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Title: Metabolic Environments and Genomic Features Associated with Pathogenic and Mutualistic Interactions between Bacteria and Plants is accepted for publication in MPMI

Most bacterial symbionts of plants are phenotypically characterized by their parasitic or matualistic relationship with the host; however, the genomic characteristics that likely discriminate mutualistic symbionts from pathogens of plants are poorly understood. This study comparatively analyzed the genomes of 54 plant-symbiontic bacteria, 27 mutualists and 27 pathogens, to discover genomic determinants of their parasitic and mutualistic nature in terms of protein family domains, KEGG orthologous groups, metabolic pathways and families of carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes). We further used all bacteria with sequenced genomesl, published microarrays and transcriptomics experimental datasets, and literature to validate and to explore results of the comparison. The analysis revealed that genomes of mutualists are larger in size and higher in GC content and encode greater molecular, functional and metabolic diversity than the investigated genomes of pathogens. This enriched molecular and functional enzyme diversity included constructive biosynthetic signatures of CAZymes and metabolic pathways in genomes of mutualists compared with catabolic signatures dominant in the genomes of pathogens. Another discriminative characteristic of mutualists is the co-occurence of gene clusters required for the expression and function of nitrogenase and RuBisCO. Analysis of previously published experimental data indicate that nitrogen-fixing mutualists may employ Rubisco to fix CO2 not in themore » canonical Calvin-Benson-Basham cycle but in a novel metabolic pathway, here called Rubisco-based glycolysis , to increase efficiency of sugar utilization during the symbiosis with plants. An important discriminative characteristic of plant pathogenic bacteria is two groups of genes likely encoding effector proteins involved in host invasion and a genomic locus encoding a putative secretion system that includes a DUF1525 domain protein conserved in pathogens of plants and of other organisms. The protein belongs to the same clan of thioredoxins as the circadian clock protein kaiB found in many mutualistic symbionts and highly abundant in blood cells colonized by a human pathogen, Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi, the cause of typhoid fever.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. ORNL
  2. University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions; Journal Volume: 1; Journal Issue: 1
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
SC USDOE - Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States