Biochemistry and Pharmacology - Research Publications

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 17
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Unicycler: resolving bacterial genome assemblies from short and long sequencing reads
    Wick, R ; Judd, L ; Gorrie, C ; Holt, K ( 2016-12-22)
    The Illumina DNA sequencing platform generates accurate but short reads, which can be used to produce accurate but fragmented genome assemblies. Pacific Biosciences and Oxford Nanopore Technologies DNA sequencing platforms generate long reads that can produce more complete genome assemblies, but the sequencing is more expensive and error prone. There is significant interest in combining data from these complementary sequencing technologies to generate more accurate “hybrid” assemblies. However, few tools exist that truly leverage the benefits of both types of data, namely the accuracy of short reads and the structural resolving power of long reads. Here we present Unicycler, a new tool for assembling bacterial genomes from a combination of short and long reads, which produces assemblies that are accurate, complete and cost-effective. Unicycler builds an initial assembly graph from short reads using the de novo assembler SPAdes and then simplifies the graph using information from short and long reads. Unicycler utilises a novel semi-global aligner, which is used to align long reads to the assembly graph. Tests on both synthetic and real reads show Unicycler can assemble larger contigs with fewer misassemblies than other hybrid assemblers, even when long read depth and accuracy are low. Unicycler is open source (GPLv3) and available at github.com/rrwick/Unicycler .
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Population genomics of hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae clonal-group 23 reveals early emergence and rapid global dissemination
    Lam, MMC ; Wyres, KL ; Duchene, S ; Wick, RR ; Judd, LM ; Gan, Y-H ; Hoh, C-H ; Archuleta, S ; Molton, JS ; Kalimuddin, S ; Koh, TH ; Passet, V ; Brisse, S ; Holt, KE (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018-07-13)
    Severe liver abscess infections caused by hypervirulent clonal-group CG23 Klebsiella pneumoniae have been increasingly reported since the mid-1980s. Strains typically possess several virulence factors including an integrative, conjugative element ICEKp encoding the siderophore yersiniabactin and genotoxin colibactin. Here we investigate CG23's evolutionary history, showing several deep-branching sublineages associated with distinct ICEKp acquisitions. Over 80% of liver abscess isolates belong to sublineage CG23-I, which emerged in ~1928 following acquisition of ICEKp10 (encoding yersiniabactin and colibactin), and then disseminated globally within the human population. CG23-I's distinguishing feature is the colibactin synthesis locus, which reportedly promotes gut colonisation and metastatic infection in murine models. These data show circulation of CG23 K. pneumoniae decades before the liver abscess epidemic was first recognised, and provide a framework for future epidemiological and experimental studies of hypervirulent K. pneumoniae. To support such studies we present an open access, completely sequenced CG23-I human liver abscess isolate, SGH10.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Antimicrobial-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae Carriage and Infection in Specialized Geriatric Care Wards Linked to Acquisition in the Referring Hospital
    Gorrie, CL ; Mirceta, M ; Wick, RR ; Judd, LM ; Wyres, KL ; Thomson, NR ; Strugnell, RA ; Pratt, NF ; Garlick, JS ; Watson, KM ; Hunter, PC ; McGloughlin, SA ; Spelman, DW ; Jenney, AWJ ; Holt, KE (OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2018-07-15)
    Background: Klebsiella pneumoniae is a leading cause of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing hospital-associated infections, for which elderly patients are at increased risk. Methods: We conducted a 1-year prospective cohort study, in which a third of patients admitted to 2 geriatric wards in a specialized hospital were recruited and screened for carriage of K. pneumoniae by microbiological culture. Clinical isolates were monitored via the hospital laboratory. Colonizing and clinical isolates were subjected to whole-genome sequencing and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Results: K. pneumoniae throat carriage prevalence was 4.1%, rectal carriage 10.8%, and ESBL carriage 1.7%, and the incidence of K. pneumoniae infection was 1.2%. The isolates were diverse, and most patients were colonized or infected with a unique phylogenetic lineage, with no evidence of transmission in the wards. ESBL strains carried blaCTX-M-15 and belonged to clones associated with hospital-acquired ESBL infections in other countries (sequence type [ST] 29, ST323, and ST340). One also carried the carbapenemase blaIMP-26. Genomic and epidemiological data provided evidence that ESBL strains were acquired in the referring hospital. Nanopore sequencing also identified strain-to-strain transmission of a blaCTX-M-15 FIBK/FIIK plasmid in the referring hospital. Conclusions: The data suggest the major source of K. pneumoniae was the patient's own gut microbiome, but ESBL strains were acquired in the referring hospital. This highlights the importance of the wider hospital network to understanding K. pneumoniae risk and infection prevention. Rectal screening for ESBL organisms on admission to geriatric wards could help inform patient management and infection control in such facilities.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Airway Microbiota Dynamics Uncover a Critical Window for Interplay of Pathogenic Bacteria and Allergy in Childhood Respiratory Disease
    Teo, SM ; Tang, HHF ; Mok, D ; Judd, LM ; Watts, SC ; Pham, K ; Holt, BJ ; Kusel, M ; Serralha, M ; Troy, N ; Bochkov, YA ; Grindle, K ; Lemanske, RF ; Johnston, SL ; Gern, JE ; Sly, PD ; Holt, PG ; Holt, KE ; Inouye, M (CELL PRESS, 2018-09-12)
    Repeated cycles of infection-associated lower airway inflammation drive the pathogenesis of persistent wheezing disease in children. In this study, the occurrence of acute respiratory tract illnesses (ARIs) and the nasopharyngeal microbiome (NPM) were characterized in 244 infants through their first five years of life. Through this analysis, we demonstrate that >80% of infectious events involve viral pathogens, but are accompanied by a shift in the NPM toward dominance by a small range of pathogenic bacterial genera. Unexpectedly, this change frequently precedes the detection of viral pathogens and acute symptoms. Colonization of illness-associated bacteria coupled with early allergic sensitization is associated with persistent wheeze in school-aged children, which is the hallmark of the asthma phenotype. In contrast, these bacterial genera are associated with "transient wheeze" that resolves after age 3 years in non-sensitized children. Thus, to complement early allergic sensitization, monitoring NPM composition may enable early detection and intervention in high-risk children.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Emergence and rapid global dissemination of CTX-M-15-associated Klebsiella pneumoniae strain ST307
    Wyres, KL ; Hawkey, J ; Hetland, MAK ; Fostervold, A ; Wick, RR ; Judd, LM ; Hamidian, M ; Howden, BP ; Lohr, IH ; Holt, KE (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2019-03-01)
    OBJECTIVES: Recent reports indicate the emergence of a new carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae clone, ST307. We sought to better understand the global epidemiology and evolution of this clone and evaluate its association with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes. METHODS: We collated information from the literature and public databases and performed a comparative analysis of 95 ST307 genomes (including 37 that were newly sequenced). RESULTS: We show that ST307 emerged in the mid-1990s (nearly 20 years prior to its first report), is already globally distributed and is intimately associated with a conserved plasmid harbouring the blaCTX-M-15 ESBL gene and several other AMR determinants. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the need for enhanced surveillance of this widespread ESBL clone in which carbapenem resistance has occasionally emerged.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Convergence of virulence and MDR in a single plasmid vector in MDR Klebsiella pneumoniae ST15
    Lam, MMC ; Wyres, KL ; Wick, RR ; Judd, LM ; Fostervold, A ; Holt, KE ; Lohr, IH (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2019-05-01)
    BACKGROUND: MDR and hypervirulence (hv) are typically observed in separate Klebsiella pneumoniae populations. However, convergent strains with both properties have been documented and potentially pose a high risk to public health in the form of invasive infections with limited treatment options. OBJECTIVES: Our aim was to characterize the genetic determinants of virulence and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in two ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae isolates belonging to the international MDR clone ST15. METHODS: The complete genome sequences of both isolates, including their plasmids, were resolved using Illumina and Oxford Nanopore sequencing. RESULTS: Both isolates carried large mosaic plasmids in which AMR and virulence loci have converged within the same vector. These closely related mosaic hv-MDR plasmids include sequences typical of the K. pneumoniae virulence plasmid 1 (KpVP-1; including aerobactin synthesis locus iuc) fused with sequences typical of IncFIIK conjugative AMR plasmids. One hv-MDR plasmid carried three MDR elements encoding the ESBL gene blaCTX-M-15 and seven other AMR genes (blaTEM, aac3'-IIa, dfrA1, satA2, blaSHV, sul1 and aadA1). The other carried remnants of these elements encoding blaTEM and aac3'-IIa, and blaCTX-M-15 was located in a second plasmid in this isolate. The two isolates originated from patients hospitalized in Norway but have epidemiological and genomic links to Romania. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of both virulence and AMR determinants on a single vector enables simultaneous transfer in a single event and potentially rapid emergence of hv-MDR K. pneumoniae clones. This highlights the importance of monitoring for such convergence events with stringent genomic surveillance.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Z/I1 Hybrid Virulence Plasmids Carrying Antimicrobial Resistance genes in S. Typhimurium from Australian Food Animal Production
    Wyrsch, ER ; Hawkey, J ; Judd, LM ; Haites, R ; Holt, KE ; Djordjevic, SP ; Billman-Jacobe, H (MDPI, 2019-09-01)
    Knowledge of mobile genetic elements that capture and disseminate antimicrobial resistance genes between diverse environments, particularly across human-animal boundaries, is key to understanding the role anthropogenic activities have in the evolution of antimicrobial resistance. Plasmids that circulate within the Enterobacteriaceae and the Proteobacteria more broadly are well placed to acquire resistance genes sourced from separate niche environments and provide a platform for smaller mobile elements such as IS26 to assemble these genes into large, complex genomic structures. Here, we characterised two atypical Z/I1 hybrid plasmids, pSTM32-108 and pSTM37-118, hosting antimicrobial resistance and virulence associated genes within endemic pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium 1,4,[5],12:i:-, sourced from Australian swine production facilities during 2013. We showed that the plasmids found in S. Typhimurium 1,4,[5],12:i:- are close relatives of two plasmids identified from Escherichia coli of human and bovine origin in Australia circa 1998. The older plasmids, pO26-CRL125 and pO111-CRL115, encoded a putative serine protease autotransporter and were host to a complex resistance region composed of a hybrid Tn21-Tn1721 mercury resistance transposon and composite IS26 transposon Tn6026. This gave a broad antimicrobial resistance profile keyed towards first generation antimicrobials used in Australian agriculture but also included a class 1 integron hosting the trimethoprim resistance gene dfrA5. Genes encoding resistance to ampicillin, trimethoprim, sulphonamides, streptomycin, aminoglycosides, tetracyclines and mercury were a feature of these plasmids. Phylogenetic analyses showed very little genetic drift in the sequences of these plasmids over the past 15 years; however, some alterations within the complex resistance regions present on each plasmid have led to the loss of various resistance genes, presumably as a result of the activity of IS26. These alterations may reflect the specific selective pressures placed on the host strains over time. Our studies suggest that these plasmids and variants of them are endemic in Australian food production systems.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Deepbinner: Demultiplexing barcoded Oxford Nanopore reads with deep convolutional neural networks
    Wick, RR ; Judd, LM ; Holt, KE ; Pertea, M (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2018-11-01)
    Multiplexing, the simultaneous sequencing of multiple barcoded DNA samples on a single flow cell, has made Oxford Nanopore sequencing cost-effective for small genomes. However, it depends on the ability to sort the resulting sequencing reads by barcode, and current demultiplexing tools fail to classify many reads. Here we present Deepbinner, a tool for Oxford Nanopore demultiplexing that uses a deep neural network to classify reads based on the raw electrical read signal. This 'signal-space' approach allows for greater accuracy than existing 'base-space' tools (Albacore and Porechop) for which signals must first be converted to DNA base calls, itself a complex problem that can introduce noise into the barcode sequence. To assess Deepbinner and existing tools, we performed multiplex sequencing on 12 amplicons chosen for their distinguishability. This allowed us to establish a ground truth classification for each read based on internal sequence alone. Deepbinner had the lowest rate of unclassified reads (7.8%) and the highest demultiplexing precision (98.5% of classified reads were correctly assigned). It can be used alone (to maximise the number of classified reads) or in conjunction with other demultiplexers (to maximise precision and minimise false positive classifications). We also found cross-sample chimeric reads (0.3%) and evidence of barcode switching (0.3%) in our dataset, which likely arise during library preparation and may be detrimental for quantitative studies that use multiplexing. Deepbinner is open source (GPLv3) and available at https://github.com/rrwick/Deepbinner.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Tracking key virulence loci encoding aerobactin and salmochelin siderophore synthesis in Klebsiella pneumoniae
