Comparative systems biology across an evolutionary gradient within the Shewanella genus

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Konstantinidis, Konstantinos T.
Serres, Margrethe H.
Romine, Margaret F.
Rodrigues, Jorge L. M.
Auchtung, Jennifer
McCue, Lee-Ann
Lipton, Mary S.
Obraztsova, Anna Y.
Giometti, Carol S.
Nealson, Kenneth H.
Fredrickson, James K.
Tiedje, James M.
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To what extent genotypic differences translate to phenotypic variation remains a poorly understood issue of paramount importance for several cornerstone concepts of microbiology including the species definition. Here, we take advantage of the completed genomic sequences, expressed proteomic profiles, and physiological studies of ten closely related Shewanella strains and species to provide quantitative insights into this issue. Our analyses revealed that, despite extensive horizontal gene transfer within these genomes, the genotypic and phenotypic similarities among the organisms were generally predictable from their evolutionary relatedness. The power of the predictions depended on the degree of ecological specialization of the organisms evaluated. Using the gradient of evolutionary relatedness formed by these genomes, we were able to partly isolate the effect of ecology from that of evolutionary divergence and rank the different cellular functions in terms of their rates of evolution. Our ranking also revealed that whole-cell protein expression differences among these organisms when grown under identical conditions were relatively larger than differences at the genome level, suggesting that similarity in gene regulation and expression should constitute another important parameter for (new) species description. Collectively, our results provide important new information towards beginning a systems-level understanding of bacterial species and genera.
Author Posting. © The Authors, 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of National Academy of Sciences for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (2009): 15909-15914, doi:10.1073/pnas.0902000106.
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