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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Feb 14;92(4):1018-22.

Rearrangements in the genome of the bacterium Salmonella typhi.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, AB, Canada.


We have determined the genomic map of the bacterium Salmonella typhi Ty2, the causal organism of typhoid fever, by using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Digestion of the Ty2 genome with endonucleases Xba I, Bln I, and Ceu I yielded 33, 26, and 7 fragments, respectively, that were placed in order on a circular chromosome of 4780 kb. Transposon Tn10 was inserted in specific genes of Salmonella typhimurium and transduced into S. typhi, and thus, the positions of 37 S. typhi genes were located through the Xba I and Bln I sites of the Tn10. Gene order on chromosomes of Escherichia coli K-12 and S. typhimurium LT2 is remarkably conserved; however, the gene order in S. typhi Ty2 is different, suggesting it has undergone major genomic rearrangements during its evolution. These rearrangements include inversions and transpositions in the 7 DNA fragments between the seven rrn operons for rRNA (postulated to be due to homologous recombination in these rrn genes), another inversion that covers the replication terminus region (resembling inversions found in other enteric bacteria), and at least three insertions, one as large as 118 kb. Partial digestion of genomic DNA with the intron-encoded endonuclease I-Ceu I, which cuts only in rrn genes, shows chromosomal rearrangements, apparently due to homologous recombination in the rrn genes, that were detected in all wild-type strains of S. typhi tested. These rearrangements may have been selected to compensate for the insertions that otherwise would have altered the locations of genes with respect to the origin and terminus of replication. These observations are relevant to our view of the evolution of the bacterial genome and may be significant in the virulence of S. typhi.

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