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Mosaic structure and molecular evolution of the leukotoxin operon (lktCABD) in Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica, Mannheimia glucosida, and Pasteurella trehalosi.


ABSTRACT: The mosaic structure and molecular evolution of the leukotoxin operon (lktCABD) was investigated by nucleotide sequence comparison of the lktC, lktB, and lktD genes in 23 Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica, 6 Mannheimia glucosida, and 4 Pasteurella trehalosi strains. Sequence variation in the lktA gene has been described previously (R. L. Davies et al., J. Bacteriol. 183:1394-1404, 2001). The leukotoxin operon of M. haemolytica has a complex mosaic structure and has been derived by extensive inter- and intraspecies horizontal DNA transfer and intragenic recombination events. However, the pattern of recombination varies throughout the operon and among the different evolutionary lineages of M. haemolytica. The lktA and lktB genes have the most complex mosaic structures with segments derived from up to four different sources, including M. glucosida and P. trehalosi. In contrast, the lktD gene is highly conserved in M. haemolytica. The lktC, lktA, and lktB genes of strains representing the major ovine lineages contain recombinant segments derived from bovine or bovine-like serotype A2 strains. These findings support the previous conclusion that host switching of bovine A2 strains from cattle to sheep has played a major role in the evolution of the leukotoxin operon in ovine strains of M. haemolytica. Homologous segments of donor and recipient alleles are identical, or nearly identical, indicating that the recombinational exchanges occurred relatively recent in evolutionary terms. The 5' and 3' ends of the operon are highly conserved in M. haemolytica, which suggests that multiple horizontal exchanges of the complete operon have occurred by a common mechanism such as transduction. Although the lktA and lktB genes both have complex mosaic structures and high nucleotide substitution rates, the amino acid diversity of LktB is significantly lower than that of LktA due to a higher degree of evolutionary constraint against amino acid replacement. The recombinational exchanges within the leukotoxin operon have had greatest effect on LktA and probably provide an adaptive advantage against the host antibody response by generating novel antigenic variation at surface-exposed sites.

SUBMITTER: Davies RL 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC134752 | BioStudies | 2002-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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