Comparative genomics of metabolic pathways inMycobacteriumspecies: gene duplication, gene decay and lateral gene transfer
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The genus Mycobacterium comprises significant pathogenic species that infect both humans and animals. One species within this genus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is the primary killer of humans resulting from bacterial infections. Five mycobacterial genomes belonging to four different species (M. tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis) have been sequenced to date and another 14 mycobacterial genomes are at various stages of completion. A comparative analysis of the gene products of key metabolic pathways revealed that the major differences among these species are in the gene products constituting the cell wall and the gene families encoding the acidic glycine-rich (PE/PPE/PGRS) proteins. Mycobacterium leprae has evolved by retaining a minimal gene set for most of the gene families, whereas M. avium ssp. paratuberculosis has acquired some of the virulence factors by lateral gene transfer.
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