Melissococcus plutonius, the causative agent of European foulbrood, is an important pathogen of honeybee larvae, but its pathogenic mechanisms remain poorly understood. In this study, we completed the first annotated genome sequence of M. plutonius type strain ATCC 35311. The M. plutonius ATCC 35311 genome consists of a single circular chromosome of 1,891,014 bp with an average GC content of 31.4%, and a plasmid of 177,718 bp with an average GC content of 29.2%. The chromosome contains 1,773 protein-coding genes, 61 transfer RNA genes for all amino acids, four rrn operons, and one prophage-like element, whereas the plasmid contains 150 protein-coding genes. Whole-chromosome comparison using the BLAST algorithm showed that the closest organism to M. plutonius ATCC 35311 is Enterococcus faecalis V583, with 12% genome coverage. However, M. plutonius ATCC 35311 had no genes that were highly homologous to those of known E. faecalis virulence factors. Therefore, M. plutonius might have unique virulence factors that specifically affect honeybee larvae.
(Bacterial and Parasitic Disease Research Division)
Okumura K. et al (2011) J. Bacteriol. 193:4029-4030