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Comparative genome analysis of Vagococcus fluvialis reveals abundance of mobile genetic elements in sponge-isolated strains
Rodriguez Jimenez, A.; Guiglielmoni, N.; Goetghebuer, L.; Dechamps, E.; George, I.F.; Flot, J.-F. (2022). Comparative genome analysis of Vagococcus fluvialis reveals abundance of mobile genetic elements in sponge-isolated strains. BMC Genom. 23(1): 618.
In: BMC Genomics. BioMed Central: London. e-ISSN 1471-2164, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Vagococcus fluvialis
Author keywords
    Vagococcus fluvialis; Genome assembly; Hybrid assembly; Sponge bacteria; Mobile genetic elements

Authors  Top 
  • Rodriguez Jimenez, A., more
  • Guiglielmoni, N., more
  • Goetghebuer, L.



    Vagococcus fluvialis is a species of lactic acid bacteria found both free-living in river and seawater and associated to hosts, such as marine sponges. This species has been greatly understudied, with no complete genome assembly available to date, which is essential for the characterisation of the mobilome.


    We sequenced and assembled de novo the complete genome sequences of five V. fluvialis isolates recovered from marine sponges. Pangenome analysis of the V. fluvialis species (total of 17 genomes) showed a high intraspecific diversity, with 45.5% of orthologous genes found to be strain specific. Despite this diversity, analyses of gene functions clustered all V. fluvialis species together and separated them from other sequenced Vagococcus species. V. fluvialis strains from different habitats were highly similar in terms of functional diversity but the sponge-isolated strains were enriched in several functions related to the marine environment. Furthermore, sponge-isolated strains carried a significantly higher number of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) compared to previously sequenced V. fluvialis strains from other environments. Sponge-isolated strains carried up to 4 circular plasmids each, including a 48-kb conjugative plasmid. Three of the five strains carried an additional circular extrachromosomal sequence, assumed to be an excised prophage as it contained mainly viral genes and lacked plasmid replication genes. Insertion sequences (ISs) were up to five times more abundant in the genomes of sponge-isolated strains compared to the others, including several IS families found exclusively in these genomes.


    Our findings highlight the dynamics and plasticity of the V. fluvialis genome. The abundance of mobile genetic elements in the genomes of sponge-isolated V. fluvialis strains suggests that the mobilome might be key to understanding the genomic signatures of symbiosis in bacteria.

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