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Vet Microbiol. 2015 Feb 25;175(2-4):294-303. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.11.019. Epub 2014 Dec 2.

The feline oral microbiome: a provisional 16S rRNA gene based taxonomy with full-length reference sequences.

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Department of Microbiology, The Forsyth Institute, 245 First street, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA; Department of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, 188 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Microbiology, The Forsyth Institute, 245 First street, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.
Mars Care & Treats Europe, Oakwell Way, Birstall, Batley, WF17 9LU, UK.
WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare, Freeby Lane, Waltham-on-the-Wolds, Melton Mowbray, LE14 4RT, UK.


The human oral microbiome is known to play a significant role in human health and disease. While less well studied, the feline oral microbiome is thought to play a similarly important role. To determine roles oral bacteria play in health and disease, one first has to be able to accurately identify bacterial species present. 16S rRNA gene sequence information is widely used for molecular identification of bacteria and is also useful for establishing the taxonomy of novel species. The objective of this research was to obtain full 16S rRNA gene reference sequences for feline oral bacteria, place the sequences in species-level phylotypes, and create a curated 16S rRNA based taxonomy for common feline oral bacteria. Clone libraries were produced using "universal" and phylum-selective PCR primers and DNA from pooled subgingival plaque from healthy and periodontally diseased cats. Bacteria in subgingival samples were also cultivated to obtain isolates. Full-length 16S rDNA sequences were determined for clones and isolates that represent 171 feline oral taxa. A provisional curated taxonomy was developed based on the position of each taxon in 16S rRNA phylogenetic trees. The feline oral microbiome curated taxonomy and 16S rRNA gene reference set will allow investigators to refer to precisely defined bacterial taxa. A provisional name such as "Propionibacterium sp. feline oral taxon FOT-327" is an anchor to which clone, strain or GenBank names or accession numbers can point. Future next-generation-sequencing studies of feline oral bacteria will be able to map reads to taxonomically curated full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences.


16S rRNA; Bacteria; Feline; Microbiome; Oral; Phylogeny

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