Background: The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is an endangered species well-known for ingesting bamboo as a major part of their diet despite the fact that it belongs to order Carnivora. However, the giant panda's draft genome shows no direct evidence of enzymatic genes responsible for cellulose digestion. To explore this phenomenon, we study the giant panda's gut microbiota using genomic approaches in order to better understand their physiological processes as well as any potential microbial cellulose digestion processes.
Results: A complete genome of isolated Klebsiella oxytoca HKOPL1 of 5.9 Mb has been successfully sequenced, closed and comprehensively annotated against various databases. Genome comparisons within the Klebsiella genus and K. oxytoca species have also been performed. A total of 5,772 genes were predicted, and among them, 211 potential virulence genes, 35 pathogenicity island-like regions, 1,615 potential horizontal transferring genes, 23 potential antibiotics resistant genes, a potential prophage integrated region, 8 genes in 2,3-Butanediol production pathway and 3 genes in the cellulose degradation pathway could be identified and discussed based on the comparative genomic studies between the complete genome sequence of K. oxytoca HKOPL1 and other Klebsiella strains. A functional study shows that K. oxytoca HKOPL1 can degrade cellulose within 72 hours. Phylogenomic studies indicate that K. oxytoca HKOPL1 is clustered with K. oxytoca strains 1686 and E718.
Conclusions: K. oxytoca HKOPL1 is a gram-negative bacterium able to degrade cellulose. We report here the first complete genome sequence of K. oxytoca isolated from giant panda feces. These studies have provided further insight into the role of gut microbiota in giant panda digestive physiology. In addition, K. oxytoca HKOPL1 has the potential for biofuel application in terms of cellulose degradation and potential for the production of 2,3-Butanediol (an important industrial raw material).