ResearchPad - bacillus https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[iterb-PPse: Identification of transcriptional terminators in bacterial by incorporating nucleotide properties into PseKNC]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14750 Terminator is a DNA sequence that gives the RNA polymerase the transcriptional termination signal. Identifying terminators correctly can optimize the genome annotation, more importantly, it has considerable application value in disease diagnosis and therapies. However, accurate prediction methods are deficient and in urgent need. Therefore, we proposed a prediction method “iterb-PPse” for terminators by incorporating 47 nucleotide properties into PseKNC-Ⅰ and PseKNC-Ⅱ and utilizing Extreme Gradient Boosting to predict terminators based on Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Combing with the preceding methods, we employed three new feature extraction methods K-pwm, Base-content, Nucleotidepro to formulate raw samples. The two-step method was applied to select features. When identifying terminators based on optimized features, we compared five single models as well as 16 ensemble models. As a result, the accuracy of our method on benchmark dataset achieved 99.88%, higher than the existing state-of-the-art predictor iTerm-PseKNC in 100 times five-fold cross-validation test. Its prediction accuracy for two independent datasets reached 94.24% and 99.45% respectively. For the convenience of users, we developed a software on the basis of “iterb-PPse” with the same name. The open software and source code of “iterb-PPse” are available at https://github.com/Sarahyouzi/iterb-PPse.

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<![CDATA[Serological evidence for human exposure to <i>Bacillus cereus</i> biovar <i>anthracis</i> in the villages around Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14539 Anthrax is a zoonotic disease transmitted from animals to humans and normally caused by B. anthracis mainly in savanna regions. However, untypical bacteria named Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis (Bcbva) were detected in a variety of wild animals in the rain forest region of the Taï National Park (TNP) in Côte d’Ivoire. No anthrax infections in humans living in the region around TNP were reported until now. Therefore, we assessed exposure to the pathogen by analysis of sera from human volunteers for the presence of antibodies against the protective antigen (PA), which is produced by B. anthracis and Bcbva, and against the Bcbva-specific protein pXO2-60. We found antibodies against PA in more than 20% of sera from humans living in the TNP region, and around 10% possessed also antibodies against pXO2-60, confirming exposure to Bcbva. As only Bcbva, but not classic B. anthracis was found in TNP, we assume that the majority of humans had contact with Bcbva and that pXO2-60 is less immunogenic than PA. Although most people reported animal contacts, there was no statistically significant correlation with the presence of antibodies against Bcbva. Nevertheless, our study confirmed that Bcbva represents a danger for humans living in the affected area.

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<![CDATA[Toxin-neutralizing antibodies elicited by naturally acquired cutaneous anthrax are elevated following severe disease and appear to target conformational epitopes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0733fdcc-4c39-44e4-82cd-032e69d54dbc

Understanding immune responses to native antigens in response to natural infections can lead to improved approaches to vaccination. This study sought to characterize the humoral immune response to anthrax toxin components, capsule and spore antigens in individuals (n = 46) from the Kayseri and Malatya regions of Turkey who had recovered from mild or severe forms of cutaneous anthrax infection, compared to regional healthy controls (n = 20). IgG antibodies to each toxin component, the poly-γ-D-glutamic acid capsule, the Bacillus collagen-like protein of anthracis (BclA) spore antigen, and the spore carbohydrate anthrose, were detected in the cases, with anthrax toxin neutralization and responses to Protective Antigen (PA) and Lethal Factor (LF) being higher following severe forms of the disease. Significant correlative relationships among responses to PA, LF, Edema Factor (EF) and capsule were observed among the cases. Though some regional control sera exhibited binding to a subset of the tested antigens, these samples did not neutralize anthrax toxins and lacked correlative relationships among antigen binding specificities observed in the cases. Comparison of serum binding to overlapping decapeptides covering the entire length of PA, LF and EF proteins in 26 cases compared to 8 regional controls revealed that anthrax toxin-neutralizing antibody responses elicited following natural cutaneous anthrax infection are directed to conformational epitopes. These studies support the concept of vaccination approaches that preserve conformational epitopes.

