinking water source types was conducted in areas of the city with high case numbers. A total of 122 samples was collected from 12 source types and tested for Escherichia coli, free chlorine, and conductivity. An additional 37 grab samples from seven source types and 16 paired large volume (20 liter) samples from wells and springs were also collected and tested for the presence of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Escherichia coli was detected in 60% of kaveras (drinking water sold in plastic bags) and 80% of refilled water bottles; free chlorine was not detected in either source type. Most jerry cans (68%) contained E. coli and had free chlorine residuals below the WHO-recommended level of 0.5 mg/liter during outbreaks. Elevated conductivity readings for kaveras, refilled water bottles, and jerry cans (compared to treated surface water supplied by the water utility) suggested that they likely contained untreated groundwater. All unprotected springs and wells and more than 60% of protected springs contained E. coli Water samples collected from the water utility were found to have acceptable free chlorine levels and no detectable E. coli While S Typhi was not detected in water samples, Salmonella spp. were detected in samples from two unprotected springs, one protected spring, and one refilled water bottle. These data provided clear evidence that unregulated vended water and groundwater represented a risk for typhoid transmission.IMPORTANCE Despite the high incidence of typhoid fever globally, relatively few outbreak investigations incorporate drinking water testing. During waterborne disease outbreaks, measurement of physical-chemical parameters, such as free chlorine residual and electrical conductivity, and of microbiological parameters, such as the presence of E. coli or the implicated etiologic agent, in drinking water samples can identify contaminated sources. This investigation indicated that unregulated vended water and groundwater sources were contaminated and were therefore a risk to consumers during the 2015 typhoid fever outbreak in Kampala. Identification of contaminated drinking water sources and sources that do not contain adequate disinfectant levels can lead to rapid targeted interventions.

PMID: 28970225 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Akinetes May Be Representative of Past Nostocalean Blooms: a Case Study of Their Benthic Spatiotemporal Distribution and Potential for Germination in a Eutrophic Lake.
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Akinetes May Be Representative of Past Nostocalean Blooms: a Case Study of Their Benthic Spatiotemporal Distribution and Potential for Germination in a Eutrophic Lake.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Legrand B, Le Jeune AH, Colombet J, Thouvenot A, Latour D

Abstract
Monitoring of water and surface sediment in a French eutrophic lake (Lake Aydat) was carried out over a 2-year period in order to determine whether akinetes in sediment could be representative of the most recent bloom and to estimate their germination potential. Sediment analysis revealed two akinete species, Dolichospermum macrosporum and Dolichospermumflos-aquae, present in the same proportions as observed for the pelagic populations. Moreover, similar spatial patterns observed for vegetative cells in the water column and akinete distributions in the sediment suggest that akinetes in the sediment may be representative of the previous bloom. However, the relationship between akinetes in the sediment and vegetative cells in the water column was not linear, and other factors may interfere. For example, our results highlighted horizontal transport of akinetes during the winter. The benthic overwinter phase did not seem to influence the percentages of intact akinetes, which remained stable at approximately 7% and 60% for D. macrosporum and D. flos-aquae, respectively. These percentages may thus be the result of processes that occurred in the water column. The intact overwintering akinetes showed germination rates of up to 90% after 72 h for D. flos-aquae or 144 h for D. macrosporum The difference in akinete germination rates between these two species demonstrates different ecological strategies, which serve to expand the window for germination in time and space and thus optimize colonization of the water column by nostocalean cyanobacteria.IMPORTANCE Cyanobacteria have the ability to proliferate and to form blooms. These blooms can then affect the local ecology, health, and economy. The akinete, a resistant cell type that persists in sediment, is an important intermediate phase between previous and future blooms. We monitored the water column and the surface sediment of a French eutrophic lake (Lake Aydat) to investigate the relationship between vegetative cells in the water column and akinetes in the sediment. This study focused on the characterization of spatiotemporal akinete distributions, cellular integrity, and germination potential. Species-specific ecological strategies were highlighted and may partly explain the temporal succession of species in the water column. Akinetes may also be used to understand past nostocalean blooms and to predict future ones.

PMID: 28970224 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Bio-Heat Is a Key Environmental Driver Shaping the Microbial Community of Medium-Temperature Daqu.
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Bio-Heat Is a Key Environmental Driver Shaping the Microbial Community of Medium-Temperature Daqu.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Xiao C, Lu ZM, Zhang XJ, Wang ST, Ao L, Shen CH, Shi JS, Xu ZH

Abstract
"Daqu" is a saccharifying and fermenting agent commonly used in the traditional solid-state fermentation industry (e.g., baijiu and vinegar). The patterns of microbial community succession and flavor formation are highly similar among batches, yet the mechanisms promoting temporal succession in the Daqu microbial ecology remain unclear. Here, we first correlated temporal profiles of microbial community succession with environmental variables (temperature, moisture, and titratable acidity) in medium temperature Daqu (MT-Daqu) throughout fermentation. Temperature dynamics significantly correlated (P < 0.05) with the quick succession of MT-Daqu microbiota in the first 12 d of fermentation, while the community structure was relatively stable after 12 d. Then, we explored the effect of temperature on the MT-Daqu community assembly. In the first 4 d of fermentation, the rapid propagation of most bacterial taxa and several fungal taxa, including Candida, Wickerhamomyces, and unclassified Dipodascaceae and Saccharomycetales species, significantly increased MT-Daqu temperature to 55°C. Subsequently, sustained bio-heat generated by microbial metabolism (53 to 56°C) within MT-Daqu inhibited the growth of most microbes from day 4 to day 12, while thermotolerant taxa, including Bacillus, unclassified Streptophyta, Weissella, Thermoactinomyces, Thermoascus, and Thermomyces survived or kept on growing. Furthermore, temperature as a major driving force on the shaping of MT-Daqu microbiota was validated. Lowering the fermentation temperature by placing the MT-Daqu in a 37°C incubator resulted in decreased relative abundances of thermotolerant taxa, including Bacillus, Thermoactinomyces, and Thermoascus, in the MT-Daqu microbiota. This study revealed that bio-heat functioned as a primary endogenous driver promoting the formation of functional MT-Daqu microbiota.IMPORTANCE Humans have mastered the Daqu preparation technique of cultivating functional microbiota on starchy grains over thousands of years, and it is well known that the metabolic activity of these microbes is key to the flavor production of Chinese baijiu. The pattern of microbial community succession and flavor formation remains highly similar between batches, yet mechanistic insight into these patterns and into microbial population fidelity to specific environmental conditions remains unclear. Our study revealed that bio-heat was generated within Daqu bricks in the first 4 d of fermentation, concomitant with rapid microbial propagation and metabolism. The sustained bio-heat may then function as a major endogenous driving force promoting the formation of the MT-Daqu microbiota from day 4 to day 12. The bio-heat-driven growth of thermotolerant microorganisms might contribute to the formation of flavor metabolites. This study provides useful information for the temperature-based modulation of microbiota function during the fermentation of Daqu.

PMID: 28970223 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Disruption of a Transcriptional Repressor by an Insertion Sequence Element Integration Leads to Activation of a Novel Silent Cellobiose Transporter in Lactococcus lactis MG1363.
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Disruption of a Transcriptional Repressor by an Insertion Sequence Element Integration Leads to Activation of a Novel Silent Cellobiose Transporter in Lactococcus lactis MG1363.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Solopova A, Kok J, Kuipers OP

Abstract
Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris strains typically carry many dairy niche-specific adaptations. During adaptation to the milk environment these former plant strains have acquired various pseudogenes and insertion sequence elements indicative of ongoing genome decay and frequent transposition events in their genomes. Here we describe the reactivation of a silenced plant sugar utilization cluster in an L. lactis MG1363 derivative lacking the two main cellobiose transporters, PtcBA-CelB and PtcBAC, upon applying selection pressure to utilize cellobiose. A disruption of the transcriptional repressor gene llmg_1239 by an insertion sequence (IS) element allows expression of the otherwise silent novel cellobiose transporter Llmg_1244 and leads to growth of mutant strains on cellobiose. Llmg_1239 was labeled CclR, for cellobiose cluster repressor.IMPORTANCE Insertion sequences (ISs) play an important role in the evolution of lactococci and other bacteria. They facilitate DNA rearrangements and are responsible for creation of new genetic variants with selective advantages under certain environmental conditions. L. lactis MG1363 possesses 71 copies in a total of 11 different types of IS elements. This study describes yet another example of an IS-mediated adaptive evolution. An integration of IS981 or IS905 into a gene coding for a transcriptional repressor led to activation of the repressed gene cluster coding for a plant sugar utilization pathway. The expression of the gene cluster allowed assembly of a novel cellobiose-specific transporter and led to cell growth on cellobiose.

PMID: 28970222 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Sorbitol-Fermenting Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H- Isolates from Czech Patients with Novel Plasmid Composition Not Previously Seen in German Isolates.
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Sorbitol-Fermenting Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H- Isolates from Czech Patients with Novel Plasmid Composition Not Previously Seen in German Isolates.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Bauwens A, Marejková M, Middendorf-Bauchart B, Prager R, Kossow A, Zhang W, Karch H, Mellmann A, Bielaszewska M

Abstract
Sorbitol-fermenting (SF) enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H- strains, first identified in Germany, have emerged as important pathogens throughout Europe. Besides chromosomally encoded Shiga toxin 2a (the major virulence factor), several putative virulence loci, including the hly, etp, and sfp operons, encoding EHEC hemolysin, type II secretion system proteins, and Sfp fimbriae, respectively, are located on the 121-kb plasmid pSFO157 in German strains. Here we report novel SF EHEC O157:H- strains isolated from patients in the Czech Republic. These strains share the core genomes and chromosomal virulence loci encoding toxins (stx2a and the cdtV-ABC operon) and adhesins (eae-γ, efa1, lpfAO157OI-141, and lpfAO157OI-154) with German strains but differ essentially in their plasmids. In contrast to all previously detected SF EHEC O157:H- strains, the Czech strains carry two plasmids, of 79 kb and 86 kb. The 79-kb plasmid harbors the sfp operon, but neither of the plasmids contains the hly and etp operons. Sequence analyses demonstrated that the 79-kb plasmid (pSFO157 258/98-1) evolved from pSFO157 of German strains by deletion of a 41,534-bp region via homologous recombination, resulting in loss of the hly and etp operons. The 86-kb plasmid (pSFO157 258/98-2) displays 98% sequence similarity to a 92.7-kb plasmid of an extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli bloodstream isolate. Our finding of this novel plasmid composition in SF EHEC O157:H- strains extends the evolutionary history of EHEC O157 plasmids. Moreover, the unique molecular plasmid characteristics permit the identification of such strains, thereby facilitating further investigations of their geographic distribution, clinical significance, and epidemiology.IMPORTANCE Since their first identification in Germany in 1989, sorbitol-fermenting enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H- (nonmotile) strains have emerged as important causes of the life-threatening disease hemolytic-uremic syndrome in Europe. They account for 10 to 20% of sporadic cases of this disease and have caused several large outbreaks. The strains isolated throughout Europe share conserved chromosomal and plasmid characteristics. Here we identified novel sorbitol-fermenting enterohemorrhagic E. coli O157:H- patient isolates in the Czech Republic which differ from all such strains reported previously by their unique plasmid characteristics, including plasmid number, composition of plasmid-carried virulence genes, and plasmid origins. Our findings contribute substantially to understanding the evolution of E. coli O157 strains and their plasmids. In practical terms, they enable the identification of strains with these novel plasmid characteristics in patient stool samples and thus the investigation of their roles as human pathogens in other geographic areas.

PMID: 28970221 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Ectomycorrhizal Fungal Communities in Urban Parks Are Similar to Those in Natural Forests but Shaped by Vegetation and Park Age.
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Ectomycorrhizal Fungal Communities in Urban Parks Are Similar to Those in Natural Forests but Shaped by Vegetation and Park Age.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Hui N, Liu X, Kotze DJ, Jumpponen A, Francini G, Setälä H

Abstract
Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi are important mutualists for the growth and health of most boreal trees. Forest age and its host species composition can impact the composition of ECM fungal communities. Although plentiful empirical data exist for forested environments, the effects of established vegetation and its successional trajectories on ECM fungi in urban greenspaces remain poorly understood. We analyzed ECM fungi in 5 control forests and 41 urban parks of two plant functional groups (conifer and broadleaf trees) and in three age categories (10, ∼50, and >100 years old) in southern Finland. Our results show that although ECM fungal richness was marginally greater in forests than in urban parks, urban parks still hosted rich and diverse ECM fungal communities. ECM fungal community composition differed between the two habitats but was driven by taxon rank order reordering, as key ECM fungal taxa remained largely the same. In parks, the ECM communities differed between conifer and broadleaf trees. The successional trajectories of ECM fungi, as inferred in relation to the time since park construction, differed among the conifers and broadleaf trees: the ECM fungal communities changed over time under the conifers, whereas communities under broadleaf trees provided no evidence for such age-related effects. Our data show that plant-ECM fungus interactions in urban parks, in spite of being constructed environments, are surprisingly similar in richness to those in natural forests. This suggests that the presence of host trees, rather than soil characteristics or even disturbance regime of the system, determine ECM fungal community structure and diversity.IMPORTANCE In urban environments, soil and trees improve environmental quality and provide essential ecosystem services. ECM fungi enhance plant growth and performance, increasing plant nutrient acquisition and protecting plants against toxic compounds. Recent evidence indicates that soil-inhabiting fungal communities, including ECM and saprotrophic fungi, in urban parks are affected by plant functional type and park age. However, ECM fungal diversity and its responses to urban stress, plant functional type, or park age remain unknown. The significance of our study is in identifying, in greater detail, the responses of ECM fungi in the rhizospheres of conifer and broadleaf trees in urban parks. This will greatly enhance our knowledge of ECM fungal communities under urban stresses, and the findings can be utilized by urban planners to improve urban ecosystem services.

PMID: 28970220 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Transmission of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus to Human Volunteers Visiting a Swine Farm.
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Transmission of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus to Human Volunteers Visiting a Swine Farm.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Angen Ø, Feld L, Larsen J, Rostgaard K, Skov R, Madsen AM, Larsen AR

Abstract
Transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from animals to humans is of great concern due to the implications for human health and the health care system. The objective was to investigate the frequency and duration of MRSA carriage in human volunteers after a short-term exposure in a swine farm. The experimental study included 34 human volunteers staying 1 h in a MRSA-positive swine farm in four trials. In two of the trials, the influence of farm work involving pig contact was studied using a crossover design. The quantities of MRSA in nasal swabs, throat swabs, and air samples were measured at different time points and analyzed in relation to relevant covariates. This investigation showed that, overall, 94% of the volunteers acquired MRSA during the farm visit. Two hours after the volunteers left the stable, the nasal MRSA count had declined to unquantifiable levels in 95% of the samples. After 48 h, 94% of the volunteers were MRSA-negative. Nasal MRSA carriage was positively correlated to personal exposure to airborne MRSA and farm work involving pig contact and negatively correlated to smoking. No association was observed between MRSA carriage and face touching behavior, nasal methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) carriage, age, or gender. The increase in human MRSA carriage among the volunteers with pig contact seems to be dependent on the increased concentration of airborne MRSA of the surrounding air and not directly on physical contact with pigs. MRSA was not detected in any of the throat samples.IMPORTANCE The experimental approach made it possible to elucidate the contributions of airborne MRSA levels and farm work to nasal MRSA carriage in a swine farm. Short-term exposure to airborne MRSA poses a substantial risk for farm visitors to become nasal carriers, but the carriage is typically cleared within hours to a few days. The risk for short-term visitors to cause secondary transmissions of MRSA is most likely negligible due to the observed decline to unquantifiable levels in 95% of the nasal samples after only 2 h. The MRSA load in the nose was highly correlated to the amount of MRSA in the air and interventions to reduce the level of airborne MRSA or the use of face masks might consequently reduce nasal contamination.

PMID: 28970219 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




The Type IX Secretion System Is Required for Virulence of the Fish Pathogen Flavobacterium columnare.
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The Type IX Secretion System Is Required for Virulence of the Fish Pathogen Flavobacterium columnare.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Li N, Zhu Y, LaFrentz BR, Evenhuis JP, Hunnicutt DW, Conrad RA, Barbier P, Gullstrand CW, Roets JE, Powers JL, Kulkarni SS, Erbes DH, García JC, Nie P, McBride MJ

Abstract
Flavobacterium columnare, a member of the phylum Bacteroidetes, causes columnaris disease in wild and aquaculture-reared freshwater fish. The mechanisms responsible for columnaris disease are not known. Many members of the phylum Bacteroidetes use type IX secretion systems (T9SSs) to secrete enzymes, adhesins, and proteins involved in gliding motility. The F. columnare genome has all of the genes needed to encode a T9SS. gldN, which encodes a core component of the T9SS, was deleted in wild-type strains of F. columnare The F. columnare ΔgldN mutants were deficient in the secretion of several extracellular proteins and lacked gliding motility. The ΔgldN mutants exhibited reduced virulence in zebrafish, channel catfish, and rainbow trout, and complementation restored virulence. PorV is required for the secretion of a subset of proteins targeted to the T9SS. An F. columnare ΔporV mutant retained gliding motility but exhibited reduced virulence. Cell-free spent media from exponentially growing cultures of wild-type and complemented strains caused rapid mortality, but spent media from ΔgldN and ΔporV mutants did not, suggesting that soluble toxins are secreted by the T9SS.IMPORTANCE Columnaris disease, caused by F. columnare, is a major problem for freshwater aquaculture. Little is known regarding the virulence factors produced by F. columnare, and control measures are limited. Analysis of targeted gene deletion mutants revealed the importance of the type IX protein secretion system (T9SS) and of secreted toxins in F. columnare virulence. T9SSs are common in members of the phylum Bacteroidetes and likely contribute to the virulence of other animal and human pathogens.

PMID: 28939608 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




A Distinctive and Host-Restricted Gut Microbiota in Populations of a Cactophilic Drosophila Species.
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A Distinctive and Host-Restricted Gut Microbiota in Populations of a Cactophilic Drosophila Species.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Martinson VG, Carpinteyro-Ponce J, Moran NA, Markow TA

Abstract
Almost all animals possess gut microbial communities, but the nature of these communities varies immensely. For example, in social bees and mammals, the composition is relatively constant within species and is dominated by specialist bacteria that do not live elsewhere; in laboratory studies and field surveys of Drosophila melanogaster, however, gut communities consist of bacteria that are ingested with food and that vary widely among individuals and localities. We addressed whether an ecological specialist in its natural habitat has a microbiota dominated by gut specialists or by environmental bacteria. Drosophila nigrospiracula is a species that is endemic to the Sonoran Desert and is restricted to decaying tissues of two giant columnar cacti, Pachycereus pringlei (cardón cactus) and Carnegiea gigantea (saguaro cactus). We found that the D. nigrospiracula microbiota differs strikingly from that of the cactus tissue on which the flies feed. The most abundant bacteria in the flies are rare or completely absent in the cactus tissue and are consistently abundant in flies from different cacti and localities. Several of these fly-associated bacterial groups, such as the bacterial order Orbales and the genera Serpens and Dysgonomonas, have been identified in prior surveys of insects from the orders Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, and Diptera, including several Drosophila species. Although the functions of these bacterial groups are mostly unexplored, Orbales species studied in bees are known to break down plant polysaccharides and use the resulting sugars. Thus, these bacterial groups appear to be specialized to the insect gut environment, where they may colonize through direct host-to-host transmission in natural settings.IMPORTANCE Flies in the genus Drosophila have become laboratory models for microbiota research, yet the bacteria commonly used in these experiments are rarely found in wild-caught flies and instead represent bacteria also present in the food. This study shows that an ecologically specialized Drosophila species possesses a distinctive microbiome, composed of bacterial types absent from the flies' natural food but widespread in other wild-caught insects. This study highlights the importance of fieldwork-informed microbiota research.

PMID: 28939605 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Genetic Diversity of Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus during In Vivo Coinfection Parallels Viral Replication and Arises from Recombination Hot Spots within the Genome.
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Genetic Diversity of Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus during In Vivo Coinfection Parallels Viral Replication and Arises from Recombination Hot Spots within the Genome.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Loncoman CA, Hartley CA, Coppo MJC, Vaz PK, Diaz-Méndez A, Browning GF, García M, Spatz S, Devlin JM

Abstract
Recombination is a feature of many alphaherpesviruses that infect people and animals. Infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV; Gallid alphaherpesvirus 1) causes respiratory disease in chickens, resulting in significant production losses in poultry industries worldwide. Natural (field) ILTV recombination is widespread, particularly recombination between attenuated ILTV vaccine strains to create virulent viruses. These virulent recombinants have had a major impact on animal health. Recently, the development of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping assay for ILTV has helped to understand ILTV recombination in laboratory settings. In this study, we applied this SNP genotyping assay to further examine ILTV recombination in the natural host. Following coinoculation of specific-pathogen-free chickens, we examined the resultant progeny for evidence of viral recombination and characterized the diversity of the recombinants over time. The results showed that ILTV replication and recombination are closely related and that the recombinant viral progeny are most diverse 4 days after coinoculation, which is the peak of viral replication. Further, the locations of recombination breakpoints in a selection of the recombinant progeny, and in field isolates of ILTV from different geographical regions, were examined following full-genome sequencing and used to identify recombination hot spots in the ILTV genome.IMPORTANCE Alphaherpesviruses are common causes of disease in people and animals. Recombination enables genome diversification in many different species of alphaherpesviruses, which can lead to the evolution of higher levels of viral virulence. Using the alphaherpesvirus infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV), we performed coinfections in the natural host (chickens) to demonstrate high levels of virus recombination. Higher levels of diversity in the recombinant progeny coincided with the highest levels of virus replication. In the recombinant progeny, and in field isolates, recombination occurred at greater frequency in recombination hot spot regions of the virus genome. Our results suggest that control measures that aim to limit viral replication could offer the potential to limit virus recombination and thus the evolution of virulence. The development and use of vaccines that are focused on limiting virus replication, rather than vaccines that are focused more on limiting clinical disease, may be indicated in order to better control disease.

