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Open Access Research article

Comparative genomic analysis of Streptococcus suis reveals significant genomic diversity among different serotypes

Anding Zhang13, Ming Yang2, Pan Hu3, Jiayan Wu2, Bo Chen3, Yafeng Hua3, Jun Yu2, Huanchun Chen13, Jingfa Xiao2* and Meilin Jin13*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan (430070), China

2 CAS Key Laboratory of Genome Sciences and Information, Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing(100029), China

3 College of Veterinary Medicine, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan (430070), China

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BMC Genomics 2011, 12:523  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-523

Published: 25 October 2011

Abstract

Background

Streptococcus suis (S. suis) is a major swine pathogen and an emerging zoonotic agent. Serotypes 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 14 and 1/2 are the most prevalent serotypes of this pathogen. However, almost all studies were carried out on serotype 2 strains. Therefore, characterization of genomic features of other serotypes will be required to better understand their virulence potential and phylogenetic relationships among different serotypes.

Results

Four Chinese S. suis strains belonging to serotypes 1, 7, 9 and 1/2 were sequenced using a rapid, high-throughput approach. Based on the 13 corresponding serotype strains, including 9 previously completed genomes of this bacterium, a full comparative genomic analysis was performed. The results provide evidence that (i) the pan-genome of this species is open and the size increases with addition of new sequenced genomes, (ii) strains of serotypes 1, 3, 7 and 9 are phylogenetically distinct from serotype 2 strains, but all serotype 2 strains, plus the serotype 1/2 and 14 strains, are very closely related. (iii) all these strains, except for the serotype 1 strain, could harbor a recombinant site for a pathogenic island (89 K) mediated by conjugal transfer, and may have the ability to gain the 89 K sequence.

Conclusions

There is significant genomic diversity among different strains in S. suis, and the gain and loss of large amount of genes are involved in shaping their genomes. This is indicated by (i) pairwise gene content comparisons between every pair of these strains, (ii) the open pan-genome of this species, (iii) the observed indels, invertions and rearrangements in the collinearity analysis. Phylogenetic relationships may be associated with serotype, as serotype 2 strains are closely related and distinct from other serotypes like 1, 3, 7 and 9, but more strains need to be sequenced to confirm this.