Whole-genome sequencing has emerged as one of the most effective means to elucidate the biological roles and molecular features of obligate intracellular symbionts (endosymbionts). However, the de novo assembly of an endosymbiont genome remains a challenge when host and/or mitochondrial DNA sequences are present in a dataset and hinder the assembly of the genome. By focusing on the traits of genome evolution in endosymbionts, we herein developed and investigated a genome-assembly strategy that consisted of two consecutive procedures: the selection of endosymbiont contigs from an output obtained from a de novo assembly performed using a TBLASTX search against a reference genome, named TBLASTX Contig Selection and Filtering (TCSF), and the iterative reassembling of the genome from reads mapped on the selected contigs, named Iterative Mapping and ReAssembling (IMRA), to merge the contigs. In order to validate this approach, we sequenced two strains of the cockroach endosymbiont Blattabacterium cuenoti and applied this strategy to the datasets. TCSF was determined to be highly accurate and sensitive in contig selection even when the genome of a distantly related free-living bacterium was used as a reference genome. Furthermore, the use of IMRA markedly improved sequence assemblies: the genomic sequence of an endosymbiont was almost completed from a dataset containing only 3% of the sequences of the endosymbiont’s genome. The efficiency of our strategy may facilitate further studies on endosymbionts.
Among ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, Nitrosomonas eutropha-like microbes are distributed in strongly eutrophic environments such as wastewater treatment plants and animal manure. In the present study, we isolated an ammonia-oxidizing bacterium tolerant of high ammonium levels, designated strain KYUHI-ST, from composted cattle manure. Unlike the other known Nitrosomonas species, this isolate grew at 1,000 mM ammonium. Phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA and amoA genes indicated that the isolate belonged to the genus Nitrosomonas and formed a unique cluster with the uncultured ammonia oxidizers found in wastewater systems and animal manure composts, suggesting that these ammonia oxidizers contributed to removing higher concentrations of ammonia in strongly eutrophic environments. Based on the physiological and phylogenetic data presented here, we propose and call for the validation of the provisional taxonomic assignment Nitrosomonas stercoris, with strain KYUHI-S as the type strain (type strain KYUHI-ST = NBRC 110753T = ATCC BAA-2718T).
In deep-sea hydrothermal environments, most invertebrates associate with dense populations of symbiotic microorganisms in order to obtain nutrition. The molecular interactions between deep-sea animals and environmental microbes, including their symbionts, have not yet been elucidated in detail. Hemagglutinins/lectins, which are carbohydrate-binding proteins, have recently been reported to play important roles in a wide array of biological processes, including the recognition and control of non-self materials. We herein assessed hemagglutination activity in the serum of a deep-sea vent endemic crab, Shinkaia crosnieri, which harbors chemosynthetic epibionts on its plumose setae. Horse and rabbit erythrocytes were agglutinated using this serum (opt. pH 7.5 and opt. temperature 15°C). Agglutinating activity was inhibited by eight kinds of sugars and several divalent cations, did not require any divalent metal ions, and remained detectable even after heating the serum at 100°C for 30 min. By using fluorescently labeled serum, we demonstrated that deep-sea crab serum components bound to the epibionts even in the presence of sugars. This study represents the first immunological assessment of a deep-sea vent endemic crab and demonstrated the possibility of a non-lectin-mediated symbiont-host interaction.
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are prominent crop pollinators and are, thus, important for effective food production. The honey bee gut microbiota is mainly host specific, with only a few species being shared with other insects. It currently remains unclear how environmental/dietary conditions affect the microbiota within a honey bee population over time. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to characterize the composition of the midgut/pyloric microbiota of a honey bee apiary throughout a season. The rationale for investigating the midgut/pyloric microbiota is its dynamic nature. Monthly sampling of a demographic homogenous population of bees was performed between May and October, with concordant recording of the honey bee diet. Mixed Sanger-and Illumina 16S rRNA gene sequencing in combination with a quantitative PCR analysis were used to determine the bacterial composition. A marked increase in α-diversity was detected between May and June. Furthermore, we found that four distinct phylotypes belonging to the Proteobacteria dominated the microbiota, and these displayed major shifts throughout the season. Gilliamella apicola dominated the composition early on, and Snodgrassella alvi began to dominate when the other bacteria declined to an absolute low in October. In vitro co-culturing revealed that G. apicola suppressed S. alvi. No shift was detected in the composition of the microbiota under stable environment/dietary conditions between November and February. Therefore, environmental/dietary changes may trigger the shifts observed in the honey bee midgut/pyloric microbiota throughout a season.
Suberin, a major constituent of the potato periderm, is known to promote the production of thaxtomins, the key virulence factors of the common scab-causing agent Streptomyces scabiei. In the present study, we speculated that suberin affected the production of glycosyl hydrolases, such as cellulases, by S. scabiei, and demonstrated that suberin promoted glycosyl hydrolase activity when added to cellulose-, xylan-, or lichenin-containing media. Furthermore, secretome analyses revealed that the addition of suberin to a cellulose-containing medium increased the production of glycosyl hydrolases. For example, the production of 13 out of the 14 cellulases produced by S. scabiei in cellulose-containing medium was stimulated by the presence of suberin. In most cases, the transcription of the corresponding cellulase-encoding genes was also markedly increased when the bacterium was grown in the presence of suberin and cellulose. The level of a subtilase-like protease inhibitor was markedly decreased by the presence of suberin. We proposed a model for the onset of S. scabiei virulence mechanisms by both cellulose and suberin, the main degradation product of cellulose that acts as an inducer of thaxtomin biosynthetic genes, and suberin promoting the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites including thaxtomins.
