Background: The opportunistic enterobacterium, Morganella morganii, which can cause bacteraemia, is the ninth most prevalent cause of clinical infections in patients at Changhua Christian Hospital, Taiwan. The KT strain of M. morganii was isolated during postoperative care of a cancer patient with a gallbladder stone who developed sepsis caused by bacteraemia. M. morganii is sometimes encountered in nosocomial settings and has been causally linked to catheter-associated bacteriuria, complex infections of the urinary and/or hepatobiliary tracts, wound infection, and septicaemia. M. morganii infection is associated with a high mortality rate, although most patients respond well to appropriate antibiotic therapy. To obtain insights into the genome biology of M. morganii and the mechanisms underlying its pathogenicity, we used Illumina technology to sequence the genome of the KT strain and compared its sequence with the genome sequences of related bacteria.
Results: The 3,826,919-bp sequence contained in 58 contigs has a GC content of 51.15% and includes 3,565 protein-coding sequences, 72 tRNA genes, and 10 rRNA genes. The pathogenicity-related genes encode determinants of drug resistance, fimbrial adhesins, an IgA protease, haemolysins, ureases, and insecticidal and apoptotic toxins as well as proteins found in flagellae, the iron acquisition system, a type-3 secretion system (T3SS), and several two-component systems. Comparison with 14 genome sequences from other members of Enterobacteriaceae revealed different degrees of similarity to several systems found in M. morganii. The most striking similarities were found in the IS4 family of transposases, insecticidal toxins, T3SS components, and proteins required for ethanolamine use (eut operon) and cobalamin (vitamin B12) biosynthesis. The eut operon and the gene cluster for cobalamin biosynthesis are not present in the other Proteeae genomes analysed. Moreover, organisation of the 19 genes of the eut operon differs from that found in the other non-Proteeae enterobacterial genomes.
Conclusions: This is the first genome sequence of M. morganii, which is a clinically relevant pathogen. Comparative genome analysis revealed several pathogenicity-related genes and novel genes not found in the genomes of other members of Proteeae. Thus, the genome sequence of M. morganii provides important information concerning virulence and determinants of fitness in this pathogen.