Pathogens and Disease
Molecular characterization of Chlamydia pneumoniae associated to atherosclerosis. – Yazouli LE, Criscuolo A, Hejaji H, Bouaaza M, Elmdaghri N, Alami AA, Amraoui A, Dakka N, Radouani F

Chlamydia pneumoniae is a respiratory pathogen associated with chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma and atherosclerosis, and its detection in human carotid and coronary atheroma suggests some support for its involvement in atherogenesis. The main objective of our study was to evaluate the association between Chlamydia pneumoniae and atherosclerosis in Moroccan patients through a case/control approach and detected strain genotyping. A total of 137 cases and 124 controls were enrolled, nested PCR was performed for Chlamydia pneumoniae screening of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of both cases and controls as well as atheroma plaques from 37 cases, and positive samples were subjected to sequencing for genotyping and phylogenetic analysis. The results showed 54% and 18%, respectively, for positivity in cases and control PBMCs and 86.5% in atheroma plaques, the difference being significant between the two groups (p<0.001, ORa = 8.580, CI, 95% [3.273-22.491]). Strain sequence analyses showed more than 98% similarity with human reference strains, and revealed various genotypes. This study supports the involvement of Chlamydia pneumoniae in atherosclerosis in the studied population and genotyping revealed that detected strains were identical to human strains circulating worldwide.

Nature Microbiology
N-terminomics identifies Prli42 as a membrane miniprotein conserved in Firmicutes and critical for stressosome activation in Listeria monocytogenes – Impens F, Rolhion N, Radoshevich L, Bécavin C, Duval M, Mellin J, García Del Portillo F, Pucciarelli MG, Williams AH, Cossart P

To adapt to changing environments, bacteria have evolved numerous pathways that activate stress response genes. In Gram-positive bacteria, the stressosome, a cytoplasmic complex, relays external cues and activates the sigma B regulon. The stressosome is structurally well-characterized in Bacillus, but how it senses stress remains elusive. Here, we report a genome-wide N-terminomic approach in Listeria that strikingly led to the discovery of 19 internal translation initiation sites and 6 miniproteins, among which one, Prli42, is conserved in Firmicutes. Prli42 is membrane-anchored and interacts with orthologues of Bacillus stressosome components. We reconstituted the Listeria stressosome in vitro and visualized its supramolecular structure by electron microscopy. Analysis of a series of Prli42 mutants demonstrated that Prli42 is important for sigma B activation, bacterial growth following oxidative stress and for survival in macrophages. Taken together, our N-terminonic approach unveiled Prli42 as a long-sought link between stress and the stressosome.

Frontiers in Cellular and Infectectious Microbiology
Genome-Wide Transcriptional Start Site Mapping and sRNA Identification in the Pathogen Leptospira interrogans – Zhukova A, Fernandes LG, Hugon P, Pappas CJ, Sismeiro O, Coppée JY, Becavin C, Malabat C, Eshghi A, Zhang JJ, Yang FX, Picardeau M

Leptospira are emerging zoonotic pathogens transmitted from animals to humans typically through contaminated environmental sources of water and soil. Regulatory pathways of pathogenic Leptospira spp. underlying the adaptive response to different hosts and environmental conditions remains elusive. In this study, we provide the first global Transcriptional Start Site (TSS) map of a Leptospira species. RNA was obtained from the pathogen Leptospira interrogans grown at 30°C (optimal in vitro temperature) and 37°C (host temperature) and selectively enriched for 5′ ends of native transcripts. A total of 2865 and 2866 primary TSS (pTSS) were predicted in the genome of L. interrogans at 30 and 37°C, respectively. The majority of the pTSSs were located between 0 and 10 nucleotides from the translational start site, suggesting that leaderless transcripts are a common feature of the leptospiral translational landscape. Comparative differential RNA-sequencing (dRNA-seq) analysis revealed conservation of most pTSS at 30 and 37°C. Promoter prediction algorithms allow the identification of the binding sites of the alternative sigma factor sigma 54. However, other motifs were not identified indicating that Leptospira consensus promoter sequences are inherently different from the Escherichia coli model. RNA sequencing also identified 277 and 226 putative small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) at 30 and 37°C, respectively, including eight validated sRNAs by Northern blots. These results provide the first global view of TSS and the repertoire of sRNAs in L. interrogans. These data will establish a foundation for future experimental work on gene regulation under various environmental conditions including those in the host.

Listeriomics: an Interactive Web Platform for Systems Biology of Listeria. – Bécavin C, Koutero M, Tchitchek N, Cerutti F, Lechat P, Maillet N, Hoede C, Chiapello H, Gaspin C, Cossart P

As for many model organisms, the amount of Listeria omics data produced has recently increased exponentially. There are now >80 published complete Listeria genomes, around 350 different transcriptomic data sets, and 25 proteomic data sets available. The analysis of these data sets through a systems biology approach and the generation of tools for biologists to browse these various data are a challenge for bioinformaticians. We have developed a web-based platform, named Listeriomics, that integrates different tools for omics data analyses, i.e., (i) an interactive genome viewer to display gene expression arrays, tiling arrays, and sequencing data sets along with proteomics and genomics data sets; (ii) an expression and protein atlas that connects every gene, small RNA, antisense RNA, or protein with the most relevant omics data; (iii) a specific tool for exploring protein conservation through the Listeria phylogenomic tree; and (iv) a coexpression network tool for the discovery of potential new regulations. Our platform integrates all the complete Listeria species genomes, transcriptomes, and proteomes published to date. This website allows navigation among all these data sets with enriched metadata in a user-friendly format and can be used as a central database for systems biology analysis. IMPORTANCE In the last decades, Listeria has become a key model organism for the study of host-pathogen interactions, noncoding RNA regulation, and bacterial adaptation to stress. To study these mechanisms, several genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics data sets have been produced. We have developed Listeriomics, an interactive web platform to browse and correlate these heterogeneous sources of information. Our website will allow listeriologists and microbiologists to decipher key regulation mechanism by using a systems biology approach.

Scientific Reports
Extensive transcriptome analysis correlates the plasticity of Entamoeba histolytica pathogenesis to rapid phenotype changes depending on the environment. – Christian Weber, Mikael Koutero, Marie-Agnes Dillies, Hugo Varet, Cesar Lopez-Camarillo, Jean Yves Coppée, Chung-Chau Hon, Nancy Guillén

Amoebiasis is a human infectious disease due to the amoeba parasite Entamoeba histolytica. The disease appears in only 20% of the infections. Diversity in phenotypes may occur within the same infectious strain in the gut; for instance, parasites can be commensal (in the intestinal lumen) or pathogenic (inside the tissue). The degree of pathogenesis of clinical isolates varies greatly. These findings raise the hypothesis that genetic derivation may account for amoebic diverse phenotypes. The main goal of this study was to analyse gene expression changes of a single virulent amoebic strain in different environmental contexts where it exhibit different degrees of virulence, namely isolated from humans and maintained through animal liver passages, in contact with the human colon and short or prolonged in vitro culture. The study reveals major transcriptome changes in virulent parasites upon contact with human colon explants, including genes related to sugar metabolism, cytoskeleton rearrangement, stress responses and DNA repair. Furthermore, in long-term cultured parasites, drastic changes in gene expression for proteins with functions for proteasome and tRNA activities were found. Globally we conclude that rapid changes in gene expression rather than genetic derivation can sustain the invasive phenotype of a single virulent isolate of E. histolytica.

Promyelocytic Leukemia Protein (PML) Controls Listeria monocytogenes Infection – Ribet D, Lallemand-Breitenbach V, Ferhi O, Nahori M-A, Varet H, de Thé H, Cossart P.

The promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) is the main organizer of stress-responsive subnuclear structures called PML nuclear bodies. These structures recruit multiple interactors and modulate their abundance or their posttranslational modifications, notably by the SUMO ubiquitin-like modifiers. The involvement of PML in antiviral responses is well established. In contrast, the role of PML in bacterial infection remains poorly characterized. Here, we show that PML restricts infection by the pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes but not by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. During infection, PML undergoes oxidation-mediated multimerization, associates with the nuclear matrix, and becomes de-SUMOylated due to the pore-forming activity of the Listeria toxin listeriolysin O (LLO). These events trigger an antibacterial response that is not observed during in vitro infection by an LLO-defective Listeria mutant, but which can be phenocopied by specific induction of PML de-SUMOylation. Using transcriptomic and proteomic microarrays, we also characterized a network of immunity genes and cytokines, which are regulated by PML in response to Listeria infection but independently from the listeriolysin O toxin. Our study thus highlights two mechanistically distinct complementary roles of PML in host responses against bacterial infection. The promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) is a eukaryotic protein that can polymerize in discrete nuclear assemblies known as PML nuclear bodies (NBs) and plays essential roles in many different cellular processes. Key to its function, PML can be posttranslationally modified by SUMO, a ubiquitin-like modifier. Identification of the role of PML in antiviral defenses has been deeply documented. In contrast, the role of PML in antibacterial defenses remains elusive. Here, we identify two mechanistically distinct complementary roles of PML in antibacterial responses against pathogens such as Listeria: (i) we show that PML regulates the expression of immunity genes in response to bacterial infection, and (ii) we unveil the fact that modification of PML SUMOylation by bacterial pore-forming toxins is sensed as a danger signal, leading to a restriction of bacterial intracellular multiplication. Taken together, our data reinforce the concept that intranuclear bodies can dynamically regulate important processes, such as defense against invaders.

