Recent Submissions

  • Metatranscriptome Analysis of the Vaginal Microbiota Reveals Potential Mechanisms for Protection against Metronidazole in Bacterial Vaginosis.

    Deng, Zhi-Luo; Gottschick, Cornelia; Bhuju, Sabin; Masur, Clarissa; Abels, Christoph; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-06-27)
    Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a prevalent multifactorial disease of women in their reproductive years characterized by a shift from the
  • Tracking gene expression and oxidative damage of O-stressed Clostridioides difficile by a multi-omics approach.

    Neumann-Schaal, Meina; Metzendorf, Nicole G; Troitzsch, Daniel; Nuss, Aaron Mischa; Hofmann, Julia Danielle; Beckstette, Michael; Dersch, Petra; Otto, Andreas; Sievers, Susanne; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-05-31)
    Clostridioides difficile is the major pathogen causing diarrhea following antibiotic treatment. It is considered to be a strictly anaerobic bacterium, however, previous studies have shown a certain and strain-dependent oxygen tolerance. In this study, the model strain C. difficile 630Δerm was shifted to micro-aerobiosis and was found to stay growing to the same extent as anaerobically growing cells with only few changes in the metabolite pattern. However, an extensive change in gene expression was determined by RNA-Seq. The most striking adaptation strategies involve a change in the reductive fermentation pathways of the amino acids proline, glycine and leucine. But also a far-reaching restructuring in the carbohydrate metabolism was detected with changes in the phosphotransferase system (PTS) facilitated uptake of sugars and a repression of enzymes of glycolysis and butyrate fermentation. Furthermore, a temporary induction in the synthesis of cofactor riboflavin was detected possibly due to an increased demand for flavin mononucleotid (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) in redox reactions. However, biosynthesis of the cofactors thiamin pyrophosphate and cobalamin were repressed deducing oxidation-prone enzymes and intermediates in these pathways. Micro-aerobically shocked cells were characterized by an increased demand for cysteine and a thiol redox proteomics approach revealed a dramatic increase in the oxidative state of cysteine in more than 800 peptides after 15 min of micro-aerobic shock. This provides not only a catalogue of oxidation-prone cysteine residues in the C. difficile proteome but also puts the amino acid cysteine into a key position in the oxidative stress response. Our study suggests that tolerance of C. difficile towards O
  • Horizontal operon transfer, plasmids, and the evolution of photosynthesis in Rhodobacteraceae

    Brinkmann, Henner; Göker, Markus; Koblížek, Michal; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Petersen, Jörn; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
  • Packaging of Dinoroseobacter shibae DNA into Gene Transfer Agent Particles Is Not Random.

    Tomasch, Jürgen; Wang, Hui; Hall, April T K; Patzelt, Diana; Preusse, Matthias; Petersen, Jörn; Brinkmann, Henner; Bunk, Boyke; Bhuju, Sabin; Jarek, Michael; Geffers, Robert; Lang, Andrew S; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz-Zentrum for Infektion Research GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
    Gene transfer agents (GTAs) are phage-like particles which contain a fragment of genomic DNA of the bacterial or archaeal producer and deliver this to a recipient cell. GTA gene clusters are present in the genomes of almost all marine Rhodobacteraceae (Roseobacters) and might be important contributors to horizontal gene transfer in the world's oceans. For all organisms studied so far, no obvious evidence of sequence specificity or other nonrandom process responsible for packaging genomic DNA into GTAs has been found. Here, we show that knock-out of an autoinducer synthase gene of Dinoroseobacter shibae resulted in overproduction and release of functional GTA particles (DsGTA). Next-generation sequencing of the 4.2-kb DNA fragments isolated from DsGTAs revealed that packaging was not random. DNA from low-GC conjugative plasmids but not from high-GC chromids was excluded from packaging. Seven chromosomal regions were strongly overrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTA. These packaging peaks lacked identifiable conserved sequence motifs that might represent recognition sites for the GTA terminase complex. Low-GC regions of the chromosome, including the origin and terminus of replication, were underrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTAs. DNA methylation reduced packaging frequency while the level of gene expression had no influence. Chromosomal regions found to be over- and underrepresented in DsGTA-DNA were regularly spaced. We propose that a "headful" type of packaging is initiated at the sites of coverage peaks and, after linearization of the chromosomal DNA, proceeds in both directions from the initiation site. GC-content, DNA-modifications, and chromatin structure might influence at which sides GTA packaging can be initiated.
  • Dual function of tropodithietic acid as antibiotic and signaling molecule in global gene regulation of the probiotic bacterium Phaeobacter inhibens.

