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  • Suvanto, Maija T.; Truong Nguyen, Phuoc; Uusitalo, Ruut; Korhonen, Essi M.; Faolotto, Giulia; Vapalahti, Olli; Huhtamo, Eili; Smura, Teemu (2020)
    Negeviruses are insect-specific enveloped RNA viruses that have been detected in mosquitoes and sandflies from various geographical locations. Here, we describe a new negevirus from Northern Europe, isolated from pool ofAedes vexansmosquitoes collected in Finland, designated as Mekrijarvi negevirus (MEJNV). MEJNV had a typical negevirus genome organization, is 9,740 nucleotides in length, and has a GC content of 47.53%. The MEJNV genome contains three ORFs, each containing the following identified conserved domains: ORF1 (7,068 nt) encodes a viral methyltransferase, an FtsJ-like methyltransferase, a viral RNA helicase, and an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, ORF2 (1,242 nt) encodes a putative virion glycoprotein, and ORF3 (660 nt) encodes a putative virion membrane protein. A distinctive feature relative to other currently known negeviruses is a 7-nucleotide-long overlap between ORF1 and ORF2. MEJNV shares the highest sequence identity with Ying Kou virus from China, with 67.71% nucleotide and 75.19% and 59.00% amino acid sequence identity in ORF 1 and ORF 2, respectively. ORF3 had the highest amino acid sequence similarity to Daeseongdong virus 1 and negevirus Nona 1, both with 77.61% identity, and to Ying Kou virus, with 71.22% identity. MEJNV is currently the northernmost negevirus described. Our report supports the view that negeviruses are a globally distributed, diverse group of viruses that can be found from mosquitoes in a wide range of terrestrial biomes from tropical to boreal forests.
  • Ito, Akira; Nakao, Minoru; Lavikainen, Antti; Hoberg, Eric (2017)
    Human cystic echinococcosis (CE) has been considered to be caused predominantly by Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto (the dog-sheep strain). Molecular approaches' on CE, however, have revealed that human cases are also commonly caused by another species, Echinococcus canadensis. All indices for classification and standardization of CE pathology including available images, epidemiology, diagnostics and treatment are currently based largely on a mixture of infections which include at least E. granulosus s.s. and E. canadensis. Involvement of other species of Echinococcus in CE including E. ortleppi or otherwise cryptic diversity demonstrated recently in Africa requires further elucidation. Molecular identification of the causative species in CE cases is essential for better understanding of pathogenesis and disease. This article stresses the importance of molecular species identification of human CE as a foundation for re-evaluation of evidence-based epidemiology. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Xue, Yali; Mezzavilla, Massimo; Haber, Marc; McCarthy, Shane; Chen, Yuan; Narasimhan, Vagheesh; Gilly, Arthur; Ayub, Qasim; Colonna, Vincenza; Southam, Lorraine; Finan, Christopher; Massaia, Andrea; Chheda, Himanshu; Palta, Priit; Ritchie, Graham; Asimit, Jennifer; Dedoussis, George; Gasparini, Paolo; Palotie, Aarno; Ripatti, Samuli; Soranzo, Nicole; Toniolo, Daniela; Wilson, James F.; Durbin, Richard; Tyler-Smith, Chris; Zeggini, Eleftheria (2017)
    The genetic features of isolated populations can boost power in complex-trait association studies, and an in-depth understanding of how their genetic variation has been shaped by their demographic history can help leverage these advantageous characteristics. Here, we perform a comprehensive investigation using 3,059 newly generated low-depth whole-genome sequences from eight European isolates and two matched general populations, together with published data from the 1000 Genomes Project and UK10K. Sequencing data give deeper and richer insights into population demography and genetic characteristics than genotype-chip data, distinguishing related populations more effectively and allowing their functional variants to be studied more fully. We demonstrate relaxation of purifying selection in the isolates, leading to enrichment of rare and low-frequency functional variants, using novel statistics, DVxy and SVxy. We also develop an isolation-index (Isx) that predicts the overall level of such key genetic characteristics and can thus help guide population choice in future complex-trait association studies.
  • Pöntinen, Anna; Aalto-Araneda, Mariella; Lindström, Miia; Korkeala, Hannu (2017)
    Listeria monocytogenes is one of the most heat-resistant non-sporeforming food-borne pathogens and poses a notable risk to food safety, particularly when mild heat treatments are used in food processing and preparation. While general heat stress properties and response mechanisms of L. monocytogenes have been described, accessory mechanisms providing particular L. monocytogenes strains with the advantage of enhanced heat resistance are unknown. Here, we report plasmidmediated heat resistance of L. monocytogenes for the first time. This resistance is mediated by the ATP-dependent protease ClpL. We tested the survival of two wildtype L. monocytogenes strains-both of serotype 1/2c, sequence type ST9, and high sequence identity-at high temperatures and compared their genome composition in order to identify genetic mechanisms involved in their heat survival phenotype. L. monocytogenes AT3E was more heat resistant (0.0 CFU/ml log(10) reduction) than strain AL4E (1.4 CFU/ml log(10) reduction) after heating at 55 degrees C for 40 min. A prominent difference in the genome compositions of the two strains was a 58-kb plasmid (pLM58) harbored by the heat-resistant AT3E strain, suggesting plasmid-mediated heat resistance. Indeed, plasmid curing resulted in significantly decreased heat resistance (1.1 CFU/ml log(10) reduction) at 55 degrees C. pLM58 harbored a 2,115-bp open reading frame annotated as an ATP-dependent protease (ClpL)-encoding clpL gene. Introducing the clpL gene into a natively heat-sensitive L. monocytogenes strain (1.2 CFU/ml log(10) reduction) significantly increased the heat resistance of the recipient strain (0.4 CFU/ml log(10) reduction) at 55 degrees C. Plasmid-borne ClpL is thus a potential predictor of elevated heat resistance in L. monocytogenes. IMPORTANCE Listeria monocytogenes is a dangerous food pathogen causing the severe illness listeriosis that has a high mortality rate in immunocompromised individuals. Although destroyed by pasteurization, L. monocytogenes is among the most heat-resistant non-spore-forming bacteria. This poses a risk to food safety, as listeriosis is commonly associated with ready-to-eat foods that are consumed without thorough heating. However, L. monocytogenes strains differ in their ability to survive high temperatures, and comprehensive understanding of the genetic mechanisms underlying these differences is still limited. Whole-genome-sequence analysis and phenotypic characterization allowed us to identify a novel plasmid, designated pLM58, and a plasmid-borne ATP-dependent protease (ClpL), which mediated heat resistance in L. monocytogenes. As the first report on plasmid-mediated heat resistance in L. monocytogenes, our study sheds light on the accessory genetic mechanisms rendering certain L. monocytogenes strains particularly capable of surviving high temperatures-with plasmid-borne ClpL being a potential predictor of elevated heat resistance.
  • Huhtamo, Eili; Cook, Shelley; Moureau, Gregory; Uzcategui, Nathalie Y.; Sironen, Tarja; Kuivanen, Suvi; Putkuri, Niina; Kurkela, Satu; Harbach, Ralph E.; Firth, Andrew E.; Vapalahti, Olli; Gould, Ernest A.; de Lamballerie, Xavier (2014)