Bacillus subtilis produces dormant, highly resistant endospores in response to extreme environmental stresses or starvation. These spores are capable of persisting in harsh environments for many years, even decades, without essential nutrients. Part of the reason that these spores can survive such extreme conditions is because their chromosomal DNA is well protected from environmental insults. The α/β-type small acid-soluble proteins (SASPs) coat the spore chromosome, which leads to condensation and protection from such insults. The histone-like protein HBsu has been implicated in the packaging of the spore chromosome and is believed to be important in modulating SASP-mediated alterations to the DNA, including supercoiling and stiffness. Previously, we demonstrated that HBsu is acetylated at seven lysine residues, and one physiological function of acetylation is to regulate chromosomal compaction. Here, we investigate if the process of sporulation or the resistance properties of mature spores are influenced by the acetylation state of HBsu. Using our collection of point mutations that mimic the acetylated and unacetylated forms of HBsu, we first determined if acetylation affects the process of sporulation, by determining the overall sporulation frequencies. We found that specific mutations led to decreases in sporulation frequency, suggesting that acetylation of HBsu at some sites, but not all, is required to regulate the process of sporulation. Next, we determined if the spores produced from the mutant strains were more susceptible to heat, ultraviolet (UV) radiation and formaldehyde exposure. We again found that altering acetylation at specific sites led to less resistance to these stresses, suggesting that proper HBsu acetylation is important for chromosomal packaging and protection in the mature spore. Interestingly, the specific acetylation patterns were different for the sporulation process and resistance properties of spores, which is consistent with the notion that a histone-like code exists in bacteria. We propose that specific acetylation patterns of HBsu are required to ensure proper chromosomal arrangement, packaging, and protection during the process of sporulation.
Coastal zones are exposed to various anthropogenic impacts, such as different types of wastewater pollution, e.g., treated wastewater discharges, leakage from sewage systems, and agricultural and urban runoff. These various inputs can introduce allochthonous organic matter and microbes, including pathogens, into the coastal marine environment. The presence of fecal bacterial indicators in the coastal environment is usually monitored using traditional culture-based methods that, however, fail to detect their uncultured representatives. We have conducted a year-around in situ survey of the pelagic microbiome of the dynamic coastal ecosystem, subjected to different anthropogenic pressures to depict the seasonal and spatial dynamics of traditional and alternative fecal bacterial indicators. To provide an insight into the environmental conditions under which bacterial indicators thrive, a suite of environmental factors and bacterial community dynamics were analyzed concurrently. Analyses of 16S rRNA amplicon sequences revealed that the coastal microbiome was primarily structured by seasonal changes regardless of the distance from the wastewater pollution sources. On the other hand, fecal bacterial indicators were not affected by seasons and accounted for up to 34% of the sequence proportion for a given sample. Even more so, traditional fecal indicator bacteria (Enterobacteriaceae) and alternative wastewater-associated bacteria (Lachnospiraceae, Ruminococcaceae, Arcobacteraceae, Pseudomonadaceae and Vibrionaceae) were part of the core coastal microbiome, i.e., present at all sampling stations. Microbial source tracking and Lagrangian particle tracking, which we employed to assess the potential pollution source, revealed the importance of riverine water as a vector for transmission of allochthonous microbes into the marine system. Further phylogenetic analysis showed that the Arcobacteraceae in our data set was affiliated with the pathogenic Arcobacter cryaerophilus, suggesting that a potential exposure risk for bacterial pathogens in anthropogenically impacted coastal zones remains. We emphasize that molecular analyses combined with statistical and oceanographic models may provide new insights for environmental health assessment and reveal the potential source and presence of microbial indicators, which are otherwise overlooked by a cultivation approach.
Rickettsia raoultii is a tick-borne pathogen that infects humans; however, the vertebrate hosts of this pathogen have not been clearly defined. Our molecular examination of Rickettsia spp. infecting mammals and ticks in China, identified the gltA, ompA, and 17KD gene sequences of R. raoultii in horses and their ticks. This indicates a role of horses in R. raoultii epidemiology.
BackgroundInduced by the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, tuberculosis remains one of the most dangerous infectious diseases in the world. As a special virus, prophage is domesticated by its host and are major contributors to virulence factors for bacterial pathogenicity. The function of prophages and their genes in M. tuberculosis is still unknown.MethodsRv2650c is a prophage gene in M. tuberculosis genome. We constructed recombinant Mycobacterium smegmatis (M. smegmatis) to observe bacteria morphology and analyze the resistance to various adverse environments. Recombinant and control strains were used to infect macrophages, respectively. Furthermore, we performed ELISA experiments of infected macrophages.ResultsRv2650c affected the spread of colonies of M. smegmatis and enhanced the resistance of M. smegmatis to macrophages and various stress agents such as acid, oxidative stress, and surfactant. ELISA experiments revealed that the Rv2650c can inhibit the expression of inflammatory factors TNF-α, IL-10, IL-1β, and IL-6.ConclusionThis study demonstrates that the prophage gene Rv2650c can inhibit the spread of colonies and the expression of inflammatory factors and promote intracellular survival of M. smegmatis. These results build the foundation for the discovery of virulence factors of M. tuberculosis, and provide novel insights into the function of the prophage in Mycobacterium.
