Comparative Genomic Analysis of 45 Type Strains of the Genus Bifidobacterium: A Snapshot of Its Genetic Diversity and Evolution.

PloS one

PubMedID: 25658111

Sun Z, Zhang W, Guo C, Yang X, Liu W, Wu Y, Song Y, Kwok LY, Cui Y, Menghe B, Yang R, Hu L, Zhang H. Comparative Genomic Analysis of 45 Type Strains of the Genus Bifidobacterium: A Snapshot of Its Genetic Diversity and Evolution. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(2):e0117912.
Bifidobacteria are well known for their human health-promoting effects and are therefore widely applied in the food industry. Members of the Bifidobacterium genus were first identified from the human gastrointestinal tract and were then found to be widely distributed across various ecological niches. Although the genetic diversity of Bifidobacterium has been determined based on several marker genes or a few genomes, the global diversity and evolution scenario for the entire genus remain unresolved. The present study comparatively analyzed the genomes of 45 type strains. We built a robust genealogy for Bifidobacterium based on 402 core genes and defined its root according to the phylogeny of the tree of bacteria. Our results support that all human isolates are of younger lineages, and although species isolated from bees dominate the more ancient lineages, the bee was not necessarily the original host for bifidobacteria. Moreover, the species isolated from different hosts are enriched with specific gene sets, suggesting host-specific adaptation. Notably, bee-specific genes are strongly associated with respiratory metabolism and are potential in helping those bacteria adapt to the oxygen-rich gut environment in bees. This study provides a snapshot of the genetic diversity and evolution of Bifidobacterium, paving the way for future studies on the taxonomy and functional genomics of the genus.