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1.
Plant Biotechnol J ; 2019 Nov 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31705720

RESUMO

The plant pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae (Ps), together with related Ps species, infect and attack a wide range of agronomically important crops, including tomato, kiwifruit, pepper, olive and soybean, causing economic losses. Currently, chemicals and introduced resistance genes are used to protect plants against these pathogens but have limited success and may have adverse environmental impacts. Consequently, there is a pressing need to develop alternative strategies to combat bacterial disease in crops. One such strategy involves using narrow-spectrum protein antibiotics (so-called bacteriocins), which diverse bacteria use to compete against closely related species. Here, we demonstrate that one bacteriocin, putidacin L1 (PL1), can be expressed in an active form at high levels in Arabidopsis and in Nicotiana benthamiana in planta to provide effective resistance against diverse pathovars of Ps. Furthermore, we find that Ps strains that mutate to acquire tolerance to PL1 lose their O-antigen, exhibit reduced motility, and still cannot induce disease symptoms in PL1-transgenic Arabidopsis. Our results provide proof-of-principle that the transgene-mediated expression of a bacteriocin in planta can provide effective disease resistance to bacterial pathogens. Thus, the expression of bacteriocins in crops might offer an effective strategy for managing bacterial disease, in the same way that the genetic modification of crops to express insecticidal proteins has proven to be an extremely successful strategy for pest management. Crucially, nearly all genera of bacteria, including many plant pathogenic species, produce bacteriocins, providing an extensive source of these antimicrobial agents.

2.
MBio ; 10(6)2019 Nov 26.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31772058

RESUMO

The evolution and global transmission of antimicrobial resistance have been well documented for Gram-negative bacteria and health care-associated epidemic pathogens, often emerging from regions with heavy antimicrobial use. However, the degree to which similar processes occur with Gram-positive bacteria in the community setting is less well understood. In this study, we traced the recent origins and global spread of a multidrug-resistant, community-associated Staphylococcus aureus lineage from the Indian subcontinent, the Bengal Bay clone (ST772). We generated whole-genome sequence data of 340 isolates from 14 countries, including the first isolates from Bangladesh and India, to reconstruct the evolutionary history and genomic epidemiology of the lineage. Our data show that the clone emerged on the Indian subcontinent in the early 1960s and disseminated rapidly in the 1990s. Short-term outbreaks in community and health care settings occurred following intercontinental transmission, typically associated with travel and family contacts on the subcontinent, but ongoing endemic transmission was uncommon. Acquisition of a multidrug resistance integrated plasmid was instrumental in the emergence of a single dominant and globally disseminated clade in the early 1990s. Phenotypic data on biofilm, growth, and toxicity point to antimicrobial resistance as the driving force in the evolution of ST772. The Bengal Bay clone therefore combines the multidrug resistance of traditional health care-associated clones with the epidemiological transmission of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). Our study demonstrates the importance of whole-genome sequencing for tracking the evolution of emerging and resistant pathogens. It provides a critical framework for ongoing surveillance of the clone on the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere.IMPORTANCE The Bengal Bay clone (ST772) is a community-associated and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus lineage first isolated from Bangladesh and India in 2004. In this study, we showed that the Bengal Bay clone emerged from a virulent progenitor circulating on the Indian subcontinent. Its subsequent global transmission was associated with travel or family contact in the region. ST772 progressively acquired specific resistance elements at limited cost to its fitness and continues to be exported globally, resulting in small-scale community and health care outbreaks. The Bengal Bay clone therefore combines the virulence potential and epidemiology of community-associated clones with the multidrug resistance of health care-associated S. aureus lineages. This study demonstrates the importance of whole-genome sequencing for the surveillance of highly antibiotic-resistant pathogens, which may emerge in the community setting of regions with poor antibiotic stewardship and rapidly spread into hospitals and communities across the world.

