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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2008 Apr;281(1):87-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2008.01083.x.

Laterally transferred genomic islands in Xanthomonadales related to pathogenicity and primary metabolism.

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Department of Microbiology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Lateral gene transfer (LGT) is considered as one of the drivers in bacterial genome evolution, usually associated with increased fitness and/or changes in behavior, especially if one considers pathogenic vs. non-pathogenic bacterial groups. The genomes of two phytopathogens, Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris and Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri, were previously inspected for genome islands originating from LGT events, and, in this work, potentially early and late LGT events were identified according to their altered nucleotide composition. The biological role of the islands was also assessed, and pathogenicity, virulence and secondary metabolism pathways were functions highly represented, especially in islands that were found to be recently transferred. However, old islands are composed of a high proportion of genes related to cell primary metabolic functions. These old islands, normally undetected by traditional atypical composition analysis, but confirmed as product of LGT by atypical phylogenetic reconstruction, reveal the role of LGT events by replacing core metabolic genes normally inherited by vertical processes.

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