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      Novel large-scale chromosomal transfer in Bacteroides fragilis contributes to its pan-genome and rapid environmental adaptation

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          Bacteroides fragilis, an important component of the human gastrointestinal microbiota, can cause lethal extra-intestinal infection upon escape from the gastrointestinal tract. We demonstrated transfer and recombination of large chromosomal segments from B. fragilis HMW615, a multidrug resistant clinical isolate, to B. fragilis 638R. In one example, the transfer of a segment of ~435 Kb/356 genes replaced ~413 Kb/326 genes of the B. fragilis 638R chromosome. In addition to transfer of antibiotic resistance genes, these transfers (1) replaced complete divergent polysaccharide biosynthesis loci; (2) replaced DNA inversion-controlled intergenic shufflons (that control expression of genes encoding starch utilization system outer membrane proteins) with more complex, divergent shufflons; and (3) introduced additional intergenic shufflons encoding divergent Type 1 restriction/modification systems. Conjugative transposon-like genes within a transferred segment and within a putative integrative conjugative element (ICE5) ~45 kb downstream from the transferred segment both encode proteins that may be involved in the observed transfer. These data indicate that chromosomal transfer is a driver of antigenic diversity and nutrient adaptation in Bacteroides that (1) contributes to the dissemination of the extensive B. fragilis pan-genome, (2) allows rapid adaptation to a changing environment and (3) can confer pathogenic characteristics to host symbionts.

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          Genomic islands in pathogenic and environmental microorganisms.

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            Artemis and ACT: viewing, annotating and comparing sequences stored in a relational database

            Motivation: Artemis and Artemis Comparison Tool (ACT) have become mainstream tools for viewing and annotating sequence data, particularly for microbial genomes. Since its first release, Artemis has been continuously developed and supported with additional functionality for editing and analysing sequences based on feedback from an active user community of laboratory biologists and professional annotators. Nevertheless, its utility has been somewhat restricted by its limitation to reading and writing from flat files. Therefore, a new version of Artemis has been developed, which reads from and writes to a relational database schema, and allows users to annotate more complex, often large and fragmented, genome sequences. Results: Artemis and ACT have now been extended to read and write directly to the Generic Model Organism Database (GMOD, http://www.gmod.org) Chado relational database schema. In addition, a Gene Builder tool has been developed to provide structured forms and tables to edit coordinates of gene models and edit functional annotation, based on standard ontologies, controlled vocabularies and free text. Availability: Artemis and ACT are freely available (under a GPL licence) for download (for MacOSX, UNIX and Windows) at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute web sites: http://www.sanger.ac.uk/Software/Artemis/ http://www.sanger.ac.uk/Software/ACT/ Contact: artemis@sanger.ac.uk Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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              Genomics of bacteria and archaea: the emerging dynamic view of the prokaryotic world

              The first bacterial genome was sequenced in 1995, and the first archaeal genome in 1996. Soon after these breakthroughs, an exponential rate of genome sequencing was established, with a doubling time of approximately 20 months for bacteria and approximately 34 months for archaea. Comparative analysis of the hundreds of sequenced bacterial and dozens of archaeal genomes leads to several generalizations on the principles of genome organization and evolution. A crucial finding that enables functional characterization of the sequenced genomes and evolutionary reconstruction is that the majority of archaeal and bacterial genes have conserved orthologs in other, often, distant organisms. However, comparative genomics also shows that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a dominant force of prokaryotic evolution, along with the loss of genetic material resulting in genome contraction. A crucial component of the prokaryotic world is the mobilome, the enormous collection of viruses, plasmids and other selfish elements, which are in constant exchange with more stable chromosomes and serve as HGT vehicles. Thus, the prokaryotic genome space is a tightly connected, although compartmentalized, network, a novel notion that undermines the ‘Tree of Life’ model of evolution and requires a new conceptual framework and tools for the study of prokaryotic evolution.

                Author and article information

                Microb Genom
                Microb Genom
                Microbial Genomics
                Microbiology Society
                November 2017
                14 November 2017
                : 3
                : 11
                [ 1]Brentwood Biomedical Research Institute , Los Angeles, CA, USA
                [ 2]UCLA , Los Angeles, CA, USA
                [ 3]GLAVAHCS , Los Angeles, CA, USA
                [ 4]Queens University Belfast , Belfast, UK
                [ 5]University of Edinburgh , Edinburgh, UK
                [ 6]Research, GLAVAHCS , 11301 Wilshire Blvd., 691/151J Bldg. 115, Room 312, Los Angeles, CA, USA
                Author notes
                *Correspondence: Hannah M. Wexler, hwexler@ 123456ucla.edu

                All supporting data, code and protocols have been provided within the article or through supplementary data files. Three supplementary tables are available with the online Supplementary Material.


                This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Funded by: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
                Award ID: 5IOBX000563
                Funded by: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
                Award ID: 1R21AI109545
                Research Article
                Microbe-Niche Interactions
                Host Adaptation
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