briony lago alcockZachary LinKara TsangBiren Davejjiaamospearl
McMaster Interdisciplinary Research Exposition (MIREx); Ontario Biology Day; Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization Engage Symposium; Rapid Microbial NGS and Bioinformatics: Translation Into Practice (Germany); Canadian Food Inspection Agency Forum on Genomics and Antimicrobial Resistance; New Antibacterial Discovery & Development Gordon Research Conference (Italy); McMaster Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Current Research in Engineering, Science & Technology (CREST) Meeting; 6th Biennial National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence (USA).

Presenter underlined, trainees in bold.

  • Dave, B.M., J.A. Klein, L.A. Knodler, A.R. Raphenya, & A.G. McArthur. 2016. A phylogenetic analysis of Inv/Mxi-Spa proteins and implications for functional complementation. Poster presentation at McMaster Interdisciplinary Research Exposition (MIREx), Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  • Dave, B.M., J.A. Klein, L.A. Knodler, A.R. Raphenya, & A.G. McArthur. 2016. A phylogenetic analysis of Inv/Mxi-Spa proteins and implications for functional complementation. Poster presentation at Ontario Biology Day 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Lin, Z. & A.G. McArthur. 2016. Adapting Galaxy bioinformatics to outbreak-associated Clostridium difficile. Poster presentation at McMaster’s Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization Engage Symposium, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  • McArthur, A.G.B. Jia, A.R. Raphenya, P. Guo, K. Tsang, B. Dave, B. Alcock, B. Lago, N. Waglechner, & G.D. Wright. 2016. The Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database – A Platform for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance. Invited presentation at the 2nd Conference Rapid Microbial NGS and Bioinformatics: Translation Into Practice, Hamburg, Germany.
  • McArthur, A.G. 2016. Bioinformatic resources for antimicrobial resistance. Invited presentation at Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Forum on Genomics and Antimicrobial Resistance, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  • McArthur, A.G. 2016. Combatting Antibiotic Resistance Using Surveillance. Invited presentation at McMaster Interdisciplinary Research Exposition (MIREx), Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  • Pawlowski, A.C., W. Wang, K. Koteva, H.A. Barton, B. Jia, A.R. Raphenya, P. Guo, A.G. McArthur, G.D. Wright. 2016. A multi-antibiotic resistant genotype is maintained for millions of years. Presentation at the New Antibacterial Discovery & Development Gordon Research Conference, Lucca, Italy.
  • Tsang, K. & A.G. McArthur. 2016. Translation of biocuration to metagenomic analysis. Poster presentation at McMaster Interdisciplinary Research Exposition (MIREx), Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  • Tsang, K. & A.G. McArthur. 2016. Translation of biocuration to metagenomic analysis. Poster presentation at Ontario Biology Day 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Tsang, K. & A.G. McArthur. 2016. Translation of biocuration to metagenomic analysis. Poster presentation at McMaster Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Current Research in Engineering, Science & Technology (CREST) Meeting, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  • Tsang, K. & A.G. McArthur. 2016. Translation of biocuration to metagenomic analysis. Poster presentation at McMaster’s Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization Engage Symposium, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  • Williams, L., A.G. McArthur, B. Lago, A.R. Raphenya, N. Pray, N. Saleem, S. Salas, K. Paulson, R. Mangar, Y. Liu, A. Vo, & J. Shavit. 2016. Nuclear factor, erythoid 2 (Nfe2) is a transcriptional regulator of oxidative stress during zebrafish development. Presentation at the 6th Biennial National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence, Washington, DC.
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Image2_Thumb_400Authors: Freschi et alFront Microbiol. 2015 Sep 29;6:1036.

