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Integrative conjugative elements are widespread in field isolates of mycoplasma species pathogenic for ruminants

Abstract : Comparative genomics have revealed massive horizontal gene transfer (HGT) between Mycoplasma species sharing common ruminant hosts. Further results pointed toward an integrative conjugative element (ICE) as an important contributor of HGT in the small-ruminant-pathogen Mycoplasma agalactiae. To estimate the prevalence of ICEs in ruminant mycoplasmas, we surveyed their occurrence in a collection of 166 field strains representing 4 (sub) species that are recognized as major pathogens. Based on available sequenced genomes, we first defined the conserved, minimal ICE backbone as composed of 4 coding sequences (CDSs) that are evenly distributed and predicted to be essential for ICE chromosomal integration-excision and horizontal transfer. Screening of the strain collection revealed that these 4 CDSs are well represented in ruminant Mycoplasma species, suggesting widespread occurrence of ICEs. Yet their prevalence varies within and among species, with no correlation found with the individual strain history. Extrachromosomal ICE forms were also often detected, suggesting that ICEs are able to circularize in all species, a first and essential step in ICE horizontal transfer. Examination of the junction of the circular forms and comparative sequence analysis of conserved CDSs clearly pointed toward two types of ICE, the hominis and spiroplasma types, most likely differing in their mechanism of excision-integration. Overall, our data indicate the occurrence and maintenance of functional ICEs in a large number of field isolates of ruminant mycoplasmas. These may contribute to genome plasticity and gene exchanges and, presumably, to the emergence of diverse genotypes within pathogenic mycoplasmas of veterinary importance.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 10:14:42 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 2:22:00 PM

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Florence Tardy, Virginie Mick, Emilie Dordet Frisoni, Marc Serge Marenda, Pascal Sirand-Pugnet, et al.. Integrative conjugative elements are widespread in field isolates of mycoplasma species pathogenic for ruminants. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, 2015, 81 (5), pp.1634-1643. ⟨10.1128/AEM.03723-14⟩. ⟨hal-02632194⟩

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