4.
Microbiome ; 7(1): 137, 2019 Oct 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31640771

RESUMO

BACKGROUND: Ear, nose and throat involvement in granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) is frequently the initial disease manifestation. Previous investigations have observed a higher prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus in patients with GPA, and chronic nasal carriage has been linked with an increased risk of disease relapse. In this cross-sectional study, we investigated changes in the nasal microbiota including a detailed analysis of Staphylococcus spp. by shotgun metagenomics in patients with active and inactive granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA). Shotgun metagenomic sequence data were also used to identify protein-encoding genes within the SEED database, and the abundance of proteins then correlated with the presence of bacterial species on an annotated heatmap. RESULTS: The presence of S. aureus in the nose as assessed by culture was more frequently detected in patients with active GPA (66.7%) compared with inactive GPA (34.1%). Beta diversity analysis of nasal microbiota by bacterial 16S rRNA profiling revealed a different composition between GPA patients and healthy controls (P = 0.039). Beta diversity analysis of shotgun metagenomic sequence data for Staphylococcus spp. revealed a different composition between active GPA patients and healthy controls and disease controls (P = 0.0007 and P = 0.0023, respectively), and between healthy controls and inactive GPA patients and household controls (P = 0.0168 and P = 0.0168, respectively). Patients with active GPA had a higher abundance of S. aureus, mirroring the culture data, while healthy controls had a higher abundance of S. epidermidis. Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, generally assumed to be a pathogen of cats and dogs, showed an abundance of 13% among the Staphylococcus spp. in our cohort. During long-term follow-up of patients with inactive GPA at baseline, a higher S. aureus abundance was not associated with an increased relapse risk. Functional analyses identified ten SEED protein subsystems that differed between the groups. Most significant associations were related to chorismate synthesis and involved in the vitamin B12 pathway. CONCLUSION: Our data revealed a distinct dysbiosis of the nasal microbiota in GPA patients compared with disease and healthy controls. Metagenomic sequencing demonstrated that this dysbiosis in active GPA patients is manifested by increased abundance of S. aureus and a depletion of S. epidermidis, further demonstrating the antagonist relationships between these species. SEED functional protein subsystem analysis identified an association between the unique bacterial nasal microbiota clusters seen mainly in GPA patients and an elevated abundance of genes associated with chorismate synthesis and vitamin B12 pathways. Further studies are required to further elucidate the relationship between the biosynthesis genes and the associated bacterial species.

5.
Sci Rep ; 9(1): 14685, 2019 Oct 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31605008

RESUMO

Restriction-Modification systems (RMS) are one of the main mechanisms of defence against foreign DNA invasion and can have an important role in the regulation of gene expression. The obligate human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae carries one of the highest loads of RMS in its genome; between 13 to 15 of the three main types. Previous work has described their organization in the reference genome FA1090 and has inferred the associated methylated motifs. Here, we studied the structure of RMS and target methylated motifs in 25 gonococcal strains sequenced with Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) technology, which provides data on DNA modification. The results showed a variable picture of active RMS in different strains, with phase variation switching the activity of Type III RMS, and both the activity and specificity of a Type I RMS. Interestingly, the Dam methylase was found in place of the NgoAXI endonuclease in two of the strains, despite being previously thought to be absent in the gonococcus. We also identified the real methylation target of NgoAXII as 5'-GCAGA-3', different from that previously described. Results from this work give further insights into the diversity and dynamics of RMS and methylation patterns in N. gonorrhoeae.

