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Publications in peer reviewed journals

9 Publications found
  • Prevotella diversity, niches and interactions with the human host.

    Tett A, Pasolli E, Masetti G, Ercolini D, Segata N
    2021 - Nat Rev Microbiol, in press


    The genus Prevotella includes more than 50 characterized species that occur in varied natural habitats, although most Prevotella spp. are associated with humans. In the human microbiome, Prevotella spp. are highly abundant in various body sites, where they are key players in the balance between health and disease. Host factors related to diet, lifestyle and geography are fundamental in affecting the diversity and prevalence of Prevotella species and strains in the human microbiome. These factors, along with the ecological relationship of Prevotella with other members of the microbiome, likely determine the extent of the contribution of Prevotella to human metabolism and health. Here we review the diversity, prevalence and potential connection of Prevotella spp. in the human host, highlighting how genomic methods and analysis have improved and should further help in framing their ecological role. We also provide suggestions for future research to improve understanding of the possible functions of Prevotella spp. and the effects of the Western lifestyle and diet on the host-Prevotella symbiotic relationship in the context of maintaining human health.

  • Novel taxa of Acidobacteriota implicated in seafloor sulfur cycling.

    Flieder M, Buongiorno J, Herbold CW, Hausmann B, Rattei T, Lloyd KG, Loy A, Wasmund K
    2021 - ISME J, in press


    Acidobacteriota are widespread and often abundant in marine sediments, yet their metabolic and ecological properties are poorly understood. Here, we examined metabolisms and distributions of Acidobacteriota in marine sediments of Svalbard by functional predictions from metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs), amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA and dissimilatory sulfite reductase (dsrB) genes and transcripts, and gene expression analyses of tetrathionate-amended microcosms. Acidobacteriota were the second most abundant dsrB-harboring (averaging 13%) phylum after Desulfobacterota in Svalbard sediments, and represented 4% of dsrB transcripts on average. Meta-analysis of dsrAB datasets also showed Acidobacteriota dsrAB sequences are prominent in marine sediments worldwide, averaging 15% of all sequences analysed, and represent most of the previously unclassified dsrAB in marine sediments. We propose two new Acidobacteriota genera, Candidatus Sulfomarinibacter (class Thermoanaerobaculia, "subdivision 23") and Ca. Polarisedimenticola ("subdivision 22"), with distinct genetic properties that may explain their distributions in biogeochemically distinct sediments. Ca. Sulfomarinibacter encode flexible respiratory routes, with potential for oxygen, nitrous oxide, metal-oxide, tetrathionate, sulfur and sulfite/sulfate respiration, and possibly sulfur disproportionation. Potential nutrients and energy include cellulose, proteins, cyanophycin, hydrogen, and acetate. A Ca. Polarisedimenticola MAG encodes various enzymes to degrade proteins, and to reduce oxygen, nitrate, sulfur/polysulfide and metal-oxides. 16S rRNA gene and transcript profiling of Svalbard sediments showed Ca. Sulfomarinibacter members were relatively abundant and transcriptionally active in sulfidic fjord sediments, while Ca. Polarisedimenticola members were more relatively abundant in metal-rich fjord sediments. Overall, we reveal various physiological features of uncultured marine Acidobacteriota that indicate fundamental roles in seafloor biogeochemical cycling.

  • Tamock: simulation of habitat-specific benchmark data in metagenomics.

    Gerner SM, Graf AB, Rattei T
    2021 - BMC Bioinformatics, 1: 227


    Simulated metagenomic reads are widely used to benchmark software and workflows for metagenome interpretation. The results of metagenomic benchmarks depend on the assumptions about their underlying ecosystems. Conclusions from benchmark studies are therefore limited to the ecosystems they mimic. Ideally, simulations are therefore based on genomes, which resemble particular metagenomic communities realistically.
    We developed Tamock to facilitate the realistic simulation of metagenomic reads according to a metagenomic community, based on real sequence data. Benchmarks samples can be created from all genomes and taxonomic domains present in NCBI RefSeq. Tamock automatically determines taxonomic profiles from shotgun sequence data, selects reference genomes accordingly and uses them to simulate metagenomic reads. We present an example use case for Tamock by assessing assembly and binning method performance for selected microbiomes.
    Tamock facilitates automated simulation of habitat-specific benchmark metagenomic data based on real sequence data and is implemented as a user-friendly command-line application, providing extensive additional information along with the simulated benchmark data. Resulting benchmarks enable an assessment of computational methods, workflows, and parameters specifically for a metagenomic habitat or ecosystem of a metagenomic study.
    Source code, documentation and install instructions are freely available at GitHub ( ).

  • ITN-VIROINF: Understanding (Harmful) Virus-Host Interactions by Linking Virology and Bioinformatics.

