To clarify the taxonomic status of two recently described genomic groups, groups VS116 and M19, three group VS116 strains and eight group M19 strains isolated from ticks in Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom were characterized. PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the 5S-23S intergenic spacer amplicon, rRNA gene restriction analysis, 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and immunoblotting with monoclonal antibodies were used for genetic and phenotypic analysis. The PCR-RFLP and RAPD patterns of three group VS116 strains and eight group M19 strains were identical but differed from those of sensu stricto, , and DNAs from all group VS116 and M19 strains yielded three fragments (6.9, 3.2, and 1.4 kb) and four fragments (2.1, 1.2, 0.8, and 0.6 kb) after digestion with and dlll, respectively, hybridizing with an 16S+23S cDNA probe. The SDS-PAGE protein profiles of group VS116 and M19 strains were heterogeneous. Phylogenetic analysis of the partial 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that group VS116 and M19 spirochetes were members of a species distinct from previously characterized members of the genus Based on our present study and data from previous DNA-DNA hybridizations, a new species, sp. nov., in the complex, is proposed. Strain VS116 is the type strain of this new species.


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