Comparative genome analysis of Bacillus cereus group genomes with Bacillus subtilis.

Anderson I, Sorokin A, Kapatral V, Reznik G, Bhattacharya A, Mikhailova N, Burd H, Joukov V, Kaznadzey D, Walunas T, Markd'Souza, Larsen N, Pusch G, Liolios K, Grechkin Y, Lapidus A, Goltsman E, Chu L, Fonstein M, Ehrlich SD, Overbeek R, Kyrpides N, Ivanova N.

Genome features of the Bacillus cereus group genomes (representative strains of Bacillus cereus, Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus thuringiensis sub spp. israelensis) were analyzed and compared with the Bacillus subtilis genome. A core set of 1381 protein families among the four Bacillus genomes, with an additional set of 933 families common to the B. cereus group, was identified. Differences in signal transduction pathways, membrane transporters, cell surface structures, cell wall, and S-layer proteins suggesting differences in their phenotype were identified. The B. cereus group has signal transduction systems including a tyrosine kinase related to two-component system histidine kinases from B. subtilis. A model for regulation of the stress responsive sigma factor sigmaB in the B. cereus group different from the well studied regulation in B. subtilis has been proposed. Despite a high degree of chromosomal synteny among these genomes, significant differences in cell wall and spore coat proteins that contribute to the survival and adaptation in specific hosts has been identified.

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2005 Sep 15;250(2):175-84.

The Wolbachia genome of Brugia malayi: endosymbiont evolution within a human pathogenic nematode.

Foster J, Ganatra M, Kamal I, Ware J, Makarova K, Ivanova N, Bhattacharyya A, Kapatral V, Kumar S, Posfai J, Vincze T, Ingram J, Moran L, Lapidus A, Omelchenko M, Kyrpides N, Ghedin E, Wang S, Goltsman E, Joukov V, Ostrovskaya O, Tsukerman K, Mazur M, Comb D, Koonin E, Slatko B.

Complete genome DNA sequence and analysis is presented for Wolbachia, the obligate alpha-proteobacterial endosymbiont required for fertility and survival of the human filarial parasitic nematode Brugia malayi. Although, quantitatively, the genome is even more degraded than those of closely related Rickettsia species, Wolbachia has retained more intact metabolic pathways. The ability to provide riboflavin, flavin adenine dinucleotide, heme, and nucleotides is likely to be Wolbachia's principal contribution to the mutualistic relationship, whereas the host nematode likely supplies amino acids required for Wolbachia growth. Genome comparison of the Wolbachia endosymbiont of B. malayi (wBm) with the Wolbachia endosymbiont of Drosophila melanogaster (wMel) shows that they share similar metabolic trends, although their genomes show a high degree of genome shuffling. In contrast to wMel, wBm contains no prophage and has a reduced level of repeated DNA. Both Wolbachia have lost a considerable number of membrane biogenesis genes that apparently make them unable to synthesize lipid A, the usual component of proteobacterial membranes. However, differences in their peptidoglycan structures may reflect the mutualistic lifestyle of wBm in contrast to the parasitic lifestyle of wMel. The smaller genome size of wBm, relative to wMel, may reflect the loss of genes required for infecting host cells and avoiding host defense systems. Analysis of this first sequenced endosymbiont genome from a filarial nematode provides insight into endosymbiont evolution and additionally provides new potential targets for elimination of cutaneous and lymphatic human filarial disease.

PLoS Biol. 2005 Apr; 3(4): e121.
Published online 2005 Mar 29. doi:  10.1371/journal.pbio.0030121

Gene array analysis of Yersinia enterocolitica FlhD and FlhC: regulation of enzymes affecting synthesis and degradation of carbamoylphosphate.

Kapatral V, Campbell JW, Minnich SA, Thomson NR, Matsumura P, Prüss BM.