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<![CDATA[Evaluation of liposomal ciprofloxacin formulations in a murine model of anthrax]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne17111d7-5152-4c88-81b1-0e84a1b58e42

The in vivo efficacy of liposomal encapsulated ciprofloxacin in two formulations, lipoquin and apulmiq, were evaluated against the causative agent of anthrax, Bacillus anthracis. Liposomal encapsulated ciprofloxacin is attractive as a therapy since it allows for once daily dosing and achieves higher concentrations of the antibiotic at the site of initial mucosal entry but lower systemic drug concentrations. The in vivo efficacy of lipoquin and apulmiq delivered by intranasal instillation was studied at different doses and schedules in both a post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) therapy model and in a delayed treatment model of murine inhalational anthrax. In the mouse model of infection, the survival curves for all treatment cohorts differed significantly from the vehicle control. Ciprofloxacin, lipoquin and apulmiq provided a high level of protection (87–90%) after 7 days of therapy when administered within 24 hours of exposure. Reducing therapy to only three days still provided protection of 60–87%, if therapy was provided within 24 hours of exposure. If treatment was initiated 48 hours after exposure the survival rate was reduced to 46–65%. These studies suggest that lipoquin and apulmiq may be attractive therapies as PEP and as part of a treatment cocktail for B. anthracis.

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<![CDATA[Identification of soil bacteria capable of utilizing a corn ethanol fermentation byproduct]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8c1951d5eed0c484b4d3e6

A commercial corn ethanol production byproduct (syrup) was used as a bacterial growth medium with the long-term aim to repurpose the resulting microbial biomass as a protein supplement in aquaculture feeds. Anaerobic batch reactors were used to enrich for soil bacteria metabolizing the syrup as the sole nutrient source over an eight-day period with the goal of obtaining pure cultures of facultative organisms from the reactors. Amplification of the V4 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene was performed using barcoded primers to track the succession of microbes enriched for during growth on the syrup. The resulting PCR products were sequenced using Illumina MiSeq protocols, analyzed via the program QIIME, and the alpha-diversity was calculated. Seven bacterial families were the most prevalent in the bioreactor community after eight days of enrichment: Clostridiaceae, Alicyclobacillaceae, Ruminococcaceae, Burkholderiaceae, Bacillaceae, Veillonellaceae, and Enterobacteriaceae. Pure culture isolates obtained from the reactors, and additional laboratory stock strains, capable of facultative growth, were grown aerobically in microtiter plates with the syrup substrate to monitor growth yield. Reactor isolates of interest were identified at a species level using the full 16S rRNA gene and other biomarkers. Bacillus species, commonly used as probiotics in aquaculture, showed the highest biomass yield of the monocultures examined. Binary combinations of monocultures yielded no apparent synergism between organisms, suggesting competition for nutrients instead of cooperative metabolite conversion.

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<![CDATA[Toxicity and oviposition deterrence of essential oils of Clinopodium nubigenum and Lavandula angustifolia against the myiasis-inducing blowfly Lucilia sericata]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe5ad5eed0c484e5b930

Cutaneous myiasis is a severe worldwide medical and veterinary issue. In this trial the essential oil (EO) of the Andean medicinal plant species Clinopodium nubigenum (Kunth) Kuntze was evaluated for its bioactivity against the myiasis-inducing blowfly Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera Calliphoridae) and compared with that of the well-known medicinal plant species Lavandula angustifolia Mill. The EOs were analysed and tested in laboratory for their oviposition deterrence and toxicity against L. sericata adults. The physiology of EO toxicity was evaluated by enzymatic inhibition tests. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of the EOs were tested as well. At 0.8 μL cm-2, both EOs completely deterred L. sericata oviposition up to 3 hours. After 24 h, the oviposition deterrence was still 82.7% for L. angustifolia and the 89.5% for C. nubigenum. The two EOs were also toxic to eggs and adults of L. sericata. By contact/fumigation, the EOs, the LC50 values against the eggs were 0.07 and 0.48 μL cm-2 while, by topical application on the adults, LD50 values were 0.278 and 0.393 μL per individual for C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia EOs, respectively. Inhibition of acetylcholine esterase of L. sericata by EOs (IC50 = 67.450 and 79.495 mg L-1 for C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia, respectively) suggested that the neural sites are targets of the EO toxicity. Finally, the observed antibacterial and antifungal properties of C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia EOs suggest that they could also help prevent secondary infections.

