Unexpected genomic features in widespread intracellular bacteria: evidence for motility of marine chlamydiae.
ABSTRACT: Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacteria comprising important human pathogens and symbionts of protists. Molecular evidence indicates a tremendous diversity of chlamydiae particularly in marine environments, yet our current knowledge is based mainly on terrestrial representatives. Here we provide first insights into the biology of marine chlamydiae representing three divergent clades. Our analysis of single-cell amplified genomes revealed hallmarks of the chlamydial lifestyle, supporting the ancient origin of their characteristic developmental cycle and major virulence mechanisms. Surprisingly, these chlamydial genomes encode a complete flagellar apparatus, a previously unreported feature. We show that flagella are an ancient trait that was subject to differential gene loss among extant chlamydiae. Together with a chemotaxis system, these marine chlamydiae are likely motile, with flagella potentially playing a role during host cell infection. This study broadens our view on chlamydial biology and indicates a largely underestimated potential to adapt to different hosts and environments.
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:In the era of metagenomics and amplicon sequencing, comprehensive analyses of available sequence data remain a challenge. Here we describe an approach exploiting metagenomic and amplicon data sets from public databases to elucidate phylogenetic diversity of defined microbial taxa. We investigated the phylum Chlamydiae whose known members are obligate intracellular bacteria that represent important pathogens of humans and animals, as well as symbionts of protists. Despite their medical relevance, our knowledge about chlamydial diversity is still scarce. Most of the nine known families are represented by only a few isolates, while previous clone library-based surveys suggested the existence of yet uncharacterized members of this phylum. Here we identified more than 22,000 high quality, non-redundant chlamydial 16S rRNA gene sequences in diverse databases, as well as 1900 putative chlamydial protein-encoding genes. Even when applying the most conservative approach, clustering of chlamydial 16S rRNA gene sequences into operational taxonomic units revealed an unexpectedly high species, genus and family-level diversity within the Chlamydiae, including 181 putative families. These in silico findings were verified experimentally in one Antarctic sample, which contained a high diversity of novel Chlamydiae. In our analysis, the Rhabdochlamydiaceae, whose known members infect arthropods, represents the most diverse and species-rich chlamydial family, followed by the protist-associated Parachlamydiaceae, and a putative new family (PCF8) with unknown host specificity. Available information on the origin of metagenomic samples indicated that marine environments contain the majority of the newly discovered chlamydial lineages, highlighting this environment as an important chlamydial reservoir.
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:The Chlamydiae phylum exclusively encompasses bacteria sharing a similar obligate intracellular life cycle. Existing 16S rDNA data support a high diversity within the phylum, however genomic data remain scarce owing to the difficulty in isolating strains using culture systems with eukaryotic cells. Yet, Chlamydiae genome data extracted from large scale metagenomic studies might help fill this gap. This work compares 33 cultured and 27 environmental, uncultured chlamydial genomes, in order to clarify the phylogenetic relatedness of the new chlamydial clades and to investigate the genetic diversity of the Chlamydiae phylum. The analysis of published chlamydial genomes from metagenomics bins and single cell sequencing allowed the identification of seven new deeply branching chlamydial clades sharing genetic hallmarks of parasitic Chlamydiae. Comparative genomics suggests important biological differences between those clades, including loss of many proteins involved in cell division in the genus Similichlamydia, and loss of respiratory chain and tricarboxylic acid cycle in several species. Comparative analyses of chlamydial genomes with two proteobacterial orders, the Rhizobiales and the Rickettsiales showed that genomes of different Rhizobiales families are much more similar than genomes of different Rickettsiales families. On the other hand, the chlamydial 16S rRNAs exhibit a higher sequence conservation than their Rickettsiales counterparts, while chlamydial proteins exhibit increased sequence divergence. Studying the diversity and genome plasticity of the entire Chlamydiae phylum is of major interest to better understand the emergence and evolution of this ubiquitous and ancient clade of obligate intracellular bacteria.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The photosynthetic organelle (plastid) originated via primary endosymbiosis in which a phagotrophic protist captured and harnessed a cyanobacterium. The plastid was inherited by the common ancestor of the red, green (including land plants), and glaucophyte algae (together, the Plantae). Despite the critical importance of primary plastid endosymbiosis, its ancient derivation has left behind very few "footprints" of early key events in organelle genesis. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:To gain insights into this process, we conducted an in-depth phylogenomic analysis of genomic data (nuclear proteins) from 17 Plantae species to identify genes of a surprising provenance in these taxa, Chlamydiae bacteria. Previous studies show that Chlamydiae contributed many genes (at least 21 in one study) to Plantae that primarily have plastid functions and were postulated to have played a fundamental role in organelle evolution. Using our comprehensive approach, we identify at least 55 Chlamydiae-derived genes in algae and plants, of which 67% (37/55) are putatively plastid targeted and at least 3 have mitochondrial functions. The remainder of the proteins does not contain a bioinformatically predicted organelle import signal although one has an N-terminal extension in comparison to the Chlamydiae homolog. Our data suggest that environmental Chlamydiae were significant contributors to early Plantae genomes that extend beyond plastid metabolism. The chlamydial gene distribution and protein tree topologies provide evidence for both endosymbiotic gene transfer and a horizontal gene transfer ratchet driven by recurrent endoparasitism as explanations for gene origin. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Our findings paint a more complex picture of gene origin than can easily be explained by endosymbiotic gene transfer from an organelle-like point source. These data significantly extend the genomic impact of Chlamydiae on Plantae and show that about one-half (30/55) of the transferred genes are most closely related to sequences emanating from the genome of the only environmental isolate that is currently available. This strain, Candidatus Protochlamydia amoebophila UWE25 is an endosymbiont of Acanthamoeba and likely represents the type of endoparasite that contributed the genes to Plantae.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacteria of protists, invertebrates and vertebrates, but have not been found to date in photosynthetic eukaryotes (algae and embryophytes). Genes of putative chlamydial origin, however, are present in significant numbers in sequenced genomes of photosynthetic eukaryotes. It has been suggested that such genes were acquired by an ancient horizontal gene transfer from Chlamydiae to the ancestor of photosynthetic eukaryotes. To further test this hypothesis, an extensive search for proteins of chlamydial origin was performed using several recently sequenced algal genomes and EST databases, and the proteins subjected to phylogenetic analyses. RESULTS: A total of 39 proteins of chlamydial origin were retrieved from the photosynthetic eukaryotes analyzed and their identity verified through phylogenetic analyses. The distribution of the chlamydial proteins among four groups of photosynthetic eukaryotes (Viridiplantae, Rhodoplantae, Glaucoplantae, Bacillariophyta) was complex suggesting multiple acquisitions and losses. Evidence is presented that all except one of the chlamydial genes originated from an ancient endosymbiosis of a chlamydial bacterium into the ancestor of the Plantae before their divergence into Viridiplantae, Rhodoplantae and Glaucoplantae, i.e. more than 1.1 BYA. The chlamydial proteins subsequently spread through secondary plastid endosymbioses to other eukaryotes. Of 20 chlamydial proteins recovered from the genomes of two Bacillariophyta, 10 were of rhodoplant, and 10 of viridiplant origin suggesting that they were acquired by two different secondary endosymbioses. Phylogenetic analyses of concatenated sequences demonstrated that the viridiplant secondary endosymbiosis likely occurred before the divergence of Chlorophyta and Streptophyta. CONCLUSION: We identified 39 proteins of chlamydial origin in photosynthetic eukaryotes signaling an ancient invasion of the ancestor of the Plantae by a chlamydial bacterium accompanied by horizontal gene transfer. Subsequently, chlamydial proteins spread through secondary endosymbioses to other eukaryotes. We conclude that intracellular chlamydiae likely persisted throughout the early history of the Plantae donating genes to their hosts that replaced their cyanobacterial/plastid homologs thus shaping early algal/plant evolution before they eventually vanished.
Project description:ATP/ADP translocases catalyze the highly specific transport of ATP across a membrane in an exchange mode with ADP. Such unique transport proteins are employed by plant plastids and have among the prokaryotes so far only been identified in few obligate intracellular bacteria belonging to the Chlamydiales and the Rickettsiales. In this study, 12 phylogenetically diverse bacterial endosymbionts of free-living amoebae and paramecia were screened for the presence of genes encoding ATP/ADP transport proteins. The occurrence of ATP/ADP translocase genes was found to be restricted to endosymbionts related to rickettsiae and chlamydiae. We showed that the ATP/ADP transport protein of the Parachlamydia-related endosymbiont of Acanthamoeba sp. strain UWE25, a recently identified relative of the important human pathogens Chlamydia trachomatis and Chlamydophila pneumoniae, is functional when expressed in the heterologous host Escherichia coli and demonstrated the presence of transcripts during the chlamydial developmental cycle. These findings indicate that the interaction between Parachlamydia-related endosymbionts and their amoeba hosts concerns energy parasitism similar to the interaction between pathogenic chlamydiae and their human host cells. Phylogenetic analysis of all known ATP/ADP translocases indicated that the genes encoding ATP/ADP translocases originated from a chlamydial ancestor and were, after an ancient gene duplication, transferred horizontally to rickettsiae and plants.
Project description:Bacteria from the Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, and Chlamydiae (PVC) superphylum are exceptions to the otherwise dominant mode of division by binary fission, which is based on the interaction between the FtsZ protein and the peptidoglycan (PG) biosynthesis machinery. Some PVC bacteria are deprived of the FtsZ protein and were also thought to lack PG. How these bacteria divide is still one of the major mysteries of microbiology. The presence of PG has recently been revealed in Planctomycetes and Chlamydiae, and proteins related to PG synthesis have been shown to be implicated in the division process in Chlamydiae, providing important insights into PVC mechanisms of division. Here, we review the historical lack of observation of PG in PVC bacteria, its recent detection in two phyla and its involvement in chlamydial cell division. Based on the detection of PG-related proteins in PVC proteomes, we consider the possible evolution of the diverse division mechanisms in these bacteria. We conclude by summarizing what is known and what remains to be understood about the evolutionary cell biology of PVC division modes.
Project description:Chlamydiae comprise important pathogenic and symbiotic bacteria that alternate between morphologically and physiologically different life stages during their developmental cycle. Using electron cryotomography, we characterize the ultrastructure of the developmental stages of three environmental chlamydiae: Parachlamydia acanthamoebae, Protochlamydia amoebophila and Simkania negevensis. We show that chemical fixation and dehydration alter the cell shape of Parachlamydia and that the crescent body is not a developmental stage, but an artefact of conventional electron microscopy. We further reveal type III secretion systems of environmental chlamydiae at macromolecular resolution and find support for a chlamydial needle-tip protein. Imaging bacteria inside their host cells by cryotomography for the first time, we observe marked differences in inclusion morphology and development as well as host organelle recruitment between the three chlamydial organisms, with Simkania inclusions being tightly enveloped by the host endoplasmic reticulum. The study demonstrates the power of electron cryotomography to reveal structural details of bacteria-host interactions that are not accessible using traditional methods.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacteria comprising some of the most important bacterial pathogens of animals and humans. Although chlamydial outer membrane proteins play a key role for attachment to and entry into host cells, only few have been described so far. We developed a comprehensive, multiphasic in silico approach, including the calculation of clusters of orthologues, to predict outer membrane proteins using conservative criteria. We tested this approach using Escherichia coli (positive control) and Bacillus subtilis (negative control), and applied it to five chlamydial species; Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydia muridarum, Chlamydia (a.k.a. Chlamydophila) pneumoniae, Chlamydia (a.k.a. Chlamydophila) caviae, and Protochlamydia amoebophila. RESULTS: In total, 312 chlamydial outer membrane proteins and lipoproteins in 88 orthologous clusters were identified, including 238 proteins not previously recognized to be located in the outer membrane. Analysis of their taxonomic distribution revealed an evolutionary conservation among Chlamydiae, Verrucomicrobia, Lentisphaerae and Planctomycetes as well as lifestyle-dependent conservation of the chlamydial outer membrane protein composition. CONCLUSION: This analysis suggested a correlation between the outer membrane protein composition and the host range of chlamydiae and revealed a common set of outer membrane proteins shared by these intracellular bacteria. The collection of predicted chlamydial outer membrane proteins is available at the online database pCOMP http://www.microbial-ecology.net/pcomp and might provide future guidance in the quest for anti-chlamydial vaccines.