This paper focuses on global gene regulation by FlhD/FlhC in enteric bacteria. Even though Yersinia enterocolitica FlhD/FlhC can complement an Escherichia coli flhDC mutant for motility, it is not known if the Y. enterocolitica FlhD/FlhC complex has an effect on metabolism similar to E. coli. To study metabolic gene regulation, a partial Yersinia enterocolitica 8081c microarray was constructed and the expression patterns of wild-type cells were compared to an flhDC mutant strain at 25 and 37 degrees C. The overlap between the E. coli and Y. enterocolitica FlhD/FlhC regulated genes was 25 %. Genes that were regulated at least fivefold by FlhD/FlhC in Y. enterocolitica are genes encoding urocanate hydratase (hutU), imidazolone propionase (hutI), carbamoylphosphate synthetase (carAB) and aspartate carbamoyltransferase (pyrBI). These enzymes are part of a pathway that is involved in the degradation of L-histidine to L-glutamate and eventually leads into purine/pyrimidine biosynthesis via carbamoylphosphate and carbamoylaspartate. A number of other genes were regulated at a lower rate. In two additional experiments, the expression of wild-type cells grown at 4 or 25 degrees C was compared to the same strain grown at 37 degrees C. The expression of the flagella master operon flhD was not affected by temperature, whereas the flagella-specific sigma factor fliA was highly expressed at 25 degrees C and reduced at 4 and 37 degrees C. Several other flagella genes, all of which are under the control of FliA, exhibited a similar temperature profile. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that temperature regulation of flagella genes might be mediated by the flagella-specific sigma factor FliA and not the flagella master regulator FlhD/FlhC.

Microbiology. 2004 Jul;150(Pt 7):2289-300.

Genome of Methanocaldococcus (methanococcus) jannaschii.

Graham DE, Kyrpides N, Anderson IJ, Overbeek R, Whitman WB.

Methanocaldococcus (Methanococcus) jannaschii strain JAL-1 is a hyperthermophilic methanogenic archaeon that was isolated from surface material collected at a “white smoker” chimney at a depth of 2600 m in the East Pacific Rise near the western coast of Mexico. Cells are irregular cocci possessing polar bundles of flagella. The cell envelope is composed of a cytoplasmic membrane and a protein surface layer. Similar isolates have been obtained from hydrothermally active sediments in the Guaymas Basin and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and related species have been found at other marine hydrothermal vents. Because these hyperthermophilic species are very different from the mesophilic methanococci, they have been reclassified into a new family, Methanocaldococcaceae, and two new genera, Methanocaldococcus and Methanotorris. The characteristics of the source material for these isolates suggest that they possess adaptations for growth at high temperature and pressure as well as moderate salinity.

Methods Enzymol. 2001;330:40-123. doi:10.1016/S0076-6879(01)30370-1

Aerobic tryptophan degradation pathway in bacteria: novel kynurenine formamidase.

Kurnasov O1, Jablonski L, Polanuyer B, Dorrestein P, Begley T, Osterman A.

While a variety of chemical transformations related to the aerobic degradation of L-tryptophan (kynurenine pathway), and most of the genes and corresponding enzymes involved therein have been predominantly characterized in eukaryotes, relatively little was known about this pathway in bacteria. Using genome comparative analysis techniques we have predicted the existence of the three-step pathway of aerobic L-tryptophan degradation to anthranilate (anthranilate pathway) in several bacteria. Based on the chromosomal gene clustering analysis, we have identified a previously unknown gene encoding for kynurenine formamidase (EC involved with the second step of the anthranilate pathway. This functional prediction was experimentally verified by cloning, expression and enzymatic characterization of recombinant kynurenine formamidase orthologs from Bacillus cereus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Ralstonia metallidurans. Experimental verification of the inferred anthranilate pathway was achieved by functional expression in Escherichia coli of the R. metallidurans putative kynBAU operon encoding three required enzymes: tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (gene kynA), kynurenine formamidase (gene kynB), and kynureninase (gene kynU). Our data provide the first experimental evidence of the connection between these genes (only one of which, kynU, was previously characterized) and L-tryptophan aerobic degradation pathway in bacteria.

