Simple sequence repeat (SSR)-based gene diversity in Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei

Han Song, Junghyun Hwang, Jaehee Myung, Hyoseok Seo, Hyojeong Yi, Hee Sun Sim, Bong Su Kim, William C. Nierman, Heenam Stanley Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Pathogens Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bp) and Burkholderia mallei (Bm) contain a large number (> 12,000) of Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs). To study the extent to which these features have contributed to the diversification of genes, we have conducted comparative studies with nineteen genomes of these bacteria. We found 210 genes with characteristic types of SSR variations. SSRs with nonamer repeat units were the most abundant, followed by hexamers and trimers. Amino acids with smaller and nonpolar R-groups are preferred to be encoded by the variant SSRs, perhaps due to their minimal impacts to protein functionality. A majority of these genes appears to code for surface or secreted proteins that may directly interact with the host factors during pathogenesis or other environmental factors. There also are others that encode diverse functions in the cytoplasm, and this protein variability may reflect an extensive involvement of phase variation in survival and adaptation of these pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-241
Number of pages5
JournalMolecules and cells
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the grants M102KK010005-08K1101-00530 from the 21C Frontier Microbial Genomics and Applications Center Program and RO1-2008-000-11047-0 from the Basic Research Program, both of which from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in the Republic of Korea, and by the Korea Foundation for International Cooperation of Science and Technology through a grant provided by the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology in K20601000002-07E0100-00240 to H.S.K. Sequencing and annotation of most of the Bp and Bm strains was supported by NIAID N01-AI30071 to W.C.N.


  • Burkholderia mallei
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei
  • Pathogen
  • Phase variation
  • Simple sequence repeats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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