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Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2016 Jan;66(1):414-21. doi: 10.1099/ijsem.0.000736. Epub 2015 Nov 3.

Bartonella apis sp. nov., a honey bee gut symbiont of the class Alphaproteobacteria.

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Department of Fundamental Microbiology, University of Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Here, we report the culture and characterization of an alphaproteobacterium of the order Rhizobiales, isolated from the gut of the honey bee Apis mellifera. Strain PEB0122T shares >95 % 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity with species of the genus Bartonella, a group of mammalian pathogens transmitted by bloodsucking arthropods. Phylogenetic analyses showed that PEB0122T and related strains from the honey bee gut form a sister clade of the genus Bartonella. Optimal growth of strain PEB0122T was obtained on solid media supplemented with defibrinated sheep blood under microaerophilic conditions at 35-37 °C, which is consistent with the cultural characteristics of other species of the genus Bartonella. Reduced growth of strain PEB0122T also occurred under aerobic conditions. The rod-shaped cells of strain PEB0122T had a mean length of 1.2-1.8 μm and revealed hairy surface structures. Strain PEB0122T was positive for catalase, cytochrome c oxidase, urease and nitrate reductase. The fatty acid composition was comparable to those of other species of the genus Bartonella, with palmitic acid (C16 : 0) and isomers of 18- and 19-carbon chains being the most abundant. The genomic DNA G+C content of PEB0122T was determined to be about 45.5 mol%. The high 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity with species of Bartonella and its close phylogenetic position suggest that strain PEB0122T represents a novel species within the genus Bartonella, for which we propose the name Bartonella apis sp. nov. The type strain is PEB0122T ( = NCIMB 14961T = DSM 29779T).

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