Pestoides F, an atypical Yersinia pestis strain from the former Soviet Union

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;603:17-22. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-72124-8_2.


Unlike the classical Yersinia pestis strains, members of an atypical group of Y. pestis from Central Asia, denominated Y. pestis subspecies caucasica (also known as one of several pestoides types), are distinguished by a number of characteristics including their ability to ferment rhamnose and melibiose, their lack of the small plasmid encoding the plasminogen activator (pla) and pesticin, and their exceptionally large variants of the virulence plasmid pMT (encoding murine toxin and capsular antigen). We have obtained the entire genome sequence of Y. pestis Pestoides F, an isolate from the former Soviet Union that has enabled us to carryout a comprehensive genome-wide comparison of this organism's genomic content against the six published sequences of Y. pestis and their Y. pseudotuberculosis ancestor. Based on classical glycerol fermentation (+ve) and nitrate reduction (+ve) Y. pestis Pestoides F is an isolate that belongs to the biovar antiqua. This strain is unusual in other characteristics such as the fact that it carries a non-consensus V antigen (lcrV) sequence, and that unlike other Pla(-) strains, Pestoides F retains virulence by the parenteral and aerosol routes. The chromosome of Pestoides F is 4,517,345 bp in size comprising some 3,936 predicted coding sequences, while its pCD and pMT plasmids are 71,507 bp and 137,010 bp in size respectively. Comparison of chromosome-associated genes in Pestoides F with those in the other sequenced Y. pestis strains reveals differences ranging from strain-specific rearrangements, insertions, deletions, single nucleotide polymorphisms, and a unique distribution of insertion sequences. There is a single approximately 7 kb unique region in the chromosome not found in any of the completed Y. pestis strains sequenced to date, but which is present in the Y. pseudotuberculosis ancestor. Taken together, these findings are consistent with Pestoides F being derived from the most ancient lineage of Y. pestis yet sequenced.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Species Specificity
  • USSR
  • Virulence / genetics
  • Yersinia pestis / classification*
  • Yersinia pestis / genetics
  • Yersinia pestis / isolation & purification*
  • Yersinia pestis / metabolism
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis / genetics


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • LcrV protein, Yersinia
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins