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J Bacteriol. 2010 Feb;192(4):1113-21. doi: 10.1128/JB.01515-09. Epub 2009 Dec 18.

Genome diversity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 laboratory strains.

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Klinische Forschergruppe, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 is the most commonly used strain for research on this ubiquitous and metabolically versatile opportunistic pathogen. Strain PAO1, a derivative of the original Australian PAO isolate, has been distributed worldwide to laboratories and strain collections. Over decades discordant phenotypes of PAO1 sublines have emerged. Taking the existing PAO1-UW genome sequence (named after the University of Washington, which led the sequencing project) as a blueprint, the genome sequences of reference strains MPAO1 and PAO1-DSM (stored at the German Collection for Microorganisms and Cell Cultures [DSMZ]) were resolved by physical mapping and deep short read sequencing-by-synthesis. MPAO1 has been the source of near-saturation libraries of transposon insertion mutants, and PAO1-DSM is identical in its SpeI-DpnI restriction map with the original isolate. The major genomic differences of MPAO1 and PAO1-DSM in comparison to PAO1-UW are the lack of a large inversion, a duplication of a mobile 12-kb prophage region carrying a distinct integrase and protein phosphatases or kinases, deletions of 3 to 1,006 bp in size, and at least 39 single-nucleotide substitutions, 17 of which affect protein sequences. The PAO1 sublines differed in their ability to cope with nutrient limitation and their virulence in an acute murine airway infection model. Subline PAO1-DSM outnumbered the two other sublines in late stationary growth phase. In conclusion, P. aeruginosa PAO1 shows an ongoing microevolution of genotype and phenotype that jeopardizes the reproducibility of research. High-throughput genome resequencing will resolve more cases and could become a proper quality control for strain collections.

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