Nature Microbioloby
Whole genome-based population biology and epidemiological surveillance of Listeria monocytogenes – Alexixandra Moura, Alexis Criscuolo, Hannes Pouseele, Mylène M. Maury, Alexandre Leclercq, Cheryl Tarr, Jonas T. Björkman, Timothy Dallman, Aleisha Reimer, Vincent Enouf, Elise Larsonneur, Heather Carleton, Hélène Bracq-Dieye, Lee S. Katz, Louis Jones, Marie Touchon, Mathieu Tourdjman, Matthew Walker, Steven Stroika, Thomas Cantinelli, Viviane Chenal-Francisque, Zuzana Kucerova, Eduardo P. C. Rocha, Celine Nadon, Kathie Grant, Eva M. Nielsen, Bruno Pot, Peter Gerner-Smidt, Marc Lecuit, Sylvain Brisse

Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is a major human foodborne pathogen. Numerous Lm outbreaks have been reported worldwide and associated with a high case fatality rate, reinforcing the need for strongly coordinated surveillance and outbreak control. We developed a universally applicable genome-wide strain genotyping approach and investigated the population diversity of Lm using 1,696 isolates from diverse sources and geographical locations. We define, with unprecedented precision, the population structure of Lm, demonstrate the occurrence of international circulation of strains and reveal the extent of heterogeneity in virulence and stress resistance genomic features among clinical and food isolates. Using historical isolates, we show that the evolutionary rate of Lm from lineage I and lineage II is low (∼2.5 × 10−7 substitutions per site per year, as inferred from the core genome) and that major sublineages (corresponding to so-called ‘epidemic clones’) are estimated to be at least 50–150 years old. This work demonstrates the urgent need to monitor Lm strains at the global level and provides the unified approach needed for global harmonization of Lm genome-based typing and population biology.

Concomitant emergence of the antisense protein gene of HIV-1 and of the pandemic – Elodie Cassan, Anne-Muriel Arigon-Chifolleau, Jean-Michel Mesnard, Antoine Gross, and Olivier Gascuel

HIV-1 is commonly assumed to have nine genes. However, in 1988 a 10th gene was suggested, overlapped by the env gene, but read on the antisense strand. The corresponding protein was named AntiSense Protein (ASP). Several pieces of evidence argue in favor of ASP expression in vivo, but its function is still unknown. We performed the first evolutionary study of ASP, using a very large number of HIV-1 and SIV (simian) sequences. Our results show that ASP is specific to group M of HIV-1, which is responsible for the pandemic. Moreover, we demonstrated that evolutionary forces act to maintain the asp gene within the M sequences and showed a striking correlation of asp with the spread of the pandemic.

Phylogenomic analysis supports the ancestral presence of LPS-outer membranes in the Firmicutes. – Antunes LC, Poppleton D, Klingl A, Criscuolo A, Dupuy B, Brochier-Armanet C, Beloin C, Gribaldo S

One of the major unanswered questions in evolutionary biology is when and how the transition between diderm (two membranes) and monoderm (one membrane) cell envelopes occurred in Bacteria. The Negativicutes and the Halanaerobiales belong to the classically monoderm Firmicutes, but possess outer membranes with lipopolysaccharide (LPS-OM). Here, we show that they form two phylogenetically distinct lineages, each close to different monoderm relatives. In contrast, their core LPS biosynthesis enzymes were inherited vertically, as in the majority of bacterial phyla. Finally, annotation of key OM systems in the Halanaerobiales and the Negativicutes shows a puzzling combination of monoderm and diderm features. Together, these results support the hypothesis that the LPS-OMs of Negativicutes and Halanaerobiales are remnants of an ancient diderm cell envelope that was present in the ancestor of the Firmicutes, and that the monoderm phenotype in this phylum is a derived character that arose multiple times independently through OM loss.

MEMHDX: An interactive tool to expedite the statistical validation and visualization of large HDX-MS datasets – Hourdel V, Volant S, O’Brien DP, Chenal A, Chamot-Rooke J, Dillies MA, Brier S

MOTIVATION: With the continued improvement of requisite mass spectrometers and UHPLC systems, Hydrogen/Deuterium eXchange Mass Spectrometry (HDX-MS) workflows are rapidly evolving towards the investigation of more challenging biological systems, including large protein complexes and membrane proteins. The analysis of such extensive systems results in very large HDX-MS datasets for which specific analysis tools are required to speed up data validation and interpretation. RESULTS: We introduce a web application and a new R-package named “MEMHDX” to help users analyze, validate and visualize large HDX-MS datasets. MEMHDX is composed of two elements. A statistical tool aids in the validation of the results by applying a mixed-effects model for each peptide, in each experimental condition, and at each time point, taking into account the time dependency of the HDX reaction and number of independent replicates. Two adjusted p-values are generated per peptide, one for the “Change in dynamics” and one for the “Magnitude of ΔD”, and are used to classify the data by means of a “Logit” representation. A user-friendly interface developed with Shiny by RStudio facilitates the use of the package. This interactive tool allows the user to easily and rapidly validate, visualize and compare the relative deuterium incorporation on the amino acid sequence and 3D structure, providing both spatial and temporal information. AVAILABILITY: MEMHDX is freely available as a web tool at the project home page CONTACT:; SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data is available at Bioinformatics online.

