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      Temperate Phages Acquire DNA from Defective Prophages by Relaxed Homologous Recombination: The Role of Rad52-Like Recombinases

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          Abstract

          Bacteriophages (or phages) dominate the biosphere both numerically and in terms of genetic diversity. In particular, genomic comparisons suggest a remarkable level of horizontal gene transfer among temperate phages, favoring a high evolution rate. Molecular mechanisms of this pervasive mosaicism are mostly unknown. One hypothesis is that phage encoded recombinases are key players in these horizontal transfers, thanks to their high efficiency and low fidelity. Here, we associate two complementary in vivo assays and a bioinformatics analysis to address the role of phage encoded recombinases in genomic mosaicism. The first assay allowed determining the genetic determinants of mosaic formation between lambdoid phages and Escherichia coli prophage remnants. In the second assay, recombination was monitored between sequences on phage λ, and allowed to compare the performance of three different Rad52-like recombinases on the same substrate. We also addressed the importance of homologous recombination in phage evolution by a genomic comparison of 84 E. coli virulent and temperate phages or prophages. We demonstrate that mosaics are mainly generated by homology-driven mechanisms that tolerate high substrate divergence. We show that phage encoded Rad52-like recombinases act independently of RecA, and that they are relatively more efficient when the exchanged fragments are divergent. We also show that accessory phage genes orf and rap contribute to mosaicism. A bioinformatics analysis strengthens our experimental results by showing that homologous recombination left traces in temperate phage genomes at the borders of recently exchanged fragments. We found no evidence of exchanges between virulent and temperate phages of E. coli. Altogether, our results demonstrate that Rad52-like recombinases promote gene shuffling among temperate phages, accelerating their evolution. This mechanism may prove to be more general, as other mobile genetic elements such as ICE encode Rad52-like functions, and play an important role in bacterial evolution itself.

          Author Summary

          Temperate bacteriophages (or phages) are bacterial viruses that, unlike virulent phages, have the ability to enter a prophage dormant state upon infection, in which they stably replicate with the bacterial genome. A majority of bacterial genomes contain multiple active or defective prophages, and numerous bacterial phenotypes are modified by these prophages, such as increased virulence. These mobile genetic elements are subject to high levels of genetic exchanges, through which new genes are constantly imported into bacterial genomes. Phage-encoded homologous recombination enzymes, or recombinases, are potentially key actors in phage genome shuffling. In this work, we show that gene acquisition in temperate phages is strongly dependent on the presence of sequence homology, but is highly tolerant to divergence. We report that gene exchanges are mainly catalyzed by recombinases found on temperate phages, and show that four different Rad52-like recombinases have a relaxed fidelity in vivo, compared to RecA. This high capacity of exchange speeds up evolution of phages, and indirectly also the evolution of bacteria.

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          Connecting dysbiosis, bile-acid dysmetabolism and gut inflammation in inflammatory bowel diseases.

          Gut microbiota metabolises bile acids (BA). As dysbiosis has been reported in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), we aim to investigate the impact of IBD-associated dysbiosis on BA metabolism and its influence on the epithelial cell inflammation response. Faecal and serum BA rates, expressed as a proportion of total BA, were assessed by high-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry in colonic IBD patients (42) and healthy subjects (29). The faecal microbiota composition was assessed by quantitative real-time PCR. Using BA profiles and microbiota composition, cluster formation between groups was generated by ranking models. The faecal BA profiles in germ-free and conventional mice were compared. Direct enzymatic activities of BA biotransformation were measured in faeces. The impact of BA on the inflammatory response was investigated in vitro using Caco-2 cells stimulated by IL-1β. IBD-associated dysbiosis was characterised by a decrease in the ratio between Faecalibacterium prausntizii and Escherichia coli. Faecal-conjugated BA rates were significantly higher in active IBD, whereas, secondary BA rates were significantly lower. Interestingly, active IBD patients exhibited higher levels of faecal 3-OH-sulphated BA. The deconjugation, transformation and desulphation activities of the microbiota were impaired in IBD patients. In vitro, secondary BA exerted anti-inflammatory effects, but sulphation of secondary BAs abolished their anti-inflammatory properties. Impaired microbiota enzymatic activity observed in IBD-associated dysbiosis leads to modifications in the luminal BA pool composition. Altered BA transformation in the gut lumen can erase the anti-inflammatory effects of some BA species on gut epithelial cells and could participate in the chronic inflammation loop of IBD.
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            The origin of new genes: glimpses from the young and old.

            Genome data have revealed great variation in the numbers of genes in different organisms, which indicates that there is a fundamental process of genome evolution: the origin of new genes. However, there has been little opportunity to explore how genes with new functions originate and evolve. The study of ancient genes has highlighted the antiquity and general importance of some mechanisms of gene origination, and recent observations of young genes at early stages in their evolution have unveiled unexpected molecular and evolutionary processes.
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              CRISPR-mediated adaptive immune systems in bacteria and archaea.

              Effective clearance of an infection requires that the immune system rapidly detects and neutralizes invading parasites while strictly avoiding self-antigens that would result in autoimmunity. The cellular machinery and complex signaling pathways that coordinate an effective immune response have generally been considered properties of the eukaryotic immune system. However, a surprisingly sophisticated adaptive immune system that relies on small RNAs for sequence-specific targeting of foreign nucleic acids was recently discovered in bacteria and archaea. Molecular vaccination in prokaryotes is achieved by integrating short fragments of foreign nucleic acids into a repetitive locus in the host chromosome known as a CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat). Here we review the mechanisms of CRISPR-mediated immunity and discuss the ecological and evolutionary implications of these adaptive defense systems.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS Genet
                PLoS Genet
                plos
                plosgen
                PLoS Genetics
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1553-7390
                1553-7404
                March 2014
                6 March 2014
                : 10
                : 3
                : e1004181
                Affiliations
                [1 ]INRA, UMR1319, Micalis, domaine de Vilvert, Jouy en Josas, France
                [2 ]AgroParisTech, UMR1319, Micalis, domaine de Vilvert, Jouy en Josas, France
                [3 ]INRA, UR1077, MIG, domaine de Vilvert, Jouy en Josas, France
                Universidad de Sevilla, Spain
                Author notes

                The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: MDP GH JAB MAP. Performed the experiments: MDP GH OS JAB MAP. Analyzed the data: MDP GH OS JAB SS MAP. Wrote the paper: MDP GH SS MAP.

                Article
                PGENETICS-D-13-02074
                10.1371/journal.pgen.1004181
                3945230
                24603854
                034070a1-638e-47f9-81fd-eb81da5efe35
                Copyright @ 2014

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                : 2 August 2013
                : 4 January 2014
                Page count
                Pages: 15
                Funding
                This work was performed with the financial support of Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (MDP) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (Dynamophage project). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology
                Genetics
                Genomics
                Microbiology
                Model Organisms
                Molecular Cell Biology

                Genetics
                Genetics

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