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Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1997 Oct;47(4):926-32.

Genetic and phenotypic analysis of Borrelia valaisiana sp. nov. (Borrelia genomic groups VS116 and M19).

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Department of Medical Microbiology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


To clarify the taxonomic status of two recently described Borrelia genomic groups, groups VS116 and M19, three group VS116 strains and eight group M19 strains isolated from Ixodes ricinus ticks in Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom were characterized. PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the 5S-23S intergenic spacer amplicon, rRNA gene restriction analysis, 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and immunoblotting with monoclonal antibodies were used for genetic and phenotypic analysis. The PCR-RFLP and RAPD patterns of three group VS116 strains and eight group M19 strains were identical but differed from those of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia garinii, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia japonica. DNAs from all group VS116 and M19 strains yielded three fragments (6.9, 3.2, and 1.4 kb) and four fragments (2.1, 1.2, 0.8, and 0.6 kb) after digestion with EcoRV and HindIII, respectively, hybridizing with an Escherichia coli 16S + 23S cDNA probe. The SDS-PAGE protein profiles of group VS116 and M19 strains were heterogeneous. Phylogenetic analysis of the partial 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that group VS116 and M19 spirochetes were members of a Borrelia species distinct from previously characterized members of the genus Borrelia. Based on our present study and data from previous DNA-DNA hybridizations, a new Borrelia species, Borrelia valaisiana sp.nov., in the B. burgdorferi complex, is proposed. Strain VS116 is the type strain of this new species.

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