The growth and yield of peas cultivated on eight different soils, as well as the diversity of pea microsymbionts derived from these soils were investigated in the present study. The experimental plot was composed of soils that were transferred from different parts of Poland more than a century ago. The soils were located in direct vicinity of each other in the experimental plot. All soils examined contained pea microsymbionts, which were suggested to belong to Rhizobium leguminosarum sv. viciae based on the nucleotide sequence of the partial 16S rRNA gene. PCR-RFLP analyses of the 16S-23S rRNA gene ITS region and nodD alleles revealed the presence of numerous and diversified groups of pea microsymbionts and some similarities between the tested populations, which may have been the result of the spread or displacement of strains. However, most populations retained their own genetic distinction, which may have been related to the type of soil. Most of the tested populations comprised low-effective strains for the promotion of pea growth. No relationships were found between the characteristics of soil and symbiotic effectiveness of rhizobial populations; however, better seed yield was obtained for soil with medium biological productivity inhabited by high-effective rhizobial populations than for soil with high agricultural quality containing medium-quality pea microsymbionts, and these results showed the importance of symbiosis for plant hosts.
In human and wildlife populations, the natural microbiota plays an important role in health maintenance and the prevention of emerging infectious diseases. In amphibians, infectious diseases have been closely associated with population decline and extinction worldwide. Skin symbiont communities have been suggested as one of the factors driving the different susceptibilities of amphibians to diseases. The activity of the skin microbiota of amphibians against fungal pathogens, such as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has been examined extensively, whereas its protective role towards the cutaneous infectious diseases caused by Amphibiocystidium parasites has not yet been elucidated in detail. In the present study, we investigated, for the first time, the cutaneous microbiota of the Italian stream frog (Rana italica) and characterized the microbial assemblages of frogs uninfected and infected by Amphibiocystidium using the Illumina next-generation sequencing of 16S rRNA gene fragments. A total of 629 different OTUs belonging to 16 different phyla were detected. Bacterial populations shared by all individuals represented only one fifth of all OTUs and were dominated by a small number of OTUs. Statistical analyses based on Bray-Curtis distances showed that uninfected and infected specimens had distinct cutaneous bacterial community structures. Phylotypes belonging to the genera Janthinobacterium, Pseudomonas, and Flavobacterium were more abundant, and sometimes almost exclusively present, in uninfected than in infected specimens. These bacterial populations, known to exhibit antifungal activity in amphibians, may also play a role in protection against cutaneous infectious diseases caused by Amphibiocystidium parasites.
Bifidobacteria isolated from infant gut and breast milk exhibited different abilities to grow under microaerobic conditions, alone or in the presence of added catalase. In the present study, we demonstrated that some Bifidobacterium strains unable to grow under microaerobic conditions were cross-protected on solid media from oxidative stress by adjacent colonies of gut catalase-positive Staphylococcus epidermidis or Escherichia coli, but not by a catalase-deficient E. coli. The results of this study support the possible contribution of catalase-positive bacteria to the establishment of certain bifidobacteria in non-anaerobic human niches of the infant gastrointestinal tract or mammary gland.
We designed a primer pair (BtubNomF/BtubNomR) specifically for amplifying Aspergillus nomius DNA. In vitro assays confirmed BtubNomF/BtubNomR specificity, corroborating its usefulness in detecting and identifying A. nomius. We then investigated the occurrence of A. nomius in floral visitors of Bertholletia excelsa trees by means of PCR, and A. nomius was detected in the following bees: Xylocopa frontalis, Bombus transversalis, Centris denudans, C. ferruginea, and Epicharis flava. The presence of A. nomius in bees visiting Brazil nuts opens up new avenues for obtaining novel insights into the process whereby Brazil nuts are contaminated by aflatoxin-producing fungi.
Markedly diverse sequences of the adenosine-5′-phosphosulfate reductase alpha subunit gene (aprA), which encodes a key enzyme in microbial sulfate reduction and sulfur oxidation, were detected in subseafloor sediments on the northwestern Pacific off Japan. The aprA gene sequences were grouped into 135 operational taxonomic units (90% sequence identity), including genes related to putative sulfur-oxidizing bacteria predominantly detected in sulfate-depleted deep sediments. Our results suggest that microbial ecosystems in the subseafloor biosphere have phylogenetically diverse genetic potentials to mediate cryptic sulfur cycles in sediments, even where sulfate is rarely present.
Iturin A and surfactin are antimicrobial lipopeptides produced by antagonistic Bacillus spp. We herein demonstrated that both lipopeptides amended the soil-mediated suppression of the soil-borne disease, Fusarium yellows of tatsoi (Brassica rapa var. rosularis). Significant disease suppression was conferred by the amendments of purified iturin A or surfactin to soil. However, an excess amount of iturin A or surfactin to soil resulted in the loss of disease suppression activity.
The gastrointestinal tract of mammals is a complex ecosystem with distinct environments and comprises hundreds of different types of bacterial cells. The gut microbiota may play a critical role in the gut health of the host. We herein attempted to identify a microbiota shift that may be affected by porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED). We observed significant differences in microbiota between the control and PED virus (PEDV)-infected groups at both the phylum and genus level. Most commensal bacteria (i.e. Psychrobacter, Prevotella, and Faecalibacterium) in the healthy gastrointestinal tract were decreased due to dysbiosis induced by PEDV infection.