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Population genomics of Sinorhizobium medicae based on low-coverage sequencing of sympatric isolates

Abstract : We investigated the genomic diversity of a local population of the symbiotic bacterium Sinorhizobium medicae, isolated from the roots of wild Medicago lupulina plants, in order to assess genomic diversity, to identify genomic regions influenced by duplication, deletion or strong selection, and to explore the composition of the pan-genome. Partial genome sequences of 12 isolates were obtained by Roche 454 shotgun sequencing (average 5.3Mb per isolate) and compared with the published sequence of S. medicae WSM 419. Homologous recombination appears to have less impact on the polymorphism patterns of the chromosome than on the chromid pSMED01 and megaplasmid pSMED02. Moreover, pSMED02 is a hot spot of insertions and deletions. The whole chromosome is characterized by low sequence polymorphism, consistent with the high density of housekeeping genes. Similarly, the level of polymorphism of symbiosis genes (low) and of genes involved in polysaccharide synthesis (high) may reflect different selection. Finally, some isolates carry genes that may confer adaptations that S. medicae WSM 419 lacks, including homologues of genes encoding rhizobitoxine synthesis, iron uptake, response to autoinducer-2, and synthesis of distinct polysaccharides. The presence or absence of these genes was confirmed by PCR in each of these 12 isolates and a further 27 isolates from the same population. All isolates had rhizobitoxine genes, while the other genes were co-distributed, suggesting that they may be on the same mobile element. These results are discussed in relation to the ecology of Medicago symbionts and in the perspective of population genomics studies.
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Xavier Bailly, Elisa Giuntini, Connor M Sexton, Ryan Pj Lower, Peter W Harrison, et al.. Population genomics of Sinorhizobium medicae based on low-coverage sequencing of sympatric isolates. ISME Journal, Nature Publishing Group, 2011, 5 (11), pp.1722-1734. ⟨10.1038/ismej.2011.55⟩. ⟨hal-02652397⟩

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