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Teixeira M.D.M.,Translational Genomics Research Institute North | Teixeira M.D.M.,University of Brasilia | Patane J.S.L.,University of Sao Paulo | Taylor M.L.,Autonomous University of Mexico City | And 7 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2016

Histoplasma capsulatum comprises a worldwide complex of saprobiotic fungi mainly found in nitrogen/phosphate (often bird guano) enriched soils. The microconidia of Histoplasma species may be inhaled by mammalian hosts, and is followed by a rapid conversion to yeast that can persist in host tissues causing histoplasmosis, a deep pulmonary/systemic mycosis. Histoplasma capsulatum sensu lato is a complex of at least eight clades geographically distributed as follows: Australia, Netherlands, Eurasia, North American classes 1 and 2 (NAm 1 and NAm 2), Latin American groups A and B (LAm A and LAm B) and Africa. With the exception of the Eurasian cluster, those clades are considered phylogenetic species. Methodology/Principal Findings: Increased Histoplasma sampling (n = 234) resulted in the revision of the phylogenetic distribution and population structure using 1,563 aligned nucleotides from four protein-coding regions. The LAm B clade appears to be divided into at least two highly supported clades, which are geographically restricted to either Colombia/Argentina or Brazil respectively. Moreover, a complex population genetic structure was identified within LAm A clade supporting multiple monophylogenetic species, which could be driven by rapid host or environmental adaptation (~0.5 MYA). We found two divergent clades, which include Latin American isolates (newly named as LAm A1 and LAm A2), harboring a cryptic cluster in association with bats. Conclusions/Significance: At least six new phylogenetic species are proposed in the Histoplasma species complex supported by different phylogenetic and population genetics methods, comprising LAm A1, LAm A2, LAm B1, LAm B2, RJ and BAC-1 phylogenetic species. The genetic isolation of Histoplasma could be a result of differential dispersion potential of naturally infected bats and other mammals. In addition, the present study guides isolate selection for future population genomics and genome wide association studies in this important pathogen complex. © 2016 Teixeira et al. Source

Riehm J.M.,University of Federal Defense Munich | Projahn M.,University of Federal Defense Munich | Vogler A.J.,Northern Arizona University | Rajerison M.,Institute Pasteur Of Madagascar | And 11 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2015

Background Yersinia pestis is the causative agent of human plague and is endemic in various African, Asian and American countries. In Madagascar, the disease represents a significant public health problem with hundreds of human cases a year. Unfortunately, poor infrastructure makes outbreak investigations challenging. Methodology/Principal Findings DNA was extracted directly from 93 clinical samples from patients with a clinical diagnosis of plague in Madagascar in 2007. The extracted DNAs were then genotyped using three molecular genotyping methods, including, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing, multi-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA), and Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) analysis. These methods provided increasing resolution, respectively. The results of these analyses revealed that, in 2007, ten molecular groups, two newly described here and eight previously identified, were responsible for causing human plague in geographically distinct areas of Madagascar. Conclusions/Significance Plague in Madagascar is caused by numerous distinct types of Y. pestis. Genotyping method choice should be based upon the discriminatory power needed, expense, and available data for any desired comparisons. We conclude that genotyping should be a standard tool used in epidemiological investigations of plague outbreaks. © 2015 Riehm et al. Source

Rawat A.,Translational Genomics Research Institute North | Rawat A.,University of Southern Mississippi | Elasri M.O.,University of Southern Mississippi | Gust K.A.,U.S. Army | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Our goal is to introduce and describe the utility of a new pipeline "Contigs Assembly Pipeline using Reference Genome" (CAPRG), which has been developed to assemble "long sequence reads" for non-model organisms by leveraging a reference genome of a closely related phylogenetic relative. To facilitate this effort, we utilized two avian transcriptomic datasets generated using ROCHE/454 technology as test cases for CAPRG assembly. We compared the results of CAPRG assembly using a reference genome with the results of existing methods that utilize de novo strategies such as VELVET, PAVE, and MIRA by employing parameter space comparisons (intra-assembling comparison). CAPRG performed as well or better than the existing assembly methods based on various benchmarks for "gene-hunting." Further, CAPRG completed the assemblies in a fraction of the time required by the existing assembly algorithms. Additional advantages of CAPRG included reduced contig inflation resulting in lower computational resources for annotation, and functional identification for contigs that may be categorized as "unknowns" by de novo methods. In addition to providing evaluation of CAPRG performance, we observed that the different assembly (inter-assembly) results could be integrated to enhance the putative gene coverage for any transcriptomics study. © 2012 Rawat et al. Source

Vogler A.J.,Northern Arizona University | Keim P.,Northern Arizona University | Keim P.,Translational Genomics Research Institute North | Wagner D.M.,Northern Arizona University
Infection, Genetics and Evolution | Year: 2016

Numerous subtyping methods have been applied to Yersinia pestis with varying success. Here, we review the various subtyping methods that have been applied to Y. pestis and their capacity for answering questions regarding the population genetics, phylogeography, and molecular epidemiology of this important human pathogen. Methods are evaluated in terms of expense, difficulty, transferability among laboratories, discriminatory power, usefulness for different study questions, and current applicability in light of the advent of whole genome sequencing. © 2015 The Authors. Source

Busch J.D.,Northern Arizona University | Van Andel R.,University of California at Berkeley | Stone N.E.,Northern Arizona University | Cobble K.R.,Northern Arizona University | And 18 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2013

Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) are highly susceptible to Yersinia pestis, with $99% mortality reported from multiple studies of plague epizootics. A colony of Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) in the Aubrey Valley (AV) of northern Arizona appears to have survived several regional epizootics of plague, whereas nearby colonies have been severely affected by Y. pestis. To examine potential mechanisms accounting for survival in the AV colony, we conducted a laboratory Y. pestis challenge experiment on 60 wild-caught prairie dogs from AV and from a nearby, large colony with frequent past outbreaks of plague, Espee (n530 per colony). Test animals were challenged subcutaneously with the fully virulent Y. pestis strain CO92 at three doses: 50, 5,000, and 50,000 colony-forming units (cfu); this range is lethal in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Contrary to our expectations, only 40% of the animals died. Although mortality trended higher in the Espee colony (50%) compared with AV (30%), the differences among infectious doses were not statistically significant. Only 39% of the survivors developed moderate to high antibody levels to Y. pestis, indicating that mechanisms other than humoral immunity are important in resistance to plague. The ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes was not correlated with plague survival in this study. However, several immune proteins with roles in innate immunity (VCAM-1, CXCL-1, and vWF) were upregulated during plague infection and warrant further inquiry into their role for protection against this disease. These results suggest plague resistance exists in wild populations of the Gunnison's prairie dog and provide important directions for future studies. © Wildlife Disease Association 2013. Source

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