• Herpes zoster incidence in Germany - an indirect validation study for self-reported disease data from pretest studies of the population-based German National Cohort.

      Caputo, Mahrrouz; Horn, Johannes; Karch, André; Akmatov, Manas K; Becher, Heiko; Braun, Bettina; Brenner, Hermann; Castell, Stefanie; Fischer, Beate; Giani, Guido; Günther, Kathrin; Hoffmann, Barbara; Jöckel, Karl-Heinz; Keil, Thomas; Klüppelholz, Birgit; Krist, Lilian; Leitzmann, Michael F; Lieb, Wolfgang; Linseisen, Jakob; Meisinger, Christa; Moebus, Susanne; Obi, Nadia; Pischon, Tobias; Schipf, Sabine; Schmidt, Börge; Sievers, Claudia; Steinbrecher, Astrid; Völzke, Henry; Mikolajczyk, Rafael (2019-01-30)
      Until now, herpes zoster (HZ)-related disease burden in Germany has been estimated based on health insurance data and clinical findings. However, the validity of self-reported HZ is unclear. This study investigated the validity of self-reported herpes zoster (HZ) and its complication postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) using data from the pretest studies of the German National Cohort (GNC) in comparison with estimates based on health insurance data. Data of 4751 participants aged between 20 and 69 years from two pretest studies of the GNC carried out in 2011 and 2012 were used. Based on self-reports of physician-diagnosed HZ and PHN, age- and sex-specific HZ incidence rates and PHN proportions were estimated. For comparison, estimates based on statutory health insurance data from the German population were considered. Eleven percent (95%-CI, 10.4 to 12.3, n = 539) of the participants reported at least one HZ episode in their lifetime. Our estimated age-specific HZ incidence rates were lower than previous estimates based on statutory health insurance data. The PHN proportion in participants older than 50 years was 5.9% (1.9 to 13.9%), which was in line with estimates based on health insurance data. As age- and sex-specific patterns were comparable with that in health insurance data, self-reported diagnosis of HZ seems to be a valid instrument for overall disease trends. Possible reasons for observed differences in incidence rates are recall bias in self-reported data or overestimation in health insurance data.
    • Design and characterization of dietary assessment in the German National Cohort.

      Knüppel, Sven; Clemens, Matthias; Conrad, Johanna; Gastell, Sylvia; Michels, Karin B; Leitzmann, Michael; Krist, Lilian; Pischon, Tobias; Krause, Gerard; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Ebert, Nina; Jöckel, Karl-Heinz; Kluttig, Alexander; Obi, Nadia; Kaaks, Rudolf; Lieb, Wolfgang; Schipf, Sabine; Brenner, Hermann; Heuer, Thorsten; Harttig, Ulrich; Linseisen, Jakob; Nöthlings, Ute; Boeing, Heiner; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (Springer Nature, 2019-01-15)
      BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to describe a novel dietary assessment strategy based on two instruments complemented by information from an external population applied to estimate usual food intake in the large-scale multicenter German National Cohort (GNC). As proof of concept, we applied the assessment strategy to data from a pretest study (2012-2013) to assess the feasibility of the novel assessment strategy. SUBJECTS/METHODS: First, the consumption probability for each individual was modeled using three 24 h food lists (24h-FLs) and frequencies from one food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Second, daily consumed food amounts were estimated from the representative German National Nutrition Survey II (NVS II) taking the characteristics of the participants into account. Usual food intake was estimated using the product of consumption probability and amounts. RESULTS: We estimated usual intake of 41 food groups in 318 men and 377 women. The participation proportion was 100, 84.4, and 68.5% for the first, second, and third 24h-FL, respectively. We observed no associations between the probability of participating and lifestyle factors. The estimated distributions of usual food intakes were plausible and total energy was estimated to be 2707 kcal/day for men and 2103 kcal/day for women. The estimated consumption frequencies did not differ substantially between men and women with only few exceptions. The differences in energy intake between men and women were mostly due to differences in estimated daily amounts. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of repeated 24h-FLs, a FFQ, and consumption-day amounts from a reference population represents a user-friendly dietary assessment approach having generated plausible, but not yet validated, food intake values in the pretest study
    • Bacterial community structure and effects of picornavirus infection on the anterior nares microbiome in early childhood.

