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Title: A molecular portrait of maternal sepsis from Byzantine Troy

Pregnancy complications are poorly represented in the archeological record, despite their importance in contemporary and ancient societies. While we excavated a Byzantine cemetery in Troy, we discovered calcified abscesses among a woman’s remains. Scanning electron microscopy of the tissue revealed ‘ghost cells’, resulting from dystrophic calcification, which preserved ancient maternal, fetal and bacterial DNA of a severe infection, likely chorioamnionitis.Gardnerella vaginalisandStaphylococcus saprophyticusdominated the abscesses. Phylogenomic analyses of ancient, historical, and contemporary data showed thatG. vaginalisTroy fell within contemporary genetic diversity, whereasS. saprophyticusTroy belongs to a lineage that does not appear to be commonly associated with human disease today. We speculate that the ecology ofS. saprophyticusinfection may have differed in the ancient world as a result of close contacts between humans and domesticated animals. Our results highlight the complex and dynamic interactions with our microbial milieu that underlie severe maternal infections.
Authors:
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [8] ;  [9] ;  [10] ;  [10] ;  [11] ;  [11] ;  [12] ;  [12] ;  [13] ;  [14] ; ORCiD logo [15] ;  [16] more »; ORCiD logo [17] « less
  1. McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada). McMaster Ancient DNA Centre, Dept. of Anthropology; MYcroarray, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
  2. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States). Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Microbiology Doctoral Training Program
  3. Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (United States). Dept. of Anthropology
  4. Tubingen Univ. (Germany). Inst. of Prehistory, Early History, and Medieval Archaeology
  5. McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada). McMaster Ancient DNA Centre, Dept. of Anthropology; MYcroarray, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
  6. McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada). Dept. of Biology
  7. Univ. of California, Irvine, CA (United States). Earth Systems Science Dept.
  8. McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada). McMaster Ancient DNA Centre, Dept. of Anthropology
  9. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States). Molecular Archaeology Lab., Dept. of Classics and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
  10. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  11. McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada). Michael G. DeGroote Inst. for Infectious Disease Research
  12. National Inst. of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo (Japan). Lab. of Bacterial Genomics
  13. Yale Univ., New Haven, CT (United States). Dept. of Geology and Geophysics
  14. Univ. of Pisa (Italy). Dept. of Translational Research on New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery
  15. Univ. of Sydney, NSW (Australia). Marie Bashir Inst. for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity
  16. McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada). McMaster Ancient DNA Centre, Dept. of Anthropology; McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada). Dept. of Biology; McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada). Michael G. DeGroote Inst. for Infectious Disease Research; Canadian Inst. for Advanced Research, Toronto, ON (Canada). Humans and the Microbiome Program
  17. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States). Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular Archaeology Lab., Dept. of Medicine
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-07NA27344; T32 GM07215; R01AI13287; DGE-1256259
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
eLife
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2050-084X
Publisher:
eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd.
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; National Institutes of Health (NIH); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
OSTI Identifier:
1395322