17 September 2015
Mycobacterium avium ( M. a.) subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP)—the etiologic agent of Johne’s disease—affects cattle, sheep, and other ruminants worldwide. To decipher phenotypic differences among sheep and cattle strains (belonging to MAP-S [Type-I/III], respectively, MAP-C [Type-II]), comparative genome analysis needs data from diverse isolates originating from different geographic regions of the world. This study presents the so far best assembled genome of a MAP-S-strain: Sheep isolate JIII-386 from Germany. One newly sequenced cattle isolate (JII-1961, Germany), four published MAP strains of MAP-C and MAP-S from the United States and Australia, and M. a. subsp. hominissuis (MAH) strain 104 were used for assembly improvement and comparisons. All genomes were annotated by BacProt and results compared with NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) annotation. Corresponding protein-coding sequences (CDSs) were detected, but also CDSs that were exclusively determined by either NCBI or BacProt. A new Shine–Dalgarno sequence motif (5′-AGCTGG-3′) was extracted. Novel CDSs including PE-PGRS family protein genes and about 80 noncoding RNAs exhibiting high sequence conservation are presented. Previously found genetic differences between MAP-types are partially revised. Four of ten assumed MAP-S-specific large sequence polymorphism regions (LSP S s) are still present in MAP-C strains; new LSP S s were identified. Independently of the regional origin of the strains, the number of individual CDSs and single nucleotide variants confirms the strong similarity of MAP-C strains and shows higher diversity among MAP-S strains. This study gives ambiguous results regarding the hypothesis that MAP-S is the evolutionary intermediate between MAH and MAP-C, but it clearly shows a higher similarity of MAP to MAH than to Mycobacterium intracellulare.