Kill and cure: genomic phylogeny and bioactivity of a diverse collection of Burkholderia gladioli bacteria capable of pathogenic and beneficial lifestyles

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
C. JonesEshwar Mahenthiralingam


Burkholderia gladioli is one of few bacteria with a broad ecology spanning disease in humans, animals, and plants, and encompassing beneficial interactions with multiple eukaryotic hosts. It is a plant pathogen, a bongkrekic acid toxin producing food-poisoning agent, and a lung pathogen in people with cystic fibrosis (CF). Contrasting beneficial traits include antifungal production exploited by insects to protect their eggs, plant protective abilities and antibiotic biosynthesis. We explored the ecological diversity and specialized metabolite biosynthesis of 206 B. gladioli strains, phylogenomically defining 5 evolutionary clades. Historical disease pathovars (pv) B. gladioli pv. allicola and B. gladioli pv. cocovenenans were phylogenetically distinct, while B. gladioli pv. gladioli and B. gladioli pv. agaricicola were indistinguishable. Soft-rot disease and CF infection pathogenicity traits were conserved across all pathovars. Biosynthetic gene clusters for toxoflavin, caryoynencin and enacyloxin were dispersed across B. gladioli, but bongkrekic acid and gladiolin production were clade specific. Strikingly, 13% of CF-infection strains characterised (n=194) were bongkrekic acid toxin positive, uniquely linking this food-poisoni...Continue Reading

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