PMID: 28939604 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




A Novel Aerobic Degradation Pathway for Thiobencarb Is Initiated by the TmoAB Two-Component Flavin Mononucleotide-Dependent Monooxygenase System in Acidovorax sp. Strain T1.
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A Novel Aerobic Degradation Pathway for Thiobencarb Is Initiated by the TmoAB Two-Component Flavin Mononucleotide-Dependent Monooxygenase System in Acidovorax sp. Strain T1.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Chu CW, Liu B, Li N, Yao SG, Cheng D, Zhao JD, Qiu JG, Yan X, He Q, He J

Abstract
Thiobencarb is a thiocarbamate herbicide used in rice paddies worldwide. Microbial degradation plays a crucial role in the dissipation of thiobencarb in the environment. However, the physiological and genetic mechanisms underlying thiobencarb degradation remain unknown. In this study, a novel thiobencarb degradation pathway was proposed in Acidovorax sp. strain T1. Thiobencarb was oxidized and cleaved at the C-S bond, generating diethylcarbamothioic S-acid and 4-chlorobenzaldehyde (4CDA). 4CDA was then oxidized to 4-chlorobenzoic acid (4CBA) and hydrolytically dechlorinated to 4-hydroxybenzoic acid (4HBA). The identification of catabolic genes suggested further hydroxylation to protocatechuic acid (PCA) and finally degradation through the protocatechuate 4,5-dioxygenase pathway. A novel two-component monooxygenase system identified in the strain, TmoAB, was responsible for the initial catabolic reaction. TmoA shared 28 to 32% identity with the oxygenase components of pyrimidine monooxygenase from Agrobacterium fabrum, alkanesulfonate monooxygenase from Pseudomonas savastanoi, and dibenzothiophene monooxygenase from Rhodococcus sp. TmoB shared 25 to 37% identity with reported flavin reductases and oxidized NADH but not NADPH. TmoAB is a flavin mononucleotide (FMN)-dependent monooxygenase and catalyzed the C-S bond cleavage of thiobencarb. Introduction of tmoAB into cells of the thiobencarb degradation-deficient mutant T1m restored its ability to degrade and utilize thiobencarb. A dehydrogenase gene, tmoC, was located 7,129 bp downstream of tmoAB, and its transcription was clearly induced by thiobencarb. The purified TmoC catalyzed the dehydrogenation of 4CDA to 4CBA using NAD+ as a cofactor. A gene cluster responsible for the complete 4CBA metabolic pathway was also cloned, and its involvement in thiobencarb degradation was preliminarily verified by transcriptional analysis.IMPORTANCE Microbial degradation is the main factor in thiobencarb dissipation in soil. In previous studies, thiobencarb was degraded initially via N-deethylation, sulfoxidation, hydroxylation, and dechlorination. However, enzymes and genes involved in the microbial degradation of thiobencarb have not been studied. This study revealed a new thiobencarb degradation pathway in Acidovorax sp. strain T1 and identified a novel two-component FMN-dependent monooxygenase system, TmoAB. Under TmoAB-mediated catalysis, thiobencarb was cleaved at the C-S bond, producing diethylcarbamothioic S-acid and 4CDA. Furthermore, the downstream degradation pathway of thiobencarb was proposed. Our study provides the physiological, biochemical, and genetic foundation of thiobencarb degradation in this microorganism.

PMID: 28939603 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




A Lytic Providencia rettgeri Virus of Potential Therapeutic Value Is a Deep-Branching Member of the T5virus Genus.
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A Lytic Providencia rettgeri Virus of Potential Therapeutic Value Is a Deep-Branching Member of the T5virus Genus.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Oliveira H, Pinto G, Hendrix H, Noben JP, Gawor J, Kropinski AM, Łobocka M, Lavigne R, Azeredo J

Abstract
Providencia rettgeri is emerging as a new opportunistic pathogen with high antibiotic resistance. The need to find alternative methods to control antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the recent advances in phage therapy motivate the search for new phages able to infect Providencia spp. This study describes the isolation and characterization of an obligatory lytic phage, vB_PreS_PR1 (PR1), with therapeutic potential against drug-resistant P. rettgeri PR1 is a siphovirus. Its virion DNA size (118,537 bp), transcriptional organization, terminal repeats (10,461 bp), and nicks in the 3'-to-5' strand are similar to those of phage T5. However, sequence similarities of PR1 to phages of the T5virus genus at the DNA and protein levels are limited, suggesting that it belongs to a new species within the Siphoviridae family. PR1 exhibits the ability to kill P. rettgeri antibiotic-resistant strains, is highly specific to the species, and did not present known genomic markers indicating a temperate lifestyle. The lack of homologies between its proteins and proteins of the only other sequenced Providencia prophage, Redjac, suggests that these two phages evolved separately and may target different host proteins.IMPORTANCE The alarming increase in the number of bacteria resistant to antibiotics has been observed worldwide. This is particularly true for Gram-negative bacteria. For certain of their strains, no effective antibiotics are available. Providencia sp. has been a neglected pathogen but is emerging as a multidrug-resistant bacterium. This has revived interest in bacteriophages as alternative therapeutic agents against this bacterium. We describe the morphological, physiological, and genomic characterization of a novel lytic virus, PR1, which is able to kill drug-resistant P. rettgeri clinical isolates. Genomic and phylogenetic analyses indicate that PR1 is a distant relative of T5virus genus representatives. The lack of known virulence- or temperate lifestyle-associated genes in the genome of PR1 makes this phage a potential candidate for therapeutic use. Analysis of its genome also improves our knowledge of the ecology and diversity of T5-like siphoviruses, providing a new link for evolutionary studies of this phage group.

PMID: 28939601 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Evaluation of Chlorine Treatment Levels for Inactivation of Human Norovirus and MS2 Bacteriophage during Sewage Treatment.
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Evaluation of Chlorine Treatment Levels for Inactivation of Human Norovirus and MS2 Bacteriophage during Sewage Treatment.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Kingsley DH, Fay JP, Calci K, Pouillot R, Woods J, Chen H, Niemira BA, Van Doren JM

Abstract
This study examined the inactivation of human norovirus (HuNoV) GI.1 and GII.4 by chlorine under conditions mimicking sewage treatment. Using a porcine gastric mucin-magnetic bead (PGM-MB) assay, no statistically significant loss in HuNoV binding (inactivation) was observed for secondary effluent treatments of ≤25 ppm total chlorine; for both strains, 50 and 100 ppm treatments resulted in ≤0.8-log10 unit and ≥3.9-log10 unit reductions, respectively. Treatments of 10, 25, 50, and 100 ppm chlorine inactivated 0.31, 1.35, >5, and >5 log10 units, respectively, of the norovirus indicator MS2 bacteriophage. Evaluation of treatment time indicated that the vast majority of MS2 and HuNoV inactivation occurred in the first 5 min for 0.2-μm-filtered, prechlorinated secondary effluent. Free chlorine measurements of secondary effluent seeded with MS2 and HuNoV demonstrated substantial oxidative burdens. With 25, 50, and 100 ppm treatments, free chlorine levels after 5 min of exposure ranged from 0.21 to 0.58 ppm, from 0.28 to 16.7 ppm, and from 11.6 to 53 ppm, respectively. At chlorine treatment levels of >50 ppm, statistically significant differences were observed between reductions for PGM-MB-bound HuNoV (potentially infectious) particles and those for unbound (noninfectious) HuNoV particles or total norovirus particles. While results suggested that MS2 and HuNoV (measured as PGM-MB binding) behave similarly, although not identically, both have limited susceptibility to chlorine treatments of ≤25 ppm total chlorine. Since sewage treatment is performed at ≤25 ppm total chlorine, targeting free chlorine levels of 0.5 to 1.0 ppm, these results suggest that traditional chlorine-based sewage treatment does not inactivate HuNoV efficiently.IMPORTANCE HuNoV is ubiquitous in sewage. A receptor binding assay was used to assess inactivation of HuNoV by chlorine-based sewage treatment, given that the virus cannot be routinely propagated in vitro Results reported here indicate that chlorine treatment of sewage is not effective for inactivating HuNoV unless chlorine levels are above those routinely used for sewage treatment.

PMID: 28939600 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Depth Distribution and Assembly of Sulfate-Reducing Microbial Communities in Marine Sediments of Aarhus Bay.
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Depth Distribution and Assembly of Sulfate-Reducing Microbial Communities in Marine Sediments of Aarhus Bay.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Jochum LM, Chen X, Lever MA, Loy A, Jørgensen BB, Schramm A, Kjeldsen KU

Abstract
Most sulfate-reducing microorganisms (SRMs) present in subsurface marine sediments belong to uncultured groups only distantly related to known SRMs, and it remains unclear how changing geochemical zones and sediment depth influence their community structure. We mapped the community composition and abundance of SRMs by amplicon sequencing and quantifying the dsrB gene, which encodes dissimilatory sulfite reductase subunit beta, in sediment samples covering different vertical geochemical zones ranging from the surface sediment to the deep sulfate-depleted subsurface at four locations in Aarhus Bay, Denmark. SRMs were present in all geochemical zones, including sulfate-depleted methanogenic sediment. The biggest shift in SRM community composition and abundance occurred across the transition from bioturbated surface sediments to nonbioturbated sediments below, where redox fluctuations and the input of fresh organic matter due to macrofaunal activity are absent. SRM abundance correlated with sulfate reduction rates determined for the same sediments. Sulfate availability showed a weaker correlation with SRM abundances and no significant correlation with the composition of the SRM community. The overall SRM species diversity decreased with depth, yet we identified a subset of highly abundant community members that persists across all vertical geochemical zones of all stations. We conclude that subsurface SRM communities assemble by the persistence of members of the surface community and that the transition from the bioturbated surface sediment to the unmixed sediment below is a main site of assembly of the subsurface SRM community.IMPORTANCE Sulfate-reducing microorganisms (SRMs) are key players in the marine carbon and sulfur cycles, especially in coastal sediments, yet little is understood about the environmental factors controlling their depth distribution. Our results suggest that macrofaunal activity is a key driver of SRM abundance and community structure in marine sediments and that a small subset of SRM species of high relative abundance in the subsurface SRM community persists from the sulfate-rich surface sediment to sulfate-depleted methanogenic subsurface sediment. More generally, we conclude that SRM communities inhabiting the subsurface seabed assemble by the selective survival of members of the surface community.

PMID: 28939599 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Biochemical Characteristics and Variable Alginate-Degrading Modes of a Novel Bifunctional Endolytic Alginate Lyase.
Related Articles Biochemical Characteristics and Variable Alginate-Degrading Modes of a Novel Bifunctional Endolytic Alginate Lyase. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23): Authors: Cheng Y, Wang D, Gu J, Li J, Liu H, Li F, Han W Abstract Bifunctional alginate lyases can efficiently degrade alginate comprised of mannuronate (M) and guluronate (G), but their substrate-degrading modes have not been thoroughly elucidated to date. In this study, we present Aly1 as a novel bifunctional endolytic alginate lyase of the genus Flammeovirga The recombinant enzyme showed optimal activity at 50°C and pH 6.0. The enzyme produced unsaturated disaccharide (UDP2) and trisaccharide fractions as the final main alginate digests. Primary substrate preference tests and further structure identification of various size-defined final oligosaccharide products demonstrated that Aly1 is a bifunctional alginate lyase and prefers G to M. Tetrasaccharide-size fractions are the smallest substrates, and M, G, and UDP2 fractions are the minimal product types. Remarkably, Aly1 can vary its substrate-degrading modes in accordance with the terminus types, molecular sizes, and M/G contents of alginate substrates, producing a series of small size-defined saturated oligosaccharide products from the nonreducing ends of single or different saturated sugar chains and yielding unsaturated products in distinct but restricted patterns. The action mode changes can be partially inhibited by fluorescent labeling at the reducing ends of oligosaccharide substrates. Deletion of the noncatalytic region (NCR) of Aly1 caused weak changes of biochemical characteristics but increased the degradation proportions of small size-defined saturated M-enriched oligosaccharide substrates and unsaturated tetrasaccharide fractions without any size changes of degradable oligosaccharides, thereby enhancing the M preference and enzyme activity. Therefore, our results provided insight into the variable action mode of a novel bifunctional endolytic alginate lyase to inform accurate enzyme use.IMPORTANCE The elucidated endolytic alginate lyases usually degrade substrates into various size-defined unsaturated oligosaccharide products (≥UDP2), and exolytic enzymes yield primarily unsaturated monosaccharide products. However, it is poorly understood whether endolytic enzymes can produce monosaccharide product types when degrading alginate. In this study, we demonstrated that Aly1, a bifunctional alginate lyase of Flammeovirga sp. strain MY04, is endolytic and monosaccharide producing. Using various sugar chains as testing substrates, we also proved that key factors causing Aly1's action mode changes are the terminus types, molecular sizes, and M/G contents of substrates. Furthermore, the NCR fragment's effects on Aly1's biochemical characteristics and alginate-degrading modes and corresponding mechanisms were discovered by gene truncation and enzyme comparison. In summary, this study provides a novel bifunctional endolytic tool and a variable action mode for accurate use in alginate degradation. PMID: 28939598 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Cytoplasmic Localization of Sulfide:Quinone Oxidoreductase and Persulfide Dioxygenase of Cupriavidus pinatubonensis JMP134.
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Cytoplasmic Localization of Sulfide:Quinone Oxidoreductase and Persulfide Dioxygenase of Cupriavidus pinatubonensis JMP134.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Dec 01;83(23):

Authors: Gao R, Liu H, Xun L

Abstract
Heterotrophic bacteria have recently been reported to oxidize sulfide to sulfite and thiosulfate by using sulfide:quinone oxidoreductase (SQR) and persulfide dioxygenase (PDO). In chemolithotrophic bacteria, both SQR and PDO have been reported to function in the periplasmic space, with SQR as a peripheral membrane protein whose C terminus inserts into the cytoplasmic membrane and PDO as a soluble protein. Cupriavidus pinatubonensis JMP134, best known for its ability to degrade 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and other aromatic pollutants, has a gene cluster of sqr and pdo encoding C. pinatubonensis SQR (CpSQR) and CpPDO2. When cloned in Escherichia coli, the enzymes are functional. Here we investigated whether they function in the periplasmic space or in the cytoplasm in heterotrophic bacteria. By using sequence analysis, biochemical detection, and green fluorescent protein (GFP)/PhoA fusion proteins, we found that CpSQR was located on the cytoplasmic side of the membrane and CpPDO2 was a soluble protein in the cytoplasm with a tendency to be peripherally located near the membrane. The location proximity of these proteins near the membrane in the cytoplasm may facilitate sulfide oxidation in heterotrophic bacteria. The information may guide the use of heterotrophic bacteria in bioremediation of organic pollutants as well as H2S.IMPORTANCE Sulfide (H2S, HS-, and S2-), which is common in natural gas and wastewater, causes a serious malodor at low levels and is deadly at high levels. Microbial oxidation of sulfide is a valid bioremediation method, in which chemolithotrophic bacteria that use sulfide as the energy source are often used to remove sulfide. Heterotrophic bacteria with SQR and PDO have recently been reported to oxidize sulfide to sulfite and thiosulfate. Cupriavidus pinatubonensis JMP134 has been extensively characterized for its ability to degrade organic pollutants, and it also contains SQR and PDO. This paper shows the localization of SQR and PDO inside the cytoplasm in the vicinity of the membrane. The information may provide guidance for using heterotrophic bacteria in sulfide bioremediation.

PMID: 28939597 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Omics Analyses of Trichoderma reesei CBS999.97 and QM6a Indicate the Relevance of Female Fertility to Carbohydrate-Active Enzyme and Transporter Levels.
Related Articles Omics Analyses of Trichoderma reesei CBS999.97 and QM6a Indicate the Relevance of Female Fertility to Carbohydrate-Active Enzyme and Transporter Levels. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22): Authors: Tisch D, Pomraning KR, Collett JR, Freitag M, Baker SE, Chen CL, Hsu PW, Chuang YC, Schuster A, Dattenböck C, Stappler E, Sulyok M, Böhmdorfer S, Oberlerchner J, Wang TF, Schmoll M Abstract The filamentous fungus Trichoderma reesei is found predominantly in the tropics but also in more temperate regions, such as Europe, and is widely known as a producer of large amounts of plant cell wall-degrading enzymes. We sequenced the genome of the sexually competent isolate CBS999.97, which is phenotypically different from the female sterile strain QM6a but can cross sexually with QM6a. Transcriptome data for growth on cellulose showed that entire carbohydrate-active enzyme (CAZyme) families are consistently differentially regulated between these strains. We evaluated backcrossed strains of both mating types, which acquired female fertility from CBS999.97 but maintained a mostly QM6a genetic background, and we could thereby distinguish between the effects of strain background and female fertility or mating type. We found clear regulatory differences associated with female fertility and female sterility, including regulation of CAZyme and transporter genes. Analysis of carbon source utilization, transcriptomes, and secondary metabolites in these strains revealed that only a few changes in gene regulation are consistently correlated with different mating types. Different strain backgrounds (QM6a versus CBS999.97) resulted in the most significant alterations in the transcriptomes and in carbon source utilization, with decreased growth of CBS999.97 on several amino acids (for example proline or alanine), which further correlated with the downregulation of genes involved in the respective pathways. In combination, our findings support a role of fertility-associated processes in physiology and gene regulation and are of high relevance for the use of sexual crossing in combining the characteristics of two compatible strains or quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis.IMPORTANCETrichoderma reesei is a filamentous fungus with a high potential for secretion of plant cell wall-degrading enzymes. We sequenced the genome of the fully fertile field isolate CBS999.97 and analyzed its gene regulation characteristics in comparison with the commonly used laboratory wild-type strain QM6a, which is not female fertile. Additionally, we also evaluated fully fertile strains with genotypes very close to that of QM6a in order to distinguish between strain-specific and fertility-specific characteristics. We found that QM6a and CBS999.97 clearly differ in their growth patterns on different carbon sources, CAZyme gene regulation, and secondary metabolism. Importantly, we found altered regulation of 90 genes associated with female fertility, including CAZyme genes and transporter genes, but only minor mating type-dependent differences. Hence, when using sexual crossing in research and for strain improvement, it is important to consider female fertile and female sterile strains for comparison with QM6a and to achieve optimal performance. PMID: 28916559 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Potential of Rice Stubble as a Reservoir of Bradyrhizobial Inoculum in Rice-Legume Crop Rotation.
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Potential of Rice Stubble as a Reservoir of Bradyrhizobial Inoculum in Rice-Legume Crop Rotation.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22):

Authors: Piromyou P, Greetatorn T, Teamtisong K, Tittabutr P, Boonkerd N, Teaumroong N

Abstract
Bradyrhizobium encompasses a variety of bacteria that can live in symbiotic and endophytic associations with leguminous and nonleguminous plants, such as rice. Therefore, it can be expected that rice endophytic bradyrhizobia can be applied in the rice-legume crop rotation system. Some endophytic bradyrhizobial strains were isolated from rice (Oryza sativa L.) tissues. The rice biomass could be enhanced when supplementing bradyrhizobial strain inoculation with KNO3, NH4NO3, or urea, especially in Bradyrhizobium sp. strain SUTN9-2. In contrast, the strains which suppressed rice growth were photosynthetic bradyrhizobia and were found to produce nitric oxide (NO) in the rice root. The expression of genes involved in NO production was conducted using a quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) technique. The nirK gene expression level in Bradyrhizobium sp. strain SUT-PR48 with nitrate was higher than that of the norB gene. In contrast, the inoculation of SUTN9-2 resulted in a lower expression of the nirK gene than that of the norB gene. These results suggest that SUT-PR48 may accumulate NO more than SUTN9-2 does. Furthermore, the nifH expression of SUTN9-2 was induced in treatment without nitrogen supplementation in an endophytic association with rice. The indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and 1-amino-cyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) deaminase produced in planta by SUTN9-2 were also detected. Enumeration of rice endophytic bradyrhizobia from rice tissues revealed that SUTN9-2 persisted in rice tissues until rice-harvesting season. The mung bean (Vigna radiata) can be nodulated after rice stubbles were decomposed. Therefore, it is possible that rice stubbles can be used as an inoculum in the rice-legume crop rotation system under both low- and high-organic-matter soil conditions.IMPORTANCE This study shows that some rice endophytic bradyrhizobia could produce IAA and ACC deaminase and have a nitrogen fixation ability during symbiosis inside rice tissues. These characteristics may play an important role in rice growth promotion by endophytic bradyrhizobia. However, the NO-producing strains should be of concern due to a possible deleterious effect of NO on rice growth. In addition, this study reports the application of endophytic bradyrhizobia in rice stubbles, and the rice stubbles were used directly as an inoculum for a leguminous plant (mung bean). The degradation of rice stubbles leads to an increased number of SUTN9-2 in the soil and may result in increased mung bean nodulation. Therefore, the persistence of endophytic bradyrhizobia in rice tissues can be developed to use rice stubbles as an inoculum for mung bean in a rice-legume crop rotation system.

PMID: 28916558 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Acyl-Homoserine Lactone Production in Nitrifying Bacteria of the Genera Nitrosospira, Nitrobacter, and Nitrospira Identified via a Survey of Putative Quorum-Sensing Genes.
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Acyl-Homoserine Lactone Production in Nitrifying Bacteria of the Genera Nitrosospira, Nitrobacter, and Nitrospira Identified via a Survey of Putative Quorum-Sensing Genes.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22):

Authors: Mellbye BL, Spieck E, Bottomley PJ, Sayavedra-Soto LA

Abstract
The genomes of many bacteria that participate in nitrogen cycling through the process of nitrification contain putative genes associated with acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) quorum sensing (QS). AHL QS or bacterial cell-cell signaling is a method of bacterial communication and gene regulation and may be involved in nitrogen oxide fluxes or other important phenotypes in nitrifying bacteria. Here, we carried out a broad survey of AHL production in nitrifying bacteria in three steps. First, we analyzed the evolutionary history of AHL synthase and AHL receptor homologs in sequenced genomes and metagenomes of nitrifying bacteria to identify AHL synthase homologs in ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) of the genus Nitrosospira and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) of the genera Nitrococcus, Nitrobacter, and Nitrospira Next, we screened cultures of both AOB and NOB with uncharacterized AHL synthase genes and AHL synthase-negative nitrifiers by a bioassay. Our results suggest that an AHL synthase gene is required for, but does not guarantee, cell density-dependent AHL production under the conditions tested. Finally, we utilized mass spectrometry to identify the AHLs produced by the AOB Nitrosospira multiformis and Nitrosospira briensis and the NOB Nitrobacter vulgaris and Nitrospira moscoviensis as N-decanoyl-l-homoserine lactone (C10-HSL), N-3-hydroxy-tetradecanoyl-l-homoserine lactone (3-OH-C14-HSL), a monounsaturated AHL (C10:1-HSL), and N-octanoyl-l-homoserine lactone (C8-HSL), respectively. Our survey expands the list of AHL-producing nitrifiers to include a representative of Nitrospira lineage II and suggests that AHL production is widespread in nitrifying bacteria.IMPORTANCE Nitrification, the aerobic oxidation of ammonia to nitrate via nitrite by nitrifying microorganisms, plays an important role in environmental nitrogen cycling from agricultural fertilization to wastewater treatment. The genomes of many nitrifying bacteria contain genes associated with bacterial cell-cell signaling or quorum sensing (QS). QS is a method of bacterial communication and gene regulation that is well studied in bacterial pathogens, but less is known about QS in environmental systems. Our previous work suggested that QS might be involved in the regulation of nitrogen oxide gas production during nitrite metabolism. This study characterized putative QS signals produced by different genera and species of nitrifiers. Our work lays the foundation for future experiments investigating communication between nitrifying bacteria, the purpose of QS in these microorganisms, and the manipulation of QS during nitrification.

PMID: 28887424 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Glycolytic Functions Are Conserved in the Genome of the Wine Yeast Hanseniaspora uvarum, and Pyruvate Kinase Limits Its Capacity for Alcoholic Fermentation.
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Glycolytic Functions Are Conserved in the Genome of the Wine Yeast Hanseniaspora uvarum, and Pyruvate Kinase Limits Its Capacity for Alcoholic Fermentation.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22):

Authors: Langenberg AK, Bink FJ, Wolff L, Walter S, von Wallbrunn C, Grossmann M, Heinisch JJ, Schmitz HP

Abstract
Hanseniaspora uvarum (anamorph Kloeckera apiculata) is a predominant yeast on wine grapes and other fruits and has a strong influence on wine quality, even when Saccharomyces cerevisiae starter cultures are employed. In this work, we sequenced and annotated approximately 93% of the H. uvarum genome. Southern and synteny analyses were employed to construct a map of the seven chromosomes present in a type strain. Comparative determinations of specific enzyme activities within the fermentative pathway in H. uvarum and S. cerevisiae indicated that the reduced capacity of the former yeast for ethanol production is caused primarily by an ∼10-fold-lower activity of the key glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase. The heterologous expression of the encoding gene, H. uvarumPYK1 (HuPYK1), and two genes encoding the phosphofructokinase subunits, HuPFK1 and HuPFK2, in the respective deletion mutants of S. cerevisiae confirmed their functional homology.IMPORTANCEHanseniaspora uvarum is a predominant yeast species on grapes and other fruits. It contributes significantly to the production of desired as well as unfavorable aroma compounds and thus determines the quality of the final product, especially wine. Despite this obvious importance, knowledge on its genetics is scarce. As a basis for targeted metabolic modifications, here we provide the results of a genomic sequencing approach, including the annotation of 3,010 protein-encoding genes, e.g., those encoding the entire sugar fermentation pathway, key components of stress response signaling pathways, and enzymes catalyzing the production of aroma compounds. Comparative analyses suggest that the low fermentative capacity of H. uvarum compared to that of Saccharomyces cerevisiae can be attributed to low pyruvate kinase activity. The data reported here are expected to aid in establishing H. uvarum as a non-Saccharomyces yeast in starter cultures for wine and cider fermentations.

PMID: 28887422 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Flexibility-Rigidity Coordination of the Dense Exopolysaccharide Matrix in Terrestrial Cyanobacteria Acclimated to Periodic Desiccation.
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Flexibility-Rigidity Coordination of the Dense Exopolysaccharide Matrix in Terrestrial Cyanobacteria Acclimated to Periodic Desiccation.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22):

Authors: Liu W, Cui L, Xu H, Zhu Z, Gao X

Abstract
A dense exopolysaccharide (EPS) matrix is crucial for cyanobacterial survival in terrestrial xeric environments, in which cyanobacteria undergo frequent expansion and shrinkage processes during environmental desiccation-rehydration cycles. However, it is unclear how terrestrial cyanobacteria coordinate the structural dynamics of the EPS matrix upon expansion and shrinkage to avoid potential mechanical stress while benefiting from the matrix. In the present study, we sought to answer this question by investigating the gene expression, protein dynamics, enzymatic characteristics, and biological roles of WspA, an abundantly secreted protein, in the representative terrestrial cyanobacterium Nostoc flagelliforme The results demonstrated that WspA is a novel β-galactosidase that facilitates softening of the EPS matrix by breaking the polysaccharide backbone under substantial moisture or facilitates the thickening and relinkage of the broken matrix during the drying process, and thus these regulations are well correlated with moisture availability or desiccation-rehydration cycles. This coordination of flexibility and rigidity of the cyanobacterial extracellular matrix may contribute to a favorable balance of cell growth and stress resistance in xeric environments.IMPORTANCE How the exopolysaccharide matrix is dynamically coordinated by exoproteins to cope with frequent expansion and shrinkage processes in terrestrial colonial cyanobacteria remains unclear. Here we elucidated the biochemical identity and biological roles of a dominant exoprotein in these regulation processes. Our study thus gained insight into this regulative mechanism in cyanobacteria to combat periodic desiccation. In addition, the filamentous drought-adapted cyanobacterium Nostoc flagelliforme serves as an ideal model for us to explore this issue in this study.

PMID: 28887420 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Oxidative Stressors Modify the Response of Streptococcus mutans to Its Competence Signal Peptides.
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Oxidative Stressors Modify the Response of Streptococcus mutans to Its Competence Signal Peptides.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22):

Authors: De Furio M, Ahn SJ, Burne RA, Hagen SJ

Abstract
The dental caries pathogen Streptococcus mutans is continually exposed to several types of stress in the oral biofilm environment. Oxidative stress generated by reactive oxygen species has a major impact on the establishment, persistence, and virulence of S. mutans Here, we combined fluorescent reporter-promoter fusions with single-cell imaging to study the effects of reactive oxygen species on activation of genetic competence in S. mutans Exposure to paraquat, which generates superoxide anion, produced a qualitatively different effect on activation of expression of the gene for the master competence regulator, ComX, than did treatment with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which can yield hydroxyl radical. Paraquat suppressed peptide-mediated induction of comX in a progressive and cumulative fashion, whereas the response to H2O2 displayed a strong threshold behavior. Low concentrations of H2O2 had little effect on induction of comX or the bacteriocin gene cipB, but expression of these genes declined sharply if extracellular H2O2 exceeded a threshold concentration. These effects were not due to decreased reporter gene fluorescence. Two different threshold concentrations were observed in the response to H2O2, depending on the gene promoter that was analyzed and the pathway by which the competence regulon was stimulated. The results show that paraquat and H2O2 affect the S. mutans competence signaling pathway differently, and that some portions of the competence signaling pathway are more sensitive to oxidative stress than others.IMPORTANCEStreptococcus mutans inhabits the oral biofilm, where it plays an important role in the development of dental caries. Environmental stresses such as oxidative stress influence the growth of S. mutans and its important virulence-associated behaviors, such as genetic competence. S. mutans competence development is a complex behavior that involves two different signaling peptides and can exhibit cell-to-cell heterogeneity. Although oxidative stress is known to influence S. mutans competence, it is not understood how oxidative stress interacts with the peptide signaling or affects heterogeneity. In this study, we used fluorescent reporters to probe the effect of reactive oxygen species on competence signaling at the single-cell level. Our data show that different reactive oxygen species have different effects on S. mutans competence, and that some portions of the signaling pathway are more acutely sensitive to oxidative stress than others.

PMID: 28887419 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Chitinase Expression in Listeria monocytogenes Is Influenced by lmo0327, Which Encodes an Internalin-Like Protein.
Related Articles Chitinase Expression in Listeria monocytogenes Is Influenced by lmo0327, Which Encodes an Internalin-Like Protein. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22): Authors: Paspaliari DK, Kastbjerg VG, Ingmer H, Popowska M, Larsen MH Abstract The chitinolytic system of Listeria monocytogenes thus far comprises two chitinases, ChiA and ChiB, and a lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase, Lmo2467. The role of the system in the bacterium appears to be pleiotropic, as besides mediating the hydrolysis of chitin, the second most ubiquitous carbohydrate in nature, the chitinases have been deemed important for the colonization of unicellular molds, as well as mammalian hosts. To identify additional components of the chitinolytic system, we screened a transposon mutant library for mutants exhibiting impaired chitin hydrolysis. The screening yielded a mutant with a transposon insertion in a locus corresponding to lmo0327 of the EGD-e strain. lmo0327 encodes a large (1,349 amino acids [aa]) cell wall-associated protein that has been proposed to possess murein hydrolase activity. The single inactivation of lmo0327, as well as of lmo0325 that codes for a putative transcriptional regulator functionally related to lmo0327, led to an almost complete abolishment of chitinolytic activity. The effect could be traced at the transcriptional level, as both chiA and chiB transcripts were dramatically decreased in the lmo0327 mutant. In accordance with that, we could barely detect ChiA and ChiB in the culture supernatants of the mutant strain. Our results provide new information regarding the function of the lmo0325-lmo0327 locus in L. monocytogenes and link it to the expression of chitinolytic activity.IMPORTANCE Many bacteria from terrestrial and marine environments express chitinase activities enabling them to utilize chitin as the sole source of carbon and nitrogen. Interestingly, several bacterial chitinases may also be involved in host pathogenesis. For example, in the important foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, the chitinases ChiA and ChiB and the lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase Lmo2467 are implicated in chitin assimilation but also act as virulence factors during the infection of mammalian hosts. Therefore, it is important to identify their regulators and induction cues to understand how the different roles of the chitinolytic system are controlled and mediated. Here, we provide evidence for the importance of lmo0327 and lmo0325, encoding a putative internalin/autolysin and a putative transcriptional activator, respectively, in the efficient expression of chitinase activity in L. monocytogenes and thereby provide new information regarding the function of the lmo0325-lmo0327 locus. PMID: 28887418 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Identifying the Active Microbiome Associated with Roots and Rhizosphere Soil of Oilseed Rape.
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Identifying the Active Microbiome Associated with Roots and Rhizosphere Soil of Oilseed Rape.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22):

Authors: Gkarmiri K, Mahmood S, Ekblad A, Alström S, Högberg N, Finlay R

Abstract
RNA stable isotope probing and high-throughput sequencing were used to characterize the active microbiomes of bacteria and fungi colonizing the roots and rhizosphere soil of oilseed rape to identify taxa assimilating plant-derived carbon following 13CO2 labeling. Root- and rhizosphere soil-associated communities of both bacteria and fungi differed from each other, and there were highly significant differences between their DNA- and RNA-based community profiles. Verrucomicrobia, Proteobacteria, Planctomycetes, Acidobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes, Actinobacteria, and Chloroflexi were the most active bacterial phyla in the rhizosphere soil. Bacteroidetes were more active in roots. The most abundant bacterial genera were well represented in both the 13C- and 12C-RNA fractions, while the fungal taxa were more differentiated. Streptomyces, Rhizobium, and Flavobacterium were dominant in roots, whereas Rhodoplanes and Sphingomonas (Kaistobacter) were dominant in rhizosphere soil. "Candidatus Nitrososphaera" was enriched in 13C in rhizosphere soil. Olpidium and Dendryphion were abundant in the 12C-RNA fraction of roots; Clonostachys was abundant in both roots and rhizosphere soil and heavily 13C enriched. Cryptococcus was dominant in rhizosphere soil and less abundant, but was 13C enriched in roots. The patterns of colonization and C acquisition revealed in this study assist in identifying microbial taxa that may be superior competitors for plant-derived carbon in the rhizosphere of Brassica napusIMPORTANCE This microbiome study characterizes the active bacteria and fungi colonizing the roots and rhizosphere soil of Brassica napus using high-throughput sequencing and RNA-stable isotope probing. It identifies taxa assimilating plant-derived carbon following 13CO2 labeling and compares these with other less active groups not incorporating a plant assimilate. Brassica napus is an economically and globally important oilseed crop, cultivated for edible oil, biofuel production, and phytoextraction of heavy metals; however, it is susceptible to several diseases. The identification of the fungal and bacterial species successfully competing for plant-derived carbon, enabling them to colonize the roots and rhizosphere soil of this plant, should enable the identification of microorganisms that can be evaluated in more detailed functional studies and ultimately be used to improve plant health and productivity in sustainable agriculture.

PMID: 28887416 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Inactivation of Human Norovirus Genogroups I and II and Surrogates by Free Chlorine in Postharvest Leafy Green Wash Water.
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Inactivation of Human Norovirus Genogroups I and II and Surrogates by Free Chlorine in Postharvest Leafy Green Wash Water.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22):

Authors: Dunkin N, Weng S, Jacangelo JG, Schwab KJ

Abstract
Human noroviruses (hNoVs) are a known public health concern associated with the consumption of leafy green vegetables. While a number of studies have investigated pathogen reduction on the surfaces of leafy greens during the postharvest washing process, there remains a paucity of data on the level of treatment needed to inactivate viruses in the wash water, which is critical for preventing cross-contamination. The objective of this study was to quantify the susceptibility of hNoV genotype I (GI), hNoV GII, murine norovirus (MNV), and bacteriophage MS2 to free chlorine in whole leaf, chopped romaine, and shredded iceberg lettuce industrial leafy green wash waters, each sampled three times over a 4-month period. A suite of kinetic inactivation models was fit to the viral reduction data to aid in quantification of concentration-time (CT) values. Results indicate that 3-log10 infectivity reduction was achieved at CT values of less than 0.2 mg · min/liter for MNV and 2.5 mg · min/liter for MS2 in all wash water types. CT values for 2-log10 molecular reduction of hNoV GI in whole leaf and chopped romaine wash waters were 1.5 and 0.9 mg · min/liter, respectively. For hNoV GII, CT values were 13.0 and 7.5 mg · min/liter, respectively. In shredded iceberg wash water, 3-log10 molecular reduction was not observed for any virus over the time course of experiments. These findings demonstrate that noroviruses may exhibit genogroup-dependent resistance to free chlorine and emphasize the importance of distinguishing between genogroups in hNoV persistence studies.IMPORTANCE Postharvest washing of millions of pounds of leafy greens is performed daily in industrial processing facilities with the intention of removing dirt, debris, and pathogenic microorganisms prior to packaging. Modest inactivation of pathogenic microorganisms (less than 2 log10) is known to occur on the surfaces of leafy greens during washing. Therefore, the primary purpose of the sanitizing agent is to maintain microbial quality of postharvest processing water in order to limit cross-contamination. This study modeled viral inactivation data and quantified the free-chlorine CT values that processing facilities must meet in order to achieve the desired level of hNoV GI and GII reduction. Disinfection experiments were conducted in industrial leafy green wash water collected from a full-scale fresh produce processing facility in the United States, and hNoV GI and GII results were compared with surrogate molecular and infectivity data.

PMID: 28887415 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Recovery Optimization and Survival of the Human Norovirus Surrogates Feline Calicivirus and Murine Norovirus on Carpet.
Related Articles Recovery Optimization and Survival of the Human Norovirus Surrogates Feline Calicivirus and Murine Norovirus on Carpet. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22): Authors: Buckley D, Fraser A, Huang G, Jiang X Abstract Carpets have been implicated in prolonged and reoccurring outbreaks of human noroviruses (HuNoV), the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide. Viral recovery from environmental surfaces, such as carpet, remains undeveloped. Our aim was to determine survival of HuNoV surrogates on an understudied environmental surface, carpet. First, we measured the zeta potential and absorption capacity of wool and nylon carpet fibers, we then developed a minispin column elution (MSC) method, and lastly we characterized the survival of HuNoV surrogates, feline calicivirus (FCV) and murine norovirus (MNV), over 60 days under 30 and 70% relative humidity (RH) on two types of carpet and one glass surface. Carpet surface charge was negative between relevant pH values (i.e., pH 7 to 9). In addition, wool could absorb approximately two times more liquid than nylon. The percent recovery efficiency obtained by the MSC method ranged from 4.34 to 20.89% and from 30.71 to 54.14% for FCV and MNV on carpet fibers, respectively, after desiccation. Overall, elution buffer type did not significantly affect recovery. Infectious FCV or MNV survived between <1 and 15 or between 3 and 15 days, respectively. However, MNV survived longer under some conditions and at significantly (P < 0.05) higher titers compared to FCV. Albeit, surrogates followed similar survival trends, i.e., both survived longest on wool then nylon and glass, while 30% RH provided a more hospitable environment compared to 70% RH. Reverse transcription-quantitative PCR signals for both surrogates were detectable for the entire study, but FCV genomic copies experienced significantly higher reductions (<3.80 log10 copies) on all surfaces compared to MNV (<1.10 log10 copies).IMPORTANCE Human noroviruses (HuNoV) are the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide. Classical symptoms of illness include vomiting and diarrhea which could lead to severe dehydration and death. HuNoV are transmitted by the fecal-oral or vomitus-oral route via person-to-person contact, food, water, and/or environmental surfaces. Published laboratory-controlled studies have documented the environmental stability of HuNoV on hard surfaces, but there is limited laboratory-based evidence available about survival on soft surfaces, e.g., carpet and upholstered furniture. Several epidemiological reports have suggested soft surfaces may be HuNoV fomites illustrating the importance of conducting a survival study. The three objectives of our research were to demonstrate techniques to characterize soft surfaces, develop a viral elution method for carpet, and characterize the survival of HuNoV surrogates on carpet. These results can be used to improve microbial risk assessments, the development of much-needed soft surface disinfectant, and standardizing protocols for future soft surface studies. PMID: 28864657 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Impacts of Repeated Glyphosate Use on Wheat-Associated Bacteria Are Small and Depend on Glyphosate Use History.
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Impacts of Repeated Glyphosate Use on Wheat-Associated Bacteria Are Small and Depend on Glyphosate Use History.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22):

Authors: Schlatter DC, Yin C, Hulbert S, Burke I, Paulitz T

Abstract
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide worldwide and a critical tool for weed control in no-till cropping systems. However, there are concerns about the nontarget impacts of long-term glyphosate use on soil microbial communities. We investigated the impacts of repeated glyphosate treatments on bacterial communities in the soil and rhizosphere of wheat in soils with and without long-term history of glyphosate use. We cycled wheat in the greenhouse using soils from 4 paired fields under no-till (20+-year history of glyphosate) or no history of use. At each cycle, we terminated plants with glyphosate (2× the field rate) or by removing the crowns, and soil and rhizosphere bacterial communities were characterized. Location, cropping history, year, and proximity to the roots had much stronger effects on bacterial communities than did glyphosate, which only explained 2 to 5% of the variation. Less than 1% of all taxa were impacted by glyphosate, more in soils with a long history of use, and more increased than decreased in relative abundance. Glyphosate had minimal impacts on soil and rhizosphere bacteria of wheat, although dying roots after glyphosate application may provide a "greenbridge" favoring some copiotrophic taxa.IMPORTANCE Glyphosate (Roundup) is the most widely used herbicide in the world and the foundation of Roundup Ready soybeans, corn, and the no-till cropping system. However, there have been recent concerns about nontarget impacts of glyphosate on soil microbes. Using next-generation sequencing methods and glyphosate treatments of wheat plants, we described the bacterial communities in the soil and rhizosphere of wheat grown in Pacific Northwest soils across multiple years, different locations, and soils with different histories of glyphosate use. The effects of glyphosate were subtle and much less than those of drivers such as location and cropping systems. Only a small percentage of the bacterial groups were influenced by glyphosate, and most of those were stimulated, probably because of the dying roots. This study provides important information for the future of this important tool for no-till systems and the environmental benefits of reducing soil erosion and fossil fuel inputs.

