Genome sequence of Chlamydophila caviae (Chlamydia psittaci GPIC): examining the role of niche-specific genes in the evolution of the Chlamydiaceae.
ABSTRACT: The genome of Chlamydophila caviae (formerly Chlamydia psittaci, GPIC isolate) (1 173 390 nt with a plasmid of 7966 nt) was determined, representing the fourth species with a complete genome sequence from the Chlamydiaceae family of obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens. Of 1009 annotated genes, 798 were conserved in all three other completed Chlamydiaceae genomes. The C.caviae genome contains 68 genes that lack orthologs in any other completed chlamydial genomes, including tryptophan and thiamine biosynthesis determinants and a ribose-phosphate pyrophosphokinase, the product of the prsA gene. Notable amongst these was a novel member of the virulence-associated invasin/intimin family (IIF) of Gram-negative bacteria. Intriguingly, two authentic frameshift mutations in the ORF indicate that this gene is not functional. Many of the unique genes are found in the replication termination region (RTR or plasticity zone), an area of frequent symmetrical inversion events around the replication terminus shown to be a hotspot for genome variation in previous genome sequencing studies. In C.caviae, the RTR includes several loci of particular interest including a large toxin gene and evidence of ancestral insertion(s) of a bacteriophage. This toxin gene, not present in Chlamydia pneumoniae, is a member of the YopT effector family of type III-secreted cysteine proteases. One gene cluster (guaBA-add) in the RTR is much more similar to orthologs in Chlamydia muridarum than those in the phylogenetically closest species C.pneumoniae, suggesting the possibility of horizontal transfer of genes between the rodent-associated Chlamydiae. With most genes observed in the other chlamydial genomes represented, C.caviae provides a good model for the Chlamydiaceae and a point of comparison against the human atherosclerosis-associated C.pneumoniae. This crucial addition to the set of completed Chlamydiaceae genome sequences is enabling dissection of the roles played by niche-specific genes in these important bacterial pathogens.
Project description:Chlamydiaceae are obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens characterized by a wide range of vertebrate host, tissue tropism and spectrum of diseases. To get insights into the biological mechanisms involved in these differences, we have put forward a computational and experimental procedure to identify the genome recombination hotspots, as frequent sequence variation allows rapid adaptation to environmental changes. We find a larger potential for recombination in Chlamydophila pneumoniae genomes as compared with Chlamydia trachomatis or Chlamydia muridarum. Such potential is mostly concentrated in a family of seven previously uncharacterized species-specific elements that we named ppp for C.pneumoniae polymorphic protein genes, which have the potential to vary by homologous recombination and slipped-mispair. Experimentally, we show that these sequences are indeed highly polymorphic among a collection of nine C.pneumoniae strains of very diverse geographical and pathological origins, mainly by slippage of a poly(C) tract. We also show that most elements are transcribed during infection. In silico analyses suggest that Ppps correspond to outer membrane proteins. Given their species specificity, their putative location in the outer membrane and their extreme polymorphism, Ppps are most likely to be important in the pathogenesis of C.pneumoniae and could represent targets for future vaccine development.
Project description:The genome sequences of Chlamydia trachomatis mouse pneumonitis (MoPn) strain Nigg (1 069 412 nt) and Chlamydia pneumoniae strain AR39 (1 229 853 nt) were determined using a random shotgun strategy. The MoPn genome exhibited a general conservation of gene order and content with the previously sequenced C.trachomatis serovar D. Differences between C.trachomatis strains were focused on an approximately 50 kb 'plasticity zone' near the termination origins. In this region MoPn contained three copies of a novel gene encoding a >3000 amino acid toxin homologous to a predicted toxin from Escherichia coli O157:H7 but had apparently lost the tryptophan biosyntheis genes found in serovar D in this region. The C. pneumoniae AR39 chromosome was >99.9% identical to the previously sequenced C.pneumoniae CWL029 genome, however, comparative analysis identified an invertible DNA segment upstream of the uridine kinase gene which was in different orientations in the two genomes. AR39 also contained a novel 4524 nt circular single-stranded (ss)DNA bacteriophage, the first time a virus has been reported infecting C. pneumoniae. Although the chlamydial genomes were highly conserved, there were intriguing differences in key