The taxonomy of Enterobacter has a complicated history, with several species transferred to and from this genus. Classification of strains is difficult owing to its polyphyletic nature, based on 16S rRNA gene sequences. It has been previously acknowledged that Enterobacter contains species which should be transferred to other genera. In an attempt to resolve the taxonomy of Enterobacter, MLSA based on partial sequencing of protein-encoding genes (gyrB, rpoB, infB and atpD) was performed on the type strains and reference strains of Enterobacter, Cronobacter and Serratia species, as well as members of the closely related genera Citrobacter, Klebsiella, Kluyvera, Leclercia, Mangrovibacter, Raoultella and Yokenella. Phylogenetic analyses of the concatenated nucleotide sequences revealed that Enterobacter can be divided into five strongly supported MLSA groups, suggesting that the species should be reclassified into five different genera. Further support for this was provided by a concatenated amino acid tree, phenotypic characteristics and fatty acid profiles, enabling differentiation of the MLSA groups. Three novel genera are proposed: Lelliottia gen. nov., Pluralibacter gen. nov. and Kosakonia gen. nov. and the following new combinations: Lelliottia nimipressuralis comb. nov., Lelliottia amnigena comb. nov., Pluralibacter gergoviae comb. nov., Pluralibacter pyrinus comb. nov., Kosakonia cowanii comb. nov., Kosakonia radicincitans comb. nov., Kosakonia oryzae comb. nov., Kosakonia arachidis comb. nov., Cronobacter helveticus comb. nov. and Cronobacter pulveris comb. nov. Additionally, the novel epithet Cronobacter zurichensis nom. nov. is proposed for the reclassification of Enterobacter turicensis into the genus Cronobacter, as Cronobacter turicensis (Iversen et al., 2008) is already in use.
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