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How to Kill the Honey Bee Larva: Genomic Potential and Virulence Mechanisms of Paenibacillus larvae
Paenibacillus larvae, a Gram positive bacterial pathogen, causes American Foulbrood (AFB), which is the most serious infectious disease of honey bees. In order to investigate the genomic potential of P. larvae, two strains belonging to two different genotypes were sequenced and used for comparative genome analysis. The complete genome sequence of P. larvae strain DSM 25430 (genotype ERIC II) consisted of 4,056,006 bp and harbored 3,928 predicted protein-encoding genes. The draft genome sequence of P. larvae strain DSM 25719 (genotype ERIC I) comprised 4,579,589 bp and contained 4,868 protein-encoding genes. Both strains harbored a 9.7 kb plasmid and encoded a large number of virulence-associated proteins such as toxins and collagenases. In addition, genes encoding large multimodular enzymes producing nonribosomally peptides or polyketides were identified. In the genome of strain DSM 25719 seven toxin associated loci were identified and analyzed. Five of them encoded putatively functional toxins. The genome of strain DSM 25430 harbored several toxin loci that showed similarity to corresponding loci in the genome of strain DSM 25719, but were non-functional due to point mutations or disruption by transposases. Although both strains cause AFB, significant differences between the genomes were observed including genome size, number and composition of transposases, insertion elements, predicted phage regions, and strain-specific island-like regions. Transposases, integrases and recombinases are important drivers for genome plasticity. A total of 390 and 273 mobile elements were found in strain DSM 25430 and strain DSM 25719, respectively. Comparative genomics of both strains revealed acquisition of virulence factors by horizontal gene transfer and provided insights into evolution and pathogenicity.
Characterization of Plasmid pPO1 from the Hyperacidophile Picrophilus oshimae
Picrophilus oshimae and Picrophilus torridus are free-living, moderately thermophilic and acidophilic organisms from the lineage of Euryarchaeota. With a pH optimum of growth at pH 0.7 and the ability to even withstand molar concentrations of sulphuric acid, these organisms represent the most extreme acidophiles known. So far, nothing is known about plasmid biology in these hyperacidophiles. Also, there are no genetic tools available for this genus. We have mobilized the 7.6 Kbp plasmid from P. oshimae in E. coli by introducing origin-containing transposons and described the plasmid in terms of its nucleotide sequence, copy number in the native host, mode of replication, and transcriptional start sites of the encoded ORFs. Plasmid pPO1 may encode a restriction/modification system in addition to its replication functions. The information gained from the pPO1 plasmid may prove useful in developing a cloning system for this group of extreme acidophiles.
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