Repetitive extragenic palindromic (REPs) sequences were first described in enterobacteriacea and later in Pseudomonas putida. We have detected a new variant (51 base pairs) of REP sequences that appears to be disseminated in more than 300 copies in the Pseudomonas syringae DC3000 genome. The finding of REP sequences in P. syringae confirms the broad presence of this type of repetitive sequence in bacteria. We analyzed the distribution of REP sequences and the structure of the clusters, and we show that palindromy is conserved. REP sequences appear to be allocated to the extragenic space, with a special preference for the intergenic spaces limited by convergent genes, while their presence is scarce between divergent genes. Using REP sequences as markers of extragenicity we re-annotated a set of genes of the P. syringae DC3000 genome demonstrating that REP sequences can be used for refinement of annotation of a genome. The similarity detected between virulence genes from evolutionarily distant pathogenic bacteria suggests the acquisition of clusters of virulence genes by horizontal gene transfer. We did not detect the presence of P. syringae REP elements in the principal pathogenicity gene clusters. This absence suggests that genome fragments lacking REP sequences could point to regions recently acquired from other organisms, and REP sequences might be new tracers for gaining insight into key aspects of bacterial genome evolution, especially when studying pathogenicity acquisition. In addition, as the P. syringae REP sequence is species-specific with respect to the sequenced genomes, it is an exceptional candidate for use as a fingerprint in precise genotyping and epidemiological studies.
"The abundant families of GTAG repeats are restricted both in S. maltophilia and P. syringae to core genome regions. Yet, the spotty distribution is compatible with the hypothesis that specific genomes may have been colonized by REPs as a consequence of HGT (horizontal gene transfer) events. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: REPs (Repetitive Extragenic Palindromes) are small (20--40 bp) palindromic repeats found in high copies in some prokaryotic genomes, hypothesized to play a role in DNA supercoiling, transcription termination, mRNA stabilization.
We have monitored a large number of REP elements in prokaryotic genomes, and found that most can be sorted into two large DNA super-families, as they feature at one end unpaired motifs fitting either the GTAG or the CGTC consensus. Tagged REPs have been identified in >80 species in 8 different phyla. GTAG and CGTC repeats reside predominantly in microorganisms of the gamma and alpha division of Proteobacteria, respectively. However, the identification of members of both super- families in deeper branching phyla such Cyanobacteria and Planctomycetes supports the notion that REPs are old components of the bacterial chromosome. On the basis of sequence content and overall structure, GTAG and CGTC repeats have been assigned to 24 and 4 families, respectively. Of these, some are species-specific, others reside in multiple species, and several organisms contain different REP types. In many families, most units are close to each other in opposite orientation, and may potentially fold into larger secondary structures. In different REP-rich genomes the repeats are predominantly located between unidirectionally and convergently transcribed ORFs. REPs are predominantly located downstream from coding regions, and many are plausibly transcribed and function as RNA elements. REPs located inside genes have been identified in several species. Many lie within replication and global genome repair genes. It has been hypothesized that GTAG REPs are miniature transposons mobilized by specific transposases known as RAYTs (REP associated tyrosine transposases). RAYT genes are flanked either by GTAG repeats or by long terminal inverted repeats (TIRs) unrelated to GTAG repeats. Moderately abundant families of TIRs have been identified in multiple species.
CGTC REPs apparently lack a dedicated transposase. Future work will clarify whether these elements may be mobilized by RAYTs or other transposases, and assess if de-novo formation of either GTAG or CGTC repeats type still occurs.
"No claim to original Italian government works by either the S. maltophilia R551-3 or other prokaryotic genomes, and thus plausibly do not correspond to authentic gene products. Similar conclusions were reached for short ORFs interrupted by REPs in Pseudomonas syringae (Tobes & Pareja, 2005 "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genome of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is peppered with palindromic elements called SMAG (Stenotrophomonas maltophilia GTAG) because they carry at one terminus the tetranucleotide GTAG. The repeats are species-specific variants of the superfamily of repetitive extragenic palindromes (REPs), DNA sequences spread in the intergenic space in many prokaryotic genomes. The genomic organization and the functional features of SMAG elements are described herein. A total of 1650 SMAG elements were identified in the genome of the S. maltophilia K279a strain. The elements are 22-25 bp in size, and can be sorted into five distinct major subfamilies because they have different stem and loop sequences. One fifth of the SMAG family is comprised of single units, 2/5 of elements located at a close distance from each other and 2/5 of elements grouped in tandem arrays of variable lengths. Altogether, SMAGs and intermingled DNA occupy 13% of the intergenic space, and make up 1.4% of the chromosome. Hundreds of genes are immediately flanked by SMAGs, and the level of expression of many may be influenced by the folding of the repeats in the mRNA. Expression analyses suggested that SMAGs function as RNA control sequences, either stabilizing upstream transcripts or favoring their degradation.
"SMAGs make up approximately 0.5% of the K279a genome, and are spread throughout the chromosome either as single units, or in pairs, separated by 5–80 bp long spacers. The size of the SMAG family allows to hypothesize that some of these repeats may function as regulatory signals either at the DNA or the RNA level, as shown for REPs . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: All bacterial genomes contain repetitive sequences which are members of specific DNA families. Such repeats may occur as single units, or found clustered in multiple copies in a head-to-tail configuration at specific loci. The number of clustered units per locus is a strain-defining parameter. Assessing the length variability of clusters of repeats is a versatile typing methodology known as multilocus variable number of tandem repeat analysis (MLVA).
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is an environmental bacterium increasingly involved in nosocomial infections and resistant to most antibiotics. The availability of the whole DNA sequence of the S. maltophilia strain K279a allowed us to set up fast and accurate PCR-based diagnostic protocols based on the measurement of length variations of loci carrying a variable number of short palindromic repeats marking the S. maltophilia genome. On the basis of the amplimers size, it was possible to deduce the number of repeats present at 12 different loci in a collection of S. maltophilia isolates, and therefore label each of them with a digit. PCR-negative regions were labelled 0. Co-amplification of two pairs of loci provided a 4-digit code sufficient for immediate subtyping. By increasing the number of loci analyzed, it should be possible to assign a more specific digit profile to isolates. In general, MLVA data match genotyping data obtained by PFGE (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis). However, some isolates exhibiting the same PCR profiles at all loci display distinct PFGE patterns.
The utilization of the present protocol allows to type several S. maltophilia isolates in hours. The results are immediately interpretable without the need for sophisticated softwares. The data can be easily reproducible, and compared among different laboratories.
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