Released to the public in August, 2004, cpnDB is a curated
of chaperonin sequences. Chaperonins are a diverse family of
molecular chaperones that are present in the plastids, mitochondria,
and cytoplasm of eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea. The family is
divided into group I (CPN60, also known as Hsp60 or GroEL, found in
bacteria, some archaea, mitochondria and plastids) and group II (CCT or
TriC, found in archaea and the eukaryotic cytoplasm).
Chaperonin sequences are useful for phylogenetic studies and
been widely exploited in studies of prokaryotic and eukaryotic
evolution. Group I chaperonin sequences have also been employed as
targets for detection and identification of organisms since a 549-567
bp segment of the cpn60
coding region, the 'universal target', can be
amplified with universal PCR primers. Compared to the more
used 16S rRNA
gene target, cpn60
sequences generally offer
disriminating information, especially for closely related organisms.
cpnDB continues to grow with the support of a consortium of
researchers and clinicians using cpn60
sequence-based methods in their
work. You can read more about the 'cpn60 advantage' on
Bacteria in nature rarely live in pure culture; rather, they
complex communities that have profound effects on our world.
example, the numbers and types of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in soil can
affect the quality of a crop, and the disruption of bacterial
populations in the human intestine with antibiotics can lead to
life-threatening infections. Since most bacteria cannot be cultivated
in the lab, our knowledge of natural microbial communities is largely
based on analysis of sequences of universally conserved genes found in
all bacteria. At the same time, studies of culturable
have revealed significant gene content differences between strains of
bacteria that would be considered members of the same species if only
universal gene sequence data were considered.
are clues in
the results of sequence-based studies of microbial communities that the
significance of genomic diversity in natural communities has been
underestimated. Perturbation of microbial communities may
for strain-specific genes and result in population shifts at the
'sub-species' level that would be undetected by universal gene
sequence-based approaches. An inventory of genomic diversity
microbial community is an essential first step to understanding
population dynamics at the strain level.
We are using conventional microbiology and molecular methods to characterize sub-species genomic diversity and population dynamics in the Enterococcus community of the pig intestine. The pig intestinal microbial community is significant from the perspective of livestock management, animal and human health and welfare and offers a powerful model for studying microbial community dynamics. Our goal is to observe, predict and modify the effects of environmental variables and perturbation on intestinal microbial diversity.
This project is supported by an NSERC Discovery Grant.
The largest obstacle to understanding Campylobacter ecology and the contribution of the 'unusual' campylobacters has been the lack of specific diagnostic methods for the detection, identification and quantification of individual Campylobacter species. Inadequate methods have also impeded the identification of sources of Campylobacter infections and limited diagnostic capabilities for detection of important veterinary pathogens like C. fetus subsp. venerialis, the causative agent of bovine genital campylobacteriosis. We developed species and subspecies-specific diagnostic methods for Campylobacter identification and are applying these methods in increasing the diagnostic capabilities of animal and human health laboratories and in understanding the contribution of both the commonly recognized and 'unusual' campylobacteria to disease in humans, pets and livestock.
The team is supported by the Women's Health Research Institute, CIHR and the March of Dimes
Ecology of Brachyspira-related colitis in pigs.
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
Diarrhea in grow‐finish pigs is a highly prevalent and significant condition on commercial farms. It reduces performance and economic competitiveness, affecting daily gain, feed conversion, morbidity, mortality, variation, and medication costs. Brachyspira hyodysenteriae is the most common cause of haemorrhagic colitis in pigs and causes a disease known as swine dysentery. However, other related species of Brachyspira are associated with intestinal disease in pigs, including some poorly characterized, potentially novel members of this genus. We are using a combination of clinical investigation, epidemiology, pathology, molecular microbiology and metagenomic approaches to investigate these diseases and determine possible risk factors for their (re)emergence.
This ongoing work is supported by the WCVM Disease Investigation Unit sponsored by Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, and by the Canadian Swine Health Board.