Synonymous codon usage in environmental chlamydia UWE25 reflects an evolutional divergence from pathogenic chlamydiae

Tong Zhou, Xiao Sun, Zuhong Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Publication of the complete genome sequence for the Acanthamoeba sp. endosymbiont UWE25 has illuminated the evolution history of chlamydiae. In this study, the codon usage bias in UWE25 and five other species of pathogenic chlamydiae was calculated. It was found that genomic composition constraints are the major source of codon usage variation in UWE25. This result is different from the former observation in pathogenic chlamydiae, whose genomic base composition is more unbiased. Four other factors, such as strand-specific mutational bias, natural selection acting at the level of translation, hydropathy level of each protein and the conservation level of amino acids also have influence in shaping the codon usage in these six species to some extent. Further analysis suggests that the high stability of the UWE25 genome partially account for the difference in codon usage pattern between environmental and pathogenic chlamydiae. Moreover, our results imply that the replicational selection pressure in pathogenic chlamydiae is stronger than that in UWE25. Analyzing the codon usage pattern in the environmental chlamydia and comparing it with that of the pathogenic chlamydiae may provide clues how the chlamydiae have evolved from their common ancestor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlamydiae
  • Mutational bias
  • Strand-specific mutational bias
  • Synonymous codon usage
  • Translational selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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