The genetic composition and diversity of Francisella tularensis
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of the debilitating, sometimes fatal zoonotic disease tularemia. To date, little information has been available on the genetic makeup of this pathogen, its evolution, and the genetic differences which characterize subspecific lineages. These are the main areas addressed in this thesis.
The work indicated a high degree of genetic conservation of F. tularensis, both on the sequence level as determined by sequencing and on the compositional level, determined by array-based comparative genomic hybridizations (aCGH). One striking finding was that subsp. mediasiatica was most similar to subsp. tularensis, despite their natural confinement to Central Asia and North America, respectively. All genetic Regions of Difference RD found by aCGH distinguishing lineages were had resulted from repeat-mediated excision of DNA. This was used to identify additional RDs. Such data along with a multiple locus sequence analysis suggested an evolutionary scenario for F. tularensis.
Based on genomic information, a novel typing scheme for F. tularensis was furthermore devised and evaluated. This method provided increased robustness compared to previously used methods for F. tularensis typing, while retaining a capacity for high resolution.
Finally, the genomic sequence of the highly virulent F. tularensis strain SCHU S4 was determined and analysed. Evidenced by numerous pseudogenes and disrupted metabolic pathways, the bacterium appears to be undergoing a genome reduction process whereby a large proportion of the genetic capacity gradually is lost. It is likely that F. tularensis has irreversibly has evolved into an obligate host-dependent bacterium, incapable of a free-living existence. Unexpectedly, the bacterium was found to be devoid of common virulence mechanisms such as classic toxins, or type III and IV secretion systems. Instead, the virulence of this bacterium is probably largely the result of specific and unusual mechanisms.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Klinisk mikrobiologi , 2007. , 51 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1094
Microbiology, tularemia, genotyping, evolution, microarray, genome sequencing, virulence, genome reduction
Research subject Clinical Bacteriology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1139ISBN: 971-91-7264-288-1-XOAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-1139DiVA: diva2:140351
2007-05-31, E04, 6E, NUS, Umeå, 09:00
Benson, Andrew K., Ass. professor
Sjöstedt, Anders, Leg läk
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