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Partial Disruption of Translational and Posttranslational Machinery Reshapes Growth Rates of Bartonella birtlesii

Abstract : Specialization of bacteria in a new niche is associated with genome repertoire changes, and speciation in bacterial specialists is associated with genome reduction. Here, we tested a signature-tagged mutant library of 3,456 Bartonella birtlesii clones to detect mutants that could grow rapidly in vitro. Overall, we found 124 mutants that grew faster than the parental wild-type strain in vitro. We sequenced the genomes of the four mutants with the most rapid growth (formed visible colonies in only 1 to 2 days compared with 5 days for the wild type) and compared them to the parental isolate genome. We found that the number of disrupted genes associated with translation in the 124 rapid-growth clones was significantly higher than the number of genes involved in translation in the full genome (P < 10 6). Analysis of transposon integration in the genome of the four most rapidly growing clones revealed that one clone lacked one of the two wild-type RNA ribosomal operons. Finally, one of the four clones did not induce bacteremia in our mouse model, whereas infection with the other three resulted in a significantly lower bacterial count in blood than that with the wild-type strain. IMPORTANCE Here, we show that specialization in a specific niche could be caused by the disruption of critical genes. Most of these genes were involved in translation, and we show that evolution of obligate parasitism bacteria was specifically associated with disruption of translation system-encoding genes.
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Jean Marc Rolain, Muriel Vayssier-Tauss, Watcharee Saisongkorh, Vicky Merhej, Gregory Gimenez, et al.. Partial Disruption of Translational and Posttranslational Machinery Reshapes Growth Rates of Bartonella birtlesii. mBio, American Society for Microbiology, 2013, 4 (2), pp.e00115-13. ⟨10.1128/mBio.00115-13⟩. ⟨hal-01785782⟩

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