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Spiroplasmas of Group I: the Spiroplasma citri cluster.

Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine
Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Biology


We propose that Group I spiroplasmas be subdivided into seven, rather than four, subgroups. The seven subgroups showed remarkable homogeneity when several representative strains were compared. Hybridization reactions between DNAs of representative strains within subgroups were generally at least 90 percent, and usually at least 80 percent co-migrating cell proteins were found. In addition, when plasmid DNA was excluded, profiles of restricted DNA among strains within subgroups were very similar. In contrast, comparisons between Group I subgroups showed substantial heterogeneity. This heterogeneity was indicated by DNA-DNA hybridization reactions as low as 10-20 percent and only 10-15 percent co-migrating cell proteins. Spiroplasma citri (subgroup I-1), the honeybee spiroplasma (subgroup I-2), and the corn stunt spiroplasma (subgroup I-3) are all pathogenic organisms with more or less limited host ranges. Strains of these three subgroups have been repeatedly isolated from affected hosts. Since strains of subgroups I-2 and I-3 can be clearly differentiated from other Group I subgroups and all other spiroplasmas, the DNA-DNA hybridization reactions of the subgroups do not exceed 70 percent, and because they are important pathogens, we propose (subject to completion of standard requirements for species descriptions) that they be recognized as new species of the genus Spiroplasma.

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