Simple sequence repeat (SSR)-based gene diversity in Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei
Song H, Hwang J, Myung J, Seo H, Yi H, Sim HS, Kim BS, Nierman WC, Kim HS
Pathogens Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bp) and Burkholderia mallei (Bm) contain a large number (> 12,000) of Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs). To study the extent to which these features have contributed to the diversification of genes, we have conducted comparative studies with nineteen genomes of these bacteria. We found 210 genes with characteristic types of SSR variations. SSRs with nonamer repeat units were the most abundant, followed by hexamers and trimers. Amino acids with smaller and nonpolar R-groups are preferred to be encoded by the variant SSRs, perhaps due to their minimal impacts to protein functionality. A majority of these genes appears to code for surface or secreted proteins that may directly interact with the host factors during pathogenesis or other environmental factors. There also are others that encode diverse functions in the cytoplasm, and this protein variability may reflect an extensive involvement of phase variation in survival and adaptation of these pathogens.