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Conrad D.,University of California at San Diego | Haynes M.,Joint Genome Institute | Salamon P.,San Diego State University | Rainey P.B.,Massey University | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology | Year: 2013

Current therapy for cystic fibrosis (CF) focuses on minimizing the microbial community and the host's immune response through the aggressive use of airway clearance techniques, broad-spectrum antibiotics, and treatments that break down the pervasive endobronchial biofilm. Antibiotic selection is typically basedon the susceptibility of individual microbial strains to specific antibiotics in vitro. Often this approach cannot accurately predict medical outcomes because of factors both technical and biological. Recent culture-independent assessments of the airway microbial and viral communities demonstrated that the CF airway infection is considerably more complex and dynamic than previously appreciated. Understanding the ecological and evolutionary pressures that shape these communities is critically important for the optimal use of current therapies (in both the choice of therapy and timing of administration) and the development of newer strategies. The climax-attack model (CAM) presented here, grounded in basic ecological principles, postulates the existence of two major functional communities. The attack community consists of transient viral and microbial populations that induce strong innate immune responses. The resultant intense immune response creates microenvironments that facilitate the establishment of a climax community that is slower-growing and inherently resistant to antibiotic therapy. Newer methodologies, including sequence-based metagenomic analysis, can track not only the taxonomic composition but also the metabolic capabilities of these changing viral and microbial communities over time. Collecting this information for CF airways will enable the mathematical modeling of microbial community dynamics during disease progression. The resultant understanding of airway communities and their effects on lung physiology will facilitate the optimization of CF therapies. Copyright © 2013 by the American Thoracic Society.

Frank J.A.,San Diego State University | Lorimer D.,Emerald Biostructures | Youle M.,Rainbow Rock | Witte P.,Emerald Biostructures | And 6 more authors.
ISME Journal | Year: 2013

Bacteriophages encode auxiliary metabolic genes that support more efficient phage replication. For example, cyanophages carry several genes to maintain host photosynthesis throughout infection, shuttling the energy and reducing power generated away from carbon fixation and into anabolic pathways. Photodamage to the D1/D2 proteins at the core of photosystem II necessitates their continual replacement. Synthesis of functional proteins in bacteria requires co-translational removal of the N-terminal formyl group by a peptide deformylase (PDF). Analysis of marine metagenomes to identify phage-encoded homologs of known metabolic genes found that marine phages carry PDF genes, suggesting that their expression during infection might benefit phage replication. We identified a PDF homolog in the genome of Synechococcus cyanophage S-SSM7. Sequence analysis confirmed that it possesses the three absolutely conserved motifs that form the active site in PDF metalloproteases. Phylogenetic analysis placed it within the Type 1B subclass, most closely related to the Arabidopsis chloroplast PDF, but lacking the C-terminal α-helix characteristic of that group. PDF proteins from this phage and from Synechococcus elongatus were expressed and characterized. The phage PDF is the more active enzyme and deformylates the N-terminal tetrapeptides from D1 proteins more efficiently than those from ribosomal proteins. Solution of the X-ray/crystal structures of those two PDFs to 1.95 Å resolution revealed active sites identical to that of the Type 1B Arabidopsis chloroplast PDF. Taken together, these findings show that many cyanophages encode a PDF with a D1 substrate preference that adds to the repertoire of genes used by phages to maintain photosynthetic activities. © 2013 International Society for Microbial Ecology.

Barott K.L.,San Diego State University | Rodriguez-Mueller B.,San Diego State University | Youle M.,Rainbow Rock | Marhaver K.L.,University of California at Merced | And 5 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2012

Competition between reef-building corals and benthic algae is of key importance for reef dynamics. These interactions occur on many spatial scales, ranging from chemical to regional. Using microprobes, 16S rDNA pyrosequencing and underwater surveys, we examined the interactions between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and four types of benthic algae. The macroalgae Dictyota bartayresiana and Halimeda opuntia, as well as a mixed consortium of turf algae, caused hypoxia on the adjacent coral tissue. Turf algae were also associated with major shifts in the bacterial communities at the interaction zones, including more pathogens and virulence genes. In contrast to turf algae, interactions with crustose coralline algae (CCA) and M. annularis did not appear to be antagonistic at any scale. These zones were not hypoxic, the microbes were not pathogen-like and the abundance of coral-CCA interactions was positively correlated with per cent coral cover. We propose a model in which fleshy algae (i.e. some species of turf and fleshy macroalgae) alter benthic competition dynamics by stimulating bacterial respiration and promoting invasion of virulent bacteria on corals. This gives fleshy algae a competitive advantage over corals when human activities, such as overfishing and eutrophication, remove controls on algal abundance. Together, these results demonstrate the intricate connections and mechanisms that structure coral reefs. © 2011 The Royal Society.

Lim Y.W.,San Diego State University | Schmieder R.,San Diego State University | Haynes M.,San Diego State University | Haynes M.,U.S. Department of Energy | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Cystic Fibrosis | Year: 2013

Background: Samples collected from CF patient airways often contain large amounts of host-derived nucleic acids that interfere with recovery and purification of microbial and viral nucleic acids. This study describes metagenomic and metatranscriptomic methods that address these issues. Methods: Microbial and viral metagenomes, and microbial metatranscriptomes, were successfully prepared from sputum samples from five adult CF patients. Results: Contaminating host DNA was dramatically reduced in the metagenomes. Each CF patient presented a unique microbiome; in some Pseudomonas aeruginosa was replaced by other opportunistic bacteria. Even though the taxonomic composition of the microbiomes is very different, the metabolic potentials encoded by the community are very similar. The viral communities were dominated by phages that infect major CF pathogens. The metatranscriptomes reveal differential expression of encoded metabolic potential with changing health status. Conclusions: Microbial and viral metagenomics combined with microbial transcriptomics characterize the dynamic polymicrobial communities found in CF airways, revealing both the taxa present and their current metabolic activities. These approaches can facilitate the development of individualized treatment plans and novel therapeutic approaches. © 2012 European Cystic Fibrosis Society.

Rodriguez-Brito B.,San Diego State University | Li L.,San Diego State University | Li L.,Blood System Research Institute | Wegley L.,San Diego State University | And 32 more authors.
ISME Journal | Year: 2010

The species composition and metabolic potential of microbial and viral communities are predictable and stable for most ecosystems. This apparent stability contradicts theoretical models as well as the viral-microbial dynamics observed in simple ecosystems, both of which show Kill-the-Winner behavior causing cycling of the dominant taxa. Microbial and viral metagenomes were obtained from four human-controlled aquatic environments at various time points separated by one day to > 1 year. These environments were maintained within narrow geochemical bounds and had characteristic species composition and metabolic potentials at all time points. However, underlying this stability were rapid changes at the fine-grained level of viral genotypes and microbial strains. These results suggest a model wherein functionally redundant microbial and viral taxa are cycling at the level of viral genotypes and virus-sensitive microbial strains. Microbial taxa, viral taxa, and metabolic function persist over time in stable ecosystems and both communities fluctuate in a Kill-the-Winner manner at the level of viral genotypes and microbial strains. © 2010 International Society for Microbial Ecology All rights reserved.

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