Bifunctional proteins are the result of relatively infrequent genetic events that are faithfully conserved. They are reliable markers that define phylogenetic clusters. The bifunctional protein anthranilate synthase: anthranilate 5-phosphoribosylpyrophosphate phosphoribosyltransferase (AS:PRT) separates two enteric clusters. Previously published data show that this bifunctional protein is present in the lineage shared by , and , but is absent in , and . It has been postulated that aerogenic and anaerogenic strains of belong to different groups, which corrspond to the clusters mentioned above, respectively. In confirmation of this, we found that ATCC 29915 (aerogenic) possesses bifunctional AS:PRT, whereas ATCC 27155 (T = type strain) (anaerogenic) lacks AS:PRT. We also found that 33243 lacks AS:PRT. Beji et al. (Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 38:77-88) recently showed that the type strains of (ATCC 27155) and (ATCC 33243) belong to the same genomic species. We suggest that (= ) should be excluded from the genus . We further suggest that strains currently designated can be grouped with or with the enteric cluster containing depending upon whether bifunctional AS:PRT is absent or present, respectively.


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