Date of this Version
Appl Environ Microbiol 84:e02015-17
Niche partitioning and sequence evolution drive genomic and phenotypic divergence, which ultimately leads to bacterial diversification. This study investigated the genomic composition of two Shewanella baltica clades previously identified through multilocus sequencing typing and recovered from the redox transition zone in the central Baltic Sea. Comparative genomic analysis revealed significantly higher interclade than intraclade genomic dissimilarity and that a subset of genes present in clade A were associated with potential adaptation to respiration of sulfur compounds present in the redox transition zone. The transcriptomic divergence between two representative strains of clades A and D, OS185 and OS195, was also characterized and revealed marked regulatory differences. We found that both the transcriptional divergence of shared genes and expression of strain-specific genes led to differences in regulatory patterns between strains that correlate with environmental redox niches. For instance, under anoxic conditions of respiratory nitrate ammonification, OS185—the strain isolated from a nitrate-rich environment—upregulated nearly twice the number of shared genes upregulated by OS195—the strain isolated from an H2S-containing anoxic environment. Conversely, OS195 showed stronger induction of strain-specific genes, especially those associated with sulfur compound respiration, under thiosulfate-reducing conditions. A positive association between the level of transcriptional divergence and the level of sequence divergence for shared genes was also noted. Our results provide further support for the hypothesis that genomic changes impacting transcriptional regulation play an important role in the diversification of ecologically distinct populations.