    Beyersmann, Paul G; Tomasch, Jürgen; Son, Kwangmin; Stocker, Roman; Göker, Markus; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Simon, Meinhard; Brinkhoff, Thorsten; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-04-07)
    Antibiotics are typically regarded as microbial weapons, but whereas their function at concentrations lethal for bacteria is often well characterized, the role of antibiotics at much lower concentrations as possibly found under natural conditions remains poorly understood. By using whole-transcriptome analyses and phenotypic screenings of the marine bacterium Phaeobacter inhibens we found that the broad-spectrum antibiotic tropodithietic acid (TDA) causes the same regulatory effects in quorum sensing (QS) as the common signaling molecule N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) at concentrations 100-fold lower than the minimal inhibitory concentration against bacteria. Our results show that TDA has a significant impact on the expression of ~10% of the total genes of P. inhibens, in the same manner as the AHL. Furthermore, TDA needs the AHL associated LuxR-type transcriptional regulator, just as the AHL molecule. Low concentrations of antibiotics can obviously have a strong influence on the global gene expression of the bacterium that produces it and drastically change the metabolism and behaviour of the bacterium. For P. inhibens this includes motility, biofilm formation and antibiotic production, all important for settlement on new host-associated surfaces. Our results demonstrate that bacteria can produce antibiotics not only to antagonise other bacteria, but also to mediate QS like endogenous AHL molecules.
  • The natural product carolacton inhibits folate-dependent C1 metabolism by targeting FolD/MTHFD.

    Fu, Chengzhang; Sikandar, Asfandyar; Donner, Jannik; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Herrmann, Jennifer; Reck, Michael; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Koehnke, Jesko; Müller, Rolf; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-11-16)
    The natural product carolacton is a macrolide keto-carboxylic acid produced by the myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum, and was originally described as an antibacterial compound. Here we show that carolacton targets FolD, a key enzyme from the folate-dependent C1 metabolism. We characterize the interaction between bacterial FolD and carolacton biophysically, structurally and biochemically. Carolacton binds FolD with nanomolar affinity, and the crystal structure of the FolD-carolacton complex reveals the mode of binding. We show that the human FolD orthologs, MTHFD1 and MTHFD2, are also inhibited in the low nM range, and that micromolar concentrations of carolacton inhibit the growth of cancer cell lines. As mitochondrial MTHFD2 is known to be upregulated in cancer cells, it may be possible to use carolacton as an inhibitor tool compound to assess MTHFD2 as an anti-cancer target.
  • The Biofilm Inhibitor Carolacton Enters Gram-Negative Cells: Studies Using a TolC-Deficient Strain of Escherichia coli.