      Caputo, Mahrrouz; Zoch-Lesniak, Beate; Karch, André; Vital, Marius; Meyer, Frederic; Klawonn, Frank; Baillot, Armin; Pieper, Dietmar H; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (BMC, 2019-01-07)
      Little is known regarding the nasal microbiome in early childhood and the impact of respiratory infection on the infants' nasal microbial composition. Here we investigated the temporal dynamics and diversity of the bacterial composition in the anterior nares in children attending daycare centers. For our investigation, we considered 76 parental-taken nasal swabs of 26 children (aged 13 to 36 months) collected over a study period of 3 months. Overall, there was no significant age-specific effect or seasonal shift in the nasal bacterial community structure. In a sub-sample of 14 healthy children the relative abundance of individual taxa as well as the overall diversity did not reveal relevant changes, indicating a stable community structure over the entire study period. Moreover, the nasal bacterial profiles clustered subject-specific with Bray-Curtis similarities being elevated in intra-subject calculations compared to between-subject calculations. The remaining subset of 12 children provided samples taken during picornavirus infection (PVI) and either before or after a PVI. We detected an association between the relative abundance of members of the genus Streptococcus and PV when comparing both (i) samples taken during PVI with samples out of 14 healthy children and (ii) samples taken during PVI with samples taken after PVI within the same individual. In addition, the diversity was higher during PVI than after infection. Our findings suggest that a personalized structure of the nasal bacterial community is established already in early childhood and could be detected over a timeframe of 3 months. Studies following infants over a longer time with frequent swab sampling would allow investigating whether certain parameter of the bacterial community, such as the temporal variability, could be related to viral infection.
    • Thermoplasmatales and sulfur-oxidizing bacteria dominate the microbial community at the surface water of a CO-rich hydrothermal spring located in Tenorio Volcano National Park, Costa Rica.

      Arce-Rodríguez, Alejandro; Puente-Sánchez, Fernando; Avendaño, Roberto; Martínez-Cruz, María; de Moor, J Maarten; Pieper, Dietmar H; Chavarría, Max; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2019-01-01)
      Here we report the chemical and microbial characterization of the surface water of a CO2-rich hydrothermal vent known in Costa Rica as Borbollones, located at Tenorio Volcano National Park. The Borbollones showed a temperature surrounding 60 °C, a pH of 2.4 and the gas released has a composition of ~ 97% CO2, ~ 0.07% H2S, ~ 2.3% N2 and ~ 0.12% CH4. Other chemical species such as sulfate and iron were found at high levels with respect to typical fresh water bodies. Analysis by 16S rRNA gene metabarcoding revealed that in Borbollones predominates an archaeon from the order Thermoplasmatales and one bacterium from the genus Sulfurimonas. Other sulfur- (genera Thiomonas, Acidithiobacillus, Sulfuriferula, and Sulfuricurvum) and iron-oxidizing bacteria (genera Sideroxydans, Gallionella, and Ferrovum) were identified. Our results show that CO2-influenced surface water of Borbollones contains microorganisms that are usually found in acid rock drainage environments or sulfur-rich hydrothermal vents. To our knowledge, this is the first microbiological characterization of a CO2-dominated hydrothermal spring from Central America and expands our understanding of those extreme ecosystems.
    • Variations in Microbial Diversity and Metabolite Profiles of the Tropical Marine Sponge Xestospongia muta with Season and Depth.

