Genomics provides an unprecedented opportunity to probe in minute detail into the genomes of the world's most deadly pathogenic bacteria- Yersinia pestis . Here we report the complete genome sequence of Y. pestis strain 91001, a human-avirulent strain isolated from the rodent Brandt's vole- Microtus brandti . The genome of strain 91001 consists of one chromosome and four plasmids (pPCP1, pCD1, pMT1 and pCRY). The 9609-bp pPCP1 plasmid of strain 91001 is almost identical to the counterparts from reference strains (CO92 and KIM). There are 98 genes in the 70,159-bp range of plasmid pCD1. The 106,642-bp plasmid pMT1 has slightly different architecture compared with the reference ones. pCRY is a novel plasmid discovered in this work. It is 21,742 bp long and harbors a cryptic type IV secretory system. The chromosome of 91001 is 4,595,065 bp in length. Among the 4037 predicted genes, 141 are possible pseudogenes. Due to the rearrangements mediated by insertion elements, the structure of the 91001 chromosome shows dramatic differences compared with CO92 and KIM. Based on the analysis of plasmids and chromosome architectures, pseudogene distribution, nitrate reduction negative mechanism and gene comparison, we conclude that strain 91001 and other strains isolated from M. brandti might have evolved from ancestral Y. pestis in a different lineage. The large genome fragment deletions in the 91001 chromosome and some pseudogenes may contribute to its unique nonpathogenicity to humans and host-specificity.

Author notes

† These authors contributed equally to this work.