Comparative genomic analysis of the Streptococcus dysgalactiae species group: Gene content, molecular adaptation, and promoter evolution

Haruo Suzuki, Tristan Lefébure, Melissa Jane Hubisz, Paulina Pavinski Bitar, Ping Lang, Adam Siepe, Michael J. Stanhope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Comparative genomics of closely related bacterial species with different pathogenesis and host preference can provide a means of identifying the specifics of adaptive differences. Streptococcus dysgalactiae (SD) is comprised of two subspecies: S. dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis is both a human commensal organism and a human pathogen, and S. dysgalactiae subsp. dysgalactiae is strictly an animal pathogen. Here, we present complete genome sequences for both taxa, with analyses involving other species of Streptococcus but focusing on adaptation in the SD species group. We found little evidence for enrichment in biochemical categories of genes carried by each SD strain, however, differences in the virulence gene repertoire were apparent. Some of the differences could be ascribed to prophage and integrative conjugative elements. We identified approximately 9% of the nonrecombinant core genome to be under positive selection, some of which involved known virulence factors in other bacteria. Analyses of proteomes by pooling data across genes, by biochemical category, clade, or branch, provided evidence for increased rates of evolution in several gene categories, as well as external branches of the tree. Promoters were primarily evolving under purifying selection but with certain categories of genes evolving faster. Many of these fast-evolving categories were the same as those associated with rapid evolution in proteins. Overall, these results suggest that adaptation to changing environments and new hosts in the SD species group has involved the acquisition of key virulence genes along with selection of orthologous protein-coding loci and operon promoters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-185
Number of pages18
JournalGenome biology and evolution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene content
  • Molecular adaptation
  • Promoter evolution
  • S. dysgalactiae subsp. dysgalactiae
  • Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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