      Villegas-Plazas, Marcela; Wos-Oxley, Melissa L; Sanchez, Juan A; Pieper, Dietmar H; Thomas, Olivier P; Junca, Howard; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-11-10)
      Xestospongia muta is among the most emblematic sponge species inhabiting coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea. Besides being the largest sponge species growing in the Caribbean, it is also known to produce secondary metabolites. This study aimed to assess the effect of depth and season on the symbiotic bacterial dynamics and major metabolite profiles of specimens of X. muta thriving in a tropical marine biome (Portobelo Bay, Panamá), which allow us to determine whether variability patterns are similar to those reported for subtropical latitudes. The bacterial assemblages were characterized using Illumina deep-sequencing and metabolomic profiles using UHPLC-DAD-ELSD from five depths (ranging 9-28 m) across two seasons (spring and autumn). Diverse symbiotic communities, representing 24 phyla with a predominance of Proteobacteria and Chloroflexi, were found. Although several thousands of OTUs were determined, most of them belong to the rare biosphere and only 23 to a core community. There was a significant difference between the structure of the microbial communities in respect to season (autumn to spring), with a further significant difference between depths only in autumn. This was partially mirrored in the metabolome profile, where the overall metabolite composition did not differ between seasons, but a significant depth gradient was observed in autumn. At the phyla level, Cyanobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Spirochaete showed a mild-moderate correlation with the metabolome profile. The metabolomic profiles were mainly characterized by known brominated polyunsaturated fatty acids. This work presents findings about the composition and dynamics of the microbial assemblages of X. muta expanding and confirming current knowledge about its remarkable diversity and geographic variability as observed in this tropical marine biome.
    • Determining lineage-specific bacterial growth curves with a novel approach based on amplicon reads normalization using internal standard (ARNIS).

      Piwosz, Kasia; Shabarova, Tanja; Tomasch, Jürgen; Šimek, Karel; Kopejtka, Karel; Kahl, Silke; Pieper, Dietmar H; Koblížek, Michal; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-11-01)
      The growth rate is a fundamental characteristic of bacterial species, determining its contributions to the microbial community and carbon flow. High-throughput sequencing can reveal bacterial diversity, but its quantitative inaccuracy precludes estimation of abundances and growth rates from the read numbers. Here, we overcame this limitation by normalizing Illumina-derived amplicon reads using an internal standard: a constant amount of Escherichia coli cells added to samples just before biomass collection. This approach made it possible to reconstruct growth curves for 319 individual OTUs during the grazer-removal experiment conducted in a freshwater reservoir Římov. The high resolution data signalize significant functional heterogeneity inside the commonly investigated bacterial groups. For instance, many Actinobacterial phylotypes, a group considered to harbor slow-growing defense specialists, grew rapidly upon grazers' removal, demonstrating their considerable importance in carbon flow through food webs, while most Verrucomicrobial phylotypes were particle associated. Such differences indicate distinct life strategies and roles in food webs of specific bacterial phylotypes and groups. The impact of grazers on the specific growth rate distributions supports the hypothesis that bacterivory reduces competition and allows existence of diverse bacterial communities. It suggests that the community changes were driven mainly by abundant, fast, or moderately growing, and not by rare fast growing, phylotypes. We believe amplicon read normalization using internal standard (ARNIS) can shed new light on in situ growth dynamics of both abundant and rare bacteria.
    • Viable cyanobacteria in the deep continental subsurface.

      Puente-Sánchez, Fernando; Arce-Rodríguez, Alejandro; Oggerin, Monike; García-Villadangos, Miriam; Moreno-Paz, Mercedes; Blanco, Yolanda; Rodríguez, Nuria; Bird, Laurence; Lincoln, Sara A; Tornos, Fernando; Prieto-Ballesteros, Olga; Freeman, Katherine H; Pieper, Dietmar H; Timmis, Kenneth N; Amils, Ricardo; Parro, Víctor; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-10-16)
      Cyanobacteria are ecologically versatile microorganisms inhabiting most environments, ranging from marine systems to arid deserts. Although they possess several pathways for light-independent energy generation, until now their ecological range appeared to be restricted to environments with at least occasional exposure to sunlight. Here we present molecular, microscopic, and metagenomic evidence that cyanobacteria predominate in deep subsurface rock samples from the Iberian Pyrite Belt Mars analog (southwestern Spain). Metagenomics showed the potential for a hydrogen-based lithoautotrophic cyanobacterial metabolism. Collectively, our results suggest that they may play an important role as primary producers within the deep-Earth biosphere. Our description of this previously unknown ecological niche for cyanobacteria paves the way for models on their origin and evolution, as well as on their potential presence in current or primitive biospheres in other planetary bodies, and on the extant, primitive, and putative extraterrestrial biospheres.
    • Pathogenic functions of host microbiota.

