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Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1996 Oct;46(4):1004-9.

Analysis of the beta' subunit of DNA-dependent RNA polymerase does not support the hypothesis inferred from 16S rRNA analysis that Oenococcus oeni (formerly Leuconostoc oenos) is a tachytelic (fast-evolving) bacterium.

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Institute of Food Research, Reading Laboratory, United Kingdom.


rRNA sequencing has shown that leuconostocs comprise three distinct phylogenetic lineages which have been designated separate genera (viz., the genera Leuconostoc sensu stricto, Oenococcus, and Weissella). In addition, the 16S rRNA line formed by Oenococcus oeni (formerly Leuconostoc oenos) is exceptionally long; this fact, together with variations in the compositions of conserved positions in the 16S rRNA, has led to the hypothesis (D. Yang and C. R. Woese, Syst. Appl. Microbiol. 12:145-149, 1989) that this organism is a fast-evolving bacterium. Previous evidence that the leuconostocs should be divided into three genera and that O. oeni is an example of tachytelic evolution has come solely from rRNA analyses. In this study we seqenced the rpoC gene encoding the beta' subunit of DNA-dependent RNA polymerase of leuconostocs and performed a comparative phylogenetic analysis. The subdivision of the leuconostocs into three distinct lineages was confirmed by the rpoC gene data, but no evidence that indicated that O. oeni is evolving at an extraordinary rate was found. If O. oeni is truly tachytelic, then fast-evolving phenomena would be expected to occur throughout the whole genome, including this independent molecular chronometer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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