Abstract: Fusarium species produce important mycotoxins, such as deoxynivalenol (DON), nivalenol (NIV) and T-2/HT-2-toxins in cereals. The highest DON and T-2/HT-2 toxin levels in northern Europe have been found in oats. About 12%–24% of Finnish oat samples in 2012 contained >1.75 mg·kg−1 of DON, which belongs to type B trichothecenes. Fusarium graminearum is the most important DON producer in northern Europe and Asia and it has been displacing the closely related F. culmorum in northern Europe. The 3ADON chemotype of F. graminearum is dominant in most northern areas, while the 15ADON chemotype of F. graminearum is predominating in Central and southern Europe. We suggest that the northern population of F. graminearum may be more specialized to oats than the southern population. Only low levels of F. culmorum DNA were found in a few oat samples and no correlation was found between F. culmorum DNA and DON levels. DNA levels of F. graminearum were in all cases in agreement with DON levels in 2011 and 2012, when DON was measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). When the RIDA®QUICK SCAN kit results (DON) were compared to DNA levels of F. graminearum, the variation was much higher. The homogenization of the oats flour by grinding oats with 1 mm sieve seems to be connected to this variation. There was a significant correlation between the combined T-2 and HT-2 and the combined DNA levels of F. langsethiae and F. sporotrichioides in Finland in 2010–2012.
Abstract: Acinetobacter baumannii clinical isolates have the ability to survive in the hospital niche for prolonged time periods and to develop resistance against multiple antimicrobial agents. Therefore, A. baumannii has emerged as an important cause of nosocomial outbreaks worldwide, especially in critical-care environments such as intensive care units. In the present communication, we report a multi-drug-resistant A. baumannii outbreak that occurred in an orthopedics department in Greece after the admission of a patient previously hospitalized in the intensive care unit of a Greek tertiary care hospital. Despite the implementation of infection control measures, 29 patients were infected, significantly raising their hospitalization periods and treatment costs. Interestingly, the outbreak was put under control after the department’s previously programmed relocation.
Abstract: With the remarkable increase of genomic sequence data of microorganisms, novel tools are needed for comprehensive analyses of the big sequence data available. The self-organizing map (SOM) is an effective tool for clustering and visualizing high-dimensional data, such as oligonucleotide composition on one map. By modifying the conventional SOM, we developed batch-learning SOM (BLSOM), which allowed classification of sequence fragments (e.g., 1 kb) according to phylotypes, solely depending on oligonucleotide composition. Metagenomics studies of uncultivable microorganisms in clinical and environmental samples should allow extensive surveys of genes important in life sciences. BLSOM is most suitable for phylogenetic assignment of metagenomic sequences, because fragmental sequences can be clustered according to phylotypes, solely depending on oligonucleotide composition. We first constructed oligonucleotide BLSOMs for all available sequences from genomes of known species, and by mapping metagenomic sequences on these large-scale BLSOMs, we can predict phylotypes of individual metagenomic sequences, revealing a microbial community structure of uncultured microorganisms, including viruses. BLSOM has shown that influenza viruses isolated from humans and birds clearly differ in oligonucleotide composition. Based on this host-dependent oligonucleotide composition, we have proposed strategies for predicting directional changes of virus sequences and for surveilling potentially hazardous strains when introduced into humans from non-human sources.
Abstract: Calcareous dinophytes produce exoskeletal calcified structures during their life history (a unique character among the alveolates) and are subsumed under the Thoracosphaeraceae as part of the Peridiniales. We provide a brief synopsis about the taxonomic history of the group, from the first descriptions of fossils in the 19th century through to the results of molecular phylogenetics studies undertaken during the past two decades. Delimitation and circumscription of the Thoracosphaeraceae are challenging, as they comprise both phototrophic (presumably including endosymbiotic) as well as heterotrophic (and even parasitic) dinophytes from marine and freshwater environments, respectively. However, calcareous structures are not known from all members of the Thoracosphaeraceae, and the corresponding species and groups are considered to have lost the capacity to calcify. Five years ago, a taxonomic list of 99 generic names assigned to the Thoracosphaeraceae was published, and we update this compendium with 19 additional names based on recent studies.
Abstract: The production of several viral vaccines depends on chicken embryo fibroblasts or embryonated chicken eggs. To replace this logistically demanding substrate, we created continuous anatine suspension cell lines (CR and CR.pIX), developed chemically-defined media, and established production processes for different vaccine viruses. One of the processes investigated in greater detail was developed for modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). MVA is highly attenuated for human recipients and an efficient vector for reactogenic expression of foreign genes. Because direct cell-to-cell spread is one important mechanism for vaccinia virus replication, cultivation of MVA in bioreactors is facilitated if cell aggregates are induced after infection. This dependency may be the mechanism behind our observation that a novel viral genotype (MVA-CR) accumulates with serial passage in suspension cultures. Sequencing of a major part of the genomic DNA of the new strain revealed point mutations in three genes. We hypothesize that these changes confer an advantage because they may allow a greater fraction of MVA-CR viruses to escape the host cells for infection of distant targets. Production and purification of MVA-based vaccines may be simplified by this combination of designed avian cell line, chemically defined media and the novel virus strain.
Abstract: Dinoflagellates are of great importance to the marine ecosystem, yet scant details of how gene expression is regulated at the transcriptional level are available. Transcription is of interest in the context of the chromatin structure in the dinoflagellates as it shows many differences from more typical eukaryotic cells. Here we canvas recent transcriptome profiles to identify the molecular building blocks available for the construction of the transcriptional machinery and contrast these with those used by other systems. Dinoflagellates display a clear paucity of specific transcription factors, although surprisingly, the rest of the basic transcriptional machinery is not markedly different from what is found in the close relatives to the dinoflagellates.