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1.  Whole-Genome Comparison of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Clinical and Laboratory Strains 
Journal of Bacteriology  2002;184(19):5479-5490.
Virulence and immunity are poorly understood in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We sequenced the complete genome of the M. tuberculosis clinical strain CDC1551 and performed a whole-genome comparison with the laboratory strain H37Rv in order to identify polymorphic sequences with potential relevance to disease pathogenesis, immunity, and evolution. We found large-sequence and single-nucleotide polymorphisms in numerous genes. Polymorphic loci included a phospholipase C, a membrane lipoprotein, members of an adenylate cyclase gene family, and members of the PE/PPE gene family, some of which have been implicated in virulence or the host immune response. Several gene families, including the PE/PPE gene family, also had significantly higher synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution frequencies compared to the genome as a whole. We tested a large sample of M. tuberculosis clinical isolates for a subset of the large-sequence and single-nucleotide polymorphisms and found widespread genetic variability at many of these loci. We performed phylogenetic and epidemiological analysis to investigate the evolutionary relationships among isolates and the origins of specific polymorphic loci. A number of these polymorphisms appear to have occurred multiple times as independent events, suggesting that these changes may be under selective pressure. Together, these results demonstrate that polymorphisms among M. tuberculosis strains are more extensive than initially anticipated, and genetic variation may have an important role in disease pathogenesis and immunity.
doi:10.1128/JB.184.19.5479-5490.2002
PMCID: PMC135346  PMID: 12218036
2.  Comparative genomics and understanding of microbial biology. 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2000;6(5):505-512.
The sequences of close to 30 microbial genomes have been completed during the past 5 years, and the sequences of more than 100 genomes should be completed in the next 2 to 4 years. Soon, completed microbial genome sequences will represent a collection of >200,000 predicted coding sequences. While analysis of a single genome provides tremendous biological insights on any given organism, comparative analysis of multiple genomes provides substantially more information on the physiology and evolution of microbial species and expands our ability to better assign putative function to predicted coding sequences.
PMCID: PMC2627966  PMID: 10998382
3.  Genome sequences of Chlamydia trachomatis MoPn and Chlamydia pneumoniae AR39 
Nucleic Acids Research  2000;28(6):1397-1406.
The genome sequences of Chlamydia trachomatis mouse pneumonitis (MoPn) strain Nigg (1 069 412 nt) and Chlamydia pneumoniae strain AR39 (1 229 853 nt) were determined using a random shotgun strategy. The MoPn genome exhibited a general conservation of gene order and content with the previously sequenced C.trachomatis serovar D. Differences between C.trachomatis strains were focused on an ~50 kb ‘plasticity zone’ near the termination origins. In this region MoPn contained three copies of a novel gene encoding a >3000 amino acid toxin homologous to a predicted toxin from Escherichia coli 0157:H7 but had apparently lost the tryptophan biosyntheis genes found in serovar D in this region. The C.pneumoniae AR39 chromosome was >99.9% identical to the previously sequenced C.pneumoniae CWL029 genome, however, comparative analysis identified an invertible DNA segment upstream of the uridine kinase gene which was in different orientations in the two genomes. AR39 also contained a novel 4524 nt circular single-stranded (ss)DNA bacteriophage, the first time a virus has been reported infecting C.pneumoniae. Although the chlamydial genomes were highly conserved, there were intriguing differences in key nucleotide salvage pathways: C.pneumoniae has a uridine kinase gene for dUTP production, MoPn has a uracil phosphororibosyl transferase, while C.trachomatis serovar D contains neither gene. Chromosomal comparison revealed that there had been multiple large inversion events since the species divergence of C.trachomatis and C.pneumoniae, apparently oriented around the axis of the origin of replication and the termination region. The striking synteny of the Chlamydia genomes and prevalence of tandemly duplicated genes are evidence of minimal chromosome rearrangement and foreign gene uptake, presumably owing to the ecological isolation of the obligate intracellular parasites. In the absence of genetic analysis, comparative genomics will continue to provide insight into the virulence mechanisms of these important human pathogens.