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2003 Oct 24;227(2):219-27.

Experimental determination and system level analysis of essential genes in Escherichia coli MG1655.

Gerdes SY, Scholle MD, Campbell JW, Balázsi G, Ravasz E, Daugherty MD, Somera AL, Kyrpides NC, Anderson I, Gelfand MS, Bhattacharya A, Kapatral V, D'Souza M, Baev MV, Grechkin Y, Mseeh F, Fonstein MY, Overbeek R, Barabási AL, Oltvai ZN, Osterman AL.

Defining the gene products that play an essential role in an organism's functional repertoire is vital to understanding the system level organization of living cells. We used a genetic footprinting technique for a genome-wide assessment of genes required for robust aerobic growth of Escherichia coli in rich media. We identified 620 genes as essential and 3,126 genes as dispensable for growth under these conditions. Functional context analysis of these data allows individual functional assignments to be refined. Evolutionary context analysis demonstrates a significant tendency of essential E. coli genes to be preserved throughout the bacterial kingdom. Projection of these data over metabolic subsystems reveals topologic modules with essential and evolutionarily preserved enzymes with reduced capacity for error tolerance.

J Bacteriol. 2003 Oct;185(19):5673-84.

Genome Analysis of F. nucleatum sub spp vincentii and Its Comparison With the Genome of F. nucleatum ATCC 25586

Vinayak Kapatral, Natalia Ivanova, Iain Anderson, Gary Reznik, Anamitra Bhattacharyya, Warren L. Gardner, Natalia Mikhailova, Alla Lapidus, Niels Larsen, Mark D'Souza, Theresa Walunas, Robert Haselkorn, Ross Overbeek, and Nikos Kyrpides

We present the draft genome sequence and its analysis for Fusobacterium nucleatum sub spp. vincentii (FNV), and compare that genome with F. nucleatum ATCC 25586 (FN). A total of 441 FNV open reading frames (ORFs) with no orthologs in FN have been identified. Of these, 118 ORFs have no known function and are unique to FNV, whereas 323 ORFs have functional orthologs in other organisms. In addition to the excretion of butyrate, H2S and ammonia-like FN, FNV has the additional capability to excrete lactate and aminobutyrate. Unlike FN, FNV is likely to incorporate galactopyranose, galacturonate, and sialic acid into its O-antigen. It appears to transport ferrous iron by an anaerobic ferrous transporter. Genes for eukaryotic type serine/threonine kinase and phosphatase, transpeptidase E-transglycosylase Pbp1A are found in FNV but not in FN. Unique ABC transporters, cryptic phages, and three types of restriction-modification systems have been identified in FNV. ORFs for ethanolamine utilization, thermostable carboxypeptidase, γ glutamyl-transpeptidase, and deblocking aminopeptidases are absent from FNV. FNV, like FN, lacks the classical catalase-peroxidase system, but thioredoxin/glutaredoxin enzymes might alleviate oxidative stress. Genes for resistance to antibiotics such as acriflavin, bacitracin, bleomycin, daunorubicin, florfenicol, and other general multidrug resistance are present. These capabilities allow Fusobacteria to survive in a mixed culture in the mouth.

Genome Res. 2003 Jun; 13(6a): 1180–1189.
doi:  10.1101/gr.566003

Genome sequence of Bacillus cereus and comparative analysis with Bacillus anthracis.

Ivanova N, Sorokin A, Anderson I, Galleron N, Candelon B, Kapatral V,
Bhattacharyya A, Reznik G, Mikhailova N, Lapidus A, Chu L, Mazur M, Goltsman E,
Larsen N, D'Souza M, Walunas T, Grechkin Y, Pusch G, Haselkorn R, Fonstein M,
Ehrlich SD, Overbeek R, Kyrpides N.

