Genetic and biochemical diversity of Gardnerella vaginalis strains isolated from women with bacterial vaginosis

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2012 Jun;65(1):69-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2012.00940.x. Epub 2012 Mar 6.


Gardnerella vaginalis is considered a substantial player in the progression of bacterial vaginosis (BV). We analysed 17 G. vaginalis strains isolated from the genital tract of women diagnosed with BV to establish a potential link between genotypes/biotypes and the expression of virulence factors, vaginolysin (VLY) and sialidase, which are assumed to play a substantial role in the pathogenesis of BV. Amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis revealed two G. vaginalis genotypes. Gardnerella vaginalis isolates of genotype 2 appeared more complex than genotype 1 and were subdivided into three subtypes. Biochemical typing allowed us to distinguish four different biotypes. A great diversity of the level of VLY production among the isolates of G. vaginalis may be related to a different cytotoxicity level of the strains. We did not find any correlation between VLY production level and G. vaginalis genotype/biotype. In contrast, a link between G. vaginalis genotype and sialidase production was established. Our findings on the diversity of VLY expression level in different clinical isolates and linking sialidase activity with the genotype of G. vaginalis could help to evaluate the pathogenic potential of different G. vaginalis strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacterial Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Bacterial Toxins / biosynthesis
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Female
  • Gardnerella vaginalis / classification*
  • Gardnerella vaginalis / genetics
  • Gardnerella vaginalis / isolation & purification*
  • Gardnerella vaginalis / pathogenicity
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neuraminidase / biosynthesis
  • Phenotype
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • United States
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / microbiology*
  • Virulence Factors / biosynthesis


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Virulence Factors
  • vaginolysin, Gardnerella vaginalis
  • Neuraminidase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/HQ641662
  • GENBANK/HQ641663