Kariuki MW, Githui E, McArthur AG, Aman RA, Njagi NM, Mwangemi AC, Kamau LW

Annual Research & Review in Biology, 32, 1-12.

Novel gene targets are needed in accurate diagnosis of malaria. Previous studies show that the dynein light chains (dlc) in Plasmodium are uniquely conserved within the species, possibly due to their role as the cargo adptor moiety. This study aimed at the development of PCR assay for the detection of Plasmodium based on the (dlc-Tctex) as a genus and species-specific tool in malaria diagnosis. Multiple primers were designed based on Plasmodium spp dlc(Tctex) genes. The primers were applied on PCR to detect malaria on clinical samples and on laboratory maintained isolates of P. falciparum and P. vivax for human infecting species and P. knowlesi and P. cynomolgi for zoonoses infection involving primates. The amplified PCR fragments were gene cleaned and sequenced. BLASTn e-values output from the raw nucleotide queries supports that the genes are uniquely conserved. Species-specific primers amplified P. falciparum infections with no cross-reactivity to P. vivax, P. knowlesi or P. cynomolgi species. In this assay only 11 out of the 30 microscope positive malaria positive clinical blood samples were positive for PCR detection of P. falciparum infection. Primers designed for Plasmodium genus amplified the target band in all clinical malaria samples but also had another specific band amplification. This preliminary data demonstrate that a species-specific dlc(Tctex) PCR assay can be used for detection of P. falciparum and optimized genus primers can be applied to differentiate mixed malaria infections.

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Faltyn, M., B. Alcock, & A.G. McArthur. 2019. Evolution and nomenclature of the trimethoprim resistant dihydrofolate (dfr) reductases. Preprints 2019, 2019050137. [Preprint]

Tsang, K.K., D.J. Speicher, & A.G. McArthur. 2019. Pathogen taxonomy updates at the Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database: Implications for molecular epidemiology. Preprints 2019, 2019070222. [Preprint]

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Srinivasan, K.A., S.K. Virdee, & A.G. McArthur. 2019. Strandedness during cDNA synthesis, the stranded parameter in htseq-count, and analysis of RNA-Seq data. Preprints 2019, 2019030124. [Preprint]

Matthews, T., F. Bristow, E. Griffiths, A. Petkau, J. Adam, D. Dooley, P. Kruczkiewicz, J. Curatcha, J. Cabral, D. Fornika, G. Winsor, M. Courtot, C. Bertelli, A. Roudgar, P. Fejaio, P. Mabon, E. Enns, J. Thiessen, A.W.S. Keddy, J. Isaac-Renton, J. Gardy, P. Tang, The IRIDA consortium, J. Carriço, L. Chindelevitch, C. Chauve, M. Graham, A.G. McArthur, E. Taboada, R. Beiko, F.S.L. Brinkman, W.W.L. Hsiao, & G. Van Domselaar. 2018. The Integrated Rapid Infectious Disease Analysis (IRIDA) Platform. BioRxiv 381830 [Preprint].

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McGlory C, von Allmen MT, Stokes T, Morton RW, Hector AJ, Lago BA, Raphenya AR, Smith BK, McArthur AG, Steinberg GR, Baker SK, Phillips SM

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 Jul 9;73(8):1070-1077.

(Press release: Putting your feet up for as little as two weeks can trigger diabetic symptoms in vulnerable patients)

BACKGROUND: Physical inactivity impairs insulin sensitivity, which is exacerbated with aging. We examined the impact of 2 wk of acute inactivity and recovery on glycemic control, and integrated rates of muscle protein synthesis in older men and women.

METHODS: Twenty-two overweight, prediabetic older adults (12 men, 10 women, 69 ± 4 y) undertook 7 d of habitual activity (baseline; BL), step reduction (SR; <1,000 steps.d-1 for 14 d), followed by 14 d of recovery (RC). An oral glucose tolerance test was used to assess glycemic control and deuterated water ingestion to measure integrated rates of muscle protein synthesis.

RESULTS: Daily step count was reduced (all p < .05) from BL at SR (7362 ± 3294 to 991 ± 97) and returned to BL levels at RC (7117 ± 3819). Homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance increased from BL to SR and Matsuda insulin sensitivity index decreased and did not return to BL in RC. Glucose and insulin area under the curve were elevated from BL to SR and did not recover in RC. Integrated muscle protein synthesis was reduced during SR and did not return to BL in RC.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that 2 wk of SR leads to lowered rates of muscle protein synthesis and a worsening of glycemic control that unlike younger adults is not recovered during return to normal activity in overweight, prediabetic elderly humans.

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Morgan TD, Graham CF, McArthur AG, Raphenya AR, Boreham DR, Manzon RG, Wilson JY, Lance SL, Howland KL, Patrick PH, Somers CM

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2018 75(6):836-849.

Round whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum) have a broad, disjunct range across northern North America and Eurasia, and little is known about their genetic population structure. We performed genetic analyses of round whitefish from 17 sites across its range using nine microsatellites, two mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) loci, and 4918 to 8835 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci. Our analyses identified deep phylogenetic division between eastern and western portions of the range, likely indicative of origins from at least two separate Pleistocene glacial refugia. Regionally, microsatellites and SNPs identified congruent patterns in subdivision, and population structure was consistent with expectations based on hydrologic connectivity. Within the Laurentian Great Lakes, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario were identified as key areas of interest. Lake Huron appears to be a contemporary source population for several other Great Lakes, and Lake Ontario contains a genetically discrete group of round whitefish. In all cases, multiple genetic markers yielded similar patterns, but SNPs offered substantially enhanced resolution. We conclude that round whitefish have population subdivision on several scales important for understanding their evolutionary history and conservation planning.

