Whole-genome sequencing reveals the effect of vaccination on the evolution of Bordetella pertussis.
Sci Rep. 2015 ;5:12888. Epub 2015 Aug 18. PMID: 26283022
Herd immunity can potentially induce a change of circulating viruses. However, it remains largely unknown that how bacterial pathogens adapt to vaccination. In this study, Bordetella pertussis, the causative agent of whooping cough, was selected as an example to explore possible effect of vaccination on the bacterial pathogen. We sequenced and analysed the complete genomes of 40 B. pertussis strains from Finland and China, as well as 11 previously sequenced strains from the Netherlands, where different vaccination strategies have been used over the past 50 years. The results showed that the molecular clock moved at different rates in these countries and in distinct periods, which suggested that evolution of the B. pertussis population was closely associated with the country vaccination coverage. Comparative whole-genome analyses indicated that evolution in this human-restricted pathogen was mainly characterised by ongoing genetic shift and gene loss. Furthermore, 116 SNPs were specifically detected in currently circulating ptxP3-containing strains. The finding might explain the successful emergence of this lineage and its spread worldwide. Collectively, our results suggest that the immune pressure of vaccination is one major driving force for the evolution of B. pertussis, which facilitates further exploration of the pathogenicity of B. pertussis.