• 16S rRNA gene sequencing of mock microbial populations- impact of DNA extraction method, primer choice and sequencing platform

      Fouhy, Fiona; Clooney, Adam G; Stanton, Catherine; Claesson, Marcus J; Cotter, Paul D (Biomed Central, 2016-06-24)
      Background Next-generation sequencing platforms have revolutionised our ability to investigate the microbiota composition of complex environments, frequently through 16S rRNA gene sequencing of the bacterial component of the community. Numerous factors, including DNA extraction method, primer sequences and sequencing platform employed, can affect the accuracy of the results achieved. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of these three factors on 16S rRNA gene sequencing results, using mock communities and mock community DNA. Results The use of different primer sequences (V4-V5, V1-V2 and V1-V2 degenerate primers) resulted in differences in the genera and species detected. The V4-V5 primers gave the most comparable results across platforms. The three Ion PGM primer sets detected more of the 20 mock community species than the equivalent MiSeq primer sets. Data generated from DNA extracted using the 2 extraction methods were very similar. Conclusions Microbiota compositional data differed depending on the primers and sequencing platform that were used. The results demonstrate the risks in comparing data generated using different sequencing approaches and highlight the merits of choosing a standardised approach for sequencing in situations where a comparison across multiple sequencing runs is required.
    • The altered gut microbiota in adults with cystic fibrosis

      Burke, D.G.; Fouhy, Fiona; Harrison, M. J; Rea, Mary C; Cotter, Paul D; O’Sullivan, O.; Stanton, Catherine; Hill, C.; Shanahan, F.; Plant, B. J; Ross, R. Paul (Biomed Central, 2017-03-09)
      Background Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disease that affects the function of a number of organs, principally the lungs, but also the gastrointestinal tract. The manifestations of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) dysfunction in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as frequent antibiotic exposure, undoubtedly disrupts the gut microbiota. To analyse the effects of CF and its management on the microbiome, we compared the gut microbiota of 43 individuals with CF during a period of stability, to that of 69 non-CF controls using 454-pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The impact of clinical parameters, including antibiotic therapy, on the results was also assessed. Results The CF-associated microbiome had reduced microbial diversity, an increase in Firmicutes and a reduction in Bacteroidetes compared to the non-CF controls. While the greatest number of differences in taxonomic abundances of the intestinal microbiota was observed between individuals with CF and the healthy controls, gut microbiota differences were also reported between people with CF when grouped by clinical parameters including % predicted FEV1 (measure of lung dysfunction) and the number of intravenous (IV) antibiotic courses in the previous 12 months. Notably, CF individuals presenting with severe lung dysfunction (% predicted FEV1 ≤ 40%) had significantly (p < 0.05) reduced gut microbiota diversity relative to those presenting with mild or moderate dysfunction. A significant negative correlation (−0.383, Simpson’s Diversity Index) was also observed between the number of IV antibiotic courses and gut microbiota diversity. Conclusions This is one of the largest single-centre studies on gut microbiota in stable adults with CF and demonstrates the significantly altered gut microbiota, including reduced microbial diversity seen in CF patients compared to healthy controls. The data show the impact that CF and it's management have on gut microbiota, presenting the opportunity to develop CF specific probiotics to minimise microbiota alterations.
    • The altered gut microbiota in adults with cystic fibrosis

      Burke, D.G.; Fouhy, Fiona; Harrison, M. J; Rea, Mary C; Cotter, Paul D; O’Sullivan, Orla; Stanton, Catherine; Hill, C.; Shanahan, F.; Plant, B. J; Ross, R. Paul (Biomed Central, 2017-03-09)
      Background Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disease that affects the function of a number of organs, principally the lungs, but also the gastrointestinal tract. The manifestations of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) dysfunction in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as frequent antibiotic exposure, undoubtedly disrupts the gut microbiota. To analyse the effects of CF and its management on the microbiome, we compared the gut microbiota of 43 individuals with CF during a period of stability, to that of 69 non-CF controls using 454-pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The impact of clinical parameters, including antibiotic therapy, on the results was also assessed. Results The CF-associated microbiome had reduced microbial diversity, an increase in Firmicutes and a reduction in Bacteroidetes compared to the non-CF controls. While the greatest number of differences in taxonomic abundances of the intestinal microbiota was observed between individuals with CF and the healthy controls, gut microbiota differences were also reported between people with CF when grouped by clinical parameters including % predicted FEV1 (measure of lung dysfunction) and the number of intravenous (IV) antibiotic courses in the previous 12 months. Notably, CF individuals presenting with severe lung dysfunction (% predicted FEV1 ≤ 40%) had significantly (p < 0.05) reduced gut microbiota diversity relative to those presenting with mild or moderate dysfunction. A significant negative correlation (−0.383, Simpson’s Diversity Index) was also observed between the number of IV antibiotic courses and gut microbiota diversity. Conclusions This is one of the largest single-centre studies on gut microbiota in stable adults with CF and demonstrates the significantly altered gut microbiota, including reduced microbial diversity seen in CF patients compared to healthy controls. The data show the impact that CF and it's management have on gut microbiota, presenting the opportunity to develop CF specific probiotics to minimise microbiota alterations.
    • A Bioengineered Nisin Derivative, M21A, in Combination with Food Grade Additives Eradicates Biofilms of Listeria monocytogenes

