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Ribosomal Multi-Operon Diversity: An Original Perspective on the Genus Aeromonas

Abstract : 16S rRNA gene (rrs) is considered of low taxonomic interest in the genus Aeromonas. Here, 195 Aeromonas strains belonging to populations structured by multilocus phylogeny were studied using an original approach that considered Ribosomal Multi-Operon Diversity. This approach associated pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to assess rrn operon number and distribution across the chromosome and PCR-temporal temperature gel electrophoresis (TTGE) to assess rrs V3 region heterogeneity. Aeromonads harbored 8 to 11 rrn operons, 10 operons being observed in more than 92% of the strains. Intraspecific variability was low or nul except for A. salmonicida and A. aquariorum suggesting that large chromosomic rearrangements might occur in these two species while being extremely rarely encountered in the evolution of other taxa. rrn operon number at 8 as well as PFGE patterns were shown valuable for taxonomic purpose allowing resolution of species complexes. PCR-TTGE revealed a high rate of strains (41.5%) displaying intragenomic rrs heterogeneity. Strains isolated from human samples more frequently displayed intragenomic heterogeneity than strains recovered from non-human and environmental specimens. Intraspecific variability ranged from 0 to 76.5% of the strains. The observation of species-specific TTGE bands, the recovery of identical V3 regions in different species and the variability of intragenomic heterogeneity (1\textendash13 divergent nucleotides) supported the occurrence of mutations and horizontal transfer in aeromonad rrs evolution. Altogether, the presence of a high number of rrn operon, the high proportion of strains harboring divergent rrs V3 region and the previously demonstrated high level of genetic diversity argued in favor of highly adaptative capabilities of aeromonads. Outstanding features observed for A. caviae supported the ongoing process of adaptation to a specialized niche represented by the gut, previously hypothesized. 16S rRNA gene is an informative marker in the genus Aeromonas for both evolutionary and polyphasic taxonomic studies provided that multi-operon fingerprinting approaches are used.
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F. Roger, B. Lamy, E. Jumas-Bilak, Angeli Kodjo, H. Marchandin, et al.. Ribosomal Multi-Operon Diversity: An Original Perspective on the Genus Aeromonas. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2012, 7 (9), pp.e46268. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0046268⟩. ⟨hal-02531842⟩

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