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J Bacteriol. 2006 Jun;188(11):4015-23.

The genome of the obligately intracellular bacterium Ehrlichia canis reveals themes of complex membrane structure and immune evasion strategies.

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Department of Energy, Joint Genome Institute, 2800 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, USA.


Ehrlichia canis, a small obligately intracellular, tick-transmitted, gram-negative, alpha-proteobacterium, is the primary etiologic agent of globally distributed canine monocytic ehrlichiosis. Complete genome sequencing revealed that the E. canis genome consists of a single circular chromosome of 1,315,030 bp predicted to encode 925 proteins, 40 stable RNA species, 17 putative pseudogenes, and a substantial proportion of noncoding sequence (27%). Interesting genome features include a large set of proteins with transmembrane helices and/or signal sequences and a unique serine-threonine bias associated with the potential for O glycosylation that was prominent in proteins associated with pathogen-host interactions. Furthermore, two paralogous protein families associated with immune evasion were identified, one of which contains poly(G-C) tracts, suggesting that they may play a role in phase variation and facilitation of persistent infections. Genes associated with pathogen-host interactions were identified, including a small group encoding proteins (n = 12) with tandem repeats and another group encoding proteins with eukaryote-like ankyrin domains (n = 7).

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