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Biochemical and Structural Characterizations of Two Dictyostelium Cellobiohydrolases from the Amoebozoa Kingdom Reveal a High Level of Conservation between Distant Phylogenetic Trees of Life.
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Biochemical and Structural Characterizations of Two Dictyostelium Cellobiohydrolases from the Amoebozoa Kingdom Reveal a High Level of Conservation between Distant Phylogenetic Trees of Life.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3395-409

Authors: Hobdey SE, Knott BC, Haddad Momeni M, Taylor LE, Borisova AS, Podkaminer KK, VanderWall TA, Himmel ME, Decker SR, Beckham GT, Ståhlberg J

Abstract
UNLABELLED: Glycoside hydrolase family 7 (GH7) cellobiohydrolases (CBHs) are enzymes commonly employed in plant cell wall degradation across eukaryotic kingdoms of life, as they provide significant hydrolytic potential in cellulose turnover. To date, many fungal GH7 CBHs have been examined, yet many questions regarding structure-activity relationships in these important natural and commercial enzymes remain. Here, we present the crystal structures and a biochemical analysis of two GH7 CBHs from social amoeba: Dictyostelium discoideum Cel7A (DdiCel7A) and Dictyostelium purpureum Cel7A (DpuCel7A). DdiCel7A and DpuCel7A natively consist of a catalytic domain and do not exhibit a carbohydrate-binding module (CBM). The structures of DdiCel7A and DpuCel7A, resolved to 2.1 Å and 2.7 Å, respectively, are homologous to those of other GH7 CBHs with an enclosed active-site tunnel. Two primary differences between the Dictyostelium CBHs and the archetypal model GH7 CBH, Trichoderma reesei Cel7A (TreCel7A), occur near the hydrolytic active site and the product-binding sites. To compare the activities of these enzymes with the activity of TreCel7A, the family 1 TreCel7A CBM and linker were added to the C terminus of each of the Dictyostelium enzymes, creating DdiCel7ACBM and DpuCel7ACBM, which were recombinantly expressed in T. reesei DdiCel7ACBM and DpuCel7ACBM hydrolyzed Avicel, pretreated corn stover, and phosphoric acid-swollen cellulose as efficiently as TreCel7A when hydrolysis was compared at their temperature optima. The Ki of cellobiose was significantly higher for DdiCel7ACBM and DpuCel7ACBM than for TreCel7A: 205, 130, and 29 μM, respectively. Taken together, the present study highlights the remarkable degree of conservation of the activity of these key natural and industrial enzymes across quite distant phylogenetic trees of life.
IMPORTANCE: GH7 CBHs are among the most important cellulolytic enzymes both in nature and for emerging industrial applications for cellulose breakdown. Understanding the diversity of these key industrial enzymes is critical to engineering them for higher levels of activity and greater stability. The present work demonstrates that two GH7 CBHs from social amoeba are surprisingly quite similar in structure and activity to the canonical GH7 CBH from the model biomass-degrading fungus T. reesei when tested under equivalent conditions (with added CBM-linker domains) on an industrially relevant substrate.

PMID: 27037126 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Insensitivity of Diverse and Temporally Variable Particle-Associated Microbial Communities to Bulk Seawater Environmental Parameters.
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Insensitivity of Diverse and Temporally Variable Particle-Associated Microbial Communities to Bulk Seawater Environmental Parameters.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3431-7

Authors: Yung CM, Ward CS, Davis KM, Johnson ZI, Hunt DE

Abstract
UNLABELLED: There is a growing recognition of the roles of marine microenvironments as reservoirs of biodiversity and as sites of enhanced biological activity and in facilitating biological interactions. Here, we examine the bacterial community inhabiting free-living and particle-associated seawater microenvironments at the Pivers Island Coastal Observatory (PICO). 16S rRNA gene libraries from monthly samples (July 2013 to August 2014) were used to identify microbes in seawater in four size fractions: >63 μm (zooplankton and large particles), 63 to 5 μm (particles), 5 to 1 μm (small particles/dividing cells), and <1 μm (free-living prokaryotes). Analyses of microbial community composition highlight the importance of the microhabitat (e.g., particle-associated versus free-living lifestyle) as communities cluster by size fraction, and the microhabitat explains more of the community variability than measured environmental parameters, including pH, particle concentration, projected daily insolation, nutrients, and temperature. While temperature is statistically associated with community changes in the <1-μm and 5- to 1-μm fractions, none of the measured bulk seawater environmental variables are statistically significant in the larger-particle-associated fractions. These results, combined with high particle-associated community variability, especially in the largest size fraction (i.e., >63 μm), suggest that particle composition, including eukaryotes and their associated microbiomes, may be an important factor in selecting for specific particle-associated bacteria.
IMPORTANCE: By comparing levels of particle-associated and free-living bacterial diversity at a coastal location over the course of 14 months, we show that bacteria associated with particles are generally more diverse and appear to be less responsive to commonly measured environmental variables than free-living bacteria. These diverse and highly variable particle-associated communities are likely driven by differences in particle substrates both within the water column at a single time point and due to seasonal changes over the course of the year.

PMID: 27037125 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Calcineurin and Calcium Channel CchA Coordinate the Salt Stress Response by Regulating Cytoplasmic Ca2+ Homeostasis in Aspergillus nidulans.
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Calcineurin and Calcium Channel CchA Coordinate the Salt Stress Response by Regulating Cytoplasmic Ca2+ Homeostasis in Aspergillus nidulans.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3420-30

Authors: Wang S, Liu X, Qian H, Zhang S, Lu L

Abstract
The eukaryotic calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatase calcineurin is crucial for the environmental adaption of fungi. However, the mechanism of coordinate regulation of the response to salt stress by calcineurin and the high-affinity calcium channel CchA in fungi is not well understood. Here we show that the deletion of cchA suppresses the hyphal growth defects caused by the loss of calcineurin under salt stress in Aspergillus nidulans Additionally, the hypersensitivity of the ΔcnaA strain to extracellular calcium and cell-wall-damaging agents can be suppressed by cchA deletion. Using the calcium-sensitive photoprotein aequorin to monitor the cytoplasmic Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)]c) in living cells, we found that calcineurin negatively regulates CchA on calcium uptake in response to external calcium in normally cultured cells. However, in salt-stress-pretreated cells, loss of either cnaA or cchA significantly decreased the [Ca(2+)]c, but a deficiency in both cnaA and cchA switches the [Ca(2+)]c to the reference strain level, indicating that calcineurin and CchA synergistically coordinate calcium influx under salt stress. Moreover, real-time PCR results showed that the dysfunction of cchA in the ΔcnaA strain dramatically restored the expression of enaA (a major determinant for sodium detoxification), which was abolished in the ΔcnaA strain under salt stress. These results suggest that double deficiencies of cnaA and cchA could bypass the requirement of calcineurin to induce enaA expression under salt stress. Finally, YvcA, a member of the transient receptor potential channel (TRPC) protein family of vacuolar Ca(2+) channels, was proven to compensate for calcineurin-CchA in fungal salt stress adaption.IMPORTANCE The feedback inhibition relationship between calcineurin and the calcium channel Cch1/Mid1 has been well recognized from yeast. Interestingly, our previous study (S. Wang et al., PLoS One 7:e46564, 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0046564) showed that the deletion of cchA could suppress the hyphal growth defects caused by the loss of calcineurin under salt stress in Aspergillus nidulans In this study, our findings suggest that fungi are able to develop a unique mechanism for adapting to environmental salt stress. Compared to cells cultured normally, the NaCl-pretreated cells had a remarkable increase in transient [Ca(2+)]c Furthermore, we show that calcineurin and CchA are required to modulate cellular calcium levels and synergistically coordinate calcium influx under salt stress. Finally, YvcA, a member of of the TRPC family of vacuolar Ca(2+) channels, was proven to compensate for calcineurin-CchA in fungal salt stress adaption. The findings in this study provide insights into the complex regulatory links between calcineurin and CchA to maintain cytoplasmic Ca(2+) homeostasis in response to different environments.

