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Microbiology. 2005 Jul;151(Pt 7):2175-87.

Predicted highly expressed genes in the genomes of Streptomyces coelicolor and Streptomyces avermitilis and the implications for their metabolism.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.


Highly expressed genes in bacteria often have a stronger codon bias than genes expressed at lower levels, due to translational selection. In this study, a comparative analysis of predicted highly expressed (PHX) genes in the Streptomyces coelicolor and Streptomyces avermitilis genomes was performed using the codon adaptation index (CAI) as a numerical estimator of gene expression level. Although it has been suggested that there is little heterogeneity in codon usage in G+C-rich bacteria, considerable heterogeneity was found among genes in these two G+C-rich Streptomyces genomes. Using ribosomal protein genes as references, approximately 10% of the genes were predicted to be PHX genes using a CAI cutoff value of greater than 0.78 and 0.75 in S. coelicolor and S. avermitilis, respectively. The PHX genes showed good agreement with the experimental data on expression levels obtained from proteomic analysis by previous workers. Among 724 and 730 PHX genes identified from S. coelicolor and S. avermitilis, 368 are orthologue genes present in both genomes, which were mostly 'housekeeping' genes involved in cell growth. In addition, 61 orthologous gene pairs with unknown functions were identified as PHX. Only one polyketide synthase gene from each Streptomyces genome was predicted as PHX. Nevertheless, several key genes responsible for producing precursors for secondary metabolites, such as crotonyl-CoA reductase and propionyl-CoA carboxylase, and genes necessary for initiation of secondary metabolism, such as adenosylmethionine synthetase, were among the PHX genes in the two Streptomyces species. The PHX genes exclusive to each genome, and what they imply regarding cellular metabolism, are also discussed.

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