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Population structure of the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis complex according to multilocus sequence typing

Laukkanen-Ninios, Riikka and Didelot, Xavier and Jolley, Keith and Morelli, Giovanna and Sangal, Vartul and Kristo, Paula and Brehony, Carina and Imori, Priscilla and Fukushima, Hiroshi and Siitonen, Anja and Tseneva, Galina and Voskressenskaya, Ekaterina and Falcao, Juliana and Korkeala, Hannu and Maiden, Martin and Mazzoni, Camila and Carniel, Elisabeth and Skurnik, Mikael and Achtman, Mark (2011) Population structure of the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis complex according to multilocus sequence typing. Environmental Microbiology, 13 (12). pp. 3114-3127. ISSN 1462-2920

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Abstract

Multilocus sequence analysis of 417 strains of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis revealed that it is a complex of four populations, three of which have been previously assigned species status [Y. pseudotuberculosis sensu stricto (s.s.), Yersinia pestis and Yersinia similis] and a fourth population, which we refer to as the Korean group, which may be in the process of speciation. We detected clear signs of recombination within Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s. as well as imports from Y. similis and the Korean group. The sources of genetic diversification within Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s. were approximately equally divided between recombination and mutation, whereas recombination has not yet been demonstrated in Y. pestis, which is also much more genetically monomorphic than is Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s. Most Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s. belong to a diffuse group of sequence types lacking clear population structure, although this species contains a melibiose-negative clade that is present globally in domesticated animals. Yersinia similis corresponds to the previously identified Y. pseudotuberculosis genetic type G4, which is probably not pathogenic because it lacks the virulence factors that are typical for Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s. In contrast, Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s., the Korean group and Y. pestis can all cause disease in humans.