    Goettsch W, Beerenwinkel N, Deng L, Dölken L, Dutilh BE, Erhard F, Kaderali L, von Kleist M, Marquet R, Matthijnssens J, McCallin S, McMahon D, Rattei T, Van Rij RP, Robertson DL, Schwemmle M, Stern-Ginossar N, Marz M
    2021 - Viruses, 5: in press


    Many recent studies highlight the fundamental importance of viruses. Besides their important role as human and animal pathogens, their beneficial, commensal or harmful functions are poorly understood. By developing and applying tailored bioinformatical tools in important virological models, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Initiative International Training Network VIROINF will provide a better understanding of viruses and the interaction with their hosts. This will open the door to validate methods of improving viral growth, morphogenesis and development, as well as to control strategies against unwanted microorganisms. The key feature of VIROINF is its interdisciplinary nature, which brings together virologists and bioinformaticians to achieve common goals.

  • Sulfoquinovose is a select nutrient of prominent bacteria and a source of hydrogen sulfide in the human gut.

    Hanson BT, Dimitri Kits K, Löffler J, Burrichter AG, Fiedler A, Denger K, Frommeyer B, Herbold CW, Rattei T, Karcher N, Segata N, Schleheck D, Loy A
    2021 - ISME J, in press


    Responses of the microbiota to diet are highly personalized but mechanistically not well understood because many metabolic capabilities and interactions of human gut microorganisms are unknown. Here we show that sulfoquinovose (SQ), a sulfonated monosaccharide omnipresent in green vegetables, is a selective yet relevant substrate for few but ubiquitous bacteria in the human gut. In human feces and in defined co-culture, Eubacterium rectale and Bilophila wadsworthia used recently identified pathways to cooperatively catabolize SQ with 2,3-dihydroxypropane-1-sulfonate as a transient intermediate to hydrogen sulfide (HS), a key intestinal metabolite with disparate effects on host health. SQ-degradation capability is encoded in almost half of E. rectale genomes but otherwise sparsely distributed among microbial species in the human intestine. However, re-analysis of fecal metatranscriptome datasets of four human cohorts showed that SQ degradation (mostly from E. rectale and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii) and HS production (mostly from B. wadsworthia) pathways were expressed abundantly across various health states, demonstrating that these microbial functions are core attributes of the human gut. The discovery of green-diet-derived SQ as an exclusive microbial nutrient and an additional source of HS in the human gut highlights the role of individual dietary compounds and organosulfur metabolism on microbial activity and has implications for precision editing of the gut microbiota by dietary and prebiotic interventions.

  • Regulation of the Mitochondrion-Fatty Acid Axis for the Metabolic Reprogramming of Chlamydia trachomatis during Treatment with β-Lactam Antimicrobials.

    Shima K, Kaufhold I, Eder T, Käding N, Schmidt N, Ogunsulire IM, Deenen R, Köhrer K, Friedrich D, Isay SE, Grebien F, Klinger M, Richer BC, Günther UL, Deepe GS, Rattei T, Rupp J
    2021 - mBio, 2: in press


    Infection with the obligate intracellular bacterium is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease worldwide. Since no vaccine is available to date, antimicrobial therapy is the only alternative in infection. However, changes in chlamydial replicative activity and the occurrence of chlamydial persistence caused by diverse stimuli have been proven to impair treatment effectiveness. Here, we report the mechanism for regulating host signaling processes and mitochondrial function, which can be used for chlamydial metabolic reprogramming during treatment with β-lactam antimicrobials. Activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is a well-known host response in various bacterial and viral infections. In infection, inactivation of STAT3 by host protein tyrosine phosphatases increased mitochondrial respiration in both the absence and presence of β-lactam antimicrobials. However, during treatment with β-lactam antimicrobials, increased the production of citrate as well as the activity of host ATP-citrate lyase involved in fatty acid synthesis. Concomitantly, chlamydial metabolism switched from the tricarboxylic acid cycle to fatty acid synthesis. This metabolic switch was a unique response in treatment with β-lactam antimicrobials and was not observed in gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-induced persistent infection. Inhibition of fatty acid synthesis was able to attenuate β-lactam-induced chlamydial persistence. Our findings highlight the importance of the mitochondrion-fatty acid interplay for the metabolic reprogramming of during treatment with β-lactam antimicrobials. The mitochondrion generates most of the ATP in eukaryotic cells, and its activity is used for controlling the intracellular growth of Furthermore, mitochondrial activity is tightly connected to host fatty acid synthesis that is indispensable for chlamydial membrane biogenesis. Phospholipids, which are composed of fatty acids, are the central components of the bacterial membrane and play a crucial role in the protection against antimicrobials. Chlamydial persistence that is induced by various stimuli is clinically relevant. While one of the well-recognized inducers, β-lactam antimicrobials, has been used to characterize chlamydial persistence, little is known about the role of mitochondria in persistent infection. Here, we demonstrate how undergoes metabolic reprogramming to switch from the tricarboxylic acid cycle to fatty acid synthesis with promoted host mitochondrial activity in response to treatment with β-lactam antimicrobials.

