ResearchPad - microbial-genetics https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Potency and breadth of human primary ZIKV immune sera shows that Zika viruses cluster antigenically as a single serotype]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7747 The recent emergence of Zika virus as an important human pathogen has raised questions about the durability and breadth of Zika virus immunity following natural infection in humans. While global epidemic patterns suggest that Zika infection elicits a protective immune response that is likely to offer long-term protection against repeat infection by other Zika viruses, only one study to date has formally examined the ability of human Zika immune sera to neutralize different Zika viruses. That study was limited because it evaluated human immune sera no more than 13 weeks after Zika virus infection and tested a relatively small number of Zika viruses. In this study, we examine twelve human Zika immune sera as far as 3 years after infection and test the sera against a total of eleven Zika virus isolates. Our results confirm the earlier study and epidemic patterns that suggest Zika virus exists in nature as a single serotype, and infection with one Zika virus can be expected to elicit protective immunity against repeat infection by any Zika virus for years to decades after the first infection.

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<![CDATA[Epigenetic factor siRNA screen during primary KSHV infection identifies novel host restriction factors for the lytic cycle of KSHV]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndd7e3d68-7b94-48ec-a25e-5b9298486000

Establishment of viral latency is not only essential for lifelong Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) infection, but it is also a prerequisite of viral tumorigenesis. The latent viral DNA has a complex chromatin structure, which is established in a stepwise manner regulated by host epigenetic factors during de novo infection. However, despite the importance of viral latency in KSHV pathogenesis, we still have limited information about the repertoire of epigenetic factors that are critical for the establishment and maintenance of KSHV latency. Therefore, the goal of this study was to identify host epigenetic factors that suppress lytic KSHV genes during primary viral infection, which would indicate their role in latency establishment. We performed an siRNA screen targeting 392 host epigenetic factors during primary infection and analyzed which ones affect the expression of the viral replication and transcription activator (RTA) and/or the latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA), which are viral genes essential for lytic replication and latency, respectively. As a result, we identified the Nucleosome Remodeling and Deacetylase (NuRD) complex, Tip60 and Tip60-associated co-repressors, and the histone demethylase KDM2B as repressors of KSHV lytic genes during both de novo infection and the maintenance of viral latency. Furthermore, we showed that KDM2B rapidly binds to the incoming viral DNA as early as 8 hpi, and can limit the enrichment of activating histone marks on the RTA promoter favoring the downregulation of RTA expression even prior to the polycomb proteins-regulated heterochromatin establishment on the viral genome. Strikingly, KDM2B can also suppress viral gene expression and replication during lytic infection of primary gingival epithelial cells, revealing that KDM2B can act as a host restriction factor of the lytic cycle of KSHV during both latent and lytic infections in multiple different cell types.

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<![CDATA[Efficiency of induction of Shiga-toxin lambdoid prophages in Escherichia coli due to oxidative and antibiotic stress depends on the combination of prophage and the bacterial strain]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd331418f-ee15-4378-a412-9788206e7866

In the study presented here, we tested, how large a fraction of lysogenic culture was undergoing filamentation, which could indicate triggering of the SOS response or SOS-independent prophage induction that is also known to cause cell filamentation. Here, antibiotic stress was triggered by adding mitomycin C and oxidative stress was induced by hydrogen peroxide. Observation of bacterial cells under an optical microscope revealed more filamenting cells for lysogenic Escherichia coli than for strains not carrying a prophage. Moreover, the amount of filamenting cells depended not only on the stress agents used and the type of the prophage, but also on the host. During induction of the 933W prophage, the resulting phage titer and the amount of elongating cells were different when using E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 clinical isolate and the E. coli MG1655 laboratory strain. The amount of filamenting cells correlates well with the observed phage titers.

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<![CDATA[Cellular determinants of metabolite concentration ranges]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536be4d5eed0c484a4947e

Cellular functions are shaped by reaction networks whose dynamics are determined by the concentrations of underlying components. However, cellular mechanisms ensuring that a component’s concentration resides in a given range remain elusive. We present network properties which suffice to identify components whose concentration ranges can be efficiently computed in mass-action metabolic networks. We show that the derived ranges are in excellent agreement with simulations from a detailed kinetic metabolic model of Escherichia coli. We demonstrate that the approach can be used with genome-scale metabolic models to arrive at predictions concordant with measurements from Escherichia coli under different growth scenarios. By application to 14 genome-scale metabolic models from diverse species, our approach specifies the cellular determinants of concentration ranges that can be effectively employed to make predictions for a variety of biotechnological and medical applications.