    Donner, Jannik; Reck, Michael; Bunk, Boyke; Jarek, Michael; App, Constantin Benjamin; Meier-Kolthoff, Jan P; Overmann, Jörg; Müller, Rolf; Kirschning, Andreas; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr, 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-11-01)
    The myxobacterial secondary metabolite carolacton inhibits growth of Streptococcus pneumoniae and kills biofilm cells of the caries- and endocarditis-associated pathogen Streptococcus mutans at nanomolar concentrations. Here, we studied the response to carolacton of an Escherichia coli strain that lacked the outer membrane protein TolC. Whole-genome sequencing of the laboratory E. coli strain TolC revealed the integration of an insertion element, IS5, at the tolC locus and a close phylogenetic relationship to the ancient E. coli K-12. We demonstrated via transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) and determination of MIC values that carolacton penetrates the phospholipid bilayer of the Gram-negative cell envelope and inhibits growth of E. coli TolC at similar concentrations as for streptococci. This inhibition is completely lost for a C-9 (R) epimer of carolacton, a derivative with an inverted stereocenter at carbon atom 9 [(S) → (R)] as the sole difference from the native molecule, which is also inactive in S. pneumoniae and S. mutans, suggesting a specific interaction of native carolacton with a conserved cellular target present in bacterial phyla as distantly related as Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. The efflux pump inhibitor (EPI) phenylalanine arginine β-naphthylamide (PAβN), which specifically inhibits AcrAB-TolC, renders E. coli susceptible to carolacton. Our data indicate that carolacton has potential for use in antimicrobial chemotherapy against Gram-negative bacteria, as a single drug or in combination with EPIs. Strain E. coli TolC has been deposited at the DSMZ; together with the associated RNA-seq data and MIC values, it can be used as a reference during future screenings for novel bioactive compounds. IMPORTANCE The emergence of pathogens resistant against most or all of the antibiotics currently used in human therapy is a global threat, and therefore the search for antimicrobials with novel targets and modes of action is of utmost importance. The myxobacterial secondary metabolite carolacton had previously been shown to inhibit biofilm formation and growth of streptococci. Here, we investigated if carolacton could act against Gram-negative bacteria, which are difficult targets because of their double-layered cytoplasmic envelope. We found that the model organism Escherichia coli is susceptible to carolacton, similar to the Gram-positive Streptococcus pneumoniae, if its multidrug efflux system AcrAB-TolC is either inactivated genetically, by disruption of the tolC gene, or physiologically by coadministering an efflux pump inhibitor. A carolacton epimer that has a different steric configuration at carbon atom 9 is completely inactive, suggesting that carolacton may interact with the same molecular target in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.
  • 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.
  • The urinary microbiota of men and women and its changes in women during bacterial vaginosis and antibiotic treatment.

    Gottschick, Cornelia; Deng, Zhi-Luo; Vital, Marius; Masur, Clarissa; Abels, Christoph; Pieper, Dietmar H; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz Centre for infection researchGmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-08-14)
    The urinary microbiota is similarly complex as the vaginal and penile microbiota, yet its role as a reservoir for pathogens and for recurrent polymicrobial biofilm diseases like bacterial vaginosis (BV) is not clear.
  • Genomic Analysis of the Evolution of Phototrophy among Haloalkaliphilic Rhodobacterales.

    Kopejtka, Karel; Tomasch, Jürgen; Zeng, Yonghui; Tichý, Martin; Sorokin, Dimitry Y; Koblížek, Michal; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr.7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-07-01)
    A characteristic feature of the order Rhodobacterales is the presence of a large number of photoautotrophic and photoheterotrophic species containing bacteriochlorophyll. Interestingly, these phototrophic species are phylogenetically mixed with chemotrophs. To better understand the origin of such variability, we sequenced the genomes of three closely related haloalkaliphilic species, differing in their phototrophic capacity and oxygen preference: the photoheterotrophic and facultatively anaerobic bacterium Rhodobaca barguzinensis, aerobic photoheterotroph Roseinatronobacter thiooxidans, and aerobic heterotrophic bacterium Natronohydrobacter thiooxidans. These three haloalcaliphilic species are phylogenetically related and share many common characteristics with the Rhodobacter species, forming together the Rhodobacter-Rhodobaca (RR) group. A comparative genomic analysis showed close homology of photosynthetic proteins and similarity in photosynthesis gene organization among the investigated phototrophic RR species. On the other hand, Rhodobaca barguzinensis and Roseinatronobacter thiooxidans lack an inorganic carbon fixation pathway and outer light-harvesting genes. This documents the reduction of their photosynthetic machinery towards a mostly photoheterotrophic lifestyle. Moreover, both phototrophic species contain 5-aminolevulinate synthase (encoded by the hemA gene) incorporated into their photosynthesis gene clusters, which seems to be a common feature of all aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic Alphaproteobacteria. Interestingly, the chrR-rpoE (sigma24) operon, which is part of singlet oxygen defense in phototrophic species, was found in the heterotrophic strain Natronohydrobacter thiooxidans. This suggests that this organism evolved from a photoheterotrophic ancestor through the loss of its photosynthesis genes. The overall evolution of phototrophy among the haloalkaliphilic members of the RR group is discussed.
  • Plasmid Transfer in the Ocean - A Case Study from the Roseobacter Group.