PMCID: PMC111046  PMID: 10684935
4.  A phylogenomic study of the MutS family of proteins. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1998;26(18):4291-4300.
The MutS protein of Escherichia coli plays a key role in the recognition and repair of errors made during the replication of DNA. Homologs of MutS have been found in many species including eukaryotes, Archaea and other bacteria, and together these proteins have been grouped into the MutS family. Although many of these proteins have similar activities to the E.coli MutS, there is significant diversity of function among the MutS family members. This diversity is even seen within species; many species encode multiple MutS homologs with distinct functions. To better characterize the MutS protein family, I have used a combination of phylogenetic reconstructions and analysis of complete genome sequences. This phylogenomic analysis is used to infer the evolutionary relationships among the MutS family members and to divide the family into subfamilies of orthologs. Analysis of the distribution of these orthologs in particular species and examination of the relationships within and between subfamilies is used to identify likely evolutionary events (e.g. gene duplications, lateral transfer and gene loss) in the history of the MutS family. In particular, evidence is presented that a gene duplication early in the evolution of life resulted in two main MutS lineages, one including proteins known to function in mismatch repair and the other including proteins known to function in chromosome segregation and crossing-over. The inferred evolutionary history of the MutS family is used to make predictions about some of the uncharacterized genes and species included in the analysis. For example, since function is generally conserved within subfamilies and lineages, it is proposed that the function of uncharacterized proteins can be predicted by their position in the MutS family tree. The uses of phylogenomic approaches to the study of genes and genomes are discussed.
PMCID: PMC147835  PMID: 9722651
5.  Sequence and drug susceptibility of subtype C reverse transcriptase from human immunodeficiency virus type 1 seroconverters in Zimbabwe. 
Journal of Virology  1997;71(7):5441-5448.
Naturally occurring human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT) variability has implications for the success of antiretroviral therapy. We determined the sequence of the polymerase-coding region of RT from virus isolates from 12 Zimbabwean individuals recently infected with HIV-1. The 12 RT sequences differed from the consensus B RT sequence at 10.5% of nucleotides and 5.8% of amino acids. Susceptibility testing of five isolates to zidovudine, didanosine, lamivudine, and nevirapine demonstrated susceptibilities similar to those of wild-type subtype B isolates. Phylogenetic analysis of 40 HIV-1 RT sequences, including the 12 Zimbabwean subtype C sequences, 11 subtype B sequences, and the 17 remaining published non-subtype B sequences showed sufficient intrasubtype RT sequence variation to differentiate subtype A, B, C, and D isolates. Five recently reported subtype C RT sequences from India grouped with the Zimbabwean subtype C sequences but had significantly less intraisolate sequence variation. Both intra- and intersubtype RT comparisons were notable for extraordinarily high ratios of synonymous to nonsynonymous differences. Although substitutions in the HIV-1 RT gene are limited by functional constraints, variation between RT sequences demonstrates phylogenetic relationships that parallel env and gag gene variation.
PMCID: PMC191784  PMID: 9188616
6.  recA mutations that reduce the constitutive coprotease activity of the RecA1202(Prtc) protein: possible involvement of interfilament association in proteolytic and recombination activities. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1993;175(20):6518-6529.
Twenty-eight recA mutants, isolated after spontaneous mutagenesis generated by the combined action of RecA1202(Prtc) and UmuDC proteins, were characterized and sequenced. The mutations are intragenic suppressors of the recA1202 allele and were detected by the reduced coprotease activity of the gene product. Twenty distinct mutation sites were found, among which two mutations, recA1620 (V-275-->D) and recA1631 (I-284-->N), were mapped in the C-terminal portion of the interfilament contact region (IFCR) in the RecA crystal. An interaction of this region with the part of the IFCR in which the recA1202 mutation (Q-184-->K) is mapped could occur only intermolecularly. Thus, altered IFCR and the likely resulting change in interfilament association appear to be important aspects of the formation of a constitutively active RecA coprotease. This observation is consistent with the filament-bundle theory (R. M. Story, I. T. Weber, and T. A. Steitz, Nature (London) 335:318-325, 1992). Furthermore, we found that among the 20 suppressor mutations, 3 missense mutations that lead to recombination-defective (Rec-) phenotypes also mapped in the IFCR, suggesting that the IFCR, with its putative function in interfilament association, is required for the recombinase activity of RecA. We propose that RecA-DNA complexes may form bundles analogous to the RecA bundles (lacking DNA) described by Story et al. and that these RecA-DNA bundles play a role in homologous recombination.