  • Learning From Limited Data: Towards Best Practice Techniques for Antimicrobial Resistance Prediction From Whole Genome Sequencing Data.

    Lüftinger L, Májek P, Beisken S, Rattei T, Posch AE
    2021 - Front Cell Infect Microbiol, 610348


    Antimicrobial resistance prediction from whole genome sequencing data (WGS) is an emerging application of machine learning, promising to improve antimicrobial resistance surveillance and outbreak monitoring. Despite significant reductions in sequencing cost, the availability and sampling diversity of WGS data with matched antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) profiles required for training of WGS-AST prediction models remains limited. Best practice machine learning techniques are required to ensure trained models generalize to independent data for optimal predictive performance. Limited data restricts the choice of machine learning training and evaluation methods and can result in overestimation of model performance. We demonstrate that the widely used random k-fold cross-validation method is ill-suited for application to small bacterial genomics datasets and offer an alternative cross-validation method based on genomic distance. We benchmarked three machine learning architectures previously applied to the WGS-AST problem on a set of 8,704 genome assemblies from five clinically relevant pathogens across 77 species-compound combinations collated from public databases. We show that individual models can be effectively ensembled to improve model performance. By combining models stacked generalization with cross-validation, a model ensembling technique suitable for small datasets, we improved average sensitivity and specificity of individual models by 1.77% and 3.20%, respectively. Furthermore, stacked models exhibited improved robustness and were thus less prone to outlier performance drops than individual component models. In this study, we highlight best practice techniques for antimicrobial resistance prediction from WGS data and introduce the combination of genome distance aware cross-validation and stacked generalization for robust and accurate WGS-AST.

  • Isolate-Based Surveillance of Bordetella pertussis, Austria, 2018-2020.

    Cabal A, Schmid D, Hell M, Chakeri A, Mustafa-Korninger E, Wojna A, Stöger A, Möst J, Leitner E, Hyden P, Rattei T, Habington A, Wiedermann U, Allerberger F, Ruppitsch W
    2021 - Emerg Infect Dis, 3: 862-871


    Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease, and its recent resurgence might be attributable to the emergence of strains that differ genetically from the vaccine strain. We describe a novel pertussis isolate-based surveillance system and a core genome multilocus sequence typing scheme to assess Bordetella pertussis genetic variability and investigate the increased incidence of pertussis in Austria. During 2018-2020, we obtained 123 B. pertussis isolates and typed them with the new scheme (2,983 targets and preliminary cluster threshold of <6 alleles). B. pertussis isolates in Austria differed genetically from the vaccine strain, both in their core genomes and in their vaccine antigen genes; 31.7% of the isolates were pertactin-deficient. We detected 8 clusters, 1 of them with pertactin-deficient isolates and possibly part of a local outbreak. National expansion of the isolate-based surveillance system is needed to implement pertussis-control strategies.

  • Dahlia variabilis cultivar 'Seattle' as a model plant for anthochlor biosynthesis.

    Walliser B, Lucaciu CR, Molitor C, Marinovic S, Nitarska DA, Aktaş D, Rattei T, Kampatsikas I, Stich K, Haselmair-Gosch C, Halbwirth H
    2021 - Plant Physiol Biochem, 193-201


    We investigated the bi-colored dahlia cultivar 'Seattle', which exhibits bright yellow petals with white tips, for its potential use as a model system for studies of the anthochlor biosynthesis. The yellow base contained high amounts of the 6'-deoxychalcones and the structurally related 4-deoxyaurones, as well as flavones. In contrast, only traces of anthochlors and flavones were detected in the white tips. No anthocyanins, flavonols, flavanones or dihydroflavonols were found in the petals. Gene expression studies indicated that the absence of anthocyanins in the petals is caused by a lack of flavanone 3-hydroxylase (FHT) expression, which is accompanied by a lack of expression of the bHLH transcription factor IVS. Expression of other genes involved in anthocyanidin biosynthesis such as dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) and anthocyanidin synthase (ANS) was not affected. The yellow and white petal parts showed significant differences in the expression of chalcone synthase 2 (CHS2), which is sufficient to explain the absence of yellow pigments in the white tips. Transcriptomes of both petal parts were de novo assembled and three candidate genes for chalcone reductase (CHR) were identified. None of them showed a significantly higher expression in the yellow base compared to the white tips. In summary, it was shown that the bicolouration is most likely caused by a bottleneck in chalcone formation in the white tip. The relative prevalence of flavones compared to the anthochlors in the white tips could be an indication for the presence of a so far unknown differentially expressed CHR.

Book chapters and other publications

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