From the Flavobacterium genus to the phylum Bacteroidetes: genomic analysis of dnd gene clusters


Correspondence: Eric Duchaud, INRA, Virologie et Immunologie Moléculaires UR892, Jouy-en-Josas, France. Tel.: +33 1 34 65 25 88; fax: +33 1 34 65 25 91; e-mail:


Phosphorothioate modification of DNA and the corresponding DNA degradation (Dnd) phenotype that occurs during gel electrophoresis are caused by dnd genes. Although widely distributed among Bacteria and Archaea, dnd genes have been found in only very few, taxonomically unrelated, bacterial species so far. Here, we report the presence of dnd genes and their associated Dnd phenotype in two Flavobacterium species. Comparison with dnd gene clusters previously described led us to report a noncanonical genetic organization and to identify a gene likely encoding a hybrid DndE protein. Hence, we showed that dnd genes are also present in members of the family Flavobacteriaceae, a bacterial group occurring in a variety of habitats with an interesting diversity of lifestyle. Two main types of genomic organization of dnd loci were uncovered probably denoting their spreading in the phylum Bacteroidetes via distinct genetic transfer events.