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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Comparative genomic analysis of Mycobacterium avium subspecies obtained from multiple host species

Michael L Paustian1*, Xiaochun Zhu2, Srinand Sreevatsan2, Suelee Robbe-Austerman1, Vivek Kapur3 and John P Bannantine1

Author affiliations

1 National Animal Disease Center, USDA-ARS, Ames, USA

2 Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, USA

3 Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Penn State University, University Park, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Genomics 2008, 9:135  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-135

Published: 20 March 2008

Abstract

Background

Mycobacterium avium (M. avium) subspecies vary widely in both pathogenicity and host specificity, but the genetic features contributing to this diversity remain unclear.

Results

A comparative genomic approach was used to identify large sequence polymorphisms among M. avium subspecies obtained from a variety of host animals. DNA microarrays were used as a platform for comparing mycobacterial isolates with the sequenced bovine isolate M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) K-10. Open reading frames (ORFs) were classified as present or divergent based on the relative fluorescent intensities of the experimental samples compared to MAP K-10 DNA. Multiple large polymorphic regions were found in the genomes of MAP isolates obtained from sheep. One of these clusters encodes glycopeptidolipid biosynthesis enzymes which have not previously been identified in MAP. M. avium subsp. silvaticum isolates were observed to have a hybridization profile very similar to yet distinguishable from M. avium subsp. avium. Isolates obtained from cattle (n = 5), birds (n = 4), goats (n = 3), bison (n = 3), and humans (n = 9) were indistinguishable from cattle isolate MAP K-10.

Conclusion

Genome diversity in M. avium subspecies appears to be mediated by large sequence polymorphisms that are commonly associated with mobile genetic elements. Subspecies and host adapted isolates of M. avium were distinguishable by the presence or absence of specific polymorphisms.