The International Pseudomonas aeruginosa Consortium is sequencing over 1000 genomes and building an analysis pipeline for the study of Pseudomonas genome evolution, antibiotic resistance and virulence genes. Metadata, including genomic and phenotypic data for each isolate of the collection, are available through the International Pseudomonas Consortium Database ( Here, we present our strategy and the results that emerged from the analysis of the first 389 genomes. With as yet unmatched resolution, our results confirm that P. aeruginosa strains can be divided into three major groups that are further divided into subgroups, some not previously reported in the literature. We also provide the first snapshot of P. aeruginosa strain diversity with respect to antibiotic resistance. Our approach will allow us to draw potential links between environmental strains and those implicated in human and animal infections, understand how patients become infected and how the infection evolves over time as well as identify prognostic markers for better evidence-based decisions on patient care.

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coverAuthors: Graham CF, Glenn TC, McArthur AG, Boreham DR, Kieran T, Lance S, Manzon RG, Martino JA, Pierson T, Rogers SM, Wilson JY, Somers CM. Mol Ecol Resour. 2015 Nov;15(6):1304-15.

Degraded DNA from suboptimal field sampling is common in molecular ecology. However, its impact on techniques that use restriction site associated next-generation DNA sequencing (RADSeq, GBS) is unknown. We experimentally examined the effects of in situ DNA degradation on data generation for a modified double-digest RADSeq approach (3RAD). We generated libraries using genomic DNA serially extracted from the muscle tissue of 8 individual lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) following 0-, 12-, 48- and 96-h incubation at room temperature posteuthanasia. This treatment of the tissue resulted in input DNA that ranged in quality from nearly intact to highly sheared. All samples were sequenced as a multiplexed pool on an Illumina MiSeq. Libraries created from low to moderately degraded DNA (12-48 h) performed well. In contrast, the number of RADtags per individual, number of variable sites, and percentage of identical RADtags retained were all dramatically reduced when libraries were made using highly degraded DNA (96-h group). This reduction in performance was largely due to a significant and unexpected loss of raw reads as a result of poor quality scores. Our findings remained consistent after changes in restriction enzymes, modified fold coverage values (2- to 16-fold), and additional read-length trimming. We conclude that starting DNA quality is an important consideration for RADSeq; however, the approach remains robust until genomic DNA is extensively degraded.

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S13695274Authors: McArthur AG, Wright GD. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2015 Jul 31;27:45-50.

Antimicrobial resistance is a global health challenge and has an evolutionary trajectory ranging from proto-resistance in the environment to untreatable clinical pathogens. Resistance is not static, as pathogenic strains can move among patient populations and individual resistance genes can move among pathogens. Effective treatment of resistant infections, antimicrobial stewardship, and new drug discovery increasingly rely upon genotype information, powered by decreasing costs of DNA sequencing. These new approaches will require advances in microbial informatics, particularly in development of reference databases of molecular determinants such as our Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database and clinical metadata, new algorithms for prediction of resistome and resistance phenotype from genotype, and new protocols for global collection and sharing of high-throughput molecular epidemiology data.

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W1.coverAuthors: Dhillon BK, Laird MR, Shay JA, Winsor GL, Lo R, Nizam F, Pereira SK, Waglechner N, McArthur AG, Langille MG, Brinkman FS.

Nucleic Acids Res. 2015 Jul 1;43(W1):W104-8.

IslandViewer ( is a widely used web-based resource for the prediction and analysis of genomic islands (GIs) in bacterial and archaeal genomes. GIs are clusters of genes of probable horizontal origin, and are of high interest since they disproportionately encode genes involved in medically and environmentally important adaptations, including antimicrobial resistance and virulence. We now report a major new release of IslandViewer, since the last release in 2013. IslandViewer 3 incorporates a completely new genome visualization tool, IslandPlot, enabling for the first time interactive genome analysis and gene search capabilities using synchronized circular, horizontal and vertical genome views. In addition, more curated virulence factors and antimicrobial resistance genes have been incorporated, and homologs of these genes identified in closely related genomes using strict filters. Pathogen-associated genes have been re-calculated for all pre-computed complete genomes. For user-uploaded genomes to be analysed, IslandViewer 3 can also now handle incomplete genomes, with an improved queuing system on compute nodes to handle user demand. Overall, IslandViewer 3 represents a significant new version of this GI analysis software, with features that may make it more broadly useful for general microbial genome analysis and visualization.

