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Concept: Restriction fragment length polymorphism


The characterization of microbial community structure via 16S rRNA gene profiling has been greatly advanced in recent years by the introduction of amplicon pyrosequencing. The possibility of barcoding gives the opportunity to massively screen multiple samples from environmental or clinical sources for community details. However, an on-going debate questions the reproducibility and semi-quantitative rigour of pyrotag sequencing, similar to the early days of community fingerprinting. In this study we demonstrate the reproducibility of bacterial 454 pyrotag sequencing over biological and technical replicates of aquifer sediment bacterial communities. Moreover, we explore the potential of recovering specific template ratios via quantitatively defined template spiking to environmental DNA. We sequenced pyrotag libraries of triplicate sediment samples taken in annual sampling campaigns at a tar oil contaminated aquifer in Düsseldorf, Germany. The abundance of dominating lineages was highly reproducible with a maximal standard deviation of ~4% read abundance across biological, and ~2% across technical replicates. Our workflow also allows for the linking of read abundances within defined assembled pyrotag contigs to that of specific ‘in vivo’ fingerprinting signatures. Thus we demonstrate that both terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis and pyrotag sequencing are capable of recovering highly comparable community structure. Overall diversity was roughly double in amplicon sequencing. Pyrotag libraries were also capable of linearly recovering increasing ratios (up to 20%) of 16S rRNA gene amendments from a pure culture of Aliivibrio fisheri spiked to sediment DNA. Our study demonstrates that 454 pyrotag sequencing is a robust and reproducible method, capable of reliably recovering template abundances and overall community structure within natural microbial communities.

Concepts: DNA, Scientific method, Molecular biology, Microbiology, Ribosomal RNA, Biotechnology, 16S ribosomal RNA, Restriction fragment length polymorphism


Sporadic mass mortality events of Mediterranean sponges following periods of anomalously high temperatures or longer than usual stratification of the seawater column (i.e. low food availability) suggest that these animals are sensitive to environmental stresses. The Mediterranean sponges Ircinia fasciculata and I. oros harbor distinct, species-specific bacterial communities that are highly stable over time and space but little is known about how anomalous environmental conditions affect the structure of the resident bacterial communities. Here, we monitored the bacterial communities in I. fasciculata (largely affected by mass mortalities) and I. oros (overall unaffected) maintained in aquaria during 3 weeks under 4 treatments that mimicked realistic stress pressures: control conditions (13°C, unfiltered seawater), low food availability (13°C, 0.1 µm-filtered seawater), elevated temperatures (25°C, unfiltered seawater), and a combination of the 2 stressors (25°C, 0.1 µm-filtered seawater). Bacterial community structure was assessed using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). As I. fasciculata harbors cyanobacteria, we also measured chlorophyll a (chl a) levels in this species. Multivariate analysis revealed no significant differences in bacterial T-RFLP profiles among treatments for either host sponge species, indicating no effect of high temperatures and food shortage on symbiont community structure. In I. fasciculata, chl a content did not significantly differ among treatments although TEM micrographs revealed some cyanobacteria cells undergoing degradation when exposed to both elevated temperature and food shortage conditions. Arguably, longer-term treatments (months) could have eventually affected bacterial community structure. However, we evidenced no appreciable decay of the symbiotic community in response to medium-term (3 weeks) environmental anomalies purported to cause the recurrent sponge mortality episodes. Thus, changes in symbiont structure are not likely the proximate cause for these reported mortality events.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Bacteria, Ribosomal RNA, Plant, 16S ribosomal RNA, Transmission electron microscopy, Restriction fragment length polymorphism, Sponge


In this work we present a new option to identify 11 rickettsial species that cause human rickettsioses, with some advantages over the previous methods described. Using rickettsial isolates from 11 Rickettsia species as a sample, we used the polymerase chain reaction to amplify a 990- to 1,000-bp DNA fragment from the ompB gene, common for the 11 Rickettsia species analyzed in this study, which were digested with AluI restriction enzyme to obtain different digestion patterns. This restriction pattern can be visualized using a polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis technique. Using this method we could differentiate between the 11 Rickettsia species analyzed regardless of the group to which the Rickettsia belonged. We developed a simple method to identify 11 Rickettsia species which cause human rickettsioses using polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism techniques with the advantage that it only needs one amplicon and only one restriction enzyme to obtain the restriction pattern. The identification of the species infecting vectors, reservoirs, and humans is essential to establish the ecological and behavioral ecosystem involved in its maintenance and transmission in nature in the specific region where the pathogen is circulating. This method is very helpful to identify Rickettsia species in a short time.

