General microbiology and science, August 26, 2014

Here, we have CRISPRs, phages, marine metagenomics, a universal bacterial/archaeal primer (The One?), single-cell genomics, light and bacteria, and Bik’s Picks.

Phages and CRISPRs

Abundant and Diverse Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat Spacers in Clostridium difficile Strains and Prophages Target Multiple Phage Types within This Pathogen – Katherine R. Hargreaves – mBio

“We detected multiple matches between spacers and regions in 31 C. difficile phage and prophage genomes”

Evolutionary consequences of intra-patient phage predation on microbial populations
Kimberley D Seed – eLife

“Here, we show that predatory interactions of a phage with an important environmentally transmitted pathogen, Vibrio cholerae, can modulate the evolutionary trajectory of this pathogen during the natural course of infection within individual patients.”

Metagenomics

* Marine metagenomics, a valuable tool for enzymes and bioactive compounds discovery
Rosalba Barone – Frontiers in Marine Science

“We report examples of several hydrolytic enzymes and natural products isolated by functional sequenced-based and function- screening strategies assisted by new high-throughput DNA sequencing technology and recent bioinformatics tools.”

Bioinformatics

Profile Hidden Markov Models for the Detection of Viruses within Metagenomic Sequence Data – Peter Skewes-Cox – PLOS ONE

“Here, we constructed HMMER3-compatible profile hidden Markov models (profile HMMs) from all the virally annotated proteins in RefSeq in an automated fashion using a custom-built bioinformatic pipeline. “

 

Techniques

I hope they developed two primers, not just one! Development of a Prokaryotic Universal Primer for Simultaneous Analysis of Bacteria and Archaea Using Next-Generation Sequencing – Shunsuke Takahashi – PLOS ONE

“Here, we designed a universal primer based on the V3-V4 hypervariable region of prokaryotic 16S rDNA for the simultaneous detection of Bacteria and Archaea in fecal samples from crossbred pigs (Landrace×Large white×Duroc) using an Illumina MiSeq next-generation sequencer.”

A Quantitative Comparison of Single-Cell Whole Genome Amplification Methods – Charles F. A. de Bourcy – PLOS ONE

“Here, we compare three state-of-the-art methods on both bulk and single-cell samples of E. coli DNA: Multiple Displacement Amplification (MDA), Multiple Annealing and Looping Based Amplification Cycles (MALBAC), and the PicoPLEX single-cell WGA kit (NEB-WGA). “

This abstract is so vague, I am not sure where to file this under – A Robust and Adaptable High Throughput Screening Method to Study Host-Microbiota Interactions in the Human Intestine – Tomas de Wouters – PLOS ONE

“In this study, we developed a robust and reproducible methodology to combine these two biological systems for high throughput application”

LC Sciences and Norgen Biotek will be conducting a free informational webinar describing 16S rRNA Sequencing and presenting a few application examples.

“If you are interested in attending the webinar, simply reply to news@lcsciences.com and we would be happy to send the webinar details.”

More microbiology

The Immune System in Children with Malnutrition — A Systematic Review
Maren Johanne Heilskov Rytter – PLOS ONE

“A systematic literature search was done in PubMed, and additional articles identified in reference lists and by correspondence with experts in the field. “

Photodynamic Therapy Using Systemic Administration of 5-Aminolevulinic Acid and a 410-nm Wavelength Light-Emitting Diode for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus-Infected Ulcers in Mice – Kuniyuki Morimoto – PLOS ONE

“5-aminolevulinic acid photodynamic therapy accelerated wound healing and decreased bacterial counts on ulcer surfaces; in contrast, vancomycin treatment did not accelerate wound healing.”

Light Scattering Sensor for Direct Identification of Colonies of Escherichia coli Serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145 and O157 – Yanjie Tang- PLOS ONE

“SMAC was chosen for exhaustive scatter image library development, and 36 additional strains of O157:H7 and 11 non-O157 serovars were examined, with each serogroup producing unique differential scatter patterns.”

Science and publishing

Protecting human research participants in the age of big data – Susan T. Fiskea, and Robert M. Hauser – PNAS USA

“IRB review does not apply to Facebook and other private enterprises, yet they generate data that can benefit humanity”

Bik’s Picks

Magpies don’t like shiny things – Sarah Zielinski – Science News

“Magpies deserve our apology. Apparently humans have been unnecessarily maligning the birds for centuries. “

Richard III ate like a king before biting the dust – Bruce Bower – Science News

“Well-known royal’s brief reign included a sudden shift to fancy food and drink”

What type of researcher are you? Take the Quiz – Roche Life Science

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Microbiome digest, August 17, 2014

Childhood undernutrition and the gut microbiome, hibernating ground squirrels, Sphagnum, nematodes, and forensic discrimination of soils.

