Genetic and phenotypic diversity in Burkholderia: contributions by prophage and phage-like elements.
ABSTRACT: Burkholderia species exhibit enormous phenotypic diversity, ranging from the nonpathogenic, soil- and water-inhabiting Burkholderia thailandensis to the virulent, host-adapted mammalian pathogen B. mallei. Genomic diversity is evident within Burkholderia species as well. Individual isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. thailandensis, for example, carry a variety of strain-specific genomic islands (GIs), including putative pathogenicity and metabolic islands, prophage-like islands, and prophages. These GIs may provide some strains with a competitive advantage in the environment and/or in the host relative to other strains.Here we present the results of analysis of 37 prophages, putative prophages, and prophage-like elements from six different Burkholderia species. Five of these were spontaneously induced to form bacteriophage particles from B. pseudomallei and B. thailandensis strains and were isolated and fully sequenced; 24 were computationally predicted in sequenced Burkholderia genomes; and eight are previously characterized prophages or prophage-like elements. The results reveal numerous differences in both genome structure and gene content among elements derived from different species as well as from strains within species, due in part to the incorporation of additional DNA, or 'morons' into the prophage genomes. Implications for pathogenicity are also discussed. Lastly, RNAseq analysis of gene expression showed that many of the genes in varphi1026b that appear to contribute to phage and lysogen fitness were expressed independently of the phage structural and replication genes.This study provides the first estimate of the relative contribution of prophages to the vast phenotypic diversity found among the Burkholderiae.
Project description:Burkholderia pseudomallei is a soil-dwelling saprophyte and the cause of melioidosis. Horizontal gene transfer contributes to the genetic diversity of this pathogen and may be an important determinant of virulence potential. The genome contains genomic island (GI) regions that encode a broad array of functions. Although there is some evidence for the variable distribution of genomic islands in B. pseudomallei isolates, little is known about the extent of variation between related strains or their association with disease or environmental survival.Five islands from B. pseudomallei strain K96243 were chosen as representatives of different types of genomic islands present in this strain, and their presence investigated in other B. pseudomallei. In silico analysis of 10 B. pseudomallei genome sequences provided evidence for the variable presence of these regions, together with micro-evolutionary changes that generate GI diversity. The diversity of GIs in 186 isolates from NE Thailand (83 environmental and 103 clinical isolates) was investigated using multiplex PCR screening. The proportion of all isolates positive by PCR ranged from 12% for a prophage-like island (GI 9), to 76% for a metabolic island (GI 16). The presence of each of the five GIs did not differ between environmental and disease-associated isolates (p > 0.05 for all five islands). The cumulative number of GIs per isolate for the 186 isolates ranged from 0 to 5 (median 2, IQR 1 to 3). The distribution of cumulative GI number did not differ between environmental and disease-associated isolates (p = 0.27). The presence of GIs was defined for the three largest clones in this collection (each defined as a single sequence type, ST, by multilocus sequence typing); these were ST 70 (n = 15 isolates), ST 54 (n = 11), and ST 167 (n = 9). The rapid loss and/or acquisition of gene islands was observed within individual clones. Comparisons were drawn between isolates obtained from the environment and from patients with melioidosis in order to examine the role of genomic islands in virulence and clinical associations. There was no reproducible association between the individual or cumulative presence of five GIs and a range of clinical features in 103 patients with melioidosis.Horizontal gene transfer of mobile genetic elements can rapidly alter the gene repertoire of B. pseudomallei. This study confirms the utility of a range of approaches in defining the presence and significance of genomic variation in natural populations of B. pseudomallei.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei are closely related Category B Select Agents of bioterrorism and the causative agents of the diseases melioidosis and glanders, respectively. Rapid phage-based diagnostic tools would greatly benefit early recognition and treatment of these diseases. There is extensive strain-to-strain variation in B. pseudomallei genome content due in part to the presence or absence of integrated prophages. Several phages have previously been isolated from B. pseudomallei lysogens, for example ?K96243, ?1026b and ?52237. RESULTS: We have isolated a P2-like bacteriophage, ?X216, which infects 78% of all B. pseudomallei strains tested. ?X216 also infects B. mallei, but not other Burkholderia species, including the closely related B. thailandensis and B. oklahomensis. The nature of the ?X216 host receptor remains unclear but evidence indicates that in B. mallei ?X216 uses lipopolysaccharide O-antigen but a different receptor in B. pseudomallei. The 37,637 bp genome of ?X216 encodes 47 predicted open reading frames and shares 99.8% pairwise identity and an identical strain host range with bacteriophage ?52237. Closely related P2-like prophages appear to be widely distributed among B. pseudomallei strains but both ?X216 and ?52237 readily infect prophage carrying strains. CONCLUSIONS: The broad strain infectivity and high specificity for B. pseudomallei and B. mallei indicate that ?X216 will provide a good platform for the development of phage-based diagnostics for these bacteria.
