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Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1999 Jul;49 Pt 3:1181-92.

Species identification and phylogenetic relationships based on partial HSP60 gene sequences within the genus Staphylococcus.

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Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


The phylogenetic relationships among 36 validly described species or subspecies within the genus Staphylococcus were investigated by cloning and sequencing their 60 kDa heat-shock protein (HSP60) genes using a set of universal degenerate HSP60 PCR primers. The cloned partial HSP60 DNA sequences from nine Staphylococcus aureus strains were highly conserved (97-100% DNA sequence similarity; mean 98%), indicating that the HSP60 gene of multiple isolates within the same species have little microheterogeneity. At the subspecies level, DNA sequence similarity among members of S. aureus, Staphylococcus schleiferi, Staphylococcus cohnii and Staphylococcus capitis ranged from 91 to 98%. At the interspecies level, sequence similarity among 23 distinct species of staphylococci ranged from 74 to 93% (mean 82%). By comparison, the highest sequence similarity of Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli with members within the genus Staphylococcus was only 70 and 59%, respectively. Importantly, phylogenetic analysis based on the neighbour-joining distance method revealed remarkable concordance between the tree derived from partial HSP60 gene sequences and that based on genomic DNA-DNA hybridization, while 16S rRNA gene sequences correlated less well. The results demonstrate that DNA sequences from the highly conserved and ubiquitous HSP60 gene offer a convenient and accurate tool for species-specific identification and phylogenetic analysis of staphylococci.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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