Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology

Tianjin, China

Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology

Tianjin, China
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Zhu H.,Nankai University | Zhu H.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Wang Q.,Nankai University | Wang Q.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | And 12 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2012

Neisseria meningitidis is a leading pathogen of epidemic bacterial meningitis and fulminant sepsis worldwide. Twelve different N. meningitidis serogroups have been identified to date based on antigenic differences in the capsular polysaccharide. However, more than 90% of human cases of N. meningitidis meningitis are the result of infection with just five serogroups, A, B, C, W135, and Y. Efficient methods of detection and genogrouping of N. meningitidis isolates are needed, therefore, in order to monitor prevalent serogroups as a means of disease control and prevention. The capsular gene complex regions have been sequenced from only seven out of the 12 serogroups. In this study, the capsular gene complexes of the remaining five serogroups were sequenced and analyzed. Primers were designed that were specific for N. meningitidis species and for the 12 individual serogroups, and a multiplex PCR assay using these specific primers was developed for N. meningitidis detection and genogrouping. The assay was tested using 15 reference strains covering all 12 serogroups, 143 clinical isolates, and 21 strains from closely related species or from species that cause meningitis. The assay could detect N. meningitidis serogroups and was shown to be specific, with a detection sensitivity of 1 ng of genomic DNA (equivalent to ∼4 × 10 5 genomes) or 3 × 10 5 CFU/ml in noncultured mock cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens. This study, therefore, describes for the first time the development of a molecular protocol for the detection of all N. meningitidis serogroups. This multiplex PCR-based assay may have use for the clinical diagnosis and epidemiological surveillance of N. meningitidis. Copyright © 2012, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Liu D.,Nankai University | Cai J.,Nankai University | Cai J.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Cai J.,Tianjin Key Laboratory of Microbial Functional Genomics | And 5 more authors.
Enzyme and Microbial Technology | Year: 2010

Chitinase A (ChiA) produced by Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. colmeri 15A3 (Bt. 15A3) was expressed in Escherichia coli XL-Blue. The ChiA was purified using Sephadex G-200 and its molecular mass was estimated to be 36 kDa by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Detection of chitinase activity on SDS-PAGE after protein renaturation indicated that the molecular mass of the protein band expressing chitinase activity was approximately 72 kDa. This suggests that the dimeric form of ChiA is the enzymatically active form when glycol chitin is used as a substrate. ChiA has optimal activity at 50 °C and retains most of its activity between 20 and 60 °C. The optimum pH for ChiA activity is pH 5.0, and the enzyme is active between pH 4.0 and 8.0. The enzyme activity was significantly inhibited by Ag+ and Zn2+. ChiA significantly inhibited the spore germination of four species of fungi. The median inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of ChiA on the spore germination of Penicillium glaucum and Sclerotinia fuckelian were 11.27 and 10.57 μg/ml, respectively. In surface contamination bioassays, the crude ChiA protein (12.6 mU) reduced the LC50 (50% lethal concentration) of the crystal protein of Bt. 15A3 against the larvae of Spodoptera exigua and Helicoverpa armigera. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Yang B.,Nankai University | Yang B.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Feng L.,Nankai University | Feng L.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | And 7 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2015

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) is an important foodborne pathogen that infects humans by colonizing the large intestine. Here we identify a virulence-regulating pathway in which the biotin protein ligase BirA signals to the global regulator Fur, which in turn activates LEE (locus of enterocyte effacement) genes to promote EHEC adherence in the low-biotin large intestine. LEE genes are repressed in the high-biotin small intestine, thus preventing adherence and ensuring selective colonization of the large intestine. The presence of this pathway in all nine EHEC serotypes tested indicates that it is an important evolutionary strategy for EHEC. The pathway is incomplete in closely related small-intestinal enteropathogenic E. coli due to the lack of the Fur response to BirA. Mice fed with a biotin-rich diet show significantly reduced EHEC adherence, indicating that biotin might be useful to prevent EHEC infection in humans. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Wang X.,Chinese National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention | Li Y.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Li Y.,Nankai University | Jing H.,Chinese National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2011

