To improve the metagenomic analysis of complex microbiomes, we have repurposed restriction endonucleases as methyl specific DNA binding proteins. As an example, we use DpnI immobilized on magnetic beads. The ten minute extraction technique allows specific binding of genomes containing the DpnI Gm6ATC motif common in the genomic DNA of many bacteria including ?-proteobacteria. Using synthetic genome mixtures, we demonstrate 80% recovery of Escherichia coli genomic DNA even when only femtogram quantities are spiked into 10 µg of human DNA background. Binding is very specific with less than 0.5% of human DNA bound. Next Generation Sequencing of input and enriched synthetic mixtures results in over 100-fold enrichment of target genomes relative to human and plant DNA. We also show comparable enrichment when sequencing complex microbiomes such as those from creek water and human saliva. The technique can be broadened to other restriction enzymes allowing for the selective enrichment of trace and unculturable organisms from complex microbiomes and the stratification of organisms according to restriction enzyme enrichment.
The widespread emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a lack of new pharmaceutical development have catalyzed a need for new and innovative approaches for antibiotic drug discovery. One bottleneck in antibiotic discovery is the lack of a rapid and comprehensive method to identify compound mode of action (MOA). Since a hallmark of antibiotic action is as an inhibitor of essential cellular targets and processes, we identify a set of 308 essential genes in the clinically important pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. A total of 446 strains differentially expressing these genes were constructed in a comprehensive platform of sensitized and resistant strains. A subset of strains allows either target underexpression or target overexpression by heterologous promoter replacements with a suite of tetracycline-regulatable promoters. A further subset of 236 antisense RNA-expressing clones allows knockdown expression of cognate targets. Knockdown expression confers selective antibiotic hypersensitivity, while target overexpression confers resistance. The antisense strains were configured into a TargetArray in which pools of sensitized strains were challenged in fitness tests. A rapid detection method measures strain responses toward antibiotics. The TargetArray antibiotic fitness test results show mechanistically informative biological fingerprints that allow MOA elucidation.
The sequence of the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) strain H37Rv has been available for over a decade, but the biology of the pathogen remains poorly understood. Genome sequences from other Mtb strains and closely related bacteria present an opportunity to apply the power of comparative genomics to understand the evolution of Mtb pathogenesis. We conducted a comparative analysis using 31 genomes from the Tuberculosis Database (TBDB.org), including 8 strains of Mtb and M. bovis, 11 additional Mycobacteria, 4 Corynebacteria, 2 Streptomyces, Rhodococcus jostii RHA1, Nocardia farcinia, Acidothermus cellulolyticus, Rhodobacter sphaeroides, Propionibacterium acnes, and Bifidobacterium longum.
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