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Journal: BMC microbiology


BACKGROUND: Human milk contains a diverse population of bacteria that likely influences colonization of the infant gastrointestinal tract. Recent studies, however, have been limited to characterization of this microbial community by 16S rRNA analysis. In the present study, a metagenomic approach using Illumina sequencing of a pooled milk sample (ten donors) was employed to determine the genera of bacteria and the types of bacterial open reading frames in human milk that may influence bacterial establishment and stability in this primal food matrix. The human milk metagenome was also compared to that of breastfed and formula-fed infants' feces (n = 5, each) and mothers' feces (n = 3) at the phylum level and at a functional level using open reading frame abundance. Additionally, immune-modulatory bacterial-DNA motifs were also searched for within human milk. RESULTS: The bacterial community in human milk contained over 360 prokaryotic genera, with sequences aligning predominantly to the phyla of Proteobacteria (65%) and Firmicutes (34%), and the genera of Pseudomonas (61.1%), Staphylococcus (33.4%) and Streptococcus (0.5%). From assembled human milk-derived contigs, 30,128 open reading frames were annotated and assigned to functional categories. When compared to the metagenome of infants' and mothers' feces, the human milk metagenome was less diverse at the phylum level, and contained more open reading frames associated with nitrogen metabolism, membrane transport and stress response (P < 0.05). The human milk metagenome also contained a similar occurrence of immune-modulatory DNA motifs to that of infants' and mothers' fecal metagenomes. CONCLUSIONS: Our results further expand the complexity of the human milk metagenome and enforce the benefits of human milk ingestion on the microbial colonization of the infant gut and immunity. Discovery of immune-modulatory motifs in the metagenome of human milk indicates more exhaustive analyses of the functionality of the human milk metagenome are warranted.

Concepts: Gut flora, Protein, Reading frame, Open reading frame, Metabolism, Microbiology, DNA, Bacteria


BACKGROUND: The morphogenesis of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) comprises several events, of which some are not completely understood. It has been shown that HSV-1 glycoproteins accumulate in the trans-Golgi network (TGN) and in TGN-derived vesicles. It is also accepted that HSV-1 acquires its final morphology through a secondary envelopment by budding into TGN-derived vesicles coated with viral glycoproteins and tegument proteins. Nevertheless, several aspects of this process remain elusive. The small GTPase Rab27a has been implicated in regulated exocytosis, and it seems to play a key role in certain membrane trafficking events. Rab27a also seems to be required for human cytomegalovirus assembly. However, despite the involvement of various Rab GTPases in HSV-1 envelopment, there is, to date, no data reported on the role of Rab27a in HSV-1 infection. RESULTS: Herein, we show that Rab27a colocalized with GHSV-UL46, a tegument-tagged green fluorescent protein-HSV-1, in the TGN. In fact, this small GTPase colocalized with viral glycoproteins gH and gD in that compartment. Functional analysis through Rab27a depletion showed a significant decrease in the number of infected cells and viral production in Rab27a-silenced cells. CONCLUSIONS: Altogether, our results indicate that Rab27a plays an important role in HSV-1 infection of oligodendrocytic cells.

Concepts: Cytomegalovirus, Encephalitis, HIV, Infection, Herpes simplex, Herpes simplex virus, Herpesviridae, Virus


Aflatoxins (AFs) are highly carcinogenic compounds produced by Aspergillus species in seeds with high lipid and protein contents. It has been known for over 30 years that peptone is not conducive for AF productions, although reasons for this remain unknown.

Concepts: Peanut, Fungus, Amino acid, Carcinogen, DNA, Aflatoxin, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus


Microbial anaerobic digestion (AD) is used as a waste treatment process to degrade complex organic compounds into methane. The archaeal and bacterial taxa involved in AD are well known, whereas composition of the fungal community in the process has been less studied. The present study aimed to reveal the composition of archaeal, bacterial and fungal communities in response to increasing organic loading in mesophilic and thermophilic AD processes by applying 454 amplicon sequencing technology. Furthermore, a DNA microarray method was evaluated in order to develop a tool for monitoring the microbiological status of AD.

