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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Oct;1078:597-606.

Proposal to create subspecies of Rickettsia sibirica and an emended description of Rickettsia sibirica.

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Unité des Rickettsies, IFR 48, CNRS UMR 6020, Faculté de Médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille Cedex 05, France.


The Rickettsia sibirica species is composed of isolates that are genotypically close but can be classified within two distinct serotypes, that is, R. sibirica sensu stricto and R. sibirica mongolitimonae (incorrectly named R. mongolotimonae). We investigated the possibility of classifying rickettsiae closely related to R. sibirica as R. sibirica subspecies, as proposed by the ad hoc Committee on Reconciliation of Approaches to Bacterial Systematics. For this, we first estimated the genotypic variability by using multilocus sequence typing (MLST), including the sequencing of five genes, and multispacer typing (MST) using three intergenic spacers, of five isolates and three tick amplicons of R. sibirica sensu stricto and six isolates of R. sibirica mongolotimonae. Then, we selected a representative of each MLST genotype and used mouse serotyping to estimate their degree of taxonomic relatedness. Among the 14 isolates or tick amplicons studied, 2 MLST genotypes were identified: (i) the R. sibirica sensu stricto type; and (ii) the R. sibirica mongolitimonae type. Representatives of the two MLST types were classified within three MST types and into two serotypes. Therefore, as isolates within the R. sibirica species are genotypically homogeneous but show MST genotypic, serotypic, and epidemio-clinical dissimilarities, we propose to modify the nomenclature of the R. sibirica species through the creation of subspecies. We propose the names R. sibirica subsp. sibirica subsp. nov. (type strain = 2-4-6, ATCC VR-541(T)), and R. sibirica subsp. mongolitimonae subsp. nov. (type strain = HA-91, ATCC VR-1526(T)). The description of R. sibirica is emended to accommodate the two subspecies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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