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J Biotechnol. 2008 Aug 31;136(1-2):31-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2008.04.014. Epub 2008 May 9.

Comparative genomic hybridisation and ultrafast pyrosequencing revealed remarkable differences between the Sinorhizobium meliloti genomes of the model strain Rm1021 and the field isolate SM11.

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Fakultät für Biologie, Lehrstuhl für Genetik, Universität Bielefeld, Postfach 100131, D-33501 Bielefeld, Germany.


Genomic variation between the Sinorhizobium meliloti model strain Rm1021 and the field isolate SM11 was assessed by using the genome-wide S. meliloti Rm1021 Sm6k-oligonucleotide microarray in a comparative genomic hybridisation experiment. Several gene clusters present in the Rm1021 genome are missing in the SM11 genome. In detail, three missing gene clusters were identified for the chromosome, five for megaplasmid pSymA and two for megaplasmid pSymB. To confirm these hybridisation results, the draft genome sequence of the S. meliloti field isolate SM11 was established by 454-pyrosequencing. Three sequencing runs on the ultrafast Genome Sequencer 20 System yielded 112.5 million bases. These could be assembled into 905 larger contigs resulting in a nearly 15-fold coverage of the 7.1Mb SM11 genome. The missing gene regions identified by comparative genomic hybridisation could be confirmed by the results of the 454-sequencing project. An in-depth analysis of these gene regions resulted in the following findings: (i) a complete type I restriction/modification system encoded by a composite transposon is absent in the chromosome of strain SM11. (ii) Most of the Rm1021 denitrification genes and the complete siderophore biosynthesis operon were found to be missing on SM11 megaplasmid pSymA. (iii) S. meliloti SM11 megaplasmid pSymB lacks a complete cell surface carbohydrate synthesis gene cluster. (iv) Several genes that are absent in the SM11 genome could be assigned to insertion sequences and transposons.

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