Key experimental evidence of chromosomal DNA transfer among selected tuberculosis-causing mycobacteria – Boritsch EC, Khanna V, Pawlik A, Honoré N, Navas VH, Ma L, Bouchier C, Seemann T, Supply P, Stinear TP, Brosch R

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a major driving force of bacterial diversification and evolution. For tuberculosis-causing mycobacteria, the impact of HGT in the emergence and distribution of dominant lineages remains a matter of debate. Here, by using fluorescence-assisted mating assays and whole genome sequencing, we present unique experimental evidence of chromosomal DNA transfer between tubercle bacilli of the early-branching Mycobacterium canettii clade. We found that the obtained recombinants had received multiple donor-derived DNA fragments in the size range of 100 bp to 118 kbp, fragments large enough to contain whole operons. Although the transfer frequency between M. canettii strains was low and no transfer could be observed among classical Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) strains, our study provides the proof of concept for genetic exchange in tubercle bacilli. This outstanding, now experimentally validated phenomenon presumably played a key role in the early evolution of the MTBC toward pathogenicity. Moreover, our findings also provide important information for the risk evaluation of potential transfer of drug resistance and fitness mutations among clinically relevant mycobacterial strains.

Genome biology and evolution
Species- and strain-specific adaptation of the HSP70 super family in pathogenic Trypanosomatids – Drini S, Criscuolo A, Lechat P, Imamura H, Skalický T, Rachidi N, Lukeš J, Dujardin JC, Späth GF

All eukaryotic genomes encode multiple members of the heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) family, which evolved distinctive structural and functional features in response to specific environmental constraints. Phylogenetic analysis of this protein family thus can inform on genetic and molecular mechanisms that drive species-specific environmental adaptation. Here we use the eukaryotic pathogen Leishmania spp. as a model system to investigate the evolution of the HSP70 protein family in an early-branching eukaryote that is prone to gene amplification and adapts to cytotoxic host environments by stress-induced and chaperone-dependent stage differentiation. Combining phylogenetic and comparative analyses of trypanosomatid genomes, draft genome of Paratrypanosoma and recently published genome sequences of 204 L. donovani field isolates, we gained unique insight into the evolutionary dynamics of the Leishmania HSP70 protein family. We provide evidence for (i) significant evolutionary expansion of this protein family in Leishmania through gene amplification and functional specialization of highly conserved canonical HSP70 members, (ii) evolution of trypanosomatid-specific, non-canonical family members that likely gained ATPase-independent functions, and (iii) loss of one atypical HSP70 member in the Trypanosoma genus. Finally, we reveal considerable copy number variation of canonical cytoplasmic HSP70 in highly related L. donovani field isolates, thus identifying this locus as a potential hot spot of environment-genotype interaction. Our data draw a complex picture of the genetic history of HSP70 in trypanosomatids that is driven by the remarkable plasticity of the Leishmania genome to undergo massive intra-chromosomal gene amplification to compensate for the absence of regulated transcriptional control in these parasites.

Scientific reports
Genomic epidemiology and global diversity of the emerging bacterial pathogen Elizabethkingia anophelis – Breurec S, Criscuolo A, Diancourt L, Rendueles O, Vandenbogaert M, Passet V, Caro V, Rocha EP, Touchon M, Brisse S

Elizabethkingia anophelis is an emerging pathogen involved in human infections and outbreaks in distinct world regions. We investigated the phylogenetic relationships and pathogenesis-associated genomic features of two neonatal meningitis isolates isolated 5 years apart from one hospital in Central African Republic and compared them with Elizabethkingia from other regions and sources. Average nucleotide identity firmly confirmed that E. anophelis, E. meningoseptica and E. miricola represent demarcated genomic species. A core genome multilocus sequence typing scheme, broadly applicable to Elizabethkingia species, was developed and made publicly available ( Phylogenetic analysis revealed distinct E. anophelis sublineages and demonstrated high genetic relatedness between the African isolates, compatible with persistence of the strain in the hospital environment. CRISPR spacer variation between the African isolates was mirrored by the presence of a large mobile genetic element. The pan-genome of E. anophelis comprised 6,880 gene families, underlining genomic heterogeneity of this species. African isolates carried unique resistance genes acquired by horizontal transfer. We demonstrated the presence of extensive variation of the capsular polysaccharide synthesis gene cluster in E. anophelis. Our results demonstrate the dynamic evolution of this emerging pathogen and the power of genomic approaches for Elizabethkingia identification, population biology and epidemiology.

