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Open Access Research article

Mobile genetic elements in the genome of the beneficial rhizobacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf-5

Dmitri V Mavrodi1*, Joyce E Loper2, Ian T Paulsen3 and Linda S Thomashow4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6430, USA

2 USDA-ARS Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, 3420 N. W. Orchard Ave, Corvallis, OR 97330, USA

3 Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia

4 USDA-ARS Root Disease and Biocontrol Research Unit, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6430, USA

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BMC Microbiology 2009, 9:8  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-8

Published: 13 January 2009

Abstract

Background

Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf-5 is a plant-associated bacterium that inhabits the rhizosphere of a wide variety of plant species and and produces secondary metabolites suppressive of fungal and oomycete plant pathogens. The Pf-5 genome is rich in features consistent with its commensal lifestyle, and its sequence has revealed attributes associated with the strain's ability to compete and survive in the dynamic and microbiologically complex rhizosphere habitat. In this study, we analyzed mobile genetic elements of the Pf-5 genome in an effort to identify determinants that might contribute to Pf-5's ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions and/or colonize new ecological niches.

Results

Sequence analyses revealed that the genome of Pf-5 is devoid of transposons and IS elements and that mobile genetic elements (MGEs) are represented by prophages and genomic islands that collectively span over 260 kb. The prophages include an F-pyocin-like prophage 01, a chimeric prophage 03, a lambdoid prophage 06, and decaying prophages 02, 04 and 05 with reduced size and/or complexity. The genomic islands are represented by a 115-kb integrative conjugative element (ICE) PFGI-1, which shares plasmid replication, recombination, and conjugative transfer genes with those from ICEs found in other Pseudomonas spp., and PFGI-2, which resembles a portion of pathogenicity islands in the genomes of the plant pathogens Pseudomonas syringae and P. viridiflava. Almost all of the MGEs in the Pf-5 genome are associated with phage-like integrase genes and are integrated into tRNA genes.

Conclusion

Comparative analyses reveal that MGEs found in Pf-5 are subject to extensive recombination and have evolved in part via exchange of genetic material with other Pseudomonas spp. having commensal or pathogenic relationships with plants and animals. Although prophages and genomic islands from Pf-5 exhibit similarity to MGEs found in other Pseudomonas spp., they also carry a number of putative niche-specific genes that could affect the survival of P. fluorescens Pf-5 in natural habitats. Most notable are a ~35-kb segment of "cargo" genes in genomic island PFGI-1 and bacteriocin genes associated with prophages 1 and 4.