Bourtzis Kostas

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  • Article
    New criteria for selecting the origin of DNA replication in Wolbachia and closely related bacteria
    (BioMed Central, 2007-06-20) Ioannidis, Panagiotis ; Dunning Hotopp, Julie C. ; Sapountzis, Panagiotis ; Siozios, Stefanos ; Tsiamis, Georgios ; Bordenstein, Seth R. ; Baldo, Laura ; Werren, John H. ; Bourtzis, Kostas
    Background: The annotated genomes of two closely related strains of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia pipientis have been reported without the identifications of the putative origin of replication (ori). Identifying the ori of these bacteria and related alpha-Proteobacteria as well as their patterns of sequence evolution will aid studies of cell replication and cell density, as well as the potential genetic manipulation of these widespread intracellular bacteria. Results: Using features that have been previously experimentally verified in the alpha-Proteobacterium Caulobacter crescentus, the origin of DNA replication (ori) regions were identified in silico for Wolbachia strains and eleven other related bacteria belonging to Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and Rickettsia genera. These features include DnaA-, CtrA- and IHF-binding sites as well as the flanking genes in C. crescentus. The Wolbachia ori boundary genes were found to be hemE and COG1253 protein (CBS domain protein). Comparisons of the putative ori region among related Wolbachia strains showed higher conservation of bases within binding sites. Conclusion: The sequences of the ori regions described here are only similar among closely related bacteria while fundamental characteristics like presence of DnaA and IHF binding sites as well as the boundary genes are more widely conserved. The relative paucity of CtrA binding sites in the ori regions, as well as the absence of key enzymes associated with DNA replication in the respective genomes, suggest that several of these obligate intracellular bacteria may have altered replication mechanisms. Based on these analyses, criteria are set forth for identifying the ori region in genome sequencing projects.
  • Preprint
    Towards a Wolbachia Multilocus Sequence Typing system : discrimination of Wolbachia strains present in Drosophila species
    ( 2006-03-28) Paraskevopoulos, Charalampos ; Bordenstein, Seth R. ; Wernegreen, Jennifer J. ; Werren, John H. ; Bourtzis, Kostas
    Among the diverse maternally inherited symbionts in arthropods, Wolbachia are the most common and infect over 20% of all species. In a departure from traditional genotyping or phylogenetic methods relying on single Wolbachia genes, the present study represents an initial Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST) analysis to discriminate closely related Wolbachia pipientis strains, and additional data on sequence diversity in Wolbachia. We report new phylogenetic characterization of four genes (aspC, atpD, sucB and pdhB), and provide an expanded analysis of markers described in previous studies (16S rDNA, ftsZ, groEL, dnaA and gltA). MLST analysis of the bacterial strains present in sixteen different Drosophila-Wolbachia associations detected four distinct clonal complexes that also corresponded to maximum-likelihood identified phylogenetic clades. Among the sixteen associations analyzed, six could not be assigned to MLST clonal complexes and were also shown to be in conflict with relationships predicted by maximum-likelihood phylogenetic inferences. The results demonstrate the discriminatory power of MLST for identifying strains and clonal lineages of Wolbachia and provide a robust foundation for studying the ecology and evolution of this widespread endosymbiont.