      Rath, Silke; Rud, Tatjana; Karch, André; Pieper, Dietmar Helmut; Vital, Marius; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-09-28)
      It is becoming evident that certain features of human microbiota, encoded by distinct autochthonous taxa, promote disease. As a result, borders between the so-called opportunistic pathogens, pathobionts, and commensals are increasingly blurred, and specific targets for manipulating microbiota to improve host health are becoming elusive. In this study, we focus on the functions of host bacterial communities that have the potential to cause disease, proposing the term "pathogenic function (pathofunction)". The concept is presented via three distinct examples, namely, the formation of (i) trimethylamine, (ii) secondary bile acids, and (iii) hydrogen sulfide, which represent metabolites of the gut microbiota linked to the development of non-communicable diseases. Using publicly available metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data (n = 2975), we quantified those pathofunctions in health and disease and exposed the key players. Pathofunctions were ubiquitously present with increased abundances in patient groups. Overall, the three pathofunctions were detected at low mean concentrations (< 1% of total bacteria carried respective genes) and encompassed various taxa, including uncultured members. We outline how this function-centric approach, where all members of a community exhibiting a particular pathofunction are redundant, can contribute to risk assessment and the development of precision treatment directing gut microbiota to increase host health.
    • Metagenomic insights into resistant starch degradation by human gut microbiota.

      Vital, Marius; Howe, Adina; Bergeron, Nathalie; Krauss, Ronald M; Jansson, Janet K; Tiedje, James M; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-09-28)
      Several studies monitoring alterations of the community structure upon resistant starch (RS) interventions are available, although comprehensive function-based analyses are lacking. Recently, a multiomics approach based on 16S rRNA gene-sequencing, metaproteomics and metabolomics on fecal samples from individuals subjected to high and low doses of type-2 RS (RS2; 48 g and 3 g/2500 kcal, respectively, daily for 2 weeks) in a cross-over intervention experiment was performed. In the present study, we did pathway-based metagenomic analyses on samples from a subset of individuals (n=12) from that study to get additional, detailed insights into the functional structure at high resolution during RS2 intervention. A mechanistic framework based on obtained results is proposed where primary degradation was governed by Firmicutes, with Ruminococcus bromii as a major taxon involved, providing fermentation substrates and increased acetate concentrations for growth of various major butyrate-producers exhibiting the enzyme butyryl-CoA:acetate CoA-transferase. H2-scavenging sulfite reducers and acetogens concurrently increased. Individual responses of gut microbiota were noted where seven of the 12 participants displayed all features of the outlined pattern, whereas four individuals showed mixed behavior and one subject was unresponsive. Intervention order did not affect the outcome emphasizing a constant substrate supply for maintaining specific functional communities.
    • Delftia sp. LCW, a strain isolated from a constructed wetland shows novel properties for dimethylphenol isomers degradation.

