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      Genotyping, Orientalis-like Yersinia pestis, and Plague Pandemics

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          Abstract

          Two historical plague pandemics were likely caused by Orientalis-like strains of Yersinia pestis.

          Abstract

          Three pandemics have been attributed to plague in the last 1,500 years. Yersinia pestis caused the third, and its DNA was found in human remains from the second. The Antiqua biovar of Y. pestis may have caused the first pandemic; the other two biovars, Medievalis and Orientalis, may have caused the second and third pandemics, respectively. To test this hypothesis, we designed an original genotyping system based on intergenic spacer sequencing called multiple spacer typing (MST). We found that MST differentiated every biovar in a collection of 36 Y. pestis isolates representative of the three biovars. When MST was applied to dental pulp collected from remains of eight persons who likely died in the first and second pandemics, this system identified original sequences that matched those of Y. pestis Orientalis. These data indicate that Y. pestis caused cases of Justinian plague. The two historical plague pandemics were likely caused by Orientalis-like strains.

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          Most cited references26

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          The KEGG databases at GenomeNet.

          The Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) is the primary database resource of the Japanese GenomeNet service (http://www.genome.ad.jp/) for understanding higher order functional meanings and utilities of the cell or the organism from its genome information. KEGG consists of the PATHWAY database for the computerized knowledge on molecular interaction networks such as pathways and complexes, the GENES database for the information about genes and proteins generated by genome sequencing projects, and the LIGAND database for the information about chemical compounds and chemical reactions that are relevant to cellular processes. In addition to these three main databases, limited amounts of experimental data for microarray gene expression profiles and yeast two-hybrid systems are stored in the EXPRESSION and BRITE databases, respectively. Furthermore, a new database, named SSDB, is available for exploring the universe of all protein coding genes in the complete genomes and for identifying functional links and ortholog groups. The data objects in the KEGG databases are all represented as graphs and various computational methods are developed to detect graph features that can be related to biological functions. For example, the correlated clusters are graph similarities which can be used to predict a set of genes coding for a pathway or a complex, as summarized in the ortholog group tables, and the cliques in the SSDB graph are used to annotate genes. The KEGG databases are updated daily and made freely available (http://www.genome.ad.jp/kegg/).
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            Yersinia pestis--etiologic agent of plague.

            Plague is a widespread zoonotic disease that is caused by Yersinia pestis and has had devastating effects on the human population throughout history. Disappearance of the disease is unlikely due to the wide range of mammalian hosts and their attendant fleas. The flea/rodent life cycle of Y. pestis, a gram-negative obligate pathogen, exposes it to very different environmental conditions and has resulted in some novel traits facilitating transmission and infection. Studies characterizing virulence determinants of Y. pestis have identified novel mechanisms for overcoming host defenses. Regulatory systems controlling the expression of some of these virulence factors have proven quite complex. These areas of research have provide new insights into the host-parasite relationship. This review will update our present understanding of the history, etiology, epidemiology, clinical aspects, and public health issues of plague.
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              The genome sequence of Rickettsia prowazekii and the origin of mitochondria.

              We describe here the complete genome sequence (1,111,523 base pairs) of the obligate intracellular parasite Rickettsia prowazekii, the causative agent of epidemic typhus. This genome contains 834 protein-coding genes. The functional profiles of these genes show similarities to those of mitochondrial genes: no genes required for anaerobic glycolysis are found in either R. prowazekii or mitochondrial genomes, but a complete set of genes encoding components of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and the respiratory-chain complex is found in R. prowazekii. In effect, ATP production in Rickettsia is the same as that in mitochondria. Many genes involved in the biosynthesis and regulation of biosynthesis of amino acids and nucleosides in free-living bacteria are absent from R. prowazekii and mitochondria. Such genes seem to have been replaced by homologues in the nuclear (host) genome. The R. prowazekii genome contains the highest proportion of non-coding DNA (24%) detected so far in a microbial genome. Such non-coding sequences may be degraded remnants of 'neutralized' genes that await elimination from the genome. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that R. prowazekii is more closely related to mitochondria than is any other microbe studied so far.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Emerg Infect Dis
                Emerging Infect. Dis
                EID
                Emerging Infectious Diseases
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                1080-6040
                1080-6059
                September 2004
                : 10
                : 9
                : 1585-1592
                Affiliations
                [* ]Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France;
                []Université de Bordeaux 1, Talence, France;
                []Institut Pasteur, Paris, France;
                [§ ]Information Génomique et Structurale, Marseille, France;
                []Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Didier Raoult, Unité des Rickettsies, IFR 48, Faculté de Médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille – France; fax: 0-33-4-91-38-77-72; email: Didier.Raoult@ 123456medecine.univ-mrs.fr
                Article
                03-0933
                10.3201/eid1009.030933
                3320270
                15498160
                d09df5e2-3b1a-464a-9dac-7d9818bb8d07
                Categories
                Research
                Research

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                yersinia pestis,genotyping,historical plague,research
                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                yersinia pestis, genotyping, historical plague, research

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