Gene Discovery and Annotation of Gardnerella vaginalis, a Bacterium Associated with Bacterial Vaginosis and Pre-term Labor

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Ibrahim, Marina
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
Human pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks, but genetic and environmental factors could contribute to premature birth. One factor is when other bacteria replace Lactobacillus spp. within the female urogenital tract. One bacterium found in patients diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis is Gardnerella vaginalis, which is complex in nature as some strains are pathogenic and others are not. To understand strain differences, a reference genome annotation was compared to transcriptome evidence within the Apollo Gene Annotation Platform. With approximately 30% of the annotations done, thirty-four gene models were re-annotated, while only two gene models did not require further annotation. Two polycistronic operons were identified, but no novel, putative genes were identified. Using this updated genome annotation will allow for a more informed comparison of genes and transcripts from pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains and may also allow identification of virulence factors that can be used as biomarkers and therapeutic targets.
pregnancy, pre-term, bacterial vaginosis, Gardnerella, bioinformatics, gene annotations, vaginal health