Holden MT, Titball RW, Peacock SJ, Cerdeno-Tarraga AM, Atkins T, Crossman LC,
Pitt T, Churcher C, Mungall K, Bentley SD, Sebaihia M, Thomson NR,
Bason N, Beacham IR, Brooks K, Brown KA, Brown NF, Challis GL,
Cherevach I, Chillingworth T, Cronin A, Crossett B, Davis P, DeShazer D,
Feltwell T, Fraser A, Hance Z, Hauser H, Holroyd S, Jagels K,
Keith KE, Maddison M, Moule S, Price C, Quail MA, Rabbinowitsch E,
Rutherford K, Sanders M, Simmonds M, Songsivilai S, Stevens K, Tumapa S,
Vesaratchavest M, Whitehead S, Yeats C, Barrell BG, Oyston PC, Parkhill J.
Genomic plasticity of the causative agent of melioidosis, Burkholderia
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Sep 28;101(39):14240-5. Epub 2004 Sep 17.
Burkholderia pseudomallei is a recognized biothreat agent and the causative agent
of melioidosis. This Gram-negative bacterium exists as a soil saprophyte in
melioidosis-endemic areas of the world and accounts for 20% of community-acquired
septicaemias in northeastern Thailand where half of those affected die. Here we
report the complete genome of B. pseudomallei, which is composed of two
chromosomes of 4.07 megabase pairs and 3.17 megabase pairs, showing significant
functional partitioning of genes between them. The large chromosome encodes many
of the core functions associated with central metabolism and cell growth, whereas
the small chromosome carries more accessory functions associated with adaptation
and survival in different niches. Genomic comparisons with closely and more
distantly related bacteria revealed a greater level of gene order conservation
and a greater number of orthologous genes on the large chromosome, suggesting
that the two replicons have distinct evolutionary origins. A striking feature of
the genome was the presence of 16 genomic islands (GIs) that together made up
6.1% of the genome. Further analysis revealed these islands to be variably
present in a collection of invasive and soil isolates but entirely absent from
the clonally related organism B. mallei. We propose that variable horizontal gene
acquisition by B. pseudomallei is an important feature of recent genetic
evolution and that this has resulted in a genetically diverse pathogenic species.
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