Bacillus cereus is an opportunistic pathogen causing food poisoning manifested by
diarrhoeal or emetic syndromes. It is closely related to the animal and human
pathogen Bacillus anthracis and the insect pathogen Bacillus thuringiensis, the
former being used as a biological weapon and the latter as a pesticide. B.
anthracis and B. thuringiensis are readily distinguished from B. cereus by the
presence of plasmid-borne specific toxins (B. anthracis and B. thuringiensis) and
capsule (B. anthracis). But phylogenetic studies based on the analysis of
chromosomal genes bring controversial results, and it is unclear whether B.
cereus, B. anthracis and B. thuringiensis are varieties of the same species or
different species. Here we report the sequencing and analysis of the type strain
B. cereus ATCC 14579. The complete genome sequence of B. cereus ATCC 14579
together with the gapped genome of B. anthracis A2012 enables us to perform
comparative analysis, and hence to identify the genes that are conserved between
B. cereus and B. anthracis, and the genes that are unique for each species. We
use the former to clarify the phylogeny of the cereus group, and the latter to
determine plasmid-independent species-specific markers.

Nature. 2003 May 1;423(6935):87-91.

Missing genes in metabolic pathways: a comparative genomics approach.

Osterman A, Overbeek R.

The new techniques of genome context analysis--chromosomal gene clustering, protein fusions, occurrence profiles and shared regulatory sites--infer functional coupling between genes. In combination with metabolic reconstructions, these techniques can dramatically accelerate the pace of gene discovery.

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2003 Apr;7(2):238-51.

The ERGO genome analysis and discovery system.

Overbeek R, Larsen N, Walunas T, D'Souza M, Pusch G, Selkov E Jr, Liolios K, Joukov V, Kaznadzey D, Anderson I, Bhattacharyya A, Burd H, Gardner W, Hanke P, Kapatral V, Mikhailova N, Vasieva O, Osterman A, Vonstein V, Fonstein M, Ivanova N, Kyrpides N.

The ERGO ( genome analysis and discovery suite is an integration of biological data from genomics, biochemistry, high-throughput expression profiling, genetics and peer-reviewed journals to achieve a comprehensive analysis of genes and genomes. Far beyond any conventional systems that facilitate functional assignments, ERGO combines pattern-based analysis with comparative genomics by visualizing genes within the context of regulation, expression profiling, phylogenetic clusters, fusion events, networked cellular pathways and chromosomal neighborhoods of other functionally related genes. The result of this multifaceted approach is to provide an extensively curated database of the largest available integration of genomes, with a vast collection of reconstructed cellular pathways spanning all domains of life. Although access to ERGO is provided only under subscription, it is already widely used by the academic community. The current version of the system integrates 500 genomes from all domains of life in various levels of completion, 403 of which are available for subscription.

Nucleic Acids Res. 2003 Jan 1;31(1):164-71.

FlhD/FlhC is a regulator of anaerobic respiration and the Entner-Doudoroff pathway through induction of the methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein Aer.

Prüss BM, Campbell JW, Van Dyk TK, Zhu C, Kogan Y, Matsumura P.

The regulation by two transcriptional activators of flagellar expression (FlhD and FlhC) and the chemotaxis methyl-accepting protein Aer was studied with glass slide DNA microarrays. An flhD::Kan insertion and an aer deletion were independently introduced into two Escherichia coli K-12 strains, and the effects upon gene regulation were investigated. Altogether, the flhD::Kan insertion altered the expression of 29 operons of known function. Among them was Aer, which in turn regulated a subset of these operons, namely, the ones involved in anaerobic respiration and the Entner-Doudoroff pathway. In addition, FlhD/FlhC repressed enzymes involved in aerobic respiration and regulated many other metabolic enzymes and transporters in an Aer-independent manner. Expression of 12 genes of uncharacterized function was also affected. FlhD increased gltBD, gcvTHP, and ompT expression. The regulation of half of these genes was subsequently confirmed with reporter gene fusions, enzyme assays, and real-time PCR. Growth phenotypes of flhD and flhC mutants were determined with Phenotype MicroArrays and correlated with gene expression.