Human gut microbiome

An evolving perspective about the origins of childhood undernutrition and nutritional interventions that includes the gut microbiome – Tahmeed Ahmed – Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

“This paper summarizes work on mechanisms underlying the varied manifestations of childhood undernutrition and discusses current gaps in knowledge and challenges to our understanding of undernutrition and infection/immunity throughout the human life cycle, focusing on early childhood growth. ”

Animal microbiome

Hibernation alters the diversity and composition of mucosa-associated bacteria while enhancing antimicrobial defense in the gut of 13-lined ground squirrels – Kimberly A. Dill-McFarland – Molecular Ecology

“We used 16S rRNA pyrosequencing and cecal tissue protein analysis to investigate the effects of hibernation on the mucosa-associated bacterial microbiota and host responses in 13-lined ground squirrels.”

Diversity of Bacteria Carried by Pinewood Nematode in USA and Phylogenetic Comparison with Isolates from Other Countries – Diogo Neves Proença – PLOS ONE

“The objective of this study was to evaluate the diversity of the bacterial community carried by B. xylophilus, isolated from different Pinus spp. with PWD in Nebraska, United States. “

Plant microbiome

The Sphagnum microbiome supports bog ecosystem functioning under extreme conditions – Anastasia Bragina – Molecular Ecology

“We identified a high functional diversity within the Sphagnum microbiome applying an Illumina-based metagenomic approach followed by de novo assembly and MG-RAST annotation.”

Soil microbiome

Random Whole Metagenomic Sequencing for Forensic Discrimination of Soils – Anastasia S. Khodakova – PLOS ONE

“Shotgun, whole genome amplification (WGA) and single arbitrarily primed DNA amplification (AP-PCR) based sequencing techniques were then used to generate soil metagenomic profiles”

Microbial Community Structure of Relict Niter-Beds Previously Used for Saltpeter Production – Takashi Narihiro – PLOS ONE

“In this study, the microbial community structures within nine relict niter-bed soils were investigated using 454 pyrotag analysis targeting the 16S rRNA gene and the bacterial and archaeal ammonia monooxygenase gene (amoA). “

How Does Conversion of Natural Tropical Rainforest Ecosystems Affect Soil Bacterial and Fungal Communities in the Nile River Watershed of Uganda? – Peter O Alele – PLOS ONE

“Overall, our results suggest that soil microbial communities are relatively resilient to forest conversion and despite a substantial and consistent change in the soil environment, the effects of conversion differed widely among sites. “

Soil-Borne Microbial Functional Structure across Different Land Uses – Eiko E. Kuramae – The Scientific World Journal

“In a multivariate regression tree analysis of soil physicochemical properties and genes detected by functional microarrays, the main factor that explained the different microbial community functional structures was C : N ratio.”

Water microbiome

Temperature response of denitrification and anammox rates and microbial community structure in Arctic fjord sediments – Andy Canion – Environmental Microbiology

“Community structure in intact sediments and slurry incubations was determined using Illumina MiSeq SSU rRNA gene sequencing.”

Complex communities of small protists and unexpected occurrence of typical marine lineages in shallow freshwater systems – Marianne Simon – Environmental Microbiology

“We carried out a comparative study based on massive pyrosequencing of amplified 18S rRNA gene fragments of protists in the 0.2-5 μm-size range in one brook and four shallow ponds located in the Natural Regional Park of the Chevreuse Valley, France.”

Metagenomics

Impact of single-cell genomics and metagenomics on the emerging view of extremophile “microbial dark matter” – Brian P. Hedlund- Extremophiles

“Unraveling the mysteries of these candidate phyla is a grand challenge in microbiology and is especially important in habitats where they are abundant, including some extreme environments and low-energy ecosystems.”

Metabolomics

Metabolic Modelling of Spatial Heterogeneity of Biofilms in Microbial Fuel Cells Reveals Substrate Limitations in Electrical Current Generation – Nadeera Jayasinghe – Biotechnology Journal

“The goal of this work is to develop a model that integrates genome-scale metabolic models with the model of biofilm environment. “

Bioinformatics

Rarefaction and extrapolation of phylogenetic diversity – Anne Chao – Methods in Ecology and Evolution

“We develop in this paper the “PD accumulation curve” (an extension of the species accumulation curve) to depict how PD increases with sampling size and sample completeness.”

