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Tom Berben, Cherel Balkema, Dimitry Y Sorokin, Gerard Muyzer
Thiocyanate (N=C-S-) is a moderately toxic, inorganic sulfur compound. It occurs naturally as a by-product of the degradation of glucosinolate-containing plants and is produced industrially in a number of mining processes. Currently, two pathways for the primary degradation of thiocyanate in bacteria are recognized, the carbonyl sulfide pathway and the cyanate pathway, of which only the former has been fully characterized. Use of the cyanate pathway has been shown in only 10 strains of Thioalkalivibrio, a genus of obligately haloalkaliphilic sulfur-oxidizing Gammaproteobacteria found in soda lakes...
November 2017: MSystems
Benoit Delahaye, Damien Eveillard, Nicholas Bouskill
For decades, microbiologists have considered uncertainties as an undesired side effect of experimental protocols. As a consequence, standard microbial system modeling strives to hide uncertainties for the sake of deterministic understanding. However, recent studies have highlighted greater experimental variability than expected and emphasized uncertainties not as a weakness but as a necessary feature of complex microbial systems. We therefore advocate that biological uncertainties need to be considered foundational facets that must be incorporated in models...
November 2017: MSystems
Marius Vital, André Karch, Dietmar H Pieper
Given the key role of butyrate for host health, understanding the ecology of intestinal butyrate-producing communities is a top priority for gut microbiota research. To this end, we performed a pooled analysis on 2,387 metagenomic/transcriptomic samples from 15 publicly available data sets that originated from three continents and encompassed eight diseases as well as specific interventions. For analyses, a gene catalogue was constructed from gene-targeted assemblies of all genes from butyrate synthesis pathways of all samples and from an updated reference database derived from genome screenings...
November 2017: MSystems
Isabelle Laforest-Lapointe, Christian Messier, Steven W Kembel
Tree leaf-associated microbiota have been studied in natural ecosystems but less so in urban settings, where anthropogenic pressures on trees could impact microbial communities and modify their interaction with their hosts. Additionally, trees act as vectors spreading bacterial cells in the air in urban environments due to the density of microbial cells on aerial plant surfaces. Characterizing tree leaf bacterial communities along an urban gradient is thus key to understand the impact of anthropogenic pressures on urban tree-bacterium interactions and on the overall urban microbiome...
November 2017: MSystems
Stephen Wandro, Lisa Carmody, Tara Gallagher, John J LiPuma, Katrine Whiteson
Metabolites of human or microbial origin have the potential to be important biomarkers of the disease state in cystic fibrosis (CF). Clinical sample collection and storage conditions may impact metabolite abundances with clinical relevance. We measured the change in metabolite composition based on untargeted gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) when CF sputum samples were stored at 4°C, -20°C, or -80°C with one or two freeze-thaw cycles. Daily measurements were taken for 1 week and then weekly for 4 weeks (4°C) and 8 weeks (-20°C)...
November 2017: MSystems
Evelyne Mann, Corinne M Stouthamer, Suzanne E Kelly, Monika Dzieciol, Martha S Hunter, Stephan Schmitz-Esser
Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is an intriguing, widespread, symbiont-induced reproductive failure that decreases offspring production of arthropods through crossing incompatibility of infected males with uninfected females or with females infected with a distinct symbiont genotype. For years, the molecular mechanism of CI remained unknown. Recent genomic, proteomic, biochemical, and cell biological studies have contributed to understanding of CI in the alphaproteobacterium Wolbachia and implicate genes associated with the WO prophage...
November 2017: MSystems
Elin Videvall, Maria Strandh, Anel Engelbrecht, Schalk Cloete, Charlie K Cornwallis
The gut microbiome of animals is emerging as an important factor influencing ecological and evolutionary processes. A major bottleneck in obtaining microbiome data from large numbers of samples is the time-consuming laboratory procedures required, specifically the isolation of DNA and generation of amplicon libraries. Recently, direct PCR kits have been developed that circumvent conventional DNA extraction steps, thereby streamlining the laboratory process by reducing preparation time and costs. However, the reliability and efficacy of direct PCR for measuring host microbiomes have not yet been investigated other than in humans with 454 sequencing...