Concepts: DNA, Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, Enzyme, Gel electrophoresis, DNA sequencing, Restriction fragment length polymorphism, Agarose gel electrophoresis


High soil phosphorus (P) concentration is frequently shown to reduce root colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, but the influence of P on the diversity of colonizing AM fungi is uncertain. We used terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) of 18S rDNA and cloning to assess diversity of AM fungi colonizing maize (Zea mays), soybean (Glycene max) and field violet (Viola arvensis) at three time points in one season along a P gradient of 10-280 mg l(-1) in the field. Percentage AM colonization changed between sampling time points but was not reduced by high soil P except in maize. There was no significant difference in AM diversity between sampling time points. Diversity was reduced at concentrations of P > 25 mg l(-1) , particularly in maize and soybean. Both cloning and T-RFLP indicated differences between AM communities in the different host species. Host species was more important than soil P in determining the AM community, except at the highest P concentration. Our results show that the impact of soil P on the diversity of AM fungi colonizing plants was broadly similar, despite the fact that different plants contained different communities. However, subtle differences in the response of the AM community in each host were evident.

Concepts: Plant, Fungus, Electrochemistry, Concentration, Mycorrhiza, Difference, Maize, Restriction fragment length polymorphism


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to assess whether C1772T and G1790A hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1)α polymorphisms are associated with risk of oral lichen planus (OLP). MATERIAL AND METHODS: Restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis was used to investigate HIF-1α C1779T and G1790A polymorphisms in 32 OLP and 88 individuals without OLP. RESULTS: The frequency of the CC, TT, GA, and AA genotypes was higher in patients with OLP. Notably, individuals carrying the C and A, and T and A haplotypes showed a significant association OLP risk. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated that the C1772T and G1790A polymorphisms of HIF-1α gene increased the risk of OLP. C1772T and G1790A polymorphisms of HIF-1α gene had differing patterns of allelic imbalance in the normal samples and subsequent chronic lesions. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the HIF-1α pathway in OLP, which would facilitate the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the prevention and treatment of OLP. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: These results, in conjunction with previous studies, suggest that HIF-1α may play important roles in the chronicity of oral mucosa lesions of OLP patients. Taken together, we suggest that HIF-1α polymorphisms enhance its target genes, thereby altering the microenvironment and supporting sequential release of inflammatory mediators or cellular events in OLP. It appears unlikely that inhibition of a single proinflammatory mediator will prove useful in clinical practice, but several ways to reprogram mediators engaged in a wide array of roles simultaneously are encouraging.

Concepts: Inflammation, DNA, Gene, Genetics, Genotype, Allele, Restriction fragment length polymorphism, Lichen planus


Acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients after being treated with methotrexate, have differences in methotrexate serum levels and toxic side effects. One of the main determinants of these toxic side effects is the host pharmacogenetics. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of -24CT, 1249GA, and 3972CT ABCC2 gene polymorphisms with serum levels, and toxic side effects of methotrexate in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Applying polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism techniques, the prevalence of -24CT, 1249GA, and 3972CT ABCC2 gene polymorphisms was evaluated in 65 acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients. The relationship between polymorphisms and methotrexate serum levels and toxicities was studied. A reverse significant relationship was detected between 3972T allele carriers and hepatotoxicity (P = 0.01, OR = 0.25, 95% CI = 0.09-0.72). Also, 1249A allele carriers had increased rate of gastrointestinal toxicity (P = 0.05, OR = 3.47, 95% CI = 1.04-11.57). No significant relationship was detected between -24CT polymorphism and methotrexate toxic side effects. There was no significant relationship between these three polymorphisms and methotrexate serum levels. Genotyping for 3972CT and 1249GA ABCC2 gene variants maybe useful in acute lymphoblastic leukemia to optimize methotrexate therapy and reducing the associated toxicity.

Concepts: DNA, Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, Enzyme, Leukemia, Toxicity, Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Restriction fragment length polymorphism


We report the first successful extraction of oyster DNA from a pearl and use it to identify the source oyster species for the three major pearl-producing oyster species Pinctada margaritifera, P. maxima and P. radiata. Both mitochondrial and nuclear gene fragments could be PCR-amplified and sequenced. A polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay in the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region was developed and used to identify 18 pearls of unknown origin. A micro-drilling technique was developed to obtain small amounts of DNA while maintaining the commercial value of the pearls. This DNA fingerprinting method could be used to document the source of historic pearls and will provide more transparency for traders and consumers within the pearl industry.

