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Appl Environ Microbiol. Jul 1997; 63(7): 2593–2599.
PMCID: PMC168556

Strain characterization and classification of oxyphotobacteria in clone cultures on the basis of 16S rRNA sequences from the variable regions V6, V7, and V8.


A major problem in development of a polyphasic taxonomy is that the identification of oxyphotobacterial strains (cyanobacteria and prochlorophytes) in culture collections may be incorrect. We have therefore developed a diagnostic system using the DNA sequence polymorphism in the 16S rRNA regions V6 to V8 for individual strain characterization and identification. PCR primers amplifying V6 to V8 from oxyphotobacteria in unialgal cultures were constructed. Direct solid-phase or cyclic sequencing was used to determine the sequences from the amplified DNA. This survey includes 10 strains of Nostoc/Anabaena/Aphanizomenon (Nostoc category), 5 strains of Microcystis (Microcystis category), and 4 strains of Planktothrix (Planktothrix category). Fifteen additional strains of cyanobacteria and two strains of prochlorophytes were included such that the major phyletic groups were represented. One of the strains, Phormidium sp. NIVA-CYA 203, contained an 11-nucleotide insertion with no homology to other known 16S rRNA sequences. Based on parsimony and neighbor-joining trees, the phyletic relationships of the strains were investigated. Thirteen major branches were found, with Pseudanabaena limnetica NIVA-CYA 276/6 as the most divergent strain. The strain categories Nostoc, Planktothrix, and Microcystis were all monophyletic. The sequence polymorphism within Nostoc was higher than that in Planktothrix and Microcystis. Based on the sequence and phyletic information, group-specific PCR primers for the categories Nostoc, Planktothrix, and Microcystis were constructed. For the strains included in this work, the amplifications were specific for the relevant groups. By combination of magnetic solid-phase DNA isolation and group-specific PCR amplifications, an accurate method for characterization, classification and identification of oxyphotobacterial clone cultures has been developed.

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Selected References

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