Application of rpoB and zinc protease gene for use in molecular discrimination of Fusobacterium nucleatum subspecies

Hwa Sook Kim, Dae Sil Lee, Young Hyo Chang, Min Jung Kim, Sukhoon Koh, Joongsu Kim, Jin Hyo Seong, Soo Keun Song, Hwan Seon Shin, Jae Beum Son, Min Young Jung, Soon Nang Park, So Young Yoo, Ki Woon Cho, Dong Kie Kim, Seonghoon Moon, Dooil Kim, Yongseok Choi, Byung Ock Kim, Hyun Seon JangChun Sung Kim, Chan Kim, Son Jin Choe, Joong Ki Kook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Fusobacterium nucleatum is classified into five subspecies that inhabit the human oral cavity (F. nucleatum subsp. nucleatum, F. nucleatum subsp. polymorphum, F. nucleatum subsp. fusiforme, F. nucleatum subsp. vincentii, and F. nucleatum subsp. animalis) based on several phenotypic characteristics and DNA-DNA hybridization patterns. However, the methods for detecting or discriminating the clinical isolates of F. nucleatum at the subspecies levels are laborious, expensive, and time-consuming. Therefore, in this study, the nucleotide sequences of the RNA polymerase β-subunit gene (rpoB) and zinc protease gene were analyzed to discriminate the subspecies of F. nucleatum. The partial sequences of rpoB (approximately 2,419 bp), the zinc protease gene (878 bp), and 16S rRNA genes (approximately 1,500 bp) of the type strains of five subspecies, 28 clinical isolates of F. nucleatum, and 10 strains of F. periodonticum (as a control group) were determined and analyzed. The phylogenetic data showed that the rpoB and zinc protease gene sequences clearly delineated the subspecies of F. nucleatum and provided higher resolution than the 16S rRNA gene sequences in this respect. According to the phylogenetic analysis of rpoB and the zinc protease gene, F. nucleatum subsp. vincentii and F. nucleatum subsp. fusiforme might be classified into a single subspecies. Five clinical isolates could be delineated as a new subspecies of F. nucleatum. The results suggest that rpoB and the zinc protease gene are efficient targets for the discrimination and taxonomic analysis of the subspecies of F. nucleatum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-553
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Feb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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