Concepts: DNA, Molecular biology, Chromosome, Oyster, Restriction fragment length polymorphism, Pearl oyster, Pearl, DNA profiling


Anisakid nematodes have been und in a variety of marine fishes throughout the world and they are known to cause anisakiasis in human hosts. The present study investigated the prevalence of potentially zoonotic anisakid larvae in spotted mackerel caught from Taiwanese waters where fish represents an important food sources. Anisakis third-stage larvae (L3, n=502) were isolated from 250 spotted mackerel Scomber australasicus. Anisakis L3 larvae were divided morphologically into two types, Anisakis type I larvae had a longer ventriculus and mucron while type II larvae had a shorter ventriculus and no mucron. Anisakis species were identified by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of ribosomal DNA and direct sequencing. A simple molecular taxonomic key, utilizing RFLP by two restriction enzymes HinfI and HhaI, enabled the differentiation of the genus Anisakis. The prevalence, mean intensity and mean abundance of Anisakis nematodes recorded for the total specimens were 72.8%, 2.8 (1-15) and 2.0 (0-15), respectively. A. pegreffii was determined to be the dominant species (prevalence=57.2%) and important agent of human anisakiasis. A recombinant genotype (A. simplex sensu stricto×A. pegreffii) was identified as the subdominant species (25.3%) followed by A. typica (10%), A. physeteris (4.0%), A. paggiae (3.0%) and A. brevispiculata (0.5%). The topology of the maximum likelihood and neighbor-joining trees show two well supported clades: one includes the species of A. pegreffii and the other includes A. paggiae, A. physeteris and A. brevispiculata, while A. typica has basal position to all other Anisakis spp. analyzed. This study advances our knowledge of the prevalence of different Anisakis spp. in the spotted mackerel from Taiwanese waters, which is helpful for monitoring the fish populations throughout a diverse array of aquatic ecosystems. More importantly, we provide the concise characterization of multiple Anisakis spp. by PCR-RFLP, which could also be applicable for the rapid diagnosis of human anisakiasis.

Concepts: DNA, Molecular biology, Fish, Restriction fragment length polymorphism, Scombridae, Anisakis, Sushi, Anisakidae


There is increasing evidence that the gut microbiota plays a major role in host health and disease. In this study, we examined whether perturbation of the maternal gut microbiota during pregnancy, induced by administration of non-absorbable antibiotics to pregnant dams, influences the behavior of offspring. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses of fecal bacterial composition showed that the relative abundance of the bacterial order Lactobacillales was lower in offspring born from antibiotic-treated dams (20.7±3.4%) than in control offspring (42.1±6.2%) at P24, while the relative abundance of the bacterial family Clostridium subcluster XIVa was higher in offspring born from antibiotic-treated dams (34.2±5.0%) than in control offspring (16.4±3.3%). Offspring born from antibiotic-treated dams exhibited low locomotor activity in both familiar and novel environments, and preferred to explore in the peripheral area of an unfamiliar field at postnatal week 4. At postnatal weeks 7-8, no difference was observed in the level of locomotor activity between control offspring and offspring from antibiotic-treated dams, while the tendency for the offspring from antibiotic-treated dams to be less engaged in exploring the inside area was still observed. The behavioral phenotypes of the offspring from antibiotic-treated dams at postnatal week 4 could be rescued to a considerable extent through fostering of these offspring by normal dams from postnatal day 1. Although the detailed underlying mechanisms are not fully elucidated, the present results suggest that administration of non-absorbable antibiotics to pregnant dams to perturb the maternal gut microbiota during pregnancy leads to alterations in the behavior of their offspring.

Concepts: Childbirth, Bacteria, Gut flora, Escherichia coli, Breastfeeding, Clostridium difficile, Restriction fragment length polymorphism, Firmicutes


Species within the scleractinian genusPocilloporaLamarck 1816 exhibit extreme phenotypic plasticity, making identification based on morphology difficult. However, the mitochondrial open reading frame (mtORF) marker provides a useful genetic tool for identification of most species in this genus, with a notable exception ofP. eydouxiandP. meandrina. Based on recent genomic work, we present a quick and simple, gel-based restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) method for the identification of all sixPocilloporaspecies occurring in Hawai'i by amplifying either the mtORF region, a newly discovered histone region, or both, and then using the restriction enzymes targeting diagnostic sequences we unambiguously identify each species.Using this approach, we documented frequent misidentification ofPocilloporaspecies based on colony morphology. We found thatP. acutacolonies are frequently mistakenly identified asP. damicornisin Kāne'ohe Bay, O'ahu. We also found thatP. meandrinalikely has a northern range limit in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, above whichP. ligulatawas regularly mistaken forP. meandrina.

Concepts: Hawaii, DNA, Gene, Genetics, Molecular biology, Species, Restriction fragment length polymorphism, Hawaiian Islands