The Location of Substitutions and Bacterial Genome Arrangements Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Abstract Increasing evidence supports the notion that different regions of a genome have unique rates of molecular change. This variation is particularly evident in bacterial genomes where previous studies have reported gene expression and essentiality tend to decrease, whereas substitution rates usually increase with increasing distance from the origin of replication. Genomic reorganization such as rearrangements occur frequently in bacteria and allow for the introduction and restructuring of genetic content, creating gradients of molecular traits along genomes. Here, we explore the interplay of these phenomena by mapping substitutions to the genomes of Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Streptomyces, and Sinorhizobium meliloti, quantifying how many substitutions have occurred at each position in the genome. Preceding work indicates that substitution rate significantly increases with distance from the origin. Using a larger sample size and accounting for genome rearrangements through ancestral reconstruction, our analysis demonstrates that the correlation between the number of substitutions and the distance from the origin of replication is significant but small and inconsistent in direction. Some replicons had a significantly decreasing trend (E. coli and the chromosome of S. meliloti), whereas others showed the opposite significant trend (B. subtilis, Streptomyces, pSymA and pSymB in S. meliloti). dN, dS, and ω were examined across all genes and there was no significant correlation between those values and distance from the origin. This study highlights the impact that genomic rearrangements and location have on molecular trends in some bacteria, illustrating the importance of considering spatial trends in molecular evolutionary analysis. Assuming that molecular trends are exclusively in one direction can be problematic.

publication date

  • January 7, 2021

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