Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Comparative genomics of 84 Pectobacterium genomes reveals the variations related to a pathogenic lifestyle.

Abstract

Background: Pectobacterium spp. are necrotrophic bacterial plant pathogens of the family Pectobacteriaceae, responsible for a wide spectrum of diseases of important crops and ornamental plants including soft rot, blackleg, and stem wilt. P. carotovorum is a genetically heterogeneous species consisting of three valid subspecies, P. carotovorum subsp. brasiliense (Pcb), P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum (Pcc), and P. carotovorum subsp. odoriferum (Pco). Results: Thirty-two P. carotovorum strains had their whole genomes sequenced, including the first complete genome of Pco and another circular genome of Pcb, as well as the high-coverage genome sequences for 30 additional strains covering Pcc, Pcb, and Pco. In combination with 52 other publicly available genome sequences, the comparative genomics study of P. carotovorum and other four closely related species P. polaris, P. parmentieri, P. atrosepticum, and Candidatus P. maceratum was conducted focusing on CRISPR-Cas defense systems and pathogenicity determinants. Our analysis identified two CRISPR-Cas types (I-F and I-E) in Pectobacterium, as well as another I-C type in Dickeya that is not found in Pectobacterium. The core pathogenicity factors (e.g., plant cell wall-degrading enzymes) were highly conserved, whereas some factors (e.g., flagellin, siderophores, polysaccharides, protein secretion systems, and regulatory factors) were varied among these species and/or subspecies. Notably, a novel type of T6SS as well as the sorbitol metabolizing srl operon was identified to be specific to Pco in Pectobacterium. Conclusions: This study not only advances the available knowledge about the genetic differentiation of individual subspecies of P. carotovorum, but also delineates the general genetic features of P. carotovorum by comparison with its four closely related species, thereby substantially enriching the extent of information now available for functional genomic investigations about Pectobacterium.