    Petersen, Jörn; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
    Plasmid mediated horizontal gene transfer (HGT) has been speculated to be one of the prime mechanisms for the adaptation of roseobacters (Rhodobacteraceae) to their ecological niches in the marine habitat. Their plasmids contain ecologically crucial functional modules of up to ∼40-kb in size, e.g., for aerobic anoxygenic photosynthesis, flagellar formation and the biosynthesis of the antibiotic tropodithietic acid. Furthermore, the widely present type four secretion system (T4SS) of roseobacters has been shown to mediate conjugation across genus barriers, albeit in the laboratory. Here we discovered that Confluentimicrobium naphthalenivorans NS6(T), a tidal flat bacterium isolated in Korea, carries a 185-kb plasmid, which exhibits a long-range synteny with the conjugative 126-kb plasmid of Dinoroseobacter shibae DFL12(T). Both replicons are stably maintained by RepABC operons of the same compatibility group (-2) and they harbor a homologous T4SS. Principal component analysis of the codon usage shows a large similarity between the two plasmids, while the chromosomes are very distinct, showing that neither of the two bacterial species represents the original host of those RepABC-2 type plasmids. The two species do not share a common habitat today and they are phylogenetically only distantly related. Our finding demonstrates the first clear-cut evidence for conjugational plasmid transfer across biogeographical and phylogenetic barriers in Rhodobacteraceae and documents the importance of conjugative HGT in the ocean.
  • Genetic tools for the investigation of Roseobacter clade bacteria

    Piekarski, Tanja; Buchholz, Ina; Drepper, Thomas; Schobert, Max; Wagner-Doebler, Irene; Tielen, Petra; Jahn, Dieter (2009-12-18)
    Abstract Background The Roseobacter clade represents one of the most abundant, metabolically versatile and ecologically important bacterial groups found in marine habitats. A detailed molecular investigation of the regulatory and metabolic networks of these organisms is currently limited for many strains by missing suitable genetic tools. Results Conjugation and electroporation methods for the efficient and stable genetic transformation of selected Roseobacter clade bacteria including Dinoroseobacter shibae, Oceanibulbus indolifex, Phaeobacter gallaeciensis, Phaeobacter inhibens, Roseobacter denitrificans and Roseobacter litoralis were tested. For this purpose an antibiotic resistance screening was performed and suitable genetic markers were selected. Based on these transformation protocols stably maintained plasmids were identified. A plasmid encoded oxygen-independent fluorescent system was established using the flavin mononucleotide-based fluorescent protein FbFP. Finally, a chromosomal gene knockout strategy was successfully employed for the inactivation of the anaerobic metabolism regulatory gene dnr from D. shibae DFL12T. Conclusion A genetic toolbox for members of the Roseobacter clade was established. This provides a solid methodical basis for the detailed elucidation of gene regulatory and metabolic networks underlying the ecological success of this group of marine bacteria.
  • Use of Single-Frequency Impedance Spectroscopy to Characterize the Growth Dynamics of Biofilm Formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

    van Duuren, Jozef B J H; Müsken, Mathias; Karge, Bianka; Tomasch, Jürgen; Wittmann, Christoph; Häussler, Susanne; Brönstrup, Mark (2017-07-12)
    Impedance spectroscopy has been applied in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cytometry as a label-free method for the investigation of adherent cells. In this paper, its use for characterizing the growth dynamics of P. aeruginosa biofilms is described and compared to crystal violet staining and confocal microscopy. The method allows monitoring the growth of biofilm-forming P. aeruginosa in a continuous and label-free manner over a period of 72 h in a 96 well plate format. Impedance curves obtained for P. aeruginosa PA14 wild type and mutant strains with a transposon insertion in pqsA and pelA genes exhibited distinct phases. We propose that the slope of the declining curve following a maximum at ca. 35-40 h is a measure of biofilm formation. Transplant experiments with P. aeruginosa biofilms and paraffin suggest that the impedance also reflects pellicle formation at the liquid-air interface, a barely considered contributor to impedance. Finally, the impairment of biofilm formation upon treatment of cultures with L-arginine and with ciprofloxacin, tobramycin and meropenem was studied by single frequency impedance spectroscopy. We suggest that these findings qualify impedance spectroscopy as an additional technique to characterize biofilm formation and its modulation by small molecule drugs.
  • A genome-wide study of two-component signal transduction systems in eight newly sequenced mutans streptococci strains

