(Meta)genomic insights into the pathogenome of Cellulosimicrobium cellulans

Despite having serious clinical manifestations, Cellulosimicrobium cellulans remain under-reported with only three genome sequences available at the time of writing. Genome sequences of C. cellulans LMG16121, C. cellulans J36 and Cellulosimicrobium sp. strain MM were used to determine distribution of pathogenicity islands (PAIs) across C. cellulans, which revealed 49 potential marker genes with known association to human infections, e.g. Fic and VbhA toxin-antitoxin system. Oligonucleotide composition-based analysis of orthologous proteins (n = 791) across three genomes revealed significant negative correlation (P < 0.05) between frequency of optimal codons (Fopt) and gene G+C content, highlighting the G+C-biased gene conversion (gBGC) effect across Cellulosimicrobium strains. Bayesian molecular-clock analysis performed on three virulent PAI proteins (Fic; D-alanyl-D-alanine-carboxypeptidase; transposase) dated the divergence event at 300 million years ago from the most common recent ancestor. Synteny-based annotation of hypothetical proteins highlighted gene transfers from non-pathogenic bacteria as a key factor in the evolution of PAIs. Additonally, deciphering the metagenomic islands using strain MM’s genome with environmental data from the site of isolation (hot-spring biofilm) revealed (an)aerobic respiration as population segregation factor across the in situ cohorts. Using reference genomes and metagenomic data, our results highlight the emergence and evolution of PAIs in the genus Cellulosimicrobium.

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PMID: 27151933