6.
Nature ; 574(7778): E15, 2019 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31570886

RESUMO

An Amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

7.
MBio ; 10(5)2019 10 29.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31662453

RESUMO

Sporadic literature reports describe isolates of pathogenic bacteria that harbor an antibiotic resistance determinant but remain susceptible to the corresponding antibiotic as a consequence of a genetic defect. Such strains represent a source from which antibiotic resistance may reemerge to cause treatment failure in patients. Here, we report a systematic investigation into the prevalence and nature of this phenomenon, which we term silencing of antibiotic resistance by mutation (SARM). Instances of SARM were detected among 1,470 Staphylococcus aureus isolates through side-by-side comparison of antibiotic resistance genotype (as determined by whole-genome sequencing) versus phenotype (as assessed through susceptibility testing). Of the isolates analyzed, 152 (10.3%) harbored a silenced resistance gene, including 46 (3.1%) that exhibited SARM to currently deployed antistaphylococcal drugs. SARM resulted from diverse mutational events but most commonly through frameshift mutation of resistance determinants as a result of point deletion in poly(A) tracts. The majority (∼90%) of SARM strains reverted to antibiotic resistance at frequencies of ≥10-9; thus, while appearing antibiotic sensitive in the clinical microbiology laboratory, most S. aureus isolates exhibiting SARM will revert to antibiotic resistance at frequencies achievable in patients. In view of its prevalence in a major pathogen, SARM represents a significant potential threat to the therapeutic efficacy of antibiotics.IMPORTANCE Antibiotic resistance hinders the treatment of bacterial infection. To guide effective therapy, clinical microbiology laboratories routinely perform susceptibility testing to determine the antibiotic sensitivity of an infecting pathogen. This approach relies on the assumption that it can reliably distinguish bacteria capable of expressing antibiotic resistance in patients, an idea challenged by the present study. We report that the important human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus frequently carries antibiotic resistance genes that have become inactivated ("silenced") by mutation, leading strains to appear antibiotic sensitive. However, resistance can rapidly reemerge in most such cases, at frequencies readily achievable in infected patients. Silent antibiotic resistance is therefore prevalent, transient, and evades routine detection, rendering it a significant potential threat to antibacterial chemotherapy.

8.
Elife ; 82019 Oct 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31591959

RESUMO

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) transmission in the hospital setting has been a frequent subject of investigation using bacterial genomes, but previous approaches have not yet fully utilised the extra deductive power provided when multiple pathogen samples are acquired from each host. Here, we use a large dataset of MRSA sequences from multiply-sampled patients to reconstruct colonisation of individuals in a high-transmission setting in a hospital in Thailand. We reconstructed transmission trees for MRSA. We also investigated transmission between anatomical sites on the same individual, finding that this either occurs repeatedly or involves a wide transmission bottleneck. We examined the between-subject bottleneck, finding a wide range in the amount of diversity transmitted. Finally, we compared our approach to the simpler method of identifying transmission pairs using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) counts. This suggested that the optimum threshold for identifying a pair is 39 SNPs, if sensitivities and specificities are equally weighted.

9.
Sci Rep ; 9(1): 13742, 2019 Sep 24.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31551478

RESUMO

Of the ten human-restricted Neisseria species two, Neisseria meningitidis, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, cause invasive disease: the other eight are carried asymptomatically in the pharynx, possibly modulating meningococcal and gonococcal infections. Consequently, characterizing their diversity is important for understanding the microbiome in health and disease. Whole genome sequences from 181 Neisseria isolates were examined, including those of three well-defined species (N. meningitidis; N. gonorrhoeae; and Neisseria polysaccharea) and genomes of isolates unassigned to any species (Nspp). Sequence analysis of ribosomal genes, and a set of core (cgMLST) genes were used to infer phylogenetic relationships. Average Nucleotide Identity (ANI) and phenotypic data were used to define species clusters, and morphological and metabolic differences among them. Phylogenetic analyses identified two polyphyletic clusters (N. polysaccharea and Nspp.), while, cgMLST data grouped Nspp isolates into nine clusters and identified at least three N. polysaccharea clusters. ANI results classified Nspp into seven putative species, and also indicated at least three putative N. polysaccharea species. Electron microscopy identified morphological differences among these species. This genomic approach provided a consistent methodology for species characterization using distinct phylogenetic clusters. Seven putative novel Neisseria species were identified, confirming the importance of genomic studies in the characterization of the genus Neisseria.

