Methylophaga lonarensis strain MPLT is a haloalkaliphilic methylotroph isolated from Lonar Lake, a saline and alkaline lake in Maharashtra, India. Strain MPLT utilizes methanol as its sole carbon and energy source. Here, we present the draft genome sequence of M. lonarensis MPLT (VKM B-2684T = MCC 1002T).
The conservation of hox genes as well as their genomic organization across the phyla suggests that this system of anterior–posterior axis formation arose early during evolution and has come under strong selection pressure. Studies in the split Hox cluster of Drosophila have shown that proper expression of hox genes is dependent on chromatin domain boundaries that prevent inappropriate interactions among different types of cis-regulatory elements. To investigate whether boundary function and their role in regulation of hox genes is conserved in insects with intact Hox clusters, we used an algorithm to locate potential boundary elements in the Hox complex of mosquito, Anopheles gambiae. Several potential boundary elements were identified that could be tested for their functional conservation. Comparative analysis revealed that like Drosophila, the bithorax region in A. gambiae contains an extensive array of boundaries and enhancers organized into domains. We analysed a subset of candidate boundary elements and show that they function as enhancer blockers in Drosophila. The functional conservation of boundary elements from mosquito in fly suggests that regulation of hox genes involving chromatin domain boundaries is an evolutionary conserved mechanism and points to an important role of such elements in key developmentally regulated loci.
Members of the genus Wolbachia are intracellular bacteria that are widespread in arthropods and establish diverse symbiotic associations with their hosts, ranging from mutualism to parasitism. Here we present the first detailed analyses of Wolbachia in butterflies from India with screening of 56 species. Twenty-nine species (52%) representing five families were positive for Wolbachia. This is the first report of Wolbachia infection in 27 of the 29 species; the other two were reported previously. This study also provides the first evidence of infection in the family Papilionidae. A striking diversity was observed among Wolbachia strains in butterfly hosts based on five multilocus sequence typing (MLST) genes, with 15 different sequence types (STs). Thirteen STs are new to the MLST database, whereas ST41 and ST125 were reported earlier. Some of the same host species from this study carried distinctly different Wolbachia strains, whereas the same or different butterfly hosts also harbored closely related Wolbachia strains. Butterfly-associated STs in the Indian sample originated by recombination and point mutation, further supporting the role of both processes in generating Wolbachia diversity. Recombination was detected only among the STs in this study and not in those from the MLST database. Most of the strains were remarkably similar in their wsp genotype, despite divergence in MLST. Only two wsp alleles were found among 25 individuals with complete hypervariable region (HVR) peptide profiles. Although both wsp and MLST show variability, MLST gives better separation between the strains. Completely different STs were characterized for the individuals sharing the same wsp alleles.
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract of invasive land snail Achatina fulica is known to harbor metabolically active bacterial communities. In this study, we assessed the bacterial diversity in the different regions of GI tract of Giant African snail, A. fulica by culture-independent and culture-dependent methods. Five 16S rRNA gene libraries from different regions of GI tract of active snails indicated that sequences affiliated to phylum γ-Proteobacteria dominated the esophagus, crop, intestine, and rectum libraries, whereas sequences affiliated to Tenericutes dominated the stomach library. On phylogenetic analysis, 30, 27, 9, 27, and 25 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from esophagus, crop, stomach, intestine, and rectum libraries were identified, respectively. Estimations of the total bacterial diversity covered along with environmental cluster analysis showed highest bacterial diversity in the esophagus and lowest in the stomach. Thirty-three distinct bacterial isolates were obtained, which belonged to 12 genera of two major bacterial phyla namely γ-Proteobacteria and Firmicutes. Among these, Lactococcus lactis and Kurthia gibsonii were the dominant bacteria present in all GI tract regions. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis indicated significant differences in bacterial load in different GI tract regions of active and estivating snails. The difference in the bacterial load between the intestines of active and estivating snail was maximum. Principal component analysis (PCA) of terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism suggested that bacterial community structure changes only in intestine when snail enters estivation state.
16S rRNA; bacterial diversity; Giant African Snail; quantitative PCR; T-RFLP
The gut micro flora plays vital role in health status of the host. The majority of microbes residing in the gut have a profound influence on human physiology and nutrition. Different human ethnic groups vary in genetic makeup as well as the environmental conditions they live in. The gut flora changes with genetic makeup and environmental factors and hence it is necessary to understand the composition of gut flora of different ethnic groups. Indian population is different in physiology from western population (YY paradox) and thus the gut flora in Indian population is likely to differ from the extensively studied gut flora in western population. In this study we have investigated the gut flora of two Indian families, each with three individuals belonging to successive generations and living under the same roof.
