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Phylogenomic analysis reveals the basis of adaptation of Pseudorhizobium species to extreme environments

By Florent Lasalle, Seyed M. M. Dastgheib, Fang-Jie Zhao, Jun Zhang, Susanne Verbarg, Anja Frühling, Henner Brinkmann, Thomas H. Osborne, Johannes Sikorski, Francois Balloux, Xavier Didelot, Joanne M. Santini, Jörn Petersen

Posted 02 Jul 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/690347

The family Rhizobiaceae includes many genera of soil bacteria, often isolated for their association with plants. Herein, we investigate the genomic diversity of a group of Rhizobium species and unclassified strains isolated from atypical environments, including seawater, rock matrix or polluted soil. Based on whole-genome similarity and core genome phylogeny, we show that this group corresponds to the genus Pseudorhizobium. We thus reclassify Rhizobium halotolerans, R. marinum, R. flavum and R. endolithicum as P. halotolerans comb. nov., P. marinum comb. nov. , P. flavum comb. nov. and R. endolithicum comb. nov., respectively, and show that P. pelagicum is a synonym of P. marinum . We also delineate a new chemolithoautotroph species, P. banfieldiae sp. nov., whose type strain is NT-26T (= DSM 106348T = CFBP 8663T). This genome-based classification was supported by a chemotaxonomic comparison, with gradual taxonomic resolution provided by fatty acid, protein and metabolic profiles. In addition, we used a phylogenetic approach to infer scenarios of duplication, horizontal transfer and loss for all genes in the Pseudorhizobium pangenome. We thus identify the key functions associated with the diversification of each species and higher clades, shedding light on the mechanisms of adaptation to their respective ecological niches. Respiratory proteins acquired at the origin of Pseudorhizobium are combined with clade-specific genes to encode different strategies for detoxification and nutrition in harsh, nutrient-poor environments. Finally, we predict diagnostic phenotypes for the distinction of P. banfieldiae from other Pseudorhizobium species, including autotrophy and sensitivity to the azo dye Congo Red, which we experimentally validated. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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