Publications by authors named "Siân V Owen"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Genetic variation in the MacAB-TolC efflux pump influences pathogenesis of invasive Salmonella isolates from Africa.

PLoS Pathog 2020 08 24;16(8):e1008763. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, United States of America.

The various sub-species of Salmonella enterica cause a range of disease in human hosts. The human-adapted Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi enters the gastrointestinal tract and invades systemic sites to cause enteric (typhoid) fever. In contrast, most non-typhoidal serovars of Salmonella are primarily restricted to gut tissues. Across Africa, invasive non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) have emerged with an ability to spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract and cause systemic bloodstream infections with increased morbidity and mortality. To investigate this evolution in pathogenesis, we compared the genomes of African iNTS isolates with other Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and identified several macA and macB gene variants unique to African iNTS. MacAB forms a tripartite efflux pump with TolC and is implicated in Salmonella pathogenesis. We show that macAB transcription is upregulated during macrophage infection and after antimicrobial peptide exposure, with macAB transcription being supported by the PhoP/Q two-component system. Constitutive expression of macAB improves survival of Salmonella in the presence of the antimicrobial peptide C18G. Furthermore, these macAB variants affect replication in macrophages and influence fitness during colonization of the murine gastrointestinal tract. Importantly, the infection outcome resulting from these macAB variants depends upon both the Salmonella Typhimurium genetic background and the host gene Nramp1, an important determinant of innate resistance to intracellular bacterial infection. The variations we have identified in the MacAB-TolC efflux pump in African iNTS may reflect evolution within human host populations that are compromised in their ability to clear intracellular Salmonella infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008763DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7446830PMC
August 2020

Evasion of MAIT cell recognition by the African Typhimurium ST313 pathovar that causes invasive disease.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 08 11;117(34):20717-20728. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

Medical Research Council Human Immunology Unit, Medical Research Council Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, OX3 9DS Oxford, United Kingdom.

Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are innate T lymphocytes activated by bacteria that produce vitamin B2 metabolites. Mouse models of infection have demonstrated a role for MAIT cells in antimicrobial defense. However, proposed protective roles of MAIT cells in human infections remain unproven and clinical conditions associated with selective absence of MAIT cells have not been identified. We report that typhoidal and nontyphoidal strains activate MAIT cells. However, Typhimurium sequence type 313 (ST313) lineage 2 strains, which are responsible for the burden of multidrug-resistant nontyphoidal invasive disease in Africa, escape MAIT cell recognition through overexpression of This bacterial gene encodes the 4-dihydroxy-2-butanone-4-phosphate synthase enzyme of the riboflavin biosynthetic pathway. The MAIT cell-specific phenotype did not extend to other innate lymphocytes. We propose that overexpression is an evolved trait that facilitates evasion from immune recognition by MAIT cells and contributes to the invasive pathogenesis of Typhimurium ST313 lineage 2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2007472117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7456131PMC
August 2020

Barcoded microbial system for high-resolution object provenance.

Science 2020 06;368(6495):1135-1140

Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Determining where an object has been is a fundamental challenge for human health, commerce, and food safety. Location-specific microbes in principle offer a cheap and sensitive way to determine object provenance. We created a synthetic, scalable microbial spore system that identifies object provenance in under 1 hour at meter-scale resolution and near single-spore sensitivity and can be safely introduced into and recovered from the environment. This system solves the key challenges in object provenance: persistence in the environment, scalability, rapid and facile decoding, and biocontainment. Our system is compatible with SHERLOCK, a Cas13a RNA-guided nucleic acid detection assay, facilitating its implementation in a wide range of applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aba5584DOI Listing
June 2020

A window into lysogeny: revealing temperate phage biology with transcriptomics.

Microb Genom 2020 02 5;6(2). Epub 2020 Feb 5.

Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Prophages are integrated phage elements that are a pervasive feature of bacterial genomes. The fitness of bacteria is enhanced by prophages that confer beneficial functions such as virulence, stress tolerance or phage resistance, and these functions are encoded by 'accessory' or 'moron' loci. Whilst the majority of phage-encoded genes are repressed during lysogeny, accessory loci are often highly expressed. However, it is challenging to identify novel prophage accessory loci from DNA sequence data alone. Here, we use bacterial RNA-seq data to examine the transcriptional landscapes of five prophages. We show that transcriptomic data can be used to heuristically enrich for prophage features that are highly expressed within bacterial cells and represent functionally important accessory loci. Using this approach, we identify a novel antisense RNA species in prophage BTP1, STnc6030, which mediates superinfection exclusion of phage BTP1. Bacterial transcriptomic datasets are a powerful tool to explore the molecular biology of temperate phages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/mgen.0.000330DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7067206PMC
February 2020

The fitness landscape of the African Salmonella Typhimurium ST313 strain D23580 reveals unique properties of the pBT1 plasmid.

PLoS Pathog 2019 09 27;15(9):e1007948. Epub 2019 Sep 27.

Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

We have used a transposon insertion sequencing (TIS) approach to establish the fitness landscape of the African Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium ST313 strain D23580, to complement our previous comparative genomic and functional transcriptomic studies. We used a genome-wide transposon library with insertions every 10 nucleotides to identify genes required for survival and growth in vitro and during infection of murine macrophages. The analysis revealed genomic regions important for fitness under two in vitro growth conditions. Overall, 724 coding genes were required for optimal growth in LB medium, and 851 coding genes were required for growth in SPI-2-inducing minimal medium. These findings were consistent with the essentiality analyses of other S. Typhimurium ST19 and S. Typhi strains. The global mutagenesis approach also identified 60 sRNAs and 413 intergenic regions required for growth in at least one in vitro growth condition. By infecting murine macrophages with the transposon library, we identified 68 genes that were required for intra-macrophage replication but did not impact fitness in vitro. None of these genes were unique to S. Typhimurium D23580, consistent with a high conservation of gene function between S. Typhimurium ST313 and ST19 and suggesting that novel virulence factors are not involved in the interaction of strain D23580 with murine macrophages. We discovered that transposon insertions rarely occurred in many pBT1 plasmid-encoded genes (36), compared with genes carried by the pSLT-BT virulence plasmid and other bacterial plasmids. The key essential protein encoded by pBT1 is a cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase, and our enzymological analysis revealed that the plasmid-encoded CysRSpBT1 had a lower ability to charge tRNA than the chromosomally-encoded CysRSchr enzyme. The presence of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases in plasmids from a range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria suggests that plasmid-encoded essential genes are more common than had been appreciated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1007948DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6785131PMC
September 2019

The use of chicken and insect infection models to assess the virulence of African Salmonella Typhimurium ST313.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2019 07 26;13(7):e0007540. Epub 2019 Jul 26.

Department of Functional and Comparative Genomics, Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Over recent decades, Salmonella infection research has predominantly relied on murine infection models. However, in many cases the infection phenotypes of Salmonella pathovars in mice do not recapitulate human disease. For example, Salmonella Typhimurium ST313 is associated with enhanced invasive infection of immunocompromised people in Africa, but infection of mice and other animal models with ST313 have not consistently reproduced this invasive phenotype. The introduction of alternative infection models could help to improve the quality and reproducibility of pathogenesis research by facilitating larger-scale experiments. To investigate the virulence of S. Typhimurium ST313 in comparison with ST19, a combination of avian and insect disease models were used. We performed experimental infections in five lines of inbred and one line of outbred chickens, as well as in the alternative chick embryo and Galleria mellonella wax moth larvae models. This extensive set of experiments identified broadly similar patterns of disease caused by the African and global pathovariants of Salmonella Typhimurium in the chicken, the chicken embryo and insect models. A comprehensive analysis of all the chicken infection experiments revealed that the African ST313 isolate D23580 had a subtle phenotype of reduced levels of organ colonisation in inbred chickens, relative to ST19 strain 4/74. ST313 isolate D23580 also caused reduced mortality in chicken embryos and insect larvae, when compared with ST19 4/74. We conclude that these three infection models do not reproduce the characteristics of the systemic disease caused by S. Typhimurium ST313 in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007540DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6685681PMC
July 2019

Adding function to the genome of African Salmonella Typhimurium ST313 strain D23580.

