Title: Comparison of Clostridium botulinum genomes shows the absence of cold shock protein coding genes in type E neurotoxin producing strains

Authors: Henna Söderholm; Kaisa Jaakkola; Panu Somervuo; Pia Laine; Petri Auvinen; Lars Paulin; Miia Lindström; Hannu Korkeala

Addresses: Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 66, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ' Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 66, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ' Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 56, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ' Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 56, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ' Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 56, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ' Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 56, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ' Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 66, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ' Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 66, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland

Abstract: To collect specific information about the genetic mechanisms that Clostridium botulinum strains utilise when adapting to changing environments, 16 C. botulinum genomes were analysed with comparative genome sequence analysis. Particular attention was paid to low temperature adaptation and the presence of cold shock protein coding genes in these genomes was evaluated. Surprisingly, unlike any other studied strains, the type E neurotoxin-producing strains lacked these extremely conserved genes. This finding suggests unique mechanisms for the cold tolerance of these strains and offers a new perspective into the investigations concerning this subject. The sizes of the pangenome and core genome of a certain bacterial species are considered to reflect the versatility of the species. While the pangenome of C. botulinum was very large, the core genome appeared strikingly small, both findings highlighting the great diversity of C. botulinum strains.

Keywords: Clostridium botulinum; neurotoxins; pangenome; core genome; genomic comparison; comparative genomics; functional studies; orthologous genes; cold shock protein; CSP coding genes; cold tolerance mechanism; food safety; botulism; genome sequences.

DOI: 10.1504/TBJ.2013.055662

The Botulinum Journal, 2013 Vol.2 No.3/4, pp.189 - 207

Available online: 03 Aug 2013 *

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