    Song, Lifu; Sudhakar, Padhmanand; Wang, Wei; Conrads, Georg; Brock, Anke; Sun, Jibin; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Zeng, An-Ping (2012-04-04)
    Abstract Background Mutans streptococci are a group of gram-positive bacteria including the primary cariogenic dental pathogen Streptococcus mutans and closely related species. Two component systems (TCSs) composed of a signal sensing histidine kinase (HK) and a response regulator (RR) play key roles in pathogenicity, but have not been comparatively studied for these oral bacterial pathogens. Results HKs and RRs of 8 newly sequenced mutans streptococci strains, including S. sobrinus DSM20742, S. ratti DSM20564 and six S. mutans strains, were identified and compared to the TCSs of S. mutans UA159 and NN2025, two previously genome sequenced S. mutans strains. Ortholog analysis revealed 18 TCS clusters (HK-RR pairs), 2 orphan HKs and 2 orphan RRs, of which 8 TCS clusters were common to all 10 strains, 6 were absent in one or more strains, and the other 4 were exclusive to individual strains. Further classification of the predicted HKs and RRs revealed interesting aspects of their putative functions. While TCS complements were comparable within the six S. mutans strains, S. sobrinus DSM20742 lacked TCSs possibly involved in acid tolerance and fructan catabolism, and S. ratti DSM20564 possessed 3 unique TCSs but lacked the quorum-sensing related TCS (ComDE). Selected computational predictions were verified by PCR experiments. Conclusions Differences in the TCS repertoires of mutans streptococci strains, especially those of S. sobrinus and S. ratti in comparison to S. mutans, imply differences in their response mechanisms for survival in the dynamic oral environment. This genomic level study of TCSs should help in understanding the pathogenicity of these mutans streptococci strains.
  • Dysbiosis in chronic periodontitis: Key microbial players and interactions with the human host.

    Deng, Zhi-Luo; Szafrański, Szymon P; Jarek, Michael; Bhuju, Sabin; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7., 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-06-16)
    Periodontitis is an extremely prevalent disease worldwide and is driven by complex dysbiotic microbiota. Here we analyzed the transcriptional activity of the periodontal pocket microbiota from all domains of life as well as the human host in health and chronic periodontitis. Bacteria showed strong enrichment of 18 KEGG functional modules in chronic periodontitis, including bacterial chemotaxis, flagellar assembly, type III secretion system, type III CRISPR-Cas system, and two component system proteins. Upregulation of these functions was driven by the red-complex pathogens and candidate pathogens, e.g. Filifactor alocis, Prevotella intermedia, Fretibacterium fastidiosum and Selenomonas sputigena. Nine virulence factors were strongly up-regulated, among them the arginine deiminase arcA from Porphyromonas gingivalis and Mycoplasma arginini. Viruses and archaea accounted for about 0.1% and 0.22% of total putative mRNA reads, respectively, and a protozoan, Entamoeba gingivalis, was highly enriched in periodontitis. Fourteen human transcripts were enriched in periodontitis, including a gene for a ferric iron binding protein, indicating competition with the microbiota for iron, and genes associated with cancer, namely nucleolar phosphoprotein B23, ankyrin-repeat domain 30B-like protein and beta-enolase. The data provide evidence on the level of gene expression in vivo for the potentially severe impact of the dysbiotic microbiota on human health.
  • Sociodemographic determinants of spatial disparities in early childhood caries: An ecological analysis in Braunschweig, Germany.

    Meyer, Frederic; Karch, André; Schlinkmann, Kristin Maria; Dreesman, Johannes; Horn, Johannes; Rübsamen, Nicole; Sudradjat, Henny; Schubert, Rainer; Mikolajczyk, Rafael; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-05-26)
    To identify spatial disparities in dental caries experience (measured by dmft (decayed missing filled teeth) index) of children in the city of Braunschweig and to evaluate whether these disparities can be explained by sociodemographic characteristics.
  • Quorum sensing of Streptococcus mutans is activated by Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and by the periodontal microbiome.

    Szafrański, Szymon P; Deng, Zhi-Luo; Tomasch, Jürgen; Jarek, Michael; Bhuju, Sabin; Rohde, Manfred; Sztajer, Helena; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-03-20)
    The oral cavity is inhabited by complex microbial communities forming biofilms that can cause caries and periodontitis. Cell-cell communication might play an important role in modulating the physiologies of individual species, but evidence so far is limited.
  • Complete Genome Sequences of Three Multidrug-Resistant Clinical Isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae Serotype 19A with Different Susceptibilities to the Myxobacterial Metabolite Carolacton.