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00251_067_002Authors: Dearborn DC, Gager AB, Gilmour ME, McArthur AG, Hinerfeld DA, Mauck RA.

Immunogenetics. 2015 Feb;67(2):111-23.

The major histocompatibility complex (Mhc) is subject to pathogen-mediated balancing selection and can link natural selection with mate choice. We characterized two Mhc class II B loci in Leach’s storm-petrel, Oceanodroma leucorhoa, focusing on exon 2 which encodes the portion of the protein that binds pathogen peptides. We amplified and sequenced exon 2 with locus-specific nested PCR and Illumina MiSeq using individually barcoded primers. Repeat genotyping of 78 single-locus genotypes produced identical results in 77 cases (98.7 %). Sequencing of messenger RNA (mRNA) from three birds confirmed expression of both loci, consistent with the observed absence of stop codons or frameshifts in all alleles. In 48 birds, we found 9 and 12 alleles at the two loci, respectively, and all 21 alleles translated to unique amino acid sequences. Unlike many studies of duplicated Mhc genes, alleles of the two loci clustered into monophyletic groups. Consistent with this phylogenetic result, interlocus gene conversion appears to have affected only two short fragments of the exon. As predicted under a paradigm of pathogen-mediated selection, comparison of synonymous and non-synonymous substitution rates found evidence of a history of positive selection at putative peptide binding sites. Overall, the results suggest that the gene duplication event leading to these two loci is not recent and that point mutations and positive selection on the peptide binding sites may be the predominant forces acting on these genes. Characterization of these loci sets the stage for population-level work on the evolutionary ecology of Mhc in this species.

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1-s2.0-S0166685114X00101-cov150hAuthors: Ferella M, Davids BJ, Cipriano MJ, Birkeland SR, Palm D, Gillin FD, McArthur AG, Svärd S.

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2014 Oct;197(1-2):21-3.

Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) was used to quantify transcriptional changes in Giardia intestinalis during its interaction with human intestinal epithelial cells (IECs, HT-29) in serum free M199 medium. Transcriptional changes were compared to those in trophozoites alone in M199 and in TYI-S-33 Giardia growth medium. In total, 90 genes were differentially expressed, mainly those involved in cellular redox homeostasis, metabolism and small molecule transport but also cysteine proteases and structural proteins of the giardin family. Only 29 genes changed their expression due to IEC interaction and the rest were due to M199 medium. Although our findings generated a small dataset, it was consistent with our earlier microarray studies performed under different interaction conditions. This study has confined the number of genes in Giardia to a small subset that specifically change their expression due to interaction with IECs.

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plosAuthors: Hahn ME, McArthur AG, Karchner SI, Franks DG, Jenny MJ, Timme-Laragy AR, Stegeman JJ, Woodin BR, Cipriano MJ, Linney E.

PLoS One. 2014 Nov 17;9(11):e113158.

Oxidative stress is an important mechanism of chemical toxicity, contributing to teratogenesis and to cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Developing animals may be especially sensitive to chemicals causing oxidative stress. The developmental expression and inducibility of anti-oxidant defenses through activation of NF-E2-related factor 2 (NRF2) affect susceptibility to oxidants, but the embryonic response to oxidants is not well understood. To assess the response to chemically mediated oxidative stress and how it may vary during development, zebrafish embryos, eleutheroembryos, or larvae at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 days post fertilization (dpf) were exposed to DMSO (0.1%), tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ; 10 µM) or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD; 2 nM) for 6 hr. Transcript abundance was assessed by real-time qRT-PCR and microarray. qRT-PCR showed strong (4- to 5-fold) induction of gstp1 by tBHQ as early as 1 dpf. tBHQ also induced gclc (2 dpf), but not sod1, nqo1, or cyp1a. TCDD induced cyp1a but none of the other genes. Microarray analysis showed that 1477 probes were significantly different among the DMSO-, tBHQ-, and TCDD-treated eleutheroembryos at 4 dpf. There was substantial overlap between genes induced in developing zebrafish and a set of marker genes induced by oxidative stress in mammals. Genes induced by tBHQ in 4-dpf zebrafish included those involved in glutathione synthesis and utilization, signal transduction, and DNA damage/stress response. The strong induction of hsp70 determined by microarray was confirmed by qRT-PCR and by use of transgenic zebrafish expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) under control of the hsp70 promoter. Genes strongly down-regulated by tBHQ included mitfa, providing a molecular explanation for the loss of pigmentation in tBHQ-exposed embryos. These data show that zebrafish embryos are responsive to oxidative stress as early as 1 dpf, that responsiveness varies with development in a gene-specific manner, and that the oxidative stress response is substantially conserved in vertebrate animals.

