Glycopeptide antibiotics are produced by Actinobacteria through biosynthetic gene clusters that include genes supporting their regulation, synthesis, export and resistance. The chemical and biosynthetic diversities of glycopeptides are the product of an intricate evolutionary history. Extracting this history from genome sequences is difficult as conservation of the individual components of these gene clusters is variable and each component can have a different trajectory. We show that glycopeptide biosynthesis and resistance in Actinobacteria maps to approximately 150-400 million years ago. Phylogenetic reconciliation reveals that the precursors of glycopeptide biosynthesis are far older than other components, implying that these clusters arose from a pre-existing pool of genes. We find that resistance appeared contemporaneously with biosynthetic genes, raising the possibility that the mechanism of action of glycopeptides was a driver of diversification in these gene clusters. Our results put antibiotic biosynthesis and resistance into an evolutionary context and can guide the future discovery of compounds possessing new mechanisms of action, which are especially needed as the usefulness of the antibiotics available at present is imperilled by human activity.
More details at McMaster’s Brighter World.
David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery gives researchers a fighting chance against antimicrobial resistance.
A forward-looking McMaster donor is investing $7 million in a new research centre dedicated specifically to tackling the growing global threat of antimicrobial resistance.
David Braley, whose gifts to the university include a $50-million investment in McMaster teaching, learning and health-care research and delivery, has allocated $7 million from that 2007 gift towards the new David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery.
The centre will operate from the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, whose labs and offices are located on campus in the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery.
Congratulations to Rachel Tran on winning a 2019 DBCAD Summer Fellowship! These competitive awards are designed to support students working in the labs of members from both the David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery and Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research during their summer practicum. A full list of awardees can be found here. Learn more about Rachel’s work at Ontario Biology Day 2019:
Tran, H.K.R., S. Ahmad, J.C. Whitney, & A.G. McArthur. 2019. Expanding the Virulence Ontology (VIRO) to determine the evolution of a secretion system effector. Presentation at Ontario Biology Day, London, Ontario, Canada.
During McMaster Spring Mid-Term Recess (February 18-24), the McArthur lab is pleased to present a series of lectures, demonstrations, and training sessions for the Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database (card.mcmaster.ca) and its associated Resistance Gene Identifier (RGI) software, sponsored by the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR).
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Workshop & Lecture material will be available here: https://github.com/arpcard/state-of-the-card-2019
Congratulations to Kara Tsang for winning the 2018 Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) Michael Kamin Hart Memorial Scholarship (MSc), the highest academic honour for graduate students in the IIDR. Awarded during the 2018 IIDR Trainee Day, the award was accompanied by a talk by Kara on her Ph.D. research: (Machine) Learning about antibiotic resistance genotype- phenotype relationships”. Well done Kara!
Tammy Lau has been awarded a prestigious Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) Summer Student Fellowship for her work on development of k-mer approaches to predicting pathogen-of-origin for metagenomics antimicrobial resistance gene sequences. More details here.
Today we say farewell to Arjun Sharma & Suman Virdee. Arjun joined the lab as a second year volunteer, staying to perform a Biochem 3R06 research project. He has been very active in our Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database project, co-developing our CARD*Shark text mining tools for computer-guided curation of literature in PubMed, pipelines for our clinical isolate genome sequencing work, and developing novel algorithms for predicting glycopeptide resistance from genome assemblies. He was the recipient of an IIDR Summer Student Fellowship and leaves the Biochemistry program to enter medical school at the University of Toronto. Suman joined the lab in the 4th year of the Biomedical Discovery & Commercialization program, performing her thesis research on RNA-Seq bioinformatics workflows in a collaboration between our lab and the laboratory of Dr. Kristen Hope (McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute), extending her research into the summer by winning a CIHR Summer Undergraduate Research Award. Suman finished her degree and this September starts in the McMaster Master of Science in Global Health program. Bon chance Suman & Arjun!
3rd year Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences student Tammy Lau has joined us for her Biochem 3A03 (Biochemical Research Practice) course. Tammy will be collaborating with Dr. Lesley MacNeil in development of a bioinformatics pipeline for a new technology for tissue-specific expression profiling in the important model organism C. elegans. Support from this project comes from a new Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (McMaster) Research Grant. Welcome Tammy!