alexa Genetic and phenotypic analysis of Borrelia miyamotoi sp. nov., isolated from the ixodid tick Ixodes persulcatus, the vector for Lyme disease in Japan.


Immunogenetics: Open Access


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The ixodid tick Ixodes persulcatus is the most important vector of Lyme disease in Japan. Most spirochete isolates obtained from I. persulcatus ticks have been classified as Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato because of their genetic, biological, and immunological characteristics. However, we found that a small number of isolates obtained from I. persulcatus contained a smaller 38-kDa endoflagellar protein and single 23S-5S rRNA gene unit. Representative isolate HT31T (T = type strain) had the same 23S rRNA gene physical map as Borrelia turicatae. The DNA base composition of strain HT31T was 28.6 mol% G+C. DNA-DNA hybridization experiments revealed that strain HT31T exhibited moderate levels of DNA relatedness (24 to 51%) with Borrelia hermsii, B. turicatae, Borrelia parkeri, and Borrelia coriaceae. However, the levels of DNA reassociation with the previously described Lyme disease borreliae (B. burgdorferi, Borrelia garinii, and Borrelia afzelii) were only 8 to 13%. None of the previously described species examined exhibited a high level of DNA relatedness with strain HT31T. In addition, the 16S rRNA gene sequence (length, 1,368 nucleotides) of strain HT31T was determined and aligned with the 16S rRNA sequences of other Borrelia species. Distance matrix analyses were performed, and a phylogenetic tree was constructed. The results showed that isolate HT31T is only distantly related to both previously described Lyme disease borreliae and relapsing fever borreliae. Thus, the spirochetes isolated from I. persulcatus and closely related isolates should be classified as members of a new Borrelia species. We propose the name Borrelia miyamotoi sp. nov. for this spirochete; strain HT31 is the type strain.

This article was published in International Journal of Systemic and Evolutionary Microbiology and referenced in Immunogenetics: Open Access

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