Journal Article

Microevolution of a Zoonotic Helicobacter Population Colonizing the Stomach of a Human Host before and after Failed Treatment

Thomas Schott, Pradeep Kumar Kondadi, Marja-Liisa Hänninen and Mirko Rossi

in Genome Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 4, issue 12, pages 1310-1315
Published in print January 2012 |
Published online November 2012 | e-ISSN: 1759-6653 | DOI:

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  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
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To investigate the microevolution of Helicobacter bizzozeronii in the human stomach, comparative genomics of antrum-derived populations, obtained 3 months before (T0) and 6 months after (T1) an unsuccessful eradication treatment, was performed. For each time point, the DNA of bacterial mass, representing the population diversity in three biopsies, was mixed in equal amounts and sequenced using Illumina technology. Polymorphic sites (PSs) were detected by mapping the reads against an isogenic reference genome, derived from a corpus isolate obtained at T0. The total numbers of PSs detected in the H. bizzozeronii population at T0 and T1 were 128 and 223, affecting 81 and 134 coding sequences, respectively. At T0 in 91.4% of the PSs the mutation appeared at a frequency of 50% or less. On the contrary, in the majority of the PSs observed in T1 (71.3%) the mutation had a frequency >75%. Although only a minority of mutations were fixed in the antrum-derived population at T0, a certain level of allelic variability, compared with the corpus-derived reference genome, was present and most likely arose as consequence of the long-term colonization of the patient. The treatment probably induced a sudden decrease of population size, selecting a subpopulation, which acted as founder for the new population at T1 characterized by a higher number of fixed mutations. These data demonstrate that genome plasticity is an important common prerequisite among gastric Helicobacter species for adaptation to the stomach environment allowing the bacterium to evolve rapidly once a selective pressure is applied.

Keywords: Helicobacter heilmannii sensu lato; Helicobacter bizzozeronii; resistance mutations; compensatory mutations

Journal Article.  3613 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology ; Evolutionary Biology ; Genetics and Genomics

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