Bifidobacteria are commensals of the animal gut and are commonly found in mammals, birds, and social insects. Specifically, strains of Bifidobacterium adolescentis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium pseudolongum are widely distributed in the mammalian gut. In this context, we investigated the genetic variability and metabolic abilities of the B. pseudolongum taxon, whose genomic characterization has so far not received much attention. Phylogenomic analysis of the genome sequences of 60 B. pseudolongum strains revealed that B. pseudolongum subsp. globosum and B. pseudolongum subsp. pseudolongum may actually represent two distinct bifidobacterial species. Furthermore, our analysis highlighted metabolic differences between members of these two subspecies. Moreover, comparative analyses of genetic strategies to prevent invasion of foreign DNA revealed that the B. pseudolongum subsp. globosum group exhibits greater genome plasticity. In fact, the obtained findings indicate that B. pseudolongum subsp. globosum is more adaptable to different ecological niches such as the mammalian and avian gut than is B. pseudolongum subsp. pseudolongum.
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