PMID: 27037124 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Effects of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Mixtures on Degradation, Gene Expression, and Metabolite Production in Four Mycobacterium Species.
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Effects of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Mixtures on Degradation, Gene Expression, and Metabolite Production in Four Mycobacterium Species.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3357-69

Authors: Hennessee CT, Li QX

Abstract
UNLABELLED: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are widespread environmental contaminants that are hazardous to human health. It has been demonstrated that members of the Mycobacterium genus are among the most effective degraders of PAHs, but few studies have focused on the degradation of PAH mixtures. In this study, single and mixed PAH metabolism was investigated in four phylogenetically distinct Mycobacterium species with respect to (i) parent compound degradation, (ii) bacterial growth, (iii) catabolic gene expression, and (iv) metabolite production. Synergistic and antagonistic effects on four model PAH compounds (benzo[a]pyrene, pyrene, fluoranthene, and phenanthrene) characterized degradation of mixtures in a strain- and mixture-dependent manner. The mixture of pyrene and phenanthrene, in particular, resulted in antagonized degradation by three out of four bacterial species, and further studies were narrowed to investigate the degradation of this mixture. Antagonistic effects persisted over time and were correlated with reduced bacterial growth. Antagonized degradation of PAH was not caused by preferential degradation of secondary PAHs, nor were mixture compounds or concentrations toxic to cells growing on sugars. Reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) studies of the characterized catabolic pathway of phenanthrene showed that in one organism, antagonism of mixture degradation was associated with downregulated gene expression. Metabolite profiling revealed that antagonism in mixture degradation was associated with the shunting of substrate through alternative pathways not used during the degradation of single PAHs. The results of this study demonstrate metabolic differences between single and mixed PAH degradation with consequences for risk assessment and bioremediation of PAH-contaminated sites.
IMPORTANCE: Mycobacterium species are promising organisms for environmental bioremediation because of their ubiquitous presence in soils and their ability to catabolize aromatic compounds. PAHs can be degraded effectively as single compounds, but mixed substrates often are subject to degradative inhibition, which may explain the persistence of these pollutants in soils. Single and mixed PAH degradation by diverse Mycobacterium species was compared, with associated bacterial growth, gene expression, and metabolite production. The results demonstrate that antagonism characterized degradation in a strain- and mixture-dependent manner. One strain that was versatile in its pathway use of single chemicals also efficiently degraded the mixture, whereas antagonism in other the strains was associated with altered metabolic profiles, indicating unusual pathway use. The impacts of this work on risk assessment and bioremediation modeling studies indicate the need to account for mixture-generated intermediates and to recognize mixture degradation as a property distinct from that of PAH substrate range.

PMID: 27037123 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




FDA Escherichia coli Identification (FDA-ECID) Microarray: a Pangenome Molecular Toolbox for Serotyping, Virulence Profiling, Molecular Epidemiology, and Phylogeny.
Related Articles FDA Escherichia coli Identification (FDA-ECID) Microarray: a Pangenome Molecular Toolbox for Serotyping, Virulence Profiling, Molecular Epidemiology, and Phylogeny. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3384-94 Authors: Patel IR, Gangiredla J, Lacher DW, Mammel MK, Jackson SA, Lampel KA, Elkins CA Abstract UNLABELLED: Most Escherichia coli strains are nonpathogenic. However, for clinical diagnosis and food safety analysis, current identification methods for pathogenic E. coli either are time-consuming and/or provide limited information. Here, we utilized a custom DNA microarray with informative genetic features extracted from 368 sequence sets for rapid and high-throughput pathogen identification. The FDA Escherichia coli Identification (FDA-ECID) platform contains three sets of molecularly informative features that together stratify strain identification and relatedness. First, 53 known flagellin alleles, 103 alleles of wzx and wzy, and 5 alleles of wzm provide molecular serotyping utility. Second, 41,932 probe sets representing the pan-genome of E. coli provide strain-level gene content information. Third, approximately 125,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of available whole-genome sequences (WGS) were distilled to 9,984 SNPs capable of recapitulating the E. coli phylogeny. We analyzed 103 diverse E. coli strains with available WGS data, including those associated with past foodborne illnesses, to determine robustness and accuracy. The array was able to accurately identify the molecular O and H serotypes, potentially correcting serological failures and providing better resolution for H-nontypeable/nonmotile phenotypes. In addition, molecular risk assessment was possible with key virulence marker identifications. Epidemiologically, each strain had a unique comparative genomic fingerprint that was extended to an additional 507 food and clinical isolates. Finally, a 99.7% phylogenetic concordance was established between microarray analysis and WGS using SNP-level data for advanced genome typing. Our study demonstrates FDA-ECID as a powerful tool for epidemiology and molecular risk assessment with the capacity to profile the global landscape and diversity of E. coli IMPORTANCE: This study describes a robust, state-of-the-art platform developed from available whole-genome sequences of E. coli and Shigella spp. by distilling useful signatures for epidemiology and molecular risk assessment into one assay. The FDA-ECID microarray contains features that enable comprehensive molecular serotyping and virulence profiling along with genome-scale genotyping and SNP analysis. Hence, it is a molecular toolbox that stratifies strain identification and pathogenic potential in the contexts of epidemiology and phylogeny. We applied this tool to strains from food, environmental, and clinical sources, resulting in significantly greater phylogenetic and strain-specific resolution than previously reported for available typing methods. PMID: 27037122 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Metabolic Engineering of the Actinomycete Amycolatopsis sp. Strain ATCC 39116 towards Enhanced Production of Natural Vanillin.
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Metabolic Engineering of the Actinomycete Amycolatopsis sp. Strain ATCC 39116 towards Enhanced Production of Natural Vanillin.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3410-9

Authors: Fleige C, Meyer F, Steinbüchel A

Abstract
UNLABELLED: The Gram-positive bacterium Amycolatopsis sp. ATCC 39116 is used for the fermentative production of natural vanillin from ferulic acid on an industrial scale. The strain is known for its outstanding tolerance to this toxic product. In order to improve the productivity of the fermentation process, the strain's metabolism was engineered for higher final concentrations and molar yields. Degradation of vanillin could be decreased by more than 90% through deletion of the vdh gene, which codes for the central vanillin catabolism enzyme, vanillin dehydrogenase. This mutation resulted in improvement of the final concentration of vanillin by more than 2.2 g/liter, with a molar yield of 80.9%. Further improvement was achieved with constitutive expression of the vanillin anabolism genes ech and fcs, coding for the enzymes feruloyl-coenzyme A (CoA) synthetase (fcs) and enoyl-CoA hydratase/aldolase (ech). The transcription of both genes was shown to be induced by ferulic acid, which explains the unwanted adaptation phase in the fermentation process before vanillin was efficiently produced by the wild-type cells. Through the constitutive and enhanced expression of the two genes, the adaptation phase was eliminated and a final vanillin concentration of 19.3 g/liter, with a molar yield of 94.9%, was obtained. Moreover, an even higher final vanillin concentration of 22.3 g/liter was achieved, at the expense of a lower molar yield, by using an improved feeding strategy. This is the highest reported vanillin concentration reached in microbial fermentation processes without extraction of the product. Furthermore, the vanillin was produced almost without by-products, with a molar yield that nearly approached the theoretical maximum.
IMPORTANCE: Much effort has been put into optimization of the biotechnological production of natural vanillin. The demand for this compound is growing due to increased consumer concerns regarding chemically produced food additives. Since this compound is toxic to most organisms, it has proven quite difficult to reach high concentrations and molar yields. This study shows that improvements in the final vanillin concentrations and molar yields can be made through a combination of modification of the fermentation parameters and molecular strain engineering, without the need for methods such as continuous extraction from the fermentation broth. Using this approach, we were able to reach a final vanillin concentration of 22.3 g/liter, which is the highest vanillin concentration reported to date that was generated with Amycolatopsis sp. ATCC 39116 without additional extraction of the toxic product.