PMID: 28864656 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Cupriavidus necator H16 Uses Flavocytochrome c Sulfide Dehydrogenase To Oxidize Self-Produced and Added Sulfide.
Related Articles Cupriavidus necator H16 Uses Flavocytochrome c Sulfide Dehydrogenase To Oxidize Self-Produced and Added Sulfide. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22): Authors: Lü C, Xia Y, Liu D, Zhao R, Gao R, Liu H, Xun L Abstract Production of sulfide (H2S, HS-, and S2-) by heterotrophic bacteria during aerobic growth is a common phenomenon. Some bacteria with sulfide:quinone oxidoreductase (SQR) and persulfide dioxygenase (PDO) can oxidize self-produced sulfide to sulfite and thiosulfate, but other bacteria without these enzymes release sulfide into the medium, from which H2S can volatilize into the gas phase. Here, we report that Cupriavidus necator H16, with the fccA and fccB genes encoding flavocytochrome c sulfide dehydrogenases (FCSDs), also oxidized self-produced H2S. A mutant in which fccA and fccB were deleted accumulated and released H2S. When fccA and fccB were expressed in Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain Pa3K with deletions of its sqr and pdo genes, the recombinant rapidly oxidized sulfide to sulfane sulfur. When PDO was also cloned into the recombinant, the recombinant with both FCSD and PDO oxidized sulfide to sulfite and thiosulfate. Thus, the proposed pathway is similar to the pathway catalyzed by SQR and PDO, in which FCSD oxidizes sulfide to polysulfide, polysulfide spontaneously reacts with reduced glutathione (GSH) to produce glutathione persulfide (GSSH), and PDO oxidizes GSSH to sulfite, which chemically reacts with polysulfide to produce thiosulfate. About 20.6% of sequenced bacterial genomes contain SQR, and only 3.9% contain FCSD. This is not a surprise, since SQR is more efficient in conserving energy because it passes electrons from sulfide oxidation into the electron transport chain at the quinone level, while FCSD passes electrons to cytochrome c The transport of electrons from the latter to O2 conserves less energy. FCSDs are grouped into three subgroups, well conserved at the taxonomic level. Thus, our data show the diversity in sulfide oxidation by heterotrophic bacteria.IMPORTANCE Heterotrophic bacteria with SQR and PDO can oxidize self-produced sulfide and do not release H2S into the gas phase. C. necator H16 has FCSD but not SQR, and it does not release H2S. We confirmed that the bacterium used FCSD for the oxidation of self-produced sulfide. The bacterium also oxidized added sulfide. The common presence of SQRs, FCSDs, and PDOs in heterotrophic bacteria suggests the significant role of heterotrophic bacteria in sulfide oxidation, participating in sulfur biogeochemical cycling. Further, FCSDs have been identified in anaerobic photosynthetic bacteria and chemolithotrophic bacteria, but their physiological roles are unknown. We showed that heterotrophic bacteria use FCSDs to oxidize self-produced sulfide and extraneous sulfide, and they may be used for H2S bioremediation. PMID: 28864655 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Exogenous Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Impact Membrane Remodeling and Affect Virulence Phenotypes among Pathogenic Vibrio Species.
Related Articles Exogenous Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Impact Membrane Remodeling and Affect Virulence Phenotypes among Pathogenic Vibrio Species. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22): Authors: Moravec AR, Siv AW, Hobby CR, Lindsay EN, Norbash LV, Shults DJ, Symes SJK, Giles DK Abstract The pathogenic Vibrio species (V. cholerae, V. parahaemolyticus, and V. vulnificus) represent a constant threat to human health, causing foodborne and skin wound infections as a result of ingestion of or exposure to contaminated water and seafood. Recent studies have highlighted Vibrio's ability to acquire fatty acids from environmental sources and assimilate them into cell membranes. The possession and conservation of such machinery provokes consideration of fatty acids as important factors in the pathogenic lifestyle of Vibrio species. The findings here link exogenous fatty acid exposure to changes in bacterial membrane phospholipid structure, permeability, phenotypes associated with virulence, and consequent stress responses that may impact survival and persistence of pathogenic Vibrio species. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (ranging in carbon length and unsaturation) supplied in growth medium were assimilated into bacterial phospholipids, as determined by thin-layer chromatography and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The incorporation of fatty acids variably affected membrane permeability, as judged by uptake of the hydrophobic compound crystal violet. For each species, certain fatty acids were identified as affecting resistance to antimicrobial peptide treatment. Significant fluctuations were observed with regard to both motility and biofilm formation following growth in the presence of individual PUFAs. Our results illustrate the important and complex roles of exogenous fatty acids in the membrane physiology and virulence of a bacterial genus that inhabits aquatic and host environments containing an abundance of diverse fatty acids.IMPORTANCE Bacterial responses to fatty acids include, but are not limited to, degradation for metabolic gain, modification of membrane lipids, alteration of protein function, and regulation of gene expression. Vibrio species exhibit significant diversity with regard to the machinery known to participate in the uptake and incorporation of fatty acids into their membranes. Both aquatic and host niches occupied by Vibrio are rife with various free fatty acids and fatty acid-containing lipids. The roles of fatty acids in the environmental survival and pathogenesis of bacteria have begun to emerge and are expected to expand significantly. The current study demonstrates the responsiveness of V. cholerae, V. parahaemolyticus, and V. vulnificus to exogenous PUFAs. In addition to phospholipid remodeling, PUFA assimilation impacts membrane permeability, motility, biofilm formation, and resistance to polymyxin B. PMID: 28864654 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Chemical Pretreatment-Independent Saccharifications of Xylan and Cellulose of Rice Straw by Bacterial Weak Lignin-Binding Xylanolytic and Cellulolytic Enzymes.
Related Articles Chemical Pretreatment-Independent Saccharifications of Xylan and Cellulose of Rice Straw by Bacterial Weak Lignin-Binding Xylanolytic and Cellulolytic Enzymes. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22): Authors: Teeravivattanakit T, Baramee S, Phitsuwan P, Sornyotha S, Waeonukul R, Pason P, Tachaapaikoon C, Poomputsa K, Kosugi A, Sakka K, Ratanakhanokchai K Abstract Complete utilization of carbohydrate fractions is one of the prerequisites for obtaining economically favorable lignocellulosic biomass conversion. This study shows that xylan in untreated rice straw was saccharified to xylose in one step without chemical pretreatment, yielding 58.2% of the theoretically maximum value by Paenibacillus curdlanolyticus B-6 PcAxy43A, a weak lignin-binding trifunctional xylanolytic enzyme, endoxylanase/β-xylosidase/arabinoxylan arabinofuranohydrolase. Moreover, xylose yield from untreated rice straw was enhanced to 78.9% by adding endoxylanases PcXyn10C and PcXyn11A from the same bacterium, resulting in improvement of cellulose accessibility to cellulolytic enzyme. After autoclaving the xylanolytic enzyme-treated rice straw, it was subjected to subsequent saccharification by a combination of the Clostridium thermocellum endoglucanase CtCel9R and Thermoanaerobacter brockii β-glucosidase TbCglT, yielding 88.5% of the maximum glucose yield, which was higher than the glucose yield obtained from ammonia-treated rice straw saccharification (59.6%). Moreover, this work presents a new environment-friendly xylanolytic enzyme pretreatment for beneficial hydrolysis of xylan in various agricultural residues, such as rice straw and corn hull. It not only could improve cellulose saccharification but also produced xylose, leading to an improvement of the overall fermentable sugar yields without chemical pretreatment.IMPORTANCE Ongoing research is focused on improving "green" pretreatment technologies in order to reduce energy demands and environmental impact and to develop an economically feasible biorefinery. The present study showed that PcAxy43A, a weak lignin-binding trifunctional xylanolytic enzyme, endoxylanase/β-xylosidase/arabinoxylan arabinofuranohydrolase from P. curdlanolyticus B-6, was capable of conversion of xylan in lignocellulosic biomass such as untreated rice straw to xylose in one step without chemical pretreatment. It demonstrates efficient synergism with endoxylanases PcXyn10C and PcXyn11A to depolymerize xylan in untreated rice straw and enhanced the xylose production and improved cellulose hydrolysis. Therefore, it can be considered an enzymatic pretreatment. Furthermore, the studies here show that glucose yield released from steam- and xylanolytic enzyme-treated rice straw by the combination of CtCel9R and TbCglT was higher than the glucose yield obtained from ammonia-treated rice straw saccharification. This work presents a novel environment-friendly xylanolytic enzyme pretreatment not only as a green pretreatment but also as an economically feasible biorefinery method. PMID: 28864653 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



CRISPR-Cas9D10A Nickase-Assisted Genome Editing in Lactobacillus casei.
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CRISPR-Cas9D10A Nickase-Assisted Genome Editing in Lactobacillus casei.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;83(22):

Authors: Song X, Huang H, Xiong Z, Ai L, Yang S

Abstract
Lactobacillus casei has drawn increasing attention as a health-promoting probiotic, while effective genetic manipulation tools are often not available, e.g., the single-gene knockout in L. casei still depends on the classic homologous recombination-dependent double-crossover strategy, which is quite labor-intensive and time-consuming. In the present study, a rapid and precise genome editing plasmid, pLCNICK, was established for L. casei genome engineering based on CRISPR-Cas9D10A In addition to the P23-Cas9D10A and Pldh-sgRNA (single guide RNA) expression cassettes, pLCNICK includes the homologous arms of the target gene as repair templates. The ability and efficiency of chromosomal engineering using pLCNICK were evaluated by in-frame deletions of four independent genes and chromosomal insertion of an enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) expression cassette at the LC2W_1628 locus. The efficiencies associated with in-frame deletions and chromosomal insertion is 25 to 62%. pLCNICK has been proved to be an effective, rapid, and precise tool for genome editing in L. casei, and its potential application in other lactic acid bacteria (LAB) is also discussed in this study.IMPORTANCE The lack of efficient genetic tools has limited the investigation and biotechnological application of many LAB. The CRISPR-Cas9D10A nickase-based genome editing in Lactobacillus casei, an important food industrial microorganism, was demonstrated in this study. This genetic tool allows efficient single-gene deletion and insertion to be accomplished by one-step transformation, and the cycle time is reduced to 9 days. It facilitates a rapid and precise chromosomal manipulation in L. casei and overcomes some limitations of previous methods. This editing system can serve as a basic technological platform and offers the possibility to start a comprehensive investigation on L. casei As a broad-host-range plasmid, pLCNICK has the potential to be adapted to other Lactobacillus species for genome editing.

PMID: 28864652 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Heterologous Production of the Photosynthetic Reaction Center and Light Harvesting 1 Complexes of the Thermophile Thermochromatium tepidum in the Mesophile Rhodobacter sphaeroides and Thermal Stability of a Hybrid Core Complex.
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Heterologous Production of the Photosynthetic Reaction Center and Light Harvesting 1 Complexes of the Thermophile Thermochromatium tepidum in the Mesophile Rhodobacter sphaeroides and Thermal Stability of a Hybrid Core Complex.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20):

Authors: Jun D, Huang V, Beatty JT

Abstract
The photosynthetic complexes of the thermophile Thermochromatium tepidum are of considerable interest in biohybrid solar cell applications because of the ability of thermophilic proteins to tolerate elevated temperatures. Synthetic operons encoding reaction center (RC) and light harvesting 1 (LH1) pigment-protein complexes of T. tepidum were expressed in the mesophile Rhodobacter sphaeroides The T. tepidum RC (TRC) was assembled and was found to be functional with the addition of menadione to populate the QA pocket. The production of T. tepidum LH1 (TLH1) was increased by selection of a phototrophy-capable mutant after UV irradiation mutagenesis, which yielded a hybrid RC-TLH1 core complex consisting of the R. sphaeroides RC and T. tepidum TLH1, confirmed by the absorbance peak of TLH1 at 915 nm. Affinity chromatography partial purification and subsequent sucrose gradient analysis of the hybrid RC-TLH1 core complex indicated that this core complex assembled as a monomer. Furthermore, the RC-TLH1 hybrid core complex was more tolerant of a temperature of 70°C than the R. sphaeroides RC-LH1 core complexes in both the dimeric and monomeric forms; after 1 h, the hybrid complex retained 58% of the initial starting value, compared to values of 11% and 53% for the R. sphaeroides RC-LH1 dimer and monomer forms, respectively.IMPORTANCE This work is important because it is a new approach to bioengineering of photosynthesis proteins for potential use in biophotovoltaic solar energy capture. The work establishes a proof of principle for future biohybrid solar cell applications.

PMID: 28821545 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Horizontal Dissemination of Antimicrobial Resistance Determinants in Multiple Salmonella Serotypes following Isolation from the Commercial Swine Operation Environment after Manure Application.
Related Articles Horizontal Dissemination of Antimicrobial Resistance Determinants in Multiple Salmonella Serotypes following Isolation from the Commercial Swine Operation Environment after Manure Application. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: Pornsukarom S, Thakur S Abstract The aim of this study was to characterize the plasmids carrying antimicrobial resistance (AMR) determinants in multiple Salmonella serotypes recovered from the commercial swine farm environment after manure application on land. Manure and soil samples were collected on day 0 before and after manure application on six farms in North Carolina, and sequential soil samples were recollected on days 7, 14, and 21 from the same plots. All environmental samples were processed for Salmonella, and their plasmid contents were further characterized. A total of 14 isolates including Salmonella enterica serotypes Johannesburg (n = 2), Ohio (n = 2), Rissen (n = 1), Typhimurium var5- (n = 5), Worthington (n = 3), and 4,12:i:- (n = 1), representing different farms, were selected for plasmid analysis. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was done by broth microdilution against a panel of 14 antimicrobials on the 14 confirmed transconjugants after conjugation assays. The plasmids were isolated by modified alkaline lysis, and PCRs were performed on purified plasmid DNA to identify the AMR determinants and the plasmid replicon types. The plasmids were sequenced for further analysis and to compare profiles and create phylogenetic trees. A class 1 integron with an ANT(2″)-Ia-aadA2 cassette was detected in the 50-kb IncN plasmids identified in S Worthington isolates. We identified 100-kb and 90-kb IncI1 plasmids in S Johannesburg and S Rissen isolates carrying the blaCMY-2 and tet(A) genes, respectively. An identical 95-kb IncF plasmid was widely disseminated among the different serotypes and across different farms. Our study provides evidence on the importance of horizontal dissemination of resistance determinants through plasmids of multiple Salmonella serotypes distributed across commercial swine farms after manure application.IMPORTANCE The horizontal gene transfer of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) determinants located on plasmids is considered to be the main reason for the rapid proliferation and spread of drug resistance. The deposition of manure generated in swine production systems into the environment is identified as a potential source of AMR dissemination. In this study, AMR gene-carrying plasmids were detected in multiple Salmonella serotypes across different commercial swine farms in North Carolina. The plasmid profiles were characterized based on Salmonella serotype donors and incompatibility (Inc) groups. We found that different Inc plasmids showed evidence of AMR gene transfer in multiple Salmonella serotypes. We detected an identical 95-kb plasmid that was widely distributed across swine farms in North Carolina. These conjugable resistance plasmids were able to persist on land after swine manure application. Our study provides strong evidence of AMR determinant disseminat[...]



Transcriptional Analysis of an Ammonium-Excreting Strain of Azotobacter vinelandii Deregulated for Nitrogen Fixation.
Related Articles Transcriptional Analysis of an Ammonium-Excreting Strain of Azotobacter vinelandii Deregulated for Nitrogen Fixation. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: Barney BM, Plunkett MH, Natarajan V, Mus F, Knutson CM, Peters JW Abstract Biological nitrogen fixation is accomplished by a diverse group of organisms known as diazotrophs and requires the function of the complex metalloenzyme nitrogenase. Nitrogenase and many of the accessory proteins required for proper cofactor biosynthesis and incorporation into the enzyme have been characterized, but a complete picture of the reaction mechanism and key cellular changes that accompany biological nitrogen fixation remain to be fully elucidated. Studies have revealed that specific disruptions of the antiactivator-encoding gene nifL result in the deregulation of the nif transcriptional activator NifA in the nitrogen-fixing bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii, triggering the production of extracellular ammonium levels approaching 30 mM during the stationary phase of growth. In this work, we have characterized the global patterns of gene expression of this high-ammonium-releasing phenotype. The findings reported here indicated that cultures of this high-ammonium-accumulating strain may experience metal limitation when grown using standard Burk's medium, which could be amended by increasing the molybdenum levels to further increase the ammonium yield. In addition, elevated levels of nitrogenase gene transcription are not accompanied by a corresponding dramatic increase in hydrogenase gene transcription levels or hydrogen uptake rates. Of the three potential electron donor systems for nitrogenase, only the rnf1 gene cluster showed a transcriptional correlation to the increased yield of ammonium. Our results also highlight several additional genes that may play a role in supporting elevated ammonium production in this aerobic nitrogen-fixing model bacterium.IMPORTANCE The transcriptional differences found during stationary-phase ammonium accumulation show a strong contrast between the deregulated (nifL-disrupted) and wild-type strains and what was previously reported for the wild-type strain under exponential-phase growth conditions. These results demonstrate that further improvement of the ammonium yield in this nitrogenase-deregulated strain can be obtained by increasing the amount of available molybdenum in the medium. These results also indicate a potential preference for one of two ATP synthases present in A. vinelandii as well as a prominent role for the membrane-bound hydrogenase over the soluble hydrogenase in hydrogen gas recycling. These results should inform future studies aimed at elucidating the important features of this phenotype and at maximizing ammonium production by this strain. PMID: 28802272 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



An Intramolecular Salt Bridge in Bacillus thuringiensis Cry4Ba Toxin Is Involved in the Stability of Helix α-3, Which Is Needed for Oligomerization and Insecticidal Activity.
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An Intramolecular Salt Bridge in Bacillus thuringiensis Cry4Ba Toxin Is Involved in the Stability of Helix α-3, Which Is Needed for Oligomerization and Insecticidal Activity.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20):

Authors: Pacheco S, Gómez I, Sánchez J, García-Gómez BI, Soberón M, Bravo A

Abstract
Bacillus thuringiensis three-domain Cry toxins kill insects by forming pores in the apical membrane of larval midgut cells. Oligomerization of the toxin is an important step for pore formation. Domain I helix α-3 participates in toxin oligomerization. Here we identify an intramolecular salt bridge within helix α-3 of Cry4Ba (D111-K115) that is conserved in many members of the family of three-domain Cry toxins. Single point mutations such as D111K or K115D resulted in proteins severely affected in toxicity. These mutants were also altered in oligomerization, and the mutant K115D was more sensitive to protease digestion. The double point mutant with reversed charges, D111K-K115D, recovered both oligomerization and toxicity, suggesting that this salt bridge is highly important for conservation of the structure of helix α-3 and necessary to promote the correct oligomerization of the toxin.IMPORTANCE Domain I has been shown to be involved in oligomerization through helix α-3 in different Cry toxins, and mutations affecting oligomerization also elicit changes in toxicity. The three-dimensional structure of the Cry4Ba toxin reveals an intramolecular salt bridge in helix α-3 of domain I. Mutations that disrupt this salt bridge resulted in changes in Cry4Ba oligomerization and toxicity, while a double point reciprocal mutation that restored the salt bridge resulted in recovery of toxin oligomerization and toxicity. These data highlight the role of oligomer formation as a key step in Cry4Ba toxicity.

PMID: 28802270 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Removal of Soluble Strontium via Incorporation into Biogenic Carbonate Minerals by Halophilic Bacterium Bacillus sp. Strain TK2d in a Highly Saline Solution.
Related Articles Removal of Soluble Strontium via Incorporation into Biogenic Carbonate Minerals by Halophilic Bacterium Bacillus sp. Strain TK2d in a Highly Saline Solution. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: Horiike T, Dotsuta Y, Nakano Y, Ochiai A, Utsunomiya S, Ohnuki T, Yamashita M Abstract Radioactive strontium (90Sr) leaked into saline environments, including the ocean, from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after a nuclear accident. Since the removal of 90Sr using general adsorbents (e.g., zeolite) is not efficient at high salinity, a suitable alternative immobilization method is necessary. Therefore, we incorporated soluble Sr into biogenic carbonate minerals generated by urease-producing microorganisms from a saline solution. An isolate, Bacillus sp. strain TK2d, from marine sediment removed >99% of Sr after contact for 4 days in a saline solution (1.0 × 10-3 mol liter-1 of Sr, 10% marine broth, and 3% [wt/vol] NaCl). Transmission electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy showed that Sr and Ca accumulated as phosphate minerals inside the cells and adsorbed at the cell surface at 2 days of cultivation, and then carbonate minerals containing Sr and Ca developed outside the cells after 2 days. Energy-dispersive spectroscopy revealed that Sr, but not Mg, was present in the carbonate minerals even after 8 days. X-ray absorption fine-structure analyses showed that a portion of the soluble Sr changed its chemical state to strontianite (SrCO3) in biogenic carbonate minerals. These results indicated that soluble Sr was selectively solidified into biogenic carbonate minerals by the TK2d strain in highly saline environments.IMPORTANCE Radioactive nuclides (134Cs, 137Cs, and 90Sr) leaked into saline environments, including the ocean, from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. Since the removal of 90Sr using general adsorbents, such as zeolite, is not efficient at high salinity, a suitable alternative immobilization method is necessary. Utilizing the known concept that radioactive 90Sr is incorporated into bones by biomineralization, we got the idea of removing 90Sr via incorporation into biominerals. In this study, we revealed the ability of the isolated ureolytic bacterium to remove Sr under high-salinity conditions and the mechanism of Sr incorporation into biogenic calcium carbonate over a longer duration. These findings indicated the mechanism of the biomineralization by the urease-producing bacterium and the possibility of the biomineralization application for a new purification method for 90Sr in highly saline environments. PMID: 28802269 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Ornithine Decarboxylase-Mediated Production of Putrescine Influences Ganoderic Acid Biosynthesis by Regulating Reactive Oxygen Species in Ganoderma lucidum.
Related Articles Ornithine Decarboxylase-Mediated Production of Putrescine Influences Ganoderic Acid Biosynthesis by Regulating Reactive Oxygen Species in Ganoderma lucidum. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: Wu CG, Tian JL, Liu R, Cao PF, Zhang TJ, Ren A, Shi L, Zhao MW Abstract Putrescine is an important polyamine that participates in a variety of stress responses. Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) is a key enzyme that catalyzes the biosynthesis of putrescine. A homolog of the gene encoding ODC was cloned from Ganoderma lucidum In the ODC-silenced strains, the transcript levels of the ODC gene and the putrescine content were significantly decreased. The ODC-silenced strains were more sensitive to oxidative stress. The content of ganoderic acid was increased by approximately 43 to 46% in the ODC-silenced strains. The content of ganoderic acid could be recovered after the addition of exogenous putrescine. Additionally, the content of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was significantly increased by approximately 1.3-fold in the ODC-silenced strains. The ROS content was significantly reduced after the addition of exogenous putrescine. The gene transcript levels and the activities of four major antioxidant enzymes were measured to further explore the effect of putrescine on the intracellular ROS levels. Further studies showed that the effect of the ODC-mediated production of putrescine on ROS might be a factor influencing the biosynthesis of ganoderic acid. Our study reports the role of putrescine in large basidiomycetes, providing a basis for future studies of the physiological functions of putrescine in microbes.IMPORTANCE It is well known that ODC and the ODC-mediated production of putrescine play an important role in resisting various environmental stresses, but there are few reports regarding the mechanisms underlying the effect of putrescine on secondary metabolism in microorganisms, particularly in fungi. G. lucidum is gradually becoming a model organism for studying environmental regulation and metabolism. In this study, a homolog of the gene encoding ODC was cloned in Ganoderma lucidum We found that the transcript level of the ODC gene and the content of putrescine were significantly decreased in the ODC-silenced strains. The content of ganoderic acid was significantly increased in the ODC-silenced strains. Further studies showed that the effect of the ODC-mediated production of putrescine on ROS might be a factor influencing the biosynthesis of ganoderic acid. Our study reports the role of putrescine in large basidiomycetes, providing a basis for future studies of the physiological functions of putrescine in microbes. PMID: 28802268 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Transient MutS-Based Hypermutation System for Adaptive Evolution of Lactobacillus casei to Low pH.
Related Articles Transient MutS-Based Hypermutation System for Adaptive Evolution of Lactobacillus casei to Low pH. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: Overbeck TJ, Welker DL, Hughes JE, Steele JL, Broadbent JR Abstract This study explored transient inactivation of the gene encoding the DNA mismatch repair enzyme MutS as a tool for adaptive evolution of Lactobacillus casei MutS deletion derivatives of L. casei 12A and ATCC 334 were constructed and subjected to a 100-day adaptive evolution process to increase lactic acid resistance at low pH. Wild-type parental strains were also subjected to this treatment. At the end of the process, the ΔmutS lesion was repaired in representative L. casei 12A and ATCC 334 ΔmutS mutant isolates. Growth studies in broth at pH 4.0 (titrated with lactic acid) showed that all four adapted strains grew more rapidly, to higher cell densities, and produced significantly more lactic acid than untreated wild-type cells. However, the adapted ΔmutS derivative mutants showed the greatest increases in growth and lactic acid production. Further characterization of the L. casei 12A-adapted ΔmutS derivative revealed that it had a significantly smaller cell volume, a rougher cell surface, and significantly better survival at pH 2.5 than parental L. casei 12A. Genome sequence analysis confirmed that transient mutS inactivation decreased DNA replication fidelity in both L. casei strains, and it identified genetic changes that might contribute to the lactic acid-resistant phenotypes of adapted cells. Targeted inactivation of three genes that had acquired nonsense mutations in the adapted L. casei 12A ΔmutS mutant derivative showed that NADH dehydrogenase (ndh), phosphate transport ATP-binding protein PstB (pstB), and two-component signal transduction system (TCS) quorum-sensing histidine protein kinase (hpk) genes act in combination to increase lactic acid resistance in L. casei 12A.IMPORTANCE Adaptive evolution has been applied to microorganisms to increase industrially desirable phenotypes, including acid resistance. We developed a method to increase the adaptability of Lactobacillus casei 12A and ATCC 334 through transient inactivation of the DNA mismatch repair enzyme MutS. Here, we show this method was effective in increasing the resistance of L. casei to lactic acid at low pH. Additionally, we identified three genes that contribute to increased acid resistance in L. casei 12A. These results provide valuable insight on methods to enhance an organism's fitness to complex phenotypes through adaptive evolution and targeted gene inactivation. PMID: 28802267 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Functional Analysis of Genes Comprising the Locus of Heat Resistance in Escherichia coli.
Related Articles Functional Analysis of Genes Comprising the Locus of Heat Resistance in Escherichia coli. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: Mercer R, Nguyen O, Ou Q, McMullen L, Gänzle MG Abstract The locus of heat resistance (LHR) is a 15- to 19-kb genomic island conferring exceptional heat resistance to organisms in the family Enterobacteriaceae, including pathogenic strains of Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli The complement of LHR-comprising genes that is necessary for heat resistance and the stress-induced or growth-phase-induced expression of LHR-comprising genes are unknown. This study determined the contribution of the seven LHR-comprising genes yfdX1GI, yfdX2, hdeDGI, orf11, trxGI, kefB, and psiEGI by comparing the heat resistances of E. coli strains harboring plasmid-encoded derivatives of the different LHRs in these genes. (Genes carry a subscript "GI" [genomic island] if an ortholog of the same gene is present in genomes of E. coli) LHR-encoded heat shock proteins sHSP20, ClpKGI, and sHSPGI are not sufficient for the heat resistance phenotype; YfdX1, YfdX2, and HdeD are necessary to complement the LHR heat shock proteins and to impart a high level of resistance. Deletion of trxGI, kefB, and psiEGI from plasmid-encoded copies of the LHR did not significantly affect heat resistance. The effect of the growth phase and the NaCl concentration on expression from the putative LHR promoter p2 was determined by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR and by a plasmid-encoded p2:GFP promoter fusion. The expression levels of exponential- and stationary-phase E. coli cells were not significantly different, but the addition of 1% NaCl significantly increased LHR expression. Remarkably, LHR expression in E. coli was dependent on a chromosomal copy of evgA In conclusion, this study improved our understanding of the genes required for exceptional heat resistance in E. coli and factors that increase their expression in food.IMPORTANCE The locus of heat resistance (LHR) is a genomic island conferring exceptional heat resistance to several foodborne pathogens. The exceptional level of heat resistance provided by the LHR questions the control of pathogens by current food processing and preparation techniques. The function of LHR-comprising genes and their regulation, however, remain largely unknown. This study defines a core complement of LHR-encoded proteins that are necessary for heat resistance and demonstrates that regulation of the LHR in E. coli requires a chromosomal copy of the gene encoding EvgA. This study provides insight into the function of a transmissible genomic island that allows otherwise heat-sensitive enteric bacteria, including pathogens, to lead a thermoduric lifestyle and thus contributes to the detection and control of heat-resistant enteric bacteria in food. PMID: 28802266 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Syntrophomonas wolfei Uses an NADH-Dependent, Ferredoxin-Independent [FeFe]-Hydrogenase To Reoxidize NADH.
Related Articles Syntrophomonas wolfei Uses an NADH-Dependent, Ferredoxin-Independent [FeFe]-Hydrogenase To Reoxidize NADH. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: Losey NA, Mus F, Peters JW, Le HM, McInerney MJ Abstract Syntrophomonas wolfei syntrophically oxidizes short-chain fatty acids (four to eight carbons in length) when grown in coculture with a hydrogen- and/or formate-using methanogen. The oxidation of 3-hydroxybutyryl-coenzyme A (CoA), formed during butyrate metabolism, results in the production of NADH. The enzyme systems involved in NADH reoxidation in S. wolfei are not well understood. The genome of S. wolfei contains a multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase that may be a mechanism for NADH reoxidation. The S. wolfei genes for the multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase (hyd1ABC; SWOL_RS05165, SWOL_RS05170, SWOL_RS05175) and [FeFe]-hydrogenase maturation proteins (SWOL_RS05180, SWOL_RS05190, SWOL_RS01625) were coexpressed in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant Hyd1ABC was purified and characterized. The purified recombinant Hyd1ABC was a heterotrimer with an αβγ configuration and a molecular mass of 115 kDa. Hyd1ABC contained 29.2 ± 1.49 mol of Fe and 0.7 mol of flavin mononucleotide (FMN) per mole enzyme. The purified, recombinant Hyd1ABC reduced NAD+ and oxidized NADH without the presence of ferredoxin. The HydB subunit of the S. wolfei multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase lacks two iron-sulfur centers that are present in known confurcating NADH- and ferredoxin-dependent [FeFe]-hydrogenases. Hyd1ABC is a NADH-dependent hydrogenase that produces hydrogen from NADH without the need of reduced ferredoxin, which differs from confurcating [FeFe]-hydrogenases. Hyd1ABC provides a mechanism by which S. wolfei can reoxidize NADH produced during syntrophic butyrate oxidation when low hydrogen partial pressures are maintained by a hydrogen-consuming microorganism.IMPORTANCE Our work provides mechanistic understanding of the obligate metabolic coupling that occurs between hydrogen-producing fatty and aromatic acid-degrading microorganisms and their hydrogen-consuming partners in the process called syntrophy (feeding together). The multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase used NADH without the involvement of reduced ferredoxin. The multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase would produce hydrogen from NADH only when hydrogen concentrations were low. Hydrogen production from NADH by Syntrophomonas wolfei would likely cease before any detectable amount of cell growth occurred. Thus, continual hydrogen production requires the presence of a hydrogen-consuming partner to keep hydrogen concentrations low and explains, in part, the obligate requirement that S. wolfei has for a hydrogen-consuming partner organism during growth on butyrate. We have successfully expressed genes encoding a multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase in E. coli, demonstrating that such an approach can be advantageous to characterize comp[...]



