Twelve strains isolated from the posterior fornix fluid of the human vagina were identified as Lactobacillus johnsonii, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus gallinarum and Lactobacillus crispatus based on numerical analyses of total soluble cell protein profiles and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD)-PCR banding patterns. Five strains grouped with the type strains of Lactobacillus gasseri (DSM 20077T) and Lactobacillus jensenii (DSM 20557T) at r > or = 0.83 in one protein profile cluster, well separated from the other species included in this study. However, numerical analysis of the RAPD-PCR banding patterns of representative strains selected from the L. gasseri-L. jensenii protein cluster clearly indicated that they belong to two different species. Four strains (TV 1010, TG 1013, TV 1018T and TV 1045) grouped into another well separated protein profile cluster at r > or = 0.87. Strains selected from this cluster displayed very similar RAPD-PCR banding patterns and clustered at R2 > or = 0.78, separate from the other strains examined. Sequencing of the 16S rRNA of two representative strains, TV 1018T and TG 1013, of this group indicated that it represents a new member of rRNA group I Lactobacillus, which includes Lactobacillus delbrueckii, the type of the genus, and close relatives Lactobacillus acetotolerans, Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens, Lactobacillus iners, L. jensenii, L. crispatus, L. acidophilus, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus amylovorus, Lactobacillus hamsteri, L. johnsonii, L. gasseri and Lactobacillus amylolyticus. The name Lactobacillus fornicalis sp. nov. is proposed for strains TV 1010 (DSM 13172), TG 1013, TV 1018T and TV 1045, with strain TV 1018T (= DSM 13171T = ATCC 700934T) as the type.


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