Multilocus sequence typing for studying genetic relationships among Yersinia species

Mamuka Kotetishvili, Arnold Kreger, Georges Wauters, J. Glenn Morris, Alexander Sulakvelidze, O. Colin Stine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The intra- and interspecies genetic relationships of 58 strains representing all currently known species of the genus Yersinia were examined by multilocus sequence typing (MLST), using sequence data from 16S RNA, glnA, gyrB, recA, and Y-HSP60 loci. Yersinia aldovae, Y. bercovieri, Y. intermedia, Y. pestis, Y. pseudotuberculosis, Y. rohdei, and Y. ruckeri were genetically more homogeneous than were Y. enterocolitica, Y. frederiksenii, Y. kristensenii, and Y. mollaretii. The MLST data concerning the genetic relatedness within and among various species of Yersinia support the idea that Y. pestis and Y. pseudotuberculosis are two lineages within the same species rather than two distinct species. Y. ruckeri is the genetically most distant species within the genus. There was evidence of O-antigen switching and genetic recombination within and among various species of Yersinia. The genetic relatedness data obtained by MLST of the four housekeeping genes and 16S RNA agreed in most, but not all, instances. MLST was better suited for determining genetic relatedness among yersiniae than was 16S RNA analysis. Some strains of Y. frederiksenii and Y. kristensenii are genetically less related to other strains within those species, compared to strains of all other species within the genus. The taxonomic standing of these strains should be further examined because they may represent currently unrecognized Yersinia species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2674-2684
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology


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