Analysis of nucleotide distribution in the genome of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) using the Z curve method

FEBS Lett. 2003 Apr 10;540(1-3):188-94. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(03)00263-1.


The nucleotide distribution of all 33,527 open reading frames (ORFs) (> or =300 bp) in the genome of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) has been analyzed using the Z curve method. Each ORF is mapped onto a point in a 9-dimensional space. To visualize the distribution of mapping points, the points are projected onto the principal plane based on principal component analysis. Consequently, the distribution pattern of the 33,527 points in the principal plane shows a flower-like shape, in which there are seven distinct regions. In addition to the central region, there are six petal-like regions around the center, one of which corresponds to 7172 coding sequences. The central region and the remaining five petal-like regions correspond to the intergenic sequences and out-of-frame non-coding ORFs, respectively. It is shown that selective pressure produces a remarkable bias of the G+C content among three codon positions, resulting in the interesting phenomenon observed. A similar phenomenon is also observed for other bacterial genomes with high genomic G+C content, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA01 (G+C = 66.6%). However, for the genomes of Bacillus subtilis (G+C = 43.5%) and Clostridium perfringens (G+C = 28.6%), no similar phenomenon was observed. The finding presented here may be useful to improve the gene-finding algorithms for genomes with high G+C content. A set of supplementary materials including the plots displaying the base distribution patterns of ORFs in 12 prokaryotes is provided on the website

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Nucleotides / metabolism*
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Streptomyces / genetics
  • Streptomyces / metabolism*


  • Nucleotides