Denaturation gradient gel electrophoresis analysis showed age-dependant variation in gut microflora amongst the individuals within a family. Different bacterial genera were dominant in the individual of varying age in clone library analysis. Obligate anaerobes isolated from individuals within a family showed age related differences in isolation pattern, with 27% (6 out of 22) of the isolates being potential novel species based on 16S rRNA gene sequence. In qPCR a consistent decrease in Firmicutes number and increase in Bacteroidetes number with increasing age was observed in our subjects, this pattern of change in Firmicutes / Bacteroidetes ratio with age is different than previously reported in European population.
There is change in gut flora with age amongst the individuals within a family. The isolation of high percent of novel bacterial species and the pattern of change in Firmicutes /Bacteroidetes ratio with age suggests that the composition of gut flora in Indian individuals may be different than the western population. Thus, further extensive study is needed to define the gut flora in Indian population.
Indian population; Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio; Human gut microflora; YY-paradox
We have investigated the quorum sensing control in Aeromonas veronii MTCC 3249, originally isolated as A. culicicola from the midgut of Culex quinquefasciatus. Based on biosensor assays, the bacterium showed constant production of multiple acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) with increasing cell-density. The luxRI gene homologs, acuR (A. culicicola transcriptional Regulator) and acuI (A. culicicola autoInducer) were successfully amplified by inverse-PCR. Sequence analysis indicated acuRI were divergent from all known quorum sensing gene homologs in Aeromonas. Two localized regions in the C-terminal autoinducer binding domain of acuR showed indels suggesting variations in autoinducer specificity. Further, only a single copy of the quorum sensing genes was detected, suggesting a tight regulation of mechanisms under its control. Chromatography and further chemical analysis identified two AHLs in the culture supernatant: 6-carboxy-HHL (homoadipyl homoserine lactone), a novel AHL, and N-tetradecanoylhomoserine lactone. The existence of a potentially variant quorum sensing system might therefore, reflect in some way the ecological strategies adopted by this bacterium in the mosquito midgut.
Aeromonas; luxRI homolog; acuR; acuI; quorum sensing; AHL; mosquito midgut; 6-carboxy-HHL
Physical mapping is a useful approach for studying genome organization and evolution as well as for genome sequence assembly. The availability of polytene chromosomes in malaria mosquitoes provides a unique opportunity to develop high-resolution physical maps. We report a 0.6-Mb-resolution physical map consisting of 422 DNA markers hybridized to 379 chromosomal sites of the Anopheles stephensi polytene chromosomes. This makes An. stephensi second only to Anopheles gambiae in density of a physical map among malaria mosquitoes. Three hundred sixty-three (363) probes hybridized to single chromosomal sites, whereas 59 clones yielded multiple signals. This physical map provided a suitable basis for comparative genomics, which was used for determining inversion breakpoints, duplications, and origin of novel genes across species.
Out of the vast pool of enzymes, proteolytic enzymes from microorganisms are the most widely used in different industries such as detergent, food, peptide production etc. Several marine microorganisms are known to produce proteases with commercially desirable characteristics. We have isolated nine different cultures from marine samples of the Indian Ocean. All of them were i) motile ii) rod shaped iii) non spore forming iv) catalase and amylase positive v) able to grow in presence of 10 % NaCl. They produced acid from glucose, fructose and maltose and grew optimally at 30 °C temperature and pH 7.0–8.0. None of them could grow above 45 °C and below 15 °C. Only one of them (MBRI 7) exhibited extracellular protease activity on skim milk agar plates. Based on 16S rDNA sequencing, it belonged to the genus Marinobacter (98% sequence similarity, 1201 bp). The cell free extract was used to study effects of temperature and pH on protease activity. The optimum temperature and pH for activity were found to be 40 °C and 7.0 respectively. The crude enzyme was stable at temperature range of 30–80 °C and pH 5.0–9.0. It retained 60 % activity at 80 °C after 4 h and more than 70 % activity at 70 °C after 1 h. D value was found to be 342 minutes and 78 minutes for 40 °C and 80 °C respectively. Interestingly the enzyme remained 50 % active at pH 9.0 after 1 h. Comparison with other proteases from different microbial sources indicated that the neutral protease from the halotolerant marine isolate MBRI 7 is a novel enzyme with high thermostability.
