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Microbiology. 2003 Jun;149(Pt 6):1493-501.

Intra-chromosomal heterogeneity between the four 16S rRNA gene copies in the genus Veillonella: implications for phylogeny and taxonomy.

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Service de Bactériologie, Hôpital Arnaud de Villeneuve, 34295 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.


Among the seven species characterized within the genus Veillonella, three (Veillonella dispar, Veillonella parvula and Veillonella atypica) have so far been isolated from human flora and during infectious processes. Sequencing and analysis of 16S rDNA (rrs) has been described as the best method for identification of Veillonella strains at the species level since phenotypic characteristics are unable to differentiate between species. rrs sequencing for the three species isolated from humans showed more than 98 % identity between them. Four rrs copies were found in the reference strains and in all the clinical isolates studied. The sequences of each rrs were determined for the clinical strain ADV 360.1, and they showed a relatively high level of heterogeneity (1.43 %). In the majority of cases, polymorphic positions corresponded to nucleotides allowing differentiation between the three species isolated from humans. Moreover, variability observed between rrs copies was higher than that between 16S rDNA sequences of V. parvula and V. dispar. Phylogenetic analysis showed that polymorphism between rrs copies affected the position of strain ADV 360.1 in the tree. Variable positions occurred in stems and loops belonging to variable and hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA secondary structure but did not change the overall structure of the 16S rRNA. PCR-RFLP experiments performed on 27 clinical isolates of Veillonella sp. suggested that inter-rrs heterogeneity occurs widely among the members of the genus VEILLONELLA: These results, together with the lack of phenotypic criteria for species differentiation, give preliminary arguments for unification of V. dispar and V. parvula.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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