Genomic analysis of Bartonella identifies type IV secretion systems as host adaptability factors

Nat Genet. 2007 Dec;39(12):1469-76. doi: 10.1038/ng.2007.38. Epub 2007 Nov 25.


The bacterial genus Bartonella comprises 21 pathogens causing characteristic intraerythrocytic infections. Bartonella bacilliformis is a severe pathogen representing an ancestral lineage, whereas the other species are benign pathogens that evolved by radial speciation. Here, we have used comparative and functional genomics to infer pathogenicity genes specific to the radiating lineage, and we suggest that these genes may have facilitated adaptation to the host environment. We determined the complete genome sequence of Bartonella tribocorum by shotgun sequencing and functionally identified 97 pathogenicity genes by signature-tagged mutagenesis. Eighty-one pathogenicity genes belong to the core genome (1,097 genes) of the radiating lineage inferred from genome comparison of B. tribocorum, Bartonella henselae and Bartonella quintana. Sixty-six pathogenicity genes are present in B. bacilliformis, and one has been lost by deletion. The 14 pathogenicity genes specific for the radiating lineage encode two laterally acquired type IV secretion systems, suggesting that these systems have a role in host adaptability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bartonella / classification
  • Bartonella / genetics*
  • Bartonella / pathogenicity*
  • Bartonella Infections
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Genomics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Rats
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Virulence
  • Virulence Factors / genetics*


  • Virulence Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AM260524
  • GENBANK/AM260525
  • GENBANK/AM420307
  • GENBANK/AM420308
  • GENBANK/AM690314
  • GENBANK/AM690315
  • GENBANK/AM690316
  • GENBANK/AM690317
  • GENBANK/CP000524
  • RefSeq/NP_061663
  • RefSeq/NP_061671
  • RefSeq/NP_220495
  • RefSeq/NP_220676
  • RefSeq/NP_396095
  • RefSeq/NP_396102
  • RefSeq/NP_435955
  • RefSeq/NP_435962
  • RefSeq/NP_659884
  • RefSeq/YP_032622
  • RefSeq/YP_032629
  • RefSeq/YP_034053
  • RefSeq/YP_034060
  • RefSeq/YP_471641
  • RefSeq/YP_665955
  • RefSeq/YP_665963
  • RefSeq/ZP_01200716
  • RefSeq/ZP_01200724