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Fort Smith, Canada

Wilson D.,Hans Knoell institute | Wilson D.,The Institute of Medical science | Mayer F.L.,Hans Knoell institute | Mayer F.L.,Michael Smith Laboratories | And 8 more authors.
Eukaryotic Cell | Year: 2014

Human fungal pathogens are distributed throughout their kingdom, suggesting that pathogenic potential evolved independently. Candida albicans is the most virulent member of the CUG clade of yeasts and a common cause of both superficial and invasive infections. We therefore hypothesized that C. albicans possesses distinct pathogenicity mechanisms. In silico genome subtraction and comparative transcriptional analysis identified a total of 65 C. albicans-specific genes (ASGs) expressed during infection. Phenotypic characterization of six ASG-null mutants demonstrated that these genes are dispensable for in vitro growth but play defined roles in host-pathogen interactions. Based on these analyses, we investigated two ASGs in greater detail. An orf19.6688Δ mutant was found to be fully virulent in a mouse model of disseminated candidiasis and to induce higher levels of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) following incubation with murine macrophages. A pga16Δ mutant, on the other hand, exhibited attenuated virulence. Moreover, we provide evidence that secondary filamentation events (multiple hyphae emerging from a mother cell and hyphal branching) contribute to pathogenicity: PGA16 deletion did not influence primary hypha formation or extension following contact with epithelial cells; however, multiple hyphae and hyphal branching were strongly reduced. Significantly, these hyphae failed to damage host cells as effectively as the multiple hypha structures formed by wild-type C. albicans cells. Together, our data show that species-specific genes of a eukaryotic pathogen can play important roles in pathogenicity. © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Janbon G.,Institute Pasteur Paris | Janbon G.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Ormerod K.L.,University of Queensland | Paulet D.,Institute Pasteur Paris | And 56 more authors.
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2014

Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogenic basidiomycetous yeast responsible for more than 600,000 deaths each year. It occurs as two serotypes (A and D) representing two varieties (i.e. grubii and neoformans, respectively). Here, we sequenced the genome and performed an RNA-Seq-based analysis of the C. neoformans var. grubii transcriptome structure. We determined the chromosomal locations, analyzed the sequence/structural features of the centromeres, and identified origins of replication. The genome was annotated based on automated and manual curation. More than 40,000 introns populating more than 99% of the expressed genes were identified. Although most of these introns are located in the coding DNA sequences (CDS), over 2,000 introns in the untranslated regions (UTRs) were also identified. Poly(A)-containing reads were employed to locate the polyadenylation sites of more than 80% of the genes. Examination of the sequences around these sites revealed a new poly(A)-site-associated motif (AUGHAH). In addition, 1,197 miscRNAs were identified. These miscRNAs can be spliced and/or polyadenylated, but do not appear to have obvious coding capacities. Finally, this genome sequence enabled a comparative analysis of strain H99 variants obtained after laboratory passage. The spectrum of mutations identified provides insights into the genetics underlying the micro-evolution of a laboratory strain, and identifies mutations involved in stress responses, mating efficiency, and virulence. © 2014 Janbon et al.

Sharanya D.,McMaster University | Thillainathan B.,McMaster University | Marri S.,McMaster University | Bojanala N.,McMaster University | And 7 more authors.
G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics | Year: 2012

The nematode Caenorhabditis briggsae is an excellent model organism for the comparative analysis of gene function and developmental mechanisms. To study the evolutionary conservation and divergence of genetic pathways mediating vulva formation, we screened for mutations in C. briggsae that cause the egg-laying defective (Egl) phenotype. Here, we report the characterization of 13 genes, including three that are orthologs of Caenorhabditis elegans unc-84 (SUN domain), lin-39 (Dfd/Scr-related homeobox), and lin-11 (LIM homeobox). Based on the morphology and cell fate changes, the mutants were placed into four different categories. Class 1 animals have normal-looking vulva and vulva-uterine connections, indicating defects in other components of the egg-laying system. Class 2 animals frequently lack some or all of the vulval precursor cells (VPCs) due to defects in the migration of P-cell nuclei into the ventral hypodermal region. Class 3 animals show inappropriate fusion of VPCs to the hypodermal syncytium, leading to a reduced number of vulval progeny. Finally, class 4 animals exhibit abnormal vulval invagination and morphology. Interestingly, we did not find mutations that affect VPC induction and fates. Our work is the first study involving the characterization of genes in C. briggsae vulva formation, and it offers a basis for future investigations of these genes in C. elegans. © 2012 Sharanya et al.

Antunes L.C.M.,Michael Smith Laboratories | Finlay B.B.,Michael Smith Laboratories | Finlay B.B.,University of British Columbia
Gut Microbes | Year: 2011

The intestinal metabolome is a rich collection of molecules with specialized functions and important physiological effects. Many insults such as enteric infection and microbiota disruption by antibiotics can have profound effects in the metabolic homeostasis of the gut. We have recently shown that Salmonella infection and antibiotic treatment of mice drastically alter the intestinal metabolome. Particularly, host hormone metabolism was significantly altered by both insults. Infection resulted in a net increase in the production of both steroids and eicosanoids, whereas antibiotic treatment seemed to reduce the production of these hormones. Our results suggest that both intestinal pathogens and commensals affect common metabolic functions and that this phenomenon may have implications for the interactions between microbes and their hosts. © 2011 Landes Bioscience.

Russell S.L.,Michael Smith Laboratories | Russell S.L.,University of British Columbia | Gold M.J.,University of British Columbia | Reynolds L.A.,University of British Columbia | And 15 more authors.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology | Year: 2015

Background Resident gut microbiota are now recognized as potent modifiers of host immune responses in various scenarios. Recently, we demonstrated that perinatal exposure to vancomycin, but not streptomycin, profoundly alters gut microbiota and enhances susceptibility to a TH2 model of allergic asthma.Objective Here we sought to further clarify the etiology of these changes by determining whether perinatal antibiotic treatment has a similar effect on the TH1/TH17-mediated lung disease, hypersensitivity pneumonitis.Methods Hypersensitivity pneumonitis was induced in C57BL/6 wild-type or recombination-activating gene 1-deficient mice treated perinatally with vancomycin or streptomycin by repeated intranasal administration of Saccharopolyspora rectivirgula antigen. Disease severity was assessed by measuring lung inflammation, pathology, cytokine responses, and serum antibodies. Microbial community analyses were performed on stool samples via 16S ribosomal RNA pyrosequencing and correlations between disease severity and specific bacterial taxa were identified.Results Surprisingly, in contrast to our findings in an allergic asthma model, we found that the severity of hypersensitivity pneumonitis was unaffected by vancomycin, but increased dramatically after streptomycin treatment. This likely reflects an effect on the adaptive, rather than innate, immune response because the effects of streptomycin were not observed during the early phases of disease and were abrogated in recombination-activating gene 1-deficient mice. Interestingly, Bacteroidetes dominated the intestinal microbiota of streptomycin-treated animals, while vancomycin promoted the expansion of the Firmicutes.Conclusions Perinatal antibiotics exert highly selective effects on resident gut flora, which, in turn, lead to very specific alterations in susceptibility to TH2- or TH1/TH17-driven lung inflammatory disease. © 2014 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

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