      Vásquez-Piñeros, Mónica A; Martínez-Lavanchy, Paula M; Jehmlich, Nico; Pieper, Dietmar H; Rincón, Carlos A; Harms, Hauke; Junca, Howard; Heipieper, Hermann J; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (BioMedCentral, 2018-09-06)
      BACKGROUND: Dimethylphenols (DMP) are toxic compounds with high environmental mobility in water and one of the main constituents of effluents from petro- and carbochemical industry. Over the last few decades, the use of constructed wetlands (CW) has been extended from domestic to industrial wastewater treatments, including petro-carbochemical effluents. In these systems, the main role during the transformation and mineralization of organic pollutants is played by microorganisms. Therefore, understanding the bacterial degradation processes of isolated strains from CWs is an important approach to further improvements of biodegradation processes in these treatment systems. RESULTS: In this study, bacterial isolation from a pilot scale constructed wetland fed with phenols led to the identification of Delftia sp. LCW as a DMP degrading strain. The strain was able to use the o-xylenols 3,4-DMP and 2,3-DMP as sole carbon and energy sources. In addition, 3,4-DMP provided as a co-substrate had an effect on the transformation of other four DMP isomers. Based on the detection of the genes, proteins, and the inferred phylogenetic relationships of the detected genes with other reported functional proteins, we found that the phenol hydroxylase of Delftia sp. LCW is induced by 3,4-DMP and it is responsible for the first oxidation of the aromatic ring of 3,4-, 2,3-, 2,4-, 2,5- and 3,5-DMP. The enzyme may also catalyze both monooxygenation reactions during the degradation of benzene. Proteome data led to the identification of catechol meta cleavage pathway enzymes during the growth on ortho DMP, and validated that cleavage of the aromatic rings of 2,5- and 3,5-DMPs does not result in mineralization. In addition, the tolerance of the strain to high concentrations of DMP, especially to 3,4-DMP was higher than that of other reported microorganisms from activated sludge treating phenols. CONCLUSIONS: LCW strain was able to degraded complex aromatics compounds. DMPs and benzene are reported for the first time to be degraded by a member of Delftia genus. In addition, LCW degraded DMPs with a first oxidation of the aromatic rings by a phenol hydroxylase, followed by a further meta cleavage pathway. The higher resistance to DMP toxicity, the ability to degrade and transform DMP isomers and the origin as a rhizosphere bacterium from wastewater systems, make LCW a suitable candidate to be used in bioremediation of complex DMP mixtures in CWs systems.
    • The Role of Pulmonary and Systemic Immunosenescence in Acute Lung Injury.

      Brandenberger, Christina; Kling, Katharina Maria; Vital, Marius; Christian, Mühlfeld; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-08-01)
      Acute lung injury (ALI) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in the elderly (> 65 years), but the knowledge about origin and effects of immunosenescence in ALI is limited. Here, we investigated the immune response at pulmonary, systemic and cellular level in young (2-3 months) and old (18-19 months) C57BL/6J mice to localize and characterize effects of immunosenescence in ALI. ALI was induced by intranasal lipopolysaccharide (LPS) application and the animals were sacrificed 24 or 72 h later. Pulmonary inflammation was investigated by analyzing histopathology, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) cytometry and cytokine expression. Systemic serum cytokine expression, spleen lymphocyte populations and the gut microbiome were analyzed, as well as activation of alveolar and bone marrow derived macrophages (BMDM)
    • Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps is characterized by dysbacteriosis of the nasal microbiota.

      Chalermwatanachai, Thanit; Vilchez-Vargas, Ramiro; Holtappels, Gabriele; Lacoere, Tim; Jáuregui, Ruy; Kerckhof, Frederiek-Maarten; Pieper, Dietmar H; Van de Wiele, Tom; Vaneechoutte, Mario; Van Zele, Thibaut; Bachert, Claus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-05-21)
      Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyp (CRSwNP) patients are often characterized by asthma comorbidity and a type-2 inflammation of the sinonasal mucosa. The mucosal microbiota has been suggested to be implicated in the persistence of inflammation, but associations have not been well defined. To compare the bacterial communities of healthy subjects with CRSwNP patients, we collected nasal swabs from 17 healthy subjects, 21 CRSwNP patients without asthma (CRSwNP-A), and 20 CRSwNP patients with co-morbid asthma (CRSwNP+A). We analysed the microbiota using high-throughput sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA. Bacterial communities were different between the three groups. Haemophilus influenzae was significantly enriched in CRSwNP patients, Propionibacterium acnes in the healthy group; Staphylococcus aureus was abundant in the CRSwNP-A group, even though present in 57% of patients. Escherichia coli was found in high amounts in CRSwNP+A patients. Nasal tissues of CRSwNP+A patients expressed significantly higher concentrations of IgE, SE-IgE, and IL-5 compared to those of CRSwNP-A patients. Co-cultivation demonstrated that P. acnes growth was inhibited by H. influenzae, E. coli and S. aureus. The nasal microbiota of healthy subjects are different from those of CRSwNP-A and CRSwNP+A patients. However, the most abundant species in healthy status could not inhibit those in CRSwNP disease.
    • Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps is characterized by dysbacteriosis of the nasal microbiota.