J Bacteriol. 2003 Jan; 185(2): 534–543.
doi:  10.1128/JB.185.2.534-543.2003

The ERGO genome analysis and discovery system.

Overbeek R, Larsen N, Walunas T, D'Souza M, Pusch G, Selkov E Jr, Liolios K, Joukov V, Kaznadzey D, Anderson I, Bhattacharyya A, Burd H, Gardner W, Hanke P, Kapatral V, Mikhailova N, Vasieva O, Osterman A, Vonstein V, Fonstein M, Ivanova N, Kyrpides N.

The ERGO ( genome analysis and discovery suite is an integration of biological data from genomics, biochemistry, high-throughput expression profiling, genetics and peer-reviewed journals to achieve a comprehensive analysis of genes and genomes. Far beyond any conventional systems that facilitate functional assignments, ERGO combines pattern-based analysis with comparative genomics by visualizing genes within the context of regulation, expression profiling, phylogenetic clusters, fusion events, networked cellular pathways and chromosomal neighborhoods of other functionally related genes. The result of this multifaceted approach is to provide an extensively curated database of the largest available integration of genomes, with a vast collection of reconstructed cellular pathways spanning all domains of life. Although access to ERGO is provided only under subscription, it is already widely used by the academic community. The current version of the system integrates 500 genomes from all domains of life in various levels of completion, 403 of which are available for subscription.

Ribosylnicotinamide kinase domain of NadR protein: identification and implications in NAD biosynthesis.

Kurnasov OV, Polanuyer BM, Ananta S, Sloutsky R, Tam A, Gerdes SY, Osterman AL.

NAD is an indispensable redox cofactor in all organisms. Most of the genes required for NAD biosynthesis in various species are known. Ribosylnicotinamide kinase (RNK) was among the few unknown (missing) genes involved with NAD salvage and recycling pathways. Using a comparative genome analysis involving reconstruction of NAD metabolism from genomic data, we predicted and experimentally verified that bacterial RNK is encoded within the 3' region of the nadR gene. Based on these results and previous data, the full-size multifunctional NadR protein (as in Escherichia coli) is composed of (i) an N-terminal DNA-binding domain involved in the transcriptional regulation of NAD biosynthesis, (ii) a central nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase (NMNAT) domain, and (iii) a C-terminal RNK domain. The RNK and NMNAT enzymatic activities of recombinant NadR proteins from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Haemophilus influenzae were quantitatively characterized. We propose a model for the complete salvage pathway from exogenous N-ribosylnicotinamide to NAD which involves the concerted action of the PnuC transporter and NRK, followed by the NMNAT activity of the NadR protein. Both the pnuC and nadR genes were proven to be essential for the growth and survival of H. influenzae, thus implicating them as potential narrow-spectrum drug targets.

J Bacteriol. 2002 Dec;184(24):6906-17.

Bioinformatics classification and functional analysis of PhoH homologs.

Kazakov AE, Vassieva O, Gelfand MS, Osterman A, Overbeek R.

PhoH protein is a putative ATPase belonging to the phosphate regulon in Escherichia coli. EC-PhoH homologs are present in different organisms, but it is not clear if they are functionally related, besides nothing is known about their regulation. To distinguish true functional orthologs of EC-PhoH in different classes of bacteria and to identify their functional role in bacterial metabolic network we performed phylogenetic analysis of these proteins and comparative study of position and regulation of the related genes. Three groups of proteins were identified. Proteins of the first group (BS-PhoH orthologs) are present in most of bacteria and are proposed to be functionally linked to phospholipid metabolism and RNA modification. Proteins of the second group (BS-YlaK orthologs) are present in most of aerobes and Actinobacterial YlaK orthologs are shown to be members of a fatty acid beta-oxidation regulons. EC-PhoH orthologs are classified in a third group, specific for Enterobacteria. Functional role of PhoH homologs in the lipid and RNA metabolism and proposed interrelation of PhoH paralogs in one organism are discussed.