Crystal Structure and Substrate Specificity Modification of Acetyl Xylan Esterase from Aspergillus luchuensis.
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Crystal Structure and Substrate Specificity Modification of Acetyl Xylan Esterase from Aspergillus luchuensis.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20):

Authors: Komiya D, Hori A, Ishida T, Igarashi K, Samejima M, Koseki T, Fushinobu S

Abstract
Acetyl xylan esterase (AXE) catalyzes the hydrolysis of the acetyl bonds present in plant cell wall polysaccharides. Here, we determined the crystal structure of AXE from Aspergillus luchuensis (AlAXEA), providing the three-dimensional structure of an enzyme in the Esterase_phb family. AlAXEA shares its core α/β-hydrolase fold structure with esterases in other families, but it has an extended central β-sheet at both its ends and an extra loop. Structural comparison with a ferulic acid esterase (FAE) from Aspergillus niger indicated that AlAXEA has a conserved catalytic machinery: a catalytic triad (Ser119, His259, and Asp202) and an oxyanion hole (Cys40 and Ser120). Near the catalytic triad of AlAXEA, two aromatic residues (Tyr39 and Trp160) form small pockets at both sides. Homology models of fungal FAEs in the same Esterase_phb family have wide pockets at the corresponding sites because they have residues with smaller side chains (Pro, Ser, and Gly). Mutants with site-directed mutations at Tyr39 showed a substrate specificity similar to that of the wild-type enzyme, whereas those with mutations at Trp160 acquired an expanded substrate specificity. Interestingly, the Trp160 mutants acquired weak but significant type B-like FAE activity. Moreover, the engineered enzymes exhibited ferulic acid-releasing activity from wheat arabinoxylan.IMPORTANCE Hemicelluloses in the plant cell wall are often decorated by acetyl and ferulic acid groups. Therefore, complete and efficient degradation of plant polysaccharides requires the enzymes for cleaving the side chains of the polymer. Since the Esterase_phb family contains a wide array of fungal FAEs and AXEs from fungi and bacteria, our study will provide a structural basis for the molecular mechanism of these industrially relevant enzymes in biopolymer degradation. The structure of the Esterase_phb family also provides information for bacterial polyhydroxyalkanoate depolymerases that are involved in biodegradation of thermoplastic polymers.

PMID: 28802264 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Constant Flux of Spatial Niche Partitioning through High-Resolution Sampling of Magnetotactic Bacteria.
Related Articles Constant Flux of Spatial Niche Partitioning through High-Resolution Sampling of Magnetotactic Bacteria. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: He K, Gilder SA, Orsi WD, Zhao X, Petersen N Abstract Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) swim along magnetic field lines in water. They are found in aquatic habitats throughout the world, yet knowledge of their spatial and temporal distribution remains limited. To help remedy this, we took MTB-bearing sediment from a natural pond, mixed the thoroughly homogenized sediment into two replicate aquaria, and then counted three dominant MTB morphotypes (coccus, spirillum, and rod-shaped MTB cells) at a high spatiotemporal sampling resolution: 36 discrete points in replicate aquaria were sampled every ∼30 days over 198 days. Population centers of the MTB coccus and MTB spirillum morphotypes moved in continual flux, yet they consistently inhabited separate locations, displaying significant anticorrelation. Rod-shaped MTB were initially concentrated toward the northern end of the aquaria, but at the end of the experiment, they were most densely populated toward the south. The finding that the total number of MTB cells increased over time during the experiment argues that population reorganization arose from relative changes in cell division and death and not from migration. The maximum net growth rates were 10, 3, and 1 doublings day-1 and average net growth rates were 0.24, 0.11, and 0.02 doublings day-1 for MTB cocci, MTB spirilla, and rod-shaped MTB, respectively; minimum growth rates for all three morphotypes were -0.03 doublings day-1 Our results suggest that MTB cocci and MTB spirilla occupy distinctly different niches: their horizontal positioning in sediment is anticorrelated and under constant flux.IMPORTANCE Little is known about the horizontal distribution of magnetotactic bacteria in sediment or how the distribution changes over time. We therefore measured three dominant magnetotactic bacterium morphotypes at 36 places in two replicate aquaria each month for 7 months. We found that the spatial positioning of population centers changed over time and that the two most abundant morphotypes (MTB cocci and MTB spirilla) occupied distinctly different niches in the aquaria. Maximum and average growth and death rates were quantified for each of the three morphotypes based on 72 sites that were measured six times. The findings provided novel insight into the differential behavior of noncultured magnetotactic bacteria. PMID: 28778897 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Environmental Selection, Dispersal, and Organism Interactions Shape Community Assembly in High-Throughput Enrichment Culturing.
Related Articles Environmental Selection, Dispersal, and Organism Interactions Shape Community Assembly in High-Throughput Enrichment Culturing. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: Justice NB, Sczesnak A, Hazen TC, Arkin AP Abstract A central goal of microbial ecology is to identify and quantify the forces that lead to observed population distributions and dynamics. However, these forces, which include environmental selection, dispersal, and organism interactions, are often difficult to assess in natural environments. Here, we present a method that links microbial community structures with selective and stochastic forces through highly replicated subsampling and enrichment of a single environmental inoculum. Specifically, groundwater from a well-studied natural aquifer was serially diluted and inoculated into nearly 1,000 aerobic and anaerobic nitrate-reducing cultures, and the final community structures were evaluated with 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. We analyzed the frequency and abundance of individual operational taxonomic units (OTUs) to understand how probabilistic immigration, relative fitness differences, environmental factors, and organismal interactions contributed to divergent distributions of community structures. We further used a most probable number (MPN) method to estimate the natural condition-dependent cultivable abundance of each of the nearly 400 OTU cultivated in our study and infer the relative fitness of each. Additionally, we infer condition-specific organism interactions and discuss how this high-replicate culturing approach is essential in dissecting the interplay between overlapping ecological forces and taxon-specific attributes that underpin microbial community assembly.IMPORTANCE Through highly replicated culturing, in which inocula are subsampled from a single environmental sample, we empirically determine how selective forces, interspecific interactions, relative fitness, and probabilistic dispersal shape bacterial communities. These methods offer a novel approach to untangle not only interspecific interactions but also taxon-specific fitness differences that manifest across different cultivation conditions and lead to the selection and enrichment of specific organisms. Additionally, we provide a method for estimating the number of cultivable units of each OTU in the original sample through the MPN approach. PMID: 28778896 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Salt Marsh Bacterial Communities before and after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Related Articles Salt Marsh Bacterial Communities before and after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: Engel AS, Liu C, Paterson AT, Anderson LC, Turner RE, Overton EB Abstract Coastal salt marshes along the northern Gulf of Mexico shoreline received varied types and amounts of weathered oil residues after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. At the time, predicting how marsh bacterial communities would respond and/or recover to oiling and other environmental stressors was difficult because baseline information on community composition and dynamics was generally unavailable. Here, we evaluated marsh vegetation, physicochemistry, flooding frequency, hydrocarbon chemistry, and subtidal sediment bacterial communities from 16S rRNA gene surveys at 11 sites in southern Louisiana before the oil spill and resampled the same marshes three to four times over 38 months after the spill. Calculated hydrocarbon biomarker indices indicated that oil replaced native natural organic matter (NOM) originating from Spartina alterniflora and marine phytoplankton in the marshes between May 2010 and September 2010. At all the studied marshes, the major class- and order-level shifts among the phyla Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria occurred within these first 4 months, but another community shift occurred at the time of peak oiling in 2011. Two years later, hydrocarbon levels decreased and bacterial communities became more diverse, being dominated by Alphaproteobacteria (Rhizobiales), Chloroflexi (Dehalococcoidia), and Planctomycetes Compositional changes through time could be explained by NOM source differences, perhaps due to vegetation changes, as well as marsh flooding and salinity excursions linked to freshwater diversions. These findings indicate that persistent hydrocarbon exposure alone did not explain long-term community shifts.IMPORTANCE Significant deterioration of coastal salt marshes in Louisiana has been linked to natural and anthropogenic stressors that can adversely affect how ecosystems function. Although microorganisms carry out and regulate most biogeochemical reactions, the diversity of bacterial communities in coastal marshes is poorly known, with limited investigation of potential changes in bacterial communities in response to various environmental stressors. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill provided an unprecedented opportunity to study the long-term effects of an oil spill on microbial systems in marshes. Compared to previous studies, the significance of our research stems from (i) a broader geographic range of studied marshes, (ii) an extended time frame of data collection that includes prespill conditions, (iii) a more accurate procedure using biomarker indices to understand oiling, [...]



Transcriptome Response to Heavy Metals in Sinorhizobium meliloti CCNWSX0020 Reveals New Metal Resistance Determinants That Also Promote Bioremediation by Medicago lupulina in Metal-Contaminated Soil.
Related Articles Transcriptome Response to Heavy Metals in Sinorhizobium meliloti CCNWSX0020 Reveals New Metal Resistance Determinants That Also Promote Bioremediation by Medicago lupulina in Metal-Contaminated Soil. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: Lu M, Jiao S, Gao E, Song X, Li Z, Hao X, Rensing C, Wei G Abstract The symbiosis of the highly metal-resistant Sinorhizobium meliloti CCNWSX0020 and Medicago lupulina has been considered an efficient tool for bioremediation of heavy metal-polluted soils. However, the metal resistance mechanisms of S. meliloti CCNWSX00200 have not been elucidated in detail. Here we employed a comparative transcriptome approach to analyze the defense mechanisms of S. meliloti CCNWSX00200 against Cu or Zn exposure. Six highly upregulated transcripts involved in Cu and Zn resistance were identified through deletion mutagenesis, including genes encoding a multicopper oxidase (CueO), an outer membrane protein (Omp), sulfite oxidoreductases (YedYZ), and three hypothetical proteins (a CusA-like protein, a FixH-like protein, and an unknown protein), and the corresponding mutant strains showed various degrees of sensitivity to multiple metals. The Cu-sensitive mutant (ΔcueO) and three mutants that were both Cu and Zn sensitive (ΔyedYZ, ΔcusA-like, and ΔfixH-like) were selected for further study of the effects of these metal resistance determinants on bioremediation. The results showed that inoculation with the ΔcueO mutant severely inhibited infection establishment and nodulation of M. lupulina under Cu stress, while inoculation with the ΔyedYZ and ΔfixH-like mutants decreased just the early infection frequency and nodulation under Cu and Zn stresses. In contrast, inoculation with the ΔcusA-like mutant almost led to loss of the symbiotic capacity of M. lupulina to even grow in uncontaminated soil. Moreover, the antioxidant enzyme activity and metal accumulation in roots of M. lupulina inoculated with all mutants were lower than those with the wild-type strain. These results suggest that heavy metal resistance determinants may promote bioremediation by directly or indirectly influencing formation of the rhizobium-legume symbiosis.IMPORTANCE Rhizobium-legume symbiosis has been promoted as an appropriate tool for bioremediation of heavy metal-contaminated soils. Considering the plant-growth-promoting traits and survival advantage of metal-resistant rhizobia in contaminated environments, more heavy metal-resistant rhizobia and genetically manipulated strains were investigated. In view of the genetic diversity of metal resistance determinants in rhizobia, their effects on phytoremediation by the rhizobium-legume symbiosis must be different and depend on their specific assigned functions. Our w[...]



A Novel Colletotrichum graminicola Raffinose Oxidase in the AA5 Family.
Related Articles A Novel Colletotrichum graminicola Raffinose Oxidase in the AA5 Family. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Oct 15;83(20): Authors: Andberg M, Mollerup F, Parikka K, Koutaniemi S, Boer H, Juvonen M, Master E, Tenkanen M, Kruus K Abstract We describe here the identification and characterization of a copper radical oxidase from auxiliary activities family 5 (AA5_2) that was distinguished by showing preferential activity toward raffinose. Despite the biotechnological potential of carbohydrate oxidases from family AA5, very few members have been characterized. The gene encoding raffinose oxidase from Colletotrichum graminicola (CgRaOx; EC 1.1.3.-) was identified utilizing a bioinformatics approach based on the known modular structure of a characterized AA5_2 galactose oxidase. CgRaOx was expressed in Pichia pastoris, and the purified enzyme displayed the highest activity on the trisaccharide raffinose, whereas the activity on the disaccharide melibiose was three times lower and more than ten times lower activity was detected on d-galactose at a 300 mM substrate concentration. Thus, the substrate preference of CgRaOx was distinguished clearly from the substrate preferences of the known galactose oxidases. The site of oxidation for raffinose was studied by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry, and we confirmed that the hydroxyl group at the C-6 position was oxidized to an aldehyde and that in addition uronic acid was produced as a side product. A new electrospray ionization mass spectrometry method for the identification of C-6 oxidized products was developed, and the formation mechanism of the uronic acid was studied. CgRaOx presented a novel activity pattern in the AA5 family.IMPORTANCE Currently, there are only a few characterized members of the CAZy AA5 protein family. These enzymes are interesting from an application point of view because of their ability to utilize the cheap and abundant oxidant O2 without the requirement of complex cofactors such as FAD or NAD(P). Here, we present the identification and characterization of a novel AA5 member from Colletotrichum graminicola As discussed in the present study, the bioinformatics approach using the modular structure of galactose oxidase was successful in finding a C-6 hydroxyl carbohydrate oxidase having substrate preference for the trisaccharide raffinose. By the discovery of this activity, the diversity of the CAZy AA5 family is increasing. PMID: 28778886 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Vibrio cholerae Colonization of Soft-Shelled Turtles.
Related Articles Vibrio cholerae Colonization of Soft-Shelled Turtles. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Wang J, Yan M, Gao H, Lu X, Kan B Abstract Vibrio cholerae is an important human pathogen and environmental microflora species that can both propagate in the human intestine and proliferate in zooplankton and aquatic organisms. Cholera is transmitted through food and water. In recent years, outbreaks caused by V. cholerae-contaminated soft-shelled turtles, contaminated mainly with toxigenic serogroup O139, have been frequently reported, posing a new foodborne disease public health problem. In this study, the colonization by toxigenic V. cholerae on the body surfaces and intestines of soft-shelled turtles was explored. Preferred colonization sites on the turtle body surfaces, mainly the carapace and calipash of the dorsal side, were observed for the O139 and O1 strains. Intestinal colonization was also found. The colonization factors of V. cholerae played different roles in the colonization of the soft-shelled turtle's body surface and intestine. Mannose-sensitive hemagglutinin (MSHA) of V. cholerae was necessary for body surface colonization, but no roles were found for toxin-coregulated pili (TCP) or N-acetylglucosamine-binding protein A (GBPA). Both TCP and GBPA play important roles for colonization in the intestine, whereas the deletion of MSHA revealed only a minor colonization-promoting role for this factor. Our study demonstrated that V. cholerae can colonize the surfaces and the intestines of soft-shelled turtles and indicated that the soft-shelled turtles played a role in the transmission of cholera. In addition, this study showed that the soft-shelled turtle has potential value as an animal model in studies of the colonization and environmental adaption mechanisms of V. cholerae in aquatic organisms.IMPORTANCE Cholera is transmitted through water and food. Soft-shelled turtles contaminated with Vibrio cholerae (commonly the serogroup O139 strains) have caused many foodborne infections and outbreaks in recent years, and they have become a foodborne disease problem. Except for epidemiological investigations, no experimental studies have demonstrated the colonization by V. cholerae on soft-shelled turtles. The present studies will benefit our understanding of the interaction between V. cholerae and the soft-shelled turtle. We demonstrated the colonization by V. cholerae on the soft-shelled turtle's body surface and in the intestine and revealed the different roles of major V. cholerae factors for colonization on the body surface and in the intestine. Our work provides experimental evidence for the role of soft-shelled turtles in cholera transmission. In a[...]



Mathermycin, a Lantibiotic from the Marine Actinomycete Marinactinospora thermotolerans SCSIO 00652.
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Mathermycin, a Lantibiotic from the Marine Actinomycete Marinactinospora thermotolerans SCSIO 00652.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15):

Authors: Chen E, Chen Q, Chen S, Xu B, Ju J, Wang H

Abstract
Lantibiotics are antimicrobial peptides belonging to the family of ribosomally synthesized and posttranslationally modified peptides (RiPPs) and feature thioether linkages in their structures. In this study, we identified the biosynthetic gene cluster of a cinnamycin analog, named mathermycin, from Marinactinospora thermotolerans SCSIO 00652 and reconstituted its biosynthesis in Streptomyces lividans and Escherichia coli Key posttranslational modification enzymes of mathermycin were characterized. Mathermycin exhibited antimicrobial activity and therefore represents an example of cinnamycin-like lantibiotics from Marinactinospora species.IMPORTANCE The discovery of new antimicrobial compounds that can be used as potential drugs is in urgent need due to increasing bacterial resistance to current antibiotics. Lantibiotics are important antimicrobial compounds that have found applications in both the clinic setting and food industry. We report here the discovery of a new lantibiotic, mathermycin, from a marine-derived Marinactinospora thermotolerans strain and elucidation of its biosynthesis. We also demonstrate that mathermycin possesses antimicrobial activity toward a Bacillus strain.

PMID: 28576760 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Transient Silencing of DNA Repair Genes Improves Targeted Gene Integration in the Filamentous Fungus Trichoderma reesei.
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Transient Silencing of DNA Repair Genes Improves Targeted Gene Integration in the Filamentous Fungus Trichoderma reesei.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15):

Authors: Chum PY, Schmidt G, Saloheimo M, Landowski CP

Abstract
Trichoderma reesei is a filamentous fungus that is used worldwide to produce industrial enzymes. Industrial strains have traditionally been created though systematic strain improvement using mutagenesis and screening approaches. It is also desirable to specifically manipulate the genes of the organism to further improve and to modify the strain. Targeted integration in filamentous fungi is typically hampered by very low frequencies of homologous recombination. To address this limitation, we have developed a simple transient method for silencing genes in T. reesei Using gene-specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) targeted to mus53, we could achieve up to 90% knockdown of mus53 mRNA. As a practical example, we demonstrated that transient silencing of DNA repair genes significantly improved homologous integration of DNA at a specific locus in a standard protoplast transformation. The best transient silencing of mus53 with siRNAs in protoplasts could achieve up to 59% marker gene integration.IMPORTANCE The previous solution for improving targeted integration efficiency has been deleting nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) DNA repair genes. However, deleting these important repair genes may lead to unintended consequences for genomic stability and could lead to the accumulation of spontaneous mutations. Our method of transiently silencing NHEJ repair pathway genes allows recovery of their important repair functions. Here we report a silencing approach for improving targeted DNA integration in filamentous fungi. Furthermore, our transient silencing method is a truly flexible approach that is capable of knocking down the expression of a target gene in growing mycelial cultures, which could facilitate the broad study of gene functions in T. reesei.

PMID: 28550064 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




The Lectin Chaperone Calnexin Is Involved in the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Response by Regulating Ca2+ Homeostasis in Aspergillus nidulans.
Related Articles The Lectin Chaperone Calnexin Is Involved in the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Response by Regulating Ca2+ Homeostasis in Aspergillus nidulans. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Zhang S, Zheng H, Chen Q, Chen Y, Wang S, Lu L, Zhang S Abstract The Ca2+-mediated signaling pathway is crucial for environmental adaptation in fungi. Here we show that calnexin, a molecular chaperone located in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), plays an important role in regulating the cytosolic free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]c) in Aspergillus nidulans Inactivation of calnexin (ClxA) in A. nidulans caused severe defects in hyphal growth and conidiation under ER stress caused by the ER stress-inducing agent dithiothreitol (DTT) or high temperature. Importantly, defects in the ΔclxA mutant were restored by the addition of extracellular calcium. Furthermore, the CchA/MidA complex (the high-affinity Ca2+ channels), calcineurin (calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatase), and PmrA (secretory pathway Ca2+ ATPase) were required for extracellular calcium-based restoration of the DTT/thermal stress sensitivity in the ΔclxA mutant. Interestingly, the ΔclxA mutant exhibited markedly reduced conidium formation and hyphal growth defects under the low-calcium condition, which is similar to defects caused by mutations in MidA/CchA. Moreover, the phenotypic defects were further exacerbated in the ΔclxA ΔmidA ΔcchA mutant, which suggested that ClxA and MidA/CchA are both required under the calcium-limiting condition. Using the calcium-sensitive photoprotein aequorin to monitor [Ca2+]c in living cells, we found that ClxA and MidA/CchA complex synergistically coordinate transient increase in [Ca2+]c in response to extracellular calcium. Moreover, ClxA, in particular its luminal domain, plays a role in mediating the transient [Ca2+]c in response to DTT-induced ER stress in the absence of extracellular calcium, indicating ClxA may mediate calcium release from internal calcium stores. Our findings provide new insights into the role of calnexin in the regulation of calcium-mediated response in fungal ER stress adaptation.IMPORTANCE Calnexin is a well-known molecular chaperone conserved from yeast to humans. Although it contains calcium binding domains, little is known about the role of calnexin in Ca2+ regulation. In this study, we demonstrate that calnexin (ClxA) in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans, similar to the high-affinity calcium uptake system (HACS), is required for normal growth and conidiation under the calcium-limiting condition. The ClxA dysfunction decreases the transient cytos[...]



Surface Sensing for Paenibacillus sp. NAIST15-1 Flagellar Gene Expression on Solid Medium.
Related Articles Surface Sensing for Paenibacillus sp. NAIST15-1 Flagellar Gene Expression on Solid Medium. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Kobayashi K, Kanesaki Y, Yoshikawa H Abstract A rhizosphere Gram-positive bacterial isolate, Paenibacillus sp. NAIST15-1, exhibits intriguing motility behavior on hard agar medium. Paenibacillus sp. shows increased transcription of flagellar genes and hyperflagellation when transferred from liquid to solid medium. Hyperflagellated cells form wandering colonies that are capable of moving around on the surface of medium containing ≥1.5% agar. Transposon mutagenesis was used to identify genes critical for motility. In addition to flagellar genes, this mutagenesis identified five nonflagellar structural genes that were important for motility. Of these, the disruption of degSU, wsfP, or PBN151_4312 resulted in a complete loss of flagellin synthesis. Analysis of flagellar gene promoter activity showed that each mutation severely reduced flagellar gene transcription in a different manner. Flagellar gene transcription was induced in liquid medium by the addition of a viscous agent, Ficoll, or by disruption of flagellar stator genes, indicating that flagellar gene transcription was induced in response to restriction of flagellar rotation. Overexpression of DegSU bypassed the requirement of flagellar rotation restriction for induction of flagellar genes. These results indicate that physical restriction of flagellar rotation by physical contact with the surface of solid medium induces flagellar gene transcription through the activation of DegSU. Further analysis revealed that the same mechanism was conserved in Bacillus subtilis These results demonstrate that flagella act as mechanosensors to control flagellar transcription in Gram-positive bacteria.IMPORTANCE Many bacteria exist on living or nonliving surfaces in nature. Bacteria express distinct behaviors, such as surface motility and biofilm formation, to adapt to surfaces. However, it remains largely unknown how bacteria sense the surfaces on which they sit and how they induce the genes needed for growth on a surface. Swarming motility is flagellum-dependent motility on a surface. The Gram-positive bacterium Paenibacillus sp. exhibits strong swarming motility ability and is capable of moving on 1.5% agar medium. In this study, we showed that the two-component system DegSU was responsible for inducing flagellar genes in response to heavy loads on flagellar rotation in Paenibacillus sp. The same mechanism was conserved in a related species, B. subtilis, even though these two[...]



Europe-Wide Meta-Analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato Prevalence in Questing Ixodes ricinus Ticks.
Related Articles Europe-Wide Meta-Analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato Prevalence in Questing Ixodes ricinus Ticks. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Strnad M, Hönig V, Růžek D, Grubhoffer L, Rego ROM Abstract Lyme borreliosis is the most common zoonotic disease transmitted by ticks in Europe and North America. Despite having multiple tick vectors, the causative agent, Borrelia burgdorferisensu lato, is vectored mainly by Ixodes ricinus in Europe. In the present study, we aimed to review and summarize the existing data published from 2010 to 2016 concerning the prevalence of B. burgdorferi sensu lato spirochetes in questing I. ricinus ticks. The primary focus was to evaluate the infection rate of these bacteria in ticks, accounting for tick stage, adult tick gender, region, and detection method, as well as to investigate any changes in prevalence over time. The data obtained were compared to the findings of a previous metastudy. The literature search identified data from 23 countries, with 115,028 ticks, in total, inspected for infection with B. burgdorferi sensu lato We showed that the infection rate was significantly higher in adults than in nymphs and in females than in males. We found significant differences between European regions, with the highest infection rates in Central Europe. The most common genospecies were B. afzelii and B. garinii, despite a negative correlation of their prevalence rates. No statistically significant differences were found among the prevalence rates determined by conventional PCR, nested PCR, and real-time PCR.IMPORTANCEBorrelia burgdorferisensu lato is a pathogenic bacterium whose clinical manifestations are associated with Lyme borreliosis. This vector-borne disease is a major public health concern in Europe and North America and may lead to severe arthritic, cardiovascular, and neurological complications if left untreated. Although pathogen prevalence is considered an important predictor of infection risk, solitary isolated data have only limited value. Here we provide summarized information about the prevalence of B. burgdorferi sensu lato spirochetes among host-seeking Ixodes ricinus ticks, the principal tick vector of borreliae in Europe. We compare the new results with previously published data in order to evaluate any changing trends in tick infection. PMID: 28550059 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Biofilm Formation Potential of Heat-Resistant Escherichia coli Dairy Isolates and the Complete Genome of Multidrug-Resistant, Heat-Resistant Strain FAM21845.
Related Articles Biofilm Formation Potential of Heat-Resistant Escherichia coli Dairy Isolates and the Complete Genome of Multidrug-Resistant, Heat-Resistant Strain FAM21845. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Marti R, Schmid M, Kulli S, Schneeberger K, Naskova J, Knøchel S, Ahrens CH, Hummerjohann J Abstract We tested the biofilm formation potential of 30 heat-resistant and 6 heat-sensitive Escherichia coli dairy isolates. Production of curli and cellulose, static biofilm formation on polystyrene (PS) and stainless steel surfaces, biofilm formation under dynamic conditions (Bioflux), and initial adhesion rates (IAR) were evaluated. Biofilm formation varied greatly between strains, media, and assays. Our results highlight the importance of the experimental setup in determining biofilm formation under conditions of interest, as correlation between different assays was often not a given. The heat-resistant, multidrug-resistant (MDR) strain FAM21845 showed the strongest biofilm formation on PS and the highest IAR and was the only strain that formed significant biofilms on stainless steel under conditions relevant to the dairy industry, and it was therefore fully sequenced. Its chromosome is 4.9 Mb long, and it harbors a total of five plasmids (147.2, 54.2, 5.8, 2.5, and 1.9 kb). The strain carries a broad range of genes relevant to antimicrobial resistance and biofilm formation, including some on its two large conjugative plasmids, as demonstrated in plate mating assays.IMPORTANCE In biofilms, cells are embedded in an extracellular matrix that protects them from stresses, such as UV radiation, osmotic shock, desiccation, antibiotics, and predation. Biofilm formation is a major bacterial persistence factor of great concern in the clinic and the food industry. Many tested strains formed strong biofilms, and especially strains such as the heat-resistant, MDR strain FAM21845 may pose a serious issue for food production. Strong biofilm formation combined with diverse resistances (some encoded on conjugative plasmids) may allow for increased persistence, coselection, and possible transfer of these resistance factors. Horizontal gene transfer may conceivably occur in the food production setting or the gastrointestinal tract after consumption. PMID: 28550056 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Exploring a Possible Link between the Intestinal Microbiota and Feed Efficiency in Pigs.
Related Articles Exploring a Possible Link between the Intestinal Microbiota and Feed Efficiency in Pigs. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: McCormack UM, Curião T, Buzoianu SG, Prieto ML, Ryan T, Varley P, Crispie F, Magowan E, Metzler-Zebeli BU, Berry D, O'Sullivan O, Cotter PD, Gardiner GE, Lawlor PG Abstract Feed efficiency (FE) is critical in pig production for both economic and environmental reasons. As the intestinal microbiota plays an important role in energy harvest, it is likely to influence FE. Therefore, our aim was to characterize the intestinal microbiota of pigs ranked as low, medium, and high residual feed intake ([RFI] a metric for FE), where genetic, nutritional, and management effects were minimized, to explore a possible link between the intestinal microbiota and FE. Eighty-one pigs were ranked according to RFI between weaning and day 126 postweaning, and 32 were selected as the extremes in RFI (12 low, 10 medium, and 10 high). Intestinal microbiota diversity, composition, and predicted functionality were assessed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Although no differences in microbial diversity were found, some RFI-associated compositional differences were revealed, principally among members of Firmicutes, predominantly in feces at slaughter (albeit mainly for low-abundance taxa). In particular, microbes associated with a leaner and healthier host (e.g., Christensenellaceae, Oscillibacter, and Cellulosilyticum) were enriched in low RFI (more feed-efficient) pigs. Differences were also observed in the ileum of low RFI pigs; most notably, Nocardiaceae (Rhodococcus) were less abundant. Predictive functional analysis suggested improved metabolic capabilities in these animals, especially within the ileal microbiota. Higher ileal isobutyric acid concentrations were also found in low RFI pigs. Overall, the differences observed within the intestinal microbiota of low RFI pigs compared with that of their high RFI counterparts, albeit relatively subtle, suggest a possible link between the intestinal microbiota and FE in pigs.IMPORTANCE This study is one of the first to show that differences in intestinal microbiota composition, albeit subtle, may partly explain improved feed efficiency (FE) in low residual feed intake (RFI) pigs. One of the main findings is that, although microbial diversity did not differ among animals of varying FE, specific intestinal microbes could potentially be linked with porcine FE. However, as the factors impacting FE are still not fully understo[...]



Raffinose Induces Biofilm Formation by Streptococcus mutans in Low Concentrations of Sucrose by Increasing Production of Extracellular DNA and Fructan.
Related Articles Raffinose Induces Biofilm Formation by Streptococcus mutans in Low Concentrations of Sucrose by Increasing Production of Extracellular DNA and Fructan. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Nagasawa R, Sato T, Senpuku H Abstract Streptococcus mutans is the primary etiological agent of dental caries and causes tooth decay by forming a firmly attached biofilm on tooth surfaces. Biofilm formation is induced by the presence of sucrose, which is a substrate for the synthesis of extracellular polysaccharides but not in the presence of oligosaccharides. Nonetheless, in this study, we found that raffinose, which is an oligosaccharide with an intestinal regulatory function and antiallergic effect, induced biofilm formation by S. mutans in a mixed culture with sucrose, which was at concentrations less than those required to induce biofilm formation directly. We analyzed the possible mechanism behind the small requirement for sucrose for biofilm formation in the presence of raffinose. Our results suggested that sucrose contributed to an increase in bacterial cell surface hydrophobicity and biofilm formation. Next, we examined how the effects of raffinose interacted with the effects of sucrose for biofilm formation. We showed that the presence of raffinose induced fructan synthesis by fructosyltransferase and aggregated extracellular DNA (eDNA, which is probably genomic DNA released from dead cells) into the biofilm. eDNA seemed to be important for biofilm formation, because the degradation of DNA by DNase I resulted in a significant reduction in biofilm formation. When assessing the role of fructan in biofilm formation, we found that fructan enhanced eDNA-dependent cell aggregation. Therefore, our results show that raffinose and sucrose have cooperative effects and that this induction of biofilm formation depends on supportive elements that mainly consist of eDNA and fructan.IMPORTANCE The sucrose-dependent mechanism of biofilm formation in Streptococcus mutans has been studied extensively. Nonetheless, the effects of carbohydrates other than sucrose are inadequately understood. Our findings concerning raffinose advance the understanding of the mechanism underlying the joint effects of sucrose and other carbohydrates on biofilm formation. Since raffinose has been reported to have positive effects on enterobacterial flora, research on the effects of raffinose on the oral flora are required prior to its use as a beneficial sugar for human health. He[...]



Genomic Analysis of Calderihabitans maritimus KKC1, a Thermophilic, Hydrogenogenic, Carboxydotrophic Bacterium Isolated from Marine Sediment.
Related Articles Genomic Analysis of Calderihabitans maritimus KKC1, a Thermophilic, Hydrogenogenic, Carboxydotrophic Bacterium Isolated from Marine Sediment. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Omae K, Yoneda Y, Fukuyama Y, Yoshida T, Sako Y Abstract Calderihabitans maritimus KKC1 is a thermophilic, hydrogenogenic carboxydotroph isolated from a submerged marine caldera. Here, we describe the de novo sequencing and feature analysis of the C. maritimus KKC1 genome. Genome-based phylogenetic analysis confirmed that C. maritimus KKC1 was most closely related to the genus Moorella, which includes well-studied acetogenic members. Comparative genomic analysis revealed that, like Moorella, C. maritimus KKC1 retained both the CO2-reducing Wood-Ljungdahl pathway and energy-converting hydrogenase-based module activated by reduced ferredoxin, but it lacked the HydABC and NfnAB electron-bifurcating enzymes and pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase required for ferredoxin reduction for acetogenic growth. Furthermore, C. maritimus KKC1 harbored six genes encoding CooS, a catalytic subunit of the anaerobic CO dehydrogenase that can reduce ferredoxin via CO oxidation, whereas Moorella possessed only two CooS genes. Our analysis revealed that three cooS genes formed known gene clusters in other microorganisms, i.e., cooS-acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) synthase (which contained a frameshift mutation), cooS-energy-converting hydrogenase, and cooF-cooS-FAD-NAD oxidoreductase, while the other three had novel genomic contexts. Sequence composition analysis indicated that these cooS genes likely evolved from a common ancestor. Collectively, these data suggest that C. maritimus KKC1 may be highly dependent on CO as a low-potential electron donor to directly reduce ferredoxin and may be more suited to carboxydotrophic growth compared to the acetogenic growth observed in Moorella, which show adaptation at a thermodynamic limit.IMPORTANCECalderihabitans maritimus KKC1 and members of the genus Moorella are phylogenetically related but physiologically distinct. The former is a hydrogenogenic carboxydotroph that can grow on carbon monoxide (CO) with H2 production, whereas the latter include acetogenic bacteria that grow on H2 plus CO2 with acetate production. Both species may require reduced ferredoxin as an actual "energy equivalent," but ferredoxin is a low-potential electron carrier and requires a high-energy substrate as an electron donor for reduction.[...]



Environmental Spread of New Delhi Metallo-β-Lactamase-1-Producing Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Related Articles Environmental Spread of New Delhi Metallo-β-Lactamase-1-Producing Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Islam MA, Islam M, Hasan R, Hossain MI, Nabi A, Rahman M, Goessens WHF, Endtz HP, Boehm AB, Faruque SM Abstract Resistance to carbapenem antibiotics through the production of New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) constitutes an emerging challenge in the treatment of bacterial infections. To monitor the possible source of the spread of these organisms in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we conducted a comparative analysis of wastewater samples from hospital-adjacent areas (HAR) and from community areas (COM), as well as public tap water samples, for the occurrence and characteristics of NDM-1-producing bacteria. Of 72 HAR samples tested, 51 (71%) samples were positive for NDM-1-producing bacteria, as evidenced by phenotypic tests and the presence of the blaNDM-1 gene, compared to 5 of 41 (12.1%) samples from COM samples (P < 0.001). All tap water samples were negative for NDM-1-producing bacteria. Klebsiella pneumoniae (44%) was the predominant bacterial species among blaNDM-1-positive isolates, followed by Escherichia coli (29%), Acinetobacter spp. (15%), and Enterobacter spp. (9%). These bacteria were also positive for one or more other antibiotic resistance genes, including blaCTX-M-1 (80%), blaCTX-M-15 (63%), blaTEM (76%), blaSHV (33%), blaCMY-2 (16%), blaOXA-48-like (2%), blaOXA-1 (53%), and blaOXA-47-like (60%) genes. Around 40% of the isolates contained a qnr gene, while 50% had 16S rRNA methylase genes. The majority of isolates hosted multiple plasmids, and plasmids of 30 to 50 MDa carrying blaNDM-1 were self-transmissible. Our results highlight a number of issues related to the characteristics and source of spread of multidrug-resistant bacteria as a potential public health threat. In view of the existing practice of discharging untreated liquid waste into the environment, hospitals in Dhaka city contribute to the potential dissemination of NDM-1-producing bacteria into the community.IMPORTANCE Infections caused by carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae are extremely difficult to manage due to their marked resistance to a wide range of antibiotics. NDM-1 is the most recently described carbapenemase, and the blaNDM-1 gene, which encodes NDM-1, is located on self-transmissible plasmids that also carry a considerable number of ot[...]



Pseudomonas chlororaphis Produces Two Distinct R-Tailocins That Contribute to Bacterial Competition in Biofilms and on Roots.
Related Articles Pseudomonas chlororaphis Produces Two Distinct R-Tailocins That Contribute to Bacterial Competition in Biofilms and on Roots. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Dorosky RJ, Yu JM, Pierson LS, Pierson EA Abstract R-type tailocins are high-molecular-weight bacteriocins that resemble bacteriophage tails and are encoded within the genomes of many Pseudomonas species. In this study, analysis of the P. chlororaphis 30-84 R-tailocin gene cluster revealed that it contains the structural components to produce two R-tailocins of different ancestral origins. Two distinct R-tailocin populations differing in length were observed in UV-induced lysates of P. chlororaphis 30-84 via transmission electron microscopy. Mutants defective in the production of one or both R-tailocins demonstrated that the killing spectrum of each tailocin is limited to Pseudomonas species. The spectra of pseudomonads killed by the two R-tailocins differed, although a few Pseudomonas species were either killed by or insusceptible to both tailocins. Tailocin release was disrupted by deletion of the holin gene within the tailocin gene cluster, demonstrating that the lysis cassette is required for the release of both R-tailocins. The loss of functional tailocin production reduced the ability of P. chlororaphis 30-84 to compete with an R-tailocin-sensitive strain within biofilms and rhizosphere communities. Our study demonstrates that Pseudomonas species can produce more than one functional R-tailocin particle sharing the same lysis cassette but differing in their killing spectra. This study provides evidence for the role of R-tailocins as determinants of bacterial competition among plant-associated Pseudomonas in biofilms and the rhizosphere.IMPORTANCE Recent studies have identified R-tailocin gene clusters potentially encoding more than one R-tailocin within the genomes of plant-associated Pseudomonas but have not demonstrated that more than one particle is produced or the ecological significance of the production of multiple R-tailocins. This study demonstrates for the first time that Pseudomonas strains can produce two distinct R-tailocins with different killing spectra, both of which contribute to bacterial competition between rhizosphere-associated bacteria. These results provide new insight into the previously uncharacterized role of R-tailocin production by plant-associated Pseudomonas spe[...]



