[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bifidobacteria are important members of the human gut flora, especially in infants. Comparative genomic analysis of two Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis strains revealed evolution by internal deletion of consecutive spacer-repeat units within a novel clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat locus, which represented the largest differential content between the two genomes. Additionally, 47 single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified, consisting primarily of nonsynonymous mutations, indicating positive selection and/or recent divergence. A particular nonsynonymous mutation in a putative glucose transporter was linked to a negative phenotypic effect on the ability of the variant to catabolize glucose, consistent with a modification in the predicted protein transmembrane topology. Comparative genome sequence analysis of three Bifidobacterium species provided a core genome set of 1,117 orthologs complemented by a pan-genome of 2,445 genes. The genome sequences of the intestinal bacterium B. animalis subsp. lactis provide insights into rapid genome evolution and the genetic basis for adaptation to the human gut environment, notably with regard to catabolism of dietary carbohydrates, resistance to bile and acid, and interaction with the intestinal epithelium. The high degree of genome conservation observed between the two strains in terms of size, organization, and sequence is indicative of a genomically monomorphic subspecies and explains the inability to differentiate the strains by standard techniques such as pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.
Journal of bacteriology 05/2009; 191(13):4144-51. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) are hypervariable loci widely distributed in prokaryotes that provide acquired immunity against foreign genetic elements. Here, we characterize a novel Streptococcus thermophilus locus, CRISPR3, and experimentally demonstrate its ability to integrate novel spacers in response to bacteriophage. Also, we analyze CRISPR diversity and activity across three distinct CRISPR loci in several S. thermophilus strains. We show that both CRISPR repeats and cas genes are locus specific and functionally coupled. A total of 124 strains were studied, and 109 unique spacer arrangements were observed across the three CRISPR loci. Overall, 3,626 spacers were analyzed, including 2,829 for CRISPR1 (782 unique), 173 for CRISPR2 (16 unique), and 624 for CRISPR3 (154 unique). Sequence analysis of the spacers revealed homology and identity to phage sequences (77%), plasmid sequences (16%), and S. thermophilus chromosomal sequences (7%). Polymorphisms were observed for the CRISPR repeats, CRISPR spacers, cas genes, CRISPR motif, locus architecture, and specific sequence content. Interestingly, CRISPR loci evolved both via polarized addition of novel spacers after exposure to foreign genetic elements and via internal deletion of spacers. We hypothesize that the level of diversity is correlated with relative CRISPR activity and propose that the activity is highest for CRISPR1, followed by CRISPR3, while CRISPR2 may be degenerate. Globally, the dynamic nature of CRISPR loci might prove valuable for typing and comparative analyses of strains and microbial populations. Also, CRISPRs provide critical insights into the relationships between prokaryotes and their environments, notably the coevolution of host and viral genomes.
Journal of bacteriology 03/2008; 190(4):1401-12. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) are a distinctive feature of the genomes of most Bacteria and Archaea and are thought to be involved in resistance to bacteriophages. We found that, after viral challenge, bacteria integrated new spacers derived from phage genomic sequences. Removal or addition of particular spacers modified the phage-resistance phenotype of the cell. Thus, CRISPR, together with associated cas genes, provided resistance against phages, and resistance specificity is determined by spacer-phage sequence similarity.