Yersinia enterocolitica is a heterogeneous bacterial species with a wide range of animal reservoirs through which human intestinal illness can be facilitated. In contrast to the epidemiological pattern observed in the United States, infections in China present a pattern similar to those in European countries and Japan, wherein "Old World" strains (biotypes 2 to 5) are prevalent. To gain insights into the evolution of Y. enterocolitica and pathogenic properties toward human hosts, we sequenced the genome of a biotype 3 strain, 105.5R(r) (O:9), obtained from a Chinese patient. Comparative genome sequence analysis with strain 8081 (1B/O:8) revealed new insights into Y. enterocolitica. Both strains have more than 14% specific genes. In strain 105.5R(r), putative virulence factors were found in strain-specific genomic pathogenicity islands that comprised a novel type III secretion system and rtx-like genes. Many of the loci representing ancestral clusters, which are believed to contribute to enteric survival and pathogenesis, are present in strain 105.5R(r) but lost in strain 8081. Insertion elements in 105.5R(r) have a pattern distinct from those in strain 8081 and were exclusively located in a strain-specific region. In summary, our comparative genome analysis indicates that these two strains may have attained their pathogenicity by completely separate evolutionary events, and the 105.5R(r) strain, a representative of the Old World biogroup, lies in a branch of Y. enterocolitica that is distinct from the "New World" 8081 strain. Copyright © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.

Liu L.,Jiangnan University | Li Y.,Nankai University | Li Y.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Zhang J.,Jiangnan University | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Bacteriology | Year: 2011

Bacillus megaterium, an industrial strain, has been widely used in protein production and the vitamin C industry. Here we reported a finished, annotated, and compared 4.14-Mbp high-quality genome sequence of B. megaterium WSH-002, which is the companion strain for Ketogulonicigenium vulgare in the vitamin C industry and is stocked in our laboratory. © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.

Wu M.-M.,Key laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Huang H.-D.,Tianjin Agricultural University | Li G.-Q.,Key laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Zhou J.-F.,Key laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Ma T.,Key laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology
Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology | Year: 2015

Biopolymer Ss of Sphingomonas sanxanigenens strain NX02 is an sphingan that can be extracted using a small quantity of acid, which is a low cost extraction process. A UDP-glucose dehydrogenase gene (ugdG), related to Ss biosynthesis, was cloned from S. sanxanigenens NX02 and expressed in Escherichia coli. It encoded a 454-residue protein of 48.2 kDa. The deduced amino acid sequence had 77% identity with UDP-glucose dehydrogenase (UgdG) from Sphingomonas sp. KC8, and 73% identity with UgdG from Sphingomonas elodea ATCC31461. Purified recombinant UgdG had maximum activity at 35°C and pH 8.0, with Km values of 0.47 and 0.38 mM for UDP-glucose and NAD+, respectively. Overexpression of the ugdG gene in S. sanxanigenens resulted in increased (14.9 ± 0.5)% Ss production and higher fermentation broth viscosity. Furthermore, the weight-average molecular weight of polymer Ss from the recombinant strain was (5.3 ± 0.16)% higher and the viscosity was (74 ± 0.15)% higher than those from the WT strain at a shear rate of 1 rev/min. © 2015, Pleiades Publishing, Inc.

Maharjan R.P.,University of Sydney | Liu B.,Nankai University | Liu B.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Li Y.,Nankai University | And 5 more authors.
Biology Letters | Year: 2013

Bacterial populations in clinical and laboratory settings contain a significant proportion of mutants with elevated mutation rates (mutators). Mutators have a particular advantage when multiple beneficial mutations are needed for fitness, as in antibiotic resistance. Nevertheless, high mutation rates potentially lead to increasing numbers of deleterious mutations and subsequently to the decreased fitness of mutators. To test how fitness changed with mutation accumulation, genome sequencing and fitness assays of nine Escherichia coli mutY mutators were undertaken in an evolving chemostat population at three timepoints.Unexpectedly, the fitness in members of the mutator subpopulation became constant despite a growing number of mutations over time. To test if the accumulated mutations affected fitness, we replaced each of the known beneficial mutations with wild-type alleles in a mutator isolate. We found that the other 25 accumulated mutations were not deleterious. Our results suggest that isolates with deleterious mutations are eliminated by competition in a continuous culture, leaving mutators with mostly neutral mutations. Interestingly, the mutator- non-mutator balance in the population reversed after the fitness plateau of mutators was reached, suggesting that the mutator-non-mutator ratio in populations has more to do with competition between members of the population than the accumulation of deleterious mutations. © 2012 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Maharjan R.P.,University of Sydney | Liu B.,Nankai University | Liu B.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Feng L.,Nankai University | And 4 more authors.
Genome Biology and Evolution | Year: 2015

