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Nat Genet. 2015 Apr;47(4):361-366. doi: 10.1038/ng.3219. Epub 2015 Feb 16.

A single natural nucleotide mutation alters bacterial pathogen host tropism.

Author information

1
Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera, 46113 Moncada, Valencia, Spain.
2
Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Animal, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias(CITA-IVIA), Apdo. 187, 12.400 Segorbe, Castellón, Spain.
3
The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Campus, Edinburgh EH25 9RG, United Kingdom.
4
Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH93JT.
5
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK.
6
Centre National de Référence des Staphylocoques, Université Lyon, France.
7
Instituto de Biomedicina de Valencia (IBV-CSIC), 46010, Valencia, Spain.
8
Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8TA, UK.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

The capacity of microbial pathogens to alter their host tropism leading to epidemics in distinct host species populations is a global public and veterinary health concern. To investigate the molecular basis of a bacterial host-switching event in a tractable host species, we traced the evolutionary trajectory of the common rabbit clone of Staphylococcus aureus. We report that it evolved through a likely human-to-rabbit host jump over 40 years ago and that only a single naturally occurring nucleotide mutation was required and sufficient to convert a human-specific S. aureus strain into one that could infect rabbits. Related mutations were identified at the same locus in other rabbit strains of distinct clonal origin, consistent with convergent evolution. This first report of a single mutation that was sufficient to alter the host tropism of a microorganism during its evolution highlights the capacity of some pathogens to readily expand into new host species populations.

PMID:
25685890
PMCID:
PMC4824278
DOI:
10.1038/ng.3219
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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