Project description:Burkholderia pseudomallei is the etiologic agent of melioidosis, a significant cause of morbidity and mortality where this infection is endemic. Genomic differences among strains of B. pseudomallei are predicted to be one of the major causes of the diverse clinical manifestations observed among patients with melioidosis. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of genomic islands (GIs) as sources of genomic diversity in this species.We found that genomic islands (GIs) vary greatly among B. pseudomallei strains. We identified 71 distinct GIs from the genome sequences of five reference strains of B. pseudomallei: K96243, 1710b, 1106a, MSHR668, and MSHR305. The genomic positions of these GIs are not random, as many of them are associated with tRNA gene loci. In particular, the 3' end sequences of tRNA genes are predicted to be involved in the integration of GIs. We propose the term "tRNA-mediated site-specific recombination" (tRNA-SSR) for this mechanism. In addition, we provide a GI nomenclature that is based upon integration hotspots identified here or previously described.Our data suggest that acquisition of GIs is one of the major sources of genomic diversity within B. pseudomallei and the molecular mechanisms that facilitate horizontally-acquired GIs are common across multiple strains of B. pseudomallei. The differential presence of the 71 GIs across multiple strains demonstrates the importance of these mobile elements for shaping the genetic composition of individual strains and populations within this bacterial species.
Project description:Burkholderia thailandensis is a non-pathogenic environmental saprophyte closely related to Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of the often fatal animal and human disease melioidosis. To study B. thailandensis genomic variation, we profiled 50 isolates using a pan-genome microarray comprising genomic elements from 28 Burkholderia strains and species.Of 39 genomic regions variably present across the B. thailandensis strains, 13 regions corresponded to known genomic islands, while 26 regions were novel. Variant B. thailandensis isolates exhibited isolated acquisition of a capsular polysaccharide biosynthesis gene cluster (B. pseudomallei-like capsular polysaccharide) closely resembling a similar cluster in B. pseudomallei that is essential for virulence in mammals; presence of this cluster was confirmed by whole genome sequencing of a representative variant strain (B. thailandensis E555). Both whole-genome microarray and multi-locus sequence typing analysis revealed that the variant strains formed part of a phylogenetic subgroup distinct from the ancestral B. thailandensis population and were associated with atypical isolation sources when compared to the majority of previously described B. thailandensis strains. In functional assays, B. thailandensis E555 exhibited several B. pseudomallei-like phenotypes, including colony wrinkling, resistance to human complement binding, and intracellular macrophage survival. However, in murine infection assays, B. thailandensis E555 did not exhibit enhanced virulence relative to other B. thailandensis strains, suggesting that additional factors are required to successfully colonize and infect mammals.The discovery of such novel variant strains demonstrates how unbiased genomic surveys of non-pathogenic isolates can reveal insights into the development and emergence of new pathogenic species.
