[MARMAM] New publication on Brucella genetic variability in wildlife marine mammals populations

Gaby Hernandez gabbytica at gmail.com
Thu Aug 3 09:01:06 PDT 2017

On behalf of the authors, we are pleased to announce a new publication that
is available online in Genome Biology and Evolution detailing Brucella
genetic variability in wildlife marine mammals populations relates to host
preference and ocean distribution.

Suárez-Esquivel M, KS Baker, N. Ruiz- Villalobos, G. Hernández Mora, E.
Barquero-Calvo, R. González-Barrientos, A. Castillo-Zeledón, C.
Jiménez-Rojas, C. Chacón Díaz, A. Cloeckaert, E. Barquero-Calvo, N. R
Thomson, E. Moreno, C Guzmán-Verri. Brucella genetic variability in
wildlife marine mammals populations relates to host preference and ocean
distribution. Genome Biol Evol 2017 evx137. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evx137  or

ABSTRACT: Intracellular bacterial pathogens probably arose when their
ancestor adapted from a free-living environment to an intracellular one,
leading to clonal bacteria with smaller genomes and less sources of genetic
plasticity. Still, this plasticity is needed to respond to the challenges
posed by the host. Members of the Brucella genus are
facultative-extracellular intracellular bacteria responsible for causing
brucellosis in a variety of mammals. The various species keep different
host preference, virulence, and zoonotic potential despite having 97-99%
similarity at genome level. Here, we describe elements of genetic variation
in *B. ceti* isolated from wildlife dolphins inhabiting the Pacific Ocean
and the Mediterranean Sea. Comparison with isolates obtained from marine
mammals from the Atlantic Ocean and the broader Brucella genus showed
distinctive traits according to oceanic distribution and preferred host.
Marine mammal isolates display genetic variability, represented by an
important number of IS711 elements as well as specific IS711 and SNPs
genomic distribution clustering patterns. Extensive pseudogenization was
found among isolates from marine mammals as compared to terrestrial ones,
causing degradation in pathways related to energy, transport of metabolites
and regulation/transcription. *B. ceti* isolates infecting particularly
dolphin hosts, showed further degradation of metabolite transport pathways
as well as pathways related to cell wall/membrane/envelope biogenesis and
motility. Thus, gene loss through pseudogenization is a source of genetic
variation in *Brucella*, which in turn, relates to adaptation to different
hosts. This is relevant to understand the natural history of bacterial
diseases, their zoonotic potential and the impact of human interventions
such as domestication.

A pdf of this manuscript can be downloaded from the Genome Biology and
Evolution website: DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evx137 or requests for reprints can be
sent to gabbytica at gmail.com



Gabriela Hernández Mora

Bacteriology Area

National Service of Animal Health (SENASA)

Costa Rica
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