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Microbiology. 2014 Sep;160(Pt 9):1953-63. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.079194-0. Epub 2014 Jun 9.

Sequence and expression divergence of an ancient duplication of the chaperonin groESEL operon in Vibrio species.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA.
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA


Heat-shock proteins are molecular chaperones essential for protein folding, degradation and trafficking. The human pathogen Vibrio vulnificus encodes a copy of the groESEL operon in both chromosomes and these genes share <80 % similarity with each other. Comparative genomic analysis was used to determine whether this duplication is prevalent among Vibrionaceae specifically or Gammaproteobacteria in general. Among the Vibrionaceae complete genome sequences in the database (31 species), seven Vibrio species contained a copy of groESEL in each chromosome, including the human pathogens Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus. Phylogenetic analysis of GroEL among the Gammaproteobacteria indicated that GroESEL-1 encoded in chromosome I was the ancestral copy and GroESEL-2 in chromosome II arose by an ancient gene duplication event. Interestingly, outside of the Vibrionaceae within the Gammaproteobacteria, groESEL chromosomal duplications were rare among the 296 genomes examined; only five additional species contained two or more copies. Examination of the expression pattern of groEL from V. vulnificus cells grown under different conditions revealed differential expression between the copies. The data demonstrate that groEL-1 was more highly expressed during growth in exponential phase than groEL-2 and a similar pattern was also found in both V. cholerae and V. parahaemolyticus. Overall these data suggest that retention of both copies of groESEL in Vibrio species may confer an evolutionary advantage.

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