Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Genome Biol Evol. 2015 Jul 10;7(8):2173-87. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evv135.

Gene Loss Dominates As a Source of Genetic Variation within Clonal Pathogenic Bacterial Species.

Author information

1
Rachel & Menachem Mendelovitch Evolutionary Processes of Mutation & Natural Selection Research Laboratory, Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology, The Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
2
Rachel & Menachem Mendelovitch Evolutionary Processes of Mutation & Natural Selection Research Laboratory, Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology, The Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel ruthersh@tx.technion.ac.il.

Abstract

Some of the most dangerous pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Yersinia pestis evolve clonally. This means that little or no recombination occurs between strains belonging to these species. Paradoxically, although different members of these species show extreme sequence similarity of orthologous genes, some show considerable intraspecies phenotypic variation, the source of which remains elusive. To examine the possible sources of phenotypic variation within clonal pathogenic bacterial species, we carried out an extensive genomic and pan-genomic analysis of the sources of genetic variation available to a large collection of clonal and nonclonal pathogenic bacterial species. We show that while nonclonal species diversify through a combination of changes to gene sequences, gene loss and gene gain, gene loss completely dominates as a source of genetic variation within clonal species. Indeed, gene loss is so prevalent within clonal species as to lead to levels of gene content variation comparable to those found in some nonclonal species that are much more diverged in their gene sequences and that acquire a substantial number of genes horizontally. Gene loss therefore needs to be taken into account as a potential dominant source of phenotypic variation within clonal bacterial species.

KEYWORDS:

bacterial evolution; clonal pathogens; gene loss; pangenome; sources of variation

PMID:
26163675
PMCID:
PMC4558853
DOI:
10.1093/gbe/evv135
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center