Molecular and phenotypic characterization of Leptospira johnsonii sp. nov., Leptospira ellinghausenii sp. nov. and Leptospira ryugenii sp. nov. isolated from soil and water in Japan

Microbiol Immunol. 2019 Mar;63(3-4):89-99. doi: 10.1111/1348-0421.12671. Epub 2019 Mar 29.


In a previous study, 50 of 132 soil samples collected throughout Japan were found to be Leptospira-positive. In the present study, three strains identified in the collected specimens, three, E8, E18 and YH101, were found to be divergent from previously described Leptospira species according to 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequence analysis. These three strains have a helical shape similar to that of typical Leptospira and were not re-isolated from experimental mice inoculated with the cultured strains. Upon 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequence analysis, E8 was found to belong to the intermediate Leptospira species clade and E18 and YH101 to belong to the saprophytic Leptospira species clade. Based on analyses of genome-to-genome distances and average nucleotide identity in silico using whole genome sequences and DNA-DNA hybridization in vitro, these isolates were found to be distinct from previously described Leptospira species. Therefore, these three isolates represent novel species of the genus Leptospira for which the names Leptospira johnsonii sp. nov., (type strain E8 T , = JCM 32515 T = CIP111620 T ), Leptospira ellinghausenii sp. nov., (type strain E18 T , = JCM 32516 T = CIP111618 T ) and Leptospira ryugenii sp. nov., (type strain YH101 T , = JCM 32518 T = CIP111617 T ) are proposed.

Keywords: Japan; Leptospira; soil; whole genome-sequence..

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Base Composition
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genome, Bacterial / genetics
  • Japan
  • Leptospira / classification*
  • Leptospira / genetics
  • Leptospira / isolation & purification*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Water Microbiology
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S