    Lam, MMC ; Wyres, K ; Judd, L ; Wick, R ; Jenney, A ; Brisse, S ; Holt, K (BMC, 2018-07-25)
    Background: Klebsiella pneumoniae is a recognised agent of multidrug-resistant (MDR) healthcare-associated infections, however individual strains vary in their virulence potential due to the presence of mobile accessory genes. In particular, gene clusters encoding the biosynthesis of siderophores aerobactin (iuc) and salmochelin (iro) are associated with invasive disease and are common amongst hypervirulent K. pneumoniae clones that cause severe community-associated infections such as liver abscess and pneumonia. Concerningly iuc has also been reported in MDR strains in the hospital setting, where it was associated with increased mortality, highlighting the need to understand, detect and track the mobility of these virulence loci in the K. pneumoniae population. Methods: Here we examined the genetic diversity, distribution and mobilisation of iuc and iro loci among 2503 K. pneumoniae genomes using comparative genomics approaches, and developed tools for tracking them via genomic surveillance. Results: Iro and iuc were detected at low prevalence (<10%). Considerable genetic diversity was observed, resolving into five iro and six iuc lineages that show distinct patterns of mobilisation and dissemination in the K. pneumoniae population. The major burden of iuc and iro amongst the genomes analysed was due to two linked lineages (iuc1/iro1, 74% and iuc2/iro2, 14%), each carried by a distinct non-self-transmissible IncFIBK virulence plasmid type that we designate KpVP-1 and KpVP-2. These dominant types also carry hypermucoidy (rmpA) determinants and include all previously described virulence plasmids of K. pneumoniae. The other iuc and iro lineages were associated with diverse plasmids, including some carrying FII conjugative transfer regions and some imported from E. coli; the exceptions were iro3 (mobilised by ICEKp1), and iuc4 (fixed in the chromosome of K. pneumoniae subspecies rhinoscleromatis). Iro/iuc MGEs appear to be stably maintained at high frequency within known hypervirulent strains (ST23, ST86, etc), but were also detected at low prevalence in others such as MDR strain ST258. Conclusions: Iuc and iro are mobilised in K. pneumoniae via a limited number of MGEs. This study provides a framework for identifying and tracking these important virulence loci, which will be important for genomic surveillance efforts including monitoring for the emergence of hypervirulent MDR K. pneumoniae strains.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Performance of neural network basecalling tools for Oxford Nanopore sequencing
    Wick, RR ; Judd, LM ; Holt, KE (BMC, 2019-06-24)
    BACKGROUND: Basecalling, the computational process of translating raw electrical signal to nucleotide sequence, is of critical importance to the sequencing platforms produced by Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT). Here, we examine the performance of different basecalling tools, looking at accuracy at the level of bases within individual reads and at majority-rule consensus basecalls in an assembly. We also investigate some additional aspects of basecalling: training using a taxon-specific dataset, using a larger neural network model and improving consensus basecalls in an assembly by additional signal-level analysis with Nanopolish. RESULTS: Training basecallers on taxon-specific data results in a significant boost in consensus accuracy, mostly due to the reduction of errors in methylation motifs. A larger neural network is able to improve both read and consensus accuracy, but at a cost to speed. Improving consensus sequences ('polishing') with Nanopolish somewhat negates the accuracy differences in basecallers, but pre-polish accuracy does have an effect on post-polish accuracy. CONCLUSIONS: Basecalling accuracy has seen significant improvements over the last 2 years. The current version of ONT's Guppy basecaller performs well overall, with good accuracy and fast performance. If higher accuracy is required, users should consider producing a custom model using a larger neural network and/or training data from the same species.