Concepts: Methanogen, Methane, Microbiology, Thermophile, DNA, Anaerobic digestion, Bacteria, Archaea


BACKGROUND: Hepatitis B virus (HBV), because of its error-prone viral polymerase, has a high mutation rate leading to widespread substitutions, deletions, and insertions in the HBV genome. Deletions may significantly change viral biological features complicating the progression of liver diseases. However, the clinical conditions correlating to the accumulation of deleted mutants remain unclear. In this study, we explored HBV deletion patterns and their association with disease status and antiviral treatment by performing whole genome sequencing on samples from 51 hepatitis B patients and by monitoring changes in deletion variants during treatment. Clone sequencing was used to analyze preS regions in another cohort of 52 patients. RESULTS: Among the core, preS, and basic core promoter (BCP) deletion hotspots, we identified preS to have the highest frequency and the most complex deletion pattern using whole genome sequencing. Further clone sequencing analysis on preS identified 70 deletions which were classified into 4 types, the most common being preS2. Also, in contrast to the core and BCP regions, most preS deletions were in-frame. Most deletions interrupted viral surface epitopes, and are possibly involved in evading immuno-surveillance. Among various clinical factors examined, logistic regression showed that antiviral medication affected the accumulation of deletion mutants (OR = 6.81, 95%CI = 1.296 ~ 35.817, P = 0.023). In chronic carriers of the virus, and individuals with chronic hepatitis, the deletion rate was significantly higher in the antiviral treatment group (Fisher exact test, P = 0.007). Particularly, preS2 deletions were associated with the usage of nucleos(t)ide analog therapy (Fisher exact test, P = 0.023). Dynamic increases in preS1 or preS2 deletions were also observed in quasispecies from samples taken from patients before and after three months of ADV therapy. In vitro experiments demonstrated that preS2 deletions alone were not responsible for antiviral resistance, implying the coordination between wild type and mutant strains during viral survival and disease development. CONCLUSIONS: We present the HBV deletion distribution patterns and preS deletion substructures in viral genomes that are prevalent in northern China. The accumulation of preS deletion mutants during nucleos(t)ide analog therapy may be due to viral escape from host immuno-surveillance.

Concepts: Deletion, Antiviral drug, Gene, Cirrhosis, Virus, Hepatitis, DNA, Hepatitis B


BACKGROUND: This study sought to investigate a possible correlation between the intestinal microbiota, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, and obesity in Kazakh school children, aged 7–13 (n = 175). RESULTS: Obese subjects had significantly greater systolic blood pressure, waist and hip circumference, as well as HOMA-IR as compared to normal and overweight participants. In addition, Bacteroides copy number and Bact/Firm ratios were significantly lower in the obese group as compared to the normal and overweight groups (P < 0.0167). This difference is only significant in girls, but not in boys when stratified by gender. Furthermore, a negative correlation between BMI and Bacteroidetes copy number (r = -0.18, P = 0.017) as well as Bact/Firm (r = -0.22, P = 0.003) was observed. CONCLUSION: An association between reduced gut Bacteroidetes and Bact/Firm ratio with obesity in female Kazakh children was identified. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the mechanism behind these changes as well as the value of determining their presence for predicting obesity.

Concepts: Blood pressure, Myocardial infarction, Nutrition, Hypertension, Obesity, Waist-hip ratio, Bacteria, Gut flora


BACKGROUND: A few lineages of Group A streptococci (GAS) have been associated with a reemergence of severe invasive streptococcal disease in developed countries. However, the majority of the comparisons between invasive and non-invasive GAS isolates have been performed for collections of reduced genetic diversity or relied on limited typing information to distinguish clones. We characterized by several typing methods and compared a collection of 160 isolates recovered from normally sterile sites with 320 isolates associated with pharyngitis and recovered in the same time period in Portugal. RESULTS: Although most of the isolates belonged to clones that were equally prevalent in invasive infections and pharyngitis, we identified markers of invasiveness, namely the emm types 1 and 64, and the presence of the speA and speJ genes. In contrast, emm4, emm75, and the ssa and speL/M genes were significantly associated with pharyngitis. There was a strong agreement between the emm type, the superantigen (SAg) genes and the clusters defined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profiling. Therefore, combinations of particular emm types and SAg genes frequently co-occurred in the same PFGE cluster, but there was no synergistic or antagonistic interaction between them in determining invasiveness. Only macrolide-susceptible PFGE clones were significantly associated with invasive infections or pharyngitis, while the clones of resistant isolates sharing all other molecular properties analyzed were equally prevalent in the two groups of isolates. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirmed the importance of the widely disseminated emm1-T1-ST28 clone in invasive infections but also identified other clones linked to either invasive infections (emm64-ST164) or pharyngitis (emm4-T4-ST39), which may be more limited in their temporal and geographical spread. Clonal properties like some emm types or SAg genes were associated with disease presentation, highlighting the importance of bacterial genetic factors to the outcome of GAS infections, although other, yet unidentified factors may also play an important role.

