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Microb Genom. 2019 Jun 6. doi: 10.1099/mgen.0.000276. [Epub ahead of print]

Not all Pseudomonas aeruginosa are equal: strains from industrial sources possess uniquely large multireplicon genomes.

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1 Microbiomes, Microbes and Informatics Group, Organisms and Environment Division, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK.
2 University of Liverpool, Institute of Infection and Global Health, Liverpool, UK.
3 Department of Zoology, The Tinbergen Building, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
4 Unilever Research and Development, Port Sunlight, Wirral, UK.
5 Unilever Research and Development, Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre, Colworth House, Sharnbrook, Bedford, UK.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a highly versatile, antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacterium known for causing opportunistic infections and contamination of industrial products. Despite extensive genomic analysis of clinical P. aeruginosa strains, no genomes exist for preservative-tolerant industrial strains. A unique collection of 69 industrial isolates was assembled and compared to clinical and environmental strains; 16 genetically distinct industrial strains were subjected to array tube genotyping, multilocus sequence typing and whole-genome sequencing. The industrial strains possessed high preservative tolerance and were dispersed widely across P. aeruginosa as a species, but recurrence of strains from the same lineage within specific industrial products and locations was identified. The industrial P. aeruginosa genomes (mean=7.0 Mb) were significantly larger than those of previously sequenced environmental (mean=6.5 Mb; n=19) and clinical (mean=6.6 Mb; n=66) strains. Complete sequencing of the P. aeruginosa industrial strain RW109, which encoded the largest genome (7.75 Mb), revealed a multireplicon structure including a megaplasmid (555 265 bp) and large plasmid (151 612 bp). The RW109 megaplasmid represented an emerging plasmid family conserved in seven industrial and two clinical P. aeruginosa strains, and associated with extremely stress-resilient phenotypes, including antimicrobial resistance and solvent tolerance. Here, by defining the detailed phylogenomics of P. aeruginosa industrial strains, we show that they uniquely possess multireplicon, megaplasmid-bearing genomes, and significantly greater genomic content worthy of further study.

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