Delineation of a new species of the Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato Complex, Borrelia americana sp. nov

J Clin Microbiol. 2009 Dec;47(12):3875-80. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01050-09. Epub 2009 Oct 21.


Analysis of borrelia isolates collected from ticks, birds, and rodents from the southeastern United States revealed the presence of well-established populations of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia bissettii, Borrelia carolinensis, and Borrelia sp. nov. Multilocus sequence analysis of five genomic loci from seven samples representing Borrelia sp. nov. isolated from nymphal Ixodes minor collected in South Carolina showed their close relatedness to California strains known as genomospecies 1 and separation from any other known species of the B. burgdorferi sensu lato complex. One nucleotide difference in the size of the 5S-23S intergenic spacer region, one substitution in 16S rRNA gene signature nucleotides, and silent nucleotide substitutions in sequences of the gene encoding flagellin and the gene p66 clearly separate Borrelia sp. nov. isolates from South Carolina into two subgroups. The sequences of isolates of each subgroup share the same restriction fragment length polymorphism patterns of the 5S-23S intergenic spacer region and contain unique signature nucleotides in the 16S rRNA gene. We propose that seven Borrelia sp. nov. isolates from South Carolina and two California isolates designated as genomospecies 1 comprise a single species, which we name Borrelia americana sp. nov. The currently recognized geographic distribution of B. americana is South Carolina and California. All strains are associated with Ixodes pacificus or Ixodes minor and their rodent and bird hosts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Surface / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Bacterial Vaccines / genetics
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / classification*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / genetics*
  • California
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / analysis
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / genetics
  • Flagellin / genetics
  • Genes, rRNA
  • Ixodes / classification
  • Ixodes / microbiology
  • Lipoproteins / genetics
  • Lyme Disease / microbiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Porins / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • South Carolina
  • Species Specificity


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer
  • Lipoproteins
  • Oms66 protein, Borrelia
  • OspA protein
  • Porins
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Flagellin

Associated data

  • GENBANK/EU076517
  • GENBANK/EU076518
  • GENBANK/EU076519
  • GENBANK/EU076520
  • GENBANK/EU076521
  • GENBANK/EU076522
  • GENBANK/EU076523
  • GENBANK/EU076524
  • GENBANK/EU076525
  • GENBANK/EU076526
  • GENBANK/EU076527
  • GENBANK/EU076528
  • GENBANK/EU076529
  • GENBANK/EU076530
  • GENBANK/EU081282
  • GENBANK/EU081283
  • GENBANK/EU081284
  • GENBANK/EU081285
  • GENBANK/EU081286
  • GENBANK/EU081287
  • GENBANK/EU081288
  • GENBANK/EU081289
  • GENBANK/EU081290
  • GENBANK/EU081291
  • GENBANK/EU081292
  • GENBANK/EU081293
  • GENBANK/EU081294
  • GENBANK/EU081295
  • GENBANK/EU081296