Population structure of the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis complex according to multilocus sequence typing

Riikka Laukkanen-Ninios, Xavier Didelot, Keith Jolley, Giovanna Morelli, Vartul Sangal, Paula Kristo, Carina Brehony, Priscilla Imori, Hiroshi Fukushima, Anja Siitonen, Galina Tseneva, Ekaterina Voskressenskaya, Juliana Falcao, Hannu Korkeala, Martin Maiden, Camila Mazzoni, Elisabeth Carniel, Mikael Skurnik, Mark Achtman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Multilocus sequence analysis of 417 strains of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis revealed that it is a complex of four populations, three of which have been previously assigned species status [Y. pseudotuberculosis sensu stricto (s.s.), Yersinia pestis and Yersinia similis] and a fourth population, which we refer to as the Korean group, which may be in the process of speciation. We detected clear signs of recombination within Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s. as well as imports from Y. similis and the Korean group. The sources of genetic diversification within Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s. were approximately equally divided between recombination and mutation, whereas recombination has not yet been demonstrated in Y. pestis, which is also much more genetically monomorphic than is Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s. Most Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s. belong to a diffuse group of sequence types lacking clear population structure, although this species contains a melibiose-negative clade that is present globally in domesticated animals. Yersinia similis corresponds to the previously identified Y. pseudotuberculosis genetic type G4, which is probably not pathogenic because it lacks the virulence factors that are typical for Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s. In contrast, Y. pseudotuberculosis s.s., the Korean group and Y. pestis can all cause disease in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3114-3127
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis
  • multilocus sequence typing
  • microbiology


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