Postepizootic Persistence of Asymptomatic Mycoplasma conjunctivae Infection in Iberian Ibex.
Related Articles Postepizootic Persistence of Asymptomatic Mycoplasma conjunctivae Infection in Iberian Ibex. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Fernández-Aguilar X, Cabezón O, Granados JE, Frey J, Serrano E, Velarde R, Cano-Manuel FJ, Mentaberre G, Ráez-Bravo A, Fandos P, López-Olvera JR Abstract The susceptibility of the Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica) to Mycoplasma conjunctivae ocular infection and the changes in their interaction over time were studied in terms of clinical outcome, molecular detection, and IgG immune response in a captive population that underwent a severe infectious keratoconjunctivitis (IKC) outbreak. Mycoplasma conjunctivae was detected in the Iberian ibex, coinciding with the IKC outbreak. Its prevalence had a decreasing trend in 2013 that was consistent with the clinical resolution (August, 35.4%; September, 8.7%; November, 4.3%). Infections without clinical outcome were, however, still detected in the last handling in November. Sequencing and cluster analyses of the M. conjunctivae strains found 1 year later in the ibex population confirmed the persistence of the same strain lineage that caused the IKC outbreak but with a high prevalence (75.3%) of mostly asymptomatic infections and with lower DNA load of M. conjunctivae in the eyes (mean quantitative PCR [qPCR] cycle threshold [CT ], 36.1 versus 20.3 in severe IKC). Significant age-related differences of M. conjunctivae prevalence were observed only under IKC epizootic conditions. No substantial effect of systemic IgG on M. conjunctivae DNA in the eye was evidenced with a linear mixed-models selection, which indicated that systemic IgG does not necessarily drive the resolution of M. conjunctivae infection and does not explain the epidemiological changes observed. The results show how both epidemiological scenarios, i.e., severe IKC outbreak and mostly asymptomatic infections, can consecutively occur by entailing mycoplasma persistence.IMPORTANCEMycoplasma infections are reported in a wide range of epidemiological scenarios that involve severe disease to asymptomatic infections. This study allows a better understanding of the transition between two different Mycoplasma conjunctivae epidemiological scenarios described in wild host populations and highlights the ability of M. conjunctivae to adapt, persist, and establish diverse interactions with its hosts. The prop[...]



Iron-Dependent Enzyme Catalyzes the Initial Step in Biodegradation of N-Nitroglycine by Variovorax sp. Strain JS1663.
Related Articles Iron-Dependent Enzyme Catalyzes the Initial Step in Biodegradation of N-Nitroglycine by Variovorax sp. Strain JS1663. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Mahan KM, Zheng H, Fida TT, Parry RJ, Graham DE, Spain JC Abstract Nitramines are key constituents of most of the explosives currently in use and consequently contaminate soil and groundwater at many military facilities around the world. Toxicity from nitramine contamination poses a health risk to plants and animals. Thus, understanding how nitramines are biodegraded is critical to environmental remediation. The biodegradation of synthetic nitramine compounds such as hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) has been studied for decades, but little is known about the catabolism of naturally produced nitramine compounds. In this study, we report the isolation of a soil bacterium, Variovorax sp. strain JS1663, that degrades N-nitroglycine (NNG), a naturally produced nitramine, and the key enzyme involved in its catabolism. Variovorax sp. JS1663 is a Gram-negative, non-spore-forming motile bacterium isolated from activated sludge based on its ability to use NNG as a sole growth substrate under aerobic conditions. A single gene (nnlA) encodes an iron-dependent enzyme that releases nitrite from NNG through a proposed β-elimination reaction. Bioinformatics analysis of the amino acid sequence of NNG lyase identified a PAS (Per-Arnt-Sim) domain. PAS domains can be associated with heme cofactors and function as signal sensors in signaling proteins. This is the first instance of a PAS domain present in a denitration enzyme. The NNG biodegradation pathway should provide the basis for the identification of other enzymes that cleave the N-N bond and facilitate the development of enzymes to cleave similar bonds in RDX, nitroguanidine, and other nitramine explosives.IMPORTANCE The production of antibiotics and other allelopathic chemicals is a major aspect of chemical ecology. The biodegradation of such chemicals can play an important ecological role in mitigating or eliminating the effects of such compounds. N-Nitroglycine (NNG) is produced by the Gram-positive filamentous soil bacterium Streptomyces noursei This study reports the isolation of a Gram-negative soil bacterium, Variovorax sp. strain JS1663, that is able to use NNG as a sole growth substrate. The[...]



Zinc Resistance within Swine-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates in the United States Is Associated with Multilocus Sequence Type Lineage.
Related Articles Zinc Resistance within Swine-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates in the United States Is Associated with Multilocus Sequence Type Lineage. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Hau SJ, Frana T, Sun J, Davies PR, Nicholson TL Abstract Zinc resistance in livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) sequence type 398 (ST398) is primarily mediated by the czrC gene colocated with the mecA gene, encoding methicillin resistance, within the type V staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) element. Because czrC and mecA are located within the same mobile genetic element, it has been suggested that the use of zinc in feed as an antidiarrheal agent has the potential to contribute to the emergence and spread of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in swine, through increased selection pressure to maintain the SCCmec element in isolates obtained from pigs. In this study, we report the prevalence of the czrC gene and phenotypic zinc resistance in U.S. swine-associated LA-MRSA ST5 isolates, MRSA ST5 isolates from humans with no swine contact, and U.S. swine-associated LA-MRSA ST398 isolates. We demonstrated that the prevalence of zinc resistance in U.S. swine-associated LA-MRSA ST5 isolates was significantly lower than the prevalence of zinc resistance in MRSA ST5 isolates from humans with no swine contact and swine-associated LA-MRSA ST398 isolates, as well as prevalences from previous reports describing zinc resistance in other LA-MRSA ST398 isolates. Collectively, our data suggest that selection pressure associated with zinc supplementation in feed is unlikely to have played a significant role in the emergence of LA-MRSA ST5 in the U.S. swine population. Additionally, our data indicate that zinc resistance is associated with the multilocus sequence type lineage, suggesting a potential link between the genetic lineage and the carriage of resistance determinants.IMPORTANCE Our data suggest that coselection thought to be associated with the use of zinc in feed as an antimicrobial agent is not playing a role in the emergence of livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) ST5 in the U.S. swine population. Additionally, our data indicate that zinc resistance is more associated with the multilocus s[...]



Development of Multiwell-Plate Methods Using Pure Cultures of Methanogens To Identify New Inhibitors for Suppressing Ruminant Methane Emissions.
Related Articles Development of Multiwell-Plate Methods Using Pure Cultures of Methanogens To Identify New Inhibitors for Suppressing Ruminant Methane Emissions. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 01;83(15): Authors: Weimar MR, Cheung J, Dey D, McSweeney C, Morrison M, Kobayashi Y, Whitman WB, Carbone V, Schofield LR, Ronimus RS, Cook GM Abstract Hydrogenotrophic methanogens typically require strictly anaerobic culturing conditions in glass tubes with overpressures of H2 and CO2 that are both time-consuming and costly. To increase the throughput for screening chemical compound libraries, 96-well microtiter plate methods for the growth of a marine (environmental) methanogen Methanococcus maripaludis strain S2 and the rumen methanogen Methanobrevibacter species AbM4 were developed. A number of key parameters (inoculum size, reducing agents for medium preparation, assay duration, inhibitor solvents, and culture volume) were optimized to achieve robust and reproducible growth in a high-throughput microtiter plate format. The method was validated using published methanogen inhibitors and statistically assessed for sensitivity and reproducibility. The Sigma-Aldrich LOPAC library containing 1,280 pharmacologically active compounds and an in-house natural product library (120 compounds) were screened against M. maripaludis as a proof of utility. This screen identified a number of bioactive compounds, and MIC values were confirmed for some of them against M. maripaludis and M. AbM4. The developed method provides a significant increase in throughput for screening compound libraries and can now be used to screen larger compound libraries to discover novel methanogen-specific inhibitors for the mitigation of ruminant methane emissions.IMPORTANCE Methane emissions from ruminants are a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, and new technologies are required to control emissions in the agriculture technology (agritech) sector. The discovery of small-molecule inhibitors of methanogens using high-throughput phenotypic (growth) screening against compound libraries (synthetic and natural products) is an attractive avenue. However, phenotypic inhibitor screening is currently hindered by our inability to grow methanogens in a high-throughput format. We have developed, optimized, and[...]



Impact of Acanthamoeba Cysts on Stress Resistance of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium, Yersinia enterocolitica 4/O:3, Listeria monocytogenes 1/2a, and Escherichia coli O:26.
Related Articles Impact of Acanthamoeba Cysts on Stress Resistance of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium, Yersinia enterocolitica 4/O:3, Listeria monocytogenes 1/2a, and Escherichia coli O:26. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Lambrecht E, Baré J, Sabbe K, Houf K Abstract The formation of robust resting cysts enables Acanthamoeba to resist harsh environmental conditions. This study investigated to what extent these cysts are resistant to physical and chemical stresses as applied in food industry cleaning and disinfection procedures. Moreover, it was assessed whether certain intracystic meat-borne bacterial pathogens are more stress resistant than free-living bacterial monocultures and if intracystic passage and subsequent association with trophozoites induces cross-tolerance toward other stressors. Several physical and chemical stressors (NaCl, H2O2, benzalkonium chloride, 55°C, heating until boiling, ethanol, dishwashing detergent, and sodium hypochlorite) frequently used in domestic and industrial food-related environments were tested against (i) Acanthamoeba castellanii cysts, (ii) single strains of bacterial monocultures, (iii) intracystic bacteria, and (iv) bacteria after intracystic passage (cyst-primed bacteria). Only heating until boiling and hypochlorite treatment were cysticidal. After boiling, no viable trophozoites could be recovered from the cysts, and hypochlorite treatment caused a 1.34- to 4.72-log10 cells/ml reduction in cyst viability. All treatments were effective in reducing or even eliminating the tested bacterial monocultures, whereas bacteria residing inside cysts were more tolerant toward these stressors. All cyst-primed bacteria exhibited an increased tolerance toward subsequent H2O2 (>92% decrease in median log10 CFU/ml reduction) and 70% ethanol (>99% decrease) treatments. Moreover, intracystic passage significantly increased the survival of Yersinia enterocolitica (74% decrease in median log10 reduction), Escherichia coli (58%), and Salmonella enterica (48%) after NaCl treatment and of E. coli (96%), S. enterica (99%), and Listeria monocytogenes (99%) after sodium hypochlorite treatment compared with that of nonprimed bacteria.IMPORTANCE The results from this study demonstrated that both viable [...]



RoxB Is a Novel Type of Rubber Oxygenase That Combines Properties of Rubber Oxygenase RoxA and Latex Clearing Protein (Lcp).
Related Articles RoxB Is a Novel Type of Rubber Oxygenase That Combines Properties of Rubber Oxygenase RoxA and Latex Clearing Protein (Lcp). Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Birke J, Röther W, Jendrossek D Abstract Only two types of rubber oxygenases, rubber oxygenase (RoxA) and latex clearing protein (Lcp), have been described so far. RoxA proteins (RoxAs) are c-type cytochromes of ≈70 kDa produced by Gram-negative rubber-degrading bacteria, and they cleave polyisoprene into 12-oxo-4,8-dimethyltrideca-4,8-diene-1-al (ODTD), a C15 oligo-isoprenoid, as the major end product. Lcps are common among Gram-positive rubber degraders and do not share amino acid sequence similarities with RoxAs. Furthermore, Lcps have much smaller molecular masses (≈40 kDa), are b-type cytochromes, and cleave polyisoprene to a mixture of C20, C25, C30, and higher oligo-isoprenoids as end products. In this article, we purified a new type of rubber oxygenase, RoxB Xsp (RoxB of Xanthomonas sp. strain 35Y). RoxB Xsp is distantly related to RoxAs and resembles RoxAs with respect to molecular mass (70.3 kDa for mature protein) and cofactor content (2 c-type hemes). However, RoxB Xsp differs from all currently known RoxAs in having a distinctive product spectrum of C20, C25, C30, and higher oligo-isoprenoids that has been observed only for Lcps so far. Purified RoxB Xsp revealed the highest specific activity of 4.5 U/mg (at 23°C) of all currently known rubber oxygenases and exerts a synergistic effect on the efficiency of polyisoprene cleavage by RoxA Xsp RoxB homologs were identified in several other Gram-negative rubber-degrading species, pointing to a prominent function of RoxB for the biodegradation of rubber in Gram-negative bacteria.IMPORTANCE The enzymatic cleavage of rubber (polyisoprene) is of high environmental importance given that enormous amounts of rubber waste materials are permanently released (e.g., by abrasion of tires). Research from the last decade has discovered rubber oxygenase A, RoxA, and latex clearing protein (Lcp) as being responsible for the primary enzymatic attack on the hydrophobic and water-insoluble biopolymer poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) in Gram-negative and Gram-positive rubber-degrading bacteria, respect[...]



Sodium Lactate Negatively Regulates Shewanella putrefaciens CN32 Biofilm Formation via a Three-Component Regulatory System (LrbS-LrbA-LrbR).
Related Articles Sodium Lactate Negatively Regulates Shewanella putrefaciens CN32 Biofilm Formation via a Three-Component Regulatory System (LrbS-LrbA-LrbR). Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Liu C, Yang J, Liu L, Li B, Yuan H, Liu W Abstract The capability of biofilm formation has a major impact on the industrial and biotechnological applications of Shewanella putrefaciens CN32. However, the detailed regulatory mechanisms underlying biofilm formation in this strain remain largely unknown. In the present report, we describe a three-component regulatory system which negatively regulates the biofilm formation of S. putrefaciens CN32. This system consists of a histidine kinase LrbS (Sputcn32_0303) and two cognate response regulators, including a transcription factor, LrbA (Sputcn32_0304), and a phosphodiesterase, LrbR (Sputcn32_0305). LrbS responds to the signal of the carbon source sodium lactate and subsequently activates LrbA. The activated LrbA then promotes the expression of lrbR, the gene for the other response regulator. The bis-(3'-5')-cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP) phosphodiesterase LrbR, containing an EAL domain, decreases the concentration of intracellular c-di-GMP, thereby negatively regulating biofilm formation. In summary, the carbon source sodium lactate acts as a signal molecule that regulates biofilm formation via a three-component regulatory system (LrbS-LrbA-LrbR) in S. putrefaciens CN32.IMPORTANCE Biofilm formation is a significant capability used by some bacteria to survive in adverse environments. Numerous environmental factors can affect biofilm formation through different signal transduction pathways. Carbon sources are critical nutrients for bacterial growth, and their concentrations and types significantly influence the biomass and structure of biofilms. However, knowledge about the underlying mechanism of biofilm formation regulation by carbon source is still limited. This work elucidates a modulation pattern of biofilm formation negatively regulated by sodium lactate as a carbon source via a three-component regulatory system in S. putrefaciens CN32, which may serve as a good example for studying how the carbon sources impact biofilm development in other bact[...]



RpoN (σ54) Is Required for Floc Formation but Not for Extracellular Polysaccharide Biosynthesis in a Floc-Forming Aquincola tertiaricarbonis Strain.
Related Articles RpoN (σ54) Is Required for Floc Formation but Not for Extracellular Polysaccharide Biosynthesis in a Floc-Forming Aquincola tertiaricarbonis Strain. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Yu D, Xia M, Zhang L, Song Y, Duan Y, Yuan T, Yao M, Wu L, Tian C, Wu Z, Li X, Zhou J, Qiu D Abstract Some bacteria are capable of forming flocs, in which bacterial cells become self-flocculated by secreted extracellular polysaccharides and other biopolymers. The floc-forming bacteria play a central role in activated sludge, which has been widely utilized for the treatment of municipal sewage and industrial wastewater. Here, we use a floc-forming bacterium, Aquincolatertiaricarbonis RN12, as a model to explore the biosynthesis of extracellular polysaccharides and the regulation of floc formation. A large gene cluster for exopolysaccharide biosynthesis and a gene encoding the alternative sigma factor RpoN1, one of the four paralogues, have been identified in floc formation-deficient mutants generated by transposon mutagenesis, and the gene functions have been further confirmed by genetic complementation analyses. Interestingly, the biosynthesis of exopolysaccharides remained in the rpoN1-disrupted flocculation-defective mutants, but most of the exopolysaccharides were secreted and released rather than bound to the cells. Furthermore, the expression of exopolysaccharide biosynthesis genes seemed not to be regulated by RpoN1. Taken together, our results indicate that RpoN1 may play a role in regulating the expression of a certain gene(s) involved in the self-flocculation of bacterial cells but not in the biosynthesis and secretion of exopolysaccharides required for floc formation.IMPORTANCE Floc formation confers bacterial resistance to predation of protozoa and plays a central role in the widely used activated sludge process. In this study, we not only identified a large gene cluster for biosynthesis of extracellular polysaccharides but also identified four rpoN paralogues, one of which (rpoN1) is required for floc formation in A. tertiaricarbonis RN12. In addition, this RpoN sigma factor regulates the transcription of genes involved in biofilm formation and s[...]



Potential for Waterborne and Invertebrate Transmission of West Nile Virus in the Great Salt Lake, Utah.
Related Articles Potential for Waterborne and Invertebrate Transmission of West Nile Virus in the Great Salt Lake, Utah. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Lund M, Shearn-Bochsler V, Dusek RJ, Shivers J, Hofmeister E Abstract In November and December of 2013, a large mortality event involving 15,000 to 20,000 eared grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) occurred at the Great Salt Lake (GSL), UT. The onset of the outbreak in grebes was followed by a mortality event in >86 bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). During the die-off, West Nile virus (WNV) was detected by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) or viral culture in the carcasses of grebes and eagles submitted to the National Wildlife Health Center. However, no activity of mosquitoes, the primary vectors of WNV, was detected by the State of Utah's WNV monitoring program. The transmission of WNV has rarely been reported during the winter in North America in the absence of known mosquito activity; however, the size of this die-off, the habitat in which it occurred, and the species involved are unique. We experimentally investigated whether WNV could survive in water with a high salt content, as found at the GSL, and whether brine shrimp, the primary food of migrating eared grebes on the GSL, could have played a role in the transmission of WNV to feeding birds. We found that WNV can survive up to 72 h at 4°C in water containing 30 to 150 ppt NaCl, and brine shrimp incubated with WNV in 30 ppt NaCl may adsorb WNV to their cuticle and, through feeding, infect epithelial cells of their gut. Both mechanisms may have potentiated the WNV die-off in migrating eared grebes on the GSL.IMPORTANCE Following a major West Nile virus die-off of eared grebes and bald eagles at the Great Salt Lake (GSL), UT, in November to December 2013, this study assessed the survival of West Nile virus (WNV) in water as saline as that of the GSL and whether brine shrimp, the major food for migrating grebes, could have played a role as a vector for the virus. While mosquitoes are the major vector of WNV, under certain circumstances, transmission may occur through contaminated water and invertebrates as food. [...]



Carboxyl Analogue of Mutacin 1140, a Scaffold for Lead Antibacterial Discovery.
Related Articles Carboxyl Analogue of Mutacin 1140, a Scaffold for Lead Antibacterial Discovery. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Escano J, Ravichandran A, Salamat B, Smith L Abstract Mutacin 1140 belongs to the epidermin group of lantibiotics. Epidermin class lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized and posttranslationally modified antibiotics with potent activity against Gram-positive bacteria. In particular, this class is effective at targeting drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Clostridium difficile A C-terminal S-[(Z)-2-aminovinyl]-d-cysteine (AviCys) residue is derived from a decarboxylation of a terminal cysteine that is involved in lanthionine ring formation. Studies on mutacin 1140 have revealed new insight into the structural importance of the C-terminal AviCys residue. A C-terminal carboxyl analogue of mutacin 1140 was engineered. Capping the C-terminal carboxyl group with a primary amine restores bioactivity and affords a novel opportunity to synthesize new analogues. A C-terminal fluorescein-labeled mutacin 1140 analogue traps lipid II into a large lipid II lantibiotic complex, similar to that observed in vivo for the lantibiotic nisin. A C-terminal carboxyl analogue of mutacin 1140 competitively inhibits the activity of native mutacin 1140 and nisin. The presence of a C-terminal carboxyl group prevents the formation of the large lipid II lantibiotic complexes but does not prevent the binding of the lantibiotic to lipid II.IMPORTANCE This study addressed the importance of the C-terminal S-[(Z)-2-aminovinyl]-d-cysteine (AviCys) residue for antibacterial activity. We have learned that the posttranslational modification for making the AviCys residue is presumably important for the lateral assembly mechanism of activity that traps lipid II into a large complex. The C-terminal carboxyl analogue of this class of lantibiotics is agreeable to the addition of a wide variety of substrates. The addition of fluorescein enabled in vivo visualization of the epidermin class of lantibiotics in action. These results[...]



