The 16S rRNA sequences of the Korean strains 5MT and 9MT, isolated from lxodes nipponensis, showed identities of 99.0-99.1% to that of . The strains were tentatively classified as belonging to the -related group. In this study, Korean isolates, including these strains, were characterized further and compared with recently described new species. These strains generated a RFLP pattern that has not been found previously in RFLP analysis of the 5S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer and the flagellin gene. When phylogenetic trees were constructed, based on the 5S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer, flagellin gene and 16S rRNA sequences, these Korean isolates formed a cluster with the strain Am501 isolated from Ixodes columnae in Japan and strains VS116 and UK isolated from in Europe and were distinguishable from the other species. However, these three groups of strains were divergent from each other in the molecular masses of the putative outer surface protein A (OspA) and in the sequences of the . These findings suggest that these Korean isolates and one isolate are members of and that OspA of this species is divergent, as is that of . This led to the speculation that are adapted to the vector ticks found in each locality.


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