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<![CDATA[Rationally designing antisense therapy to keep up with evolving bacterial resistance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c64d5eed0c484bd20e6

Antisense molecules used as antibiotics offer the potential to keep up with acquired resistance, by redesigning the sequence of an antisense. Once bacteria acquire resistance by mutating the targeted sequence, new antisense can readily be designed by using sequence information of a target gene. However, antisense molecules require additional delivery vehicles to get into bacteria and be protected from degradation. Based on progress in the last few years it appears that, while redesigning or finding new delivery vehicle will be more difficult than redesigning the antisense cargo, it will perhaps be less difficult than finding new conventional small molecule antibiotics. In this study we propose a protocol that maximizes the combined advantages of engineered delivery vehicle and antisense cargo by decreasing the immediate growth advantage to the pathogen of mutating the entry mechanisms and increasing the advantage to the pathogen of antisense target mutations. Using this protocol, we show by computer simulation an appropriately designed antisense therapy can potentially be effective many times longer than conventional antibiotics before succumbing to resistance. While the simulations describe an in-vitro situation, based on comparison with other in-vitro studies on acquired resistance we believe the advantages of the combination antisense strategy have the potential to provide much more sustainability in vivo than conventional antibiotic therapy.

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<![CDATA[Genetic exchanges are more frequent in bacteria encoding capsules]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c269763d5eed0c48470f652

Capsules allow bacteria to colonize novel environments, to withstand numerous stresses, and to resist antibiotics. Yet, even though genetic exchanges with other cells should be adaptive under such circumstances, it has been suggested that capsules lower the rates of homologous recombination and horizontal gene transfer. We analysed over one hundred pan-genomes and thousands of bacterial genomes for the evidence of an association between genetic exchanges (or lack thereof) and the presence of a capsule system. We found that bacteria encoding capsules have larger pan-genomes, higher rates of horizontal gene transfer, and higher rates of homologous recombination in their core genomes. Accordingly, genomes encoding capsules have more plasmids, conjugative elements, transposases, prophages, and integrons. Furthermore, capsular loci are frequent in plasmids, and can be found in prophages. These results are valid for Bacteria, independently of their ability to be naturally transformable. Since we have shown previously that capsules are commonly present in nosocomial pathogens, we analysed their co-occurrence with antibiotic resistance genes. Genomes encoding capsules have more antibiotic resistance genes, especially those encoding efflux pumps, and they constitute the majority of the most worrisome nosocomial bacteria. We conclude that bacteria with capsule systems are more genetically diverse and have fast-evolving gene repertoires, which may further contribute to their success in colonizing novel niches such as humans under antibiotic therapy.

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<![CDATA[Specificity and functional interplay between influenza virus PA-X and NS1 shutoff activity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c099405d5eed0c4842ae0b7

Influenza A viruses modulate host antiviral responses to promote viral growth and pathogenicity. Through viral PA-X and NS1 proteins, the virus is capable of suppressing host protein synthesis, termed “host shutoff.” Although both proteins are known to induce general shutoff, specificity of target genes and their functional interplay in mediating host shutoff are not fully elucidated. In this study, we generated four recombinant influenza A/California/04/2009 (pH1N1) viruses containing mutations affecting the expression of active PA-X and NS1. We analyzed viral growth, general shutoff activity, specificity of mRNA targets, and viral gene expressions. Our results showed that PA-X was the major contributor in reducing general host protein expression in the virus-infected cells. Intriguingly, our transcriptomic analysis from infected human airway A549 cells indicate that shutoff-active NS1 specifically targeted host mRNAs related to interferon (IFN) signaling pathways and cytokine release. Specificity of target mRNAs was less evident in PA-X, although it preferentially degraded genes associated with cellular protein metabolism and protein repair. Interestingly, in the presence of shutoff-active NS1, PA-X also degraded viral mRNAs, especially NS segments. The virus expressing shutoff-active NS1 with reduced amount of PA-X expression most efficiently suppressed antiviral and innate immune responses in human cells, indicating that influenza virus needs to optimize the contribution of these two shutoff proteins to circumvent host responses for its optimum growth.

