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Mol Cell Probes. 2002 Feb;16(1):1-11.

Comparative studies of the Acinetobacter genus and the species identification method based on the recA sequences.

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Department of Microbiology, Technical University of GdaƄsk, Poland.


The recA gene is indispensable for a maintaining and diversification of the bacterial genetic material. Given its important role in ensuring cell viability, it is not surprising that the RecA protein is both ubiquitous and well conserved among a range of prokaryotes. Previously, we reported Acinetobacter genomic species identification method based on PCR amplification of an internal fragment of the recA gene with subsequent restriction analysis (RFLP) with HinfI and MboI enzymes. In present study, the PCR products containing the internal fragment of the recA gene, for 25 Acinetobacter strains belonging to all genomic species, were sequenced. Based on the nucleotide sequences the restriction maps and phylogenetic tree were prepared. The restriction maps revealed that Tsp509I restriction enzyme is the most discriminating for RFLP. To verify the computer analysis, the amplified DNAs from all reference genomic species available (43 strains) and 34 clinical strains were digested with each of the three restriction endonucleases mentioned. The results of digestion confirmed the computer analysis. The reconstructed phylogenetic tree showed linkages between genomic species 1 (Acinetobacter calcoaceticus), 2 (Acinetobacter baumannii), 3, 'between 1 and 3', TU13 and 'close to TU13'; genomic species 4, 6, BJ13, BJ14, BJ15, BJ16 and BJ17; genomic species 7 (Acinetobacter johnsonii) and TU14; genomic species 10 and 11; genomic species 8 (Acinetobacter Iwoffii), 9, 12 (Acinetobacter radioresistens) and TU15; and genomic species 5 (Acinetobacter junii). It is interesting that one branch in the phylogenetic tree contains haemolytic species-genomic species 4 (A. haemolyticus), BJ13, BJ14, BJ15, BJ16 and BJ17. The proposed genotypic method clearly revealed that the RFLP profiles obtained with Tsp509I enzyme might be useful for species identification of Acinetobacter strains. In this context, recA/RFLP genotypic method should be seen as an ideal preliminary screening method for large numbers of isolates, with the ultimate confirmatory role reserved for DNA hybridization analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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