The genus Asticcacaulis, to date, comprises two species of unicellular, stalked bacteria, developing a stalk at a site which is not coincidental with the centre of the pole of the cell. Multiplication is similar to that demonstrated by the prosthecate species of the genera Caulobacter, Brevundimonas and Maricaulis. A polyphasic approach, comprising 16S rRNA gene sequencing, lipid analysis and NaCl tolerance characterizations, was used to clarify the taxonomy of the two Asticcacaulis species. From the analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequences, a close phylogenetic relationship between the species that comprise the genera Asticcacaulis, Caulobacter and Brevundimonas could be deduced wherein the three genera form three distinct branches. The individual genera could also be discerned by different characteristic polar lipids. The species of Asticcacaulis differed from species of Caulobacter and Brevundimonas by the lack of 1,2-diacyl-3-O-[6'-phosphatidyl-alpha-D-glucopyranosyl]glycerol. They also did not contain 1,2-di-O-acyl-3-O-[D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->4)-alpha-D-glucuronopyranosyl]glycerol, which is found in most Brevundimonas species but not in strains of the genus Caulobacter. The morphological differences seen between the two species Asticcacaulis excentricus and Asticcacaulis biprosthecium are mirrored by the observed 16S rDNA sequence similarity value of 95.3%, which is relatively low compared to the interspecies similarity values observed within the genera Brevundimonas or Caulobacter.


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