November 2017: MSystems
Juan Lopera, Ian J Miller, Kerry L McPhail, Jason C Kwan
A symbiotic lifestyle frequently results in genome reduction in bacteria; the isolation of small populations promotes genetic drift and the fixation of deletions and deleterious mutations over time. Transitions in lifestyle, including host restriction or adaptation to an intracellular habitat, are thought to precipitate a wave of sequence degradation events and consequent proliferation of pseudogenes. We describe here a verrucomicrobial symbiont of the tunicate Lissoclinum sp. that appears to be undergoing such a transition, with low coding density and many identifiable pseudogenes...
November 2017: MSystems
Lingjing Jiang, Amnon Amir, James T Morton, Ruth Heller, Ery Arias-Castro, Rob Knight
Differential abundance testing is a critical task in microbiome studies that is complicated by the sparsity of data matrices. Here we adapt for microbiome studies a solution from the field of gene expression analysis to produce a new method, discrete false-discovery rate (DS-FDR), that greatly improves the power to detect differential taxa by exploiting the discreteness of the data. Additionally, DS-FDR is relatively robust to the number of noninformative features, and thus removes the problem of filtering taxonomy tables by an arbitrary abundance threshold...
November 2017: MSystems
John L Chodkowski, Ashley Shade
Though most microorganisms live within a community, we have modest knowledge about microbial interactions and their implications for community properties and ecosystem functions. To advance understanding of microbial interactions, we describe a straightforward synthetic community system that can be used to interrogate exometabolite interactions among microorganisms. The filter plate system (also known as the Transwell system) physically separates microbial populations, but allows for chemical interactions via a shared medium reservoir...
November 2017: MSystems
Xiaoyun Ren, David A Eccles, Gabrielle A Greig, Jane Clapham, Nicole E Wheeler, Stinus Lindgreen, Paul P Gardner, Joanna K MacKichan
Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) can cause meningococcal disease, a rapidly progressing and often fatal disease that can occur in previously healthy children. Meningococci are found in healthy carriers, where they reside in the nasopharynx as commensals. While carriage is relatively common, invasive disease, associated with hypervirulent strains, is a comparatively rare event. The basis of increased virulence in some strains is not well understood. New Zealand suffered a protracted meningococcal disease epidemic, from 1991 to 2008...
November 2017: MSystems
Eva d'Hennezel, Sahar Abubucker, Leon O Murphy, Thomas W Cullen
Cohabitation of microbial communities with the host enables the formation of a symbiotic relationship that maintains homeostasis in the gut and beyond. One prevailing model suggests that this relationship relies on the capacity of host cells and tissues to remain tolerant to the strong immune stimulation generated by the microbiota such as the activation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) pathways by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Indeed, gut microbial LPS is thought to be one of the most potent activators of innate immune signaling and an important mediator of the microbiome's influence on host physiology...
November 2017: MSystems
Kirk J Grubbs, Rachel M Bleich, Kevin C Santa Maria, Scott E Allen, Sherif Farag, Elizabeth A Shank, Albert A Bowers
Bacteria possess an amazing capacity to synthesize a diverse range of structurally complex, bioactive natural products known as specialized (or secondary) metabolites. Many of these specialized metabolites are used as clinical therapeutics, while others have important ecological roles in microbial communities. The biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that generate these metabolites can be identified in bacterial genome sequences using their highly conserved genetic features. We analyzed an unprecedented 1,566 bacterial genomes from Bacillus species and identified nearly 20,000 BGCs...
November 2017: MSystems
Victor Schmidt, Marta Gomez-Chiarri, Chelsea Roy, Katherine Smith, Linda Amaral-Zettler
Prophylactic antibiotics in the aquaculture and ornamental fish industry are intended to prevent the negative impacts of disease outbreaks. Research in mice and humans suggests that antibiotics may disturb microbiome communities and decrease microbiome-mediated disease resistance, also known as "colonization resistance." If antibiotics impact fish as they do mice and humans, prophylactic administrations on aquaculture farms may increase downstream disease susceptibility in target hosts, despite short-term pathogen control benefits...
