The taxonomy of myxobacteria is based mainly on their morphological characteristics. The genus belongs to the myxobacterial suborder . Strains in the genus were classified either as one species, , by ignoring divergent morphological characteristics, or into several species; however, the latter classification is based on some dubious morphological characteristics and is inconsistent with the phylogeny constructed from 16S rRNA gene sequences. In this study, two HSP60 ( and ) genes were amplified and sequenced from 22 strains. The and gene sequences were highly conserved in strains, suggesting that these two paralogous genes both play important roles in the life cycle. The phylogeny constructed by the genes was rather consistent with the morphological characteristics of sporangioles. Including information from the phylogenetic analysis and morphological characteristics, it is suggested that the genus includes two species.


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Typical morphologies of sporangioles and swarms in different strains. (a) Spherical sporangioles packed in yellow fruiting bodies on the whole swarm of So0133-4. (b) Spherical sporangioles packed in orange fruiting bodies at the swarm edge of So9881. (c) Spherical sporangioles packed in black fruiting bodies on the whole swarm of So0089-1. (d) Scattered fruiting bodies embedding spherical sporangioles on the swarm of So0157-52. (e) Polyhedral sporangioles packed in deep-brown fruiting bodies at the centre of swarms of So9741. (f) Polyhedral sporangioles packed in deep-brown fruiting bodies on the whole swarm of DSM 14731. (g) Unpacked spherical sporangioles scattered in swarms of So0139-5. (h) Small extension of swarms of So0157-24 from filter paper. (i) Large extension of swarms of So0184-1 from filter paper. Bars, 1 mm (a) [applies to (a)–(f), (h) and (i)] and 50 µm (inset in a) [applies to insets of (a)-(f) and to (g)].


Multiple alignment of 16S rRNA gene sequences. The open and filled boxes respectively represent conserved and variable regions of bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences (Neefs , 1991). Numbers below the boxes indicate the positions of 16S rRNA gene sequences, labelled according to the sequence numbers of the 16S rRNA sequence in (Neefs , 1991). Divergent nucleotides are highlighted.


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