Further Determination of DNA Relatedness Between Serogroups and Serovars in the Family Leptospiraceae With a Proposal for Leptospira Alexanderi Sp. Nov. And Four New Leptospira Genomospecies

Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1999 Apr;49 Pt 2:839-58. doi: 10.1099/00207713-49-2-839.


DNA relatedness was determined among 303 strains of Leptospira and Leptonema. Included in the analysis were reference strains from 228 well-characterized and recognized serovars. The study included 268 serovars from 29 named and one or more unnamed serogroups. The strains clustered into 17 DNA hybridization groups, representing 12 previously described species (292 strains) and five new genomospecies (11 strains). The largest groups included Leptospira interrogans (91 strains from 82 serovars), Leptospira santarosai (65 strains from 59 serovars), Leptospira borgpetersenii (49 strains from 43 serovars), Leptospira kirschneri (29 strains from 26 serovars) and Leptospira noguchii (20 strains from 20 serovars). The new genomospecies include Leptospira genomospecies 1 (two strains, serovars pinagchang and sichuan), Leptospira genomospecies 2 (six strains, serovars lushui, manhao 3, manzhuang, nanding, mengla and yunnan), Leptospira genomospecies 3 (one strain, serovar holland), Leptospira genomospecies 4 (one strain, serovar hualin) and Leptospira genomospecies 5 (one strain, serovar saopaulo). With the exception of Ballum, all serogroups with greater than one serovar studied were genetically heterogeneous. Phenotypic tests, including optimal growth temperature, lipase activity and growth inhibition by copper sulfate or 2,6-diaminopurine, were of little use in differentiating DNA relatedness groups. The name Leptospira alexanderi sp. nov. is proposed for Leptospira genomospecies 2 (type strain L 60T = ATCC 700520T, serovar manhao 3).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Composition
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Leptospira / classification*
  • Leptospira / genetics
  • Leptospiraceae / classification*
  • Leptospiraceae / genetics
  • Leptospirosis / microbiology*
  • Phenotype
  • Serotyping
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA, Bacterial