Comparative Genome Analysis of Enterobacter cloacae
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The Enterobacter cloacae species includes an extremely diverse group of bacteria that are associated with plants, soil and humans. Publication of the complete genome sequence of the plant growth-promoting endophytic E. cloacae subsp. cloacae ENHKU01 provided an opportunity to perform the first comparative genome analysis between strains of this dynamic species. Examination of the pan-genome of E. cloacae showed that the conserved core genome retains the general physiological and survival genes of the species, while genomic factors in plasmids and variable regions determine the virulence of the human pathogenic E. cloacae strain; additionally, the diversity of fimbriae contributes to variation in colonization and host determination of different E. cloacae strains. Comparative genome analysis further illustrated that E. cloacae strains possess multiple mechanisms for antagonistic action against other microorganisms, which involve the production of siderophores and various antimicrobial compounds, such as bacteriocins, chitinases and antibiotic resistance proteins. The presence of Type VI secretion systems is expected to provide further fitness advantages for E. cloacae in microbial competition, thus allowing it to survive in different environments. Competition assays were performed to support our observations in genomic analysis, where E. cloacae subsp. cloacae ENHKU01 demonstrated antagonistic activities against a wide range of plant pathogenic fungal and bacterial species.
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