International Microbiology, Vol 8, No 4 (2005)

Phenotypic, genotypic, and phylogenetic discrepancies to differentiate Aeromonas salmonicida from Aeromonas bestiarum

Antonio J. Martínez-Murcia, Lara Soler, María José Saavedra, Matilde R. Chacón, Josep Guarro, Erko Stackebrandt, María José Figueras


The taxonomy of the “Aeromonas hydrophila” complex (comprising the species A. hydrophila, A. bestiarum, A. salmonicida, and A. popoffii) has been controversial, particularly the relationship between the two relevant fish pathogens A. salmonicidaand A. bestiarum. In fact, none of the biochemical tests evaluated in the present study were able to separate these two species. One hundred and sixteen strains belonging to the four species of this complex were identified by 16S rDNA restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). Sequencing of the 16S rDNA and cluster analysis of the 16S–23S intergenic spacer region (ISR)-RFLP in selected strains of A. salmonicida and A. bestiarum indicated that the two species may share extremely conserved ribosomal operons and demonstrated that, due to an extremely high degree of sequence conservation, 16S rDNA cannot be used to differentiate these two closely related species. Moreover, DNA–DNA hybridization similarity between the type strains of A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida and A. bestiarum was 75.6 %, suggesting that they may represent a single taxon. However, a clear phylogenetic divergence between A. salmonicida and A. bestiarum was ascertained from an analysis based on gyrB and rpoD gene sequences, which provided evidence of a lack of congruence of the results obtained from 16S rDNA, 16S–23S ISR-RFLP, DNA–DNA pairing, and biochemical profiles.[Int Microbiol 2005; 8(4):259-269]

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