Host-Pathogen O-Methyltransferase Similarity and Its Specific Presence in Highly Virulent Strains of Francisella tularensis Suggests Molecular MimicryReport as inadecuate




Host-Pathogen O-Methyltransferase Similarity and Its Specific Presence in Highly Virulent Strains of Francisella tularensis Suggests Molecular Mimicry - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

Whole genome comparative studies of many bacterial pathogens have shown an overall high similarity of gene content >95% between phylogenetically distinct subspecies. In highly clonal species that share the bulk of their genomes subtle changes in gene content and small-scale polymorphisms, especially those that may alter gene expression and protein-protein interactions, are more likely to have a significant effect on the pathogen-s biology. In order to better understand molecular attributes that may mediate the adaptation of virulence in infectious bacteria, a comparative study was done to further analyze the evolution of a gene encoding an o-methyltransferase that was previously identified as a candidate virulence factor due to its conservation specifically in highly pathogenic Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis strains. The o-methyltransferase gene is located in the genomic neighborhood of a known pathogenicity island and predicted site of rearrangement. Distinct o-methyltransferase subtypes are present in different Francisella tularensis subspecies. Related protein families were identified in several host species as well as species of pathogenic bacteria that are otherwise very distant phylogenetically from Francisella, including species of Mycobacterium. A conserved sequence motif profile is present in the mammalian host and pathogen protein sequences, and sites of non-synonymous variation conserved in Francisella subspecies specific o-methyltransferases map proximally to the predicted active site of the orthologous human protein structure. Altogether, evidence suggests a role of the F. t. subsp. tularensis protein in a mechanism of molecular mimicry, similar perhaps to Legionella and Coxiella. These findings therefore provide insights into the evolution of niche-restriction and virulence in Francisella, and have broader implications regarding the molecular mechanisms that mediate host-pathogen relationships.



Author: Mia D. Champion

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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