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Infection, Genetics and Evolution

Non-ribosomal phylogenetic exploration of Mollicute species: New insights into haemoplasma taxonomy

C.A.E. Hicks, E.N. Barker, C. Brady, C.R. Stokes, C.R. Helps, S. Tasker

School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol, Langford BS40 5DU, United Kingdom.


Nine species of uncultivable haemoplasmas and several Mycoplasma species were examined by partial sequencing of two protein-encoding housekeeping genes. Partial glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gapA) and heat shock protein 70 (dnaK) gene sequences were determined for these Mollicute species; in total nine gapA sequences and ten dnaK sequences were obtained. Phylogenetic analyses of these sequences, along with those of a broad selection of Mollicute species downloaded from GenBank, for the individual genes, and for the gapA and dnaK concatenated data set, revealed a clear separation of the haemoplasmas from other species within the Mycoplasma genus; indeed the haemoplasmas resided within a single clade which was phylogenetically detached from the pneumoniae group of Mycoplasmas. This is the first report to examine the use of gapA and dnaK, as well as a concatenated data set, for phylogenetic analysis of the haemoplasmas and other Mollicute species. These results demonstrate a distinct phylogenetic separation between the haemoplasmas and Mycoplasmas that corresponds with the biological differences observed in these species, indicating that further evaluation of the haemoplasmas’ relationship with the Mycoplasma genus is required to determine whether reclassification of the haemoplasmas is necessary.

Keywords: Mycoplasma; Phylogeny; gapA; dnaK; Hemotropic Mycoplasmas



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