1887

Abstract

possess a large linear chromosome (6–12 Mb) consisting of a conserved central region flanked by variable arms covering several megabases. In order to study the evolution of the chromosome across evolutionary times, a representative panel of strains and species (125) whose chromosomes are completely sequenced and assembled was selected. The pan-genome of the genus was modelled and shown to be open with a core-genome reaching 1018 genes. The evolution of chromosome was analysed by carrying out pairwise comparisons, and by monitoring indexes measuring the conservation of genes (presence/absence) and their synteny along the chromosome. Using the phylogenetic depth offered by the chosen panel, it was possible to infer that within the central region of the chromosome, the core-genes form a highly conserved organization, which can reveal the existence of an ancestral chromosomal skeleton. Conversely, the chromosomal arms, enriched in variable genes evolved faster than the central region under the combined effect of rearrangements and addition of new information from horizontal gene transfer. The genes hosted in these regions may be localized there because of the adaptive advantage that their rapid evolution may confer. We speculate that (i) within a bacterial population, the variability of these genes may contribute to the establishment of social characters by the production of ‘public goods’ (ii) at the evolutionary scale, this variability contributes to the diversification of the genetic pool of the bacteria.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Agence Nationale de la Recherche (Award ANR-11-LABX-0002-01)
    • Principle Award Recipient: PierreLeblond
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
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2021-03-22
2021-10-28
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