PMID: 27037121 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Mycoplasma agalactiae Secretion of β-(1→6)-Glucan, a Rare Polysaccharide in Prokaryotes, Is Governed by High-Frequency Phase Variation.
Related Articles Mycoplasma agalactiae Secretion of β-(1→6)-Glucan, a Rare Polysaccharide in Prokaryotes, Is Governed by High-Frequency Phase Variation. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3370-83 Authors: Gaurivaud P, Baranowski E, Pau-Roblot C, Sagné E, Citti C, Tardy F Abstract UNLABELLED: Mycoplasmas are minimal, wall-less bacteria but have retained the ability to secrete complex carbohydrate polymers that constitute a glycocalyx. In members of the Mycoplasma mycoides cluster, which are important ruminant pathogens, the glycocalyx includes both cell-attached and cell-free polysaccharides. This report explores the potential secretion of polysaccharides by M. agalactiae, another ruminant pathogen that belongs to a distant phylogenetic group. Comparative genomic analyses showed that M. agalactiae possesses all the genes required for polysaccharide secretion. Notably, a putative synthase gene (gsmA) was identified, by in silico reconstruction of the biosynthetic pathway, that could be involved in both polymerization and export of the carbohydrate polymers. M. agalactiae polysaccharides were then purified in vitro and found to be mainly cell attached, with a linear β-(1→6)-glucopyranose structure [β-(1→6)-glucan]. Secretion of β-(1→6)-glucan was further shown to rely on the presence of a functional gsmA gene, whose expression is subjected to high-frequency phase variation. This event is governed by the spontaneous intraclonal variation in length of a poly(G) tract located in the gsmA coding sequence and was shown to occur in most of the M. agalactiae clinical isolates tested in this study. M. agalactiae susceptibility to serum-killing activity appeared to be dictated by ON/OFF switching of β-(1→6)-glucan secretion, suggesting a role of this phenomenon in survival of the pathogen when it invades the host bloodstream. Finally, β-(1→6)-glucan secretion was not restricted to M. agalactiae but was detected also in M. mycoides subsp. capri PG3(T), another pathogen of small ruminants. IMPORTANCE: Many if not all bacteria are able to secrete polysaccharides, either attached to the cell surface or exported unbound into the extracellular environment. Both types of polysaccharides can play a role in bacterium-host interactions. Mycoplasmas are no exception despite their poor overall metabolic capacity. We showed here that M. agalactiae secretes a capsular β-(1→6)-glucopyranose thanks to a specific glycosyltransferase with synthase activity. This secretion is governed by high-frequency ON/OFF phase variation that might be crucial in mycoplasma host dissemination, as cell-attached β-(1→6)-glucopyranose increases serum-killing susceptibility. Our results provide functional genetic data about mycoplasmal glycosyltransferases with dual functions, i.e., assembly and export of the sugar polymers across the cell membrane. Furthermore, we demonstrated that nonprotein epitopes can be subjected to surface antigenic variation in mycoplasmas. Finally, the present report contributes to unravel the role of secreted polysaccharides in the virulence and pathogenicity of these peculiar bacteria. PMID: 27037120 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Metabolic Engineering of Mortierella alpina for Enhanced Arachidonic Acid Production through the NADPH-Supplying Strategy.
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Metabolic Engineering of Mortierella alpina for Enhanced Arachidonic Acid Production through the NADPH-Supplying Strategy.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3280-8

Authors: Hao G, Chen H, Gu Z, Zhang H, Chen W, Chen YQ

Abstract
UNLABELLED: NADPH is known to be a key cofactor required for fatty acid synthesis and desaturation. Various enzymatic reactions can generate NADPH. To determine the effect of NADPH sources on lipogenesis, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (PGD), isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH), and malic enzyme (ME) were overexpressed in Mortierella alpina Our results showed that G6PD2 had the most significant effect on fatty acid synthesis, with a 1.7-fold increase in total fatty acid, whereas ME2 was more effective in desaturation, with a 1.5-fold increase in arachidonic acid (AA) content over control. Co-overexpression of G6PD2 and ME2 improved both fatty acid synthesis and desaturation. Within 96 h of fermentation using the fed-batch method, the co-overexpressing strain accumulated AA at a productivity of 1.9 ± 0.2 g/(liter · day), which was 7.2-fold higher than that in the M. alpina control that was cultured in a flask.
IMPORTANCE: This study proved that the pentose phosphate pathway is the major NADPH contributor during fatty acid synthesis in M. alpina The NADPH sources may be differently responsible for fatty acid synthesis or desaturation. Co-overexpression of G6PD2 and ME2 significantly increases AA production.

PMID: 27016571 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Genetic Diversity of Flavobacterium psychrophilum Isolates from Three Oncorhynchus spp. in the United States, as Revealed by Multilocus Sequence Typing.
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Genetic Diversity of Flavobacterium psychrophilum Isolates from Three Oncorhynchus spp. in the United States, as Revealed by Multilocus Sequence Typing.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3246-55

Authors: Van Vliet D, Wiens GD, Loch TP, Nicolas P, Faisal M

Abstract
UNLABELLED: The use of a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) technique has identified the intraspecific genetic diversity of U.S. Flavobacterium psychrophilum, an important pathogen of salmonids worldwide. Prior to this analysis, little U.S. F. psychrophilum genetic information was known; this is of importance when considering targeted control strategies, including vaccine development. Herein, MLST was used to investigate the genetic diversity of 96 F. psychrophilum isolates recovered from rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), and Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) that originated from nine U.S. states. The isolates fell into 34 distinct sequence types (STs) that clustered in 5 clonal complexes (CCs) (n = 63) or were singletons (n = 33). The distribution of STs varied spatially, by host species, and in association with mortality events. Several STs (i.e., ST9, ST10, ST30, and ST78) were found in multiple states, whereas the remaining STs were localized to single states. With the exception of ST256, which was recovered from rainbow trout and Chinook salmon, all STs were found to infect a single host species. Isolates that were collected during bacterial cold water disease outbreaks most frequently belonged to CC-ST10 (e.g., ST10 and ST78). Collectively, the results of this study clearly demonstrate the genetic diversity of F. psychrophilum within the United States and identify STs of clinical significance. Although the majority of STs described herein were novel, some (e.g., ST9, ST10, ST13, ST30, and ST31) were previously recovered on other continents, which demonstrates the transcontinental distribution of F. psychrophilum genotypes.
IMPORTANCE: Flavobacterium psychrophilum is the causative agent of bacterial cold water disease (BCWD) and rainbow trout fry syndrome (RTFS) and is an important bacterial pathogen of wild and farmed salmonids worldwide. These infections are responsible for large economic losses globally, yet the genetic diversity of this pathogen remains to be fully investigated. Previous studies have identified the genetic diversity of this pathogen in other main aquaculture regions; however, little effort has been focused on the United States. In this context, this study aims to examine the genetic diversity of F. psychrophilum from the United States, as this region remains important in salmonid aquaculture.

PMID: 27016570 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Type III-Dependent Translocation of HrpB2 by a Nonpathogenic hpaABC Mutant of the Plant-Pathogenic Bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria.
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Type III-Dependent Translocation of HrpB2 by a Nonpathogenic hpaABC Mutant of the Plant-Pathogenic Bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3331-47