Project description:Burkholderia mallei and B. pseudomallei are highly pathogenic species which are closely related, but diverse regarding their prophage content. While temperate phages have not yet been isolated from B. mallei, several phages of B. pseudomallei, and its non-pathogenic relative B. thailandensis have been described. In this study we isolated two phages from B. pseudomallei and three phages from B. thailandensis and determined their morphology, host range, and relationship. All five phages belong to the family Myoviridae, but some of them revealed different host specificities. DNA-DNA hybridization experiments indicated that the phages belong to two groups. One group, composed of ?E058 (44,121 bp) and ?E067 (43,649 bp), represents a new subgroup of Burkholderia myoviruses that is not related to known phages. The genomes of ?E058 and ?E067 are similar but also show some striking differences. Repressor proteins differ clearly allowing the phages to form plaques on hosts containing the respective other phage. The tail fiber proteins exhibited some minor deviations in the C-terminal region, which may account for the ability of ?E058, but not ?E067, to lyse B. mallei, B. pseudomallei, and B. thailandensis. In addition, the integrases and attachment sites of the phages are not related. While ?E058 integrates into the Burkholderia chromosome within an intergenic region, the ?E067 prophage resides in the selC tRNA gene for selenocysteine. Experiments on the structure of phage DNA isolated from particles suggest that the ?E058 and ?E067 genomes have a circular conformation.
Project description:The Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC) is made up of at least 17 species of gram-negative opportunistic bacterial pathogens that cause fatal infections in patients with cystic fibrosis and chronic granulomatous disease. KS9 (vB_BcenS_KS9), one of a number of temperate phages isolated from BCC species, is a prophage of Burkholderia pyrrocinia LMG 21824. Transmission electron micrographs indicate that KS9 belongs to the family Siphoviridae and exhibits the B1 morphotype. The 39,896-bp KS9 genome, comprised of 50 predicted genes, integrates into the 3' end of the LMG 21824 GTP cyclohydrolase II open reading frame. The KS9 genome is most similar to uncharacterized prophage elements in the genome of B. cenocepacia PC184 (vB_BcenZ_ PC184), as well as Burkholderia thailandensis phage phiE125 and Burkholderia pseudomallei phage phi1026b. Using molecular techniques, we have disrupted KS9 gene 41, which exhibits similarity to genes encoding phage repressors, producing a lytic mutant named KS9c. This phage is incapable of stable lysogeny in either LMG 21824 or B. cenocepacia strain K56-2 and rescues a Galleria mellonella infection model from experimental B. cenocepacia K56-2 infections at relatively low multiplicities of infection. These results readily demonstrate that temperate phages can be genetically engineered to lytic form and that these modified phages can be used to treat bacterial infections in vivo.
Project description:The Burkholderia pseudomallei phylogenetic cluster includes B. pseudomallei, B. mallei, B. thailandensis, B. oklahomensis, B. humptydooensis and B. singularis. Regarded as the only pathogenic members of this group, B. pseudomallei and B. mallei cause the diseases melioidosis and glanders, respectively. Additionally, variant strains of B. pseudomallei and B. thailandensis exist that include the geographically restricted B. pseudomallei that express a B. mallei-like BimA protein (BPBM), and B. thailandensis that express a B. pseudomallei-like capsular polysaccharide (BTCV). To establish a PCR-based assay for the detection of pathogenic Burkholderia species or their variants, five PCR primers were designed to amplify species-specific sequences within the bimA (Burkholderia intracellular motility A) gene. Our multiplex PCR assay could distinguish pathogenic B. pseudomallei and BPBM from the non-pathogenic B. thailandensis and the BTCV strains. A second singleplex PCR successfully discriminated the BTCV from B. thailandensis. Apart from B. humptydooensis, specificity testing against other Burkholderia spp., as well as other Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria produced a negative result. The detection limit of the multiplex PCR in soil samples artificially spiked with known quantities of B. pseudomallei and B. thailandensis were 5 and 6 CFU/g soil, respectively. Furthermore, comparison between standard bacterial culture and the multiplex PCR to detect B. pseudomallei from 34 soil samples, collected from an endemic area of melioidosis, showed high sensitivity and specificity. This robust, sensitive, and specific PCR assay will be a useful tool for epidemiological study of B. pseudomallei and closely related members with pathogenic potential in soil.
Project description:The Burkholderia pseudomallei complex classically consisted of B. mallei, B. pseudomallei, and B. thailandensis, but has now expanded to include B. oklahomensis, B. humptydooensis, and three unassigned Burkholderia clades. Methods for detecting and differentiating the B. pseudomallei complex has been the topic of recent research due to phenotypic and genotypic similarities of these species. B. mallei and B. pseudomallei are recognized as CDC Tier 1 select agents, and are the causative agents of glanders and melioidosis, respectively. Although B. thailandensis and B. oklahomensis are generally avirulent, both display similar phenotypic characteristics to that of B. pseudomallei. B. humptydooensis and the Burkholderia clades are genetically similar to the B. pseudomallei complex, and are not associated with disease. Optimal identification of these species remains problematic, and PCR-based methods can resolve issues with B. pseudomallei complex detection and differentiation. Currently, no PCR assay is available that detects the major species of the B. pseudomallei complex. A real-time PCR assay in a multiplex single-tube format was developed to simultaneously detect and differentiate B. mallei, B. pseudomallei, and B. thailandensis, and a common sequence found in B. pseudomallei, B. mallei, B. thailandensis, and B. oklahomensis. A total of 309 Burkholderia isolates and 5 other bacterial species were evaluated. The assay was 100% sensitive and specific, demonstrated sensitivity beyond culture and GC methods for the isolates tested, and is completed in about an hour with a detection limit between 2.6pg and 48.9pg of gDNA. Bioinformatic analyses also showed the assay is likely 100% specific and sensitive for all 84 fully sequenced B. pseudomallei, B. mallei, B. thailandensis, and B. oklahomensis strains currently available in GenBank. For these reasons, this assay could be a rapid and sensitive tool in the detection and differentiation for those species of the B. pseudomallei complex with recognized clinical and practical significance.
Project description:Bacterial species are hosts to horizontally acquired mobile genetic elements (MGEs), which encode virulence, toxin, antimicrobial resistance, and other metabolic functions. The bipartite genome of <i>Vibrio cholerae</i> harbors sporadic and conserved MGEs that contribute in the disease development and survival of the pathogens. For a comprehensive understanding of dynamics of MGEs in the bacterial genome, we engineered the genome of <i>V. cholerae</i> and examined in vitro and in vivo stability of genomic islands (GIs), integrative conjugative elements (ICEs), and prophages. Recombinant vectors carrying the integration module of these GIs, ICE and CTX?, helped us to understand the efficiency of integrations of MGEs in the <i>V. cholerae</i> chromosome. We have deleted more than 250 acquired genes from 6 different loci in the <i>V. cholerae</i> chromosome and showed contribution of CTX prophage in the essentiality of SOS response master regulator LexA, which is otherwise not essential for viability in other bacteria, including <i>Escherichia coli</i> In addition, we observed that the core genome-encoded RecA helps CTX? to bypass <i>V. cholerae</i> immunity and allow it to replicate in the host bacterium in the presence of similar prophage in the chromosome. Finally, our proteomics analysis reveals the importance of MGEs in modulating the levels of cellular proteome. This study engineered the genome of <i>V. cholerae</i> to remove all of the GIs, ICEs, and prophages and revealed important interactions between core and acquired genomes.
Project description:Burkholderia pseudomallei, Burkholderia thailandensis, and Burkholderia mallei (the Bptm group) are close relatives with very different lifestyles: B. pseudomallei is an opportunistic pathogen, B. thailandensis is a nonpathogenic saprophyte, and B. mallei is a host-restricted pathogen. The acyl-homoserine lactone quorum-sensing (QS) systems of these three species show a high level of conservation. We used transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) to define the quorum-sensing regulon in each species, and we performed a cross-species analysis of the QS-controlled orthologs. Our analysis revealed a core set of QS-regulated genes in all three species, as well as QS-controlled factors shared by only two species or unique to a given species. This global survey of the QS regulons of B. pseudomallei, B. thailandensis, and B. mallei serves as a platform for predicting which QS-controlled processes might be important in different bacterial niches and contribute to the pathogenesis of B. pseudomallei and B. mallei.