Limited boundaries for extensive horizontal gene transfer among Salmonella pathogens

Eric W. Brown, Mark K. Mammel, J. Eugene LeClerc, Thomas A. Cebula

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38 Scopus citations


Recombination is thought to be rare within Salmonella, as evidenced by absence of gene transfer among SARC strains that represent the broad genetic diversity of the eight primary subspecies of this common facultative intracellular pathogen. We adopted a phylogenetic approach to assess recombination within the mutS gene of 70 SARB strains, a genetically homogeneous population of Salmonella enterica subspecies I strains, which have in common the ability to infect warm-blooded animals. We report here that SARB strains show evidence for widespread recombinational exchange in contrast to results obtained with strains exhibiting species-level genetic variation. Besides extensive allele shuffling, SARB strains showed notably larger recombinagenic patch sizes for mutS (at least ≈ 1.1 kb) than previously reported for S. enterica SARC strains. Explaining these experimental dichotomies provides important insight for understanding microbial evolution, because they suggest likely ecologic and genetic barriers that limit extensive gene transfer in the feral setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15676-15681
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 23 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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