2006, pp 330-356

The Genus Brachyspira

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Phylogeny and Taxonomy

Brachyspira is the sole genus assigned to the proposed Family “Brachyspiraceae” in the Order Spirochaetales (Paster and Dewhirst, 2000). The Order Spirochaetales contains all spirochetes. The spirochetes represent a monophyletic lineage and a major early branch in eubacterial evolution (Paster et al., 1984; Paster and Dewhirst, 2000). Brachyspira cells share with other spirochetes several properties that distinguish them from other bacteria. These include a helical cell shape (Fig. 1) and a cell ultrastructure that features internal periplasmic flagella, 16S rDNA sequences with spirochete signature nucleotide bases, and a natural resistance to the antibiotic rifampin (Paster and Dewhirst, 1997; Paster and Dewhirst, 2000). Brachyspira species are readily differentiated from other spirochete genera based on comparisons of their 16S rDNA sequences (Paster et al., 1991; Paster and Dewhirst, 1997).

Fig. 1.
A) Brachyspira alvinipulli C1T cells and B) ...