10.
Sci Rep ; 9(1): 13718, 2019 Sep 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31548561

RESUMO

Global Mycobacterium tuberculosis population comprises 7 major lineages. The Beijing strains, particularly the ones classified as Modern groups, have been found worldwide, frequently associated with drug resistance, younger ages, outbreaks and appear to be expanding. Here, we report analysis of whole genome sequences of 1170 M. tuberculosis isolates together with their patient profiles. Our samples belonged to Lineage 1-4 (L1-L4) with those of L1 and L2 being equally dominant. Phylogenetic analysis revealed several new or rare sublineages. Differential associations between sublineages of M. tuberculosis and patient profiles, including ages, ethnicity, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection and drug resistance were demonstrated. The Ancestral Beijing strains and some sublineages of L4 were associated with ethnic minorities while L1 was more common in Thais. L2.2.1.Ancestral 4 surprisingly had a mutation that is typical of the Modern Beijing sublineages and was common in Akha and Lahu tribes who have migrated from Southern China in the last century. This may indicate that the evolutionary transition from the Ancestral to Modern Beijing sublineages might be gradual and occur in Southern China, where the presence of multiple ethnic groups might have allowed for the circulations of various co-evolving sublineages which ultimately lead to the emergence of the Modern Beijing strains.

11.
Nat Chem ; 11(10): 906-912, 2019 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31548673

RESUMO

Polyketide synthases assemble diverse natural products with numerous important applications. The thioester intermediates in polyketide assembly are covalently tethered to acyl carrier protein domains of the synthase. Several mechanisms for polyketide chain release are known, contributing to natural product structural diversification. Here, we report a dual transacylation mechanism for chain release from the enacyloxin polyketide synthase, which assembles an antibiotic with promising activity against Acinetobacter baumannii. A non-elongating ketosynthase domain transfers the polyketide chain from the final acyl carrier protein domain of the synthase to a separate carrier protein, and a non-ribosomal peptide synthetase condensation domain condenses it with (1S,3R,4S)-3,4-dihydroxycyclohexane carboxylic acid. Molecular dissection of this process reveals that non-elongating ketosynthase domain-mediated transacylation circumvents the inability of the condensation domain to recognize the acyl carrier protein domain. Several 3,4-dihydroxycyclohexane carboxylic acid analogues can be employed for chain release, suggesting a promising strategy for producing enacyloxin analogues.

12.
Genome Biol ; 20(1): 184, 2019 09 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31477167

RESUMO

BACKGROUND: Two of the most important pathogens contributing to the global rise in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterobacter cloacae. Despite this, most of our knowledge about the changing patterns of disease caused by these two pathogens is based on studies with limited timeframes that provide few insights into their population dynamics or the dynamics in AMR elements that they can carry. RESULTS: We investigate the population dynamics of two priority AMR pathogens over 7 years between 2007 and 2012 in a major UK hospital, spanning changes made to UK national antimicrobial prescribing policy in 2007. Between 2006 and 2012, K. pneumoniae showed epidemiological cycles of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) lineages being replaced approximately every 2 years. This contrasted E. cloacae where there was no temporally changing pattern, but a continuous presence of the mixed population. CONCLUSIONS: The differing patterns of clonal replacement and acquisition of mobile elements shows that the flux in the K. pneumoniae population was linked to the introduction of globally recognized MDR clones carrying drug resistance markers on mobile elements. However, E. cloacae carries a chromosomally encoded ampC conferring resistance to front-line treatments and shows that MDR plasmid acquisition in E. cloacae was not indicative of success in the hospital. This led to markedly different dynamics in the AMR populations of these two pathogens and shows that the mechanism of the resistance and its location in the genome or mobile elements is crucial to predict population dynamics of opportunistic pathogens in clinical settings.

13.
Nat Commun ; 10(1): 3994, 2019 Sep 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31488832

RESUMO

The Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) members display different host-specificities and virulence phenotypes. Here, we have performed a comprehensive RNAseq and methylome analysis of the main clades of the MTBC and discovered unique transcriptional profiles. The majority of genes differentially expressed between the clades encode proteins involved in host interaction and metabolic functions. A significant fraction of changes in gene expression can be explained by positive selection on single mutations that either create or disrupt transcriptional start sites (TSS). Furthermore, we show that clinical strains have different methyltransferases inactivated and thus different methylation patterns. Under the tested conditions, differential methylation has a minor direct role on transcriptomic differences between strains. However, disruption of a methyltransferase in one clinical strain revealed important expression differences suggesting indirect mechanisms of expression regulation. Our study demonstrates that variation in transcriptional profiles are mainly due to TSS mutations and have likely evolved due to differences in host characteristics.

