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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 2009, Article ID 782924, 8 pages
Research Article

The Analysis of Multiple Genome Comparisons in Genus Escherichia and Its Application to the Discovery of Uncharacterised Metabolic Genes in Uropathogenic Escherichia coli CFT073

1Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, University College London, Torrington Place, London WC1E 7JE, UK
2Structural and Molecular Biology, Darwin Building, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
3Greenbiologics Ltd, Unit 45A, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 4RU, UK

Received 1 April 2009; Revised 27 August 2009; Accepted 2 November 2009

Academic Editor: Graziano Pesole

Copyright © 2009 William A. Bryant et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A survey of a complete gene synteny comparison has been carried out between twenty fully sequenced strains from the genus Escherichia with the aim of finding yet uncharacterised genes implicated in the metabolism of uropathogenic strains of E. coli (UPEC). Several sets of adjacent colinear genes have been identified which are present in all four UPEC included in this study (CFT073, F11, UTI89, and 536), annotated with putative metabolic functions, but are not found in any other strains considered. An operon closely homologous to that encoding the L-sorbose degradation pathway in Klebsiella pneumoniae has been identified in E. coli CFT073; this operon is present in all of the UPEC considered, but only in 7 of the other 16 strains. The operon's function has been confirmed by cloning the genes into E. coli DH5 and testing for growth on L-sorbose. The functional genomic approach combining in silico and in vitro work presented here can be used as a basis for the discovery of other uncharacterised genes contributing to bacterial survival in specific environments.