Complete genome sequence of Mesorhizobium australicum type strain (WSM2073T)
- Wayne Reeve1Email author,
- Kemanthi Nandasena1,
- Ron Yates1, 5,
- Ravi Tiwari1,
- Graham O’Hara1,
- Mohamed Ninawi1,
- Wei Gu2,
- Lynne Goodwin2,
- Chris Detter2,
- Roxanne Tapia2,
- Cliff Han2,
- Alex Copeland3,
- Konstantinos Liolios3,
- Amy Chen4,
- Victor Markowitz4,
- Amrita Pati3,
- Konstantinos Mavromatis3,
- Tanja Woyke3,
- Nikos Kyrpides3,
- Natalia Ivanova3 and
- John Howieson1
© The Author(s) 2013
Published: 20 December 2013
Mesorhizobium australicum strain WSM2073T was isolated from root nodules on the pasture legume Biserrula pelecinus growing in Australia in 2000. This aerobic, motile, gram negative, non-spore-forming rod is poorly effective in N2 fixation on B. pelecinus and has gained the ability to nodulate B. pelecinus following in situ lateral transfer of a symbiosis island from the original inoculant strain for this legume, Mesorhizobium ciceri bv. biserrulae WSM1271. We describe that the genome size of M. australicum strain WSM2073T is 6,200,534 bp encoding 6,013 protein-coding genes and 67 RNA-only encoding genes. This genome does not contain any plasmids but has a 455.7 kb genomic island from Mesorhizobium ciceri bv. biserrulae WSM1271 that has been integrated into a phenylalanine-tRNA gene.
Keywordsroot-nodule bacteria nitrogen fixation evolution lateral transfer of genes integrative and conjugative elements symbiosis Alphaproteobacteria
Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) contributes substantially to the productivity of sustainable agriculture around the world and approximately 80% of biologically fixed nitrogen (N) is estimated to be contributed by the symbiotic association between root nodule bacteria (RNB) and leguminous plants . This process of symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) enables 175 million tons of atmospheric nitrogen (N2) to be fixed each year into a plant available form. SNF therefore reduces the need to apply fertilizer to provide bioavailable nitrogen, decreases greenhouse gas emissions derived from fertilizer manufacture, alleviates chemical leaching into the environment from the over application of fertilizer, and substantially enhances soil nitrogen for crop and animal production [2–4]. Because of substantial SNF benefits, considerable effort has been devoted to sourcing legumes from different geographical locations to improve legume productivity in different agricultural settings .
The Mediterranean legume Biserrula pelecinus L. is one of only three deep rooted annual legume species widely used in commerce with the potential to reduce the development of dryland salinity in Australia and was therefore introduced into Australia in 1994. Native RNB in Australian soil were not capable of nodulating B. pelecinus and therefore this host was inoculated with the inoculant strain Mesorhizobium ciceri bv. biserrulae WSM1271  to obtain an effective symbiosis. Six years after the introduction of this legume into Western Australia, isolates were recovered from root nodules on B. pelecinus growing in Northam, Western Australia that were compromised in their nitrogen fixation capacity. The gradual replacement of the inoculant by established strains of RNB that are competitive for nodulation but suboptimal in N2 fixation threatens the successful establishment of this new legume in agriculture .
One of these poorly effective but competitive strains that was isolated from a nodule of B. pelecinus grown in the wheat belt of Western Australia can only fix <40% N2 compared to the original inoculant M. ciceri bv. biserrulae WSM1271. This strain has been designated as WSM2073T (= LMG 24608 = HAMBI 3006) and is now the recognized type strain for the species Mesorhizobium australicum . The species name au.stra.li’cum. N.L. neut. adj. australicum is in reference to where this isolate originated from  and represents a dominant chromosomal type strain surviving as a soil saprophyte in the Western Australian wheat belt [6,8] that appears to have the capacity to acquire symbiotic genes through horizontal transfer .
In this report we present a summary classification and a set of general features for M. australicum strain WSM2073T together with the description of the complete genome sequence and its annotation. Here we reveal that a 455.7 Kb genomic island from the inoculant Mesorhizobium ciceri bv. biserrulae WSM1271 has been horizontally transferred into M. australicum strain WSM2073T and integrated into the phenylalanine-tRNA gene.
Classification and features
Classification and general features of M. australicum strain WSM2073T according to the MIGS recommendations .
Species Mesorhizobium australicum
Arabinose, gentibiose, glucose, mannitol & melibiose
Soil, root nodule, host
Free living, Symbiotic
Root nodule of Biserrula pelecinus. L
Northam, Western Australia
Nodule collection date
M. australicum strain WSM2073T has an extremely narrow legume host range for symbiosis only forming partially effective nitrogen-fixing root nodules on Biserrula pelecinus L . This strain also nodulates the closely related species Astragalus membranaceus but does not nodulate 21 other legume species nodulated by Mesorhizobium spp. . Strain WSM2073T has similar highly specific symbiotic nodulation capabilities to M. ciceri bv. biserrulae WSM1271, but is a poor N-fixer on B. pelecinus L.
