Genomic diversity and evolution of the fish pathogen Flavobacterium psychrophilum

Eric Duchaud*, Tatiana Rochat, Christophe Habib, Paul Barbier, Valentin Loux, Cyprien Guerin, Inger Dalsgaard, Lone Madsen, Hanne Nilsen, Krister Sundell, Tom Wiklund, Nicole Strepparava, Thomas Wahli, Greta Caburlotto, Amedeo Manfrin, Gregory D. Wiens, Erina Fujiwara-Nagata, Ruben Avendano-Herrera, Jean-Francois Bernardet, Pierre Nicolas

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Abstract

    Flavobacterium psychrophilum, the etiological agent of rainbow trout fry syndrome and bacterial cold-water disease in salmonid fish, is currently one of the main bacterial pathogens hampering the productivity of salmonid farming worldwide. In this study, the genomic diversity of the F. psychrophilum species is analyzed using a set of 41 genomes, including 30 newly sequenced isolates. These were selected on the basis of available MLST data with the two-fold objective of maximizing the coverage of the species diversity and of allowing a focus on the main clonal complex (CC-ST10) infecting farmed rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) worldwide. The results reveal a bacterial species harboring a limited genomic diversity both in terms of nucleotide diversity, with similar to 0.3% nucleotide divergence inside CDSs in pairwise genome comparisons, and in terms of gene repertoire, with the core genome accounting for similar to 80% of the genes in each genome. The pan-genome seems nevertheless "open" according to the scaling exponent of a power-law fitted on the rate of new gene discovery when genomes are added one-by-one. Recombination is a key component of the evolutionary process of the species as seen in the high level of apparent homoplasy in the core genome. Using a Hidden Markov Model to delineate recombination tracts in pairs of closely related genomes, the average recombination tract length was estimated to similar to 4.0 Kbp and the typical ratio of the contributions of recombination and mutations to nucleotide-level differentiation (r/m) was estimated to similar to 13. Within CC-ST10, evolutionary distances computed on non-recombined regions and comparisons between 22 isolates sampled up to 27 years apart suggest a most recent common ancestor in the second half of the nineteenth century in North America with subsequent diversification and transmission of this clonal complex coinciding with the worldwide expansion of rainbow trout farming. With the goal to promote the development of tools for the genetic manipulation of F. psychrophilum, a particular attention was also paid to plasmids. Their extraction and sequencing to completion revealed plasmid diversity that remained hidden to classical plasmid profiling due to size similarities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number138
    JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
    Volume9
    Number of pages20
    ISSN1664-302X
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Keywords

    • Flavobacterium psychrophilum
    • Aquaculture
    • Fish-pathogenic bacteria
    • Comparative genomics
    • Clonal-complex
    • Homologus recombination

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