J Antimicrob Chemother
Bacteriophage LM33_P1, a fast-acting weapon against the pandemic ST131-O25b:H4 Escherichia coli clonal complex. – Dufour N, Clermont O, La Combe B, Messika J, Dion S, Khanna V, Denamur E, Ricard JD, Debarbieux L

Amongst the highly diverse Escherichia coli population, the ST131-O25b:H4 clonal complex is particularly worrisome as it is associated with a high level of antibiotic resistance. The lack of new antibiotics, the worldwide continuous increase of infections caused by MDR bacteria and the need for narrow-spectrum antimicrobial agents have revived interest in phage therapy. In this article, we describe a virulent bacteriophage, LM33_P1, which specifically infects O25b strains, and provide data related to its therapeutic potential. A large panel of E. coli strains (n = 283) was used to assess both the specificity and the activity of bacteriophage LM33_P1. Immunology, biochemistry and genetics-based methods confirmed this specificity. Virology methods and sequencing were used to characterize this bacteriophage in vitro, while three relevant mouse models were employed to show its in vivo efficacy. Bacteriophage LM33_P1 exclusively infects O25b E. coli strains with a 70% coverage on sequence types associated with high antibiotic resistance (ST131 and ST69). This specificity is due to an interaction with the LPS mediated by an original tail fibre. LM33_P1 also has exceptional intrinsic properties with a high adsorption constant and produces over 300 virions per cell in <10 min. Using animal pneumonia, septicaemia and urinary tract infection models, we showed the in vivo efficacy of LM33_P1 to reduce the bacterial load in several organs. Bacteriophage LM33_P1 represents the first weapon that specifically and quickly kills O25b E. coli strains. Therapeutic approaches derived from this bacteriophage could be developed to stop or slow down the spread of the ST131-O25b:H4 drug-resistant clonal complex in humans.

Nucleic Acids Research
DNA minicircles clarify the specific role of DNA structure on retroviral integration – Pasi Marco, Mornico Damien, Volant Stevenn, Juchet Anna, Batisse Julien, Bouchier Christiane, Parissi Vincent, Ruff Marc, Lavery Richard, Lavigne Marc

Chromatin regulates the selectivity of retroviral integration into the genome of infected cells. At the nucleosome level, both histones and DNA structure are involved in this regulation. We propose a strategy that allows to specifically study a single factor: the DNA distortion induced by the nucleosome. This strategy relies on mimicking this distortion using DNA minicircles (MCs) having a fixed rotational orientation of DNA curvature, coupled with atomic-resolution modelling. Contrasting MCs with linear DNA fragments having identical sequences enabled us to analyse the impact of DNA distortion on the efficiency and selectivity of integration. We observed a global enhancement of HIV-1 integration in minicircles and an enrichment of integration sites in the outward-facing DNA major grooves. Both of these changes are favoured by LEDGF/p75, revealing a new, histone-independent role of this integration cofactor. PFV integration is also enhanced in MCs, but is not associated with a periodic redistribution of integration sites, thus highlighting its distinct catalytic properties. MCs help to separate the roles of target DNA structure, histone modifications and integrase cofactors during retroviral integration and to reveal integrase-specific regulation mechanisms.

Cell Microbiol
GH16 and GH81 family β-(1,3)-glucanases in Aspergillus fumigatus are essential for conidial cell wall morphogenesis – Mouyna I, Aimanianda V, Hartl L, Prevost MC, Sismeiro O, Dillies MA, Jagla B, Legendre R, Coppée JY, Latgé JP.

The fungal cell wall is a rigid structure due to fibrillar and branched β-(1,3)-glucan linked to chitin. Softening of the cell wall is an essential phenomenon during fungal morphogenesis, wherein rigid cell wall structures are cleaved by glycosylhydrolases. During the search for glycosylhydrolases acting on β-(1,3)-glucan, we identified seven genes in the A. fumigatus genome coding for potential endo-β-(1,3)-glucanase. ENG1, (previously characterized and named ENGL1, Mouyna et al., 2002), belongs to the Glycoside-Hydrolase 81 (GH81) family, while ENG2 to ENG7, to GH16 family. ENG1 and four GH16 genes (ENG2-5) were expressed in the resting conidia as well as during germination, suggesting an essential role during A. fumigatus morphogenesis. Here, we report the effect of sequential deletion of AfENG2-5 (GH16) followed by AfENG1 (GH81) deletion in the Δeng2,3,4,5 mutant. The Δeng1,2,3,4,5 mutant showed conidial defects, with linear chains of conidia unable to separate while the germination rate was not affected. These results show, for the first time in a filamentous fungus, that endo β-(1,3)-glucanases are essential for proper conidial cell wall assembly and thus segregation of conidia during conidiation.

SARTools: A DESeq2- and EdgeR-Based R Pipeline for Comprehensive Differential Analysis of RNA-Seq Data – Hugo Varet, Loraine Brillet-Guégen, Jean-Yves Coppée, Marie-Agnès Dillies

Several R packages exist for the detection of differentially expressed genes from RNA-Seq data. The analysis process includes three main steps, namely normalization, dispersion estimation and test for differential expression. Quality control steps along this process are recommended but not mandatory, and failing to check the characteristics of the dataset may lead to spurious results. In addition, normalization methods and statistical models are not exchangeable across the packages without adequate transformations the users are often not aware of. Thus, dedicated analysis pipelines are needed to include systematic quality control steps and prevent errors from misusing the proposed methods. SARTools is an R pipeline for differential analysis of RNA-Seq count data. It can handle designs involving two or more conditions of a single biological factor with or without a blocking factor (such as a batch effect or a sample pairing). It is based on DESeq2 and edgeR and is composed of an R package and two R script templates (for DESeq2 and edgeR respectively). Tuning a small number of parameters and executing one of the R scripts, users have access to the full results of the analysis, including lists of differentially expressed genes and a HTML report that (i) displays diagnostic plots for quality control and model hypotheses checking and (ii) keeps track of the whole analysis process, parameter values and versions of the R packages used. SARTools provides systematic quality controls of the dataset as well as diagnostic plots that help to tune the model parameters. It gives access to the main parameters of DESeq2 and edgeR and prevents untrained users from misusing some functionalities of both packages. By keeping track of all the parameters of the analysis process it fits the requirements of reproducible research.