      Smith, Muireann K.; Draper, Lorraine A.; Hazelhoff, Pieter-Jan; Cotter, Paul D; Ross, R. Paul; Hill, Colin (Frontiers, 2016-11-30)
      The burden of foodborne disease has large economic and social consequences worldwide. Despite strict regulations, a number of pathogens persist within the food environment, which is greatly contributed to by a build-up of resistance mechanisms and also through the formation of biofilms. Biofilms have been shown to be highly resistant to a number of antimicrobials and can be extremely difficult to remove once they are established. In parallel, the growing concern of consumers regarding the use of chemically derived antimicrobials within food has led to a drive toward more natural products. As a consequence, the use of naturally derived antimicrobials has become of particular interest. In this study we investigated the efficacy of nisin A and its bioengineered derivative M21A in combination with food grade additives to treat biofilms of a representative foodborne disease isolate of Listeria monocytogenes. Investigations revealed the enhanced antimicrobial effects, in liquid culture, of M21A in combination with citric acid or cinnamaldehyde over its wild type nisin A counterpart. Subsequently, an investigation was conducted into the effects of these combinations on an established biofilm of the same strain. Nisin M21A (0.1 μg/ml) alone or in combination with cinnamaldehyde (35 μg/ml) or citric acid (175 μg/ml) performed significantly better than combinations involving nisin A. All combinations of M21A with either citric acid or cinnamaldehyde eradicated the L. monocytogenes biofilm (in relation to a non-biofilm control). We conclude that M21A in combination with available food additives could further enhance the antimicrobial treatment of biofilms within the food industry, simply by substituting nisin A with M21A in current commercial products such as Nisaplin® (Danisco, DuPont).
    • Comparing Apples and Oranges?: Next Generation Sequencing and Its Impact on Microbiome Analysis

      Clooney, Adam G.; Fouhy, Fiona; Sleator, Roy D.; O'Driscoll, Aisling; Stanton, Catherine; Cotter, Paul D; Claesson, Marcus J. (PLOS, 2016-02-05)
      Rapid advancements in sequencing technologies along with falling costs present widespread opportunities for microbiome studies across a vast and diverse array of environments. These impressive technological developments have been accompanied by a considerable growth in the number ofmethodological variables, including sampling, storage, DNA extraction, primer pairs, sequencing technology, chemistry version, read length, insert size, and analysis pipelines, amongst others. This increase in variability threatens to compromise both the reproducibility and the comparability of studies conducted. Here we perform the first reported study comparing both amplicon and shotgun sequencing for the three leading next-generation sequencing technologies. These were applied to six human stool samples using Illumina HiSeq, MiSeq and Ion PGM shotgun sequencing, as well as amplicon sequencing across two variable 16S rRNA gene regions. Notably, we found that the factor responsible for the greatest variance inmicrobiota composition was the chosen methodology rather than the natural inter-individual variance, which is commonly one of the most significant drivers in microbiome studies. Amplicon sequencing suffered from this to a large extent, and this issue was particularly apparent when the 16S rRNA V1-V2 region amplicons were sequenced withMiSeq. Somewhat surprisingly, the choice of taxonomic binning software for shotgun sequences proved to be of crucial importance with even greater discriminatory power than sequencing technology and choice of amplicon. Optimal N50 assembly values for the HiSeq was obtained for 10million reads per sample, whereas the applied MiSeq and PGM sequencing depths proved less sufficient for shotgun sequencing of stool samples. The latter technologies, on the other hand, provide a better basis for functional gene categorisation, possibly due to their longer read lengths. Hence, in addition to highlighting methodological biases, this study demonstrates the risks associated with comparing data generated using different strategies. We also recommend that laboratories with particular interests in certain microbes should optimise their protocols to accurately detect these taxa using different techniques.
    • Detection of presumptive Bacillus cereus in the Irish dairy farm environment