nucleotide salvage pathways: C.pneumoniae has a uridine kinase gene for dUTP production, MoPn has a uracil phosphororibosyl transferase, while C.trachomatis serovar D contains neither gene. Chromosomal comparison revealed that there had been multiple large inversion events since the species divergence of C.trachomatis and C.pneumoniae, apparently oriented around the axis of the origin of replication and the termination region. The striking synteny of the Chlamydia genomes and prevalence of tandemly duplicated genes are evidence of minimal chromosome rearrangement and foreign gene uptake, presumably owing to the ecological isolation of the obligate intracellular parasites. In the absence of genetic analysis, comparative genomics will continue to provide insight into the virulence mechanisms of these important human pathogens.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chlamydiaceae are a family of obligate intracellular pathogens causing a wide range of diseases in animals and humans, and facing unique evolutionary constraints not encountered by free-living prokaryotes. To investigate genomic aspects of infection, virulence and host preference we have sequenced Chlamydia psittaci, the pathogenic agent of ornithosis. RESULTS:A comparison of the genome of the avian Chlamydia psittaci isolate 6BC with the genomes of other chlamydial species, C. trachomatis, C. muridarum, C. pneumoniae, C. abortus, C. felis and C. caviae, revealed a high level of sequence conservation and synteny across taxa, with the major exception of the human pathogen C. trachomatis. Important differences manifest in the polymorphic membrane protein family specific for the Chlamydiae and in the highly variable chlamydial plasticity zone. We identified a number of psittaci-specific polymorphic membrane proteins of the G family that may be related to differences in host-range and/or virulence as compared to closely related Chlamydiaceae. We calculated non-synonymous to synonymous substitution rate ratios for pairs of orthologous genes to identify putative targets of adaptive evolution and predicted type III secreted effector proteins. CONCLUSIONS:This study is the first detailed analysis of the Chlamydia psittaci genome sequence. It provides insights in the genome architecture of C. psittaci and proposes a number of novel candidate genes mostly of yet unknown function that may be important for pathogen-host interactions.
Project description:<h4>Unlabelled</h4>Intracellular bacterial pathogens in the family Chlamydiaceae are causes of human blindness, sexually transmitted disease, and pneumonia. Genetic dissection of the mechanisms of chlamydial pathogenicity has been hindered by multiple limitations, including the inability to inactivate genes that would prevent the production of elementary bodies. Many genes are also Chlamydia-specific genes, and chlamydial genomes have undergone extensive reductive evolution, so functions often cannot be inferred from homologs in other organisms. Conditional mutants have been used to study essential genes of many microorganisms, so we screened a library of 4,184 ethyl methanesulfonate-mutagenized Chlamydia trachomatis isolates for temperature-sensitive (TS) mutants that developed normally at physiological temperature (37°C) but not at nonphysiological temperatures. Heat-sensitive TS mutants were identified at a high frequency, while cold-sensitive mutants were less common. Twelve TS mutants were mapped using a novel markerless recombination approach, PCR, and genome sequencing. TS alleles of genes that play essential roles in other bacteria and chlamydia-specific open reading frames (ORFs) of unknown function were identified. Temperature-shift assays determined that phenotypes of the mutants manifested at distinct points in the developmental cycle. Genome sequencing of a larger population of TS mutants also revealed that the screen had not reached saturation. In summary, we describe the first approach for studying essential chlamydial genes and broadly applicable strategies for genetic mapping in Chlamydia spp. and mutants that both define checkpoints and provide insights into the biology of the chlamydial developmental cycle.<h4>Importance</h4>Study of the pathogenesis of Chlamydia spp. has historically been hampered by a lack of genetic tools. Although there has been recent progress in chlamydial genetics, the existing approaches have limitations for the study of the genes that mediate growth of these organisms in cell culture. We used a genetic screen to identify conditional Chlamydia mutants and then mapped these alleles using a broadly applicable recombination strategy. Phenotypes of the mutants provide fundamental insights into unexplored areas of chlamydial pathogenesis and intracellular biology. Finally, the reagents and approaches we describe are powerful resources for the investigation of these organisms.
