Complete genome sequences of two strains of <i>Treponema pallidum</i> subsp. <i>pertenue</i> from Indonesia: Modular structure of several treponemal genes

by Michal Strouhal, Lenka Mikalová, Jan Haviernik, Sascha Knauf, Sylvia Bruisten, Gerda T. Noordhoek, Jan Oppelt, Darina Čejková, David Šmajs


Treponema pallidum subsp. pertenue (TPE) is the causative agent of yaws, a multistage disease endemic in tropical regions in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and South America. To date, seven TPE strains have been completely sequenced and analyzed including five TPE strains of human origin (CDC-2, CDC 2575, Gauthier, Ghana-051, and Samoa D) and two TPE strains isolated from the baboons (Fribourg-Blanc and LMNP-1). This study revealed the complete genome sequences of two TPE strains, Kampung Dalan K363 and Sei Geringging K403, isolated in 1990 from villages in the Pariaman region of Sumatra, Indonesia and compared these genome sequences with other known TPE genomes.

Methodology/principal findings

The genomes were determined using the pooled segment genome sequencing method combined with the Illumina sequencing platform resulting in an average coverage depth of 1,021x and 644x for the TPE Kampung Dalan K363 and TPE Sei Geringging K403 genomes, respectively. Both Indonesian TPE strains were genetically related to each other and were more distantly related to other, previously characterized TPE strains. The modular character of several genes, including TP0136 and TP0858 gene orthologs, was identified by analysis of the corresponding sequences. To systematically detect genes potentially having a modular genetic structure, we performed a whole genome analysis-of-occurrence of direct or inverted repeats of 17 or more nucleotides in length. Besides in tpr genes, a frequent presence of repeats was found in the genetic regions spanning TP0126–TP0136, TP0856–TP0858, and TP0896 genes.


Comparisons of genome sequences of TPE Kampung Dalan K363 and Sei Geringging K403 with other TPE strains revealed a modular structure of several genomic loci including the TP0136, TP0856, and TP0858 genes. Diversification of TPE genomes appears to be facilitated by intra-strain genome recombination events.

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