Genome-wide survey of codons under diversifying selection in a highly recombining bacterial species, Helicobacter pylori

Koji Yahara, Yoshikazu Furuta, Shinpei Morimoto, Chie Kikutake, Sho Komukai, Dorota Matelska, Stanisław Dunin-Horkawicz, Janusz M. Bujnicki, Ikuo Uchiyama, Ichizo Kobayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Selection has been a central issue in biology in eukaryotes as well as prokaryotes. Inference of selection in recombining bacterial species, compared with clonal ones, has been a challenge. It is not known how codons under diversifying selection are distributed along the chromosome or among functional categories or how frequently such codons are subject to mutual homologous recombination. Here, we explored these questions by analysing genes present in >90% among 29 genomes of Helicobacter pylori, one of the bacterial species with the highest mutation and recombination rates. By a method for recombining sequences, we identified codons under diversifying selection (dN/dS > 1), which were widely distributed and accounted for ∼0.2% of all the codons of the genome. The codons were enriched in genes of host interaction/cell surface and genome maintenance (DNA replication, recombination, repair, and restriction modification system). The encoded amino acid residues were sometimes found adjacent to critical catalytic/binding residues in protein structures. Furthermore, by estimating the intensity of homologous recombination at a single nucleotide level, we found that these codons appear to be more frequently subject to recombination. We expect that the present study provides a new approach to population genomics of selection in recombining prokaryotes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-143
Number of pages9
JournalDNA Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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