PLoS Biol 2019 01 15;17(1):e3000059. Epub 2019 Jan 15.

Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Salmonella Typhimurium sequence type (ST) 313 causes invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease in sub-Saharan Africa, targeting susceptible HIV+, malarial, or malnourished individuals. An in-depth genomic comparison between the ST313 isolate D23580 and the well-characterized ST19 isolate 4/74 that causes gastroenteritis across the globe revealed extensive synteny. To understand how the 856 nucleotide variations generated phenotypic differences, we devised a large-scale experimental approach that involved the global gene expression analysis of strains D23580 and 4/74 grown in 16 infection-relevant growth conditions. Comparison of transcriptional patterns identified virulence and metabolic genes that were differentially expressed between D23580 versus 4/74, many of which were validated by proteomics. We also uncovered the S. Typhimurium D23580 and 4/74 genes that showed expression differences during infection of murine macrophages. Our comparative transcriptomic data are presented in a new enhanced version of the Salmonella expression compendium, SalComD23580: http://bioinf.gen.tcd.ie/cgi-bin/salcom_v2.pl. We discovered that the ablation of melibiose utilization was caused by three independent SNP mutations in D23580 that are shared across ST313 lineage 2, suggesting that the ability to catabolize this carbon source has been negatively selected during ST313 evolution. The data revealed a novel, to our knowledge, plasmid maintenance system involving a plasmid-encoded CysS cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase, highlighting the power of large-scale comparative multicondition analyses to pinpoint key phenotypic differences between bacterial pathovariants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000059DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6333337PMC
January 2019

Role of a single noncoding nucleotide in the evolution of an epidemic African clade of .

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 03 27;115(11):E2614-E2623. Epub 2018 Feb 27.

Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, L69 7ZB Liverpool, United Kingdom;

serovar Typhimurium ST313 is a relatively newly emerged sequence type that is causing a devastating epidemic of bloodstream infections across sub-Saharan Africa. Analysis of hundreds of genomes has revealed that ST313 is closely related to the ST19 group of Typhimurium that cause gastroenteritis across the world. The core genomes of ST313 and ST19 vary by only ∼1,000 SNPs. We hypothesized that the phenotypic differences that distinguish African from ST19 are caused by certain SNPs that directly modulate the transcription of virulence genes. Here we identified 3,597 transcriptional start sites of the ST313 strain D23580, and searched for a gene-expression signature linked to pathogenesis of We identified a SNP in the promoter of the gene that caused high expression of the PgtE virulence factor in African Typhimurium, increased the degradation of the factor B component of human complement, contributed to serum resistance, and modulated virulence in the chicken infection model. We propose that high levels of PgtE expression by African Typhimurium ST313 promote bacterial survival and dissemination during human infection. Our finding of a functional role for an extragenic SNP shows that approaches used to deduce the evolution of virulence in bacterial pathogens should include a focus on noncoding regions of the genome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1714718115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5856525PMC
March 2018

Public health surveillance in the UK revolutionises our understanding of the invasive Salmonella Typhimurium epidemic in Africa.

Genome Med 2017 10 31;9(1):92. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

Gastrointestinal Bacteria Reference Unit, Public Health England, 61 Colindale Avenue, London, NW9 5HT, UK.

Background: The ST313 sequence type of Salmonella Typhimurium causes invasive non-typhoidal salmonellosis and was thought to be confined to sub-Saharan Africa. Two distinct phylogenetic lineages of African ST313 have been identified.

Methods: We analysed the whole genome sequences of S. Typhimurium isolates from UK patients that were generated following the introduction of routine whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of Salmonella enterica by Public Health England in 2014.