Halotolerant; mesophilic; neutral protease; thermostable
Visceral adiposity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disorders, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and associated metabolic diseases. Sub-cutaneous fat is believed to be intrinsically different from visceral fat. To understand molecular mechanisms involved in metabolic advantages of fat transplantation, we studied a rat model of diet-induced adiposity. Adipokine genes (Adiponectin, Leptin, Resistin and Visfatin) were expressed at 10,000 to a million-fold lower in visceral fat depot as compared to peripheral (thigh/chest) fat depots. Interestingly, autologous transplantation of visceral fat to subcutaneous sites resulted in increased gene transcript abundance in the grafts by 3 weeks post-transplantation, indicating the impact of local (residence) factors influencing epigenetic memory. We show here that active transcriptional state of adipokine genes is linked with glucose mediated recruitment of enzymes that regulate histone methylation. Adipose depots have “residence memory” and autologous transplantation of visceral fat to sub-cutaneous sites offers metabolic advantage.
Lactobacillus plantarum is considered as a safe and effective probiotic microorganism. Among various sources of isolation, traditionally fermented foods are considered to be rich in Lactobacillus spp., which can be exploited for their probiotic attribute. Antibacterial property of L. plantarum has been demonstrated against various enteric pathogens in both in vitro and in vivo systems. This study was aimed at characterizing L. plantarum isolated from Kutajarista, an ayurvedic fermented biomedicine, and assessing its antagonistic property against a common enteropathogen Aeromonas veronii.
We report the isolation of L. plantarum (VR1) from Kutajarista, and efficacy of its cell free supernatant (CFS) in amelioration of cytotoxicity caused by Aeromonas veronii. On the part of probiotic attributes, VR1 was tolerant to pH 2, 0.3% bile salts and simulated gastric juice. Additionally, VR1 also exhibited adhesive property to human intestinal HT-29 cell line. Furthermore, CFS of VR1 was antibacterial to enteric pathogens like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Aeromonas veronii and clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa and E. coli. Detailed study regarding the effect of VR1 CFS on A. veronii cytotoxicity showed a significant decrease in vacuole formation and detrimental cellular changes in Vero cells. On the other hand, A. veronii CFS caused disruption of tight junction proteins ZO-1 and actin in MDCK cell line, which was prevented by pre-incubation with CFS of VR1.
This is the first study to report isolation of L. plantarum (VR1) from Kutajarista and characterisation for its probiotic attributes. Our study demonstrates the antagonistic property of VR1 to A. veronii and effect of VR1 CFS in reduction of cellular damage caused by A. veronii in both Vero and MDCK cell lines.
This study was performed to determine whether extracellular silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) production is a genus-wide phenotype associated with all the members of genus Morganella, or only Morganella morganii RP-42 isolate is able to synthesize extracellular Ag nanoparticles. To undertake this study, all the available Morganella isolates were exposed to Ag+ ions, and the obtained nanoproducts were thoroughly analyzed using physico-chemical characterization tools such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM), UV-visible spectrophotometry (UV-vis), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. It was identified that extracellular biosynthesis of crystalline silver nanoparticles is a unique biochemical character of all the members of genus Morganella, which was found independent of environmental changes. Significantly, the inability of other closely related members of the family Enterobacteriaceae towards AgNPs synthesis strongly suggests that AgNPs synthesis in the presence of Ag+ ions is a phenotypic character that is uniquely associated with genus Morganella.
Microbial communities in coastal subsurface sediments play an important role in biogeochemical cycles. In this study microbial communities in tidal subsurface sediments of Balramgari in the state of Orissa, India were investigated using a culture independent approach. Two 16S rDNA cloned libraries were prepared from the closely located (100 m along the coast) subsurface sediment samples. Library I sediment samples had higher organic carbon content but lower sand percentage in comparison to Library II. A total of 310 clone sequences were used for DOTUR analysis which revealed 51 unique phylotypes or operational taxonomic units (OTUs) for both libraries. The OTUs were affiliated with 13 major lineages of domain bacteria including Proteobacteria (α, β, δ and λ), Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Chloroflexi, Firmicutes, Verrucomicrobia, Bacteroidetes, Gemmatimonadetes and TM7. We encountered few pathogenic bacteria such as Aeromonas hydrophila and Ochrobactrum intermedium, in sediment from Library I. ∫-LIBSHUFF comparison depicts that the two libraries were significantly different communities. Most of the OTUs from both libraries possessed ≥85% to <97% similarity to RDP database sequences depicting the putative presence of new species, genera and phylum. This work revealed the complex and unique bacterial diversity from coastal habitat of Balramgari and shows that, in coastal habitat a variability of physical and chemical parameter has a prominent impact on the microbial community structure.
Ecosystem; Microbial diversity; Marine sediment; 16S rDNA
Type four secretion systems (TFSS) are bacterial macromolecular transport systems responsible for transfer of various substrates such as proteins, DNA or protein-DNA complexes. TFSSs encode two or three ATPases generating energy for the secretion process. These enzymes exhibit highest sequence conservation among type four secretion components.
Here, we report the biochemical characterization of three ATPases namely TraE, TraJ and TraK (VirB4, VirB11 and VirD4 homologs of the Agrobacterium tumefaciens transfer system, respectively) from the transfer system of Aeromonas veronii plasmid pAC3249A. ATPases were expressed as His-tag fusion proteins in E. coli and purified by affinity chromatography. ATP binding and ATP hydrolysis experiments were performed with the purified ATPases. TraE and TraK showed strong binding to TNP-ATP and TNP-CTP (fluorescent analogs of ATP and CTP respectively) whereas TraJ showed weak binding. The optimum temperature range for the three ATPases was between 42°C and 50°C. Highest ATP hydrolysis activity for all the ATPases was observed in the presence of Mg2+ and Mn2+. However, TraJ and TraK also showed activity in the presence of Co2+. TraJ exhibited the highest specific activity of all the three ATPases with vmax 118 ± 5.68 nmol/min/mg protein and KM 0.58 ± 0.10 mM.
This is the first biochemical characterization of conjugative transport ATPases encoded by a conjugative plasmid from Aeromonas. Our study demonstrated that the three ATPases of a newly reported TFSS of A. veronii plasmid pAc3249A are functional in both ATP hydrolysis and ATP binding.
The main goal of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of leptospirosis among field rodents of Tiruchirappalli district, Tamil Nadu, India. In total 35 field rats were trapped and tested for seroprevalence by the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). Isolation of leptospires was performed from blood and kidney tissues and characterized to serovar level. Genomospecies identification was carried out using 16S rRNA and lipL32 gene sequencing. The molecular phylogeny was constructed to find out species segregation. Seroprevalence was about 51.4 %, and the predominant serovars were Autumnalis, Javanica, Icterohaemorrhagiae and Pomona. Two isolates from the kidneys were identified as serovar Javanica of Serogroup Javanica, and sequence based molecular phylogeny indicated these two isolates were Leptospira borgpetersenii.
Leptospirosis; Leptospira borgpetersenii; lipL32; 16S rRNA
Malaria is a tropical disease caused by protozoan parasite, Plasmodium, which is transmitted to humans by various species of female anopheline mosquitoes. Anopheles stephensi is one such major malaria vector in urban parts of the Indian subcontinent. Unlike Anopheles gambiae, an African malaria vector, transcriptome of A. stephensi midgut tissue is less explored. We have therefore carried out generation, annotation, and analysis of expressed sequence tags from sugar-fed and Plasmodium yoelii infected blood-fed (post 24 h) adult female A. stephensi midgut tissue.
We obtained 7061 and 8306 ESTs from the sugar-fed and P. yoelii infected mosquito midgut tissue libraries, respectively. ESTs from the combined dataset formed 1319 contigs and 2627 singlets, totaling to 3946 unique transcripts. Putative functions were assigned to 1615 (40.9%) transcripts using BLASTX against UniProtKB database. Amongst unannotated transcripts, we identified 1513 putative novel transcripts and 818 potential untranslated regions (UTRs). Statistical comparison of annotated and unannotated ESTs from the two libraries identified 119 differentially regulated genes. Out of 3946 unique transcripts, only 1387 transcripts were mapped on the A. gambiae genome. These also included 189 novel transcripts, which were mapped to the unannotated regions of the genome. The EST data is available as ESTDB at .
