Reassessment of the Phylogenetic Position of the Bacterium Associated with Whipple's Disease and Determination of the 16S-23S Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Sequence

Hygiene-Institut der Universität, Abteilung Hygiene und Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Heidelberg, Germany.
International journal of systematic bacteriology (Impact Factor: 2.27). 11/1996; 46(4):1078-82. DOI: 10.1099/00207713-46-4-1078
Source: PubMed


Whipple's disease is a rare chronic illness associated with an unculturable bacterium that is constantly present in affected tissues. This bacterium was previously characterized at the molecular level by PCR and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. On the basis of 1,321 nucleotides of the sequence of its gene coding for 16S rRNA (16S rDNA), a phylogenetic relationship to the actinomycetes was established. In this study, we determined an almost complete 16S rDNA sequence (1,495 nucleotides), the 16S-23S ribosomal intergenic spacer sequence, and 200 nucleotides of the 23S rRNA gene. The 16S rDNA sequence was compared with the large number of actinomycete sequences that have been added to the database since the original study. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a branching position as the deepest branch of the cluster comprising the actinomycetes with group B peptidoglycan between this group and the family Cellulomonadaceae. This provides additional information on the phylogenetic position of this bacterium and some clues as to its characteristics. The spacer region between the 16S and 23S rRNA genes is 294 nucleotides long and does not contain tRNA genes. As has been shown in other instances, the increased variability of the ribosomal intergenic spacer compared with the 16S rRNA gene makes it a potential target for use in the differentiation of strains of the bacterium associated with Whipple's disease.

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    • "Ce travail qui a été confirmé par Relman et al. en 1992 [7], a amené au premier nom de la bactérie Tropheryma whippelii , du Grec trophi (nourriture) et eryma (barrière) en raison de la malabsorption constatée. Cette séquence correspondait à une bactérie non caractérisée jusqu'alors se situant au sein des Actinomycetes , parmi d'autres bactéries retrouvées en priorité dans l'environnement [8]. Ce n'est que près d'un siècle après la première description clinique (Tableau 1) que la bactérie responsable de cette maladie a pu être cultivée pour la première fois [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The first successful culture of Tropheryma whipplei made 10 years ago opened the way for identification of the bacterium and the development of many diagnostic tools. Phylogenetic analyses made it possible to classify it among Gram positive bacilli in the family of Actinomycetes, close to other ubiquitous bacteria of the environment. More than one century later, in the first description of Whipple's disease, T. whipplei was found to be responsible for a broad spectrum of clinical presentations. There is a variable prevalence according to areas or populations, and there are asymptomatic carriers of the bacterium. Whipple's disease is responsible mainly for arthralgia and diarrhea but can involve many organs. T. whipplei can also be responsible for neurological infection, blood culture-negative endocarditis, or uveitis. In addition to histological analyses, molecular tools help the clinician to prove these difficult diagnoses. Failure and relapse data and antibiotic susceptibility tests have allowed to determine a rational treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2010 · Médecine et Maladies Infectieuses
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    • "Recently, the phylogenetic position of ' T. whippelii ' was reassessed to be near both cellulomonads and those actinobacteria that contain a group B peptidoglycan (Maiwald et al., 1996). In the same study, the 16S–23S rDNA intergenic spacer and its flanking region in the 23S rDNA were also determined (Maiwald et al., 1996). "
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    ABSTRACT: Heterogeneity in the 16S-23S rDNA spacer of uncultured 'Tropheryma whippelii' has previously been reported. In this study, the hypervariable insertion in the 23S rDNA domain III characteristic for actinobacteria was analysed. The finding of a unique sequence virtually identical among the subtypes supports the classification of 'T. whippelii' among the actinobacteria and the concept of three subtypes rather than three subspecies, and provides an alternative target for diagnostic assays.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2000 · International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: A doença de Whipple é uma infecção bacteriana sistémica rara provocada pelo Tropheryma whipplei. As manifestações no sistema nervoso central caracterizam-se por demência lentamente progressiva, oftalmoplegia, cefaleias, mioclonias, disfunção hipotalâmica, e por um movimento patognomónico – miorritmia oculomastigatória--esquelética. O tratamento desta doença é efectuado com antibioterapia que ultrapasse a barreira hematoencefálica, durante pelo menos um ano. O rastreio da doença de Whipple em pacientes com quadros de clínica exclusivamente neurológica, por vezes atípicos ou sem diagnóstico definido, é muito importante dado que se trata de uma doença potencialmente tratável. Palavras chave: Doença de Whipple; Tropheryma whipplei; Infecção; Sistema Nervoso Central WHIPPLE DISEASE AND CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM Whipple disease (WD) is a rare systemic infection caused by the bacteria Tropheryma whipplei. Slowly progressive dementia, supranuclear ophthalmoplegia, headache, myoclonus, hypothalamic dysfunction, oculomasticatory-skeletal myorythmia are characteristic manifestations when WD involves the central nervous system (CNS). Treatment of cerebral WD should be performed with antibiotics that reach the CNS for at the least one-year. We alert for the early diagnosis of WD in patients with exclusively neurological clinical pictures, sometimes with atypical or non-definitive diagnosis, because it is a potential treatable disease.
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