The 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene of the phylogenetic subdivision containing gram-positive bacteria with a high G + C content was detected specifically in clinical specimens from patients suspected of having Whipple's disease. The primary structure of 16S rDNA amplified from clinical samples was determined by cloning and sequencing. Two sorts of sequences were identified: one corresponded exactly to the rRNA sequence of (GenBank accession no. M87484) while the other was related to that of members of the genus No sequence related to spp. or was observed. Exhaustive examination of negative specimens with broad-range eubacterial primers detected one sequence related to Enterobacter-iaceae and another related to spp. To speed identification of , a nested amplification method was devised. A first amplification specific for the gram-positive bacteria subdivision was performed, followed by a second amplification with -specific primers. The amplified product was checked by digestion with II, I, and I endonucleases. These techniques were applied to DNA extracted from seven intestinal biopsy samples, two cerebrospinal fluid samples and one articular fluid from patients suspected of having Whipple's disease. 16S rDNA was found in two of the biopsy samples, one of the cerebrospinal fluid samples and in the articular fluid.


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