Bacteriocin from epidemic Listeria strains alters the host intestinal microbiota to favor infection – Juan J. Quereda, Olivier Dussurget, Marie-Anne Nahori, Amine Ghozlane, Stevenn Volant, Marie-Agnès Dillies, Béatrice Regnault, Sean Kennedy, Stanislas Mondot, Barbara Villoing, Pascale Cossart, and Javier Pizarro-Cerda

Listeria monocytogenes is responsible for gastroenteritis in healthy individuals and for a severe invasive disease in immunocompromised patients. Among the three identified L. monocytogenes evolutionary lineages, lineage I strains are overrepresented in epidemic listeriosis outbreaks, but the mechanisms underlying the higher virulence potential of strains of this lineage remain elusive. Here, we demonstrate that Listeriolysin S (LLS), a virulence factor only present in a subset of lineage I strains, is a bacteriocin highly expressed in the intestine of orally infected mice that alters the host intestinal microbiota and promotes intestinal colonization by L. monocytogenes, as well as deeper organ infection. To our knowledge, these results therefore identify LLS as the first bacteriocin described in L. monocytogenes and associate modulation of host microbiota by L. monocytogenes epidemic strains to increased virulence.

Genome Research
Improved definition of the mouse transcriptome via targeted RNA sequencing – Giovanni Bussotti, Tommaso Leonardi, Michael B. Clark, Tim R. Mercer, Joanna Crawford, Lorenzo Malquori, Cedric Notredame, Marcel E. Dinger, John S. Mattick and Anton J. Enright

Targeted RNA sequencing (CaptureSeq) uses oligonucleotide probes to capture RNAs for sequencing, providing enriched read coverage, accurate measurement of gene expression, and quantitative expression data. We applied CaptureSeq to refine transcript annotations in the current murine GRCm38 assembly. More than 23,000 regions corresponding to putative or annotated long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and 154,281 known splicing junction sites were selected for targeted sequencing across five mouse tissues and three brain subregions. The results illustrate that the mouse transcriptome is considerably more complex than previously thought. We assemble more complete transcript isoforms than GENCODE, expand transcript boundaries, and connect interspersed islands of mapped reads. We describe a novel filtering pipeline that identifies previously unannotated but high-quality transcript isoforms. In this set, 911 GENCODE neighboring genes are condensed into 400 expanded gene models. Additionally, 594 GENCODE lncRNAs acquire an open reading frame (ORF) when their structure is extended with CaptureSeq. Finally, we validate our observations using current FANTOM and Mouse ENCODE resources.

F1000 Research
DREAMTools: a Python package for scoring collaborative challenges – Thomas Cokelaer, Mukesh Bansal, Christopher Bare, Erhan Bilal, Brian M. Bot, Elias Chaibub Neto, Federica Eduati, Alberto de la Fuente, Mehmet Gönen, Steven M. Hill, Bruce Hoff, Jonathan R. Karr, Robert Küffner, Michael P. Menden, Pablo Meyer, Raquel Norel, Abhishek Pratap, Robert J. Prill, Matthew T. Weirauch, James C. Costello, Gustavo Stolovitzky, Julio Saez-Rodriguez

DREAM challenges are community competitions designed to advance computational methods and address fundamental questions in system biology and translational medicine. Each challenge asks participants to develop and apply computational methods to either predict unobserved outcomes or to identify unknown model parameters given a set of training data. Computational methods are evaluated using an automated scoring metric, scores are posted to a public leaderboard, and methods are published to facilitate community discussions on how to build improved methods. By engaging participants from a wide range of science and engineering backgrounds, DREAM challenges can comparatively evaluate a wide range of statistical, machine learning, and biophysical methods. Here, we describe DREAMTools, a Python package for evaluating DREAM challenge scoring metrics. DREAMTools provides a command line interface that enables researchers to test new methods on past challenges, as well as a framework for scoring new challenges. As of March 2016, DREAMTools includes more than 80% of completed DREAM challenges. DREAMTools complements the data, metadata, and software tools available at the DREAM website and on the Synapse platform at

