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BMC Genomics (2)
Dyer, David W (2)
Schmidt, Timothy R (1)
Scott, Edgar (1)
Scott, Edgar J (1)
Year of Publication
Divergence of the SigB regulon and pathogenesis of the Bacillus cereus sensu lato group
Dyer, David W
The Bacillus cereus sensu lato group currently includes seven species (B. cereus, B. anthracis, B. mycoides, B. pseudomycoides, B. thuringiensis, B. weihenstephanensis and B. cytotoxicus) that recent phylogenetic and phylogenomic analyses suggest are likely a single species, despite their varied phenotypes. Although horizontal gene transfer and insertion-deletion events are clearly important for promoting divergence among these genomes, recent studies have demonstrated that a major basis for phenotypic diversity in these organisms may be differential regulation of the highly similar gene content shared by these organisms. To explore this hypothesis, we used an in silico approach to evaluate the relationship of pathogenic potential and the divergence of the SigB-dependent general stress response within the B. cereus sensu lato group, since SigB has been demonstrated to support pathogenesis in Bacillus, Listeria and Staphylococcus species.
During the divergence of these organisms from a common “SigB-less” ancestor, the placement of SigB promoters at varied locations in the B. cereus sensu lato genomes predict alternative structures for the SigB regulon in different organisms. Predicted promoter changes suggesting differential transcriptional control of a common gene pool predominate over evidence of indels or horizontal gene transfer for explaining SigB regulon divergence.
Four lineages of the SigB regulon have arisen that encompass different gene contents and suggest different strategies for supporting pathogenesis. This is consistent with the hypothesis that divergence within the B. cereus sensu lato group rests in part on alternative strategies for regulation of a common gene pool.
Microbial evolution; Generalized stress response; SigB sigma factor
Whole-genome phylogenies of the family Bacillaceae and expansion of the sigma factor gene family in the Bacillus cereus species-group
Schmidt, Timothy R
Dyer, David W
The Bacillus cereus sensu lato group consists of six species (B. anthracis, B. cereus, B. mycoides, B. pseudomycoides, B. thuringiensis, and B. weihenstephanensis). While classical microbial taxonomy proposed these organisms as distinct species, newer molecular phylogenies and comparative genome sequencing suggests that these organisms should be classified as a single species (thus, we will refer to these organisms collectively as the Bc species-group). How do we account for the underlying similarity of these phenotypically diverse microbes? It has been established for some time that the most rapidly evolving and evolutionarily flexible portions of the bacterial genome are regulatory sequences and transcriptional networks. Other studies have suggested that the sigma factor gene family of these organisms has diverged and expanded significantly relative to their ancestors; sigma factors are those portions of the bacterial transcriptional apparatus that control RNA polymerase recognition for promoter selection. Thus, examining sigma factor divergence in these organisms would concurrently examine both regulatory sequences and transcriptional networks important for divergence. We began this examination by comparison to the sigma factor gene set of B. subtilis.
Phylogenetic analysis of the Bc species-group utilizing 157 single-copy genes of the family Bacillaceae suggests that several taxonomic revisions of the genus Bacillus should be considered. Within the Bc species-group there is little indication that the currently recognized species form related sub-groupings, suggesting that they are members of the same species. The sigma factor gene family encoded by the Bc species-group appears to be the result of a dynamic gene-duplication and gene-loss process that in previous analyses underestimated the true heterogeneity of the sigma factor content in the Bc species-group.
Expansion of the sigma factor gene family appears to have preferentially occurred within the extracytoplasmic function (ECF) sigma factor genes, while the primary alternative (PA) sigma factor genes are, in general, highly conserved with those found in B. subtilis. Divergence of the sigma-controlled transcriptional regulons among various members of the Bc species-group likely has a major role in explaining the diversity of phenotypic characteristics seen in members of the Bc species-group.
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