1887

Abstract

The bacterial genotoxin colibactin interferes with the eukaryotic cell cycle by causing dsDNA breaks. It has been linked to bacterially induced colorectal cancer in humans. Colibactin is encoded by a 54 kb genomic region in . The colibactin genes commonly co-occur with the yersiniabactin biosynthetic determinant. Investigating the prevalence and sequence diversity of the colibactin determinant and its linkage to the yersiniabactin operon in prokaryotic genomes, we discovered mainly species-specific lineages of the colibactin determinant and classified three main structural settings of the colibactin–yersiniabactin genomic region in . The colibactin gene cluster has a similar but not identical evolutionary track to that of the yersiniabactin operon. Both determinants could have been acquired on several occasions and/or exchanged independently between enterobacteria by horizontal gene transfer. Integrative and conjugative elements play(ed) a central role in the evolution and structural diversity of the colibactin–yersiniabactin genomic region. Addition of an activating and regulating module () to the biosynthesis and transport module () represents the most recent step in the evolution of the colibactin determinant. In a first attempt to correlate colibactin expression with individual lineages of colibactin determinants and different bacterial genetic backgrounds, we compared colibactin expression of selected enterobacterial isolates . Colibactin production in the tested species and strains was more homogeneous and generally higher than that in most of the isolates studied. Our results improve the understanding of the diversity of colibactin determinants and its expression level, and may contribute to risk assessment of colibactin-producing enterobacteria.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Award 281125614/GRK2220, A3)
    • Principle Award Recipient: UlrichDobrindt
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Award DO789/11-1)
    • Principle Award Recipient: UlrichDobrindt
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2021-06-15
2021-07-29
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