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Sanchez-Herrero, J. F., Bernabeu, M., Prieto, A., Hüttener, M., Juárez, A., (2020). Gene duplications in the genomes of staphylococci and enterococci Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences 7, 160

Gene duplications are a feature of bacterial genomes. In the present work we analyze the extent of gene duplications in the genomes of three microorganisms that belong to the Firmicutes phylum and that are etiologic agents of several nosocomial infections: Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, and Enterococcus faecalis. In all three groups, there is an irregular distribution of duplications in the genomes of the strains analyzed. Whereas in some of the strains duplications are scarce, hundreds of duplications are present in others. In all three species, mobile DNA accounts for a large percentage of the duplicated genes: phage DNA in S. aureus, and plasmid DNA in the enterococci. Duplicates also include core genes. In all three species, a reduced group of genes is duplicated in all strains analyzed. Duplication of the deoC and rpmG genes is a hallmark of S. aureus genomes. Duplication of the gene encoding the PTS IIB subunit is detected in all enterococci genomes. In E. faecalis it is remarkable that the genomes of some strains encode duplicates of the prgB and prgU genes. They belong to the prgABCU cluster, which responds to the presence of the peptide pheromone cCF10 by expressing the surface adhesins PrgA, PrgB, and PrgC.

Keywords: Bacterial genomics, Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Gene duplication, Staphylococcus aureus


Bernabeu, M., Sánchez-Herrero, J. F., Huedo, P., Prieto, A., Hüttener, M., Rozas, J., Juárez, A., (2019). Gene duplications in the E. coli genome: Common themes among pathotypes BMC Genomics 20, (1), 313

Background: Gene duplication underlies a significant proportion of gene functional diversity and genome complexity in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Although several reports in the literature described the duplication of specific genes in E. coli, a detailed analysis of the extent of gene duplications in this microorganism is needed. Results: The genomes of the E. coli enteroaggregative strain 042 and other pathogenic strains contain duplications of the gene that codes for the global regulator Hha. To determine whether the presence of additional copies of the hha gene correlates with the presence of other genes, we performed a comparative genomic analysis between E. coli strains with and without hha duplications. The results showed that strains harboring additional copies of the hha gene also encode the yeeR irmA (aec69) gene cluster, which, in turn, is also duplicated in strain 042 and several other strains. The identification of these duplications prompted us to obtain a global map of gene duplications, first in strain 042 and later in other E. coli genomes. Duplications in the genomes of the enteroaggregative strain 042, the uropathogenic strain CFT073 and the enterohemorrhagic strain O145:H28 have been identified by a BLASTp protein similarity search. This algorithm was also used to evaluate the distribution of the identified duplicates among the genomes of a set of 28 representative E. coli strains. Despite the high genomic diversity of E. coli strains, we identified several duplicates in the genomes of almost all studied pathogenic strains. Most duplicated genes have no known function. Transcriptomic analysis also showed that most of these duplications are regulated by the H-NS/Hha proteins. Conclusions: Several duplicated genes are widely distributed among pathogenic E. coli strains. In addition, some duplicated genes are present only in specific pathotypes, and others are strain specific. This gene duplication analysis shows novel relationships between E. coli pathotypes and suggests that newly identified genes that are duplicated in a high percentage of pathogenic E. coli isolates may play a role in virulence. Our study also shows a relationship between the duplication of genes encoding regulators and genes encoding their targets.

Keywords: Escherichia coli 042, Gene duplication, H-NS, Hha, Pathotypes