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coverKlein JA, Dave BM, Raphenya AR, McArthur AG, Knodler LA.

Mol Microbiol. 2017 Mar;103(6):973-991.

Type III Secretion Systems (T3SSs) are structurally conserved nanomachines that span the inner and outer bacterial membranes, and via a protruding needle complex contact host cell membranes and deliver type III effector proteins. T3SS are phylogenetically divided into several families based on structural basal body components. Here we have studied the evolutionary and functional conservation of four T3SS proteins from the Inv/Mxi-Spa family: a cytosolic chaperone, two hydrophobic translocators that form a plasma membrane-integral pore, and the hydrophilic ‘tip complex’ translocator that connects the T3SS needle to the translocon pore. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium), a common cause of food-borne gastroenteritis, possesses two T3SSs, one belonging to the Inv/Mxi-Spa family. We used invasion-deficient S. Typhimurium mutants as surrogates for expression of translocator orthologs identified from an extensive phylogenetic analysis, and type III effector translocation and host cell invasion as a readout for complementation efficiency, and identified several Inv/Mxi-Spa orthologs that can functionally substitute for the S. Typhimurium chaperone and translocator proteins. Functional complementation correlates with amino acid sequence identity between orthologs, but varies considerably between the four proteins. This is the first in-depth survey of the functional interchangeability of Inv/Mxi-Spa T3SS proteins acting directly at the host-pathogen interface.

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coverMcArthur AG & Tsang KK.

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2017 Jan;1388(1):78-91.

The loss of effective antimicrobials is reducing our ability to protect the global population from infectious disease. However, the field of antibiotic drug discovery and the public health monitoring of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is beginning to exploit the power of genome and metagenome sequencing. The creation of novel AMR bioinformatics tools and databases and their continued development will advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms and threat severity of antibiotic resistance, while simultaneously improving our ability to accurately predict and screen for antibiotic resistance genes within environmental, agricultural, and clinical settings. To do so, efforts must be focused toward exploiting the advancements of genome sequencing and information technology. Currently, AMR bioinformatics software and databases reflect different scopes and functions, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. A review of the available tools reveals common approaches and reference data but also reveals gaps in our curated data, models, algorithms, and data-sharing tools that must be addressed to conquer the limitations and areas of unmet need within the AMR research field before DNA sequencing can be fully exploited for AMR surveillance and improved clinical outcomes.

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d1-coverJia B, Raphenya AR, Alcock B, Waglechner N, Guo P, Tsang KK, Lago BA, Dave BM, Pereira S, Sharma AN, Doshi S, Courtot M, Lo R, Williams LE, Frye JG, Elsayegh T, Sardar D, Westman EL, Pawlowski AC, Johnson TA, Brinkman FS, Wright GD, & McArthur AG.

Nucleic Acids Res. 2017 Jan 4;45(D1):D566-D573.

The Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database (CARD; http://arpcard.mcmaster.ca) is a manually curated resource containing high quality reference data on the molecular basis of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), with an emphasis on the genes, proteins and mutations involved in AMR. CARD is ontologically structured, model centric, and spans the breadth of AMR drug classes and resistance mechanisms, including intrinsic, mutation-driven and acquired resistance. It is built upon the Antibiotic Resistance Ontology (ARO), a custom built, interconnected and hierarchical controlled vocabulary allowing advanced data sharing and organization. Its design allows the development of novel genome analysis tools, such as the Resistance Gene Identifier (RGI) for resistome prediction from raw genome sequence. Recent improvements include extensive curation of additional reference sequences and mutations, development of a unique Model Ontology and accompanying AMR detection models to power sequence analysis, new visualization tools, and expansion of the RGI for detection of emergent AMR threats. CARD curation is updated monthly based on an interplay of manual literature curation, computational text mining, and genome analysis.

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header-aa7f836a57fbef4ef15c560ab4ce386fPawlowski AC, Wang W, Koteva K, Barton HA, McArthur AG, & Wright GD.

Nat Commun. 2016 Dec 8;7:13803.

Antibiotic resistance is ancient and widespread in environmental bacteria. These are therefore reservoirs of resistance elements and reflective of the natural history of antibiotics and resistance. In a previous study, we discovered that multi-drug resistance is common in bacteria isolated from Lechuguilla Cave, an underground ecosystem that has been isolated from the surface for over 4 Myr. Here we use whole-genome sequencing, functional genomics and biochemical assays to reveal the intrinsic resistome of Paenibacillus sp. LC231, a cave bacterial isolate that is resistant to most clinically used antibiotics. We systematically link resistance phenotype to genotype and in doing so, identify 18 chromosomal resistance elements, including five determinants without characterized homologues and three mechanisms not previously shown to be involved in antibiotic resistance. A resistome comparison across related surface Paenibacillus affirms the conservation of resistance over millions of years and establishes the longevity of these genes in this genus.

See more: McMaster Daily News

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genomecanadacolorThe McArthur lab and the Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database are proud to have contributed to the Genome Canada – Canadian Food Inspection Agency Forum on Genomics and Antimicrobial Resistance. The two-day event brought together over sixty leading experts from academic, government, industry and commodities groups to address the challenge of AMR and discuss a path forward. A summary of the Forum and the Workshop Report are now online.

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