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Genus-Wide Comparative Genomics Analysis of Neisseria to Identify New Genes Associated with Pathogenicity and Niche Adaptation of Neisseria Pathogens

Qun-Feng Lu, De-Min Cao, Li-Li Su, Song-Bo Li, Guang-Bin Ye, Xiao-Ying Zhu, Ju-Ping Wang
International Journal of Genomics 2019, 2019: 6015730
N. gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis , the only two human pathogens of Neisseria , are closely related species. But the niches they survived in and their pathogenic characteristics are distinctly different. However, the genetic basis of these differences has not yet been fully elucidated. In this study, comparative genomics analysis was performed based on 15 N. gonorrhoeae , 75 N. meningitidis , and 7 nonpathogenic Neisseria genomes. Core-pangenome analysis found 1111 conserved gene families among them, and each of these species groups had opening pangenome. We found that 452, 78, and 319 gene families were unique in N. gonorrhoeae , N. meningitidis , and both of them, respectively. Those unique gene families were regarded as candidates that related to their pathogenicity and niche adaptation. The relationships among them have been partly verified by functional annotation analysis. But at least one-third genes for each gene set have not found the certain functional information. Simple sequence repeat (SSR), the basis of gene phase variation, was found abundant in the membrane or related genes of each unique gene set, which may facilitate their adaptation to variable host environments. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) analysis found at least five distinct PPI clusters in N. gonorrhoeae and four in N. meningitides , and 167 and 52 proteins with unknown function were contained within them, respectively.


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