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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21581. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021581. Epub 2011 Jun 27.

Comparative genomics and transcriptomics of Propionibacterium acnes.

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  • 1Göttingen Genomics Laboratory, Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

Abstract

The anaerobic gram-positive bacterium Propionibacterium acnes is a human skin commensal that is occasionally associated with inflammatory diseases. Recent work has indicated that evolutionary distinct lineages of P. acnes play etiologic roles in disease while others are associated with maintenance of skin homeostasis. To shed light on the molecular basis for differential strain properties, we carried out genomic and transcriptomic analysis of distinct P. acnes strains. We sequenced the genome of the P. acnes strain 266, a type I-1a strain. Comparative genome analysis of strain 266 and four other P. acnes strains revealed that overall genome plasticity is relatively low; however, a number of island-like genomic regions, encoding a variety of putative virulence-associated and fitness traits differ between phylotypes, as judged from PCR analysis of a collection of P. acnes strains. Comparative transcriptome analysis of strains KPA171202 (type I-2) and 266 during exponential growth revealed inter-strain differences in gene expression of transport systems and metabolic pathways. In addition, transcript levels of genes encoding possible virulence factors such as dermatan-sulphate adhesin, polyunsaturated fatty acid isomerase, iron acquisition protein HtaA and lipase GehA were upregulated in strain 266. We investigated differential gene expression during exponential and stationary growth phases. Genes encoding components of the energy-conserving respiratory chain as well as secreted and virulence-associated factors were transcribed during the exponential phase, while the stationary growth phase was characterized by upregulation of genes involved in stress responses and amino acid metabolism. Our data highlight the genomic basis for strain diversity and identify, for the first time, the actively transcribed part of the genome, underlining the important role growth status plays in the inflammation-inducing activity of P. acnes. We argue that the disease-causing potential of different P. acnes strains is not only determined by the phylotype-specific genome content but also by variable gene expression.

PMID:
21738717
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3124536
Free PMC Article

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