Joyce E. Loper 1 , 2 , * , Karl A. Hassan 3 , Dmitri V. Mavrodi 4 , Edward W. Davis II 1 , Chee Kent Lim 3 , Brenda T. Shaffer 1 , Liam D. H. Elbourne 3 , Virginia O. Stockwell 2 , Sierra L. Hartney 2 , Katy Breakwell 3 , Marcella D. Henkels 1 , Sasha G. Tetu 3 , Lorena I. Rangel 2 , Teresa A. Kidarsa 1 , Neil L. Wilson 3 , Judith E. van de Mortel 5 , Chunxu Song 5 , Rachel Blumhagen 1 , Diana Radune 6 , Jessica B. Hostetler 6 , Lauren M. Brinkac 6 , A. Scott Durkin 6 , Daniel A. Kluepfel 7 , W. Patrick Wechter 8 , Anne J. Anderson 9 , Young Cheol Kim 10 , Leland S. Pierson III 11 , Elizabeth A. Pierson 12 , Steven E. Lindow 13 , Donald Y. Kobayashi 14 , Jos M. Raaijmakers 5 , David M. Weller 15 , Linda S. Thomashow 15 , Andrew E. Allen 16 , Ian T. Paulsen 3
5 July 2012
We provide here a comparative genome analysis of ten strains within the Pseudomonas fluorescens group including seven new genomic sequences. These strains exhibit a diverse spectrum of traits involved in biological control and other multitrophic interactions with plants, microbes, and insects. Multilocus sequence analysis placed the strains in three sub-clades, which was reinforced by high levels of synteny, size of core genomes, and relatedness of orthologous genes between strains within a sub-clade. The heterogeneity of the P. fluorescens group was reflected in the large size of its pan-genome, which makes up approximately 54% of the pan-genome of the genus as a whole, and a core genome representing only 45–52% of the genome of any individual strain. We discovered genes for traits that were not known previously in the strains, including genes for the biosynthesis of the siderophores achromobactin and pseudomonine and the antibiotic 2-hexyl-5-propyl-alkylresorcinol; novel bacteriocins; type II, III, and VI secretion systems; and insect toxins. Certain gene clusters, such as those for two type III secretion systems, are present only in specific sub-clades, suggesting vertical inheritance. Almost all of the genes associated with multitrophic interactions map to genomic regions present in only a subset of the strains or unique to a specific strain. To explore the evolutionary origin of these genes, we mapped their distributions relative to the locations of mobile genetic elements and repetitive extragenic palindromic (REP) elements in each genome. The mobile genetic elements and many strain-specific genes fall into regions devoid of REP elements (i.e., REP deserts) and regions displaying atypical tri-nucleotide composition, possibly indicating relatively recent acquisition of these loci. Collectively, the results of this study highlight the enormous heterogeneity of the P. fluorescens group and the importance of the variable genome in tailoring individual strains to their specific lifestyles and functional repertoire.
We sequenced the genomes of seven strains of the Pseudomonas fluorescens group that colonize plant surfaces and function as biological control agents, protecting plants from disease. In this study, we demonstrated the genomic diversity of the group by comparing these strains to each other and to three other strains that were sequenced previously. Only about half of the genes in each strain are present in all of the other strains, and each strain has hundreds of unique genes that are not present in the other genomes. We mapped the genes that contribute to biological control in each genome and found that most of the biological control genes are in the variable regions of the genome, which are not shared by all of the other strains. This finding is consistent with our knowledge of the distinctive biology of each strain. Finally, we looked for new genes that are likely to confer antimicrobial traits needed to suppress plant pathogens, but have not been identified previously. In each genome, we discovered many of these new genes, which provide avenues for future discovery of new traits with the potential to manage plant diseases in agriculture or natural ecosystems.