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Res Microbiol. 2004 Nov;155(9):781-93.

Genome-wide comparison reveals great inter- and intraspecies variability in B. pseudomallei and B. mallei pathogens.

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Laboratory of Structure and Functions of Human Genes, M.M. Shemyakin and Yu.A. Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow V-437, Russia.


Burkholderia mallei and B. pseudomallei, closely related Gram-negative bacteria, are causative agents of serious infectious diseases of humans and animals: glanders and melioidosis, respectively. Despite numerous studies of these pathogens, the detailed mechanism of their pathogenesis is still unknown. The problem is even more complicated due to natural variability of B. pseudomallei and B. mallei strains, the understanding of which is a prerequisite for rational design of tools for diagnostics, prophylaxis and therapy of the diseases. Using a subtractive hybridization technique, we compared the genomes of B. pseudomallei C-141 and B. mallei C-5 strains. A subtracted library of DNA fragments specific for B. pseudomallei C-141 and absent from B. mallei C-5 was obtained and analyzed. A variety of differences have been detected and mapped on the recently sequenced genome of B. pseudomallei K96243. A comparative sequence analysis also revealed considerable genomic differences between B. pseudomallei C-141 and B. mallei ATCC 23344 strains sequenced at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR). We also observed significant genomic differences between B. pseudomallei C-141 and B. pseudomallei K96243. Some of the differential DNA fragments displayed similarity to different mobile elements which have not yet been described for B. pseudomallei, whereas the others matched various prophage components, components of active transport systems, different enzymes and transcription regulators. A substantial proportion of the differential clones had no database matches either at the nucleotide or protein level. The results provide evidence for great genome-wide variability of B. pseudomallei, further confirmed by Southern blot analysis of various B. pseudomallei strains. The data obtained can be useful for future development of efficient diagnostic tools allowing rapid identification of species, strains and isolates of B. mallei and B. pseudomallei.

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