Microbes in the news

Can’t Stick to That Diet? Blame Your Gut Bacteria – Nolan Feeney – Time

“The gut microbiome, the collection of all the microbes in our digestive tracts, may influence our food choices and behavior, suggests a new study that recently appeared in the journal BioEssays.”

How Clean Is Your Produce? Testing Fruit For Bacteria – WFMyNews2.com

“Ellis took samples of the fruits one by one and placed the samples on a petri dish. She then washed some of the lettuce and repeated the testing procedure on both the head of lettuce and the pre-washed bag of lettuce, in 72-hours the results were in.”

Bik’s Picks

9/11 dust cloud may have caused widespread pregnancy issues – ScienceDaily

“Pregnant women living near the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks experienced negative birth outcomes, according to a new paper.”

Volunteers on the scent of science with whale carcass – Peter Fimrite – SF Gate

“If there’s anything as enjoyable to Dan Sudran as sawing through the stinking blubber of a whale carcass and extracting bones from the gooey tissues, it would be showing the results to children.”

Alaska’s Shrinking Glaciers Seen from Space – Kelly Dickerson – LiveScience

“Compared with a vintage satellite photo of the region, an image taken from space last year reveals just how much the glaciers have shrunk over the past 26 years.”

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Human microbiomes, June 5

Today we have some commentaries on recent papers about microbiotas in malnutrition or on placentas, and new papers about oral bacteria in the bloodstream, helminths, and coincidental killers.

Oral microbiome

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 7.59.36 PMDissemination of Periodontal Pathogens in the Bloodstream after Periodontal Procedures: A Systematic Review – Anna Carolina Ratto Tempestini Horliana – PLOS ONE

“MEDLINE, EMBASE and LILACS databases were searched in duplicate through August, 2013 without language restriction. Observational studies were included if blood samples were collected before, during or after periodontal procedures of patients with periodontitis”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 7.56.12 PMThe Emerging Landscape of Salivary Diagnostics – Yong Zhang- OHDM – Omics Online

“Here we review recent developments in salivary diagnostics that have been accomplished using salivaomics, the mechanisms of saliva diagnostics, as well as the translational and clinical application of saliva biomarkers”

Gut microbiome

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 7.57.14 PMInfection and Co-infection with Helminths and Plasmodium among School Children in Côte d’Ivoire: Results from a National Cross-Sectional Survey – Richard B. Yapi – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

“We carried out the first national survey on parasitic worm and Plasmodium infection among children in 92 schools all over Côte d’Ivoire. Questionnaires were administered to determine the children’s socioeconomic status and infection-related risk factors. We found an overall prevalence of Plasmodium infection of 63.3%.”

ColonSome Antibiotics May Slightly Increase Colon Cancer Risk – Bahar Gholipour – LiveScience

“The researchers compared the amount of antibiotics the patients had taken at least six months before being diagnosed with cancer, to the amount of antibiotics taken by a group of about 86,000 healthy people.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 10.07.58 AMWhy Can’t Once-Malnourished Children “Catch Up”? Answer May Lie in Gut – Karen Weintraub – National Geographic

“There’s something lacking in our current approach to treatment,” said Gordon, who suspects the children may need to eat therapeutic foods for longer and/or get supplements of probiotics, or beneficial microorganisms, to catch up. “We need to think of food as interacting with this microbial organ.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.03.26 PMSevere hunger can have lasting effects for gut health, study finds – MedicalXPress

“Nutrition therapy has saved the lives of millions of malnourished infants, but may not restore an imbalance in gut bacteria that is key to long-term health and vitality, researchers said Wednesday.”

Pregnancy and birth

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.05.15 PMGearing up for a closer look at the human placenta – Jocelyn Kaiser – Science

“A placenta sustained you and every person ever born for 9 months, serving as your lungs and kidneys and pumping out hormones while you developed in the womb. Problems with this disk-shaped mass of tissue can contribute to everything from preterm births to diseases of middle age. Yet when a baby is born, hospitals usually throw the placenta away.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 9.57.32 AMMicrobirth: Why ‘Seeding Baby’s Microbiome’ Needs to Be on Every Birth Plan – Toni Harman – HuffingtonPost

“The latest scientific research is now starting to indicate that if the baby is not properly seeded with the mother’s own bacteria at birth, then the baby’s microbiome, in the words of Rodney R Dietert, Professor of Immunotoxicology at Cornell University, is left “incomplete”.”

