Rapidly evolving changes and gene loss associated with host switching in Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis

PLoS One. 2018 Nov 12;13(11):e0207304. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207304. eCollection 2018.


Phylogenomics and genome scale positive selection analyses were performed on 29 Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis genomes that were isolated from different hosts, including representatives of the Ovis and Equi biovars. A total of 27 genes were identified as undergoing adaptive changes. An analysis of the clades within this species and these biovars, the genes specific to each branch, and the genes responding to selective pressure show clear differences, indicating that adaptation and specialization is occurring in different clades. These changes are often correlated with the isolation host but could indicate responses to some undetermined factor in the respective niches. The fact that some of these more-rapidly evolving genes have homology to known virulence factors, antimicrobial resistance genes and drug targets shows that this type of analysis could be used to identify novel targets, and that these could be used as a way to control this pathogen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis* / genetics
  • Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis* / metabolism
  • Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis* / pathogenicity
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Virulence Factors* / genetics
  • Virulence Factors* / metabolism


  • Virulence Factors

Grant support

This work was supported by: Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (www.capes.gov.br), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (cnpq.br), and Pró-Reitoria de Pesquisa e Extensão of Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (www.ufmg.br/prpq). A.R. Wattam was supported in part by federal funds from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.