Mitochondrial genome sequence variation as a useful marker for assessing genetic heterogeneity among Cyclospora cayetanensis isolates and source-tracking.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Cyclospora cayetanensis is an important enteric pathogen, causing diarrhea and food-borne cyclosporiasis outbreaks. For effective outbreak identification and investigation, it is essential to rapidly assess the genetic heterogeneity of C. cayetanensis specimens from cluster cases and identify the likely occurrence of outbreaks. METHODS:In this study, we developed a quantitative PCR (qPCR) targeting the polymorphic link region between copies of the mitochondrial genome of C. cayetanensis, and evaluated the genetic heterogeneity among 36 specimens from six countries using melt curve, gel electrophoresis, and sequence analyses of the qPCR products. RESULTS:All specimens were amplified successfully in the qPCR and produced melt peaks with different Tm values in the melt curve analysis. In gel electrophoresis of the qPCR products, the specimens yielded bands of variable sizes. Nine genotypes were identified by DNA sequencing of the qPCR products. Geographical segregation of genotypes was observed among specimens analyzed, which could be useful in geographical source-tracking. CONCLUSIONS:The length and nucleotide sequence variations in the mitochondrial genome marker allow rapid assessment of the genetic heterogeneity among C. cayetanensis specimens by melt curve, gel electrophoresis, or DNA sequence analysis of qPCR products. The sequence data generated could be helpful in the initial source-tracking of the pathogen.
Project description:Sexually reproducing pathogens such as Cyclospora cayetanensis often produce genetically heterogeneous infections where the number of unique sequence types detected at any given locus varies depending on which locus is sequenced. The genotypes assigned to these infections quickly become complex when additional loci are analysed. This genetic heterogeneity confounds the utility of traditional sequence-typing and phylogenetic approaches for aiding epidemiological trace-back, and requires new methods to address this complexity. Here, we describe an ensemble of two similarity-based classification algorithms, including a Bayesian and heuristic component that infer the relatedness of C. cayetanensis infections. The ensemble requires a set of haplotypes as input and assigns arbitrary distances to specimen pairs reflecting their most likely relationships. The approach was applied to data generated from a test cohort of 88 human fecal specimens containing C. cayetanensis, including 30 from patients whose infections were associated with epidemiologically defined outbreak clusters of cyclosporiasis. The ensemble assigned specimens to plausible clusters of genetically related infections despite their complex haplotype composition. These relationships were corroborated by a significant number of epidemiological linkages (P < 0.0001) suggesting the ensemble's utility for aiding epidemiological trace-back investigations of cyclosporiasis.
Project description:Cyclospora spp. in nonhuman primates are most closely related to Cyclospora cayetanensis, an emerging human pathogen causing outbreaks of cyclosporiasis in North America. Studies thus far indicate the possible existence of host specificity in Cyclospora spp. In this study, 411 fecal specimens from free-range rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were collected and examined for Cyclospora by sequence analysis of the small subunit rRNA gene. A novel Cyclospora species was identified in 28 (6.8%) specimens and named Cyclospora macacae based on morphologic and molecular characterizations. The oocyst of C. macacae is spherical and measures 8.49 ± 0.55 × 8.49 ± 0.49 μm in diameter. Phylogenetic analysis grouped this species together with the other four Cyclospora species infecting primates, including C. cayetanensis in humans, forming a monophyletic group closely related to avian Eimeria species. In addition, C. cayetanensis was detected in one specimen, although whether rhesus monkeys can serve as a natural reservoir host of C. cayetanensis needs further investigation.
Project description:In the study of bacterial community composition, 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing is today among the preferred methods of analysis. The cost of nucleotide sequence analysis, including requisite computational and bioinformatic steps, however, takes up a large part of many research budgets. High-resolution melt (HRM) analysis is the study of the melt behavior of specific PCR products. Here we describe a novel high-throughput approach in which we used HRM analysis targeting the 16S rRNA gene to rapidly screen multiple complex samples for differences in bacterial community composition. We hypothesized that HRM analysis of amplified 16S rRNA genes from a soil ecosystem could be used as a screening tool to identify changes in bacterial community structure. This hypothesis was tested using a soil microcosm setup exposed to a total of six treatments representing different combinations of pesticide and fertilization treatments. The HRM analysis identified a shift in the bacterial community composition in two of the treatments, both including the soil fumigant Basamid GR. These results were confirmed with both denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis and 454-based 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. HRM analysis was shown to be a fast, high-throughput technique that can serve as an effective alternative to gel-based screening methods to monitor microbial community composition.
Project description:Cyclospora cayetanensis is a human parasite transmitted via ingestion of contaminated food or water. Cases of C. cayetanensis infection acquired in the United States often go unexplained, partly because of the difficulties associated with epidemiologic investigations of such cases and the lack of genotyping methods. A Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST) method for C. cayetanensis based on five microsatellite loci amplified by nested PCR was described in 2016. The MLST loci had high variability, but many specimens could not be assigned a type because of poor DNA sequencing quality at one or more loci. We analyzed Cyclospora-positive stool specimens collected during 1997-2016 from 54 patients, including 51 from the United States. We noted limited inter-specimen variability for one locus (CYC15) and the frequent occurrence of unreadable DNA sequences for two loci (CYC3 and CYC13). Overall, using the remaining two loci (CYC21 and CYC22), we detected 17 different concatenated sequence types. For four of five clusters of epidemiologically linked cases for which we had specimens from >1 case-patient, the specimens associated with the same cluster had the same type. However, we also noted the same type for specimens that were geographically and temporally unrelated, indicating poor discriminatory power. Furthermore, many specimens had what appeared to be a mixture of sequence types at locus CYC22. We conclude that it may be difficult to substantially improve the performance of the MLST method because of the nucleotide repeat features of the markers, along with the frequent occurrence of mixed genotypes in Cyclospora infections.
Project description:The Leishmania species cause a variety of human disease syndromes. Methods for diagnosis and species differentiation are insensitive and many require invasive sampling. Although quantitative PCR (qPCR) methods are reported for leishmania detection, no systematic method to quantify parasites and determine the species in clinical specimens is established. We developed a serial qPCR strategy to identify and rapidly differentiate Leishmania species and quantify parasites in clinical or environmental specimens. SYBR green qPCR is mainly employed, with corresponding TaqMan assays for validation. The screening primers recognize kinetoplast minicircle DNA of all Leishmania species. Species identification employs further qPCR set(s) individualized for geographic regions, combining species-discriminating probes with melt curve analysis. The assay was sufficient to detect Leishmania parasites, make species determinations, and quantify Leishmania spp. in sera, cutaneous biopsy specimens, or cultured isolates from subjects from Bangladesh or Brazil with different forms of leishmaniasis. The multicopy kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) probes were the most sensitive and useful for quantification based on promastigote standard curves. To test their validity for quantification, kDNA copy numbers were compared between Leishmania species, isolates, and life stages using qPCR. Maxicircle and minicircle copy numbers differed up to 6-fold between Leishmania species, but the differences were smaller between strains of the same species. Amastigote and promastigote leishmania life stages retained similar numbers of kDNA maxi- or minicircles. Thus, serial qPCR is useful for leishmania detection and species determination and for absolute quantification when compared to a standard curve from the same Leishmania species.
Project description:PCR is recognized as a promising method for the detection of Helicobacter pylori in gastric biopsy specimens. However, detection of PCR products by gel electrophoresis is difficult to implement in routine clinical laboratories. The aim of this study was to compare three new DNA enzyme immunoassays with the standard method in their ability to detect PCR products. The three assays were based on the amplification of a fragment of the ureC gene of H. pylori and a colorimetric hybridization assay. The first assay (GEN-ETI-K DNA enzyme immunoassay; Sorin, Sallugia, Italy) was based on the hybridization of amplified DNA with a probe bound in microtiter wells and detected with labelled anti-DNA antibody. The second assay (Pylori-prob; Biocode, Sclessin, Belgium) comprised a solid-phase sandwich hybridization system with a specific biotinylated probe being used for detection. Finally, the third assay (PCR enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; Boehringer, Mannheim, Germany) was based on the hybridization of amplified DNA labelled with digoxigenin as a probe (used as a coating in microtiter wells) and detected with antidigoxigenin-peroxidase as conjugate. The sensitivity of the colorimetric assay was evaluated by using amplification products from PCR assays performed on several 10-fold dilutions of DNA from H. pylori CIP 101260, and the specificity was assessed with different urease-positive bacteria. Biopsy specimens from 199 patients were tested; 106 were classified as H. pylori positive, and 93 were classified as H. pylori negative by culture and/or histological examination as the "gold standard." The receiving operating characteristic curve was used to determine the best cutoff point for each assay. The detection of PCR products by colorimetric hybridization increases the sensitivity up to 100-fold compared to that with gel electrophoresis. The results are rapid (4 h) and easy to interpret and can be automated.
Project description:Recombinant monoclonal antibodies (rmAbs) are medicinal products obtained by rDNA technology. Consequently, like other biopharmaceuticals, they require the extensive and rigorous characterization of the quality attributes, such as identity, structural integrity, purity and stability. The aim of this work was to study the suitability of gel electrophoresis for the assessment of charge heterogeneity, post-translational modifications and the stability of the therapeutic, recombinant monoclonal antibody, trastuzumab. One-dimensional, SDS-PAGE, under reducing and non-reducing conditions, and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis were used for the determination of molecular mass (Mr), the isoelectric point (pI), charge-related isoform patterns and the stability of trastuzumab, subjected to stressed degradation and long-term conditions. For the assessment of the influence of glycosylation in the charge heterogeneity pattern of trastuzumab, an enzymatic deglycosylation study has been performed using N-glycosidase F and sialidase, whereas carboxypeptidase B was used for the lysine truncation study. Experimental data documented that 1D and 2D gel electrophoresis represent fast and easy methods to evaluate the quality of biological medicinal products. Important stability parameters, such as the protein aggregation, can be assessed, as well.
Project description:Fluorescence of dyes bound to double-stranded PCR products has been utilized extensively in various real-time quantitative PCR applications, including post-amplification dissociation curve analysis, or differentiation of amplicon length or sequence composition. Despite the current era of whole-genome sequencing, mapping tools such as radiation hybrid DNA panels remain useful aids for sequence assembly, focused resequencing efforts, and for building physical maps of species that have not yet been sequenced. For placement of specific, individual genes or markers on a map, low-throughput methods remain commonplace. Typically, PCR amplification of DNA from each panel cell line is followed by gel electrophoresis and scoring of each clone for the presence or absence of PCR product. To improve sensitivity and efficiency of radiation hybrid panel analysis in comparison to gel-based methods, we adapted fluorescence-based real-time PCR and dissociation curve analysis for use as a novel scoring method.As proof of principle for this dissociation curve method, we generated new maps of river buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) chromosome 20 by both dissociation curve analysis and conventional marker scoring. We also obtained sequence data to augment dissociation curve results. Few genes have been previously mapped to buffalo chromosome 20, and sequence detail is limited, so 65 markers were screened from the orthologous chromosome of domestic cattle. Thirty bovine markers (46%) were suitable as cross-species markers for dissociation curve analysis in the buffalo radiation hybrid panel under a standard protocol, compared to 25 markers suitable for conventional typing. Computational analysis placed 27 markers on a chromosome map generated by the new method, while the gel-based approach produced only 20 mapped markers. Among 19 markers common to both maps, the marker order on the map was maintained perfectly.Dissociation curve analysis is reliable and efficient for radiation hybrid panel scoring, and is more sensitive and robust than conventional gel-based typing methods. Several markers could be scored only by the new method, and ambiguous scores were reduced. PCR-based dissociation curve analysis decreases both time and resources needed for construction of radiation hybrid panel marker maps and represents a significant improvement over gel-based methods in any species.
Project description:Cyclospora cayetanensis is a human-specific coccidian parasite responsible for several food and water-related outbreaks around the world, including the most recent ones involving over 900 persons in 2013 and 2014 outbreaks in the USA. Multicopy organellar DNA such as mitochondrion genomes have been particularly informative for detection and genetic traceback analysis in other parasites. We sequenced the C. cayetanensis genomic DNA obtained from stool samples from patients infected with Cyclospora in Nepal using the Illumina MiSeq platform. By bioinformatically filtering out the metagenomic reads of non-coccidian origin sequences and concentrating the reads by targeted alignment, we were able to obtain contigs containing Eimeria-like mitochondrial, apicoplastic and some chromosomal genomic fragments. A mitochondrial genomic sequence was assembled and confirmed by cloning and sequencing targeted PCR products amplified from Cyclospora DNA using primers based on our draft assembly sequence. The results show that the C. cayetanensis mitochondrion genome is 6274 bp in length, with 33% GC content, and likely exists in concatemeric arrays as in Eimeria mitochondrial genomes. Phylogenetic analysis of the C. cayetanensis mitochondrial genome places this organism in a tight cluster with Eimeria species. The mitochondrial genome of C. cayetanensis contains three protein coding genes, cytochrome (cytb), cytochrome C oxidase subunit 1 (cox1), and cytochrome C oxidase subunit 3 (cox3), in addition to 14 large subunit (LSU) and nine small subunit (SSU) fragmented rRNA genes.
Project description:Outbreaks of cyclosporiasis, a food-borne illness caused by the coccidian parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis have increased in the USA in recent years, with approximately 2300 laboratory-confirmed cases reported in 2018. Genotyping tools are needed to inform epidemiological investigations, yet genotyping Cyclospora has proven challenging due to its sexual reproductive cycle which produces complex infections characterized by high genetic heterogeneity. We used targeted amplicon deep sequencing and a recently described ensemble-based distance statistic that accommodates heterogeneous (mixed) genotypes and specimens with partial genotyping data, to genotype and cluster 648 C. cayetanensis samples submitted to CDC in 2018. The performance of the ensemble was assessed by comparing ensemble-identified genetic clusters to analogous clusters identified independently based on common food exposures. Using these epidemiologic clusters as a gold standard, the ensemble facilitated genetic clustering with 93.8% sensitivity and 99.7% specificity. Hence, we anticipate that this procedure will greatly complement epidemiologic investigations of cyclosporiasis.