Comparing bacterial genomes through conservation profiles

TitleComparing bacterial genomes through conservation profiles
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsMartin, MJ, Herrero, J, Mateos, A, Dopazo, J
JournalGenome Res
KeywordsBacterial Genotype Models; Bacterial/genetics Cluster Analysis Conserved Sequence/*genetics DNA; Bacterial/genetics Escherichia coli/classification/*genetics Evolution; Bacterial/genetics Gene Order/genetics Genes; Bacterial/genetics/physiology *Genome; Chromosome Mapping/methods Chromosomes; Genetic Phenotype Phylogeny Sequence Homology; Molecular Gene Expression Profiling/methods Gene Expression Regulation; Nucleic Acid Species Specificity Terminology as Topic

We constructed two-dimensional representations of profiles of gene conservation across different genomes using the genome of Escherichia coli as a model. These profiles permit both the visualization at the genome level of different traits in the organism studied and, at the same time, reveal features related to the genomes analyzed (such as defective genomes or genomes that lack a particular system). Conserved genes are not uniformly distributed along the E. coli genome but tend to cluster together. The study of gene distribution patterns across genomes is important for the understanding of how sets of genes seem to be dependent on each other, probably having some functional link. This provides additional evidence that can be used for the elucidation of the function of unannotated genes. Clustering these patterns produces families of genes which can be arranged in a hierarchy of closeness. In this way, functions can be defined at different levels of generality depending on the level of the hierarchy that is studied. The combined study of conservation and phenotypic traits opens up the possibility of defining phenotype/genotype associations, and ultimately inferring the gene or genes responsible for a particular trait.


Martin, Maria J Herrero, Javier Mateos, Alvaro Dopazo, Joaquin Comparative Study United States Genome research Genome Res. 2003 May;13(5):991-8. Epub 2003 Apr 14.