Concepts: Gene, Invasive, Invasiveness of surgical procedures, Virus, Streptococcus, Genetics, Bacteria, Group A streptococcal infection


BACKGROUND: Pseudomonas putida exerts a filamentous phenotype in response to environmental stress conditions that are encountered during its natural life cycle. This study assessed whether P. putida filamentation could confer survival advantages. Filamentation of P. putida was induced through culturing at low shaking speed and was compared to culturing in high shaking speed conditions, after which whole proteomic analysis and stress exposure assays were performed. RESULTS: P. putida grown in filament-inducing conditions showed increased resistance to heat and saline stressors compared to non-filamented cultures. Proteomic analysis showed a significant metabolic change and a pronounced induction of the heat shock protein IbpA and recombinase RecA in filament-inducing conditions. Our data further indicated that the associated heat shock resistance, but not filamentation, was dependent of RecA. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides insights into the altered metabolism of P. putida in filament-inducing conditions, and indicates that the formation of filaments could potentially be utilized by P. putida as a survival strategy in its hostile, recurrently changing habitat.

Concepts: Metabolism, Pseudomonadaceae, Incandescent light bulb, Pseudomonas, Heat shock protein, Proteomics, Protein, Pseudomonas putida


BACKGROUND: Several cases of legionellosis have been diagnosed in the same French thermal spa in 1986, 1994 and 1997. L. pneumophila serogroup 1 (Lp1) strains have been isolated from several patients, but the source of contamination was not identified despite the presence of different Lp1 in water samples of the three natural springs feeding the spa at this period. RESULTS: Our strategy was to investigate L. pneumophila (Lp) strains from natural biofilms developed in a sulphur-rich warm spring of this contaminated site. Biofilm analysis revealed the presence of three Lp serogroups (Lp1, Lp10 and Lp12). Surprisingly, Lp10 and Lp12 were not reported in the previous described studies from water samples. Besides, the new seven Lp1 we isolated exhibit a high molecular diversity and have been differentiated in five classes according to their DNA genome patterns obtained by PFGE and mip sequences. It must be noted that these DNA patterns are original and unknown in databases. Interestingly, the 27 Lp environmental strains we isolated display a higher cytotoxicity and virulence towards the amoeba Acanthamoeba castellanii than those of known Lp1 epidemic strains. CONCLUSION: The characteristics of Legionella pneumophila Lp1 strains isolated from the warm spring are in agreement with their presence in biofilms and their probable long-term persistence in this ecosystem.

Concepts: Archaea, Genome, Water, Hot spring, Bacteria, Legionella, Legionella pneumophila, Legionellosis


Currently, bacterial 16S rRNA gene analyses are based on sequencing of individual variable regions of the 16S rRNA gene (Kozich, et al Appl Environ Microbiol 79:5112-5120, 2013).This short read approach can introduce biases. Thus, full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing is needed to reduced biases. A new alternative for full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing is offered by PacBio single molecule, real-time (SMRT) technology. The aim of our study was to validate PacBio P6 sequencing chemistry using three approaches: 1) sequencing the full-length bacterial 16SĀ rRNA gene from a single bacterial species Staphylococcus aureus to analyze error modes and to optimize the bioinformatics pipeline; 2) sequencing the full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene from a pool of 50 different bacterial colonies from human stool samples to compare with full-length bacterial 16S rRNA capillary sequence; and 3) sequencing the full-length bacterial 16S rRNA genes from 11 vaginal microbiome samples and compare with in silico selected bacterial 16S rRNA V1V2 gene region and with bacterial 16S rRNA V1V2 gene regions sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq.

Concepts: Sequence, Archaea, Molecular biology, Staphylococcus, Bacteria, DNA, Ribosomal RNA, 16S ribosomal RNA