Small oral spirochaetes with a strict dependence on either glucuronic acid (GluA) or galacturonic acid (GalA) were isolated from European patients with periodontitis and from Chinese patients with either gingivitis or acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). Thirteen such isolates were similar phenotypically to Treponema pectinovorum ATCC 33768T and this classification was confirmed by 16S rRNA sequencing. However, four isolates differed from T. pectinovorum by their small cell size, by a prominent beta-glucuronidase activity, by a distinct protein and antigen profile, by an inability to grow on pectin as sole source of carbohydrate and by a markedly enhanced growth rate when supplied with a second carbohydrate (L-arabinose, D-galactose, D-glucose, D-fructose, D-mannitol, D-mannose, pectin, D-ribose or D-xylose) in addition to the essential GluA/GalA. By 16S rRNA sequencing these four isolates clustered in the recently described phylotype 'Smibert-2'. T. pectinovorum (14 strains) and 'Smibert-2' (four isolates with beta-glucuronidase activity) could each be subdivided into two serotypes based on immunoblot reactivity with two mAbs. Representatives of the two groups, including T. pectinovorum ATCC 33768T, showed a 1:2:1-type periplasmic flagellar arrangement. 'Smibert-2' is described as a novel species, Treponema parvum sp. nov., with isolate OMZ 833T (= ATCC 700770T) proposed as the type strain and OMZ 842 (= ATCC 700773) as reference strain for a second serotype.


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