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J Bacteriol. 2010 May;192(9):2305-14. doi: 10.1128/JB.01480-09. Epub 2010 Mar 5.

Phylogeny of gammaproteobacteria.

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Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


The phylogeny of the large bacterial class Gammaproteobacteria has been difficult to resolve. Here we apply a telescoping multiprotein approach to the problem for 104 diverse gammaproteobacterial genomes, based on a set of 356 protein families for the whole class and even larger sets for each of four cohesive subregions of the tree. Although the deepest divergences were resistant to full resolution, some surprising patterns were strongly supported. A representative of the Acidithiobacillales routinely appeared among the outgroup members, suggesting that in conflict with rRNA-based phylogenies this order does not belong to Gammaproteobacteria; instead, it (and, independently, "Mariprofundus") diverged after the establishment of the Alphaproteobacteria yet before the betaproteobacteria/gammaproteobacteria split. None of the orders Alteromonadales, Pseudomonadales, or Oceanospirillales were monophyletic; we obtained strong support for clades that contain some but exclude other members of all three orders. Extreme amino acid bias in the highly A+T-rich genome of Candidatus Carsonella prevented its reliable placement within Gammaproteobacteria, and high bias caused artifacts that limited the resolution of the relationships of other insect endosymbionts, which appear to have had multiple origins, although the unbiased genome of the endosymbiont Sodalis acted as an attractor for them. Instability was observed for the root of the Enterobacteriales, with nearly equal subsets of the protein families favoring one or the other of two alternative root positions; the nematode symbiont Photorhabdus was identified as a disruptor whose omission helped stabilize the Enterobacteriales root.

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