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<em>Erwinia amylovora</em> CRISPR Elements Provide New Tools for Evaluating Strain Diversity and for Microbial Source Tracking

By Gayle C. McGhee (145875) and George W. Sundin (145879)


<div><p>Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) comprise a family of short DNA repeat sequences that are separated by non repetitive spacer sequences and, in combination with a suite of Cas proteins, are thought to function as an adaptive immune system against invading DNA. The number of CRISPR arrays in a bacterial chromosome is variable, and the content of each array can differ in both repeat number and in the presence or absence of specific spacers. We utilized a comparative sequence analysis of CRISPR arrays of the plant pathogen <em>Erwinia amylovora</em> to uncover previously unknown genetic diversity in this species. A total of 85 <em>E. amylovora</em> strains varying in geographic isolation (North America, Europe, New Zealand, and the Middle East), host range, plasmid content, and streptomycin sensitivity/resistance were evaluated for CRISPR array number and spacer variability. From these strains, 588 unique spacers were identified in the three CRISPR arrays present in <em>E. amylovora</em>, and these arrays could be categorized into 20, 17, and 2 patterns types, respectively. Analysis of the relatedness of spacer content differentiated most apple and pear strains isolated in the eastern U.S. from western U.S. strains. In addition, we identified North American strains that shared CRISPR genotypes with strains isolated on other continents. <em>E. amylovora</em> strains from <em>Rubus</em> and Indian hawthorn contained mostly unique spacers compared to apple and pear strains, while strains from loquat shared 79% of spacers with apple and pear strains. Approximately 23% of the spacers matched known sequences, with 16% targeting plasmids and 5% targeting bacteriophage. The plasmid pEU30, isolated in <em>E. amylovora</em> strains from the western U.S., was targeted by 55 spacers. Lastly, we used spacer patterns and content to determine that streptomycin-resistant strains of <em>E. amylovora</em> from Michigan were low in diversity and matched corresponding streptomycin-sensitive strains from the background population.</p> </div

Topics: Microbiology, Cell Biology, Biotechnology, crispr, elements, tools, evaluating, microbial, tracking
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041706
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Provided by: FigShare
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