Parallel evolution of genome structure and transcriptional landscape in the Epsilonproteobacteria

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Background: Gene reshuffling, point mutations and horizontal gene transfer contribute to bacterial genome variation, but require the genome to rewire its transcriptional circuitry to ensure that inserted, mutated or reshuffled genes are transcribed at appropriate levels. The genomes of Epsilonproteobacteria display very low synteny, due to high levels of reshuffling and reorganisation of gene order, but still share a significant number of gene orthologs allowing comparison. Here we present the primary transcriptome of the pathogenic Epsilonproteobacterium Campylobacter jejuni, and have used this for comparative and predictive transcriptomics in the Epsilonproteobacteria.Results: Differential RNA-sequencing using 454 sequencing technology was used to determine the primary transcriptome of C. jejuni NCTC 11168, which consists of 992 transcription start sites (TSS), which included 29 putative non-coding and stable RNAs, 266 intragenic (internal) TSS, and 206 antisense TSS. Several previously unknown features were identified in the C. jejuni transcriptional landscape, like leaderless mRNAs and potential leader peptides upstream of amino acid biosynthesis genes. A cross-species comparison of the primary transcriptomes of C. jejuni and the related Epsilonproteobacterium Helicobacter pylori highlighted a lack of conservation of operon organisation, position of intragenic and antisense promoters or leaderless mRNAs. Predictive comparisons using 40 other Epsilonproteobacterial genomes suggests that this lack of conservation of transcriptional features is common to all Epsilonproteobacterial genomes, and is associated with the absence of genome synteny in this subdivision of the Proteobacteria.Conclusions: Both the genomes and transcriptomes of Epsilonproteobacteria are highly variable, both at the genome level by combining and division of multicistronic operons, but also on the gene level by generation or deletion of promoter sequences and 5′ untranslated regions. Regulatory features may have evolved after these species split from a common ancestor, with transcriptome rewiring compensating for changes introduced by genomic reshuffling and horizontal gene transfer. © 2013 Porcelli et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Porcelli, I., Reuter, M., Pearson, B. M., Wilhelm, T., & van Vliet, A. H. M. (2013). Parallel evolution of genome structure and transcriptional landscape in the Epsilonproteobacteria. BMC Genomics, 14(1).

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