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<![CDATA[Absence of genetic selection in a pathogenic Escherichia coli strain exposed to the manure-amended soil environment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141e62d5eed0c484d265cd

Escherichia coli that express curli are more common in subsurface soil drainage when manure is surface applied. However, it is unknown whether this arises from mutations in individual strains leading to curli expression or by selection for individuals already expressing higher levels of curli. To test this, we examined curli production in pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 as a function of manure management. Five treatments were investigated: (1) soil only, (2) soil with surface-applied E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 Δstx1-2 (EcO157), (3) soil with incorporated EcO157, (4) soil with surface-applied EcO157-inoculated manure, and (5) soil with incorporated EcO157-inoculated manure. EcO157 was reisolated from soils immediately after application and weekly thereafter for 8 weeks. EcO157 in the surface-applied treatments died faster than their incorporated treatment counterparts. Phenotypic assays revealed differences between treatments as well. Half of surface-applied manure reisolates from week 6 developed a mixed red and white colony morphology on Congo Red plates, indicating changes in curli production that were not seen in other treatments or times. In 37°C growth tests, week 6 reisolates from all treatments except soil surface-applied EcO157 left the lag phase at a significantly greater rate than week 0 isolates. We applied whole genome sequencing technology to interrogate the genetic underpinnings of these phenotypes. Surprisingly, we only found single-nucleotide polymorphisms in two of the 94 resequenced isolates from the different treatments, neither of which correlated with curli phenotype. Likewise, we found no differences in other genomic characteristics that might account for phenotypic differences including the count of gaps and the origin of discarded reads that failed to map to the parental strain. These results suggest there were no systematic genomic differences (i.e. individual-level selection) that correlated with time or treatment. We recommend future research focus on population-level selection of E. coli strains in the manure-amended soil environment.

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<![CDATA[Isolation of a natural DNA virus of Drosophila melanogaster, and characterisation of host resistance and immune responses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b28b5d4463d7e1340e24743

Drosophila melanogaster has played a key role in our understanding of invertebrate immunity. However, both functional and evolutionary studies of host-virus interaction in Drosophila have been limited by a dearth of native virus isolates. In particular, despite a long history of virus research, DNA viruses of D. melanogaster have only recently been described, and none have been available for experimental study. Here we report the isolation and comprehensive characterisation of Kallithea virus, a large double-stranded DNA virus, and the first DNA virus to have been reported from wild populations of D. melanogaster. We find that Kallithea virus infection is costly for adult flies, reaching high titres in both sexes and disproportionately reducing survival in males, and movement and late fecundity in females. Using the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel, we quantify host genetic variance for virus-induced mortality and viral titre and identify candidate host genes that may underlie this variation, including Cdc42-interacting protein 4. Using full transcriptome sequencing of infected males and females, we examine the transcriptional response of flies to Kallithea virus infection and describe differential regulation of virus-responsive genes. This work establishes Kallithea virus as a new tractable model to study the natural interaction between D. melanogaster and DNA viruses, and we hope it will serve as a basis for future studies of immune responses to DNA viruses in insects.

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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[The Use of Kosher Phenotyping for Mapping QTL Affecting Susceptibility to Bovine Respiratory Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d9ab0ee8fa60b6705e

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in feedlot cattle, caused by multiple pathogens that become more virulent in response to stress. As clinical signs often go undetected and various preventive strategies failed, identification of genes affecting BRD is essential for selection for resistance. Selective DNA pooling (SDP) was applied in a genome wide association study (GWAS) to map BRD QTLs in Israeli Holstein male calves. Kosher scoring of lung adhesions was used to allocate 122 and 62 animals to High (Glatt Kosher) and Low (Non-Kosher) resistant groups, respectively. Genotyping was performed using the Illumina BovineHD BeadChip according to the Infinium protocol. Moving average of -logP was used to map QTLs and Log drop was used to define their boundaries (QTLRs). The combined procedure was efficient for high resolution mapping. Nineteen QTLRs distributed over 13 autosomes were found, some overlapping previous studies. The QTLRs contain polymorphic functional and expression candidate genes to affect kosher status, with putative immunological and wound healing activities. Kosher phenotyping was shown to be a reliable means to map QTLs affecting BRD morbidity.

