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Front Microbiol. 2018 Apr 24;9:782. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00782. eCollection 2018.

Distribution Patterns of Polyphosphate Metabolism Pathway and Its Relationships With Bacterial Durability and Virulence.

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Department of Bioinformatics, School of Medical Informatics, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, China.
Xuzhou Infectious Diseases Hospital, Xuzhou, China.
School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.
The Marshall Centre for Infectious Diseases Research and Training, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.
Jiangsu Key Laboratory of New Drug Research and Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, China.
School of Anesthesiology, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, China.
Center for Experimental Animals, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, China.


Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) is a linear polymer of orthophosphate residues. It is reported to be present in all life forms. Experimental studies showed that polyP plays important roles in bacterial durability and virulence. Here we investigated the relationships of polyP with bacterial durability and virulence theoretically. Bacterial lifestyle, environmental persistence, virulence factors (VFs), and species evolution are all included in the analysis. The presence of seven genes involved in polyP metabolism (ppk1, ppk2, pap, surE, gppA, ppnK, and ppgK) and 2595 core VFs were verified in 944 bacterial reference proteomes for distribution patterns via HMMER. Proteome size and VFs were compared in terms of gain and loss of polyP pathway. Literature mining and phylogenetic analysis were recruited to support the study. Our analyzes revealed that the presence of polyP metabolism is positively correlated with bacterial proteome size and the number of virulence genes. A potential relationship of polyP in bacterial lifestyle and environmental durability is suggested. Evolutionary analysis shows that polyP genes are randomly lost along the phylogenetic tree. In sum, based on our theoretical analysis, we confirmed that bacteria with polyP metabolism are associated with high environmental durability and more VFs.


durability; hidden Markov model; lifestyle; phylogenetics; polyphosphate; proteome; sit-and-wait hypothesis; virulence

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