Recent reports of dissimilatory iodate-reducing microorganisms (DIRM) have arisen from studies of bacteria in marine environments. These studies described the physiology and distribution of DIRM while also demonstrating their presence in iodine-rich marine environments. We posited that despite lower iodine concentrations, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems should also harbor DIRM. We established numerous enrichments from coastal and freshwater environments that actively remove amended iodate. We describe the physiology and genome of a new DIRM isolate, Aromatoleum toluclasticum sp. TC-10, emerging from a freshwater creek microcosm. Like other DIRM, A. toluclasticum sp. TC-10 couples acetate oxidation to iodate reduction with a concomitant increase in the OD600. Our results indicate that A. toluclasticum sp. TC-10 performs dissimilatory iodate reduction (DIR) using the recently described iodate reductase (Idr). We provide further evidence of horizontal gene transfer of the idr genes by demonstrating the lack of Idr in the closely related (99.93% 16S rDNA sequence identity) A. toluclasticum sp. MF63 and describe the heterogeneity of the accessory proteins associated with the iodate reduction island (IRI). These observations provide additional evidence that DIR is a horizontally acquired metabolism with broad environmental distribution beyond exclusively marine environments.
Highly pathogenic fowl adenovirus serotype 4 (FAdV-4) is the causative agent of hydropericardium syndrome (HPS), which is characterized by pericardial effusion and hepatitis, and is one of the foremost causes of economic losses to the poultry industry over the last 30 years. However, the metabolic changes in cells in response to FAdV-4 infection remain unclear. In order to understand the metabolic interactions between the host cell and virus, we utilized ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography/quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry to analyze the metabolic profiles with hepatocellular carcinoma cell line (LMH) infected with FAdV-4. The results showed that FAdV-4 could restore metabolic networks in LMH cells and tricarboxylic acid cycle, glycolysis, and metabolism of purines, pyrimidines, alanine, aspartate, glutamate, and amino sugar and nucleotide sugar moieties. Moreover, FAdV-4 production was significantly reduced in LMH cells cultured in glucose or glutamine-deficient medium. These observations highlighted the importance of host cell metabolism in virus replication. Therefore, similarities and disparities in FAdV-4-regulation of the metabolism of host cells could help improve targeted drug and reduce infection.
Since its first discovery in 1967, human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) has been associated with mild self-limiting upper respiratory infections worldwide. Fatal primary pneumonia due to HCoV-OC43 is not frequently described. This study describes a case of fatal primary pneumonia associated with HCoV-OC43 in a 75-year-old patient with good past health. The viral loads of the respiratory tract specimens (bronchoalveolar lavage and endotracheal aspirate) from diagnosis to death were persistently high (3.49 × 106–1.10 × 1010 copies/ml). HCoV-OC43 at a 6.46 × 103 copies/ml level was also detected from his pleural fluid 2 days before his death. Complete genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis showed that the present HCoV-OC43 forms a distinct cluster with three other HCoV-OC43 from United States, with a bootstrap value of 100% and sharing 99.9% nucleotide identities. Pairwise genetic distance between this cluster and other HCoV-OC43 genotypes ranged from 0.27 ± 0.02% to 1.25 ± 0.01%. In contrast, the lowest pairwise genetic distance between existing HCoV-OC43 genotypes was 0.26 ± 0.02%, suggesting that this cluster constitutes a novel HCoV-OC43 genotype, which we named genotype I. Unlike genotypes D, E, F, G, and H, no recombination event was observed for this novel genotype. Structural modeling revealed that the loop with the S1/S2 cleavage site was four amino acids longer than other HCoV-OC43, making it more exposed and accessible to protease, which may have resulted in its possible hypervirulence.
The bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc) causes black rot disease in cruciferous crops, resulting in severe yield loss worldwide. The excessive use of chemical pesticides in agriculture to control diseases has raised significant concern about the impact on the environment and human health. Nanoparticles have recently gained significant attention in agriculture owing to their promising application in plant disease control, increasing soil fertility and nutrient availability. In the current study, we synthesized thymol-loaded chitosan nanoparticles (TCNPs) and assessed their antibacterial activity against Xcc. The synthesis of TCNPs was confirmed by using ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy analysis revealed the functional groups, size, and shape of TCNPs, with sizes ranging from 54 to 250 nm, respectively. The antibacterial activity of TCNPs against Xcc was investigated in vitro by liquid broth, cell viability, and live dead staining assay, and all of them demonstrated the antibacterial activity of TCNPs. Furthermore, TCNPs were found to directly inhibit the growth of Xcc by suppressing the growth of biofilm formation and the production of exopolysaccharides and xanthomonadin. The ultrastructure studies revealed membrane damage in TCNP-treated Xcc cells, causing a release of intracellular contents. Headspace/gas chromatography (GC)–mass spectrometry (MS) analysis showed changes in the volatile profile of Xcc cells treated with TCNPs. Increased amounts of carbonyl components (mainly ketones) and production of new volatile metabolites were observed in Xcc cells incubated with TCNPs. Overall, this study reveals TCNPs as a promising antibacterial candidate against Xcc.
Among the oldest domesticated crops, cannabis plants (Cannabis sativa L., marijuana and hemp) have been used to produce food, fiber, and drugs for thousands of years. With the ongoing legalization of cannabis in several jurisdictions worldwide, a new high-value market is emerging for the supply of marijuana and hemp products. This creates unprecedented challenges to achieve better yields and environmental sustainability, while lowering production costs. In this review, we discuss the opportunities and challenges pertaining to the use of beneficial Pseudomonas spp. bacteria as crop inoculants to improve productivity. The prevalence and diversity of naturally occurring Pseudomonas strains within the cannabis microbiome is overviewed, followed by their potential mechanisms involved in plant growth promotion and tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. Emphasis is placed on specific aspects relevant for hemp and marijuana crops in various production systems. Finally, factors likely to influence inoculant efficacy are provided, along with strategies to identify promising strains, overcome commercialization bottlenecks, and design adapted formulations. This work aims at supporting the development of the cannabis industry in a sustainable way, by exploiting the many beneficial attributes of Pseudomonas spp.