Open Access Research article

Shotgun sequencing of Yersinia enterocolitica strain W22703 (biotype 2, serotype O:9): genomic evidence for oscillation between invertebrates and mammals

Thilo M Fuchs1*, Katharina Brandt1, Mandy Starke1 and Thomas Rattei2

Author Affiliations

1 Lehrstuhl für Mikrobielle Ökologie, Department Biowissenschaften, Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München, Weihenstephaner Berg 3, 85354 Freising, Germany

2 University of Vienna, Department of Computational Systems Biology, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria

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BMC Genomics 2011, 12:168  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-168

Published: 31 March 2011

Abstract

Background

Yersinia enterocolitica strains responsible for mild gastroenteritis in humans are very diverse with respect to their metabolic and virulence properties. Strain W22703 (biotype 2, serotype O:9) was recently identified to possess nematocidal and insecticidal activity. To better understand the relationship between pathogenicity towards insects and humans, we compared the W22703 genome with that of the highly pathogenic strain 8081 (biotype1B; serotype O:8), the only Y. enterocolitica strain sequenced so far.

Results

We used whole-genome shotgun data to assemble, annotate and analyse the sequence of strain W22703. Numerous factors assumed to contribute to enteric survival and pathogenesis, among them osmoregulated periplasmic glucan, hydrogenases, cobalamin-dependent pathways, iron uptake systems and the Yersinia genome island 1 (YGI-1) involved in tight adherence were identified to be common to the 8081 and W22703 genomes. However, sets of ~550 genes revealed to be specific for each of them in comparison to the other strain. The plasticity zone (PZ) of 142 kb in the W22703 genome carries an ancient flagellar cluster Flg-2 of ~40 kb, but it lacks the pathogenicity island YAPIYe, the secretion system ysa and yts1, and other virulence determinants of the 8081 PZ. Its composition underlines the prominent variability of this genome region and demonstrates its contribution to the higher pathogenicity of biotype 1B strains with respect to W22703. A novel type three secretion system of mosaic structure was found in the genome of W22703 that is absent in the sequenced strains of the human pathogenic Yersinia species, but conserved in the genomes of the apathogenic species. We identified several regions of differences in W22703 that mainly code for transporters, regulators, metabolic pathways, and defence factors.

Conclusion

The W22703 sequence analysis revealed a genome composition distinct from other pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica strains, thus contributing novel data to the Y. enterocolitica pan-genome. This study also sheds further light on the strategies of this pathogen to cope with its environments.