Pangenome-wide and molecular evolution analyses of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa species.
ABSTRACT: Drug treatments and vaccine designs against the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa have multiple issues, all associated with the diverse genetic traits present in this pathogen, ranging from multi-drug resistant genes to the molecular machinery for the biosynthesis of biofilms. Several candidate vaccines against P. aeruginosa have been developed, which target the outer membrane proteins; however, major issues arise when attempting to establish complete protection against this pathogen due to its presumably genotypic variation at the strain level. To shed light on this concern, we proposed this study to assess the P. aeruginosa pangenome and its molecular evolution across multiple strains.The P. aeruginosa pangenome was estimated to contain more than 16,000 non-redundant genes, and approximately 15 % of these constituted the core genome. Functional analyses of the accessory genome indicated a wide presence of genetic elements directly associated with pathogenicity. An in-depth molecular evolution analysis revealed the full landscape of selection forces acting on the P. aeruginosa pangenome, in which purifying selection drives evolution in the genome of this human pathogen. We also detected distinctive positive selection in a wide variety of outer membrane proteins, with the data supporting the concept of substantial genetic variation in proteins probably recognized as antigens. Approaching the evolutionary information of genes under extremely positive selection, we designed a new Multi-Locus Sequencing Typing assay for an informative, rapid, and cost-effective genotyping of P. aeruginosa clinical isolates.We report the unprecedented pangenome characterization of P. aeruginosa on a large scale, which included almost 200 bacterial genomes from one single species and a molecular evolutionary analysis at the pangenome scale. Evolutionary information presented here provides a clear explanation of the issues associated with the use of protein conjugates from pili, flagella, or secretion systems as antigens for vaccine design, which exhibit high genetic variation in terms of non-synonymous substitutions in P. aeruginosa strains.
Project description:Bacterial pathogens evolve during the course of infection as they adapt to the selective pressures that confront them inside the host. Identification of adaptive mutations and their contributions to pathogen fitness remains a central challenge. Although mutations can either target intergenic or coding regions in the pathogen genome, studies of host adaptation have focused predominantly on molecular evolution within coding regions, whereas the role of intergenic mutations remains unclear. Here, we address this issue and investigate the extent to which intergenic mutations contribute to the evolutionary response of a clinically important bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, to the host environment, and whether intergenic mutations have distinct roles in host adaptation. We characterize intergenic evolution in 44 clonal lineages of P. aeruginosa and identify 77 intergenic regions in which parallel evolution occurs. At the genetic level, we find that mutations in regions under selection are located primarily within regulatory elements upstream of transcriptional start sites. At the functional level, we show that some of these mutations both increase or decrease transcription of genes and are directly responsible for evolution of important pathogenic phenotypes including antibiotic sensitivity. Importantly, we find that intergenic mutations facilitate essential genes to become targets of evolution. In summary, our results highlight the evolutionary significance of intergenic mutations in creating host-adapted strains, and that intergenic and coding regions have different qualitative contributions to this process.
Project description:Understanding the genetic basis of susceptibility to pathogens is an important goal of medicine and of evolutionary biology. A key first step toward understanding the genetics and evolution of any phenotypic trait is characterizing the role of mutation. However, the rate at which mutation introduces genetic variance for pathogen susceptibility in any organism is essentially unknown. Here, we quantify the per-generation input of genetic variance by mutation (VM) for susceptibility of Caenorhabditis elegans to the pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa (defined as the median time of death, LT50). VM for LT50 is slightly less than VM for a variety of life-history and morphological traits in this strain of C. elegans, but is well within the range of reported values in a variety of organisms. Mean LT50 did not change significantly over 250 generations of mutation accumulation. Comparison of VM to the standing genetic variance (VG) implies a strength of selection against new mutations of a few tenths of a percent. These results suggest that the substantial standing genetic variation for susceptibility of C. elegans to P. aeruginosa can be explained by polygenic mutation coupled with purifying selection.
Project description:In the United States, the introduction of the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) largely eliminated vaccine serotypes (VT); non-vaccine serotypes (NVT) subsequently increased in carriage and disease. Vaccination also disrupts the composition of the pneumococcal pangenome, which includes mobile genetic elements and polymorphic non-capsular antigens important for virulence, transmission, and pneumococcal ecology. Antigenic proteins are of interest for future vaccines; yet, little is known about how the they are affected by PCV use. To investigate the evolutionary impact of vaccination, we assessed recombination, evolution, and pathogen demographic history of 937 pneumococci collected from 1998-2012 among Navajo and White Mountain Apache Native American communities. We analyzed changes in the pneumococcal pangenome, focusing on metabolic loci and 19 polymorphic protein antigens. We found the impact of PCV on the pneumococcal population could be observed in reduced diversity, a smaller pangenome, and changing frequencies of accessory clusters of orthologous groups (COGs). Post-PCV7, diversity rebounded through clonal expansion of NVT lineages and inferred in-migration of two previously unobserved lineages. Accessory COGs frequencies trended toward pre-PCV7 values with increasing time since vaccine introduction. Contemporary frequencies of protein antigen variants are better predicted by pre-PCV7 values (1998-2000) than the preceding period (2006-2008), suggesting balancing selection may have acted in maintaining variant frequencies in this population. Overall, we present the largest genomic analysis of pneumococcal carriage in the United States to date, which includes a snapshot of a true vaccine-naïve community prior to the introduction of PCV7. These data improve our understanding of pneumococcal evolution and emphasize the need to consider pangenome composition when inferring the impact of vaccination and developing future protein-based pneumococcal vaccines.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that causes severe airway infections in humans. These infections are usually difficult to treat and associated with high mortality rates. While colonizing the human airways, P. aeruginosa could accumulate genetic mutations that often lead to its better adaptability to the host environment. Understanding these evolutionary traits may provide important clues for the development of effective therapies to treat P. aeruginosa infections. In this study, 25 P. aeruginosa isolates were longitudinally sampled from the airways of four ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) patients. Pacbio and Illumina sequencing were used to analyse the in vivo evolutionary trajectories of these isolates. Our analysis showed that positive selection dominantly shaped P. aeruginosa genomes during VAP infections and led to three convergent evolution events, including loss-of-function mutations of lasR and mpl, and a pyoverdine-deficient phenotype. Specifically, lasR encodes one of the major transcriptional regulators in quorum sensing, whereas mpl encodes an enzyme responsible for recycling cell wall peptidoglycan. We also found that P. aeruginosa isolated at late stages of VAP infections produce less elastase and are less virulent in vivo than their earlier isolated counterparts, suggesting the short-term in vivo evolution of P. aeruginosa leads to attenuated virulence.
Project description:Host-pathogen interactions underlie one of the most complex evolutionary phenomena resulting in continual adaptive genetic changes, where pathogens exploit the host's molecular resources for growth and survival, while hosts try to eliminate the pathogen. Deciphering the molecular basis of host-pathogen interactions is useful in understanding the factors governing pathogen evolution and disease propagation. In host-pathogen context, a balance between mutation, selection, and genetic drift is known to maintain codon bias in both organisms. Studies revealing determinants of the bias and its dynamics are central to the understanding of host-pathogen evolution. We considered the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) type 1 and its human host to search for evolutionary signatures in the viral genome. Positive selection is known to dominate intra-host evolution of HIV-1, whereas high genetic variability underlies the belief that neutral processes drive inter-host differences. In this study, we analyze the codon usage patterns of HIV-1 genomes across all subtypes and clades sequenced over a period of 23 years. We show presence of unique temporal correlations in the codon bias of three HIV-1 genes illustrating differential adaptation of the HIV-1 genes towards the host preferred codons. Our results point towards gene-specific translational selection to be an important force driving the evolution of HIV-1 at the population level.
Project description:Chronic infection of the cystic fibrosis (CF) airway by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality for adult CF patients. Prolonged infections are accompanied by adaptation of P. aeruginosa to the unique conditions of the CF lung environment, as well as marked diversification of the pathogen into phenotypically and genetically distinct strains that can coexist for years within a patient. Little is known, however, about the causes of this diversification and its impact on patient health. Here, we show experimentally that, consistent with ecological theory of diversification, the nutritional conditions of the CF airway can cause rapid and extensive diversification of P. aeruginosa Mucin, the substance responsible for the increased viscosity associated with the thick mucus layer in the CF airway, had little impact on within-population diversification but did promote divergence among populations. Furthermore, in vitro evolution recapitulated traits thought to be hallmarks of chronic infection, including reduced motility and increased biofilm formation, and the range of phenotypes observed in a collection of clinical isolates. Our results suggest that nutritional complexity and reduced dispersal can drive evolutionary diversification of P. aeruginosa independent of other features of the CF lung such as an active immune system or the presence of competing microbial species. We suggest that diversification, by generating extensive phenotypic and genetic variation on which selection can act, may be a key first step in the development of chronic infections.
Project description:Pasteurella multocida, a Gram-negative opportunistic pathogen, has led to a broad range of diseases in mammals and birds, including fowl cholera in poultry, pneumonia and atrophic rhinitis in swine and rabbit, hemorrhagic septicemia in cattle, and bite infections in humans. In order to better interpret the genetic diversity and adaptation evolution of this pathogen, seven genomes of P. multocida strains isolated from fowls, rabbit and pigs were determined by using high-throughput sequencing approach. Together with publicly available P. multocida genomes, evolutionary features were systematically analyzed in this study. Clustering of 70,565 protein-coding genes showed that the pangenome of 33 P. multocida strains was composed of 1,602 core genes, 1,364 dispensable genes, and 1,070 strain-specific genes. Of these, we identified a full spectrum of genes related to virulence factors and revealed genetic diversity of these potential virulence markers across P. multocida strains, e.g., bcbAB, fcbC, lipA, bexDCA, ctrCD, lgtA, lgtC, lic2A involved in biogenesis of surface polysaccharides, hsf encoding autotransporter adhesin, and fhaB encoding filamentous haemagglutinin. Furthermore, based on genome-wide positive selection scanning, a total of 35 genes were subject to strong selection pressure. Extensive analyses of protein subcellular location indicated that membrane-associated genes were highly abundant among all positively selected genes. The detected amino acid sites undergoing adaptive selection were preferably located in extracellular space, perhaps associated with bacterial evasion of host immune responses. Our findings shed more light on conservation and distribution of virulence-associated genes across P. multocida strains. Meanwhile, this study provides a genetic context for future researches on the mechanism of adaptive evolution in P. multocida.
Project description:Pneumocystis species are opportunistic mammalian pathogens that cause severe pneumonia in immunocompromised individuals. These fungi are highly host specific and uncultivable in vitro Human Pneumocystis infections present major challenges because of a limited therapeutic arsenal and the rise of drug resistance. To investigate the diversity and demographic history of natural populations of Pneumocystis infecting humans, rats, and mice, we performed whole-genome and large-scale multilocus sequencing of infected tissues collected in various geographic locations. Here, we detected reduced levels of recombination and variations in historical demography, which shape the global population structures. We report estimates of evolutionary rates, levels of genetic diversity, and population sizes. Molecular clock estimates indicate that Pneumocystis species diverged before their hosts, while the asynchronous timing of population declines suggests host shifts. Our results have uncovered complex patterns of genetic variation influenced by multiple factors that shaped the adaptation of Pneumocystis populations during their spread across mammals.IMPORTANCE Understanding how natural pathogen populations evolve and identifying the determinants of genetic variation are central issues in evolutionary biology. Pneumocystis, a fungal pathogen which infects mammals exclusively, provides opportunities to explore these issues. In humans, Pneumocystis can cause a life-threatening pneumonia in immunosuppressed individuals. In analysis of different Pneumocystis species infecting humans, rats, and mice, we found that there are high infection rates and that natural populations maintain a high level of genetic variation despite low levels of recombination. We found no evidence of population structuring by geography. Our comparisons of the times of divergence of these species to their respective hosts suggest that Pneumocystis may have undergone recent host shifts. The results demonstrate that Pneumocystis strains are widely disseminated geographically and provide a new understanding of the evolution of these pathogens.
Project description:The rapid rise of antibiotic resistance has renewed interest in phage therapy - the use of bacteria-specific viruses (phages) to treat bacterial infections. Even though phages are often pathogen-specific, little is known about the efficiency and eco-evolutionary outcomes of phage therapy in polymicrobial infections. We studied this experimentally by exposing both quorum-sensing (QS) signalling PAO1 and QS-deficient lasR Pseudomonas aeruginosa genotypes (differing in their ability to signal intraspecifically) to lytic PT7 phage in the presence and absence of two bacterial competitors: Staphylococcus aureus and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia-two bacteria commonly associated with P. aeruginosa in polymicrobial cystic fibrosis lung infections. Both the P. aeruginosa genotype and the presence of competitors had profound effects on bacteria and phage densities and bacterial resistance evolution. In general, competition reduced the P. aeruginosa frequencies leading to a lower rate of resistance evolution. This effect was clearer with QS signalling PAO1 strain due to lower bacteria and phage densities and relatively larger pleiotropic growth cost imposed by both phages and competitors. Unexpectedly, phage selection decreased the total bacterial densities in the QS-deficient lasR pathogen communities, while an increase was observed in the QS signalling PAO1 pathogen communities. Together these results suggest that bacterial competition can shape the eco-evolutionary outcomes of phage therapy.
Project description:Laboratory evolution experiments have led to important findings relating organism adaptation and genomic evolution. However, continuous monitoring of long-term evolution has been lacking for natural systems, limiting our understanding of these processes in situ. Here we characterize the evolutionary dynamics of a lineage of a clinically important opportunistic bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as it adapts to the airways of several individual cystic fibrosis patients over 200,000 bacterial generations, and provide estimates of mutation rates of bacteria in a natural environment. In contrast to predictions based on in vitro evolution experiments, we document limited diversification of the evolving lineage despite a highly structured and complex host environment. Notably, the lineage went through an initial period of rapid adaptation caused by a small number of mutations with pleiotropic effects, followed by a period of genetic drift with limited phenotypic change and a genomic signature of negative selection, suggesting that the evolving lineage has reached a major adaptive peak in the fitness landscape. This contrasts with previous findings of continued positive selection from long-term in vitro evolution experiments. The evolved phenotype of the infecting bacteria further suggests that the opportunistic pathogen has transitioned to become a primary pathogen for cystic fibrosis patients.