3946 unique transcripts were successfully identified from the adult female A. stephensi midgut tissue. These data can be used for microarray development for better understanding of vector-parasite relationship and to study differences or similarities with other malaria vectors. Mapping of putative novel transcripts from A. stephensi on the A. gambiae genome proved fruitful in identification and annotation of several genes. Failure of some novel transcripts to map on the A. gambiae genome indicates existence of substantial genomic dissimilarities between these two potent malaria vectors.
An extreme halophilic bacterium was isolated from solar saltern samples and identified based on biochemical tests and 16S r RNA sequencing as Chromohalobacter sp. strain TVSP101. The halophilic protease was purified using ultrafiltration, ethanol precipitation, hydrophobic interaction column chromatography and gel permeation chromatography to 180 fold with 22% yield. The molecular mass of the protease determined by SDS PAGE was 66 kDa. The purified enzyme was salt dependent for its activity and stability with an optimum of 4.5 M NaCl. The optimum temperature for maximum protease activity was 75ºC. The protease was optimally active at pH 8 and retained more than 80% of its activity in the range of pH 7-10. Sucrose and glycine at 10% (w/v) were the most effective osmolytes, retained 100% activity in the absence of NaCl. The activity was completely inhibited by ZnCl2 (2 mM), 0.1% SDS and PMSF (1mM). The enzyme was not inhibited by 1mM of pepstatin, EDTA and PCMB. The protease was active and retained 100% it activity in 10% (v/v) DMSO, DMF, ethanol and acetone.
Chromohalobacter sp. TVSP101; halothermophilic protease; purification; organic solvents; osmolytes
Aeromonas spp. have been regarded as "emerging pathogens". Aeromonads possess multifactorial virulence and the production of many of these virulence determinants is associated with high cell density, a phenomenon that might be regulated by quorum sensing. However, only two species of the genus are reported to possess the luxRI quorum sensing gene homologs. The purpose of this study was to investigate if the luxRI homologs are universally present in the Aeromonas strains collected from various culture collections, clinical laboratories and field studies.
Of all the 73 Aeromonas strains used in the study, seventy-one strains elicited acyl-homoserine lactone-mediated response in multiple biosensor strains. However, dot blot hybridization revealed that the luxRI homologs are present in all the strains. PCR amplification and sequencing revealed that the luxRI homologs shared a very high percentage sequence similarity. No evidence for lateral gene transfer of the luxRI homologs between aeromonads and other genera was noted.
We propose that the luxRI quorum sensing gene homologs are universally present in the genus Aeromonas independently from their origin. This study is the first genus-wide report of the taxonomic distribution of the luxRI homologs.
Mitochondrial encephalomyopathies are a heterogeneous group of clinical disorders generally caused due to mutations in either mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear genes encoding oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). We analyzed the mtDNA sequences from a group of 23 pediatric patients with clinical and morphological features of mitochondrial encephalopathies and tried to establish a relationship of identified variants with the disease.
Complete mitochondrial genomes were amplified by PCR and sequenced by automated DNA sequencing. Sequencing data was analyzed by SeqScape software and also confirmed by BLASTn program. Nucleotide sequences were compared with the revised Cambridge reference sequence (CRS) and sequences present in mitochondrial databases. The data obtained shows that a number of known and novel mtDNA variants were associated with the disease. Most of the non-synonymous variants were heteroplasmic (A4136G, A9194G and T11916A) suggesting their possibility of being pathogenic in nature. Some of the missense variants although homoplasmic were showing changes in highly conserved amino acids (T3394C, T3866C, and G9804A) and were previously identified with diseased conditions. Similarly, two other variants found in tRNA genes (G5783A and C8309T) could alter the secondary structure of Cys-tRNA and Lys-tRNA. Most of the variants occurred in single cases; however, a few occurred in more than one case (e.g. G5783A and A10149T).
Conclusions and Significance
The mtDNA variants identified in this study could be the possible cause of mitochondrial encephalomyopathies with childhood onset in the patient group. Our study further strengthens the pathogenic score of known variants previously reported as provisionally pathogenic in mitochondrial diseases. The novel variants found in the present study can be potential candidates for further investigations to establish the relationship between their incidence and role in expressing the disease phenotype. This study will be useful in genetic diagnosis and counseling of mitochondrial diseases in India as well as worldwide.