Project description:Members of the Chlamydiales order are obligate intracellular pathogens causing acute and chronic infectious diseases. Chlamydiaceae are established agents of community- and zoonotically acquired respiratory tract infections, and emerging pathogens among the Chlamydia-related bacteria have been implicated in airway infections. The role of both in airway infections in Africa is underexplored. We performed a case -control study on the prevalence of Chlamydiaceae and Chlamydia-related emerging pathogens in children with febrile respiratory tract infections in West Africa, Ghana. Using a pan-Chlamydiales broad-range real-time PCR, we detected chlamydial DNA in 11 (1.9%) of 572 hospitalized febrile children with respiratory tract symptoms and in 24 (4.3%) of 560 asymptomatic age-matched controls (p 0.03). Chlamydiaceae were found to be common among both symptomatic and healthy Ghanaian children, with Chlamydia pneumoniae being the most prevalent species. Parachlamydiaceae were detected in two children without symptoms but not in the symptomatic group. We identified neither Chlamydia psittaci nor Simkania negevensis but a member of a new chlamydial family that shared 90.2% sequence identity with the 16S rRNA gene of the zoonotic pathogen Chlamydia pecorum. In addition, we found a new Chlamydia-related species that belonged to a novel family sharing 91.3% 16S rRNA sequence identity with Candidatus Syngnamydia venezia. The prevalence and spectrum of chlamydial species differed from previous results obtained from children of other geographic regions and our study indicates that both, Chlamydiaceae and Chlamydia-related bacteria, are not clearly linked to clinical symptoms in Ghanaian children.
Project description:Chlamydiae are an example of obligate intracellular bacteria that possess highly reduced, compact genomes (1.0-3.5?Mbp), reflective of their abilities to sequester many essential nutrients from the host that they no longer need to synthesize themselves. The Chlamydiae is a phylum with a very wide host range spanning mammals, birds, fish, invertebrates, and unicellular protists. This ecological and phylogenetic diversity offers ongoing opportunities to study intracellular survival and metabolic pathways and adaptations. Of particular evolutionary significance are Chlamydiae from the recently proposed Ca. Parilichlamydiaceae, the earliest diverging clade in this phylum, species of which are found only in aquatic vertebrates. Gill extracts from three Chlamydiales-positive Australian aquaculture species (Yellowtail kingfish, Striped trumpeter, and Barramundi) were subject to DNA preparation to deplete host DNA and enrich microbial DNA, prior to metagenome sequencing. We assembled chlamydial genomes corresponding to three Ca. Parilichlamydiaceae species from gill metagenomes, and conducted functional genomics comparisons with diverse members of the phylum. This revealed highly reduced genomes more similar in size to the terrestrial Chlamydiaceae, standing in contrast to members of the Chlamydiae with a demonstrated cosmopolitan host range. We describe a reduction in genes encoding synthesis of nucleotides and amino acids, among other nutrients, and an enrichment of predicted transport proteins. Ca. Parilichlamydiaceae share 342 orthologs with other chlamydial families. We hypothesize that the genome reduction exhibited by Ca. Parilichlamydiaceae and Chlamydiaceae is an example of within-phylum convergent evolution. The factors driving these events remain to be elucidated.
Project description:Obligate intracellular chlamydiae diverged into pathogenic and environmental chlamydiae 0.7-1.4 billion years ago. While pathogenic chlamydiae have adapted to a wide range of vertebrates, environmental chlamydiae inhabit unicellular amoebae, the free-living Acanthamoeba. However, how and why this divergence occurred remains unclear. Meanwhile, giant viruses consisting of protozoa-related and protozoa-unrelated viruses have been discovered, with the former group being suggested to have more influenced environmental chlamydiae during their evolution while cohabiting host amoebae. Against this background, we attempted to visualize genes of giant viruses in chlamydial genomes by bioinformatic analysis mainly with comparative genome and phylogenic analysis, seeking genes present in chlamydiae that are specifically shared with protozoa-related giant viruses. As a result, in contrast to protozoa-unrelated giant viruses, the genes of protozoa-related giant viruses were significantly shared in both the chlamydia genomes depending on the giant virus type. In particular, the prevalence of Mimiviridae genes among the protozoa-related giant virus genes in chlamydial genomes was significantly high. Meanwhile, the prevalence of protozoa-related giant virus genes in pathogenic chlamydia genomes was consistently higher than those of environmental chlamydiae; the actual number of sequences similar to giant virus was also significantly predominant compared with those in the environmental chlamydial genomes. Among them, the most prevalent of giant virus was in the case of chlamydiae with Megavirus chiliensis; total of 1338 genes of the chlamydiae were found to be shared with the virus (444 genes specific to environmental chlamydiae, 892 genes shared between both chlamydiae, only two genes in the pathogenic chlamydiae). Phylogenic analysis with most prevalent sets (Megavirus chiliensis and Protochlamydia EI2 or Chlamydia trachomatis L2 434Bu) showed the presence of orthologs between these with several clustered. In addition, Pearson's single regression analysis revealed that almost the prevalence of the genes from the giant viruses in chlamydial genomes was negatively and specifically correlated with the number of chlamydial open reading frames (ORFs). Thus, these results indicated the trace of lateral gene transfer between protozoa-related giant viruses of family Mimiviridae and chlamydiae. This is the first demonstration of a putative linkage between chlamydiae and the giant viruses, providing us with a hint to understand chlamydial evolution.
