Is a robust phylogeny of the enterobacterial plant pathogens attainable?

Marianna Naum, Eric W. Brown, Roberta J. Mason-Gamer

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7 Scopus citations


Sequences from gapA, gyrA and ompA were used to evaluate the relationships of the enterobacterial plant pathogens, and assess whether a robust phylogeny can be ascertained using this group of housekeeping genes. Up to 48 taxa were included in a combined phylogenetic analysis to explore the evolutionary distribution of plant pathogenic species across the family Enterobacteriaceae. Phylogenies were reconstructed from gapA, gyrA and ompA gene sequences using maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood algorithms, and phylogenetic congruence was evaluated by the incongruence length difference test and the partition addition bootstrap alteration approach. The resulting gene trees were found to be incongruent, with gapA supporting a monophyletic origin for the plant pathogenic species. In contrast, gyrA and ompA supported multiple polyphyletic origins of Erwinia, Brenneria, Pectobacterium and Pantoea in conjunction with a previously published 16S rDNA phylogeny. However, none of the trees (not even the published 16S rDNA gene tree) supports the current taxonomic classification of these genera into four clades, with Pantoea forming the only monophyletic group in the gapA, gyrA and 16S rDNA trees. Finally, the gapA, gyrA and previously published 16S rDNA phylogenies differ in the taxonomic placement of several bacterial strains which are separated in the three trees. The observed incongruence among the four gene histories is likely to be the result of horizontal transfer events, confounding the search for a robust set of housekeeping genes with a shared evolutionary history that could be used to confidently characterize the relationships of the plant pathogenic enterobacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-93
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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