Aeromonas sp. can now be considered relatively common enteropathogens due to the increase of diseases in humans. Aeromonas culicicola is a gram negative rod-shaped bacterium isolated for the first time from the mosquito mid-gut, but subsequently detected in other insects and waters also. Our previous study discovered that A. culicicola harbors three plasmids, which we designated as pAc3249A, pAc3249B and pAc3249C. We investigated and report here the existence and genetic organization of a Conjugal Type IV Secretion System (TFSS) in pAc3249A.
The complete operon is 11,061 bp in length and has G+C content of 47.20% code for 12 ORFs. The gene order and orientation were similar to those found in other bacteria with some differences. We have designated this system as AcTra for Aeromonas culicicola transfer system. BLAST results of ORFs and phylogenetic analysis showed significant similarity towards the respective proteins of the IncI2 plasmid R721 of E. coli. Other bioinformatics studies have been performed to predict conserved motifs/domains, signal peptides, transmembrane helices, etc. of the ORFs.
BLAST results of ORFs and phylogenetic analysis showed significant similarity towards the respective proteins of the IncI2 plasmid R721 of E. coli.
The cag pathogenicity island (cag-PAI) is one of the major virulence determinants of Helicobacter pylori. The chromosomal integrity of this island or the lack thereof is speculated to play an important role in the progress of the gastroduodenal pathology caused by H. pylori. We determined the integrity of the cag-PAI by using specific flanking and internally anchored PCR primers to know the biogeographical distribution of strains carrying fully integral cag-PAI with proinflammatory behavior in vivo. Genotypes based on eight selected loci were studied in 335 isolates obtained from eight different geographic regions. The cag-PAI appeared to be disrupted in the majority of patient isolates throughout the world. Conservation of cag-PAI was highest in Japanese isolates (57.1%). However, only 18.6% of the Peruvian and 12% of the Indian isolates carried an intact cag-PAI. The integrity of cag-PAI in European and African strains was minimal. All 10 strains from Costa Rica had rearrangements. Overall, a majority of the strains of East Asian ancestry were found to have intact cag-PAI compared to strains of other descent. We also found that the cagE and cagT genes were less often rearranged (18%) than the cagA gene (27%). We attempted to relate cag-PAI rearrangement patterns to disease outcome. Deletion frequencies of cagA, cagE, and cagT genes were higher in benign cases than in isolates from severe ulcers and gastric cancer. Conversely, the cagA promoter and the left end of the cag-PAI were frequently rearranged or deleted in isolates linked to severe pathology. Analysis of the cag-PAI genotypes with a different biogeoclimatic history will contribute to our understanding of the pathogen-host interaction in health and disease.
The phylogeny of the genus Methanobrevibacter was established almost 25 years ago on the basis of the similarities of the 16S rRNA oligonucleotide catalogs. Since then, many 16S rRNA gene sequences of newly isolated strains or clones representing the genus Methanobrevibacter have been deposited. We tried to reorganize the 16S rRNA gene sequences of this genus and revise the taxonomic affiliation of the isolates and clones representing the genus Methanobrevibacter.
The phylogenetic analysis of the genus based on 786 bp aligned region from fifty-four representative sequences of the 120 available sequences for the genus revealed seven multi-member groups namely, Ruminantium, Smithii, Woesei, Curvatus, Arboriphilicus, Filiformis, and the Termite gut symbionts along with three separate lineages represented by Mbr. wolinii, Mbr. acididurans, and termite gut flagellate symbiont LHD12. The cophenetic correlation coefficient, a test for the ultrametric properties of the 16S rRNA gene sequences used for the tree was found to be 0.913 indicating the high degree of goodness of fit of the tree topology. A significant relationship was found between the 16S rRNA sequence similarity (S) and the extent of DNA hybridization (D) for the genus with the correlation coefficient (r) for logD and logS, and for [ln(-lnD) and ln(-lnS)] being 0.73 and 0.796 respectively. Our analysis revealed that for this genus, when S = 0.984, D would be <70% at least 99% of the times, and with 70% D as the species "cutoff", any 16S rRNA gene sequence showing <98% sequence similarity can be considered as a separate species. In addition, we deduced group specific signature positions that have remained conserved in evolution of the genus.
A very significant relationship between D and S was found to exist for the genus Methanobrevibacter, implying that it is possible to predict D from S with a known precision for the genus. We propose to include the termite gut flagellate symbiont LHD12, the methanogenic endosymbionts of the ciliate Nyctotherus ovalis, and rat feces isolate RT reported earlier, as separate species of the genus Methanobrevibacter.