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<![CDATA[Protein fortification with mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L.) powder: Effect on textural, microbiological, nutritional and sensory features of bread]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df30cd5eed0c484580bee

In the present study, inclusion of mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L.) powder into bread doughs at 5 and 10% substitution level of soft wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) flour was tested to produce protein fortified breads. The addition of mealworm powder (MP) did not negatively affect the technological features of either doughs or breads. All the tested doughs showed the same leavening ability, whereas breads containing 5% MP showed the highest specific volume and the lowest firmness. An enrichment in protein content was observed in experimental breads where the highest values for this parameter were recorded in breads containing 10% MP. Breads fortified with 10% MP also exhibited a significant increase in the content of free amino acids, and especially in the following essential amino acids: tyrosine, methionine, isoleucine, and leucine. By contrast, no differences in nutritional quality of lipids were seen between fortified and control breads. Results of sensory analyses revealed that protein fortification of bread with MP significantly affected bread texture and overall liking, as well as crust colour, depending on the substitution level. Overall, proof of concept was provided for the inclusion of MP into bread doughs started with different leavening agents (sourdough and/or baker’s yeast), at 5 or 10% substitution level of soft wheat flour. Based on the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale, the proposed bread making technology can be situated at level 4 (validation in laboratory environment), thus suggesting that the production of breads with MP might easily be scaled up at industrial level. However, potential spoilage and safety issues that need to be further considered were highlighted.

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<![CDATA[Multi-study inference of regulatory networks for more accurate models of gene regulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536a85d5eed0c484a47592

Gene regulatory networks are composed of sub-networks that are often shared across biological processes, cell-types, and organisms. Leveraging multiple sources of information, such as publicly available gene expression datasets, could therefore be helpful when learning a network of interest. Integrating data across different studies, however, raises numerous technical concerns. Hence, a common approach in network inference, and broadly in genomics research, is to separately learn models from each dataset and combine the results. Individual models, however, often suffer from under-sampling, poor generalization and limited network recovery. In this study, we explore previous integration strategies, such as batch-correction and model ensembles, and introduce a new multitask learning approach for joint network inference across several datasets. Our method initially estimates the activities of transcription factors, and subsequently, infers the relevant network topology. As regulatory interactions are context-dependent, we estimate model coefficients as a combination of both dataset-specific and conserved components. In addition, adaptive penalties may be used to favor models that include interactions derived from multiple sources of prior knowledge including orthogonal genomics experiments. We evaluate generalization and network recovery using examples from Bacillus subtilis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and show that sharing information across models improves network reconstruction. Finally, we demonstrate robustness to both false positives in the prior information and heterogeneity among datasets.

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<![CDATA[A rapid method for post-antibiotic bacterial susceptibility testing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7bdd5eed0c4843867df

Antibiotic susceptibility testing is often performed to determine the most effective antibiotic treatment for a bacterial infection, or perhaps to determine if a particular strain of bacteria is becoming drug resistant. Such tests, and others used to determine efficacy of candidate antibiotics during the drug discovery process, have resulted in a demand for more rapid susceptibility testing methods. Here, we have developed a susceptibility test that utilizes chemiluminescent determination of ATP release from bacteria and the overall optical density (OD600) of the bacterial solution. Bacteria release ATP during a growth phase or when they are lysed in the presence of an effective antibiotic. Because optical density increases during growth phase, but does not change during bacterial lysing, an increase in the ATP:optical density ratio after the bacteria have reached the log phase of growth (which is steady) would indicate antibiotic efficacy. Specifically, after allowing a kanamycin-resistant strain of Escherichia coli (E.coli) to pass through the growth phase and reach steady state, the addition of levofloxacin, an antibiotic to which E. coli is susceptible, resulted in a significant increase in the ATP:OD600 ratio in comparison to the use of kanamycin alone (1.80 +/- 0.50 vs. 1.12 +/- 0.28). This difference could be measured 20 minutes after the addition of the antibiotic, to which the bacteria are susceptible, to the bacterial sample. Furthermore, this method also proved useful with gram positive bacteria, as the addition of kanamycin to a chloramphenicol-resistant strain of Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) resulted in an ATP:OD600 ratio of 2.14 +/- 0.26 in comparison to 0.62 +/- 0.05 for bacteria not subjected to the antibiotic to which the bacteria are susceptible. Collectively, these results suggest that measurement of the ATP:OD600 ratio may provide a susceptibility test for antibiotic efficacy that is more rapid and quantitative than currently accepted techniques.

