Genome rearrangements and phylogeny reconstruction in Yersinia pestis
Genome rearrangements have played an important role in the evolution of Yersinia pestis from its progenitor Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. Traditional phylogenetic trees for Y. pestis based on sequence comparison have short internal branches and low bootstrap supports as only a small number of nucleotide substitutions have occurred. On the other hand, even a small number of genome rearrangements may resolve topological ambiguities in a phylogenetic tree. We reconstructed phylogenetic trees based on genome rearrangements using several popular approaches such as Maximum likelihood for Gene Order and the Bayesian model of genome rearrangements by inversions. We also reconciled phylogenetic trees for each of the three CRISPR loci to obtain an integrated scenario of the CRISPR cassette evolution. Analysis of contradictions between the obtained evolutionary trees yielded numerous parallel inversions and gain/loss events. Our data indicate that an integrated analysis of sequence-based and inversion-based trees enhances the resolution of phylogenetic reconstruction. In contrast, reconstructions of strain relationships based on solely CRISPR loci may not be reliable, as the history is obscured by large deletions, obliterating the order of spacer gains. Similarly, numerous parallel gene losses preclude reconstruction of phylogeny based on gene content.