    Donner, Jannik; Bunk, Boyke; Schober, Isabel; Spröer, Cathrin; Bergmann, Simone; Jarek, Michael; Overmann, Jörg; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-02-16)
    The full-genome sequences of three drug- and multidrug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae clinical isolates of serotype 19A were determined by PacBio single-molecule real-time sequencing, in combination with Illumina MiSeq sequencing. A comparison to the genomes of other pneumococci indicates a high nucleotide sequence identity to strains Hungary19A-6 and TCH8431/19A.
  • Phylogenomics of Rhodobacteraceae reveals evolutionary adaptation to marine and non-marine habitats.

    Simon, Meinhard; Scheuner, Carmen; Meier-Kolthoff, Jan P; Brinkhoff, Thorsten; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Ulbrich, Marcus; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Schomburg, Dietmar; Petersen, Jörn; Göker, Markus; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Ihoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-01-20)
    Marine Rhodobacteraceae (Alphaproteobacteria) are key players of biogeochemical cycling, comprise up to 30% of bacterial communities in pelagic environments and are often mutualists of eukaryotes. As 'Roseobacter clade', these 'roseobacters' are assumed to be monophyletic, but non-marine Rhodobacteraceae have not yet been included in phylogenomic analyses. Therefore, we analysed 106 genome sequences, particularly emphasizing gene sampling and its effect on phylogenetic stability, and investigated relationships between marine versus non-marine habitat, evolutionary origin and genomic adaptations. Our analyses, providing no unequivocal evidence for the monophyly of roseobacters, indicate several shifts between marine and non-marine habitats that occurred independently and were accompanied by characteristic changes in genomic content of orthologs, enzymes and metabolic pathways. Non-marine Rhodobacteraceae gained high-affinity transporters to cope with much lower sulphate concentrations and lost genes related to the reduced sodium chloride and organohalogen concentrations in their habitats. Marine Rhodobacteraceae gained genes required for fucoidan desulphonation and synthesis of the plant hormone indole 3-acetic acid and the compatible solutes ectoin and carnitin. However, neither plasmid composition, even though typical for the family, nor the degree of oligotrophy shows a systematic difference between marine and non-marine Rhodobacteraceae. We suggest the operational term 'Roseobacter group' for the marine Rhodobacteraceae strains.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 20 January 2017; doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.198.
  • Genetic variability of mutans streptococci revealed by wide whole-genome sequencing

    Song, Lifu; Wang, Wei; Conrads, Georg; Rheinberg, Anke; Sztajer, Helena; Reck, Michael; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Zeng, An-Ping (2013-06-28)
    Abstract Background Mutans streptococci are a group of bacteria significantly contributing to tooth decay. Their genetic variability is however still not well understood. Results Genomes of 6 clinical S. mutans isolates of different origins, one isolate of S. sobrinus (DSM 20742) and one isolate of S. ratti (DSM 20564) were sequenced and comparatively analyzed. Genome alignment revealed a mosaic-like structure of genome arrangement. Genes related to pathogenicity are found to have high variations among the strains, whereas genes for oxidative stress resistance are well conserved, indicating the importance of this trait in the dental biofilm community. Analysis of genome-scale metabolic networks revealed significant differences in 42 pathways. A striking dissimilarity is the unique presence of two lactate oxidases in S. sobrinus DSM 20742, probably indicating an unusual capability of this strain in producing H2O2 and expanding its ecological niche. In addition, lactate oxidases may form with other enzymes a novel energetic pathway in S. sobrinus DSM 20742 that can remedy its deficiency in citrate utilization pathway. Using 67 S. mutans genomes currently available including the strains sequenced in this study, we estimates the theoretical core genome size of S. mutans, and performed modeling of S. mutans pan-genome by applying different fitting models. An “open” pan-genome was inferred. Conclusions The comparative genome analyses revealed diversities in the mutans streptococci group, especially with respect to the virulence related genes and metabolic pathways. The results are helpful for better understanding the evolution and adaptive mechanisms of these oral pathogen microorganisms and for combating them.

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