Changes in allele frequencies and the fixation of beneficial mutations are central to evolution. The precise relationship between mutational and phenotypic sweeps is poorly described however, especially when multiple alleles are involved. Here, we investigate these relationships in a bacterial population over 60 days in a glucose-limited chemostat in a large population. High coverage metagenomic analysis revealed a disconnection between smooth phenotypic sweeps and the complexity of genetic changes in the population. Phenotypic adaptation was due to convergent evolution and involved soft sweeps by 7-26 highly represented alleles of several genes in different combinations. Allele combinations spread from undetectably low baselines, indicating that minor subpopulations provide the basis of most innovations. A hard sweep was also observed, involving a single combination of rpoS, mglD, malE, sdhC, and malT mutations sweeping to greater than 95% of the population. Other mutant genes persisted but at lower abundance, including hfq, consistent with its demonstrated frequency-dependent fitness under glucose limitation. Other persistent, newly identified low-frequency mutations were in the aceF, galF, ribD and asm genes, in noncoding regulatory regions, three large indels and a tandem duplication; these were less affected by fluctuations involving more dominant mutations indicating separate evolutionary paths. Our results indicate a dynamic subpopulation structure with a minimum of 42 detectable mutations maintained over 60 days. We also conclude that the massive population-level mutation supply in combination with clonal interference leads to the soft sweeps observed, but not to the exclusion of an occasional hard sweep. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Deng X.,Nankai University | Deng X.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Chen K.,University of Chicago | Chen K.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | And 10 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2015

N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most abundant internal modification in eukaryotic messenger RNA (mRNA). Recent discoveries of demethylases and specific binding proteins of m6A as well as m6A methylomes obtained in mammals, yeast and plants have revealed regulatory functions of this RNA modification. Although m6A is present in the ribosomal RNA of bacteria, its occurrence in mRNA still remains elusive. Here, we have employed ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography coupled with triple-quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QQQ-MS/MS) to calculate the m6A/A ratio in mRNA from a wide range of bacterial species, which demonstrates that m6A is an abundant mRNA modification in tested bacteria. Subsequent transcriptome-wide m6A profiling in Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa revealed a conserved m6A pattern that is distinct from those in eukaryotes. Most m6A peaks are located inside open reading frames and carry a unique consensus motif of GCCAU. Functional enrichment analysis of bacterial m6A peaks indicates that the majority of m6A-modified genes are associated with respiration, amino acids metabolism, stress response and small RNAs, suggesting potential functional roles of m6A in these pathways. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

PubMed | Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Archives of microbiology | Year: 2015

Expression of the chiB gene from Bacillus thuringiensis Bti75 was defined as inducible by the use of transcriptional fusions with the bgaB reporter gene. The transcription start site of the chiB gene was identified as the C base located 132 base pairs upstream of the start codon. Analysis of 5 and 3 deletions of the chiB promoter region revealed that the sequence from position -192 to +36 with respect to the transcription start site was necessary for wild-type levels of inducible expression of the chiB gene. The minimal promoter region for the expression of chiB gene was identified as the sequence from position -100 to +12. Furthermore, a 16-bp sequence (designated dre) downstream of the minimal promoter region of chiB was shown to be required for chitin induction. To confirm the function of this 16-bp sequence, 25 base substitutions were introduced into the dre site. Most of the mutations resulted in constitutive expression, or the efficiency of induction decreased. All mutations identified the dre sequence as a critical site for the inducible expression of chiB. In addition, the dre site was shown to interact with a sequence-specific DNA binding factor of strain Bti75 cultured in the absence of the inducer.

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