Toxin–antitoxin systems (TASs) are widely distributed in prokaryotes and encode pairs of genes involved in many bacterial biological processes and mechanisms, including pathogenesis. The TASs have not been extensively studied in Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), a pathogenic bacterium of the Firmicutes phylum causing infections in animals and humans. Using our recently published TASmania database, we focused on the known and new putative TASs in 352 Listeria monocytogenes genomes and identified the putative core gene TASs (cgTASs) with the Pasteur BIGSdb-Lm database and, by complementarity, the putative accessory gene TAS (acTASs). We combined the cgTASs with those of an additional 227 L. monocytogenes isolates from our previous studies containing metadata information. We discovered that the differences in 14 cgTAS alleles are sufficient to separate the four main lineages of Listeria monocytogenes. Analyzing these differences in more details, we uncovered potentially co-evolving residues in some pairs of proteins in cgTASs, probably essential for protein–protein interactions within the TAS complex.
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