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<![CDATA[Putative antibiotic resistance genes present in extant Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus paralicheniformis strains are probably intrinsic and part of the ancient resistome]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c51d5eed0c484bd188f

Whole-genome sequencing and phenotypic testing of 104 strains of Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus paralicheniformis from a variety of sources and time periods was used to characterize the genetic background and evolution of (putative) antimicrobial resistance mechanisms. Core proteins were identified in draft genomes and a phylogenetic analysis based on single amino acid polymorphisms allowed the species to be separated into two phylogenetically distinct clades with one outlier. Putative antimicrobial resistance genes were identified and mapped. A chromosomal ermD gene was found at the same location in all B. paralichenformis and in 27% of B. licheniformis genomes. Erythromycin resistance correlated very well with the presence of ermD. The putative streptomycin resistance genes, aph and aadK, were found in the chromosome of all strains as adjacent loci. Variations in amino acid sequence did not correlate with streptomycin susceptibility although the species were less susceptible than other Bacillus species. A putative chloramphenicol resistance gene (cat), encoding a novel chloramphenicol acetyltransferase protein was also found in the chromosome of all strains. Strains encoding a truncated CAT protein were sensitive to chloramphenicol. For all four resistance genes, the diversity and genetic context followed the overall phylogenetic relationship. No potentially mobile genetic elements were detected in their vicinity. Moreover, the genes were only distantly related to previously-described cat, aph, aad and erm genes present on mobile genetic elements or in other species. Thus, these genes are suggested to be intrinsic to B. licheniformis and B. paralicheniformis and part of their ancient resistomes. Since there is no evidence supporting horizontal transmission, these genes are not expected to add to the pool of antibiotic resistance elements considered to pose a risk to human or animal health. Whole-genome based phylogenetic and sequence analysis, combined with phenotypic testing, is proposed to be suitable for determining intrinsic resistance and evolutionary relationships.

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<![CDATA[CRISPR-Cas9 In Situ engineering of subtilisin E in Bacillus subtilis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d0133d5eed0c48403922d

CRISPR-Cas systems have become widely used across all fields of biology as a genome engineering tool. With its recent demonstration in the Gram positive industrial workhorse Bacillus subtilis, this tool has become an attractive option for rapid, markerless strain engineering of industrial production hosts. Previously described strategies for CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in B. subtilis have involved chromosomal integrations of Cas9 and single guide RNA expression cassettes, or construction of large plasmids for simultaneous transformation of both single guide RNA and donor DNA. Here we use a flexible, co-transformation approach where the single guide RNA is inserted in a plasmid for Cas9 co-expression, and the donor DNA is supplied as a linear PCR product observing an editing efficiency of 76%. This allowed multiple, rapid rounds of in situ editing of the subtilisin E gene to incorporate a salt bridge triad present in the Bacillus clausii thermotolerant homolog, M-protease. A novel subtilisin E variant was obtained with increased thermotolerance and activity.

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<![CDATA[Structural characterization of a pathogenicity-related superoxide dismutase codified by a probably essential gene in Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d015bd5eed0c48403a8e5

Citrus canker is a plant disease caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri that affects all domestic varieties of citrus. Some annotated genes from the X. citri subsp. citri genome are assigned to an interesting class named "pathogenicity, virulence and adaptation". Amongst these is sodM, which encodes for the gene product XcSOD, one of four superoxide dismutase homologs predicted from the genome. SODs are widespread enzymes that play roles in the oxidative stress response, catalyzing the degradation of the deleterious superoxide radical. In Xanthomonas, SOD has been associated with pathogenesis as a counter measure against the plant defense response. In this work we initially present the 1.8 Å crystal structure of XcSOD, a manganese containing superoxide dismutase from Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri. The structure bears all the hallmarks of a dimeric member of the MnSOD family, including the conserved hydrogen-bonding network residues. Despite the apparent gene redundancy, several attempts to obtain a sodM deletion mutant were unsuccessful, suggesting the encoded protein to be essential for bacterial survival. This intriguing observation led us to extend our structural studies to the remaining three SOD homologs, for which comparative models were built. The models imply that X. citri subsp. citri produces an iron-containing SOD which is unlikely to be catalytically active along with two conventional Cu,ZnSODs. Although the latter are expected to possess catalytic activity, we propose they may not be able to replace XcSOD for reasons such as distinct subcellular compartmentalization or differential gene expression in pathogenicity-inducing conditions.

