The characteristics of pneumococcal carriage vary between infants and adults, with onward implications for transmission rates, and disease control using vaccines. Host immune factors have been shown to contribute to these age-specific differences, but the role of pathogen variation is currently less well-known. Indeed, identification of specific pneumococcal genetic factors associated with carriage in younger or older age groups may suggest alternative vaccine formulations would reduce overall disease. To search for such factors, we used whole genome sequencing to understand how pneumococcal variation is associated with age. We performed genome sequencing in a large carriage cohort, and conducted a meta-analysis with an existing carriage study. We compiled a dictionary of pathogen genetic variation including serotype, sequence cluster, sequence elements, SNPs, burden combined rare variants, and clusters of orthologous genes (COGs) for each cohort - all of which used in a genome-wide association with host age. Age-dependent colonization showed weak evidence for heritability in the first cohort (h2 = 0.10, 0.00 - 0.69 95% CI), and stronger evidence in the second cohort (h2 = 0.56, 0.23 - 0.87 95% CI). We found that serotypes and genetic background (strain) explained a proportion of the heritability in the first cohort (h2serotype = 0.07, 0.04 - 0.14 95% CI and h2GPSC = 0.06, 0.03 - 0.13 95% CI) and the second cohort (h2serotype = 0.11, 0.05 - 0.21 95% CI and h2GPSC = 0.20, 0.12 - 0.31 95% CI). In a meta-analysis of these cohorts, we found one candidate association (p = 1.2x10-9) upstream of an accessory Sec-dependent serine-rich glycoprotein adhesin. Overall, while we did find an effect of pathogen genome variation on pneumococcal carriage in children versus adult hosts, this was variable between populations and does not appear have a strong relationship with individual genes. This supports proposals for adaptive future vaccination strategies which are primarily targeted at dominant circulating serotypes, and tailored to the composition of the pathogen populations.
Fastq sequences of bacterial isolates from the Dutch cohort were deposited in the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA, study and accession numbers in Supplementary Table S2). Sequences of bacterial isolates in the Maela cohort are available at ENA under study numbers ERP000435, ERP000483, ERP000485, ERP000487, ERP000598 and ERP000599 (Supplementary Table S3). Summary statistics for the results from the genome wide association studies can be found at https://figshare.com/articles/dataset/S_pneumoniae_carriage_GWAS/14431313
- Diederik van de Beek
- Diederik van de Beek
- John Lees
- Paul Turner
- Arie van der Ende
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: in children and their parents (NL24116 and NL40288/NTR3613) were received from the National Ethics Committee in the Netherlands (CCMO and METC Noord-Holland). For the 2010/2011 study, a National Ethics Committee in The Netherlands (STEG-METC, Almere) waived the requirement for EC approval. Informed consent for the Maela cohort was described elsewhere.(6) Studies were conducted in accordance with the European Statements for Good Clinical Practice and the Declaration of Helsinki of the World Medical Association.
- Bavesh D Kana, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
- Received: April 8, 2021
- Accepted: July 3, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: July 26, 2022 (version 1)
© 2022, Kremer et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The tips of the developing respiratory buds are home to important progenitor cells marked by the expression of SOX9 and ID2. Early in embryonic development (prior to E13.5), SOX9+ progenitors are multipotent, generating both airway and alveolar epithelium, but are selective progenitors of alveolar epithelial cells later in development. Transcription factors, including Sox9, Etv5, Irx, Mycn, and Foxp1/2 interact in complex gene regulatory networks to control proliferation and differentiation of SOX9+ progenitors. Molecular mechanisms by which these transcription factors and other signaling pathways control chromatin state to establish and maintain cell-type identity are not well-defined. Herein, we analyze paired gene expression (RNA-Seq) and chromatin accessibility (ATAC-Seq) data from SOX9+ epithelial progenitor cells (EPCs) during embryonic development in Mus musculus. Widespread changes in chromatin accessibility were observed between E11.5 and E16.5, particularly at distal cis-regulatory elements (e.g. enhancers). Gene regulatory network (GRN) inference identified a common SOX9+ progenitor GRN, implicating phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling in the developmental regulation of SOX9+ progenitor cells. Consistent with this model, conditional ablation of PI3K signaling in the developing lung epithelium in mouse resulted in an expansion of the SOX9+ EPC population and impaired airway epithelial cell differentiation. These data demonstrate that PI3K signaling is required for epithelial patterning during lung organogenesis, and emphasize the combinatorial power of paired RNA and ATAC seq in defining regulatory networks in development.
Animal development requires coordination among cyclic processes, sequential cell fate specifications, and once-a-lifetime morphogenic events, but the underlying timing mechanisms are not well understood. Caenorhabditis elegans undergoes four molts at regular 8 to 10 hour intervals. The pace of the cycle is governed by PERIOD/lin-42 and other as-yet unknown factors. Cessation of the cycle in young adults is controlled by the let-7 family of microRNAs and downstream transcription factors in the heterochronic pathway. Here, we characterize a negative feedback loop between NHR-23, the worm homolog of mammalian retinoid-related orphan receptors (RORs), and the let-7 family of microRNAs that regulates both the frequency and finite number of molts. The molting cycle is decelerated in nhr-23 knockdowns and accelerated in let-7(−) mutants, but timed similarly in let-7(−) nhr-23(−) double mutants and wild-type animals. NHR-23 binds response elements (ROREs) in the let-7 promoter and activates transcription. In turn, let-7 dampens nhr-23 expression across development via a complementary let-7-binding site (LCS) in the nhr-23 3′ UTR. The molecular interactions between NHR-23 and let-7 hold true for other let-7 family microRNAs. Either derepression of nhr-23 transcripts by LCS deletion or high gene dosage of nhr-23 leads to protracted behavioral quiescence and extra molts in adults. NHR-23 and let-7 also coregulate scores of genes required for execution of the molts, including lin-42. In addition, ROREs and LCSs isolated from mammalian ROR and let-7 genes function in C. elegans, suggesting conservation of this feedback mechanism. We propose that this feedback loop unites the molting timer and the heterochronic gene regulatory network, possibly by functioning as a cycle counter.