November 2017: MSystems
Valerie Hubalek, Moritz Buck, BoonFei Tan, Julia Foght, Annelie Wendeberg, David Berry, Stefan Bertilsson, Alexander Eiler
Syntrophy among Archaea and Bacteria facilitates the anaerobic degradation of organic compounds to CH4 and CO2. Particularly during aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbon mineralization, as in the case of crude oil reservoirs and petroleum-contaminated sediments, metabolic interactions between obligate mutualistic microbial partners are of central importance. Using micromanipulation combined with shotgun metagenomic approaches, we describe the genomes of complex consortia within short-chain alkane-degrading cultures operating under methanogenic conditions...
September 2017: MSystems
Zhe Lyu, Zhi-Gang Li, Fei He, Ziding Zhang
As the null hypothesis of genome evolution, population genetic theory suggests that selection strength controls genome size. Through the process of genetic drift, this theory predicts that compact genomes are maintained by strong purifying selection while complex genomes are enabled by weak purifying selection. It offers a unifying framework that explains why prokaryotic genomes are much smaller than their eukaryotic counterparts. However, recent findings suggest that bigger prokaryotic genomes appear to experience stronger purifying selection, indicating that purifying selection may not dominate prokaryotic genome evolution...
September 2017: MSystems
Nathan P Manes, Natalia Shulzhenko, Arthur G Nuccio, Sara Azeem, Andrey Morgun, Aleksandra Nita-Lazar
The bodies of mammals are hosts to vast microbial communities composed of trillions of bacteria from thousands of species, whose effects on health and development have begun to be appreciated only recently. In this investigation, an integrated analysis combining proteomics and transcriptomics was used to quantitatively compare the terminal ilia from conventional and germfree mice. Female and male mice responded similarly to the microbiota, but C57BL/10A mice responded more strongly than BALB/c mice at both the transcriptome and proteome levels...
September 2017: MSystems
Amy Apprill, Carolyn A Miller, Michael J Moore, John W Durban, Holly Fearnbach, Lance G Barrett-Lennard
The pulmonary system is a common site for bacterial infections in cetaceans, but very little is known about their respiratory microbiome. We used a small, unmanned hexacopter to collect exhaled breath condensate (blow) from two geographically distinct populations of apparently healthy humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), sampled in the Massachusetts coastal waters off Cape Cod (n = 17) and coastal waters around Vancouver Island (n = 9). Bacterial and archaeal small-subunit rRNA genes were amplified and sequenced from blow samples, including many of sparse volume, as well as seawater and other controls, to characterize the associated microbial community...
September 2017: MSystems
Lavanya Reddivari, D N Rao Veeramachaneni, William A Walters, Catherine Lozupone, Jennifer Palmer, M K Kurundu Hewage, Rohil Bhatnagar, Amnon Amir, Mary J Kennett, Rob Knight, Jairam K P Vanamala
Bisphenol A (BPA) accumulates in the maturing gut and liver in utero and is known to alter gut bacterial profiles in offspring. Gut bacterial dysbiosis may contribute to chronic colonic and systemic inflammation. We hypothesized that perinatal BPA exposure-induced intestinal (and liver) inflammation in offspring is due to alterations in the microbiome and colonic metabolome. The 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing analysis revealed differences in beta diversity with a significant reduction in the relative abundances of short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) producers such as Oscillospira and Ruminococcaceae due to BPA exposure...
September 2017: MSystems
Y Masukagami, D P De Souza, S Dayalan, C Bowen, S O'Callaghan, K Kouremenos, B Nijagal, D Tull, K A Tivendale, P F Markham, M J McConville, G F Browning, F M Sansom
Mycoplasmas are simple, but successful parasites that have the smallest genome of any free-living cell and are thought to have a highly streamlined cellular metabolism. Here, we have undertaken a detailed metabolomic analysis of two species, Mycoplasma bovis and Mycoplasma gallisepticum, which cause economically important diseases in cattle and poultry, respectively. Untargeted gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses of mycoplasma metabolite extracts revealed significant differences in the steady-state levels of many metabolites in central carbon metabolism, while (13)C stable isotope labeling studies revealed marked differences in carbon source utilization...
September 2017: MSystems
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