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<![CDATA[Experimental studies addressing the longevity of Bacillus subtilis spores – The first data from a 500-year experiment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1028ebd5eed0c4842487a5

The ability to form endospores allows certain Gram-positive bacteria (e.g. Bacillus subtilis) to challenge the limits of microbial resistance and survival. Thus, B. subtilis is able to tolerate many environmental extremes by transitioning into a dormant state as spores, allowing survival under otherwise unfavorable conditions. Despite thorough study of spore resistance to external stresses, precisely how long B. subtilis spores can lie dormant while remaining viable, a period that potentially far exceeds the human lifespan; is not known although convincing examples of long term spore survival have been recorded. In this study, we report the first data from a 500-year microbial experiment, which started in 2014 and will finish in 2514. A set of vials containing a defined concentration of desiccated B. subtilis spores is opened and tested for viability every two years for the first 24 years and then every 25 years until experiment completion. Desiccated baseline spore samples were also exposed to environmental stresses, including X-rays, 254 nm UV-C, 10% H2O2, dry heat (120°C) and wet heat (100°C) to investigate how desiccated spores respond to harsh environmental conditions after long periods of storage. Data from the first 2 years of storage show no significant decrease in spore viability. Additionally, spores of B. subtilis were subjected to various short-term storage experiments, revealing that space-like vacuum and high NaCl concentration negatively affected spore viability.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of biodegradation in a 17th century easel painting and potential for a biological approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c117b5ed5eed0c484698e58

It is important to characterize the microorganisms involved in biodeterioration processes to understand their effects on cultural assets and to define an efficient strategy for protecting artworks, monuments, and buildings from microbiological recolonization. In this study, we analyzed the microbial communities dwelling on the verso (front) and recto (back) sides of a 17th century easel painting attributed to Carlo Bononi, an Italian artist of the first Baroque period. Cultivable bacteria and fungi colonizing the painting were isolated and identified in order to characterize the microbial community possibly involved in deteriorating the pictorial layer of the painting. The isolated bacterial strains belonged to the Staphylococcus and Bacillus genera. Furthermore, culture-dependent techniques and SEM/EDS analyses revealed the presence of filamentous fungi of the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, Cladosporium, and Alternaria. The chemical compositions of pigments were consistent with typical 17th century paintings, and some of the identified pigments, namely red lac and red and yellow earths, could be exploited as nutrient sources by painting-associated microorganisms. The study also evaluated, in vitro, the potential decontaminating activity of a biocompound, containing spores of Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus pumilus, and Bacillus megaterium. The results indicated the ability of this biocompound to counteract the growth of contaminating microorganisms that are potentially dangerous to the painting, suggesting the potential use of these microorganisms to prevent biodeterioration of artworks.

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<![CDATA[Spatio-temporal epidemiology of anthrax in Hippopotamus amphibious in Queen Elizabeth Protected Area, Uganda]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0841a3d5eed0c484fca4e8

Background

Anthrax is a zoonotic disease primarily of herbivores, caused by Bacillus anthracis, a bacterium with diverse geographical and global distribution. Globally, livestock outbreaks have declined but in Africa significant outbreaks continue to occur with most countries still categorized as enzootic, hyper endemic or sporadic. Uganda experiences sporadic human and livestock cases. Severe large-scale outbreaks occur periodically in hippos (Hippopotamus amphibious) at Queen Elizabeth Protected Area, where in 2004/2005 and 2010 anthrax killed 437 hippos. Ecological drivers of these outbreaks and potential of hippos to maintain anthrax in the ecosystem remain unknown. This study aimed to describe spatio-temporal patterns of anthrax among hippos; examine significant trends associated with case distributions; and generate hypotheses for investigation of ecological drivers of anthrax.