Authors: Scheibner F, Schulz S, Hausner J, Marillonnet S, Büttner D

Abstract
UNLABELLED: The plant-pathogenic bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria employs a type III secretion (T3S) system to translocate effector proteins into plant cells. The T3S apparatus spans both bacterial membranes and is associated with an extracellular pilus and a channel-like translocon in the host plasma membrane. T3S is controlled by the switch protein HpaC, which suppresses secretion and translocation of the predicted inner rod protein HrpB2 and promotes secretion of translocon and effector proteins. We previously reported that HrpB2 interacts with HpaC and the cytoplasmic domain of the inner membrane protein HrcU (C. Lorenz, S. Schulz, T. Wolsch, O. Rossier, U. Bonas, and D. Büttner, PLoS Pathog 4:e1000094, 2008, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000094). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the control of HrpB2 secretion are not yet understood. Here, we located a T3S and translocation signal in the N-terminal 40 amino acids of HrpB2. The results of complementation experiments with HrpB2 deletion derivatives revealed that the T3S signal of HrpB2 is essential for protein function. Furthermore, interaction studies showed that the N-terminal region of HrpB2 interacts with the cytoplasmic domain of HrcU, suggesting that the T3S signal of HrpB2 contributes to substrate docking. Translocation of HrpB2 is suppressed not only by HpaC but also by the T3S chaperone HpaB and its secreted regulator, HpaA. Deletion of hpaA, hpaB, and hpaC leads to a loss of pathogenicity but allows the translocation of fusion proteins between the HrpB2 T3S signal and effector proteins into leaves of host and non-host plants.
IMPORTANCE: The T3S system of the plant-pathogenic bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria is essential for pathogenicity and delivers effector proteins into plant cells. T3S depends on HrpB2, which is a component of the predicted periplasmic inner rod structure of the secretion apparatus. HrpB2 is secreted during the early stages of the secretion process and interacts with the cytoplasmic domain of the inner membrane protein HrcU. Here, we localized the secretion and translocation signal of HrpB2 in the N-terminal 40 amino acids and show that this region is sufficient for the interaction with the cytoplasmic domain of HrcU. Our results suggest that the T3S signal of HrpB2 is required for the docking of HrpB2 to the secretion apparatus. Furthermore, we provide experimental evidence that the N-terminal region of HrpB2 is sufficient to target effector proteins for translocation in a nonpathogenic X. campestris pv. vesicatoria strain.

PMID: 27016569 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Culturing and Characterization of Gut Symbiont Burkholderia spp. from the Southern Chinch Bug, Blissus insularis (Hemiptera: Blissidae).
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Culturing and Characterization of Gut Symbiont Burkholderia spp. from the Southern Chinch Bug, Blissus insularis (Hemiptera: Blissidae).

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3319-30

Authors: Xu Y, Buss EA, Boucias DG

Abstract
UNLABELLED: The phloem-feeding Southern chinch bug, Blissus insularis, harbors a high density of the exocellular bacterial symbiont Burkholderia in the lumen of specialized midgut crypts. Here we developed an organ culture method that initially involved incubating the B. insularis crypts in osmotically balanced insect cell culture medium. This approach enabled the crypt-inhabiting Burkholderia spp. to make a transition to an in vitro environment and to be subsequently cultured in standard bacteriological media. Examinations using ribotyping and BOX-PCR fingerprinting techniques demonstrated that most in vitro-produced bacterial cultures were identical to their crypt-inhabiting Burkholderia counterparts. Genomic and physiological analyses of gut-symbiotic Burkholderia spp. that were isolated individually from two separate B. insularis laboratory colonies revealed that the majority of individual insects harbored a single Burkholderia ribotype in their midgut crypts, resulting in a diverse Burkholderia community within each colony. The diversity was also exhibited by the phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of these Burkholderia cultures. Access to cultures of crypt-inhabiting bacteria provides an opportunity to investigate the interaction between symbiotic Burkholderia spp. and the B. insularis host. Furthermore, the culturing method provides an alternative strategy for establishing in vitro cultures of other fastidious insect-associated bacterial symbionts.
IMPORTANCE: An organ culture method was developed to establish in vitro cultures of a fastidious Burkholderia symbiont associated with the midgut crypts of the Southern chinch bug, Blissus insularis The identities of the resulting cultures were confirmed using the genomic and physiological features of Burkholderia cultures isolated from B. insularis crypts, showing that host insects maintained the diversity of Burkholderia spp. over multiple generations. The availability of characterized gut-symbiotic Burkholderia cultures provides a resource for genetic manipulation of these bacteria and for examination of the mechanisms underlying insect-bacterium symbiosis.

PMID: 27016568 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Soil Characteristics Driving Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities in Semiarid Mediterranean Soils.
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Soil Characteristics Driving Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities in Semiarid Mediterranean Soils.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3348-56

Authors: Alguacil Mdel M, Torres MP, Montesinos-Navarro A, Roldán A

Abstract
UNLABELLED: We investigated communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in the roots and the rhizosphere soil of Brachypodium retusum in six different natural soils under field conditions. We explored phylogenetic patterns of AMF composition using indicator species analyses to find AMF associated with a given habitat (root versus rhizosphere) or soil type. We tested whether the AMF characteristics of different habitats or contrasting soils were more closely related than expected by chance. Then we used principal-component analysis and multivariate analysis of variance to test for the relative contribution of each factor in explaining the variation in fungal community composition. Finally, we used redundancy analysis to identify the soil properties that significantly explained the differences in AMF communities across soil types. The results pointed out a tendency of AMF communities in roots to be closely related and different from those in the rhizosphere soil. The indicator species analyses revealed AMF associated with rhizosphere soil and the root habitat. Soil type also determined the distribution of AMF communities in soils, and this effect could not be attributed to a single soil characteristic, as at least three soil properties related to microbial activity, i.e., pH and levels of two micronutrients (Mn and Zn), played significant roles in triggering AMF populations.
IMPORTANCE: Communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are main components of soil biota that can determine the productivity of ecosystems. These fungal assemblages vary across host plants and ecosystems, but the main ecological processes that shape the structures of these communities are still largely unknown. A field study in six different soil types from semiarid areas revealed that AMF communities are significantly influenced by habitat (soil versus roots) and soil type. In addition, three soil properties related to microbiological activity (i.e., pH and manganese and zinc levels) were the main factors triggering the distribution of AMF. These results contribute to a better understanding of the ecological factors that can shape AMF communities, an important soil microbial group that affects multiple ecosystem functions.

PMID: 27016567 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Relating Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Effects to Reaction Mechanisms during Aerobic or Anaerobic Degradation of RDX (Hexahydro-1,3,5-Trinitro-1,3,5-Triazine) by Pure Bacterial Cultures.
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Relating Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Effects to Reaction Mechanisms during Aerobic or Anaerobic Degradation of RDX (Hexahydro-1,3,5-Trinitro-1,3,5-Triazine) by Pure Bacterial Cultures.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3297-309

Authors: Fuller ME, Heraty L, Condee CW, Vainberg S, Sturchio NC, Böhlke JK, Hatzinger PB

Abstract
UNLABELLED: Kinetic isotopic fractionation of carbon and nitrogen during RDX (hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine) biodegradation was investigated with pure bacterial cultures under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Relatively large bulk enrichments in (15)N were observed during biodegradation of RDX via anaerobic ring cleavage (ε(15)N = -12.7‰ ± 0.8‰) and anaerobic nitro reduction (ε(15)N = -9.9‰ ± 0.7‰), in comparison to smaller effects during biodegradation via aerobic denitration (ε(15)N = -2.4‰ ± 0.2‰). (13)C enrichment was negligible during aerobic RDX biodegradation (ε(13)C = -0.8‰ ± 0.5‰) but larger during anaerobic degradation (ε(13)C = -4.0‰ ± 0.8‰), with modest variability among genera. Dual-isotope ε(13)C/ε(15)N analyses indicated that the three biodegradation pathways could be distinguished isotopically from each other and from abiotic degradation mechanisms. Compared to the initial RDX bulk δ(15)N value of +9‰, δ(15)N values of the NO2 (-) released from RDX ranged from -7‰ to +2‰ during aerobic biodegradation and from -42‰ to -24‰ during anaerobic biodegradation. Numerical reaction models indicated that N isotope effects of NO2 (-) production were much larger than, but systematically related to, the bulk RDX N isotope effects with different bacteria. Apparent intrinsic ε(15)N-NO2 (-) values were consistent with an initial denitration pathway in the aerobic experiments and more complex processes of NO2 (-) formation associated with anaerobic ring cleavage. These results indicate the potential for isotopic analysis of residual RDX for the differentiation of degradation pathways and indicate that further efforts to examine the isotopic composition of potential RDX degradation products (e.g., NOx) in the environment are warranted.
IMPORTANCE: This work provides the first systematic evaluation of the isotopic fractionation of carbon and nitrogen in the organic explosive RDX during degradation by different pathways. It also provides data on the isotopic effects observed in the nitrite produced during RDX biodegradation. Both of these results could lead to better understanding of the fate of RDX in the environment and help improve monitoring and remediation technologies.