Results: We found that 2.7% (84/3147) of S. Typhimurium from patients in England and Wales were ST313 and were associated with gastrointestinal infection. Phylogenetic analysis revealed novel diversity of ST313 that distinguished UK-linked gastrointestinal isolates from African-associated extra-intestinal isolates. The majority of genome degradation of African ST313 lineage 2 was conserved in the UK-ST313, but the African lineages carried a characteristic prophage and antibiotic resistance gene repertoire. These findings suggest that a strong selection pressure exists for certain horizontally acquired genetic elements in the African setting. One UK-isolated lineage 2 strain that probably originated in Kenya carried a chromosomally located bla , demonstrating the continual evolution of this sequence type in Africa in response to widespread antibiotic usage.

Conclusions: The discovery of ST313 isolates responsible for gastroenteritis in the UK reveals new diversity in this important sequence type. This study highlights the power of routine WGS by public health agencies to make epidemiologically significant deductions that would be missed by conventional microbiological methods. We speculate that the niche specialisation of sub-Saharan African ST313 lineages is driven in part by the acquisition of accessory genome elements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-017-0480-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5663059PMC
October 2017

Direct characterization of the native structure and mechanics of cyanobacterial carboxysomes.

Nanoscale 2017 Aug;9(30):10662-10673

Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZB, UK.

Carboxysomes are proteinaceous organelles that play essential roles in enhancing carbon fixation in cyanobacteria and some proteobacteria. These self-assembling organelles encapsulate Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) and carbonic anhydrase using a protein shell structurally resembling an icosahedral viral capsid. The protein shell serves as a physical barrier to protect enzymes from the cytosol and a selectively permeable membrane to mediate transport of enzyme substrates and products. The structural and mechanical nature of native carboxysomes remain unclear. Here, we isolate functional β-carboxysomes from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC7942 and perform the first characterization of the macromolecular architecture and inherent physical mechanics of single β-carboxysomes using electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and proteomics. Our results illustrate that the intact β-carboxysome comprises three structural domains, a single-layered icosahedral shell, an inner layer and paracrystalline arrays of interior Rubisco. We also observe the protein organization of the shell and partial β-carboxysomes that likely serve as the β-carboxysome assembly intermediates. Furthermore, the topography and intrinsic mechanics of functional β-carboxysomes are determined in native conditions using AFM and AFM-based nanoindentation, revealing the flexible organization and soft mechanical properties of β-carboxysomes compared to rigid viruses. Our study provides new insights into the natural characteristics of β-carboxysome organization and nanomechanics, which can be extended to diverse bacterial microcompartments and are important considerations for the design and engineering of functional carboxysomes in other organisms to supercharge photosynthesis. It offers an approach for inspecting the structural and mechanical features of synthetic metabolic organelles and protein scaffolds in bioengineering.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c7nr02524fDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5708340PMC
August 2017

Characterization of the Prophage Repertoire of African Typhimurium ST313 Reveals High Levels of Spontaneous Induction of Novel Phage BTP1.

Front Microbiol 2017 23;8:235. Epub 2017 Feb 23.

Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool Liverpool, UK.

In the past 30 years, bloodstream infections have become a significant health problem in sub-Saharan Africa and are responsible for the deaths of an estimated 390,000 people each year. The disease is predominantly caused by a recently described sequence type of Typhimurium: ST313, which has a distinctive set of prophage sequences. We have thoroughly characterized the ST313-associated prophages both genetically and experimentally. ST313 representative strain D23580 contains five full-length prophages: BTP1, Gifsy-2, ST64B, Gifsy-1, and BTP5. We show that common Typhimurium prophages Gifsy-2, Gifsy-1, and ST64B are inactivated in ST313 by mutations. Prophage BTP1 was found to be a functional novel phage, and the first isolate of the proposed new species "Salmonella virus BTP1", belonging to the genus. Surprisingly, ∼10 BTP1 virus particles ml were detected in the supernatant of non-induced, stationary-phase cultures of strain D23580, representing the highest spontaneously induced phage titer so far reported for a bacterial prophage. High spontaneous induction is shown to be an intrinsic property of prophage BTP1, and indicates the phage-mediated lysis of around 0.2% of the lysogenic population. The fact that BTP1 is highly conserved in ST313 poses interesting questions about the potential fitness costs and benefits of novel prophages in epidemic Typhimurium ST313.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.00235DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5322425PMC
February 2017

What's in a Name? Species-Wide Whole-Genome Sequencing Resolves Invasive and Noninvasive Lineages of Salmonella enterica Serotype Paratyphi B.

mBio 2016 08 23;7(4). Epub 2016 Aug 23.

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.

Unlabelled: For 100 years, it has been obvious that Salmonella enterica strains sharing the serotype with the formula 1,4,[5],12:b:1,2-now known as Paratyphi B-can cause diseases ranging from serious systemic infections to self-limiting gastroenteritis. Despite considerable predicted diversity between strains carrying the common Paratyphi B serotype, there remain few methods that subdivide the group into groups that are congruent with their disease phenotypes. Paratyphi B therefore represents one of the canonical examples in Salmonella where serotyping combined with classical microbiological tests fails to provide clinically informative information. Here, we use genomics to provide the first high-resolution view of this serotype, placing it into a wider genomic context of the Salmonella enterica species. These analyses reveal why it has been impossible to subdivide this serotype based upon phenotypic and limited molecular approaches. By examining the genomic data in detail, we are able to identify common features that correlate with strains of clinical importance. The results presented here provide new diagnostic targets, as well as posing important new questions about the basis for the invasive disease phenotype observed in a subset of strains.

Importance: Salmonella enterica strains carrying the serotype Paratyphi B have long been known to possess Jekyll and Hyde characteristics; some cause gastroenteritis, while others cause serious invasive disease. Understanding what makes up the population of strains carrying this serotype, as well as the source of their invasive disease, is a 100-year-old puzzle that we address here using genomics. Our analysis provides the first high-resolution view of this serotype, placing strains carrying serotype Paratyphi B into the wider genomic context of the Salmonella enterica species. This work reveals a history of disease dating back to the middle ages, caused by a group of distinct lineages with various abilities to cause invasive disease. By quantifying the key genomic differences between the invasive and noninvasive populations, we are able to identify key virulence-related targets that can form the basis of simple, rapid, point-of-care tests.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00527-16DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4999539PMC
August 2016

RNA-seq Brings New Insights to the Intra-Macrophage Transcriptome of Salmonella Typhimurium.

PLoS Pathog 2015 12;11(11):e1005262. Epub 2015 Nov 12.

Department of Microbiology, School of Genetics and Microbiology, Moyne Institute of Preventive Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is arguably the world's best-understood bacterial pathogen. However, crucial details about the genetic programs used by the bacterium to survive and replicate in macrophages have remained obscure because of the challenge of studying gene expression of intracellular pathogens during infection. Here, we report the use of deep sequencing (RNA-seq) to reveal the transcriptional architecture and gene activity of Salmonella during infection of murine macrophages, providing new insights into the strategies used by the pathogen to survive in a bactericidal immune cell. We characterized 3583 transcriptional start sites that are active within macrophages, and highlight 11 of these as candidates for the delivery of heterologous antigens from Salmonella vaccine strains. A majority (88%) of the 280 S. Typhimurium sRNAs were expressed inside macrophages, and SPI13 and SPI2 were the most highly expressed pathogenicity islands. We identified 31 S. Typhimurium genes that were strongly up-regulated inside macrophages but expressed at very low levels during in vitro growth. The SalComMac online resource allows the visualisation of every transcript expressed during bacterial replication within mammalian cells. This primary transcriptome of intra-macrophage S.-Typhimurium describes the transcriptional start sites and the transcripts responsible for virulence traits, and catalogues the sRNAs that may play a role in the regulation of gene expression during infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1005262DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4643027PMC
April 2016