TXW-1, a Borrelia strain isolated in March 1998 from an adult male Dermacentor variabilis tick feeding on a coyote from Webb county, Texas, USA, was characterized by using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis, RFLP and sequence analysis of flaB and rrs (16S rRNA gene), DNA–DNA hybridization analysis, SDS-PAGE and Western blotting with mAbs. It shows different banding patterns in RFLP analysis of flaB and forms distinct branches in phylogenetic analysis derived from flaB and rrs genes. It differs from other borreliae based on the banding patterns obtained by RAPD analysis. This strain contains a small, 38-kDa endoflagellar protein. DNA–DNA hybridization experiments revealed that the levels of DNA reassociation between TXW-1 and previously described relapsing fever borreliae were 38·64 % (Borrelia turicatae), 38·40 % (Borrelia parkeri), 7·39 % (Borrelia hermsii) and 18·30 % (Borrelia coriaceae). However, the level of DNA relatedness between B. parkeri and B. turicatae was 78·78 %. Sequence analyses of flaB and rrs genes indicate that the similarities of nucleotide sequences among TXW-1 and B. turicatae or B. parkeri are less than that between B. turicatae and B. parkeri, and that the genetic distances among TXW-1 and B. turicatae or B. parkeri are greater than that between B. turicatae and B. parkeri. TXW-1 lacks an ospC gene. Electron microscope observations showed that this spirochaete had different morphological structures compared to previously described relapsing fever borreliae. All the results obtained from the above-mentioned analyses indicate that TXW-1 is different from other described Borrelia species and that it represents a novel species of Borrelia. We have been unable to revive frozen cultures and so can not meet the requirements of the Bacteriological Code to deposit viable type material at two different culture collections. Therefore we use the Candidatus designation; based on these results, the species ‘Candidatus Borrelia texasensis' is proposed.
A novel small haemoplasma was detected following cytological examination of blood smears from a splenectomized dog with haemic neoplasia. The 16S rRNA and rnpB genes of the organism were partially sequenced and a phylogenetic tree constructed. The organism was most closely related to the small feline haemoplasma, ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum’ (94 % 16S rRNA gene nucleotide sequence identity; 75 % rnpB) and was only distantly related to Mycoplasma haemocanis (78 % 16S rRNA gene nucleotide sequence identity; 65 % rnpB). As this organism has not been cultured in vitro, the candidate species name ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum’ is proposed.
Pinus silvestris and Pinus halepensis trees grown in Germany and Spain, respectively, showing abnormal shoot branching, dwarfed needles and other symptoms were examined for the presence of plant-pathogenic mollicutes (phytoplasmas). While phytoplasmas could not be detected unambiguously with microscopical methods, PCR amplification using universal phytoplasma primers yielded positive results. Samples collected from symptomatic and non-symptomatic plant parts of both symptomatic Pinus silvestris and Pinus halepensis trees tested positive. Also, surrounding non-symptomatic trees proved to be phytoplasma-infected. Comparisons revealed that the 16S rRNA gene sequences of the phytoplasmas identified in Pinus silvestris and Pinus halepensis were nearly identical. However, the pine phytoplasma is only distantly related to other phytoplasmas. The closest relatives are members of the palm lethal yellowing and rice yellow dwarf groups and ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma castaneae’, which share between 94·5 and 96·6 % 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity. From these data it can be concluded that the phytoplasmas identified in the two Pinus species represent a coherent but discrete taxon; it is proposed that this taxon be distinguished at putative species level under the name ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma pini’.
Huanglongbing (HLB) (ex-greening) is one of the most serious diseases of citrus. The causal agent is a noncultured, sieve tube-restricted α-proteobacterium, “Candidatus Liberibacter africanus” in Africa and “Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus” in Asia (2). The disease has never been reported from the American continent. However, Diaphorina citri, the Asian psyllid vector of HLB, is found in South, Central, and North America (Florida and Texas). Early in 2004, leaf and fruit symptoms resembling those of HLB were observed in several sweet orange orchards near the city of Araraquara, Sao Paulo State. Leaf mottling on small and large leaves was the major symptom. Shoots with affected leaves were yellowish. Fruits were small and lopsided, contained many aborted seeds, and appeared more severely affected than were plants infected with classic HLB. Forty-three symptomatic samples and twenty-five samples of symptomless sweet orange leaves from five farms were analyzed for the presence of the HLB-liberibacters using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with two sets of HLB-specific primers for amplification of 16S rDNA (2,3) and ribosomal protein genes (1). None of the 43 symptomatic leaf samples gave a positive PCR amplification, while HLB-affected leaves from the Bordeaux HLB collection produced the characteristic amplicons with both sets of primers. The 43 symptomatic and the 25 symptomless leaf samples were then analyzed using PCR with universal primers for amplification of bacterial 16S rDNA (4). All symptomatic leaf samples, but none of the symptomless leaf samples, yielded the same 16S rDNA amplification product, indicating the presence of a bacterium in the symptomatic leaves. This was confirmed using the observation of a sieve tube restricted bacterium by electron microscopy. The 16S rDNA product was cloned, sequenced, and compared with those of “Ca. L. africanus” and “Ca. L. asiaticus”. While the 16S rDNAs of these two liberibacter species have 97.5% sequence identity, the 16S rDNA sequence of the new bacterium shared only 93.7% identity with that of “Ca. L. asiaticus” and 93.9% with that of “Ca. L. africanus”. The 16S rDNA sequence of the new bacterium had a secondary loop structure characteristic of the α subdivision of the proteobacteria and possessed all the oligonucleotide signatures characteristic of the liberibacters. For these reasons, the new bacterium is a liberibacter and is sufficiently different phylogenetically from known liberibacters to warrant a new species, “Candidatus Liberibacter americanus”. Specific PCR primers for amplification of the 16S rDNA of the new species have been developed. They were able to detect “Ca. L. americanus” in 214 symptomatic leaf samples from 47 citrus farms in 35 municipalities, while the “old” species, “Ca. L. asiaticus”, has been found only four times within the 47 farms. References: (1) A. Hocquellet et al. Mol. Cell. Probes, 13:373, 1999. (2) S. Jagoueix et al. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 44:379, 1994. (3) S. Jagoueix et al. Mol. Cell. Probes 10:43, 1996. (4) W. G. Weisburg et al. J. Bacteriol. 173:697, 1991.