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Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1990 Jan;40(1):74-8.

Proposal of three subspecies of Fusobacterium nucleatum Knorr 1922: Fusobacterium nucleatum subsp. nucleatum subsp. nov., comb. nov.; Fusobacterium nucleatum subsp. polymorphum subsp. nov., nom. rev., comb. nov.; and Fusobacterium nucleatum subsp. vincentii subsp. nov., nom. rev., comb. nov.

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Forsyth Dental Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Heterogeneity among isolates of Fusobacterium nucleatum has been recognized for many years. The phenotypic properties of 340 strains considered to be F. nucleatum were examined. While these strains were phenotypically similar and fit the description of F. nucleatum, they could be differentiated into three groups on the basis of electrophoretic patterns of whole-cell proteins and DNA homology. Strains in groups I and II showed greater than 80% DNA homology within groups and less than 75% similarity between groups. Strains of group III demonstrated greater than 85% DNA homology to each other and less than 65% similarity to strains in groups I and II. We propose that Fusobacterium nucleatum be divided into the following three subspecies: Fusobacterium nucleatum subsp. nucleatum, with type strain ATCC 25586; Fusobacterium nucleatum subsp. polymorphum, with type strain ATCC 10953; and Fusobacterium nucleatum subsp. vincentii, with type strain ATCC 49256.

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