Comparative genomics of Bifidobacteria

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Bottacini, Francesca
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University College Cork
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Chapter 2 of this thesis describes the sequence analysis of 14 bifidobacterial genomes from various species of the genus Bifidobacterium, and the determination of their open pan-genome trend. This analysis first determined the total number of genes to be considered as the reservoir of functions available to representatives of this genus. Many identified genes are still uncharacterized, but may be involved in the adaptation to the gut environment. This comparative genomic analysis also determined a pool of ortholog functions used to infer their phylogenetic relationship, thereby providing a more robust approach compared to that based solely on the16S rRNA-encoding gene. The genome sequence of an isolate from the insect hindgut Bifidobacterium asteroides PRL2011 was fully characterized in Chapter 3, surprisingly revealing a putative respiratory metabolism, which was also found to be present in other insect isolates, suggesting that respiration was an ancient feature of this genus, but also an adaptative trait to different atmosferic oxygen levels. Chapter 4 of this thesis outlines a comparative study which focused on the analysis of representatives of the Bifidobacterium breve species, revealing that the genetic variability among members of this species principally consists of genes with a role in adaptation to host environment and gut colonization. Finally, Chapter 5 describes the analysis of the genome sequence of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BLC1, a probiotic bacterium widely used in food industries as an ingredient of functional foods, providing information that will allow future investigations of this species.
Bioinformatics , Comparative genomics , Probiogenomics
Bottancini, F. 2013. Comparative genomics of Bifidobacteria. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.