      Chalermwatanachai, Thanit; Vilchez-Vargas, Ramiro; Holtappels, Gabriele; Lacoere, Tim; Jáuregui, Ruy; Kerckhof, Frederiek-Maarten; Pieper, Dietmar H; Van de Wiele, Tom; Vaneechoutte, Mario; Van Zele, Thibaut; Bachert, Claus; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-05-21)
      Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyp (CRSwNP) patients are often characterized by asthma comorbidity and a type-2 inflammation of the sinonasal mucosa. The mucosal microbiota has been suggested to be implicated in the persistence of inflammation, but associations have not been well defined. To compare the bacterial communities of healthy subjects with CRSwNP patients, we collected nasal swabs from 17 healthy subjects, 21 CRSwNP patients without asthma (CRSwNP-A), and 20 CRSwNP patients with co-morbid asthma (CRSwNP+A). We analysed the microbiota using high-throughput sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA. Bacterial communities were different between the three groups. Haemophilus influenzae was significantly enriched in CRSwNP patients, Propionibacterium acnes in the healthy group; Staphylococcus aureus was abundant in the CRSwNP-A group, even though present in 57% of patients. Escherichia coli was found in high amounts in CRSwNP+A patients. Nasal tissues of CRSwNP+A patients expressed significantly higher concentrations of IgE, SE-IgE, and IL-5 compared to those of CRSwNP-A patients. Co-cultivation demonstrated that P. acnes growth was inhibited by H. influenzae, E. coli and S. aureus. The nasal microbiota of healthy subjects are different from those of CRSwNP-A and CRSwNP+A patients. However, the most abundant species in healthy status could not inhibit those in CRSwNP disease.
    • Detection of Streptococcus pyogenes virulence genes in Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis from Vellore, India.

      Babbar, Anshu; Itzek, Andreas; Pieper, Dietmar H; Nitsche-Schmitz, D Patric; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-03-12)
      Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis (SDSE), belonging to the group C and G streptococci, are human pathogens reported to cause clinical manifestations similar to infections caused by Streptococcus pyogenes. To scrutinize the distribution of gene coding for S. pyogenes virulence factors in SDSE, 255 isolates were collected from humans infected with SDSE in Vellore, a region in southern India, with high incidence of SDSE infections. Initial evaluation indicated SDSE isolates comprising of 82.35% group G and 17.64% group C. A multiplex PCR system was used to detect 21 gene encoding virulence-associated factors of S. pyogenes, like superantigens, DNases, proteinases, and other immune modulatory toxins. As validated by DNA sequencing of the PCR products, sequences homologous to speC, speG, speH, speI, speL, ssa and smeZ of the family of superantigen coding genes and for DNases like sdaD and sdc were detected in the SDSE collection. Furthermore, there was high abundance (48.12% in group G and 86.6% in group C SDSE) of scpA, the gene coding for C5a peptidase in these isolates. Higher abundance of S. pyogenes virulence factor genes was observed in SDSE of Lancefield group C as compared to group G, even though the incidence rates in former were lower. This study not only substantiates detection of S. pyogenes virulence factor genes in whole genome sequenced SDSE but also makes significant contribution towards the understanding of SDSE and its increasing virulence potential.
    • Colonic Butyrate-Producing Communities in Humans: an Overview Using Omics Data.

