Analysis of Streptococcus agalactiae pan-genome for prevalence, diversity and functionality of integrative and conjugative or mobilizable elements integrated in the tRNA(Lys CTT) gene

Mol Genet Genomics. 2015 Oct;290(5):1727-40. doi: 10.1007/s00438-015-1031-9. Epub 2015 Apr 2.


Streptococcus agalactiae is the first cause of invasive infections in human neonates and is also a major bovine and fish pathogen. High genomic diversity was observed in this species that hosts numerous mobile genetic elements, in particular elements transferable by conjugation. This works aims to evaluate the contribution of these elements to GBS genome diversity. Focusing on genomic islands integrated in the tRNA(Lys) (CTT) gene, a known hotspot of recombination, an extensive in silico search was performed on the sequenced genome of 303 strains of S. agalactiae isolated from different hosts. In all the isolates (except 9), whatever their origin (human, bovine, camel, dog, gray seal, dolphin, fish species or bullfrog), this locus carries highly diverse genomic islands transferable by conjugation such as integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs), integrative and mobilizable elements (IMEs), CIs-mobilizable elements (CIMEs) or composite elements. Transfer of an ICE from an ST67 bovine strain to a phylogenetically distant ST23 human isolate was obtained experimentally indicating that there was no barrier to ICE transfer between strains from different hosts. Interestingly, a novel family of putative IMEs that site-specifically integrate in the nic site of oriT of ICEs belonging to Tn916/ICESt3 superfamily was detected in silico. These elements carry an antibiotic resistance gene (lsa(C)) already described to confer cross-resistance to lincosamides, streptogramins A and pleuromutilins. Further work is needed to evaluate the impact of these IMEs on the transfer of targeted ICEs and the mobility and the dissemination of these IMEs.

Keywords: Accretion; Conjugative transfer; Genome plasticity; Integrative and conjugative elements; Integrative and mobilizable elements; Streptococcus agalactiae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Conjugation, Genetic*
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Transfer, Lys / genetics*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / genetics*


  • RNA, Transfer, Lys