A detailed characterization was performed of the Whipple's disease bacillus, strain Twist-MarseilleT, isolated from the cardiac valve of a patient with Whipple's disease bacillus endocarditis. This strain was isolated and maintained on human embryonic lung fibroblast monolayers, but could not be cultivated in the absence of living eukaryotic cells. Two morphological forms were observed, with differing staining properties; an intracellular form with intact and degenerating bacteria within vacuoles of infected cells and an extracellular form with masses of bacteria embedded in an extracellular matrix. Determination of the DNA G+C content confirmed that it belongs to the high-G+C gram-positive bacteria. Strain Twist-MarseilleT (= CNCM I-2202T) is proposed as the type strain of a new species within a new genus, Tropheryma whipplei gen. nov., sp. nov., that was provisionally created solely on the basis of 16S rRNA gene sequence data.


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