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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2003 Mar;26(1):90-6.

Genotypic differentiation of twelve Clostridium species by polymorphism analysis of the triosephosphate isomerase (tpi) gene.

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Groupe de Recherche sur les Antimicrobiens et les Microorganismes (I.E.R. 23), Université de Rouen, Rouen Cedex, France.


Housekeeping genes encoding metabolic enzymes may provide alternative markers to 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) for genotypic and phylogenetic characterization of bacterial species. We have developed a PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay, targeting the triosephosphate isomerase (tpi) gene, which allows the differentiation of twelve pathogenic Clostridium species. Degenerate primers constructed from alignments of tpi sequences of various gram-positive bacteria allowed the amplification of a 501 bp target region in the twelve Clostridium type strains. A phylogenetic tree constructed from the nucleotidic sequences of these tpi amplicons was well correlated with that inferred from analysis of 16S rDNA gene sequences. The analysis of tpi sequences revealed restriction sites of enzyme AluI that could be species-specific. Indeed, AluI digestion of amplicons from the twelve type strains provided distinct restriction patterns. A total of 127 strains (three to sixteen strains for each species) was further analyzed by PCR-RFLP of the tpi gene, and confirmed that each species could be characterized by one to three restriction types (RTs). The differences between RTs within species could be explained by point mutations in AluI restriction sites of the tpi sequences. PCR-restriction analysis of the tpi gene offers an accurate tool for species identification within the genus Clostridium, and provides an alternative marker to 16S rDNA for phylogenetic analyses.

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