Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Paris, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Diderot Univ Paris 07, UPEC Univ Paris 12, CNRS, INRA, IRD, 4 Place Jussieu, 75005, Paris, France. [Email]
BACKGROUND : The Dickeya genus is part of the Pectobacteriaceae family that is included in the newly described enterobacterales order. It comprises a group of aggressive soft rot pathogens with wide geographic distribution and host range. Among them, the new Dickeya fangzhongdai species groups causative agents of maceration-associated diseases that impact a wide variety of crops and ornamentals. It affects mainly monocot plants, but D. fangzhongdai strains have also been isolated from pear trees and water sources. Here, we analysed which genetic novelty exists in this new species, what are the D. fangzhongdai-specific traits and what is the intra-specific diversity. RESULTS : The genomes of eight D. fangzhongdai strains isolated from diverse environments were compared to 31 genomes of strains belonging to other Dickeya species. The D. fangzhongdai core genome regroups approximately 3500 common genes, including most genes that encode virulence factors and regulators characterised in the D. dadantii 3937 model strain. Only 38 genes are present in D. fangzhongdai and absent in all other Dickeyas. One of them encodes a pectate lyase of the PL10 family of polysaccharide lyases that is found only in a few bacteria from the plant environment, soil or human gut. Other D. fangzhongdai-specific genes with a known or predicted function are involved in regulation or metabolism. The intra-species diversity analysis revealed that seven of the studied D. fangzhongdai strains were grouped into two distinct clades. Each clade possesses a pool of 100-150 genes that are shared by the clade members, but absent from the other D. fangzhongdai strains and several of these genes are clustered into genomic regions. At the strain level, diversity resides mainly in the arsenal of T5SS- and T6SS-related toxin-antitoxin systems and in secondary metabolite biogenesis pathways. CONCLUSIONS : This study identified the genome-specific traits of the new D. fangzhongdai species and highlighted the intra-species diversity of this species. This diversity encompasses secondary metabolites biosynthetic pathways and toxins or the repertoire of genes of extrachromosomal origin. We however didn't find any relationship between gene content and phenotypic differences or sharing of environmental habitats.