General human microbiome

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.07.51 PMCoincidental killers – We assume that microbes evolved to attack humans when actually we are just civilian casualties in a much older war – Ed Yong – Aeon Magazine

“And some supposedly pathogenic bacteria were often common parts of the environment. ‘These organisms become accidental pathogens,’ says the microbiologist Arturo Casadevall from Yeshiva University in New York. ‘They’ll still be there even if you remove all the animals from the planet. And yet, evolution selected for just the right combination of traits to cause disease in humans.’”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.12.08 PMSilicon Valley’s Top Ten Tech Trends – Jacqueline Vanacek – Forbes
Trend #7: Data-driven healthcare (from your gut).

The combination of personal health and fitness data, genomics, and even microbiomics will drive healthcare choices from real outcomes and individual probabilities. And since the bacteria in our digestive tracks has greater influence on our health than previously known, we really are what we eat!

Microbiome and Bioinformatics

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.11.20 PMBOTUX: Bayesian–like operational taxonomic unit examiner – Vishal N. Koparde – International Journal of Computational Biology and Drug Design

“Bayesian–like operational taxonomic unit examiner (BOTUX) is a new tool for the classification of 16S rRNA gene sequences into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that addresses the problem of overestimation caused by errors introduced during PCR amplification and DNA sequencing steps”

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Human microbiome digest, June 4, 2014

Today’s featured paper describes the gut microbiota of malnourished Bangladeshi children and was published in Nature. But we also cover oral cancer and babies’ dummies (pacifiers).

Gut microbiome

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 12.35.59 AMPersistent gut microbiota immaturity in malnourished Bangladeshi children – Sathish Subramanian – Nature

“ In the current study, bacterial species whose proportional representation define a healthy gut microbiota as it assembles during the first two postnatal years were identified by applying a machine-learning-based approach to 16S ribosomal RNA data sets generated from monthly faecal samples obtained from birth onwards in a cohort of children living in an urban slum of Dhaka, Bangladesh, who exhibited consistently healthy growth. “

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 12.37.44 AMAnd an accompanying News And Views: Population health: Immaturity in the gut microbial community – Elizabeth K. Costello- Nature

“Undernourished children fall behind not only on growth, but also on maturation of their intestinal bacterial communities, according to a study comparing acutely malnourished and healthy Bangladeshi children.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 12.36.53 AMThe Scientist also writes about the Subramanian paper: How Malnutrition Affects the Microbiome – Rina Shaikh-Lesko – The Scientist

“The gut bacterial communities of severely malnourished children appear to be less developed than those of healthy children, a study on Bangladeshi infants and toddlers finds.”

Oral microbiome

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 12.34.59 AMChanges in Abundance of Oral Microbiota Associated with Oral Cancer – Brian L. Schmidt – PLOS ONE

“To investigate changes in the microbiome associated with oral cancers, we profiled cancers and anatomically matched contralateral normal tissue from the same patient by sequencing 16S rDNA hypervariable region amplicons. “

The strange micro-biome that is your mouth – Paul Kulpinski – Mountain Waves Healing Arts

“In this post I will report on my most recent self-experiment. Some of this experiment was intentional, and some of it was non-intentional – with regards to my oral hygiene at least.”

Pregnancy and birth

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 12.43.20 AMMothers should suck their babies’ dummies, scientists say – Sarah Knapton – The Telegraph

“Children whose mother’s sucked their dummies to clean them were a third less likely to develop asthma and eczema, Prof Graham Rook, told the Cheltenham Science Festival. “If the parents pick up the dummy right away and sterilises it or replace it with a new clean one, that child has a considerably greater chance of having eczema and asthma,” he said.”

Influence of interpregnancy interval on birth timing – EA DeFranco – BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

“While short IPI is a known risk factor for preterm birth, our data show that inadequate birth spacing is associated with decreased gestational age for all births.”

Health of Hispanic Moms and Babies a Growing Concern, New Report Says – Hola Arkansas

“March of Dimes Global Ambassador Thalia Urges Hispanic Women To Be Informed About Pregnancy and Baby Health”

 

General microbiome
Pharmacomicrobiomics: The Impact of Human Microbiome Variations on Systems Pharmacology and Personalized Therapeutics – A summary of key findings and applications from the Human Microbiome Project. – Marwa ElRakaiby – Omics Journal

In this review article, we summarize the key findings and applications of the HMP that may impact pharmacology and personalized therapeutics.

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