Mar 26, 2015

High Recombinant Frequency in Extraintestinal Pathogenic Escherichia coli Strains

Molecular Biology and Evolution
Jeronimo Rodriguez-BeltranJesús Blázquez


Homologous recombination promotes genetic diversity by facilitating the integration of foreign DNA and intrachromosomal gene shuffling. It has been hypothesized that if recombination is variable among strains, selection should favor higher recombination rates among pathogens, as they face additional selection pressures from host defenses. To test this hypothesis we have developed a plasmid-based method for estimating the rate of recombination independently of other factors such as DNA transfer, selective processes, and mutational interference. Our results with 160 human commensal and extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) isolates show that the recombinant frequencies are extremely diverse (ranging 9 orders of magnitude) and plastic (they are profoundly affected by growth in urine, a condition commonly encountered by ExPEC). We find that the frequency of recombination is biased by strain lifestyle, as ExPEC isolates display strikingly higher recombination rates than their commensal counterparts. Furthermore, the presence of virulence factors is positively associated with higher recombination frequencies. These results suggest selection for high homologous recombination capacity, which may result in a higher evolvab...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Alkalescens-Dispar Group
Pathogenic Organism
Intrachromosomal DNA Recombination
Recombination, Genetic
Homologous Recombination
Genes, Bacterial
Commensal parasite

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