PMID: 27016566 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Steady-State Growth under Inorganic Carbon Limitation Conditions Increases Energy Consumption for Maintenance and Enhances Nitrous Oxide Production in Nitrosomonas europaea.
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Steady-State Growth under Inorganic Carbon Limitation Conditions Increases Energy Consumption for Maintenance and Enhances Nitrous Oxide Production in Nitrosomonas europaea.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3310-8

Authors: Mellbye BL, Giguere A, Chaplen F, Bottomley PJ, Sayavedra-Soto LA

Abstract
UNLABELLED: Nitrosomonas europaea is a chemolithoautotrophic bacterium that oxidizes ammonia (NH3) to obtain energy for growth on carbon dioxide (CO2) and can also produce nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas. We interrogated the growth, physiological, and transcriptome responses of N. europaea to conditions of replete (>5.2 mM) and limited inorganic carbon (IC) provided by either 1.0 mM or 0.2 mM sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) supplemented with atmospheric CO2 IC-limited cultures oxidized 25 to 58% of available NH3 to nitrite, depending on the dilution rate and Na2CO3 concentration. IC limitation resulted in a 2.3-fold increase in cellular maintenance energy requirements compared to those for NH3-limited cultures. Rates of N2O production increased 2.5- and 6.3-fold under the two IC-limited conditions, increasing the percentage of oxidized NH3-N that was transformed to N2O-N from 0.5% (replete) up to 4.4% (0.2 mM Na2CO3). Transcriptome analysis showed differential expression (P ≤ 0.05) of 488 genes (20% of inventory) between replete and IC-limited conditions, but few differences were detected between the two IC-limiting treatments. IC-limited conditions resulted in a decreased expression of ammonium/ammonia transporter and ammonia monooxygenase subunits and increased the expression of genes involved in C1 metabolism, including the genes for RuBisCO (cbb gene cluster), carbonic anhydrase, folate-linked metabolism of C1 moieties, and putative C salvage due to oxygenase activity of RuBisCO. Increased expression of nitrite reductase (gene cluster NE0924 to NE0927) correlated with increased production of N2O. Together, these data suggest that N. europaea adapts physiologically during IC-limited steady-state growth, which leads to the uncoupling of NH3 oxidation from growth and increased N2O production.
IMPORTANCE: Nitrification, the aerobic oxidation of ammonia to nitrate via nitrite, is an important process in the global nitrogen cycle. This process is generally dependent on ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria. Most nitrifiers are chemolithoautotrophs that fix inorganic carbon (CO2) for growth. Here, we investigate how inorganic carbon limitation modifies the physiology and transcriptome of Nitrosomonas europaea, a model ammonia-oxidizing bacterium, and report on increased production of N2O, a potent greenhouse gas. This study, along with previous work, suggests that inorganic carbon limitation may be an important factor in controlling N2O emissions from nitrification in soils and wastewater treatment.

PMID: 27016565 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Epoxyalkane:Coenzyme M Transferase Gene Diversity and Distribution in Groundwater Samples from Chlorinated-Ethene-Contaminated Sites.
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Epoxyalkane:Coenzyme M Transferase Gene Diversity and Distribution in Groundwater Samples from Chlorinated-Ethene-Contaminated Sites.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3269-79

Authors: Liu X, Mattes TE

Abstract
UNLABELLED: Epoxyalkane:coenzyme M transferase (EaCoMT) plays a critical role in the aerobic biodegradation and assimilation of alkenes, including ethene, propene, and the toxic chloroethene vinyl chloride (VC). To improve our understanding of the diversity and distribution of EaCoMT genes in the environment, novel EaCoMT-specific terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and nested-PCR methods were developed and applied to groundwater samples from six different contaminated sites. T-RFLP analysis revealed 192 different EaCoMT T-RFs. Using clone libraries, we retrieved 139 EaCoMT gene sequences from these samples. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that a majority of the sequences (78.4%) grouped with EaCoMT genes found in VC- and ethene-assimilating Mycobacterium strains and Nocardioides sp. strain JS614. The four most-abundant T-RFs were also matched with EaCoMT clone sequences related to Mycobacterium and Nocardioides strains. The remaining EaCoMT sequences clustered within two emergent EaCoMT gene subgroups represented by sequences found in propene-assimilating Gordonia rubripertincta strain B-276 and Xanthobacter autotrophicus strain Py2. EaCoMT gene abundance was positively correlated with VC and ethene concentrations at the sites studied.
IMPORTANCE: The EaCoMT gene plays a critical role in assimilation of short-chain alkenes, such as ethene, VC, and propene. An improved understanding of EaCoMT gene diversity and distribution is significant to the field of bioremediation in several ways. The expansion of the EaCoMT gene database and identification of incorrectly annotated EaCoMT genes currently in the database will facilitate improved design of environmental molecular diagnostic tools and high-throughput sequencing approaches for future bioremediation studies. Our results further suggest that potentially significant aerobic VC degraders in the environment are not well represented in pure culture. Future research should aim to isolate and characterize aerobic VC-degrading bacteria from these underrepresented groups.

PMID: 27016563 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Modification of a High-Throughput Automatic Microbial Cell Enumeration System for Shipboard Analyses.
Related Articles Modification of a High-Throughput Automatic Microbial Cell Enumeration System for Shipboard Analyses. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3289-96 Authors: Bennke CM, Reintjes G, Schattenhofer M, Ellrott A, Wulf J, Zeder M, Fuchs BM Abstract In the age of ever-increasing "-omics" studies, the accurate and statistically robust determination of microbial cell numbers within often-complex samples remains a key task in microbial ecology. Microscopic quantification is still the only method to enumerate specific subgroups of microbial clades within complex communities by, for example, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). In this study, we improved an existing automatic image acquisition and cell enumeration system and adapted it for usage at high seas on board an oceanographic research ship. The system was evaluated by testing settings such as minimal pixel area and image exposure times ashore under stable laboratory conditions before being brought on board and tested under various wind and wave conditions. The system was robust enough to produce high-quality images even with ship heaves of up to 3 m and pitch and roll angles of up to 6.3°. On board the research ship, on average, 25% of the images acquired from plankton samples on filter membranes could be used for cell enumeration. Automated enumeration was highly correlated with manual counts (r(2) > 0.9). Even the smallest of microbial cells in the open ocean, members of the alphaproteobacterial SAR11 clade, could be confidently detected and enumerated. The automated image acquisition and cell enumeration system developed here enables an accurate and reproducible determination of microbial cell counts in planktonic samples and allows insight into the abundance and distribution of specific microorganisms already on board within a few hours.IMPORTANCE In this research article, we report on a new system and software pipeline, which allows for an easy and quick image acquisition and the subsequent enumeration of cells in the acquired images. We put this pipeline through vigorous testing and compared it to manual microscopy counts of microbial cells on membrane filters. Furthermore, we tested this system at sea on board a marine research vessel and counted bacteria on board within a few hours after the retrieval of water samples. The imaging and counting system described here has been successfully applied to a number of laboratory-based studies and allowed the quantification of thousands of samples and FISH preparations (see, e.g., H. Teeling, B. M. Fuchs, D. Becher, C. Klockow, A. Gardebrecht, C. M. Bennke, M. Kassabgy, S. Huang, A. J. Mann, J. Waldmann, M. Weber, A. Klindworth, A. Otto, J. Lange, J. Bernhardt, C. Reinsch, M. Hecker, J. Peplies, F. D. Bockelmann, U. Callies, G. Gerdts, A. Wichels, K. H. Wiltshire, F. O. Glöckner, T. Schweder, and R. Amann, Science 336:608-611, 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1218344). We adjusted the standard image acquisition software to withstand ship movements. This system will allow for more targeted sampling of the microbial community, leading to a better understanding of the role of microorganisms in the global oceans. PMID: 27016562 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Novel Cupriavidus Strains Isolated from Root Nodules of Native Uruguayan Mimosa Species.
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Novel Cupriavidus Strains Isolated from Root Nodules of Native Uruguayan Mimosa Species.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3150-64

