Background: Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense is a broad host range bacterial pathogen, which causes blackleg of potatoes and bacterial soft rot of vegetables worldwide. Production of plant cell wall degrading enzymes is usually critical for Pectobacterium infection. However, other virulence factors and the mechanisms of genetic adaptation still need to be studied in detail.
Results: In this study, the complete genome of P. carotovorum subsp. brasiliense strain SX309 isolated from cucumber was compared with eight other pathogenic bacteria belonging to the Pectobacterium genus, which were isolated from various host plants. Genome comparison revealed that most virulence genes are highly conserved in the Pectobacterium strains, especially for the key virulence determinants involved in the biosynthesis of extracellular enzymes and others including the type II and III secretion systems, quorum sensing system, flagellar and chemotactic genes. Nevertheless, some variable regions of the T6SS and the CRISP-Cas immune system are unique for P. carotovorum subsp. brasiliense.
Conclusions: The extensive comparative genomics analysis revealed highly conserved virulence genes in the Pectobacterium strains. However, several variable regions of type VI secretion system and two subtype Cas mechanism-Cas immune systems possibly contribute to the process of Pectobacterium infection and adaptive immunity.
Keywords: Comparative genomic analysis; Host genetic adaptation; Pathogenicity; Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense.