Burkholderia cenocepacia K56-2 belongs to the Burkholderia cepacia complex, a group of Gram-negative opportunistic pathogens that have large and dynamic genomes. In this work, we identified the essential genome of B. cenocepacia K56-2 using high-density transposon mutagenesis and insertion site sequencing (Tn-seq circle). We constructed a library of one million transposon mutants and identified the transposon insertions at an average of one insertion per 27 bp. The probability of gene essentiality was determined by comparing of the insertion density per gene with the variance of neutral datasets generated by Monte Carlo simulations. Five hundred and eight genes were not significantly disrupted, suggesting that these genes are essential for survival in rich, undefined medium. Comparison of the B. cenocepacia K56-2 essential genome with that of the closely related B. cenocepacia J2315 revealed partial overlapping, suggesting that some essential genes are strain-specific. Furthermore, 158 essential genes were conserved in B. cenocepacia and two species belonging to the Burkholderia pseudomallei complex, B. pseudomallei K96243 and Burkholderia thailandensis E264. Porins, including OpcC, a lysophospholipid transporter, LplT, and a protein involved in the modification of lipid A with aminoarabinose were found to be essential in Burkholderia genomes but not in other bacterial essential genomes identified so far. Our results highlight the existence of cell envelope processes that are uniquely essential in species of the genus Burkholderia for which the essential genomes have been identified by Tn-seq.
Keywords: Burkholderia; Tn-seq; antibiotic targets; cell envelope; essential genes; transposon mutagenesis.