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Genome insights into the pharmaceutical and plant growth promoting features of the novel species Nocardia alni sp. nov

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Imen Nouioui, Professor Michael Goodfellow



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021, The Author(s). Background: Recent studies highlighted the biosynthetic potential of nocardiae to produce diverse novel natural products comparable to that of Streptomyces, thereby making them an attractive source of new drug leads. Many of the 119 Nocardia validly named species were isolated from natural habitats but little is known about the diversity and the potential of the endophytic nocardiae of root nodule of actinorhizal plants. Results: The taxonomic status of an actinobacterium strain, designated ncl2T, was established in a genome-based polyphasic study. The strain was Gram-stain-positive, produced substrate and aerial hyphae that fragmented into coccoid and rod-like elements and showed chemotaxonomic properties that were also typical of the genus Nocardia. It formed a distinct branch in the Nocardia 16S rRNA gene tree and was most closely related to the type strains of Nocardia nova (98.6%), Nocardia jiangxiensis (98.4%), Nocardia miyuensis (97.8%) and Nocardia vaccinii (97.7%). A comparison of the draft genome sequence generated for the isolate with the whole genome sequences of its closest phylogenetic neighbours showed that it was most closely related to the N. jiangxiensis, N. miyuensis and N. vaccinii strains, a result underpinned by average nucleotide identity and digital DNA-DNA hybridization data. Corresponding taxogenomic data, including those from a pan-genome sequence analysis showed that strain ncl2T was most closely related to N. vaccinii DSM 43285T. A combination of genomic, genotypic and phenotypic data distinguished these strains from one another. Consequently, it is proposed that strain ncl2T (= DSM 110931T = CECT 30122T) represents a new species within the genus Nocardia, namely Nocardia alni sp. nov. The genomes of the N. alni and N. vaccinii strains contained 36 and 29 natural product-biosynthetic gene clusters, respectively, many of which were predicted to encode for a broad range of novel specialised products, notably antibiotics. Genome mining of the N. alni strain and the type strains of its closest phylogenetic neighbours revealed the presence of genes associated with direct and indirect mechanisms that promote plant growth. The core genomes of these strains mainly consisted of genes involved in amino acid transport and metabolism, energy production and conversion and transcription. Conclusions: Our genome-based taxonomic study showed that isolate ncl2T formed a new centre of evolutionary variation within the genus Nocardia. This novel endophytic strain contained natural product biosynthetic gene clusters predicted to synthesize novel specialised products, notably antibiotics and genes associated with the expression of plant growth promoting compounds.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nouioui I, Ha S-M, Baek I, Chun J, Goodfellow M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMC Genomics

Year: 2022

Volume: 23

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 21/01/2022

Acceptance date: 14/12/2021

Date deposited: 16/02/2022

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2164

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd


DOI: 10.1186/s12864-021-08257-y

PubMed id: 35062865


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