Methods

Spatio-temporal patterns of 317 hippo cases in 2004/5 and 137 in 2010 were analyzed. QGIS was used to examine case distributions; Spearman’s nonparametric tests to determine correlations between cases and at-risk hippo populations; permutation models of the spatial scan statistics to examine spatio-temporal clustering of cases; directional tests to determine directionality in epidemic movements; and standard epidemic curves to determine patterns of epidemic propagation.

Key findings

Results showed hippopotamus cases extensively distributed along water shorelines with strong positive correlations (p<0.01) between cases and at-risk populations. Significant (p<0.001) spatio-temporal clustering of cases occurred throughout the epidemics, pointing towards a defined source. Significant directional epidemic spread was detected along water flow gradient (206.6°) in 2004/5 and against flow gradient (20.4°) in 2010. Temporal distributions showed clustered pulsed epidemic waves.

Conclusion

These findings suggest mixed point-source propagated pattern of epidemic spread amongst hippos and points to likelihood of indirect spread of anthrax spores between hippos mediated by their social behaviour, forces of water flow, and persistent presence of infectious carcasses amidst schools. This information sheds light on the epidemiology of anthrax in highly social wildlife, can help drive insight into disease control, wildlife conservation, and tourism management, but highlights the need for analytical and longitudinal studies aimed at clarifying the hypotheses.

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<![CDATA[Impact of Bacillus spp. spores and gentamicin on the gastrointestinal microbiota of suckling and newly weaned piglets]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c06f027d5eed0c484c6d20c

Administrating antibiotics to young piglets may have short- and long-term consequences on the gut microbiota. We hypothesised that these consequences may be alleviated by concurrent probiotic administration. The study objective was to investigate the effect of administrating gentamicin and a mixture of Bacillus (B.) licheniformis, B. subtilis and B. amyloliquefaeceans spores on the gut microbiota of piglets pre- and post-weaning. Twenty-four sows and their litters were randomly allocated to four treatment groups receiving; a) Bacillus spore mixture (six B. subtilis, two B. amyloliquefaeceans, and one B. licheniformis) fed to sows and piglets (PRO); b) gentamicin (5 mg per day) administered to piglets on day 4, 5, and 6 of age (AB); c) Bacillus spore mixture fed to sows and piglets, and gentamicin to piglets (PRO+AB); or d) no administration of probiotics or antibiotics (CTRL). Faecal and digesta samples were collected repeatedly during the study. Selected samples were subjected to 16S rRNA gene sequencing, culture counts, and organic acid, biogenic amine and tissue gene expression analysis. Treatment had a significant effect on the faecal microbial community composition on day 28 and 42, and colonic community on day 28. Faecal species richness (observed and estimated) and Shannon index, and colonic species richness, were higher in AB compared to PRO piglets on day 28, and were not significantly different from day 42. PRO piglets had the highest faecal concentration of iso-butyric acid on day 7 and a higher butyric acid concentration compared to CTRL piglets. We conclude that gentamicin and Bacillus spores influence the gut microbial diversity of piglets, although administration of gentamicin did not result in dysbiosis as hypothesised.

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<![CDATA[The positioning of the asymmetric septum during sporulation in Bacillus subtilis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0c04e4d5eed0c48481ced8

Probably one of the most controversial questions about the cell division of Bacillus subtilis, a rod-shaped bacterium, concerns the mechanism that ensures correct division septum placement–at mid-cell during vegetative growth but closer to one end during sporulation. In general, bacteria multiply by binary fission, in which the division septum forms almost exactly at the cell centre. How the division machinery achieves such accuracy is a question of continuing interest. We understand in some detail how this is achieved during vegetative growth in Escherichia coli and B. subtilis, where two main negative regulators, nucleoid occlusion and the Min system, help to determine the division site, but we still do not know exactly how the asymmetric septation site is determined during sporulation in B. subtilis. Clearly, the inhibitory effects of the nucleoid occlusion and Min system on polar division have to be overcome. We evaluated the positioning of the asymmetric septum and its accuracy by statistical analysis of the site of septation. We also clarified the role of SpoIIE, RefZ and MinCD on the accuracy of this process. We determined that the sporulation septum forms approximately 1/6 of a cell length from one of the cell poles with high precision and that SpoIIE, RefZ and MinCD have a crucial role in precisely localizing the sporulation septum. Our results strongly support the idea that asymmetric septum formation is a very precise and highly controlled process regulated by a still unknown mechanism.

