Escherichia coli strain MRE600 was originally identified for its low RNase I activity and has therefore been widely adopted by the biomedical research community as a preferred source for the expression and purification of transfer RNAs and ribosomes. Despite its widespread use, surprisingly little information about its genome or genetic content exists. Here, we present the first de novo assembly and description of the MRE600 genome and epigenome. To provide context to these studies of MRE600, we include comparative analyses with E. coli K-12 MG1655 (K12). Pacific Biosciences Single Molecule, Real-Time sequencing reads were assembled into one large chromosome (4.83 Mb) and three smaller plasmids (89.1, 56.9, and 7.1 kb). Interestingly, the 7.1-kb plasmid possesses genes encoding a colicin E1 protein and its associated immunity protein. The MRE600 genome has a G + C content of 50.8% and contains a total of 5,181 genes, including 4,913 protein-encoding genes and 268 RNA genes. We identified 41,469 modified DNA bases (0.83% of total) and found that MRE600 lacks the gene for type I methyltransferase, EcoKI. Phylogenetic, taxonomic, and genetic analyses demonstrate that MRE600 is a divergent E. coli strain that displays features of the closely related genus, Shigella. Nevertheless, comparative analyses between MRE600 and E. coli K12 show that these two strains exhibit nearly identical ribosomal proteins, ribosomal RNAs, and highly homologous tRNA species. Substantiating prior suggestions that MRE600 lacks RNase I activity, the RNase I-encoding gene, rna, contains a single premature stop codon early in its open-reading frame. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Journal: Genome biology and evolution