Bacterial degraders of chlorophenoxy herbicides have been isolated from various ecosystems, including pristine environments. Among these degraders, the sphingomonads constitute a prominent group that displays versatile xenobiotic-degradation capabilities. Four separate sequencing strategies were required to provide the complete sequence of the complex and plastic genome of the canonical chlorophenoxy herbicide-degrading Sphingobium herbicidovorans MH. The genome has an intricate organization of the chlorophenoxy-herbicide catabolic genes sdpA, rdpA, and cadABCD that encode the (R)- and (S)-enantiomer-specific 2,4-dichlorophenoxypropionate dioxygenases and four subunits of a Rieske non-heme iron oxygenase involved in 2-methyl-chlorophenoxyacetic acid degradation, respectively. Several major genomic rearrangements are proposed to help understand the evolution and mobility of these important genes and their genetic context. Single-strain mobilomic sequence analysis uncovered plasmids and insertion sequence-associated circular intermediates in this environmentally important bacterium and enabled the description of evolutionary models for pesticide degradation in strain MH and related organisms. The mobilome presented a complex mosaic of mobile genetic elements including four plasmids and several circular intermediate DNA molecules of insertion-sequence elements and transposons that are central to the evolution of xenobiotics degradation. Furthermore, two individual chromosomally integrated prophages were shown to excise and form free circular DNA molecules. This approach holds great potential for improving the understanding of genome plasticity, evolution, and microbial ecology.© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Journal: Genome biology and evolution