Evolutionary Microbial Genomics

Unit head: Eduardo P C Rocha


Scientific activities of the Evolutionary Microbial Genomics Unit are centered on the bioinformatics and biostatistics analysis of genomes, at the crossroads of molecular evolution, population genetics, evolutionary ecology and molecular genetics.


We focus on four major questions: 1) How and why are genomes organized? 2) How are such organizational features evolving in face of the extensive genome dynamics? 3) What are the roles of mobile elements in the trade-offs between organization and dynamics? 4) What is the interplay between genome dynamics and bacterial pathogen emergence at the microevolutionary and epidemiological scale?


Some recent publications


  • Bialek-Davenet S, Criscuolo A, Ailloud F, Passet V, Jones L, Delannoy-Vieillard AS, Garin B, Le Hello S, Arlet G, Nicolas-Chanoine  MH, Decré D, Brisse S. Genomic Definition of Hypervirulent and Multidrug-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae Clonal Groups. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014  Nov;20(11):1812-20. doi: 10.3201/eid2011.140206. PubMed PMID: 25341126; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4214299.

  • Remigi P, Capela D, Clerissi C, Tasse L, Torchet R, Bouchez O, Batut J, Cruveiller S, Rocha EP, Masson-Boivin C. Transient hypermutagenesis accelerates the evolution of legume endosymbionts following horizontal gene transfer. PLoS Biol. 2014 Sep 2;12(9):e1001942. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001942. eCollection 2014 Sep. PubMed PMID: 25181317; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4151985.

  • Bobay LM, Touchon M, Rocha EPC (2014) Pervasive domestication of defective prophages by bacteria. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111:12127–12132.[FULL TEXT]

  • Oliveira PH, Touchon M, Rocha EPC (2014) The interplay of restriction-modification systems with mobile genetic elements and their prokaryotic hosts. Nucl Acids Res 42:10618-31.[FULL TEXT]

  • Brisse S, Passet V, Haugaard AB, Babosan A, Kassis-Chikhani N, Struve C, Decré D. (2013) wzi gene sequencing, a rapid method to determine the capsular type of Klebsiella strains. J Clin Microbiol.

  • Bobay LM, Touchon M, Rocha EPC (2013) Manipulating or superseding host recombination functions: a dilemma that shapes phage evolvability. PLoS Genet. 9(9):e1003825. [FULL TEXT]

  • Cantinelli T, Chenal-Francisque V, Diancourt L, Frezal L, Leclercq A, Wirth T, Lecuit M, Brisse S. (2013) "Epidemic Clones" of Listeria monocytogenes Are Widespread and Ancient Clonal Groups. J Clin Microbiol. 51(11):3770-9.

  • Zhou Z, McCann A, Litrup E, Murphy R, Cormican M, Fanning S, Brown D, Guttman DS, Brisse S, Achtman M. (2013) Neutral genomic microevolution of a recently emerged pathogen, Salmonella enterica serovar Agona. PLoS Genet 9(4):e1003471. [FULL TEXT]

  • Abby SS, Rocha EPC (2012) The Non-Flagellar Type III Secretion System Evolved from the Bacterial Flagellum and Diversified into Host-Cell Adapted Systems. PLoS Genet 8:e1002983.  [FULL TEXT]

  • Guglielmini J, de la Cruz F, Rocha EPC (2012) Evolution of Conjugation and Type IV Secretion Systems. Mol Biol Evol 30:315-331. [FULL TEXT]

  • Namouchi A, Didelot X, Schock U, Gicquel B, Rocha EPC (2012) After the bottleneck: genome wide diversification of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex by mutation, recombination and natural selection. Genome Research 22:721-34.

  • Gama JA, Abby SS, Vieira-Silva S, Dionisio F, Rocha EPC (2012) Immune subversion and quorum-sensing shape the variation in infectious dose among bacterial pathogens. PLoS Pathogens 8: e1002503. [FULL TEXT] 

  • Vieira-Silva S, Touchon M, Abby S, Rocha EPC (2011) Investment in rapid growth shapes the evolutionary rates of essential proteins. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108:20030-20035.  [FULL TEXT]

  • Guglielmini J, Quintais L, Garcillán-Barcia MP, de la Cruz F, Rocha EPC (2011) The Repertoire of ICE in Prokaryotes Underscores the Unity, Diversity, and Ubiquity of Conjugation. PLoS Genet 7:e1002222. [FULL TEXT]

  • Treangen TJ & Rocha EPC (2011) Horizontal transfer, not duplication, drives the expansion of protein families in prokaryotes. PLoS Genet 7: e1001284. [FULL TEXT]

  • Smillie C, Garcillán-Barcia MP, Francia MV, Rocha EPC, de la Cruz F (2010) The mobility of plasmids. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 74:434-52. [FULL TEXT]

  • Touchon M, Rocha EPC (2010) The small, slow and specialized CRISPR and anti-CRISPR of Escherichia and Salmonella. PLoS One 5:e11126. [FULL TEXT]

  • Vieira-Silva S, Rocha EPC (2010) The Systemic Imprint of Growth Rates and its Uses in Ecological (Meta)genomics. PLoS Genetics 6:e1000808.[FULL TEXT]

  • Nogueira T, Rankin DJ, Touchon M, Taddei F, Brown SP, Rocha EPC (2009) Horizontal Gene Transfer of the Secretome Drives the Evolution of Bacterial Cooperation and Virulence. Curr Biol 19:1683-91. [FULL TEXT]

  • Touchon M et al (2009) Organised genome dynamics in the Escherichia coli species results in highly diverse adaptive paths. PLoS Genet. 5:e1000344.[FULL TEXT ]

  • Rocha EP (2008) The organization of the bacterial genome. Annu Rev Genet 42:211-33. [FULL TEXT]


Génomique évolutive des microbes
Institut Pasteur
Centre François Jacob
28 rue du Dr Roux
75724 Paris cedex 15

Tel: 0033 (0)1 40 61 33 53
Fax: 0033 (0)1 45 68 87 27
mail: erochaATpasteur.fr



  • Swelfe, identification of degenerate repeats in genes, proteins and 3D structures.
  • Repseek, identification of degenerate repeats in genomes.
  • Repeatoire, ab inito prediction of repeat families.
  • GrowthPred, prediction of growth-related traits in microbes from genomic and metagenomic data.
  • T3SSscan- FLAGscan, prediction of protein secretion systems in diderms (prokaryotes).
  • CONJscan-T4SSscan, search for relaxases and key components of type IV secretion systems in proteomes using an HMM profiles database.
  • MacSyFinder provides a flexible framework to model and identify molecular systems.


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