A barrier to homologous recombination between sympatric strains of the cooperative soil bacterium Myxococcus xanthus

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Title: A barrier to homologous recombination between sympatric strains of the cooperative soil bacterium Myxococcus xanthus
Authors: Wielgoss, S
Didelot, X
Chaudhuri, RR
Liu, X
Weedall, GD
Velicer, GJ
Vos, M
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The bacterium Myxococcus xanthus glides through soil in search of prey microbes, but when food sources run out, cells cooperatively construct and sporulate within multicellular fruiting bodies. M. xanthus strains isolated from a 16 × 16-cm-scale patch of soil were previously shown to have diversified into many distinct compatibility types that are distinguished by the failure of swarming colonies to merge upon encounter. We sequenced the genomes of 22 isolates from this population belonging to the two most frequently occurring multilocus sequence type (MLST) clades to trace patterns of incipient genomic divergence, specifically related to social divergence. Although homologous recombination occurs frequently within the two MLST clades, we find an almost complete absence of recombination events between them. As the two clades are very closely related and live in sympatry, either ecological or genetic barriers must reduce genetic exchange between them. We find that the rate of change in the accessory genome is greater than the rate of amino-acid substitution in the core genome. We identify a large genomic tract that consistently differs between isolates that do not freely merge and therefore is a candidate region for harbouring gene(s) responsible for self/non-self discrimination.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 5 April 2016; doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.34.
Issue Date: 5-Apr-2016
Date of Acceptance: 2-Feb-2016
ISSN: 1751-7362
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Start Page: 2468
End Page: 2477
Journal / Book Title: ISME Journal
Volume: 10
Copyright Statement: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Keywords: Microbiology
Biological Sciences
Environmental Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Medicine
Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care

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