Authors: Platero R, James EK, Rios C, Iriarte A, Sandes L, Zabaleta M, Battistoni F, Fabiano E

Abstract
UNLABELLED: The large legume genus Mimosa is known to be associated with both alphaproteobacterial and betaproteobacterial symbionts, depending on environment and plant taxonomy, e.g., Brazilian species are preferentially nodulated by Burkholderia, whereas those in Mexico are associated with alphaproteobacterial symbionts. Little is known, however, about the symbiotic preferences of Mimosa spp. at the southern subtropical limits of the genus. In the present study, rhizobia were isolated from field-collected nodules from Mimosa species that are native to a region in southern Uruguay. Phylogenetic analyses of sequences of the 16S rRNA, recA, and gyrB core genome and the nifH and nodA symbiosis-essential loci confirmed that all the isolates belonged to the genus Cupriavidus However, none were in the well-described symbiotic species C. taiwanensis, but instead they were closely related to other species, such as C. necator, and to species not previously known to be symbiotic (or diazotrophic), such as C. basilensis and C. pinatubonensis Selection of these novel Cupriavidus symbionts by Uruguayan Mimosa spp. is most likely due to their geographical separation from their Brazilian cousins and to the characteristics of the soils in which they were found.
IMPORTANCE: With the aim of exploring the diversity of rhizobia associated with native Mimosa species, symbionts were isolated from root nodules on five Mimosa species that are native to a region in southern Uruguay, Sierra del Abra de Zabaleta. In contrast to data obtained in the major centers of diversification of the genus Mimosa, Brazil and Mexico, where it is mainly associated with Burkholderia and Rhizobium/Ensifer, respectively, the present study has shown that all the isolated symbiotic bacteria belonged to the genus Cupriavidus Interestingly, none of nodules contained bacteria belonging to the well-described symbiotic species C. taiwanensis, but instead they were related to other Cupriavidus species such as C. necator and C. pinatubonensis These data suggest the existence of a higher diversity within beta-rhizobial Cupriavidus than was previously suspected, and that Mimosa spp. from Sierra del Abra de Zabaleta, may be natural reservoirs for novel rhizobia.

PMID: 26994087 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Two Bacterial Genera, Sodalis and Rickettsia, Associated with the Seal Louse Proechinophthirus fluctus (Phthiraptera: Anoplura).
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Two Bacterial Genera, Sodalis and Rickettsia, Associated with the Seal Louse Proechinophthirus fluctus (Phthiraptera: Anoplura).

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3185-97

Authors: Boyd BM, Allen JM, Koga R, Fukatsu T, Sweet AD, Johnson KP, Reed DL

Abstract
UNLABELLED: Roughly 10% to 15% of insect species host heritable symbiotic bacteria known as endosymbionts. The lice parasitizing mammals rely on endosymbionts to provide essential vitamins absent in their blood meals. Here, we describe two bacterial associates from a louse, Proechinophthirus fluctus, which is an obligate ectoparasite of a marine mammal. One of these is a heritable endosymbiont that is not closely related to endosymbionts of other mammalian lice. Rather, it is more closely related to endosymbionts of the genus Sodalis associated with spittlebugs and feather-chewing bird lice. Localization and vertical transmission of this endosymbiont are also more similar to those of bird lice than to those of other mammalian lice. The endosymbiont genome appears to be degrading in symbiosis; however, it is considerably larger than the genomes of other mammalian louse endosymbionts. These patterns suggest the possibility that this Sodalis endosymbiont might be recently acquired, replacing a now-extinct, ancient endosymbiont. From the same lice, we also identified an abundant bacterium belonging to the genus Rickettsia that is closely related to Rickettsia ricketsii, a human pathogen vectored by ticks. No obvious masses of the Rickettsia bacterium were observed in louse tissues, nor did we find any evidence of vertical transmission, so the nature of its association remains unclear.
IMPORTANCE: Many insects are host to heritable symbiotic bacteria. These heritable bacteria have been identified from numerous species of parasitic lice. It appears that novel symbioses have formed between lice and bacteria many times, with new bacterial symbionts potentially replacing existing ones. However, little was known about the symbionts of lice parasitizing marine mammals. Here, we identified a heritable bacterial symbiont in lice parasitizing northern fur seals. This bacterial symbiont appears to have been recently acquired by the lice. The findings reported here provide insights into how new symbioses form and how this lifestyle is shaping the symbiont genome.

PMID: 26994086 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Virulence Gene-Associated Mutant Bacterial Colonies Generate Differentiating Two-Dimensional Laser Scatter Fingerprints.
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Virulence Gene-Associated Mutant Bacterial Colonies Generate Differentiating Two-Dimensional Laser Scatter Fingerprints.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3256-68

Authors: Singh AK, Leprun L, Drolia R, Bai X, Kim H, Aroonnual A, Bae E, Mishra KK, Bhunia AK

Abstract
UNLABELLED: In this study, we investigated whether a laser scatterometer designated BARDOT (bacterial rapid detection using optical scattering technology) could be used to directly screen colonies of Listeria monocytogenes, a model pathogen, with mutations in several known virulence genes, including the genes encoding Listeria adhesion protein (LAP; lap mutant), internalin A (ΔinlA strain), and an accessory secretory protein (ΔsecA2 strain). Here we show that the scatter patterns of lap mutant, ΔinlA, and ΔsecA2 colonies were markedly different from that of the wild type (WT), with >95% positive predictive values (PPVs), whereas for the complemented mutant strains, scatter patterns were restored to that of the WT. The scatter image library successfully distinguished the lap mutant and ΔinlA mutant strains from the WT in mixed-culture experiments, including a coinfection study using the Caco-2 cell line. Among the biophysical parameters examined, the colony height and optical density did not reveal any discernible differences between the mutant and WT strains. We also found that differential LAP expression in L. monocytogenes serotype 4b strains also affected the scatter patterns of the colonies. The results from this study suggest that BARDOT can be used to screen and enumerate mutant strains separately from the WT based on differential colony scatter patterns.
IMPORTANCE: In studies of microbial pathogenesis, virulence-encoding genes are routinely disrupted by deletion or insertion to create mutant strains. Screening of mutant strains is an arduous process involving plating on selective growth media, replica plating, colony hybridization, DNA isolation, and PCR or immunoassays. We applied a noninvasive laser scatterometer to differentiate mutant bacterial colonies from WT colonies based on forward optical scatter patterns. This study demonstrates that BARDOT can be used as a novel, label-free, real-time tool to aid researchers in screening virulence gene-associated mutant colonies during microbial pathogenesis, coinfection, and genetic manipulation studies.

