The complete genome sequence of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis IP31758, the causative agent of Far East scarlet-like fever

PLoS Genet. 2007 Aug;3(8):e142. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0030142. Epub 2007 Jul 10.


The first reported Far East scarlet-like fever (FESLF) epidemic swept the Pacific coastal region of Russia in the late 1950s. Symptoms of the severe infection included erythematous skin rash and desquamation, exanthema, hyperhemic tongue, and a toxic shock syndrome. The term FESLF was coined for the infection because it shares clinical presentations with scarlet fever caused by group A streptococci. The causative agent was later identified as Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, although the range of morbidities was vastly different from classical pseudotuberculosis symptoms. To understand the origin and emergence of the peculiar clinical features of FESLF, we have sequenced the genome of the FESLF-causing strain Y. pseudotuberculosis IP31758 and compared it with that of another Y. pseudotuberculosis strain, IP32953, which causes classical gastrointestinal symptoms. The unique gene pool of Y pseudotuberculosis IP31758 accounts for more than 260 strain-specific genes and introduces individual physiological capabilities and virulence determinants, with a significant proportion horizontally acquired that likely originated from Enterobacteriaceae and other soil-dwelling bacteria that persist in the same ecological niche. The mobile genome pool includes two novel plasmids phylogenetically unrelated to all currently reported Yersinia plasmids. An icm/dot type IVB secretion system, shared only with the intracellular persisting pathogens of the order Legionellales, was found on the larger plasmid and could contribute to scarlatinoid fever symptoms in patients due to the introduction of immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive capabilities. We determined the common and unique traits resulting from genome evolution and speciation within the genus Yersinia and drew a more accurate species border between Y. pseudotuberculosis and Y. pestis. In contrast to the lack of genetic diversity observed in the evolutionary young descending Y. pestis lineage, the population genetics of Y. pseudotuberculosis is more heterogenous. Both Y. pseudotuberculosis strains IP31758 and the previously sequenced Y. pseudotuberculosis strain IP32953 have evolved by the acquisition of specific plasmids and by the horizontal acquisition and incorporation of different genetic information into the chromosome, which all together or independently seems to potentially impact the phenotypic adaptation of these two strains.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / genetics
  • Gene Silencing
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Genome, Fungal*
  • Genomic Islands
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mycotoxins / chemistry
  • Mycotoxins / genetics
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Scarlet Fever / genetics
  • Scarlet Fever / microbiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Superantigens / chemistry
  • Superantigens / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / genetics
  • Yersinia pestis / chemistry
  • Yersinia pestis / genetics
  • Yersinia pestis / metabolism
  • Yersinia pestis / pathogenicity
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis / chemistry
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis / genetics*
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis / metabolism
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis / pathogenicity*
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Infections / genetics
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Infections / microbiology*


  • Mycotoxins
  • Superantigens
  • Virulence Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/CP000718
  • GENBANK/CP000719
  • GENBANK/CP000720