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J Bacteriol. 2005 Sep;187(17):6155-65.

Characterization of the genome composition of Bartonella koehlerae by microarray comparative genomic hybridization profiling.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Center, Norbyvägen 18C, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.


Bartonella henselae is present in a wide range of wild and domestic feline hosts and causes cat-scratch disease and bacillary angiomatosis in humans. We have estimated here the gene content of Bartonella koehlerae, a novel species isolated from cats that was recently identified as an agent of human endocarditis. The investigation was accomplished by comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) to a microarray constructed from the sequenced 1.93-Mb genome of B. henselae. Control hybridizations of labeled DNA from the human pathogen Bartonella quintana with a reduced genome of 1.58 Mb were performed to evaluate the accuracy of the array for genes with known levels of sequence divergence. Genome size estimates of B. koehlerae by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis matched that calculated by the CGH, indicating a genome of 1.7 to 1.8 Mb with few unique genes. As in B. quintana, sequences in the prophage and the genomic islands were reported absent in B. koehlerae. In addition, sequence variability was recorded in the chromosome II-like region, where B. koehlerae showed an intermediate retention pattern of both coding and noncoding sequences. Although most of the genes missing in B. koehlerae are also absent from B. quintana, its phylogenetic placement near B. henselae suggests independent deletion events, indicating that host specificity is not solely attributed to genes in the genomic islands. Rather, the results underscore the instability of the genomic islands even within bacterial populations adapted to the same host-vector system, as in the case of B. henselae and B. koehlerae.

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