Genome-wide analysis of horizontally acquired genes in the genus Mycobacterium

Arup Panda, Michel Drancourt*, Tamir Tuller, Pierre Pontarotti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) was attributed as a major driving force for the innovation and evolution of prokaryotic genomes. Previously, multiple research endeavors were undertaken to decipher HGT in different bacterial lineages. The genus Mycobacterium houses some of the most deadly human pathogens; however, the impact of HGT in Mycobacterium has never been addressed in a systematic way. Previous initiatives to explore the genomic imprints of HGTs in Mycobacterium were focused on few selected species, specifically among the members of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. Considering the recent availability of a large number of genomes, the current study was initiated to decipher the probable events of HGTs among 109 completely sequenced Mycobacterium species. Our comprehensive phylogenetic analysis with more than 9,000 families of Mycobacterium proteins allowed us to list several instances of gene transfers spread across the Mycobacterium phylogeny. Moreover, by examining the topology of gene phylogenies here, we identified the species most likely to donate and receive these genes and provided a detailed overview of the putative functions these genes may be involved in. Our study suggested that horizontally acquired foreign genes had played an enduring role in the evolution of Mycobacterium genomes and have contributed to their metabolic versatility and pathogenicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14817
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018


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