Partial RNA polymerase β-subunit gene (rpoB) sequences (315 bp) were determined and used to differentiate the type strains of 23 species of the genus Bifidobacterium. The sequences were compared with those of the partial hsp60 (604 bp) and 16S rRNA genes (1475 or 1495 bp). The rpoB gene sequences showed nucleotide sequence similarities ranging from 84.1 % to 99.0 %, while the similarities of the hsp60 sequences ranged from 78.5 % to 99.7 % and the 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities ranged from 89.4 % to 99.2 %. The phylogenetic trees constructed from the sequences of these three genes showed similar clustering patterns, with the exception of several species. The Bifidobacterium catenulatum–Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum, Bifidobacterium pseudolongum subsp. pseudolongum–Bifidobacterium pseudolongum subsp. globosum and Bifidobacterium gallinarum–Bifidobacterium pullorum–Bifidobacterium saeculare groups were more clearly differentiated in the partial rpoB and hsp60 gene sequence trees than they were in the 16S rRNA gene tree. Based on sequence similarities and tree topologies, the newly determined rpoB gene sequences are suitable molecular markers for the differentiation of species of the genus Bifidobacterium and support various other molecular tools used to determine the relationships among species of this genus.
The secY gene sequence is more variable than that of the 16S rRNA gene. Comparative phylogenetic analyses with 16S rRNA and secY gene sequences from 80 and 83 phytoplasma strains, respectively, were performed to assess the efficacy of these sequences for delineating phytoplasma strains within each 16Sr group. The phylogenetic interrelatedness among phytoplasma taxa inferred by secY gene-based phylogeny was nearly congruent with that inferred by 16S rRNA gene-based phylogeny. Phylogenetic analysis based on the secY gene permitted finer differentiation of phytoplasma strains, however. The secY gene-based phylogeny not only readily resolved 16Sr subgroups within a given 16Sr group, but also delineated distinct lineages irresolvable by 16S rRNA gene-based phylogeny. Such high resolving power makes the secY gene a more useful genetic marker than the 16S rRNA gene for finer differentiation of closely related phytoplasma strains based on RFLP analysis with selected restriction enzymes. Such strains were readily identified by collective secY RFLP patterns. The genetic interrelationships among these strains were determined by pattern similarity coefficients, which coincided with delineations by phylogenetic analysis. This study also revealed two heterogeneous spc operons present in the phytoplasma clade. This latter finding may have significant implications for phytoplasma evolution.
hsp60 gene sequences were determined for members of the genus Bacteroides and sequence similarities were compared with those obtained for the 16S rRNA gene. Among the 29 Bacteroides type strains, the mean sequence similarity of the hsp60 gene (84.5 %) was significantly less than that of the 16S rRNA gene (90.7 %), indicating a high discriminatory power of the hsp60 gene. Species of the genus Bacteroides were differentiated well by hsp60 gene sequence analysis, except for Bacteroides pyogenes JCM 6294T, Bacteroides suis JCM 6292T and Bacteroides tectus JCM 10003T. The hsp60 gene sequence analysis and the levels of DNA–DNA relatedness observed demonstrated that these three type strains are a single species. Consequently, B. suis and B. tectus are heterotypic synonyms of B. pyogenes. This study suggests that the hsp60 gene is an alternative phylogenetic marker for the classification of species of the genus Bacteroides.