In Silico Biol. 2003;3(1-2):3-15. Epub 2002 Dec 30

Genes for the cytoskeletal protein tubulin in the bacterial genus Prosthecobacter.

Jenkins C, Samudrala R, Anderson I, Hedlund BP, Petroni G, Michailova N, Pinel N, Overbeek R, Rosati G, Staley JT.

Tubulins, the protein constituents of the microtubule cytoskeleton, are present in all known eukaryotes but have never been found in the Bacteria or Archaea. Here we report the presence of two tubulin-like genes [bacterial tubulin a (btuba) and bacterial tubulin b (btubb)] in bacteria of the genus Prosthecobacter (Division Verrucomicrobia). In this study, we investigated the organization and expression of these genes and conducted a comparative analysis of the bacterial and eukaryotic protein sequences, focusing on their phylogeny and 3D structures. The btuba and btubb genes are arranged as adjacent loci within the genome along with a kinesin light chain gene homolog. RT-PCR experiments indicate that these three genes are cotranscribed, and a probable promoter was identified upstream of btuba. On the basis of comparative modeling data, we predict that the Prosthecobacter tubulins are monomeric, unlike eukaryotic alpha and beta tubulins, which form dimers and are therefore unlikely to form microtubule-like structures. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that the Prosthecobacter tubulins are quite divergent and do not support recent horizontal transfer of the genes from a eukaryote. The discovery of genes for tubulin in a bacterial genus may offer new insights into the evolution of the cytoskeleton.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Dec 24; 99(26): 17049–17054.
Published online 2002 Dec 16. 
doi:  10.1073/pnas.012516899

Draft Sequencing and Comparative Genomics of Xylella fastidiosa Strains Reveal Novel Biological Insights.

Anamitra Bhattacharyya, Stephanie Stilwagen, Gary Reznik, Helene Feil, William S. Feil, Iain Anderson, Axel Bernal, Mark D'Souza, Natalia Ivanova, Vinayak Kapatral, Niels Larsen, Tamara Los, Athanasios Lykidis, Eugene Selkov, Jr., Theresa L. Walunas, Alexander Purcell, Rob A. Edwards, Trevor Hawkins, Robert Haselkorn, Ross Overbeek, Nikos C. Kyrpides, and Paul F. Predki

Draft sequencing is a rapid and efficient method for determining the near-complete sequence of microbial genomes. Here we report a comparative analysis of one complete and two draft genome sequences of the phytopathogenic bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa, which causes serious disease in plants, including citrus, almond, and oleander. We present highlights of an in silico analysis based on a comparison of reconstructions of core biological subsystems. Cellular pathway reconstructions have been used to identify a small number of genes, which are likely to reside within the draft genomes but are not captured in the draft assembly. These represented only a small fraction of all genes and were predominantly large and small ribosomal subunit protein components. By using this approach, some of the inherent limitations of draft sequence can be significantly reduced. Despite the incomplete nature of the draft genomes, it is possible to identify several phage-related genes, which appear to be absent from the draft genomes and not the result of insufficient sequence sampling. This region may therefore identify potential host-specific functions. Based on this first functional reconstruction of a phytopathogenic microbe, we spotlight an unusual respiration machinery as a potential target for biological control. We also predicted and developed a new defined growth medium for Xylella.

Genome Res. 2002 Oct; 12(10): 1556–1563.
doi:  10.1101/gr.370702

The genome of Brucella melitensis.

DelVecchio VG, Kapatral V, Elzer P, Patra G, Mujer CV.

The genome of Brucella melitensis strain 16M was sequenced and contained 3,294,931 bp distributed over two circular chromosomes. Chromosome I was composed of 2,117,144 bp and chromosome II has 1,177,787 bp. A total of 3,198 ORFs were predicted. The origins of replication of the chromosomes are similar to each other and to those of other alpha-proteobacteria. Housekeeping genes such as those that encode for DNA replication, protein synthesis, core metabolism, and cell-wall biosynthesis were found on both chromosomes. Genes encoding adhesins, invasins, and hemolysins were also identified.

