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A three-way comparative genomic analysis of Mannheimia haemolytica isolates

Paulraj K Lawrence1*, Weerayuth Kittichotirat2, Jason E McDermott3 and Roger E Bumgarner2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7040, USA

2 Department of Microbiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7242, USA

3 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, 99352, USA

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:535  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-535

Published: 4 October 2010



Mannhemia haemolytica is a Gram-negative bacterium and the principal etiological agent associated with bovine respiratory disease complex. They transform from a benign commensal to a deadly pathogen, during stress such as viral infection and transportation to feedlots and cause acute pleuropneumonia commonly known as shipping fever. The U.S beef industry alone loses more than one billion dollars annually due to shipping fever. Despite its enormous economic importance there are no specific and accurate genetic markers, which will aid in understanding the pathogenesis and epidemiology of M. haemolytica at molecular level and assist in devising an effective control strategy.


During our comparative genomic sequence analysis of three Mannheimia haemolytica isolates, we identified a number of genes that are unique to each strain. These genes are "high value targets" for future studies that attempt to correlate the variable gene pool with phenotype. We also identified a number of high confidence single nucleotide polymorphisms (hcSNPs) spread throughout the genome and focused on non-synonymous SNPs in known virulence genes. These SNPs will be used to design new hcSNP arrays to study variation across strains, and will potentially aid in understanding gene regulation and the mode of action of various virulence factors.


During our analysis we identified previously unknown possible type III secretion effector proteins, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated sequences (Cas). The presence of CRISPR regions is indicative of likely co-evolution with an associated phage. If proven functional, the presence of a type III secretion system in M. haemolytica will help us re-evaluate our approach to study host-pathogen interactions. We also identified various adhesins containing immuno-dominant domains, which may interfere with host-innate immunity and which could potentially serve as effective vaccine candidates.