14.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 19(11): 1209-1218, 2019 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31519541

RESUMO

BACKGROUND: Since 2014, England has seen increased scarlet fever activity unprecedented in modern times. In 2016, England's scarlet fever seasonal rise coincided with an unexpected elevation in invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections. We describe the molecular epidemiological investigation of these events. METHODS: We analysed changes in S pyogenes emm genotypes, and notifications of scarlet fever and invasive disease in 2014-16 using regional (northwest London) and national (England and Wales) data. Genomes of 135 non-invasive and 552 invasive emm1 isolates from 2009-16 were analysed and compared with 2800 global emm1 sequences. Transcript and protein expression of streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin A (SpeA; also known as scarlet fever or erythrogenic toxin A) in sequenced, non-invasive emm1 isolates was quantified by real-time PCR and western blot analyses. FINDINGS: Coincident with national increases in scarlet fever and invasive disease notifications, emm1 S pyogenes upper respiratory tract isolates increased significantly in northwest London in the March to May period, from five (5%) of 96 isolates in 2014, to 28 (19%) of 147 isolates in 2015 (p=0·0021 vs 2014 values), to 47 (33%) of 144 in 2016 (p=0·0080 vs 2015 values). Similarly, invasive emm1 isolates collected nationally in the same period increased from 183 (31%) of 587 in 2015 to 267 (42%) of 637 in 2016 (p<0·0001). Sequences of emm1 isolates from 2009-16 showed emergence of a new emm1 lineage (designated M1UK)-with overlap of pharyngitis, scarlet fever, and invasive M1UK strains-which could be genotypically distinguished from pandemic emm1 isolates (M1global) by 27 single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Median SpeA protein concentration in supernatant was nine-times higher among M1UK isolates (190·2 ng/mL [IQR 168·9-200·4]; n=10) than M1global isolates (20·9 ng/mL [0·0-27·3]; n=10; p<0·0001). M1UK expanded nationally to represent 252 (84%) of all 299 emm1 genomes in 2016. Phylogenetic analysis of published datasets identified single M1UK isolates in Denmark and the USA. INTERPRETATION: A dominant new emm1 S pyogenes lineage characterised by increased SpeA production has emerged during increased S pyogenes activity in England. The expanded reservoir of M1UK and recognised invasive potential of emm1 S pyogenes provide plausible explanation for the increased incidence of invasive disease, and rationale for global surveillance. FUNDING: UK Medical Research Council, UK National Institute for Health Research, Wellcome Trust, Rosetrees Trust, Stoneygate Trust.

15.
J Clin Microbiol ; 57(11)2019 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31462548

RESUMO

Genomic surveillance that combines bacterial sequencing and epidemiological information will become the gold standard for outbreak detection, but its clinical translation is hampered by the lack of automated interpretation tools. We performed a prospective pilot study to evaluate the analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) genomes using the Next Gen Diagnostics (NGD) automated bioinformatics system. Seventeen unselected MRSA-positive patients were identified in a clinical microbiology laboratory in England over a period of 2 weeks in 2018, and 1 MRSA isolate per case was sequenced on the Illumina MiniSeq instrument. The NGD system automatically activated after sequencing and processed fastq folders to determine species, multilocus sequence type, the presence of a mec gene, antibiotic susceptibility predictions, and genetic relatedness based on mapping to a reference MRSA genome and detection of pairwise core genome single-nucleotide polymorphisms. The NGD system required 90 s per sample to automatically analyze data from each run, the results of which were automatically displayed. The same data were independently analyzed using a research-based approach. There was full concordance between the two analysis methods regarding species (S. aureus), detection of mecA, sequence type assignment, and detection of genetic determinants of resistance. Both analysis methods identified two MRSA clusters based on relatedness, one of which contained 3 cases that were involved in an outbreak linked to a clinic and ward associated with diabetic patient care. We conclude that, in this pilot study, the NGD system provided rapid and accurate data that could support infection control practices.

