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Analysis of the 16S to 23S rRNA intergenic spacer region of Mycoplasma synoviae field strains

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Mycoplasma synoviae has been associated with economic loss in the chicken and turkey industries. The molecular characterization of M. synoviae at strain level allows the analysis of relationships between strains that may be valuable in epidemiological investigations. In the present study, the intergenic spacer region (ISR) between the 16S and 23S rRNA genes was examined to see whether useful information about strains could be derived. M. synoviae has two copies of this region, which may not be exactly the same (intercistronic heterogeneity). Sequencing of the ISRs of 21 M. synoviae isolates and the type strain revealed that 19 of them had such heterogeneity so DNA cloning was performed where necessary. All sequences were analysed and aligned; the percentage similarity of the DNA was calculated and a dendrogram was constructed. The length of the ISRs varied between 305 and 309 base pairs. Apart from having extra A/Ts in poly-A or poly-T regions and the presence of a few polymorphisms, the sequences of the M. synoviae strains were similar. Based on phylogenetic analysis, the strains were assigned to 10 groups—taking into account that within each group the DNA similarity was 100%, while the lowest similarity between groups was 95.8%. The results were compared with those obtained with the vlhA gene, resulting in very similar M. synoviae groups. Although the ISR could be a good target for strain typing, as has been shown by others for Mycoplasma gallisepticum, the method may be too cumbersome for routine use with M. synoviae because of complications with intercistronic heterogeneity. However, if the ISR sequence information was to be combined with other mutation detection techniques it could increase the discriminatory power.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Neston, UK,Unidad de Epidemiologia y Medicina Preventiva, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Las Palmas de G.C., Arucas, Las Palmas, Spain 2: School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Neston, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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