Sequence features contributing to chromosomal rearrangements in 'Neisseria gonorrhoeae'

Spencer-Smith, Russell, Varkey, Eldho, Fielder, Mark and Snyder, Lori (2012) Sequence features contributing to chromosomal rearrangements in 'Neisseria gonorrhoeae'. PLOS One, 7(9), e46023. ISSN (online) 1932-6203


Through whole genome sequence alignments, breakpoints in chromosomal synteny can be identified and the sequence features associated with these determined. Alignments of the genome sequences of 'Neisseria gonorrhoeae' strain FA1090, 'N.gonorrhoeae' strain NCCP11945, and 'N. gonorrhoeae' strain TCDC-NG08107 reveal chromosomal rearrangements that have occurred. Based on these alignments and dot plot pair-wise comparisons, the overall chromosomal arrangement of strain NCCP11945 and TCDC-NG08107 are very similar, with no large inversions or translocations. The insertion of the Gonococcal Genetic Island in strain NCCP11945 is the most prominent distinguishing feature differentiating these strains. When strain NCCP11945 is compared to strain FA1090, however, 14 breakpoints in chromosomal synteny are identified between these gonococcal strains. The majority of these, 11 of 14, are associated with a prophage, IS elements, or IS-like repeat enclosed elements which appear to have played a role in the rearrangements observed. Additional rearrangements of small regions of the genome are associated with pilin genes. Evidence presented here suggests that the rearrangements of blocks of sequence are mediated by activation of prophage and associated IS elements and reintegration elsewhere in the genome or by homologous recombination between IS-like elements that have generated inversions.

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