16.
Nature ; 572(7769): 329-334, 2019 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31367035

RESUMO

We sought to determine whether pre-eclampsia, spontaneous preterm birth or the delivery of infants who are small for gestational age were associated with the presence of bacterial DNA in the human placenta. Here we show that there was no evidence for the presence of bacteria in the large majority of placental samples, from both complicated and uncomplicated pregnancies. Almost all signals were related either to the acquisition of bacteria during labour and delivery, or to contamination of laboratory reagents with bacterial DNA. The exception was Streptococcus agalactiae (group B Streptococcus), for which non-contaminant signals were detected in approximately 5% of samples collected before the onset of labour. We conclude that bacterial infection of the placenta is not a common cause of adverse pregnancy outcome and that the human placenta does not have a microbiome, but it does represent a potential site of perinatal acquisition of S. agalactiae, a major cause of neonatal sepsis.

17.
Nat Microbiol ; 4(11): 1941-1950, 2019 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31358980

RESUMO

The sexually transmitted pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae is regarded as being on the way to becoming an untreatable superbug. Despite its clinical importance, little is known about its emergence and evolution, and how this corresponds with the introduction of antimicrobials. We present a genome-based phylogeographical analysis of 419 gonococcal isolates from across the globe. Results indicate that modern gonococci originated in Europe or Africa, possibly as late as the sixteenth century and subsequently disseminated globally. We provide evidence that the modern gonococcal population has been shaped by antimicrobial treatment of sexually transmitted infections as well as other infections, leading to the emergence of two major lineages with different evolutionary strategies. The well-described multidrug-resistant lineage is associated with high rates of homologous recombination and infection in high-risk sexual networks. A second, multisusceptible lineage is more associated with heterosexual networks, with potential implications for infection control.

18.
Microb Genom ; 5(7)2019 Jul.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31310201

RESUMO

Reference and type strains of well-known bacteria have been a cornerstone of microbiology research for decades. The sharing of well-characterized isolates among laboratories has run in parallel with research efforts and enhanced the reproducibility of experiments, leading to a wealth of knowledge about trait variation in different species and the underlying genetics. Campylobacter jejuni strain NCTC 11168, deposited at the National Collection of Type Cultures in 1977, has been adopted widely as a reference strain by researchers worldwide and was the first Campylobacter for which the complete genome was published (in 2000). In this study, we collected 23 C. jejuni NCTC 11168 reference isolates from laboratories across the UK and compared variation in simple laboratory phenotypes with genetic variation in sequenced genomes. Putatively identical isolates, identified previously to have aberrant phenotypes, varied by up to 281 SNPs (in 15 genes) compared to the most recent reference strain. Isolates also display considerable phenotype variation in motility, morphology, growth at 37 °C, invasion of chicken and human cell lines, and susceptibility to ampicillin. This study provides evidence of ongoing evolutionary change among C. jejuni isolates as they are cultured in different laboratories and highlights the need for careful consideration of genetic variation within laboratory reference strains. This article contains data hosted by Microreact.

19.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 47(18): e112, 2019 10 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31361894

RESUMO

Covariance-based discovery of polymorphisms under co-selective pressure or epistasis has received considerable recent attention in population genomics. Both statistical modeling of the population level covariation of alleles across the chromosome and model-free testing of dependencies between pairs of polymorphisms have been shown to successfully uncover patterns of selection in bacterial populations. Here we introduce a model-free method, SpydrPick, whose computational efficiency enables analysis at the scale of pan-genomes of many bacteria. SpydrPick incorporates an efficient correction for population structure, which adjusts for the phylogenetic signal in the data without requiring an explicit phylogenetic tree. We also introduce a new type of visualization of the results similar to the Manhattan plots used in genome-wide association studies, which enables rapid exploration of the identified signals of co-evolution. Simulations demonstrate the usefulness of our method and give some insight to when this type of analysis is most likely to be successful. Application of the method to large population genomic datasets of two major human pathogens, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis, revealed both previously identified and novel putative targets of co-selection related to virulence and antibiotic resistance, highlighting the potential of this approach to drive molecular discoveries, even in the absence of phenotypic data.

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