Query: NC_009615:644757 Parabacteroides distasonis ATCC 8503 chromosome, complete genome Lineage: Parabacteroides distasonis; Parabacteroides; Porphyromonadaceae; Bacteroidales; Bacteroidetes; Bacteria General Information: Normal gastrointestinal bacterium. This group of microbes constitute the most abundant members of the intestinal microflora of mammals. Typically they are symbionts, but they can become opportunistic pathogens in the peritoneal (intra-abdominal) cavity. Breakdown of complex plant polysaccharides such as cellulose and hemicellulose and host-derived polysaccharides such as mucopolysaccharides is aided by the many enzymes these organisms produce. Parabacteroides distasonis is one of the most common fecal isolates, however, this organism is rarely isolated from clinical specimens.
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General Information: This organism is unique in that it is a bacteriolytic microbe that preys on other gram negative bacteria. It is found throughout soil, sewage, and aquatic environments, and is often associated with biofilms. This organism has a biphasic lifestyle which consists of a free living and motile phase, and an attack phase where the bacterium attaches to a host cell, burrows into the periplasm, and begins to degrade the host from the inside out. The organism sheds its flagellum once it makes irreversible contact with the host, and when it is inside, begins to form a bdelloplast, resulting in degradation of the host cell inner membrane and alteration of its peptidoglycan layer, resulting in a spherical cell. The Bdellovibrio cell elongates until it forms a long coiled structure which then divides, forming many flagellated progeny which continue the degradation of the host cell to propagate the life cycle. The genome encodes a large number of degradative and lytic enzymes which are used to degrade the host organism. The organism has numerous deficiencies in its amino acid biosynthetic pathways, suggesting it utilizes prey metabolites for protein synthesis.