Taxonomic classification of strain PO100/5 shows a broader geographic distribution and genetic markers of the recently described Corynebacterium silvaticum

PLoS One. 2020 Dec 21;15(12):e0244210. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244210. eCollection 2020.


The bacterial strain PO100/5 was isolated from a skin abscess taken from a pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) in the Alentejo region of southern Portugal. It was identified as Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis using biochemical tests, multiplex PCR and Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis. After genome sequencing and rpoB phylogeny, the strain was classified as C. ulcerans. To better understand the taxonomy of this strain and improve identification methods, we compared strain PO100/5 to other publicly available genomes from C. diphtheriae group. Taxonomic analysis reclassified it and three others strains as the recently described C. silvaticum, which have been isolated from wild boar and roe deer in Germany and Austria. The results showed that PO100/5 is the first sequenced genome of a C. silvaticum strain from livestock and a different geographical region, has the unique sequence type ST709, and could be could produce the diphtheriae toxin, along with strain 05-13. Genomic analysis of PO100/5 showed four prophages, and eight conserved genomic islands in comparison to C. ulcerans. Pangenome analysis of 38 C. silvaticum and 76 C. ulcerans genomes suggested that C. silvaticum is a genetically homogeneous species, with 73.6% of its genes conserved and a pangenome near to be closed (α > 0.952). There are 172 genes that are unique to C. silvaticum in comparison to C. ulcerans. Most of these conserved genes are related to nutrient uptake and metabolism, prophages or immunity against them, and could be genetic markers for species identification. Strains PO100/5 (livestock) and KL0182T (wild boar) were predicted to be potential human pathogens. This information may be useful for identification and surveillance of this pathogen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Corynebacterium / classification
  • Corynebacterium / genetics*
  • Corynebacterium / metabolism
  • Ecosystem*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Phylogeny*
  • Phylogeography
  • Polymorphism, Genetic


  • Genetic Markers