      O'Connell, A.; Lawton, E.M.; Leong, Dara; Cotter, Paul D; Gleeson, David; Guinane, Catriona M. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2016-01-30)
      The objective of the study was to isolate potential Bacillus cereus sensu lato (B. cereus s.l.) from a range of farm environments. Samples of tap water, milking equipment rinse water, milk sediment filter, grass, soil and bulk tank milk were collected from 63 farms. In addition, milk liners were swabbed at the start and the end of milking, and swabs were taken from cows’ teats prior to milking. The samples were plated on mannitol egg yolk polymyxin agar (MYP) and presumptive B. cereus s.l. colonies were isolated and stored in nutrient broth with 20% glycerol and frozen at -80 °C. These isolates were then plated on chromogenic medium (BACARA) and colonies identified as presumptive B. cereus s.l. on this medium were subjected to 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing. Of the 507 isolates presumed to be B. cereus s.l. on the basis of growth on MYP, only 177 showed growth typical of B. cereus s.l. on BACARA agar. The use of 16S rRNA sequencing to identify isolates that grew on BACARA confirmed that the majority of isolates belonged to B. cereus s.l. A total of 81 of the 98 isolates sequenced were tentatively identified as presumptive B. cereus s.l. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was carried out on milk and soil isolates from seven farms that were identified as having presumptive B. cereus s.l. No pulsotype was shared by isolates from soil and milk on the same farm. Presumptive B. cereus s.l. was widely distributed within the dairy farm environment.
    • The efficacy of thuricin CD, tigecycline, vancomycin, teicoplanin, rifampicin and nitazoxanide, independently and in paired combinations against Clostridium difficile biofilms and planktonic cells

      Mathur, Harsh; Rea, Mary C; Cotter, Paul D; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. P (Biomed Central, 2016-06-02)
      Background Thuricin CD is a two-component antimicrobial, belonging to the recently designated sactibiotic subclass of bacteriocins. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of thuricin CD, as well as the antibiotics, tigecycline, vancomycin, teicoplanin, rifampicin and nitazoxanide when used independently and when combined at low concentrations on the viability of Clostridium difficile 20291 R027, TL178 R002, Liv022 R106, DPC6350 and VPI10463 biofilms and planktonic cells. Results On the basis of XTT (2,3-bis[2-methyloxy-4-nitro-5-sulphophenyl]-2H-tetrazolium-5-carboxanilide)-menadione biofilm viability assays, we found that thuricin CD was effective against biofilms of R027, Liv022 R106 and DPC6350 when used independently while nitazoxanide and rifampicin were also potent against biofilms of R027 and DPC6350, when applied on their own. Tigecycline was found to be effective against R027 and DPC6350 biofilms, whereas teicoplanin and vancomycin when used independently were only effective against DPC6350 biofilms. The efficacies of the antibiotics rifampicin, tigecycline, vancomycin and teicoplanin against C. difficile 20291 R027 biofilms were significantly potentiated when combined with thuricin CD, indicating effective antimicrobial combinations with this sactibiotic against R027 biofilms. However, the potency of nitazoxanide against R027 biofilms was significantly diminished when combined with thuricin CD, indicating an ineffective combination with this sactibiotic against R027 biofilms. Paired combinations of thuricin CD along with these five antibiotics were effective at diminishing the viability of DPC6350 biofilms. However, such combinations were largely ineffective against biofilms of TL178 R002, Liv022 R106 and VPI10463. Conclusions To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to highlight the activity of a sactibiotic bacteriocin against biofilms and the first to reveal the potency of the antibiotics tigecycline, teicoplanin and nitazoxanide against C. difficile biofilms. On the basis of this study, it is apparent that different strains of C. difficile possess varying abilities to form biofilms and that the sensitivities of these biofilms to different antimicrobials and antimicrobial combinations are strain-dependent. Since the formation of relatively strong biofilms by certain C. difficile strains may contribute to increased cases of antibiotic resistance and recurrence and relapse of C. difficile infection, the findings presented in this study could provide alternative strategies to target this pathogen.
    • The Fungal Frontier: A Comparative Analysis of Methods Used in the Study of the Human Gut Mycobiome