Vet Microbiol. 2002 Dec 20;90(1-4):587-92.

Whole-genome comparative analysis of three phytopathogenic Xylella fastidiosa strains.

Bhattacharyya A, Stilwagen S, Ivanova N, D'Souza M, Bernal A, Lykidis A, Kapatral V, Anderson I, Larsen N, Los T, Reznik G, Selkov E Jr, Walunas TL, Feil H, Feil WS, Purcell A, Lassez JL, Hawkins TL, Haselkorn R, Overbeek R, Predki PF, Kyrpides NC.

Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) causes wilt disease in plants and is responsible for major economic and crop losses globally. Owing to the public importance of this phytopathogen we embarked on a comparative analysis of the complete genome of Xf pv citrus and the partial genomes of two recently sequenced strains of this species: Xf pv almond and Xf pv oleander, which cause leaf scorch in almond and oleander plants, respectively. We report a reanalysis of the previously sequenced Xf 9a5c (CVC, citrus) strain and the two "gapped" Xf genomes revealing ORFs encoding critical functions in pathogenicity and conjugative transfer. Second, a detailed whole-genome functional comparison was based on the three sequenced Xf strains, identifying the unique genes present in each strain, in addition to those shared between strains. Third, an "in silico" cellular reconstruction of these organisms was made, based on a comparison of their core functional subsystems that led to a characterization of their conjugative transfer machinery, identification of potential differences in their adhesion mechanisms, and highlighting of the absence of a classical quorum-sensing mechanism. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of comparative analysis strategies in the interpretation of genomes that are closely related.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Sep 17;99(19):12403-8. Epub 2002 Aug 30.

From genetic footprinting to antimicrobial drug targets: examples in cofactor biosynthetic pathways.

Gerdes SY, Scholle MD, D'Souza M, Bernal A, Baev MV, Farrell M, Kurnasov OV, Daugherty MD, Mseeh F, Polanuyer BM, Campbell JW, Anantha S, Shatalin KY, Chowdhury SA, Fonstein MY, Osterman AL.

Novel drug targets are required in order to design new defenses against antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Comparative genomics provides new opportunities for finding optimal targets among previously unexplored cellular functions, based on an understanding of related biological processes in bacterial pathogens and their hosts. We describe an integrated approach to identification and prioritization of broad-spectrum drug targets. Our strategy is based on genetic footprinting in Escherichia coli followed by metabolic context analysis of essential gene orthologs in various species. Genes required for viability of E. coli in rich medium were identified on a whole-genome scale using the genetic footprinting technique. Potential target pathways were deduced from these data and compared with a panel of representative bacterial pathogens by using metabolic reconstructions from genomic data. Conserved and indispensable functions revealed by this analysis potentially represent broad-spectrum antibacterial targets. Further target prioritization involves comparison of the corresponding pathways and individual functions between pathogens and the human host. The most promising targets are validated by direct knockouts in model pathogens. The efficacy of this approach is illustrated using examples from metabolism of adenylate cofactors NAD(P), coenzyme A, and flavin adenine dinucleotide. Several drug targets within these pathways, including three distantly related adenylyltransferases (orthologs of the E. coli genes nadD, coaD, and ribF), are discussed in detail.

J Bacteriol. 2002 Aug;184(16):4555-72.

Microarray analysis of gene expression during bacteriophage T4 infection.

Luke K, Radek A, Liu X, Campbell J, Uzan M, Haselkorn R, Kogan Y.

Genomic microarrays were used to examine the complex temporal program of gene expression exhibited by bacteriophage T4 during the course of development. The microarray data confirm the existence of distinct early, middle, and late transcriptional classes during the bacteriophage replicative cycle. This approach allows assignment of previously uncharacterized genes to specific temporal classes. The genomic expression data verify many promoter assignments and predict the existence of previously unidentified promoters.

Virology. 2002 Aug 1;299(2):182-91.