      Vital, Marius; Karch, André; Pieper, Dietmar H.; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-18)
      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. We demonstrate that butyrate producers establish themselves within the first year of life and display high abundances (>20% of total bacterial community) in adults regardless of origin. Various bacteria form this functional group, exhibiting a biochemical diversity including different pathways and terminal enzymes, where one carbohydrate-fueled pathway was dominant with butyryl coenzyme A (CoA):acetate CoA transferase as the main terminal enzyme. Subjects displayed a high richness of butyrate producers, and 17 taxa, primarily members of the Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae along with some Bacteroidetes, were detected in >70% of individuals, encompassing ~85% of the total butyrate-producing potential. Most of these key taxa were also found to express genes for butyrate formation, indicating that butyrate producers occupy various niches in the gut ecosystem, concurrently synthesizing that compound. Furthermore, results from longitudinal analyses propose that diversity supports functional stability during ordinary life disturbances and during interventions such as antibiotic treatment. A reduction of the butyrate-producing potential along with community alterations was detected in various diseases, where patients suffering from cardiometabolic disorders were particularly affected. IMPORTANCE Studies focusing on taxonomic compositions of the gut microbiota are plentiful, whereas its functional capabilities are still poorly understood. Specific key functions deserve detailed investigations, as they regulate microbiota-host interactions and promote host health and disease. The production of butyrate is among the top targets since depletion of this microbe-derived metabolite is linked to several emerging noncommunicable diseases and was shown to facilitate establishment of enteric pathogens by disrupting colonization resistance. In this study, we established a workflow to investigate in detail the composition of the polyphyletic butyrate-producing community from omics data extracting its biochemical and taxonomic diversity. By combining information from various publicly available data sets, we identified universal ecological key features of this functional group and shed light on its role in health and disease. Our results will assist the development of precision medicine to combat functional dysbiosis.
    • Initial evenness determines diversity and cell density dynamics in synthetic microbial ecosystems.

      Ehsani, Elham; Hernandez-Sanabria, Emma; Kerckhof, Frederiek-Maarten; Props, Ruben; Vilchez-Vargas, Ramiro; Vital, Marius; Pieper, Dietmar Helmut; Boon, Nico; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-10)
      The effect of initial evenness on the temporal trajectory of synthetic communities in comprehensive, low-volume microcosm studies remains unknown. We used flow cytometric fingerprinting and 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing to assess the impact of time on community structure in one hundred synthetic ecosystems of fixed richness but varying initial evenness. Both methodologies uncovered a similar reduction in diversity within synthetic communities of medium and high initial evenness classes. However, the results of amplicon sequencing showed that there were no significant differences between and within the communities in all evenness groups at the end of the experiment. Nevertheless, initial evenness significantly impacted the cell density of the community after five medium transfers. Highly even communities retained the highest cell densities at the end of the experiment. The relative abundances of individual species could be associated to particular evenness groups, suggesting that their presence was dependent on the initial evenness of the synthetic community. Our results reveal that using synthetic communities for testing ecological hypotheses requires prior assessment of initial evenness, as it impacts temporal dynamics.
    • Microbial community changes induced by uranyl nitrate in bentonite clay microcosms

      Lopez-Fernandez, Margarita; Vilchez-Vargas, Ramiro; Jroundi, Fadwa; Boon, Nico; Pieper, Dietmar; Merroun, Mohamed L.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2017-12-23)
      Deep geological repository (DGR) is one of the internationally accepted options to dispose radioactive wastes. Bentonite formations from Almeria, Spain, were selected as reference material for arti fi cial barriers for the future Spanish repository. However, the safety of this long-term disposal could be compromised not only by physi- cochemical factors but also by microbial processes. The highly radioactive waste must be safely stored at least for 100,000 years for the radioactivity to decrease to similar levels to those of natural uranium. To simulate a scenario where the mobilization of radionuclides from the repository to the host formations may occur, long- term microcosms were studied. After being exposed to uranyl nitrate for 5 months, the response of the bentonite microbial community to the addition of this radionuclide was evaluated. High throughput 16S rRNA gene se- quencing revealed that the structure of the microbial community after the uranyl nitrate treatment di ff ers to that of the control microcosms. The microbial diversity was dominated by Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. Moreover, after the uranyl nitrate treatment OTUs annotated as Paracoccus and Bacillus were highly enriched. The mi- neralogy of bentonites was not a ff ected by the uranyl nitrate treatment as was demonstrated by X-ray di ff raction analysis. In addition, the study of uranium-bacteria interaction revealed the ability of isolates to biomineralize uranium as uranium phosphate mineral phases. Thus, the changes induced by the release of uranium in the microbial population may also affect the mobility of this radionuclide, making it less mobile and therefore less harmful for this environment.
    • Microbial communities in pyrene amended soil-compost mixture and fertilized soil.