Inferring causal molecular networks: empirical assessment through a community-based effort – Steven M Hill, Laura M Heiser, Thomas Cokelaer, Michael Unger, Nicole K Nesser, Daniel E Carlin, Yang Zhang , Artem Sokolov , Evan O Paull, Chris K Wong, Kiley Graim, Adrian Bivol , Haizhou Wang, Fan Zhu, Bahman Afsari, Ludmila V Danilova, Alexander V Favorov, Wai Shing Lee, Dane Taylor, Chenyue W Hu, Byron L Long, David P Noren, Alexander J Bisberg , HPN-DREAM Consortium, Gordon B Mills, Joe W Gray, Michael Kellen, Thea Norman, Stephen Friend, Amina A Qutub, Elana J Fertig, Yuanfang Guan, Mingzhou Song, Joshua M Stuart, Paul T Spellman, Heinz Koeppl, Gustavo Stolovitzky, Julio Saez-Rodriguez & Sach Mukherjee

It remains unclear whether causal, rather than merely correlational, relationships in molecular networks can be inferred in complex biological settings. Here we describe the HPN-DREAM network inference challenge, which focused on learning causal influences in signaling networks. We used phosphoprotein data from cancer cell lines as well as in silico data from a nonlinear dynamical model. Using the phosphoprotein data, we scored more than 2,000 networks submitted by challenge participants. The networks spanned 32 biological contexts and were scored in terms of causal validity with respect to unseen interventional data. A number of approaches were effective, and incorporating known biology was generally advantageous. Additional sub-challenges considered time-course prediction and visualization. Our results suggest that learning causal relationships may be feasible in complex settings such as disease states. Furthermore, our scoring approach provides a practical way to empirically assess inferred molecular networks in a causal sense

Environmental Microbiology
Bacteriophages to redu ce gut carriage of antibiotic resistant uropathogens with low impact on microbiota composition – Matthieu Galtier, Luisa De Sordi, Damien Maura, Harindra Arachchi, Stevenn Volant, Marie-Agnès Dillies and Laurent Debarbieux

Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) is the leading cause of urinary tract infections (UTIs) worldwide, causing over 150 million clinical cases annually. There is currently no specific treatment addressing the asymptomatic carriage in the gut of UPEC before they initiate UTIs. This study investigates the efficacy of virulent bacteriophages to decrease carriage of gut pathogens. Three virulent bacteriophages infecting an antibiotic-resistant UPEC strain were isolated and characterized both in vitro and in vivo. A new experimental murine model of gut carriage of E. coli was elaborated and the impact of virulent bacteriophages on colonization levels and microbiota diversity was assessed. A single dose of a cocktail of the three bacteriophages led to a sharp decrease in E. coli levels throughout the gut. We also observed that microbiota diversity was much less affected by bacteriophages than by antibiotics. Therefore, virulent bacteriophages can efficiently target UPEC strains residing in the gut, with potentially profound public health and economic impacts. These results open a new area with the possibility to manipulate specifically the microbiota using virulent bacteriophages, which could have broad applications in many gut-related disorders/diseases and beyond.

BMC Biology
Genome-wide replication landscape of Candida glabrata – Descorps-Declère S., Saguez C., Cournac A., Marbouty M., Rolland T., Ma L., Bouchier C., Moszer I., Dujon B., Koszul R., Richard GF.

BACKGROUND: The opportunistic pathogen Candida glabrata is a member of the Saccharomycetaceae yeasts. Like its close relative Saccharomyces cerevisiae, it underwent a whole-genome duplication followed by an extensive loss of genes. Its genome contains a large number of very long tandem repeats, called megasatellites. In order to determine the whole replication program of the C. glabrata genome and its general chromosomal organization, we used deep-sequencing and chromosome conformation capture experiments. RESULTS: We identified 253 replication fork origins, genome wide. Centromeres, HML and HMR loci, and most histone genes are replicated early, whereas natural chromosomal breakpoints are located in late-replicating regions. In addition, 275 autonomously replicating sequences (ARS) were identified during ARS-capture experiments, and their relative fitness was determined during growth competition. Analysis of ARSs allowed us to identify a 17-bp consensus, similar to the S. cerevisiae ARS consensus sequence but slightly more constrained. Megasatellites are not in close proximity to replication origins or termini. Using chromosome conformation capture, we also show that early origins tend to cluster whereas non-subtelomeric megasatellites do not cluster in the yeast nucleus. CONCLUSIONS: Despite a shorter cell cycle, the C. glabrata replication program shares unexpected striking similarities to S. cerevisiae, in spite of their large evolutionary distance and the presence of highly repetitive large tandem repeats in C. glabrata. No correlation could be found between the replication program and megasatellites, suggesting that their formation and propagation might not be directly caused by replication fork initiation or termination.

