Campylobacter lari is a phenotypically and genotypically diverse species that comprises the classical nalidixic acid-resistant thermophilic campylobacters (NARTC) and the biochemical C lari variants, including the urease-positive campylobacters (UPTC), the nalidixic acid-susceptible campylobacters (NASC), and the urease-producing nalidixic acid-susceptible campylobacters. To study the taxonomic and epidemiological relationships among strains of the C. lari variants, amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) profiling and whole-cell protein profile analysis were performed with 55 C. lari strains. Great genetic heterogeneity in AFLP and protein profiles was observed. Numerical analysis of AFLP profiles and of partial protein profiles allowed discrimination of four distinct genogroups. AFLP cluster I included nearly homogeneous patterns for C. lari NARTC strains (genogroup I). UPTC strains together with non-urease-producing NASC strains produced highly diverse patterns and were placed in genogroup II. The genogroup III strains had the NASC phenotype and produced more homogeneous patterns. Finally, genogroup IV strains had the classical NARTC phenotype and produced AFLP patterns that were very distinct from those of other genogroups. One UPTC strain had aberrant patterns and clustered separately, which may indicate that there is an additional genogroup. Preliminary DNA-DNA hybridization experiments suggested that genogroups I and III represent a single genomic species and that genogroup IV represents a distinct species. The detection of moderate levels of DNA-DNA hybridization between a genogroup II reference strain and genogroup I and III reference strains highlights the need for further DNA-DNA hybridization experiments to clarify the taxonomic status of the former group. No correlation of genogroups with different sources of strains was identified. These data show that UPTC strains are genetically diverse and distinct from NARTC strains. In addition, they indicate that the classical NARTC phenotype encompasses at least two genogroups.
- thermophilic campylobacters
- rapid identification