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<![CDATA[Systematic Production of Inactivating and Non-Inactivating Suppressor Mutations at the relA Locus That Compensate the Detrimental Effects of Complete spoT Loss and Affect Glycogen Content in Escherichia coli]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9ecab0ee8fa60b6cdff

In Escherichia coli, ppGpp is a major determinant of growth and glycogen accumulation. Levels of this signaling nucleotide are controlled by the balanced activities of the ppGpp RelA synthetase and the dual-function hydrolase/synthetase SpoT. Here we report the construction of spoT null (ΔspoT) mutants obtained by transducing a ΔspoT allele from ΔrelAΔspoT double mutants into relA+ cells. Iodine staining of randomly selected transductants cultured on a rich complex medium revealed differences in glycogen content among them. Sequence and biochemical analyses of 8 ΔspoT clones displaying glycogen-deficient phenotypes revealed different inactivating mutations in relA and no detectable ppGpp when cells were cultured on a rich complex medium. Remarkably, although the co-existence of ΔspoT with relA proficient alleles has generally been considered synthetically lethal, we found that 11 ΔspoT clones displaying high glycogen phenotypes possessed relA mutant alleles with non-inactivating mutations that encoded stable RelA proteins and ppGpp contents reaching 45–85% of those of wild type cells. None of the ΔspoT clones, however, could grow on M9-glucose minimal medium. Both Sanger sequencing of specific genes and high-throughput genome sequencing of the ΔspoT clones revealed that suppressor mutations were restricted to the relA locus. The overall results (a) defined in around 4 nmoles ppGpp/g dry weight the threshold cellular levels that suffice to trigger net glycogen accumulation, (b) showed that mutations in relA, but not necessarily inactivating mutations, can be selected to compensate total SpoT function(s) loss, and (c) provided useful tools for studies of the in vivo regulation of E. coli RelA ppGpp synthetase.

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<![CDATA[Tanzawaic Acids, a Chemically Novel Set of Bacterial Conjugation Inhibitors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da09ab0ee8fa60b770e3

Bacterial conjugation is the main mechanism for the dissemination of multiple antibiotic resistance in human pathogens. This dissemination could be controlled by molecules that interfere with the conjugation process. A search for conjugation inhibitors among a collection of 1,632 natural compounds, identified tanzawaic acids A and B as best hits. They specially inhibited IncW and IncFII conjugative systems, including plasmids mobilized by them. Plasmids belonging to IncFI, IncI, IncL/M, IncX and IncH incompatibility groups were targeted to a lesser extent, whereas IncN and IncP plasmids were unaffected. Tanzawaic acids showed reduced toxicity in bacterial, fungal or human cells, when compared to synthetic conjugation inhibitors, opening the possibility of their deployment in complex environments, including natural settings relevant for antibiotic resistance dissemination.

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<![CDATA[The host ubiquitin-dependent segregase VCP/p97 is required for the onset of human cytomegalovirus replication]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be0162

The human cytomegalovirus major immediate early proteins IE1 and IE2 are critical drivers of virus replication and are considered pivotal in determining the balance between productive and latent infection. IE1 and IE2 are derived from the same primary transcript by alternative splicing and regulation of their expression likely involves a complex interplay between cellular and viral factors. Here we show that knockdown of the host ubiquitin-dependent segregase VCP/p97, results in loss of IE2 expression, subsequent suppression of early and late gene expression and, ultimately, failure in virus replication. RNAseq analysis showed increased levels of IE1 splicing, with a corresponding decrease in IE2 splicing following VCP knockdown. Global analysis of viral transcription showed the expression of a subset of viral genes is not reduced despite the loss of IE2 expression, including UL112/113. Furthermore, Immunofluorescence studies demonstrated that VCP strongly colocalised with the viral replication compartments in the nucleus. Finally, we show that NMS-873, a small molecule inhibitor of VCP, is a potent HCMV antiviral with potential as a novel host targeting therapeutic for HCMV infection.

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<![CDATA[Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitor Extends Caenorhabditis elegans Life Span]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db2dab0ee8fa60bd1bb9

