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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Revised Group Classification of the Genus Spiroplasma

Authors
item Williamson, David - STONY BROOK, NY
item Whitcomb, Robert
item Tully, Joseph - NIAID/NIH, FREDERICK MD
item Gasparich, Gail - TOWSON, UNIVERSITY
item Bove, Joseph - INTRA, FRANCE
item Carle, Patricia - INTRA, FRANCE
item Bove, Joseph - INTRA, FRANCE
item Hackett, Kevin
item Adams, Jean - RETIRED, BELTSVILLE, MD
item Henegar, Roberta

Submitted to: International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 6, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Spiroplasmas are helical, cell wall-less bacteria. Their classification was revised in 1987 to include 23 groups and eight subgroups (= species). Since that time, two additional spiroplasmas were assigned group numbers and species names. More recently, specific epithets were assigned to nine previously designated groups and three subgroups. Also, taxonomic descriptions and species names were published for six previously ungrouped spiroplasmas. In the current revision, we propose new group designations for 10 spiroplasma strains, including six recently named organisms. In this revision, we also report potentially important intergroup serological relationships observed between a strain from a neotropical fruit fly (Drosophila) species and subgroup representatives of other spiroplasmas. The spiroplasmas now comprise over 45 of the approximately 5,000 named bacterial species and are shown to be one of the more diverse biotic groups known. They are therefore of interest from the viewpoint of microbial diversity and, because spiroplasmas are all associated with insects and ticks, also as biocontrol agents for management of pests of agriculture and forest crops.

Technical Abstract: Significant changes have been made in the systematics of the genus Spiroplasma (class Mollicutes) since it was expanded by revision in 1987 to include 23 groups and eight subgroups. Since that time, two additional spiroplasmas were assigned group numbers and species names. More recently, specific epithets have been assigned to nine previously designated groups and three subgroups. Also, taxonomic descriptions and species names have been published for six previously ungrouped spiroplasmas. Also, group XVII, which became vacant when strain DF-1 was transferred to group VIII, has been filled with strain Tab 4c. The discovery of these strains reflects continuing primary search in insect reservoirs, particularly horse flies and deer flies. In the current revision, we propose new group designations for 10 spiroplasma strains, including six recently named organisms. Three unnamed but newly grouped spiroplasmas are strain TIUS-1 (group XXIX; ATCC 51751) from a typhiid wasp (Hymenoptera: Tiphiidae); strain BIUS-1 (group XXX; ATCC 51750) from floral surfaces of the tickseed sunflower (Bidens sp); and strain BARC 1901 (group XXXIV; ATCC 700283). Strain BARC 2649 (ATCC 700284) from Tabanus lineola has been proposed as a new subgroup of group VIII. Strains TIUS-1 and BIUS-1 have unusual morphologies, appearing as helices at only certain stages in culture. In this revision, we also report potentially important intergroup serological relationships observed between strain DW-1 (group II) from a neotropical Drosophila species and certain subgroup representatives of group I spiroplasmas.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014