Lydia Mosi Poster 2024

Lydia Mosi

Dr Lydia Mosi

University of Ghana, Ghana

Pseudogenomic insights into the evolution of Mycobacterium ulcerans suggests environmental niche adaptation. 


Poster Abstract

Buruli ulcer (BU) disease, caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans (MU), and characterized by necrotic ulcers is still a health problem in Africa and Australia. The genome of the bacterium has several pseudogenes due to recent evolutionary events and environmental pressures. Pseudogenes are genetic elements regarded as nonessential in bacteria, however, they are less studied due to limited available tools to provide understanding of their evolution and roles in MU pathogenicity. This study developed a bioinformatic pipeline to profile the pseudogenomes of sequenced MU clinical isolates from different countries. One hundred and seventy-two MU genomes analyzed revealed that pseudogenomes of African strains corresponded to the two African lineages 1 and 2. Pseudogenomes were lineage and location specific and African lineage 1 was further divided into A and B. Lineage 2 had less relaxation in positive selection than lineage 1 which may signify different evolutionary points. Based on the Gil-Latorre model, African MU strains may be in the latter stages of evolutionary adaption and are adapting to an environment rich in metabolic resources with a lower temperature and decreased UV radiation. The environment fosters oxidative metabolism and MU may be less reliant on some secondary metabolites. In-house pseudogenomes from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire were different from other African strains, however, they were identified as African strains. Our bioinformatic pipeline provides pseudogenomic insights to complement other whole genome analyses, providing a better view of the evolution of the genome of MU and suggest an adaptation model which is important in understanding transmission. MU pseudogene profiles vary based on lineage and country, and an apparent reduction in insertion sequences used for the detection of MU which may adversely affect the sensitivity of diagnosis.