An analysis of the universal target (UT) sequence from the cpn60 gene was performed in order to evaluate its usefulness in phylogenetic and taxonomic studies and as an identification marker for the genus Aeromonas. Sequences of 555 bp, corresponding to the UT region, were obtained from a collection of 35 strains representing all of the species and subspecies of Aeromonas. From the analysis of these sequences, a range of divergence of 0–23.3 % was obtained, with a mean of 11.2±0.9 %. Comparative analyses between cpn60 and gyrB, rpoD and 16S rRNA gene sequences were carried out from the same Aeromonas strain collection. Sequences of the cpn60 UT region showed similar discriminatory power to gyrB and rpoD sequences. The phylogenetic relationships inferred from cpn60 sequence distances indicated an excellent correlation with the present affiliation of Aeromonas species with the exception of Aeromonas hydrophila subsp. dhakensis, which appeared in a separate phylogenetic line, and Aeromonas sharmana, which exhibited a very loose phylogenetic relationship to the genus Aeromonas. Sequencing of cpn60 from 33 additional Aeromonas strains also allowed us to establish intra- and interspecific threshold values. Intraspecific divergence rates were ≤3.5 %, while interspecific divergence rates fell between 3.7 and 16.9 %, excluding A. sharmana. In this study, cpn60 UT sequencing was shown to be a universal, useful, simple and rapid method for the identification and phylogenetic affiliation of Aeromonas strains.
Huanglongbing is one of the most severe diseases of citrus worldwide and is associated with ‘Candidatus (Ca.) Liberibacter africanus’ in Africa, ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ in Asia and the Americas (Brazil, USA and Cuba) and ‘Ca. Liberibacter americanus’ (Lam) in Brazil. In the absence of axenic cultures, genetic information on liberibacters is scarce. The sequences of the entire 23S rRNA and 5S rRNA genes from Lam have now been obtained, using a consensus primer designed on known tRNAMet sequences of rhizobia. The size of the Lam genome was determined by PFGE, using Lam-infected periwinkle plants for bacterial enrichment, and was found to be close to 1.31 Mbp. In order to determine the number of ribosomal operons on the Lam genome, probes designed to detect the 16S rRNA gene and the 3′ end of the 23S rRNA gene were developed and used for Southern hybridization with I-CeuI-treated genomic DNA. Our results suggest that there are three ribosomal operons in a circular genome. Lam is the first liberibacter species for which such data are available.