Nature Genetics
Uncovering Listeria monocytogenes hypervirulence by harnessing its biodiversity – Mylène M Maury, Yu-Huan Tsai, Caroline Charlier, Marie Touchon, Viviane Chenal-Francisque, Alexandre Leclercq, Alexis Criscuolo, Charlotte Gaultier, Sophie Roussel, Anne Brisabois, Olivier Disson, Eduardo PC Rocha, Sylvain Brisse, Marc Lecuit

Microbial pathogenesis studies are typically performed with reference strains, thereby overlooking within-species heterogeneity in microbial virulence. Here we integrated human epidemiological and clinical data with bacterial population genomics to harness the biodiversity of the model foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and decipher the basis of its neural and placental tropisms. Taking advantage of the clonal structure of this bacterial species, we identify clones epidemiologically associated either with food or with human central nervous system (CNS) or maternal-neonatal (MN) listeriosis. The latter clones are also most prevalent in patients without immunosuppressive comorbidities. Strikingly, CNS- and MN-associated clones are hypervirulent in a humanized mouse model of listeriosis. By integrating epidemiological data and comparative genomics, we have uncovered multiple new putative virulence factors and demonstrate experimentally the contribution of the first gene cluster mediating L. monocytogenes neural and placental tropisms. This study illustrates the exceptional power in harnessing microbial biodiversity to identify clinically relevant microbial virulence attributes.

Nucleic Acids Research
topIb, a phylogenetic hallmark gene of Thaumarchaeota encodes a functional eukaryote-like topoisomerase IB. – Narimane Dahmane, Danièle Gadelle, Stéphane Delmas, Alexis Criscuolo, Stephan Eberhard, Nicole Desnoues, Sylvie Collin, Hongliang Zhang, Yves Pommier, Patrick Forterre, Guennadi Sezonov

Type IB DNA topoisomerases can eliminate torsional stresses produced during replication and transcription. These enzymes are found in all eukaryotes and a short version is present in some bacteria and viruses. Among prokaryotes, the long eukaryotic version is only observed in archaea of the phylum Thaumarchaeota. However, the activities and the roles of these topoisomerases have remained an open question. Here, we demonstrate that all available thaumarchaeal genomes contain a topoisomerase IB gene that defines a monophyletic group closely related to the eukaryotic enzymes. We show that the topIB gene is expressed in the model thaumarchaeon Nitrososphaera viennensis and we purified the recombinant enzyme from the uncultivated thaumarchaeon Candidatus Caldiarchaeum subterraneum. This enzyme is active in vitro at high temperature, making it the first thermophilic topoisomerase IB characterized so far. We have compared this archaeal type IB enzyme to its human mitochondrial and nuclear counterparts. The archaeal enzyme relaxes both negatively and positively supercoiled DNA like the eukaryotic enzymes. However, its pattern of DNA cleavage specificity is different and it is resistant to camptothecins (CPTs) and non-CPT Top1 inhibitors, LMP744 and lamellarin D. This newly described thermostable topoisomerases IB should be a promising new model for evolutionary, mechanistic and structural studies.

G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Massive Amplification at an Unselected Locus Accompanies Complex Chromosomal Rearrangements in Yeast – Agnès Thierry, Varun Khanna, Bernard Dujon

Gene amplification has been observed in different organisms in response to environmental constraints such as limited nutrients or exposure to a variety of toxic compounds, conferring them specific phenotypic adaptations by increased expression levels. But the presence of multiple gene copies has generally not been found in natural genomes in absence of specific functional selection. Here we show that the massive amplification of a chromosomal locus (up to 880 copies per cell) occurs in absence of any direct selection, associated with low-order amplifications of flanking segments in complex chromosomal alterations. These results were obtained in the mutants with restored phenotypes that spontaneously appeared from genetically engineered strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae suffering from severe fitness reduction. Grossly extended chromosomes (macrotene) were formed, with complex structural alterations but sufficient stability to propagate unchanged over successive generations. Their detailed molecular analysis, including complete genome sequencing, identification of sequence breakpoints and comparisons between mutants revealed novel mechanisms to their formation whose combined action underlies the astonishing dynamics of eukaryotic chromosomes and its consequences.

Scientific Reports
Identification of protein secretion systems in bacterial genomes – Sophie S Abby, Jean Cury, Julien Guglielmini, Bertrand Néron, Marie Touchon, Eduardo PC Rocha

Bacteria with two cell membranes (diderms) have evolved complex systems for protein secretion. These systems were extensively studied in some model bacteria, but the characterisation of their diversity has lagged behind due to lack of standard annotation tools. We built models for accurate identification of protein secretion systems and related appendages in bacteria with LPS-containing outer membranes. They can be used with MacSyFinder (standalone program) or online ( They include protein profiles and information on the system’s composition and genetic organisation. They can be used to search for T1SS-T6SS, T9SS, and accessorily for flagella, Type IV and Tad pili. We identified ~10,000 systems in bacterial genomes, where T1SS and T5SS were by far the most abundant and widespread. The recently described T6SSiii and T9SS were restricted to Bacteroidetes, and T6SSii to Francisella. T2SS, T3SS, and T4SS were frequently encoded in single-copy in one locus, whereas most T1SS were encoded in two loci. The secretion systems of diderm Firmicutes were similar to those found in other diderms. Novel systems may remain to be discovered, since some clades of environmental bacteria lacked all known protein secretion systems. Our models can be fully customized, which should facilitate the identification of novel systems.