Revision of Campylobacter, Helicobacter, and Wolinella taxonomy: emendation of generic descriptions and proposal of Arcobacter gen. nov

Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1991 Jan;41(1):88-103. doi: 10.1099/00207713-41-1-88.


Hybridization experiments were carried out between DNAs from more than 70 strains of Campylobacter spp. and related taxa and either 3H-labeled 23S rRNAs from reference strains belonging to Campylobacter fetus, Campylobacter concisus, Campylobacter sputorum, Campylobacter coli, and Campylobacter nitrofigilis, an unnamed Campylobacter sp. strain, and a Wolinella succinogenes strain or 3H- or 14C-labeled 23S rRNAs from 13 gram-negative reference strains. An immunotyping analysis of 130 antigens versus 34 antisera of campylobacters and related taxa was also performed. We found that all of the named campylobacters and related taxa belong to the same phylogenetic group, which we name rRNA superfamily VI and which is far removed from the gram-negative bacteria allocated to the five rRNA superfamilies sensu De Ley. There is a high degree of heterogeneity within this rRNA superfamily. Organisms belonging to rRNA superfamily VI should be reclassified in several genera. We propose that the emended genus Campylobacter should be limited to Campylobacter fetus, Campylobacter hyointestinalis, Campylobacter concisus, Campylobacter mucosalis, Campylobacter sputorum, Campylobacter jejuni, Campylobacter coli, Campylobacter lari, and "Campylobacter upsaliensis." Wolinella curva and Wolinella recta are transferred to the genus Campylobacter as Campylobacter curvus comb. nov. and Campylobacter rectus comb. nov., respectively. Bacteroides gracilis and Bacteroides ureolyticus are generically misnamed and are closely related to the genus Campylobacter. Campylobacter nitrofigilis, Campylobacter cryaerophila, and an unnamed Campylobacter sp. strain constitute a new genus, for which the name Arcobacter is proposed; this genus contains two species, Arcobacter nitrofigilis comb. nov. (type species) and Arcobacter cryaerophilus comb. nov. Wolinella succinogenes so far is the only species of the genus Wolinella. The genus Helicobacter is also emended; Campylobacter cinaedi and Campylobacter fennelliae are included in this genus as Helicobacter cinaedi comb. nov. and Helicobacter fennelliae comb. nov., respectively. The genus "Flexispira," with "Flexispira rappini" as the only species, is closely related to the genus Helicobacter. The free-living, sulfur-reducing campylobacters do not belong to any of these genera; they probably constitute a distinct genus within rRNA superfamily VI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Bacteroidaceae / classification*
  • Bacteroidaceae / genetics
  • Campylobacter / classification*
  • Campylobacter / genetics
  • Campylobacter fetus / classification
  • Campylobacter fetus / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Gram-Negative Anaerobic Bacteria / classification
  • Gram-Negative Anaerobic Bacteria / genetics
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Terminology as Topic


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal