Evaluation of an ensemble-based distance statistic for clustering MLST datasets using epidemiologically defined clusters of cyclosporiasis.
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description:Cyclosporiasis is an infection caused by Cyclospora cayetanensis, which is acquired by consumption of contaminated fresh food or water. In the United States, cases of cyclosporiasis are often associated with foodborne outbreaks linked to imported fresh produce or travel to disease-endemic countries. Epidemiologic investigation has been the primary method for linking outbreak cases. A molecular typing marker that can identify genetically related samples would be helpful in tracking outbreaks. We evaluated the mitochondrial junction region as a potential genotyping marker. We tested stool samples from 134 laboratory-confirmed cases in the United States by using PCR and Sanger sequencing. All but 2 samples were successfully typed and divided into 14 sequence types. Typing results were identical among samples within each epidemiologically defined case cluster for 7 of 10 clusters. These findings suggest that this marker can distinguish between distinct case clusters and might be helpful during cyclosporiasis outbreak investigations.
Project description:Cyclospora cayetanensis is an intestinal parasite responsible for the diarrheal illness, cyclosporiasis. Molecular genotyping, using targeted amplicon sequencing, provides a complementary tool for outbreak investigations, especially when epidemiological data are insufficient for linking cases and identifying clusters. The goal of this study was to identify candidate genotyping markers using a novel workflow for detection of segregating single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in C. cayetanensis genomes. Four whole C. cayetanensis genomes were compared using this workflow and four candidate markers were selected for evaluation of their genotyping utility by PCR and Sanger sequencing. These four markers covered 13 SNPs and resolved parasites from 57 stool specimens, differentiating C. cayetanensis into 19 new unique genotypes.
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 cayetanensis is an important cause for diarrhea in children in developing countries and foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis in industrialized nations. To improve understanding of the basic biology of Cyclospora spp. and development of molecular diagnostic tools and therapeutics, we sequenced the complete apicoplast and mitochondrial genomes of C. cayetanensis.The genome of one Chinese C. cayetanensis isolate was sequenced using Roche 454 and Illumina technologies. The assembled genomes of the apicoplast and mitochondrion were retrieved, annotated, and compared with reference genomes for other apicomplexans to infer genome organizations and phylogenetic relationships. Sequence variations in the mitochondrial genome were identified by comparison of two C. cayetanensis nucleotide sequences from this study and a recent publication.The apicoplast and mitochondrial genomes of C. cayetanensis are 34,155 and 6,229 bp in size and code for 65 and 5 genes, respectively. Comparative genomic analysis showed high similarities between C. cayetanensis and Eimeria tenella in both genomes; they have 85.6% and 90.4% nucleotide sequence similarities, respectively, and complete synteny in gene organization. Phylogenetic analysis of the genomic sequences confirmed the genetic similarities between cecum-infecting avian Eimeria spp. and C. cayetanensis. Like in other coccidia, both genomes of C. cayetanensis are transcribed bi-directionally. The apicoplast genome is circular, codes for the complete machinery for protein biosynthesis, and contains two inverted repeats that differ slightly in LSU rRNA gene sequences. In contrast, the mitochondrial genome has a linear concatemer or circular mapping topology. Eight single-nucleotide and one 7-bp multiple-nucleotide variants were detected between the mitochondrial genomes of C. cayetanensis from this and recent studies.The apicoplast and mitochondrial genomes of C. cayetanensis are highly similar to those of cecum-infecting avian Eimeria spp. in both genome organization and sequences. The availability of sequence data beyond rRNA and heat shock protein genes could facilitate studies of C. cayetanensis biology and development of genotyping tools for investigations of cyclosporiasis outbreaks.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Outbreaks of cyclosporiasis, a diarrheal illness caused by Cyclospora cayetanensis, have been a public health issue in the USA since the mid 1990's. In 2018, 2299 domestically acquired cases of cyclosporiasis were reported in the USA as a result of multiple large outbreaks linked to different fresh produce commodities. Outbreak investigations are hindered by the absence of standardized molecular epidemiological tools for C. cayetanensis. For other apicomplexan coccidian parasites, multicopy organellar DNA such as mitochondrial genomes have been used for detection and molecular typing. METHODS:We developed a workflow to obtain complete mitochondrial genome sequences from cilantro samples and clinical samples for typing of C. cayetanensis isolates. The 6.3 kb long C. cayetanensis mitochondrial genome was amplified by PCR in four overlapping amplicons from genomic DNA extracted from cilantro, seeded with oocysts, and from stool samples positive for C. cayetanensis by diagnostic methods. DNA sequence libraries of pooled amplicons were prepared and sequenced via next-generation sequencing (NGS). Sequence reads were assembled using a custom bioinformatics pipeline. RESULTS:This approach allowed us to sequence complete mitochondrial genomes from the samples studied. Sequence alterations, such as single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) profiles and insertion and deletions (InDels), in mitochondrial genomes of 24 stool samples from patients with cyclosporiasis diagnosed in 2014, exhibited discriminatory power. The cluster dendrogram that was created based on distance matrices of the complete mitochondrial genome sequences, indicated distinct strain-level diversity among the 2014 C. cayetanensis outbreak isolates analyzed in this study. CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that genomic analyses of mitochondrial genome sequences may help to link outbreak cases to the source.
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: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:Cyclosporiasis is caused by the coccidian parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis and is associated with large and complex food-borne outbreaks worldwide. Associated symptoms include severe watery diarrhea, particularly in infants, and immune dysfunction. With the globalization of human food supply, the occurrence of cyclosporiasis has been increasing in both food growing and importing countries. As well as being a burden on the health of individual humans, cyclosporiasis is a global public health concern. Currently, no vaccine is available but early detection and treatment could result in a favorable clinical outcome. Clinical diagnosis is based on cardinal clinical symptoms and conventional laboratory methods, which usually involve microscopic examination of wet smears, staining tests, fluorescence microscopy, serological testing, or DNA testing for oocysts in the stool. Detection in the vehicle of infection, which can be fresh produce, water, or soil is helpful for case-linkage and source-tracking during cyclosporiasis outbreaks. Treatment with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) can evidently cure C. cayetanensis infection. However, TMP-SMX is not suitable for patients having sulfonamide intolerance. In such case ciprofloxacin, although less effective than TMP-SMX, is a good option. Another drug of choice is nitazoxanide that can be used in the cases of sulfonamide intolerance and ciprofloxacin resistance. More epidemiological research investigating cyclosporiasis in humans should be conducted worldwide, to achieve a better understanding of its characteristics in this regard. It is also necessary to establish in vitro and/or in vivo protocols for cultivating C. cayetanensis, to facilitate the development of rapid, convenient, precise, and economical detection methods for diagnosis, as well as more effective tracing methods. This review focuses on the advances in clinical features, diagnosis, and therapeutic intervention of cyclosporiasis.
Project description:In recent years, human cyclosporiasis has emerged as an important infection, with large outbreaks in the United States and Canada. Understanding the biology and epidemiology of Cyclospora has been difficult and slow and has been complicated by not knowing the pathogen s origins, animal reservoirs (if any), and relationship to other coccidian parasites. This report provides morphologic and molecular characterization of three parasites isolated from primates and names each isolate: Cyclospora cercopitheci sp.n. for a species recovered from green monkeys, C. colobi sp.n. for a parasite from colobus monkeys, and C. papionis sp.n. for a species infecting baboons. These species, plus C. cayetanensis, which infects humans, increase to four the recognized species of Cyclospora infecting primates. These four species group homogeneously as a single branch intermediate between avian and mammalian Eimeria. Results of our analysis contribute toward clarification of the taxonomic position of Cyclospora and its relationship to other coccidian parasites.
Project description:Because the lack of typing tools for Cyclospora cayetanensis has hampered outbreak investigations, we sequenced its genome and developed a genotyping tool. We observed 2 to 10 geographically segregated sequence types at each of 5 selected loci. This new tool could be useful for case linkage and infection/contamination source tracking.