Tannerella serpentiformis sp. nov., isolated from the human mouth

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2020 Jun;70(6):3749-3754. doi: 10.1099/ijsem.0.004229. Epub 2020 Jun 10.


Three strains representing the previously uncultured human oral Tannerella taxon HMT-286 were recently isolated from the subgingival plaque of a patient with chronic periodontitis. The phenotypic and genetic features of strain SP18_26T were compared to those of the type species of Tannerella, Tannerella forsythia. A genome size of 2.97 Mbp (G+C content 56.5 mol%) was previously reported for SP18_26T, compared to a size of 3.28 Mbp (47.1 mol%) in T. forsythia ATCC 43037T. 16S rRNA gene sequence comparisons also revealed 94.3 % sequence identity with T. forsythia ATCC 43037T. Growth was stimulated by supplementation of media with N-acetyl muramic acid, as seen with T. forsythia, but the cells displayed a distinctive snake-like morphology. Fatty acid methyl ester analysis revealed a profile differing from T. forsythia, chiefly in the amount of 3-OH-16 : 0 (four-fold lower in SP18_26T). Overall, metabolic enzyme activity also differed from T. forsythia, with enzyme activity for indole present, but the complement of glycoside hydrolase enzyme activity was smaller than T. forsythia, for example, lacking sialidase and N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase - evidence backed up by analysis of its gene content. On the basis of these results, a new species Tannerella serpentiformis is proposed for which the type strain is SP18_26T (=DSM 102894T=JCM 31303T).

Keywords: HMT-286; Porphyromonadaceae; Tannerella; oral microbiology; periodontitis; subgingival plaque.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Bacteroidetes / classification*
  • Bacteroidetes / isolation & purification
  • Base Composition
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • London
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Muramic Acids
  • Phylogeny*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Fatty Acids
  • Muramic Acids
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • N-acetylmuramic acid