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Open Access Research article

Diverse genome structures of Salmonella paratyphi C

Wei-Qiao Liu12, Gui-Rong Liu123, Jun-Qian Li1, Guo-Min Xu1, Danni Qi3, Xiao-Yan He1, Juan Deng1, Feng-Min Zhang3, Randal N Johnston4 and Shu-Lin Liu123*

Author Affiliations

1 Microbiology, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China

2 Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada

3 Microbiology, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China

4 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada

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BMC Genomics 2007, 8:290  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-290

Published: 27 August 2007

Abstract

Background

Salmonella paratyphi C, like S. typhi, is adapted to humans and causes typhoid fever. Previously we reported different genome structures between two strains of S. paratyphi C, which suggests that S. paratyphi C might have a plastic genome (large DNA segments being organized in different orders or orientations on the genome). As many but not all host-adapted Salmonella pathogens have large genomic insertions as well as the supposedly resultant genomic rearrangements, bacterial genome plasticity presents an extraordinary evolutionary phenomenon. Events contributing to genomic plasticity, especially large insertions, may be associated with the formation of particular Salmonella pathogens.

Results

We constructed a high resolution genome map in S. paratyphi C strain RKS4594 and located four insertions totaling 176 kb (including the 90 kb SPI7) and seven deletions totaling 165 kb relative to S. typhimurium LT2. Two rearrangements were revealed, including an inversion of 1602 kb covering the ter region and the translocation of the 43 kb I-CeuI F fragment. The 23 wild type strains analyzed in this study exhibited diverse genome structures, mostly as a result of recombination between rrn genes. In at least two cases, the rearrangements involved recombination between genomic sites other than the rrn genes, possibly homologous genes in prophages. Two strains had a 20 kb deletion between rrlA and rrlB, which is a highly conservative region and no deletion has been reported in this region in any other Salmonella lineages.

Conclusion

S. paratyphi C has diverse genome structures among different isolates, possibly as a result of large genomic insertions, e.g., SPI7. Although the Salmonella typhoid agents may not be more closely related among them than each of them to other Salmonella lineages, they may have evolved in similar ways, i.e., acquiring typhoid-associated genes followed by genome structure rearrangements. Comparison of multiple Salmonella typhoid agents at both single sequenced genome and population levels will facilitate the studies on the evolutionary process of typhoid pathogenesis, especially the identification of typhoid-associated genes.