Analysis of infant isolates of Bifidobacterium breve by comparative genome hybridization indicates the existence of new subspecies with marked infant specificity
de Vos, W.M.
A total of 20 Bifidobacterium strains were isolated from fecal samples of 4 breast- and bottle-fed infants and all were characterized as Bifidobacterium breve based on 16S rRNA gene sequence and metabolic analysis. These isolates were further characterized and compared to the type strains of B. breve and 7 other Bifidobacterium spp. by comparative genome hybridization. For this purpose, we constructed and used a DNA-based microarray containing over 2000 randomly cloned DNA fragments from B. breve type strain LMG13208. This molecular analysis revealed a high degree of genomic variation between the isolated strains and allowed the vast majority to be grouped into 4 clusters. One cluster contained a single isolate that was virtually indistinguishable from the B. breve type strain. The 3 other clusters included 19 B. breve strains that differed considerably from all type strains. Remarkably, each of the 4 clusters included strains that were isolated from a single infant, indicating that a niche adaptation may contribute to variation within the B. breve species. Based on genomic hybridization data, the new B. breve isolates were estimated to contain approximately 60-90% of the genes of the B. breve type strain, attesting to the existence of various subspecies within the species B. breve. Further bioinformatic analysis identified several hundred diagnostic clones specific to the genomic clustering of the B. breve isolates. Molecular analysis of representatives of these revealed that annotated genes from the conserved B. breve core encoded mainly housekeeping functions, while the strain-specific genes were predicted to code for functions related to life style, such as carbohydrate metabolism and transport. This is compatible with genetic adaptation of the strains to their niche, a combination of infants and diet. © 2011 Institut Pasteur.
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MSB - Microbiology and Systems Biology
EELS - Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences
Comparative genome hybridization
Research in Microbiology, 162 (7), 664-670