Real-Time PCR Method for Detection of Salmonella spp. in Environmental Samples.
Related Articles Real-Time PCR Method for Detection of Salmonella spp. in Environmental Samples. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Kasturi KN, Drgon T Abstract The methods currently used for detecting Salmonella in environmental samples require 2 days to produce results and have limited sensitivity. Here, we describe the development and validation of a real-time PCR Salmonella screening method that produces results in 18 to 24 h. Primers and probes specific to the gene invA, group D, and Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis organisms were designed and evaluated for inclusivity and exclusivity using a panel of 329 Salmonella isolates representing 126 serovars and 22 non-Salmonella organisms. The invA- and group D-specific sets identified all the isolates accurately. The PCR method had 100% inclusivity and detected 1 to 2 copies of Salmonella DNA per reaction. Primers specific for Salmonella-differentiating fragment 1 (Sdf-1) in conjunction with the group D set had 100% inclusivity for 32 S Enteritidis isolates and 100% exclusivity for the 297 non-Enteritidis Salmonella isolates. Single-laboratory validation performed on 1,741 environmental samples demonstrated that the PCR method detected 55% more positives than the Vitek immunodiagnostic assay system (VIDAS) method. The PCR results correlated well with the culture results, and the method did not report any false-negative results. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis documented excellent agreement between the results from the culture and PCR methods (area under the curve, 0.90; 95% confidence interval of 0.76 to 1.0) confirming the validity of the PCR method.IMPORTANCE This validated PCR method detects 55% more positives for Salmonella in half the time required for the reference method, VIDAS. The validated PCR method will help to strengthen public health efforts through rapid screening of Salmonella spp. in environmental samples. PMID: 28500041 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Novel Sampling Method for Assessing Human-Pathogen Interactions in the Natural Environment Using Boot Socks and Citizen Scientists, with Application to Campylobacter Seasonality.
Related Articles Novel Sampling Method for Assessing Human-Pathogen Interactions in the Natural Environment Using Boot Socks and Citizen Scientists, with Application to Campylobacter Seasonality. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Jones NR, Millman C, van der Es M, Hukelova M, Forbes KJ, Glover C, Haldenby S, Hunter PR, Jackson K, O'Brien SJ, Rigby D, Strachan NJC, Williams N, Lake IR, ENIGMA Consortium Abstract This paper introduces a novel method for sampling pathogens in natural environments. It uses fabric boot socks worn over walkers' shoes to allow the collection of composite samples over large areas. Wide-area sampling is better suited to studies focusing on human exposure to pathogens (e.g., recreational walking). This sampling method is implemented using a citizen science approach: groups of three walkers wearing boot socks undertook one of six routes, 40 times over 16 months in the North West (NW) and East Anglian (EA) regions of England. To validate this methodology, we report the successful implementation of this citizen science approach, the observation that Campylobacter bacteria were detected on 47% of boot socks, and the observation that multiple boot socks from individual walks produced consistent results. The findings indicate higher Campylobacter levels in the livestock-dominated NW than in EA (55.8% versus 38.6%). Seasonal differences in the presence of Campylobacter bacteria were found between the regions, with indications of winter peaks in both regions but a spring peak in the NW. The presence of Campylobacter bacteria on boot socks was negatively associated with ambient temperature (P = 0.011) and positively associated with precipitation (P < 0.001), results consistent with our understanding of Campylobacter survival and the probability of material adhering to boot socks. Campylobacter jejuni was the predominant species found; Campylobacter coli was largely restricted to the livestock-dominated NW. Source attribution analysis indicated that the potential source of C. jejuni was predominantly sheep in the NW and wild bird[...]



Selected Probiotic Lactobacilli Have the Capacity To Hydrolyze Gluten Peptides during Simulated Gastrointestinal Digestion.
Related Articles Selected Probiotic Lactobacilli Have the Capacity To Hydrolyze Gluten Peptides during Simulated Gastrointestinal Digestion. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Francavilla R, De Angelis M, Rizzello CG, Cavallo N, Dal Bello F, Gobbetti M Abstract The aim of this study was to demonstrate the capacity of probiotic lactobacilli to hydrolyze immunogenic gluten peptides. Eighteen commercial strains of probiotic lactobacilli with highly variable peptidase activity (i.e., aminopeptidase N, iminopeptidase, prolyl endopeptidyl peptidase, tripeptidase, prolidase, prolinase, and dipeptidase), including toward Pro-rich peptides, were tested in this study. Ten probiotic strains were selected on the basis of their specific enzyme activity. When pooled, these 10 strains provided the peptidase portfolio that is required to completely degrade the immunogenic gluten peptides involved in celiac disease (CD). The selected probiotic mixture was able to completely hydrolyze well-known immunogenic epitopes, including the gliadin 33-mer peptide, the peptide spanning residues 57 to 68 of the α9-gliadin (α9-gliadin peptide 57-68), A-gliadin peptide 62-75, and γ-gliadin peptide 62-75. During digestion under simulated gastrointestinal conditions, the pool of 10 selected probiotic lactobacilli strongly hydrolyzed the wheat bread gluten (ca. 18,000 ppm) to less than 10 ppm after 360 min of treatment. As determined by multidimensional chromatography (MDLC) coupled to nanoelectrospray ionization (nano-ESI)-tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), no known immunogenic peptides were detected in wheat bread that was digested in the presence of the probiotics. Accordingly, the level of cytokines (interleukin 2 [IL-2], IL-10, and interferon gamma [IFN-γ]) produced by duodenal biopsy specimens from CD patients who consumed wheat bread digested by probiotics was similar to the baseline value (negative control). Probiotics that specifically hydrolyze gluten polypeptides could also be used to hydrolyze immunogenic peptides that contaminate gluten-fre[...]



Enrichment and Physiological Characterization of a Cold-Adapted Nitrite-Oxidizing Nitrotoga sp. from an Eelgrass Sediment.
Related Articles Enrichment and Physiological Characterization of a Cold-Adapted Nitrite-Oxidizing Nitrotoga sp. from an Eelgrass Sediment. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Ishii K, Fujitani H, Soh K, Nakagawa T, Takahashi R, Tsuneda S Abstract Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) are responsible for the second step of nitrification in natural and engineered ecosystems. The recently discovered genus Nitrotoga belongs to the Betaproteobacteria and potentially has high environmental importance. Although environmental clones affiliated with Nitrotoga are widely distributed, the limited number of cultivated Nitrotoga spp. results in a poor understanding of their ecophysiological features. In this study, we successfully enriched the nonmarine cold-adapted Nitrotoga sp. strain AM1 from coastal sand in an eelgrass zone and investigated its physiological characteristics. Multistep-enrichment approaches led to an increase in the abundance of AM1 to approximately 80% of the total bacterial population. AM1 was the only detectable NOB in the bacterial community. The 16S rRNA gene sequence of AM1 was 99.6% identical to that of "Candidatus Nitrotoga arctica," which was enriched from permafrost-affected soil. The highest nitrogen oxidation rate of AM1 was observed at 16°C. The half-saturation constant (Km ) and the generation time were determined to be 25 μM NO2- and 54 h, respectively. The nitrite oxidation rate of AM1 was stimulated at concentrations of <30 mM NH4Cl but completely inhibited at 50 mM NH4Cl. AM1 can grow well under specific environmental conditions, such as low temperature and in the presence of a relatively high concentration of free ammonia. These results help improve our comprehension of the functional importance of NitrotogaIMPORTANCE Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) are key players in the second step of nitrification, which is an important process of the nitrogen cycle. Recent studies have suggested that the organisms of the novel NOB genus Nitrotoga were widely distributed and played [...]



Improving Baculovirus Infectivity by Efficiently Embedding Enhancing Factors into Occlusion Bodies.
Related Articles Improving Baculovirus Infectivity by Efficiently Embedding Enhancing Factors into Occlusion Bodies. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Yang S, Zhao L, Ma R, Fang W, Hu J, Lei C, Sun X Abstract The relatively low infectivity of baculoviruses to their host larvae limits their use as insecticidal agents on a larger scale. In the present study, a novel strategy was developed to efficiently embed foreign proteins into Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) occlusion bodies (OBs) to achieve stable expression of foreign proteins and to improve viral infectivity. A recombinant AcMNPV bacmid was constructed by expressing the 150-amino-acid (aa) N-terminal segment of polyhedrin under the control of the p10 promoter and the remaining C-terminal 95-aa segment under the control of the polyhedrin promoter. The recombinant virus formed OBs in Spodoptera frugiperda 9 cells, in which the occlusion-derived viruses were embedded in a manner similar to that for wild-type AcMNPV. Next, the 95-aa polyhedrin C terminus was fused to enhanced green fluorescent protein, and the recombinant AcMNPV formed fluorescent green OBs and was stably passaged in vitro and in vivo The AcMNPV recombinants were further modified by fusing truncated Agrotis segetum granulovirus enhancin or truncated Cydia pomonella granulovirus ORF13 (GP37) to the C-terminal 95 aa of polyhedrin, and both recombinants were able to form normal OBs. Bioactivity assays indicated that the median lethal concentrations of these two AcMNPV recombinants were 3- to 5-fold lower than that of the control virus. These results suggest that embedding enhancing factors in baculovirus OBs by use of this novel technique may promote efficient and stable foreign protein expression and significantly improve baculovirus infectivity.IMPORTANCE Baculoviruses have been used as bioinsecticides for over 40 years, but their relatively low infectivity to their host larvae limits their use on a larger scale. It has b[...]



Defining Genetic Fitness Determinants and Creating Genomic Resources for an Oral Pathogen.
Related Articles Defining Genetic Fitness Determinants and Creating Genomic Resources for an Oral Pathogen. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Narayanan AM, Ramsey MM, Stacy A, Whiteley M Abstract Periodontitis is a microbial infection that destroys the structures that support the teeth. Although it is typically a chronic condition, rapidly progressing, aggressive forms are associated with the oral pathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans One of this bacterium's key virulence traits is its ability to attach to surfaces and form robust biofilms that resist killing by the host and antibiotics. Though much has been learned about A. actinomycetemcomitans since its initial discovery, we lack insight into a fundamental aspect of its basic biology, as we do not know the full set of genes that it requires for viability (the essential genome). Furthermore, research on A. actinomycetemcomitans is hampered by the field's lack of a mutant collection. To address these gaps, we used rapid transposon mutant sequencing (Tn-seq) to define the essential genomes of two strains of A. actinomycetemcomitans, revealing a core set of 319 genes. We then generated an arrayed mutant library comprising >1,500 unique insertions and used a sequencing-based approach to define each mutant's position (well and plate) in the library. To demonstrate its utility, we screened the library for mutants with weakened resistance to subinhibitory erythromycin, revealing the multidrug efflux pump AcrAB as a critical resistance factor. During the screen, we discovered that erythromycin induces A. actinomycetemcomitans to form biofilms. We therefore devised a novel Tn-seq-based screen to identify specific factors that mediate this phenotype and in follow-up experiments confirmed 4 mutants. Together, these studies present new insights and resources for investigating the basic biology and disease mechanisms of a human pathogen.IMPORTANCE Millions suffer from gum disease, which oft[...]



A Multibacteriocin Cheese Starter System, Comprising Nisin and Lacticin 3147 in Lactococcus lactis, in Combination with Plantaricin from Lactobacillus plantarum.
Related Articles A Multibacteriocin Cheese Starter System, Comprising Nisin and Lacticin 3147 in Lactococcus lactis, in Combination with Plantaricin from Lactobacillus plantarum. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Mills S, Griffin C, O'Connor PM, Serrano LM, Meijer WC, Hill C, Ross RP Abstract Functional starter cultures demonstrating superior technological and food safety properties are advantageous to the food fermentation industry. We evaluated the efficacies of single- and double-bacteriocin-producing starters of Lactococcus lactis capable of producing the class I bacteriocins nisin A and/or lacticin 3147 in terms of starter performance. Single producers were generated by mobilizing the conjugative bacteriophage resistance plasmid pMRC01, carrying lacticin genetic determinants, or the conjugative transposon Tn5276, carrying nisin genetic determinants, to the commercial starter L. lactis CSK2775. The effect of bacteriocin coproduction was examined by superimposing pMRC01 into the newly constructed nisin transconjugant. Transconjugants were improved with regard to antimicrobial activity and bacteriophage insensitivity compared to the recipient strain, and the double producer was immune to both bacteriocins. Bacteriocin production in the starter was stable, although the recipient strain proved to be a more efficient acidifier than transconjugant derivatives. Overall, combinations of class I bacteriocins (the double producer or a combination of single producers) proved to be as effective as individual bacteriocins for controlling Listeria innocua growth in laboratory-scale cheeses. However, using the double producer in combination with the class II bacteriocin producer Lactobacillus plantarum or using the lacticin producer with the class II producer proved to be most effective for reducing bacterial load. As emergence of bacteriocin tolerance was reduced 10-fold in the presence of nisin and lacticin, we suggest tha[...]



Genome Stability in Engineered Strains of the Extremely Thermophilic Lignocellulose-Degrading Bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii.
Related Articles Genome Stability in Engineered Strains of the Extremely Thermophilic Lignocellulose-Degrading Bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Williams-Rhaesa AM, Poole FL, Dinsmore JT, Lipscomb GL, Rubinstein GM, Scott IM, Conway JM, Lee LL, Khatibi PA, Kelly RM, Adams MWW Abstract Caldicellulosiruptor bescii is the most thermophilic cellulose degrader known and is of great interest because of its ability to degrade nonpretreated plant biomass. For biotechnological applications, an efficient genetic system is required to engineer it to convert plant biomass into desired products. To date, two different genetically tractable lineages of C. bescii strains have been generated. The first (JWCB005) is based on a random deletion within the pyrimidine biosynthesis genes pyrFA, and the second (MACB1018) is based on the targeted deletion of pyrE, making use of a kanamycin resistance marker. Importantly, an active insertion element, ISCbe4, was discovered in C. bescii when it disrupted the gene for lactate dehydrogenase (ldh) in strain JWCB018, constructed in the JWCB005 background. Additional instances of ISCbe4 movement in other strains of this lineage are presented herein. These observations raise concerns about the genetic stability of such strains and their use as metabolic engineering platforms. In order to investigate genome stability in engineered strains of C. bescii from the two lineages, genome sequencing and Southern blot analyses were performed. The evidence presented shows a dramatic increase in the number of single nucleotide polymorphisms, insertions/deletions, and ISCbe4 elements within the genome of JWCB005, leading to massive genome rearrangements in its daughter strain, JWCB018. Such dramatic effects were not evident in the newer MACB1018 lineage, indicating that JWCB005 and its daughter strains are not suitable for metabolic engineerin[...]



Biosynthesis of the Pharmaceutically Important Fungal Ergot Alkaloid Dihydrolysergic Acid Requires a Specialized Allele of cloA.
Related Articles Biosynthesis of the Pharmaceutically Important Fungal Ergot Alkaloid Dihydrolysergic Acid Requires a Specialized Allele of cloA. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Arnold SL, Panaccione DG Abstract Ergot alkaloids are specialized fungal metabolites that are important as the bases of several pharmaceuticals. Many ergot alkaloids are derivatives of lysergic acid (LA) and have vasoconstrictive activity, whereas several dihydrolysergic acid (DHLA) derivatives are vasorelaxant. The pathway to LA is established, with the P450 monooxygenase CloA playing a key role in oxidizing its substrate agroclavine to LA. We analyzed the activities of products of cloA alleles from different fungi relative to DHLA biosynthesis by expressing them in a mutant of the fungus Neosartorya fumigata that accumulates festuclavine, the precursor to DHLA. Transformants expressing CloA from Epichloë typhina × Epichloë festucae, which oxidizes agroclavine to LA, failed to oxidize festuclavine to DHLA. In substrate feeding experiments, these same transformants oxidized exogenously supplied agroclavine to LA, indicating that a functional CloA was produced. A genomic clone of cloA from Claviceps africana, a sorghum ergot fungus that produces a DHLA derivative, was cloned and expressed in the festuclavine-accumulating mutant of N. fumigata, but several introns in this genomic clone were not processed properly. Expression of a synthetic intron-free version of C. africanacloA resulted in the accumulation of DHLA as assessed by fluorescence high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). In substrate feeding experiments, the C. africana CloA also accepted agroclavine as the substrate, oxidizing it to LA. The data indicate that a specialized allele of cloA is required for DHLA biosynthesis and that the pharmaceutically important compoun[...]



Signature of Microbial Dysbiosis in Periodontitis.
Related Articles Signature of Microbial Dysbiosis in Periodontitis. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Meuric V, Le Gall-David S, Boyer E, Acuña-Amador L, Martin B, Fong SB, Barloy-Hubler F, Bonnaure-Mallet M Abstract Periodontitis is driven by disproportionate host inflammatory immune responses induced by an imbalance in the composition of oral bacteria; this instigates microbial dysbiosis, along with failed resolution of the chronic destructive inflammation. The objectives of this study were to identify microbial signatures for health and chronic periodontitis at the genus level and to propose a model of dysbiosis, including the calculation of bacterial ratios. Published sequencing data obtained from several different studies (196 subgingival samples from patients with chronic periodontitis and 422 subgingival samples from healthy subjects) were pooled and subjected to a new microbiota analysis using the same Visualization and Analysis of Microbial Population Structures (VAMPS) pipeline, to identify microbiota specific to health and disease. Microbiota were visualized using CoNet and Cytoscape. Dysbiosis ratios, defined as the percentage of genera associated with disease relative to the percentage of genera associated with health, were calculated to distinguish disease from health. Correlations between the proposed dysbiosis ratio and the periodontal pocket depth were tested with a different set of data obtained from a recent study, to confirm the relevance of the ratio as a potential indicator of dysbiosis. Beta diversity showed significant clustering of periodontitis-associated microbiota, at the genus level, according to the clinical status and independent of the methods used. Specific genera (Veillonella, Neisseria, Rothia, Corynebacterium, and Actinomyces) were highly prevalent (>95%) in health, while other genera (Eubacter[...]



A New Player in the Biorefineries Field: Phasin PhaP Enhances Tolerance to Solvents and Boosts Ethanol and 1,3-Propanediol Synthesis in Escherichia coli.
Related Articles A New Player in the Biorefineries Field: Phasin PhaP Enhances Tolerance to Solvents and Boosts Ethanol and 1,3-Propanediol Synthesis in Escherichia coli. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Mezzina MP, Álvarez DS, Egoburo DE, Díaz Peña R, Nikel PI, Pettinari MJ Abstract The microbial production of biofuels and other added-value chemicals is often limited by the intrinsic toxicity of these compounds. The phasin PhaP from the soil bacterium Azotobacter sp. strain FA8 is a polyhydroxyalkanoate granule-associated protein that protects recombinant Escherichia coli against several kinds of stress. PhaP enhances growth and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) synthesis in polymer-producing recombinant strains and reduces the formation of inclusion bodies during overproduction of heterologous proteins. In this work, the heterologous expression of this phasin in E. coli was used as a strategy to increase tolerance to several biotechnologically relevant chemicals. PhaP was observed to enhance bacterial fitness in the presence of biofuels, such as ethanol and butanol, and other chemicals, such as 1,3-propanediol. The effect of PhaP was also studied in a groELS mutant strain, in which both GroELS and PhaP were observed to exert a beneficial effect that varied depending on the chemical tested. Lastly, the potential of PhaP and GroEL to enhance the accumulation of ethanol or 1,3-propanediol was analyzed in recombinant E. coli Strains that overexpressed either groEL or phaP had increased growth, reflected in a higher final biomass and product titer than the control strain. Taken together, these results add a novel application to the already multifaceted phasin protein group, suggesting that expression of these proteins or other chaperones can be used to improve the production of biofuels and other chemicals.IMPORTANC[...]



Soil Bacterial and Fungal Communities Show Distinct Recovery Patterns during Forest Ecosystem Restoration.
Related Articles Soil Bacterial and Fungal Communities Show Distinct Recovery Patterns during Forest Ecosystem Restoration. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Sun S, Li S, Avera BN, Strahm BD, Badgley BD Abstract Bacteria and fungi are important mediators of biogeochemical processes and play essential roles in the establishment of plant communities, which makes knowledge about their recovery after extreme disturbances valuable for understanding ecosystem development. However, broad ecological differences between bacterial and fungal organisms, such as growth rates, stress tolerance, and substrate utilization, suggest they could follow distinct trajectories and show contrasting dynamics during recovery. In this study, we analyzed both the intra-annual variability and decade-scale recovery of bacterial and fungal communities in a chronosequence of reclaimed mined soils using next-generation sequencing to quantify their abundance, richness, β-diversity, taxonomic composition, and cooccurrence network properties. Bacterial communities shifted gradually, with overlapping β-diversity patterns across chronosequence ages, while shifts in fungal communities were more distinct among different ages. In addition, the magnitude of intra-annual variability in bacterial β-diversity was comparable to the changes across decades of chronosequence age, while fungal communities changed minimally across months. Finally, the complexity of bacterial cooccurrence networks increased with chronosequence age, while fungal networks did not show clear age-related trends. We hypothesize that these contrasting dynamics of bacteria and fungi in the chronosequence result from (i) higher growth rates for bacteria, leading to higher intra-annual variability; (ii) higher tolerance to environmental changes for fung[...]



Effects of High Pressure on Bacillus licheniformis Spore Germination and Inactivation.
Related Articles Effects of High Pressure on Bacillus licheniformis Spore Germination and Inactivation. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Borch-Pedersen K, Mellegård H, Reineke K, Boysen P, Sevenich R, Lindbäck T, Aspholm M Abstract Bacillus and Clostridium species form spores, which pose a challenge to the food industry due to their ubiquitous nature and extreme resistance. Pressurization at <300 MPa triggers spore germination by activating germination receptors (GRs), while pressurization at >300 MPa likely triggers germination by opening dipicolinic acid (DPA) channels present in the inner membrane of the spores. In this work, we expose spores of Bacillus licheniformis, a species associated with food spoilage and occasionally with food poisoning, to high pressure (HP) for holding times of up to 2 h. By using mutant spores lacking one or several GRs, we dissect the roles of the GerA, Ynd, and GerK GRs in moderately HP (mHP; 150 MPa)-induced spore germination. We show that Ynd alone is sufficient for efficient mHP-induced spore germination. GerK also triggers germination with mHP, although at a reduced germination rate compared to that of Ynd. GerA stimulates mHP-induced germination but only in the presence of either the intact GerK or Ynd GR. These results suggests that the effectiveness of the individual GRs in mHP-induced germination differs from their effectiveness in nutrient-induced germination, where GerA plays an essential role. In contrast to Bacillus subtilis spores, treatment with very HP (vHP) of 550 MPa at 37°C did not promote effective germination of B. licheniformis spores. However, treatment with vHP in combination with elevated temperatures (60°C) gave a synergistic effect on spore germination and inactivation. Together, thes[...]



Moderate Expression of SEC16 Increases Protein Secretion by Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Related Articles Moderate Expression of SEC16 Increases Protein Secretion by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jul 15;83(14): Authors: Bao J, Huang M, Petranovic D, Nielsen J Abstract The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is widely used to produce biopharmaceutical proteins. However, the limited capacity of the secretory pathway may reduce its productivity. Here, we increased the secretion of a heterologous α-amylase, a model protein used for studying the protein secretory pathway in yeast, by moderately overexpressing SEC16, which is involved in protein translocation from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus. The moderate overexpression of SEC16 increased α-amylase secretion by generating more endoplasmic reticulum exit sites. The production of reactive oxygen species resulting from the heterologous α-amylase production was reduced. A genome-wide expression analysis indicated decreased endoplasmic reticulum stress in the strain that moderately overexpressed SEC16, which was consistent with a decreased volume of the endoplasmic reticulum. Additionally, fewer mitochondria were observed. Finally, the moderate overexpression of SEC16 was shown to improve the secretion of two other recombinant proteins, Trichoderma reesei endoglucanase I and Rhizopus oryzae glucan-1,4-α-glucosidase, indicating that this mechanism is of general relevance.IMPORTANCE There is an increasing demand for recombinant proteins to be used as enzymes and pharmaceuticals. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a cell factory that is widely used to produce recombinant proteins. Our study revealed that moderate overexpression of SEC16 increased recombinant protein secretion in S. cerevisiae This new strategy can be combined with other targets to e[...]