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PMCID: PMC206762  PMID: 8407828
7.  ABC of sleep disorders. Psychotropic drugs and sleep. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1993;306(6888):1331-1334.
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PMCID: PMC1677758  PMID: 8518577
8.  Phylogenetic relationships of chemoautotrophic bacterial symbionts of Solemya velum say (Mollusca: Bivalvia) determined by 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1992;174(10):3416-3421.
The protobranch bivalve Solemya velum Say (Mollusca: Bivalvia) houses chemoautotrophic symbionts intracellularly within its gills. These symbionts were characterized through sequencing of polymerase chain reaction-amplified 16S rRNA coding regions and hybridization of an Escherichia coli gene probe to S. velum genomic DNA restriction fragments. The symbionts appeared to have only one copy of the 16S rRNA gene. The lack of variability in the 16S sequence and hybridization patterns within and between individual S. velum organisms suggested that one species of symbiont is dominant within and specific for this host species. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S sequences of the symbionts indicates that they lie within the chemoautotrophic cluster of the gamma subdivision of the eubacterial group Proteobacteria.
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PMCID: PMC206016  PMID: 1577710
9.  Nebraska's new program to prevent birth defects. 
Health Services Reports  1974;89(1):43-46.
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PMCID: PMC1616240  PMID: 4815041
10.  Sequence similarity of putative transposases links the maize Mutator autonomous element and a group of bacterial insertion sequences. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1994;22(13):2634-2636.
The Mutator transposable element system of maize is the most active transposable element system characterized in higher plants. While Mutator has been used to generate and tag thousands of new maize mutants, the mechanism and regulation of its transposition are poorly understood. The Mutator autonomous element, MuDR, encodes two proteins: MURA and MURB. We have detected an amino acid sequence motif shared by MURA and the putative transposases of a group of bacterial insertion sequences. Based on this similarity we believe that MURA is the transposase of the Mutator system. In addition we have detected two rice cDNAs in genbank with extensive similarity to MURA. This sequence similarity suggests that a Mutator-like element is present in rice. We believe that Mutator, a group of bacterial insertion sequences, and an uncharacterized rice transposon represent members of a family of transposable elements.
PMCID: PMC308220  PMID: 8041625
11.  Evolution of the SNF2 family of proteins: subfamilies with distinct sequences and functions. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1995;23(14):2715-2723.
The SNF2 family of proteins includes representatives from a variety of species with roles in cellular processes such as transcriptional regulation (e.g. MOT1, SNF2 and BRM), maintenance of chromosome stability during mitosis (e.g. lodestar) and various aspects of processing of DNA damage, including nucleotide excision repair (e.g. RAD16 and ERCC6), recombinational pathways (e.g. RAD54) and post-replication daughter strand gap repair (e.g. RAD5). This family also includes many proteins with no known function. To better characterize this family of proteins we have used molecular phylogenetic techniques to infer evolutionary relationships among the family members. We have divided the SNF2 family into multiple subfamilies, each of which represents what we propose to be a functionally and evolutionarily distinct group. We have then used the subfamily structure to predict the functions of some of the uncharacterized proteins in the SNF2 family. We discuss possible implications of this evolutionary analysis on the general properties and evolution of the SNF2 family.
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PMCID: PMC307096  PMID: 7651832

Results 1-11 (11)