Animal aging is characterized by progressive, degenerative changes in many organ systems. Because age-related degeneration is a major contributor to disability and death in humans, treatments that delay age-related degeneration are desirable. However, no drugs that delay normal human aging are currently available. To identify drugs that delay age-related degeneration, we used the powerful Caenorhabdtitis elegans model system to screen for FDA-approved drugs that can extend the adult lifespan of worms. Here we show that captopril extended mean lifespan. Captopril is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor used to treat high blood pressure in humans. To explore the mechanism of captopril, we analyzed the acn-1 gene that encodes the C. elegans homolog of ACE. Reducing the activity of acn-1 extended the mean life span. Furthermore, reducing the activity of acn-1 delayed age-related degenerative changes and increased stress resistance, indicating that acn-1 influences aging. Captopril could not further extend the lifespan of animals with reduced acn-1, suggesting they function in the same pathway; we propose that captopril inhibits acn-1 to extend lifespan. To define the relationship with previously characterized longevity pathways, we analyzed mutant animals. The lifespan extension caused by reducing the activity of acn-1 was additive with caloric restriction and mitochondrial insufficiency, and did not require sir-2.1, hsf-1 or rict-1, suggesting that acn-1 functions by a distinct mechanism. The interactions with the insulin/IGF-1 pathway were complex, since the lifespan extensions caused by captopril and reducing acn-1 activity were additive with daf-2 and age-1 but required daf-16. Captopril treatment and reducing acn-1 activity caused similar effects in a wide range of genetic backgrounds, consistent with the model that they act by the same mechanism. These results identify a new drug and a new gene that can extend the lifespan of worms and suggest new therapeutic strategies for addressing age-related degenerative changes.

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<![CDATA[Genetic Manipulation of Glycogen Allocation Affects Replicative Lifespan in E. coli]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db18ab0ee8fa60bcd808

In bacteria, replicative aging manifests as a difference in growth or survival between the two cells emerging from division. One cell can be regarded as an aging mother with a decreased potential for future survival and division, the other as a rejuvenated daughter. Here, we aimed at investigating some of the processes involved in aging in the bacterium Escherichia coli, where the two types of cells can be distinguished by the age of their cell poles. We found that certain changes in the regulation of the carbohydrate metabolism can affect aging. A mutation in the carbon storage regulator gene, csrA, leads to a dramatically shorter replicative lifespan; csrA mutants stop dividing once their pole exceeds an age of about five divisions. These old-pole cells accumulate glycogen at their old cell poles; after their last division, they do not contain a chromosome, presumably because of spatial exclusion by the glycogen aggregates. The new-pole daughters produced by these aging mothers are born young; they only express the deleterious phenotype once their pole is old. These results demonstrate how manipulations of nutrient allocation can lead to the exclusion of the chromosome and limit replicative lifespan in E. coli, and illustrate how mutations can have phenotypic effects that are specific for cells with old poles. This raises the question how bacteria can avoid the accumulation of such mutations in their genomes over evolutionary times, and how they can achieve the long replicative lifespans that have recently been reported.

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<![CDATA[Microbial Potential for Ecosystem N Loss Is Increased by Experimental N Deposition]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da36ab0ee8fa60b86591

Fossil fuel combustion and fertilizer use has increased the amount of biologically available N entering terrestrial ecosystems. Nonetheless, our understanding of how anthropogenic N may alter the physiological mechanisms by which soil microorganisms cycle N in soil is still developing. Here, we applied shotgun metagenomics to a replicated long-term field experiment to determine how two decades of experimental N deposition, at a rate expected by mid-century, has affected the genetic potential of the soil microbial community to cycle N in soils. Experimental N deposition lead to a significant and persistent increase in functional assemblages mediating N cycle transformations associated with ecosystem N loss (i.e., denitrification and nitrification), whereas functional assemblages associated with N input and retention (i.e., N fixation and microbial N assimilation) were less positively affected. Furthermore, the abundance and composition of microbial taxa, as well as functional assemblages involved in housekeeping functions (i.e., DNA replication) were unaffected by experimental N deposition. Taken together, our results suggest that functional genes and gene pathways associated with ecosystem N loss have been favored by experimental N deposition, which may represent a genetic mechanism fostering increased N loss as anthropogenic N deposition increases in the future.

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<![CDATA[Transcriptomic Analysis Implicates the p53 Signaling Pathway in the Establishment of HIV-1 Latency in Central Memory CD4 T Cells in an In Vitro Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da48ab0ee8fa60b8c3e4

