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Title: Genomic acquisition of a capsular polysaccharide virulence cluster by non-pathogenic Burkholderia isolates
Authors: Bernice Meng Qi Sim
Narisara Chantratita
Wen Fong Ooi
Tannistha Nandi
Ryan Tewhey
Vanaporn Wuthiekanun
Janjira Thaipadungpanit
Sarinna Tumapa
Pramila Ariyaratne
Wing Kin Sung
Xiao Hui Sem
Hui Hoon Chua
Kalpana Ramnarayanan
Chi Ho Lin
Yichun Liu
Edward J. Feil
Mindy B. Glass
Gladys Tan
Sharon J. Peacock
Patrick Tan
Genome Institute of Singapore
Mahidol University
Scripps Research Institute
National University of Singapore
National Cancer Centre, Singapore
DSO National Laboratories
University of Bath
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
University of Cambridge
Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore
Keywords: Agricultural and Biological Sciences;Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Issue Date: 27-Aug-2010
Citation: Genome Biology. Vol.11, No.1 (2010)
Abstract: © 2006 Sim et al. Background: Burkholderia thailandensis is a non-pathogenic environmental saprophyte closely related to Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of the often fatal animal and human disease melioidosis. To study B. thailandensis genomic variation, we profiled 50 isolates using a pan-genome microarray comprising genomic elements from 28 Burkholderia strains and species. Results: Of 39 genomic regions variably present across the B. thailandensis strains, 13 regions corresponded to known genomic islands, while 26 regions were novel. Variant B. thailandensis isolates exhibited isolated acquisition of a capsular polysaccharide biosynthesis gene cluster (B. pseudomallei-like capsular polysaccharide) closely resembling a similar cluster in B. pseudomallei that is essential for virulence in mammals; presence of this cluster was confirmed by whole genome sequencing of a representative variant strain (B. thailandensis E555). Both wholegenome microarray and multi-locus sequence typing analysis revealed that the variant strains formed part of a phylogenetic subgroup distinct from the ancestral B. thailandensis population and were associated with atypical isolation sources when compared to the majority of previously described B. thailandensis strains. In functional assays, B. thailandensis E555 exhibited several B. pseudomallei-like phenotypes, including colony wrinkling, resistance to human complement binding, and intracellular macrophage survival. However, in murine infection assays, B. thailandensis E555 did not exhibit enhanced virulence relative to other B. thailandensis strains, suggesting that additional factors are required to successfully colonize and infect mammals. Conclusions: The discovery of such novel variant strains demonstrates how unbiased genomic surveys of nonpathogenic isolates can reveal insights into the development and emergence of new pathogenic species.
ISSN: 1474760X
Appears in Collections:Scopus 2006-2010

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