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Heterogeneic dynamics of the structures of multiple gene clusters in two pathogenetically different lines originating from the same phytoplasma

, : Heterogeneic dynamics of the structures of multiple gene clusters in two pathogenetically different lines originating from the same phytoplasma. Dna and Cell Biology 27(4): 209-217

Phytoplasmas are phloem-limited plant pathogens that are transmitted by insect vectors and are associated with diseases in hundreds of plant species. Despite their small sizes, phytoplasma genomes have repeat-rich sequences, which are due to several genes that are encoded as multiple copies. These multiple genes exist in a gene cluster, the potential mobile unit (PMU). PMUs are present at several distinct regions in the phytoplasma genome. The multicopy genes encoded by PMUs (herein named mobile unit genes [MUGs]) and similar genes elsewhere in the genome (herein named fundamental genes [FUGs]) are likely to have the same function based on their annotations. In this manuscript we show evidence that MUGs and FUGs do not cluster together within the same clade. Each MUG is in a cluster with a short branch length, suggesting that MUGs are recently diverged paralogs, whereas the origin of FUGs is different from that of MUGs. We also compared the genome structures around the lplA gene in two derivative lines of the 'Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris' OY strain, the severe-symptom line W (OY-W) and the mild-symptom line M (OY-M). The gene organizations of the nucleotide sequences upstream of the lplA genes of OY-W and OY-M were dramatically different. The tra5 insertion sequence, an element of PMUs, was found only in this region in OY-W. These results suggest that transposition of entire PMUs and PMU sections has occurred frequently in the OY phytoplasma genome. The difference in the pathogenicities of OY-W and OY-M might be caused by the duplication and transposition of PMUs, followed by genome rearrangement.


PMID: 18163879

DOI: 10.1089/dna.2007.0654

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