PMID: 26994085 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




Superinfection Exclusion of the Ruminant Pathogen Anaplasma marginale in Its Tick Vector Is Dependent on the Time between Exposures to the Strains.
Related Articles Superinfection Exclusion of the Ruminant Pathogen Anaplasma marginale in Its Tick Vector Is Dependent on the Time between Exposures to the Strains. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3217-24 Authors: Noh SM, Dark MJ, Reif KE, Ueti MW, Kappmeyer LS, Scoles GA, Palmer GH, Brayton KA Abstract UNLABELLED: The remarkable genetic diversity of vector-borne pathogens allows for the establishment of superinfection in the mammalian host. To have a long-term impact on population strain structure, the introduced strains must also be transmitted by a vector population that has been exposed to the existing primary strain. The sequential exposure of the vector to multiple strains frequently prevents establishment of the second strain, a phenomenon termed superinfection exclusion. As a consequence, superinfection exclusion may greatly limit genetic diversity in the host population, which is difficult to reconcile with the high degree of genetic diversity maintained among vector-borne pathogens. Using Anaplasma marginale, a tick-borne bacterial pathogen of ruminants, we hypothesized that superinfection exclusion is temporally dependent and that longer intervals between strain exposures allow successful acquisition and transmission of a superinfecting strain. To test this hypothesis, we sequentially exposed Dermacentor andersoni ticks to two readily tick-transmissible strains of A. marginale The tick feedings were either immediately sequential or 28 days apart. Ticks were allowed to transmission feed and were individually assessed to determine if they were infected with one or both strains. The second strain was excluded from the tick when the exposure interval was brief but not when it was prolonged. Midguts and salivary glands of individual ticks were superinfected and transmission of both strains occurred only when the exposure interval was prolonged. These findings indicate that superinfection exclusion is temporally dependent, which helps to account for the differences in pathogen strain structure in tropical compared to temperate regions. IMPORTANCE: Many vector-borne pathogens have marked genetic diversity, which influences pathogen traits such as transmissibility and virulence. The most successful strains are those that are preferentially transmitted by the vector. However, the factors that determine successful transmission of a particular strain are unknown. In the case of intracellular, bacterial, tick-borne pathogens, one potential factor is superinfection exclusion, in which colonization of ticks by the first strain of a pathogen it encounters prevents the transmission of a second strain. Using A. marginale, the most prevalent tick-borne pathogen of cattle worldwide, and its natural tick vector, we determined that superinfection exclusion occurs when the time between exposures to two strains is brief but not when it is prolonged. These findings suggest that superinfection exclusion may influence strain transmission in temperate regions, where tick activity is limited by season, but not in tropical regions, where ticks are active for long periods. PMID: 26994084 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Variability of the Sheep Lung Microbiota.
Related Articles Variability of the Sheep Lung Microbiota. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3225-38 Authors: Glendinning L, Wright S, Pollock J, Tennant P, Collie D, McLachlan G Abstract UNLABELLED: Sequencing technologies have recently facilitated the characterization of bacterial communities present in lungs during health and disease. However, there is currently a dearth of information concerning the variability of such data in health both between and within subjects. This study seeks to examine such variability using healthy adult sheep as our model system. Protected specimen brush samples were collected from three spatially disparate segmental bronchi of six adult sheep (age, 20 months) on three occasions (day 0, 1 month, and 3 months). To further explore the spatial variability of the microbiotas, more-extensive brushing samples (n = 16) and a throat swab were taken from a separate sheep. The V2 and V3 hypervariable regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA genes were amplified and sequenced via Illumina MiSeq. DNA sequences were analyzed using the mothur software package. Quantitative PCR was performed to quantify total bacterial DNA. Some sheep lungs contained dramatically different bacterial communities at different sampling sites, whereas in others, airway microbiotas appeared similar across the lung. In our spatial variability study, we observed clustering related to the depth within the lung from which samples were taken. Lung depth refers to increasing distance from the glottis, progressing in a caudal direction. We conclude that both host influence and local factors have impacts on the composition of the sheep lung microbiota. IMPORTANCE: Until recently, it was assumed that the lungs were a sterile environment which was colonized by microbes only during disease. However, recent studies using sequencing technologies have found that there is a small population of bacteria which exists in the lung during health, referred to as the "lung microbiota." In this study, we characterize the variability of the lung microbiotas of healthy sheep. Sheep not only are economically important animals but also are often used as large animal models of human respiratory disease. We conclude that, while host influence does play a role in dictating the types of microbes which colonize the airways, it is clear that local factors also play an important role in this regard. Understanding the nature and influence of these factors will be key to understanding the variability in, and functional relevance of, the lung microbiota. PMID: 26994083 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Persistence of Influenza A (H1N1) Virus on Stainless Steel Surfaces.
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Persistence of Influenza A (H1N1) Virus on Stainless Steel Surfaces.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3239-45

Authors: Perry KA, Coulliette AD, Rose LJ, Shams AM, Edwards JR, Noble-Wang JA

Abstract
UNLABELLED: As annual influenza epidemics continue to cause significant morbidity and economic burden, an understanding of viral persistence and transmission is critical for public health officials and health care workers to better protect patients and their family members from infection. The infectivity and persistence of two influenza A (H1N1) virus strains (A/New Caledonia/20/1999 and A/Brisbane/59/2007) on stainless steel (SS) surfaces were evaluated using three different surface matrices (2% fetal bovine serum, 5 mg/ml mucin, and viral medium) under various absolute humidity conditions (4.1 × 10(5) mPa, 6.5 × 10(5) mPa, 7.1 × 10(5) mPa, 11.4 × 10(5) mPa, 11.2 × 10(5) mPa, and 17.9 × 10(5) mPa) for up to 7 days. Influenza A virus was deposited onto SS coupons (7.07 cm(2)) and recovered by agitation and sonication in viral medium. Viral persistence was quantified using a tissue culture-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to determine the median (50%) tissue culture infective dose (TCID50) of infectious virus per coupon. Overall, both strains of influenza A virus remained infectious on SS coupons, with an approximate 2 log10 loss over 7 days. Factors that influenced viral persistence included absolute humidity, strain-absolute humidity interaction, and time (P ≤ 0.01). Further studies on the transfer of influenza A virus from fomites by hand and the impact of inanimate surface contamination on transmission should be performed, as this study demonstrates prolonged persistence on nonporous surfaces.
IMPORTANCE: This study tested the ability of two influenza A (H1N1) virus strains to persist and remain infectious on stainless steel surfaces under various environmental conditions. It demonstrated that influenza A (H1N1) viruses can persist and remain infectious on stainless steel surfaces for 7 days. Additional studies should be conducted to assess the role played by contaminated surfaces in the transmission of influenza A virus.

PMID: 26994082 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




A Chemotaxis Receptor Modulates Nodulation during the Azorhizobium caulinodans-Sesbania rostrata Symbiosis.
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A Chemotaxis Receptor Modulates Nodulation during the Azorhizobium caulinodans-Sesbania rostrata Symbiosis.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3174-84

Authors: Jiang N, Liu W, Li Y, Wu H, Zhang Z, Alexandre G, Elmerich C, Xie Z

Abstract
UNLABELLED: Azorhizobium caulinodans ORS571 is a free-living nitrogen-fixing bacterium which can induce nitrogen-fixing nodules both on the root and the stem of its legume host Sesbania rostrata This bacterium, which is an obligate aerobe that moves by means of a polar flagellum, possesses a single chemotaxis signal transduction pathway. The objective of this work was to examine the role that chemotaxis and aerotaxis play in the lifestyle of the bacterium in free-living and symbiotic conditions. In bacterial chemotaxis, chemoreceptors sense environmental changes and transmit this information to the chemotactic machinery to guide motile bacteria to preferred niches. Here, we characterized a chemoreceptor of A. caulinodans containing an N-terminal PAS domain, named IcpB. IcpB is a soluble heme-binding protein that localized at the cell poles. An icpB mutant strain was impaired in sensing oxygen gradients and in chemotaxis response to organic acids. Compared to the wild-type strain, the icpB mutant strain was also affected in the production of extracellular polysaccharides and impaired in flocculation. When inoculated alone, the icpB mutant induced nodules on S. rostrata, but the nodules formed were smaller and had reduced N2-fixing activity. The icpB mutant failed to nodulate its host when inoculated competitively with the wild-type strain. Together, the results identify chemotaxis and sensing of oxygen by IcpB as key regulators of the A. caulinodans-S. rostrata symbiosis.
IMPORTANCE: Bacterial chemotaxis has been implicated in the establishment of various plant-microbe associations, including that of rhizobial symbionts with their legume host. The exact signal(s) detected by the motile bacteria that guide them to their plant hosts remain poorly characterized. Azorhizobium caulinodans ORS571 is a diazotroph that is a motile and chemotactic rhizobial symbiont of Sesbania rostrata, where it forms nitrogen-fixing nodules on both the roots and the stems of the legume host. We identify here a chemotaxis receptor sensing oxygen in A. caulinodans that is critical for nodulation and nitrogen fixation on the stems and roots of S. rostrata These results identify oxygen sensing and chemotaxis as key regulators of the A. caulinodans-S. rostrata symbiosis.

