The Use and Limitations of the 16S rRNA Sequence for Species Classification of Anaplasma Samples

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2022-03-12

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MDPI

Abstract

With the advent of cheaper, high-throughput sequencing technologies, the ability to survey biodiversity in previously unexplored niches and geographies has expanded massively. Within Anaplasma, a genus containing several intra-hematopoietic pathogens of medical and economic importance, at least 25 new species have been proposed since the last formal taxonomic organization. Given the obligate intracellular nature of these bacteria, none of these proposed species have been able to attain formal standing in the nomenclature per the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes rules. Many novel species’ proposals use sequence data obtained from targeted or metagenomic PCR studies of only a few genes, most commonly the 16S rRNA gene. We examined the utility of the 16S rRNA gene sequence for discriminating Anaplasma samples to the species level. We find that while the genetic diversity of the genus Anaplasma appears greater than appreciated in the last organization of the genus, caution must be used when attempting to resolve to a species descriptor from the 16S rRNA gene alone. Specifically, genomically distinct species have similar 16S rRNA gene sequences, especially when only partial amplicons of the 16S rRNA are used. Furthermore, we provide key bases that allow classification of the formally named species of Anaplasma.

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Citation

Caudill, M.T.; Brayton, K.A. The Use and Limitations of the 16S rRNA Sequence for Species Classification of Anaplasma Samples. Microorganisms 2022, 10, 605.