Project description:Mutations in rRNA genes (rrn) that confer resistance to ribosomal inhibitors are typically recessive or weakly codominant and have been mostly reported for clinical strains of pathogens possessing only one or two rrn operons, such as Helicobacter pylori and Mycobacterium spp. An analysis of the genome sequences of several members of the Chlamydiaceae revealed that these obligate intracellular bacteria harbor only one or two sets of rRNA genes. To study the contribution of rRNA mutations to the emergence of drug resistance in the Chlamydiaceae, we used the sensitivities of Chlamydia trachomatis L2 (two rrn operons) and Chlamydophila psittaci 6BC (one rrn operon) to the aminoglycoside spectinomycin as a model. Confluent cell monolayers were infected in a plaque assay with about 10(8) wild-type infectious particles and then treated with the antibiotic. After a 2-week incubation time, plaques formed by spontaneous spectinomycin-resistant (Spc(r)) mutants appeared with a frequency of 5 x 10(-5) for C. psittaci 6BC. No Spc(r) mutants were isolated for C. trachomatis L2, although the frequencies of rifampin resistance were in the same range for both strains (i.e., 10(-7)). The risk of emergence of Chlamydia strains resistant to tetracyclines and macrolides, the ribosomal drugs currently used to treat chlamydial infections, is discussed.
Project description:Chlamydiae are evolutionarily well-separated bacteria that live exclusively within eukaryotic host cells. They include important human pathogens such as Chlamydia trachomatis as well as symbionts of protozoa. As these bacteria are experimentally challenging and genetically intractable, our knowledge about them is still limited. In this study, we obtained the genome sequences of Simkania negevensis Z, Waddlia chondrophila 2032/99, and Parachlamydia acanthamoebae UV-7. This enabled us to perform the first comprehensive comparative and phylogenomic analysis of representative members of four major families of the Chlamydiae, including the Chlamydiaceae. We identified a surprisingly large core gene set present in all genomes and a high number of diverse accessory genes in those Chlamydiae that do not primarily infect humans or animals, including a chemosensory system in P. acanthamoebae and a type IV secretion system. In S. negevensis, the type IV secretion system is encoded on a large conjugative plasmid (pSn, 132 kb). Phylogenetic analyses suggested that a plasmid similar to the S. negevensis plasmid was originally acquired by the last common ancestor of all four families and that it was subsequently reduced, integrated into the chromosome, or lost during diversification, ultimately giving rise to the extant virulence-associated plasmid of pathogenic chlamydiae. Other virulence factors, including a type III secretion system, are conserved among the Chlamydiae to variable degrees and together with differences in the composition of the cell wall reflect adaptation to different host cells including convergent evolution among the four chlamydial families. Phylogenomic analysis focusing on chlamydial proteins with homology to plant proteins provided evidence for the acquisition of 53 chlamydial genes by a plant progenitor, lending further support for the hypothesis of an early interaction between a chlamydial ancestor and the primary photosynthetic eukaryote.
Project description:Intracellular Chlamydiaceae do not need to resist osmotic challenges and a functional cell wall was not detected in these pathogens. Nevertheless, a recent study revealed evidence for circular peptidoglycan-like structures in Chlamydiaceae and penicillin inhibits cytokinesis, a phenomenon known as the chlamydial anomaly. Here, by characterizing a cell wall precursor-processing enzyme, we provide insights into the mechanisms underlying this mystery. We show that AmiA from Chlamydia pneumoniae separates daughter cells in an Escherichia coli amidase mutant. Contrary to homologues from free-living bacteria, chlamydial AmiA uses lipid II as a substrate and has dual activity, acting as an amidase and a carboxypeptidase. The latter function is penicillin sensitive and assigned to a penicillin-binding protein motif. Consistent with the lack of a regulatory domain in AmiA, chlamydial CPn0902, annotated as NlpD, is a carboxypeptidase, rather than an amidase activator, which is the case for E. coli NlpD. Functional conservation of AmiA implicates a role in cytokinesis and host response modulation.