      Huseyin, Chloe E.; Cabrera Rubio, Raul; O'Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D; Scanlan, Pauline D. (Frontiers, 2017-07-31)
      The human gut is host to a diverse range of fungal species, collectively referred to as the gut “mycobiome”. The gut mycobiome is emerging as an area of considerable research interest due to the potential roles of these fungi in human health and disease. However, there is no consensus as to what the best or most suitable methodologies available are with respect to characterizing the human gut mycobiome. The aim of this study is to provide a comparative analysis of several previously published mycobiome-specific culture-dependent and -independent methodologies, including choice of culture media, incubation conditions (aerobic versus anaerobic), DNA extraction method, primer set and freezing of fecal samples to assess their relative merits and suitability for gut mycobiome analysis. There was no significant effect of media type or aeration on culture-dependent results. However, freezing was found to have a significant effect on fungal viability, with significantly lower fungal numbers recovered from frozen samples. DNA extraction method had a significant effect on DNA yield and quality. However, freezing and extraction method did not have any impact on either α or β diversity. There was also considerable variation in the ability of different fungal-specific primer sets to generate PCR products for subsequent sequence analysis. Through this investigation two DNA extraction methods and one primer set was identified which facilitated the analysis of the mycobiome for all samples in this study. Ultimately, a diverse range of fungal species were recovered using both approaches, with Candida and Saccharomyces identified as the most common fungal species recovered using culture-dependent and culture-independent methods, respectively. As has been apparent from ecological surveys of the bacterial fraction of the gut microbiota, the use of different methodologies can also impact on our understanding of gut mycobiome composition and therefore requires careful consideration. Future research into the gut mycobiome needs to adopt a common strategy to minimize potentially confounding effects of methodological choice and to facilitate comparative analysis of datasets.
    • In Vitro Activities of Nisin and Nisin Derivatives Alone and In Combination with Antibiotics against Staphylococcus Biofilms

      Field, Des; O'Connor, Rory; Cotter, Paul D; Ross, R. Paul; Hill, Colin (Frontiers Media S. A., 2016-04-18)
      The development and spread of pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to the existing catalog of antibiotics is a major public health threat. Biofilms are complex, sessile communities of bacteria embedded in an organic polymer matrix which serve to further enhance antimicrobial resistance. Consequently, novel compounds and innovative methods are urgently required to arrest the proliferation of drug-resistant infections in both nosocomial and community environments. Accordingly, it has been suggested that antimicrobial peptides could be used as novel natural inhibitors that can be used in formulations with synergistically acting antibiotics. Nisin is a member of the lantibiotic family of antimicrobial peptides that exhibit potent antibacterial activity against many Gram-positive bacteria. Recently we have used bioengineering strategies to enhance the activity of nisin against several high profile targets, including multi-drug resistant clinical pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycinresistant enterococci, staphylococci, and streptococci associated with bovine mastitis. We have also identified nisin derivatives with an enhanced ability to impair biofilm formation and to reduce the density of established biofilms of methicillin resistant S. pseudintermedius. The present study was aimed at evaluating the potential of nisin and nisin derivatives to increase the efficacy of conventional antibiotics and to assess the possibility of killing and/or eradicating biofilm-associated cells of a variety of staphylococcal targets. Growth curve-based comparisons established that combinations of derivatives nisin V C penicillin or nisin I4V C chloramphenicol had an enhanced inhibitory effect against S. aureus SA113 and S. pseudintermedius DSM21284, respectively, compared to the equivalent nisin A C antibiotic combinations or when each antimicrobial was administered alone. Furthermore, the metabolic activity of established biofilms treated with nisin V C chloramphenicol and nisin I4V C chloramphenicol combinations revealed a significant decrease in S. aureus SA113 and S. pseudintermedius DSM21284 biofilm viability, respectively, compared to the nisin A C antibiotic combinations as determined by the rapid colorimetric XTT assay. The results indicate that the activities of the nisin derivative and antibiotic combinations represent a significant improvement over that of the wild-type nisin and antibiotic combination and merit further investigation with a view to their use as anti-biofilm agents.
    • Proteomics as the final step in the functional metagenomics study of antimicrobial resistance

      Fouhy, Fiona; Stanton, Catherine; Cotter, Paul D; Hill, Colin; Walsh, Fiona (Frontiers Media S. A., 2015-03-03)
      The majority of clinically applied antimicrobial agents are derived from natural products generated by soil microorganisms and therefore resistance is likely to be ubiquitous in such environments. This is supported by the fact that numerous clinically important resistance mechanisms are encoded within the genomes of such bacteria. Advances in genomic sequencing have enabled the in silico identification of putative resistance genes present in these microorganisms. However, it is not sufficient to rely on the identification of putative resistance genes, we must also determine if the resultant proteins confer a resistant phenotype. This will require an analysis pipeline that extends from the extraction of environmental DNA, to the identification and analysis of potential resistance genes and their resultant proteins and phenotypes. This review focuses on the application of functional metagenomics and proteomics to study antimicrobial resistance in diverse environments.
    • Whole-Genome Shotgun Sequence of Salmonella bongori, First Isolated in Northwestern Italy

      Romano, Angelo; Bellio, Alberto; Macori, Guerrino; Cotter, Paul D; Manila Bianchi, Daniela; Gallina, Silvia; Decastelli, Lucia (American Society for Microbiology, 2017-07-06)
      This study describes the whole-genome shotgun sequence of Salmonella bongori 48:z35:–, originally isolated from a 1-year-old symptomatic patient in northwest Italy, a typically nonendemic area. The draft genome sequence contained 4.56 Mbp and the G+C content was 51.27%.