S01674889Authors: O’Shields B, McArthur AG, Holowiecki A, Kamper M, Tapley J, Jenny MJ

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Apr 18;1843(9):1818-1833

The metal responsive element-binding transcription factor-1 (MTF-1) responds to changes in cellular zinc levels caused by zinc exposure or disruption of endogenous zinc homeostasis by heavy metals or oxygen-related stress. Here we report the functional characterization of a complete zebrafish MTF-1 in comparison with the previously identified isoform lacking the highly conserved cysteine-rich motif (Cys-X-Cys-Cys-X-Cys) found in all other vertebrate MTF-1 orthologs. In an effort to develop novel molecular tools, a constitutively nuclear dominant-negative MTF-1 (dnMTF-1) was generated as tool for inhibiting endogenous MTF-1 signaling. The in vivo efficacy of the dnMTF-1 was determined by microinjecting in vitro transcribed dnMTF-1 mRNA into zebrafish embryos (1-2 cell stage) followed by transcriptomic profiling using an Agilent 4x44K array on 28- and 36-hpf embryos. A total of 594 and 560 probes were identified as differentially expressed at 28 hpf and 36 hpf, respectively, with interesting overlaps between timepoints. The main categories of genes affected by the inhibition of MTF-1 signaling were: nuclear receptors and genes involved in stress signaling, neurogenesis, muscle development and contraction, eye development, and metal homeostasis, including novel observations in iron and heme homeostasis. Finally, we investigate both the transcriptional activator and transcriptional repressor role of MTF-1 in potential novel target genes identified by transcriptomic profiling during early zebrafish development.

plosAuthors: Williams LM, Timme-Laragy AR, Goldstone JV, McArthur AG, Stegeman JJ, Smolowitz RM, Hahn ME

PLoS One. 2013 Oct 24;8(10):e79574

Transcription factors in the CNC-bZIP family (NFE2, NRF1, NRF2 and NRF3) regulate genes with a wide range of functions in response to both physiological and exogenous signals, including those indicating changes in cellular redox status. Given their role in helping to maintain cellular homeostasis, it is imperative to understand the expression, regulation, and function of CNC-bZIP genes during embryonic development. We explored the expression and function of six nrf genes (nfe2, nrf1a, nrf1b, nrf2a, nrf2b, and nrf3) using zebrafish embryos as a model system. Analysis by microarray and quantitative RT-PCR showed that genes in the nrf family were expressed throughout development from oocytes to larvae. The spatial expression of nrf3 suggested a role in regulating the development of the brain, brachia and pectoral fins. Knock-down by morpholino anti-sense oligonucleotides suggested that none of the genes were necessary for embryonic viability, but nfe2 was required for proper cellular organization in the pneumatic duct and subsequent swim bladder function, as well as for proper formation of the otic vesicles. nrf genes were induced by the oxidant tert-butylhydroperoxide, and some of this response was regulated through family members Nrf2a and Nrf2b. Our results provide a foundation for understanding the role of nrf genes in normal development and in regulating the response to oxidative stress in vertebrate embryos.