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Sci Rep. 2011;1:125. doi: 10.1038/srep00125. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

Genome-wide essential gene identification in Streptococcus sanguinis.

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Philips Institute of Oral and Craniofacial Molecular Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.


A clear perception of gene essentiality in bacterial pathogens is pivotal for identifying drug targets to combat emergence of new pathogens and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, for synthetic biology, and for understanding the origins of life. We have constructed a comprehensive set of deletion mutants and systematically identified a clearly defined set of essential genes for Streptococcus sanguinis. Our results were confirmed by growing S. sanguinis in minimal medium and by double-knockout of paralogous or isozyme genes. Careful examination revealed that these essential genes were associated with only three basic categories of biological functions: maintenance of the cell envelope, energy production, and processing of genetic information. Our finding was subsequently validated in two other pathogenic streptococcal species, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus mutans and in two other gram-positive pathogens, Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus. Our analysis has thus led to a simplified model that permits reliable prediction of gene essentiality.

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