The search for an HIV-1 cure has been greatly hindered by the presence of a viral reservoir that persists despite antiretroviral therapy (ART). Studies of HIV-1 latency in vivo are also complicated by the low proportion of latently infected cells in HIV-1 infected individuals. A number of models of HIV-1 latency have been developed to examine the signaling pathways and viral determinants of latency and reactivation. A primary cell model of HIV-1 latency, which incorporates the generation of primary central memory CD4 T cells (TCM), full-length virus infection (HIVNL4-3) and ART to suppress virus replication, was used to investigate the establishment of HIV latency using RNA-Seq. Initially, an investigation of host and viral gene expression in the resting and activated states of this model indicated that the resting condition was reflective of a latent state. Then, a comparison of the host transcriptome between the uninfected and latently infected conditions of this model identified 826 differentially expressed genes, many of which were related to p53 signaling. Inhibition of the transcriptional activity of p53 by pifithrin-α during HIV-1 infection reduced the ability of HIV-1 to be reactivated from its latent state by an unknown mechanism. In conclusion, this model may be used to screen latency reversing agents utilized in shock and kill approaches to cure HIV, to search for cellular markers of latency, and to understand the mechanisms by which HIV-1 establishes latency.

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<![CDATA[CDI Systems Are Stably Maintained by a Cell-Contact Mediated Surveillance Mechanism]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da38ab0ee8fa60b86efb

Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems are widespread amongst Gram-negative bacteria where they play important roles in inter-cellular competition and biofilm formation. CDI+ bacteria use cell-surface CdiA proteins to bind neighboring bacteria and deliver C-terminal toxin domains. CDI+ cells also express CdiI immunity proteins that specifically neutralize toxins delivered from adjacent siblings. Genomic analyses indicate that cdi loci are commonly found on plasmids and genomic islands, suggesting that these Type 5 secretion systems are spread through horizontal gene transfer. Here, we examine whether CDI toxin and immunity activities serve to stabilize mobile genetic elements using a minimal F plasmid that fails to partition properly during cell division. This F plasmid is lost from Escherichia coli populations within 50 cell generations, but is maintained in ~60% of the cells after 100 generations when the plasmid carries the cdi gene cluster from E. coli strain EC93. By contrast, the ccdAB "plasmid addiction" module normally found on F exerts only a modest stabilizing effect. cdi-dependent plasmid stabilization requires the BamA receptor for CdiA, suggesting that plasmid-free daughter cells are inhibited by siblings that retain the CDI+ plasmid. In support of this model, the CDI+ F plasmid is lost rapidly from cells that carry an additional cdiI immunity gene on a separate plasmid. These results indicate that plasmid stabilization occurs through elimination of non-immune cells arising in the population via plasmid loss. Thus, genetic stabilization reflects a strong selection for immunity to CDI. After long-term passage for more than 300 generations, CDI+ plasmids acquire mutations that increase copy number and result in 100% carriage in the population. Together, these results show that CDI stabilizes genetic elements through a toxin-mediated surveillance mechanism in which cells that lose the CDI system are detected and eliminated by their siblings.

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<![CDATA[Different Expression Patterns of Genes from the Exo-Xis Region of Bacteriophage λ and Shiga Toxin-Converting Bacteriophage Ф24B following Infection or Prophage Induction in Escherichia coli]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da21ab0ee8fa60b7efb9

Lambdoid bacteriophages serve as useful models in microbiological and molecular studies on basic biological process. Moreover, this family of viruses plays an important role in pathogenesis of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) strains, as they are carriers of genes coding for Shiga toxins. Efficient expression of these genes requires lambdoid prophage induction and multiplication of the phage genome. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms regulating these processes appears essential for both basic knowledge and potential anti-EHEC applications. The exo-xis region, present in genomes of lambdoid bacteriophages, contains highly conserved genes of largely unknown functions. Recent report indicated that the Ea8.5 protein, encoded in this region, contains a newly discovered fused homeodomain/zinc-finger fold, suggesting its plausible regulatory role. Moreover, subsequent studies demonstrated that overexpression of the exo-xis region from a multicopy plasmid resulted in impaired lysogenization of E. coli and more effective induction of λ and Ф24B prophages. In this report, we demonstrate that after prophage induction, the increase in phage DNA content in the host cells is more efficient in E. coli bearing additional copies of the exo-xis region, while survival rate of such bacteria is lower, which corroborated previous observations. Importantly, by using quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR, we have determined patterns of expressions of particular genes from this region. Unexpectedly, in both phages λ and Ф24B, these patterns were significantly different not only between conditions of the host cells infection by bacteriophages and prophage induction, but also between induction of prophages with various agents (mitomycin C and hydrogen peroxide). This may shed a new light on our understanding of regulation of lambdoid phage development, depending on the mode of lytic cycle initiation.

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