PMID: 26994081 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




A Nonautochthonous U.S. Strain of Vibrio parahaemolyticus Isolated from Chesapeake Bay Oysters Caused the Outbreak in Maryland in 2010.
Related Articles A Nonautochthonous U.S. Strain of Vibrio parahaemolyticus Isolated from Chesapeake Bay Oysters Caused the Outbreak in Maryland in 2010. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3208-16 Authors: Haendiges J, Jones J, Myers RA, Mitchell CS, Butler E, Toro M, Gonzalez-Escalona N Abstract UNLABELLED: In the summer of 2010, Vibrio parahaemolyticus caused an outbreak in Maryland linked to the consumption of oysters. Strains isolated from both stool and oyster samples were indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). However, the oysters contained other potentially pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus strains exhibiting different PFGE patterns. In order to assess the identity, genetic makeup, relatedness, and potential pathogenicity of the V. parahaemolyticus strains, we sequenced 11 such strains (2 clinical strains and 9 oyster strains). We analyzed these genomes by in silico multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and determined their phylogeny using a whole-genome MLST (wgMLST) analysis. Our in silico MLST analysis identified six different sequence types (STs) (ST8, ST676, ST810, ST811, ST34, and ST768), with both of the clinical and four of the oyster strains being identified as belonging to ST8. Using wgMLST, we showed that the ST8 strains from clinical and oyster samples were nearly indistinguishable and belonged to the same outbreak, confirming that local oysters were the source of the infections. The remaining oyster strains were genetically diverse, differing in >3,000 loci from the Maryland ST8 strains. eBURST analysis comparing these strains with strains of other STs available at the V. parahaemolyticus MLST website showed that the Maryland ST8 strains belonged to a clonal complex endemic to Asia. This indicates that the ST8 isolates from clinical and oyster sources were likely not endemic to Maryland. Finally, this study demonstrates the utility of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and associated analyses for source-tracking investigations. IMPORTANCE: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is an important foodborne pathogen and the leading cause of bacterial infections in the United States associated with the consumption of seafood. In the summer of 2010, Vibrio parahaemolyticus caused an outbreak in Maryland linked to oyster consumption. Strains isolated from stool and oyster samples were indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The oysters also contained other potentially pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus strains with different PFGE patterns. Since their identity, genetic makeup, relatedness, and potential pathogenicity were unknown, their genomes were determined by using next-generation sequencing. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis by whole-genome multilocus sequence typing (wgMLST) allowed (i) identification of clinical and oyster strains with matching PFGE profiles as belonging to ST8, (ii) determination of oyster strain diversity, and (iii) identification of the clinical strains as belonging to a clonal complex (CC) described only in Asia. Finally, WGS and associated analyses demonstrated their utility for trace-back investigations. PMID: 26994080 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Ecophysiological Distinctions of Haloarchaea from a Hypersaline Antarctic Lake as Determined by Metaproteomics.
Related Articles Ecophysiological Distinctions of Haloarchaea from a Hypersaline Antarctic Lake as Determined by Metaproteomics. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3165-73 Authors: Tschitschko B, Williams TJ, Allen MA, Zhong L, Raftery MJ, Cavicchioli R Abstract UNLABELLED: Deep Lake in the Vestfold Hills is hypersaline and the coldest system in Antarctica known to support microbial growth (temperatures as low as -20°C). It represents a strong experimental model because the lake supports a low-complexity community of haloarchaea, with the three most abundant species totaling ∼72%. Moreover, the dominant haloarchaea are cultivatable, and their genomes are sequenced. Here we use metaproteomics linked to metagenome data and the genome sequences of the isolates to characterize the main pathways, trophic strategies, and interactions associated with resource utilization. The dominance of the most abundant member, Halohasta litchfieldiae, appears to be predicated on competitive utilization of substrates (e.g., starch, glycerol, and dihydroxyacetone) produced by Dunaliella, the lake's primary producer, while also possessing diverse mechanisms for acquiring nitrogen and phosphorus. The second most abundant member, strain DL31, is proficient in degrading complex proteinaceous matter. Hht. litchfieldiae and DL31 are inferred to release labile substrates that are utilized by Halorubrum lacusprofundi, the third most abundant haloarchaeon in Deep Lake. The study also linked genome variation to specific protein variants or distinct genetic capacities, thereby identifying strain-level variation indicative of specialization. Overall, metaproteomics revealed that rather than functional differences occurring at different lake depths or through size partitioning, the main lake genera possess major trophic distinctions, and phylotypes (e.g., strains of Hht. litchfieldiae) exhibit a more subtle level of specialization. This study highlights the extent to which the lake supports a relatively uniform distribution of taxa that collectively possess the genetic capacity to effectively exploit available nutrients throughout the lake. IMPORTANCE: Life on Earth has evolved to colonize a broad range of temperatures, but most of the biosphere (∼85%) exists at low temperatures (≤5°C). By performing unique roles in biogeochemical cycles, environmental microorganisms perform functions that are critical for the rest of life on Earth to survive. Cold environments therefore make a particularly important contribution to maintaining healthy, stable ecosystems. Here we describe the main physiological traits of the dominant microorganisms that inhabit Deep Lake in Antarctica, the coldest aquatic environment known to support life. The hypersaline system enables the growth of halophilic members of the Archaea: haloarchaea. By analyzing proteins of samples collected from the water column, we determined the functions that the haloarchaea were likely to perform. This study showed that the dominant haloarchaea possessed distinct lifestyles yet formed a uniform community throughout the lake that was collectively adept at using available light energy and diverse organic substrates for growth. PMID: 26994078 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]



Silica-Induced Protein (Sip) in Thermophilic Bacterium Thermus thermophilus Responds to Low Iron Availability.
Related Articles Silica-Induced Protein (Sip) in Thermophilic Bacterium Thermus thermophilus Responds to Low Iron Availability. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Jun 01;82(11):3198-207 Authors: Fujino Y, Nagayoshi Y, Iwase M, Yokoyama T, Ohshima T, Doi K Abstract UNLABELLED: Thermus thermophilus HB8 expresses silica-induced protein (Sip) when cultured in medium containing supersaturated silicic acids. Using genomic information, Sip was identified as a Fe(3+)-binding ABC transporter. Detection of a 1-kb hybridized band in Northern analysis revealed that sip transcription is monocistronic and that sip has its own terminator and promoter. The sequence of the sip promoter showed homology with that of the σ(A)-dependent promoter, which is known as a housekeeping promoter in HB8. Considering that sip is transcribed when supersaturated silicic acids are added, the existence of a repressor is presumed. DNA microarray analysis suggested that supersaturated silicic acids and iron deficiency affect Thermus cells similarly, and enhanced sip transcription was detected under both conditions. This suggested that sip transcription was initiated by iron deficiency and that the ferric uptake regulator (Fur) controlled the transcription. Three Fur gene homologues (TTHA0255, TTHA0344, and TTHA1292) have been annotated in the HB8 genome, and electrophoretic mobility shift assays revealed that the TTHA0344 product interacts with the sip promoter region. In medium containing supersaturated silicic acids, free Fe(3+) levels were decreased due to Fe(3+) immobilization on colloidal silica. This suggests that, because Fe(3+) ions are captured by colloidal silica in geothermal water, Thermus cells are continuously exposed to the risk of iron deficiency. Considering that Sip is involved in iron acquisition, Sip production may be a strategy to survive under conditions of low iron availability in geothermal water. IMPORTANCE: The thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus HB8 produces silica-induced protein (Sip) in the presence of supersaturated silicic acids. Sip has homology with iron-binding ABC transporter; however, the mechanism by which Sip expression is induced by silicic acids remains unexplained. We demonstrate that Sip captures iron and its transcription is regulated by the repressor ferric uptake regulator (Fur). This implies that Sip is expressed with iron deficiency. In addition, it is suggested that negatively charged colloidal silica in supersaturated solution absorbs Fe(3+) ions and decreases iron availability. Considering that geothermal water contains ample silicic acids, it is suggested that thermophilic bacteria are always facing iron starvation. Sip production may be a strategy for surviving under conditions of low iron availability in geothermal water. PMID: 26994077 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] [...]