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<![CDATA[Discovery of a dual protease mechanism that promotes DNA damage checkpoint recovery]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b4a2865463d7e4513b897e6

The DNA damage response is a signaling pathway found throughout biology. In many bacteria the DNA damage checkpoint is enforced by inducing expression of a small, membrane bound inhibitor that delays cell division providing time to repair damaged chromosomes. How cells promote checkpoint recovery after sensing successful repair is unknown. By using a high-throughput, forward genetic screen, we identified two unrelated proteases, YlbL and CtpA, that promote DNA damage checkpoint recovery in Bacillus subtilis. Deletion of both proteases leads to accumulation of the checkpoint protein YneA. We show that DNA damage sensitivity and increased cell elongation in protease mutants depends on yneA. Further, expression of YneA in protease mutants was sufficient to inhibit cell proliferation. Finally, we show that both proteases interact with YneA and that one of the two proteases, CtpA, directly cleaves YneA in vitro. With these results, we report the mechanism for DNA damage checkpoint recovery in bacteria that use membrane bound cell division inhibitors.

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<![CDATA[Conserved Units of Co-Expression in Bacterial Genomes: An Evolutionary Insight into Transcriptional Regulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da96ab0ee8fa60ba2148

Genome-wide measurements of transcriptional activity in bacteria indicate that the transcription of successive genes is strongly correlated beyond the scale of operons. Here, we analyze hundreds of bacterial genomes to identify supra-operonic segments of genes that are proximal in a large number of genomes. We show that these synteny segments correspond to genomic units of strong transcriptional co-expression. Structurally, the segments contain operons with specific relative orientations (co-directional or divergent) and nucleoid-associated proteins are found to bind at their boundaries. Functionally, operons inside a same segment are highly co-expressed even in the apparent absence of regulatory factors at their promoter regions. Remote operons along DNA can also be co-expressed if their corresponding segments share a transcriptional or sigma factor, without requiring these factors to bind directly to the promoters of the operons. As evidence that these results apply across the bacterial kingdom, we demonstrate them both in the Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli and in the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis. The underlying process that we propose involves only RNA-polymerases and DNA: it implies that the transcription of an operon mechanically enhances the transcription of adjacent operons. In support of a primary role of this regulation by facilitated co-transcription, we show that the transcription en bloc of successive operons as a result of transcriptional read-through is strongly and specifically enhanced in synteny segments. Finally, our analysis indicates that facilitated co-transcription may be evolutionary primitive and may apply beyond bacteria.

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<![CDATA[Artificial Polyploidy Improves Bacterial Single Cell Genome Recovery]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da01ab0ee8fa60b740a1

Background

Single cell genomics (SCG) is a combination of methods whose goal is to decipher the complete genomic sequence from a single cell and has been applied mostly to organisms with smaller genomes, such as bacteria and archaea. Prior single cell studies showed that a significant portion of a genome could be obtained. However, breakages of genomic DNA and amplification bias have made it very challenging to acquire a complete genome with single cells. We investigated an artificial method to induce polyploidy in Bacillus subtilis ATCC 6633 by blocking cell division and have shown that we can significantly improve the performance of genomic sequencing from a single cell.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We inhibited the bacterial cytoskeleton protein FtsZ in B. subtilis with an FtsZ-inhibiting compound, PC190723, resulting in larger undivided single cells with multiple copies of its genome. qPCR assays of these larger, sorted cells showed higher DNA content, have less amplification bias, and greater genomic recovery than untreated cells.

Significance

The method presented here shows the potential to obtain a nearly complete genome sequence from a single bacterial cell. With millions of uncultured bacterial species in nature, this method holds tremendous promise to provide insight into the genomic novelty of yet-to-be discovered species, and given the temporary effects of artificial polyploidy coupled with the ability to sort and distinguish differences in cell size and genomic DNA content, may allow recovery of specific organisms in addition to their genomes.

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