Genome sequencing and annotation
Genome project history
Genome sequencing project information for Mesorhizobium australicum strain WSM2073T
Illumina GAii shotgun library, 454 Titanium standard library and paired end 454 libraries
Illumina and 454 technologies
454 standard and paired end (28x) and Illumina (2159x); total 2187x
Newbler v 2.3 and Velvet v 0.7.63, PHRAP SPS-4.24 and CONSED
Gene calling method
Prodigal v.2.50, GenePrimp
Genbank Date of Release
December 28, 2012
NCBI project ID
Symbiotic nitrogen fixation, agriculture
Growth conditions and DNA isolation
M. australicum strain WSM2073T was grown to mid logarithmic phase in TY medium (a rich medium)  on a gyratory shaker at 28°C. DNA was isolated from 60 mL of cells using a CTAB (Cetyl trimethylammonium bromide) bacterial genomic DNA isolation method.
Genome sequencing and assembly
The draft genome of M. australicum strain WSM2073T was generated at the DOE Joint genome Institute (JGI) using a combination of Illumina  and 454 technologies . For this, genome we constructed and sequenced an Illumina GAii shotgun library which generated 10,509,788 reads totaling 378.4 Mb, a 454 Titanium standard library which generated 235,807 reads and paired end 454 libraries with an average insert sizes of 26.3 Kb/10.9 Kb which generated 221,877/139,171 reads totaling 257.0 Mb of 454 data. All general aspects of library construction and sequencing performed in this project can be found at the DOE Joint Genome Institute website. The initial draft assembly contained 14 contigs in 1 scaffold. The 454 Titanium standard data and the 454 paired end data were assembled together with Newbler, version 2.3. The Newbler consensus sequences were computationally shredded into 2 Kb overlapping fake reads (shreds). Illumina sequencing data was assembled with VELVET, version 0.7.63 , and the consensus sequences were computationally shredded into 1.5 Kb overlapping fake reads (shreds). We integrated the 454 Newbler consensus shreds, the Illumina VELVET consensus shreds and the read pairs in the 454 paired end library using parallel phrap, version SPS - 4.24 (High Performance Software, LLC). The software Consed [29–31] was used in the following finishing process. Illumina data was used to correct potential base errors and increase consensus quality using the software Polisher developed at JGI (Alla Lapidus, unpublished). Possible mis-assemblies were corrected using gapResolution (Cliff Han, unpublished), Dupfinisher , or sequencing cloned bridging PCR fragments with subcloning. Gaps between contigs were closed by editing in Consed, by PCR and by Bubble PCR (J-F Cheng, unpublished) primer walks. A total of 59 additional reactions were necessary to close gaps and to raise the quality of the finished sequence. The total size of the genome is 6,200,534 bp and the final assembly is based on 257 Mb of 454 draft data which provides an average 28× coverage of the genome and 13,385 Mb of Illumina draft data which provides an average 2159× coverage of the genome.
Genes were identified using Prodigal  as part of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory genome annotation pipeline, followed by a round of manual curation using the JGI GenePrimp pipeline . The predicted CDSs were translated and used to search the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) non-redundant database, UniProt, TIGRFam, Pfam, PRIAM, KEGG, COG, and InterPro databases. These data sources were combined to assert a product description for each predicted protein. Non-coding genes and miscellaneous features were predicted using tRNAscan-SE , RNAMMer , Rfam , TMHMM , and SignalP . Additional gene prediction analyses and functional annotation were performed within the Integrated Microbial Genomes (IMG-ER) platform .
Genome Statistics for Mesorhizobium australicum strain WSM2073T.
% of Total
Genome size (bp)
DNA coding region (bp)
DNA G+C content (bp)
Number of replicons
Genes with function prediction
Genes assigned to COGs
Genes assigned Pfam domains
Genes with signal peptides
Genes with transmembrane helices
Number of protein coding genes of Mesorhizobium australicum WSM2073T associated with the general COG functional categories.
Translation, ribosomal structure and biogenesis
RNA processing and modification
Replication, recombination and repair
Chromatin structure and dynamics
Cell cycle control, mitosis and meiosis
Signal transduction mechanisms
Cell wall/membrane biogenesis
Intracellular trafficking and secretion
Posttranslational modification, protein turnover, chaperones
Energy production conversion
Carbohydrate transport and metabolism
Amino acid transport metabolism
Nucleotide transport and metabolism
Coenzyme transport and metabolism
Lipid transport and metabolism
Inorganic ion transport and metabolism
Secondary metabolite biosynthesis, transport and catabolism
General function prediction only
Not in COGS
This work was performed under the auspices of the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research Program, and by the University of California, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC52-07NA27344, and Los Alamos National Laboratory under contract No. DE-AC02-06NA25396. We gratefully acknowledge the funding received from Australian Research Council Discovery grant (DP0880896), Murdoch University Strategic Research Fund through the Crop and Plant Research Institute (CaPRI) and the Centre for Rhizobium Studies (CRS) at Murdoch University. The authors would like to thank the Australia-China Joint Research Centre for Wheat Improvement (ACCWI) and SuperSeed Technologies (SST) for financially supporting Mohamed Ninawi’s PhD project.
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