Identification and Analysis of Informative Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in 16S rRNA Gene Sequences of the Bacillus cereus Group.
ABSTRACT: Analysis of 16S rRNA genes is important for phylogenetic classification of known and novel bacterial genera and species and for detection of uncultivable bacteria. PCR amplification of 16S rRNA genes with universal primers produces a mixture of amplicons from all rRNA operons in the genome, and the sequence data generally yield a consensus sequence. Here we describe valuable data that are missing from consensus sequences, variable effects on sequence data generated from nonidentical 16S rRNA amplicons, and the appearance of data displayed by different software programs. These effects are illustrated by analysis of 16S rRNA genes from 50 strains of the Bacillus cereus group, i.e., Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, Bacillus mycoides, and Bacillus thuringiensis These species have 11 to 14 rRNA operons, and sequence variability occurs among the multiple 16S rRNA genes. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) previously reported to be specific to B. anthracis was detected in some B. cereus strains. However, a different SNP, at position 1139, was identified as being specific to B. anthracis, which is a biothreat agent with high mortality rates. Compared with visual analysis of the electropherograms, basecaller software frequently missed gene sequence variations or could not identify variant bases due to overlapping basecalls. Accurate detection of 16S rRNA gene sequences that include intragenomic variations can improve discrimination among closely related species, improve the utility of 16S rRNA databases, and facilitate rapid bacterial identification by targeted DNA sequence analysis or by whole-genome sequencing performed by clinical or reference laboratories.
Project description:In order to determine if variations in rRNA sequence could be used for discrimination of the members of the Bacillus cereus group, we analyzed 183 16S rRNA and 74 23S rRNA sequences for all species in the B. cereus group. We also analyzed 30 gyrB sequences for B. cereus group strains with published 16S rRNA sequences. Our findings indicated that the three most common species of the B. cereus group, B. cereus, Bacillus thuringiensis, and Bacillus mycoides, were each heterogeneous in all three gene sequences, while all analyzed strains of Bacillus anthracis were found to be homogeneous. Based on analysis of 16S and 23S rRNA sequence variations, the microorganisms within the B. cereus group were divided into seven subgroups, Anthracis, Cereus A and B, Thuringiensis A and B, and Mycoides A and B, and these seven subgroups were further organized into two distinct clusters. This classification of the B. cereus group conflicts with current taxonomic groupings, which are based on phenotypic traits. The presence of B. cereus strains in six of the seven subgroups and the presence of B. thuringiensis strains in three of the subgroups do not support the proposed unification of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis into one species. Analysis of the available phenotypic data for the strains included in this study revealed phenotypic traits that may be characteristic of several of the subgroups. Finally, our results demonstrated that rRNA and gyrB sequences may be used for discriminating B. anthracis from other microorganisms in the B. cereus group.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Anthrax, a zoonotic disease is caused by the Gram positive bacterium Bacillus anthracis. During January 2013, an anthrax outbreak among cattle was reported in Gundlupet Taluk, neighboring Bandipur National Park and tiger reserve, India. The present study aims at the molecular identification and characterization of 12 B. anthracis isolates from this outbreak by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, screening B. anthracis specific prophages and chromosomal markers, protective antigen (pag) gene and canonical single nucleotide polymorphism (canSNP) analysis to subtype the isolates into one of the twelve globally identified clonal sub-lineages of B. anthracis. RESULTS:These isolates had identical 16S rDNA nucleotide sequences with B. anthracis specific dual peaks showing mixed base pair R (G/A) at position 1139 with visual inspection while the automated basecaller software indicated a G. Alternatively the nucleotide A at 1146 position was indicative of the 16S rDNA type 7. Multiple sequence alignment with additional 170 (16S rDNA) sequences of B. cereus sensu lato group from GenBank database revealed 28 new 16S types in addition to eleven 16S types reported earlier. The twelve B. anthracis isolates were found to harbor the four B. anthracis specific prophages (lambdaBa01, lambdaBa02, lambdaBa03, and lambdaBa04) along with its four specific loci markers (dhp 61.183, dhp 77.002, dhp 73.019, and dhp 73.017). The pag gene sequencing identified the isolates as protective antigen (PA) genotype I with phenylalanine-proline-alanine phenotype (FPA phenotype). However, sequence clustering with additional 34 pag sequences from GenBank revealed two additional missense mutations at nucleotide positions 196?bp and 869?bp of the 2294?bp pag sequence among the 5 B. cereus strains with pXO1 like plasmids. The canSNP analysis showed that the isolates belong to A.Br.Aust94 sub-lineage that is distributed geographically in countries of Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. CONCLUSIONS:The analysis of 16S rDNA sequences reiterated the earlier findings that visual inspection of electropherogram for position 1139 having nucleotide R could be used for B. anthracis identification and not the consensus sequence from base caller. The canSNP results indicated that the anthrax outbreak among cattle was caused by B. anthracis of A.Br.Aust94 sub-lineage.
Project description:Bacillus anthracis is a Gram-positive endospore-forming bacterial species that causes anthrax in both humans and animals. In Zambia, anthrax cases are frequently reported in both livestock and wildlife, with occasional transmission to humans, causing serious public health problems in the country. To understand the genetic diversity of B. anthracis strains in Zambia, we sequenced and compared the genomic DNA of B. anthracis strains isolated across the country. Single nucleotide polymorphisms clustered these strains into three groups. Genome sequence comparisons revealed a large deletion in strains belonging to one of the groups, possibly due to unequal crossing over between a pair of rRNA operons. The deleted genomic region included genes conferring resistance to bacitracin, and the strains with the deletion were confirmed with loss of bacitracin resistance. Similar deletions between rRNA operons were also observed in a few B. anthracis strains phylogenetically distant from Zambian strains. The structure of bacitracin resistance genes flanked by rRNA operons was conserved only in members of the Bacillus cereus group. The diversity and genomic characteristics of B. anthracis strains determined in this study would help in the development of genetic markers and treatment of anthrax in Zambia. IMPORTANCE Anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis, an endospore-forming soil bacterium. The genetic diversity of B. anthracis is known to be low compared with that of Bacillus species. In this study, we performed whole-genome sequencing of Zambian isolates of B. anthracis to understand the genetic diversity between closely related strains. Comparison of genomic sequences revealed that closely related strains were separated into three groups based on single nucleotide polymorphisms distributed throughout the genome. A large genomic deletion was detected in the region containing a bacitracin resistance gene cluster flanked by rRNA operons, resulting in the loss of bacitracin resistance. The structure of the deleted region, which was also conserved among species of the Bacillus cereus group, has the potential for both deletion and amplification and thus might be enabling the species to flexibly control the level of bacitracin resistance for adaptive evolution.
Project description:In a bioterrorism event, a tool is needed to rapidly differentiate Bacillus anthracis from other closely related spore-forming Bacillus species. During the recent outbreak of bioterrorism-associated anthrax, we sequenced the 16S rRNA generom these species to evaluate the potential of 16S rRNA gene sequencing as a diagnostic tool. We found eight distinct 16S types among all 107 16S rRNA gene seqs fuences that differed from each other at 1 to 8 positions (0.06% to 0.5%). All 86 B. anthracis had an identical 16S gene sequence, designated type 6; 16S type 10 was seen in all B. thuringiensis strains; six other 16S types were found among the 10 B. cereus strains. This report describes the first demonstration of an exclusive association of a distinct 16S sequence with B. anthracis. Consequently, we were able to rapidly identify suspected isolates and to detect the B. anthracis 16S rRNA gene directly from culture-negative clinical specimens from seven patients with laboratory-confirmed anthrax.
Project description:Analysis of 16S rRNA sequences is a commonly used method for the identification and discrimination of microorganisms. However, the high similarity of 16S and 23S rRNA sequences of Bacillus cereus group organisms (up to 99-100%) and repeatedly failed attempts to develop molecular typing systems that would use DNA sequences to discriminate between species within this group have resulted in several suggestions to consider B. cereus and B. thuringiensis, or these two species together with B. anthracis, as one species. Recently, we divided the B. cereus group into seven subgroups, Anthracis, Cereus A and B, Thuringiensis A and B, and Mycoides A and B, based on 16S rRNA, 23S rRNA and gyrB gene sequences and identified subgroup-specific makers in each of these three genes. Here we for the first time demonstrated discrimination of these seven subgroups, including subgroup Anthracis, with a 3D gel element microarray of oligonucleotide probes targeting 16S and 23S rRNA markers. This is the first microarray enabled identification of B. anthracis and discrimination of these seven subgroups in pure cell cultures and in environmental samples using rRNA sequences. The microarray bearing perfect match/mismatch (p/mm) probe pairs was specific enough to discriminate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and was able to identify targeted organisms in 5min. We also demonstrated the ability of the microarray to determine subgroup affiliations for B. cereus group isolates without rRNA sequencing. Correlation of these seven subgroups with groupings based on multilocus sequence typing (MLST), fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis (AFLP) and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MME) analysis of a wide spectrum of different genes, and the demonstration of subgroup-specific differences in toxin profiles, psychrotolerance, and the ability to harbor some plasmids, suggest that these seven subgroups are not based solely on neutral genomic polymorphisms, but instead reflect differences in both the genotypes and phenotypes of the B. cereus group organisms.
Project description:The Bacillus genus is a large heterogeneous group in need of an efficient method for species differentiation. To determine the current validity of a sequence-based method for identification and provide contemporary data, PCR and sequencing of a 500-bp product encompassing the V1 to V3 regions of the 16S rRNA gene were undertaken using 65 of the 83 type strains of this genus. This region proved discriminatory between most species (70.0 to 100% similarity), the exceptions being clinically relevant B. cereus and B. anthracis as well as nonpathogenic B. psychrotolerans and B. psychrodurans. Consequently, 27 type and clinical strains from the B. cereus group were used to test alternate targets (rpoB, vrrA, and the 16S-23S spacer region) for identification. The rpoB gene proved the best alternate target, with a conserved 4-nucleotide difference between B. cereus and B. anthracis. The high 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities between some strains demonstrated the need for a polyphasic approach to the systematics of this genus. This approach is one focus of the Ribosomal Differentiation of Medical Microorganisms mandate. Accordingly, the 16S rRNA gene sequences generated in this study have been submitted for inclusion into its publicly accessible, quality-controlled database at http://www.ridom_rdna.de/.
Project description:As 16S rRNA sequence analysis has proven inadequate for the differentiation of Bacillus cereus from closely related species, we employed the gyrase B gene (gyrB) as a molecular diagnostic marker. The gyrB genes of B. cereus JCM 2152(T), Bacillus thuringiensis IAM 12077(T), Bacillus mycoides ATCC 6462(T), and Bacillus anthracis Pasteur #2H were cloned and sequenced. Oligonucleotide PCR primer sets were designed from within gyrB sequences of the respective bacteria for the specific amplification and differentiation of B. cereus, B. thuringiensis, and B. anthracis. The results from the amplification of gyrB sequences correlated well with results obtained with the 16S rDNA-based hybridization study but not with the results of their phenotypic characterization. Some of the reference strains of both B. cereus (three serovars) and B. thuringiensis (two serovars) were not positive in PCR amplification assays with gyrB primers. However, complete sequencing of 1.2-kb gyrB fragments of these reference strains showed that these serovars had, in fact, lower homology than their originally designated species. We developed and tested a procedure for the specific detection of the target organism in boiled rice that entailed 15 h of preenrichment followed by PCR amplification of the B. cereus-specific fragment. This method enabled us to detect an initial inoculum of 0.24 CFU of B. cereus cells per g of boiled rice food homogenate without extracting DNA. However, a simple two-step filtration step is required to remove PCR inhibitory substances.
Project description:Comparative sequence analysis was performed upon Bacillus anthracis and its closest relatives, B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. Portions of rpoB DNA from 10 strains of B. anthracis, 16 of B. cereus, 10 of B. thuringiensis, 1 of B. mycoides, and 1 of B. megaterium were amplified and sequenced. The determined rpoB sequences (318 bp) of the 10 B. anthracis strains, including five Korean isolates, were identical to those of Ames, Florida, Kruger B, and Western NA strains. Strains of the "B. cereus group" were separated into two subgroups, in which the B. anthracis strains formed a separate clade in the phylogenetic tree. However, B. cereus and B. thuringiensis could not be differentiated. Sequence analysis confirmed the five Korean isolates as B. anthracis. Based on the rpoB sequences determined in the present study, multiplex PCR generating either B. anthracis-specific amplicons (359 and 208 bp) or cap DNA (291 bp) in a virulence plasmid could be used for the rapid differential detection and identification of virulent B. anthracis.
Project description:Bacillus anthracis, which causes anthrax in humans and animals, is enzootic in parts of the U.S. state of Texas where cases are typically reported in animals annually. The gamma phage lysis assay is a common diagnostic method for identification of B. anthracis and is based on the bacterium's susceptibility to lysis. This test has been shown to be 97% specific for B. anthracis, as a small number of strains of other Bacillus spp. are known to be susceptible. In this study, we evaluated the performance of a combination of B. anthracis diagnostic assays on 700 aerobic, spore-forming isolates recovered from soil collected in Texas. These assays include phenotypic descriptions, gamma phage susceptibility, and real-time polymerase chain reaction specific for B. anthracis. Gamma phage-susceptible isolates were also tested using cell wall and capsule direct fluorescent-antibody assays specific for B. anthracis. Gamma phage-susceptible isolates that were ruled out as B. anthracis were identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing.We identified 29 gamma phage-susceptible isolates. One was confirmed as B. anthracis, while the other 28 isolates were ruled out for B. anthracis by the other diagnostic tests. Using 16S rRNA gene sequencing results, we identified these isolates as members of the B. cereus group, Bacillus sp. (not within B. cereus group), Lysinibacillus spp., and Solibacillus silvestris. Based on these results, we report a specificity of 96% for gamma phage lysis as a diagnostic test for B. anthracis, and identified susceptible isolates outside the Bacillus genus.In this study we found gamma phage susceptibility to be consistent with previously reported results. However, we identified non-B. anthracis environmental isolates (including isolates from genera other than Bacillus) that are susceptible to gamma phage lysis. To date, susceptibility to gamma phage lysis has not been reported in genera other than Bacillus. Though these isolates are not of clinical origin, description of unexpected positives is important, especially as new diagnostic assays for B. anthracis are being developed based on gamma phage lysis or gamma phage proteins.
Project description:Bacillus cereus strains that are genetically closely related to B. anthracis can display anthrax-like virulence traits (A. R. Hoffmaster et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101:8449-8454, 2004). Hence, approaches that rapidly identify these "near neighbors" are of great interest for the study of B. anthracis virulence mechanisms, as well as to prevent the use of such strains for B. anthracis-based bioweapon development. Here, a strategy is proposed for the identification of near neighbors of B. anthracis based on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer (ITS) containing tRNA genes, characteristic of B. anthracis. By using restriction site insertion-PCR (RSI-PCR) the presence of two SNP typical of B. anthracis was screened in 126 B. cereus group strains of different origin. Two B. cereus strains and one B. thuringiensis strain showed RSI-PCR profiles identical to that of B. anthracis. The sequencing of the entire ITS containing tRNA genes revealed two of the strains to be identical to B. anthracis. The strict relationship with B. anthracis was confirmed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) of four other independent loci: cerA, plcR, AC-390, and SG-749. The relationship to B. anthracis of the three strains described by MLST was comparable and even higher to that of four B. cereus strains associated with periodontitis in humans and previously reported as the closest known strains to B. anthracis. SNP in ITS containing tRNA genes combined with RSI-PCR provide a very efficient tool for the identification of strains closely related to B. anthracis.