      Adam, Iris K U; Duarte, Márcia; Pathmanathan, Jananan; Miltner, Anja; Brüls, Thomas; Kästner, Matthias; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-12)
      Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are distributed ubiquitously in the environment and form metabolites toxic to most organisms. Organic amendment of PAH contaminated soil with compost and farmyard manure has proven to be efficient for PAH bioremediation mediated by native microorganisms, even though information on the identity of PAH degraders in organic-amended soil is still scarce. Here we provide molecular insight into the bacterial communities in soil amended with compost or farmyard manure for which the degradation mass balances of (13)C-labeled pyrene have been recently published and assess the relevant bacterial genera capable of degrading pyrene as a model PAH. We performed statistical analyses of bacterial genera abundance data based on total DNA and RNA (for comparison) extracted from the soil samples. The results revealed complex pyrene degrading communities with low abundance of individual degraders instead of a limited number of abundant key players. The bacterial degrader communities of the soil-compost mixture and soil fertilized with farmyard manure differed considerably in composition albeit showing similar degradation kinetics. Additional analyses were carried out on enrichment cultures and enabled the reconstruction of several nearly complete genomes, thus allowing to link microcosm and enrichment experiments. However, pyrene mineralizing bacteria enriched from the compost or unfertilized soil-compost samples did not dominate pyrene degradation in the soils. Based on the present findings, evaluations of PAH degrading microorganisms in complex soil mixtures with high organic matter content should not target abundant key degrading species, since the specific degraders may be highly diverse, of low abundance, and masked by high bacterial background.
    • Treatment of biofilms in bacterial vaginosis by an amphoteric tenside pessary-clinical study and microbiota analysis.

      Gottschick, Cornelia; Deng, Zhi-Luo; Vital, Marius; Masur, Clarissa; Abels, Christoph; Pieper, Dietmar H; Rohde, Manfred; Mendling, Werner; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-09-13)
      Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal syndrome among women in their reproductive years. It is associated with an increased risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections and complications like preterm labor. BV is characterized by a high recurrence rate for which biofilms frequently found on vaginal epithelial cells may be a reason.
    • Functional soil metagenomics: elucidation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation potential following 12 years of in situ bioremediation.

      Duarte, Márcia; Nielsen, Agnes; Camarinha-Silva, Amélia; Vilchez-Vargas, Ramiro; Bruls, Thomas; Wos-Oxley, Melissa L; Jauregui, Ruy; Pieper, Dietmar H.; Helmholtz Centre for infection research GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-08)
      A culture-independent function-based screening approach was used to assess the microbial aerobic catabolome for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons degradation of a soil subjected to 12 years of in situ bioremediation. A total of 422 750 fosmid clones were screened for key aromatic ring-cleavage activities using 2,3-dihydroxybiphenyl as substrate. Most of the genes encoding ring-cleavage enzymes on the 768 retrieved positive fosmids could not be identified using primer-based approaches and, thus, 205 fosmid inserts were sequenced. Nearly two hundred extradiol dioxygenase encoding genes of three different superfamilies could be identified. Additional key genes of aromatic metabolic pathways were identified, including a high abundance of Rieske non-heme iron oxygenases that provided detailed information on enzymes activating aromatic compounds and enzymes involved in activation of the side chain of methylsubstituted aromatics. The gained insights indicated a complex microbial network acting at the site under study, which comprises organisms similar to recently identified Immundisolibacter cernigliae TR3.2 and Rugosibacter aromaticivorans Ca6 and underlined the great potential of an approach that combines an activity-screening, a cost-effective high-throughput sequencing of fosmid clones and a phylogenomic-routed and manually curated database to carefully identify key proteins dedicated to aerobic degradation of aromatic compounds.