<p>Author Summary How host-restriction, intracellularity and genome reduction interplay to exert or maintain virulence is poorly characterized. The fact that B. bacilliformis is the most pathogenic Bartonella and has a highly reduced genome makes it an attractive model to gain insights into (patho)adaptive evolution of intracellular pathogens. Also, B. bacilliformis is known to lack many virulence genes present in other Bartonella, indicating unique strategies of (patho)adaptation. Our study reveals a prevalent nature of mutational force in B. bacilliformis evolution with two distinct outcomes: (a) mutational divergence leading to sub-speciation, possibly recently, via accelerated accumulation and fixation of favorable mutations mediated by a mutator phenotype; and (b) mutational convergence between clones of a sub-species exhibiting shared functional trajectories of adaptive evolution. Our findings highlight positions accumulating adaptive mutations in candidate genes, offering future functional studies to elucidate B. bacilliformis virulence evolution, and of broad application to intracellular pathogens with a reduced gene repertoire.</p>
S. Paul, M. F. Minnick, and S. Chattopadhyay, “Mutation-Driven Divergence and Convergence Indicate Adaptive Evolution of the Intracellular Human-Restricted Pathogen, Bartonella bacilliformis”, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 10, pp. 1-17, 2016.