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Diversity of Nitrogen Fixation Genes in the Symbiotic Intestinal Microflora of the Termite Reticulitermes speratus.

ABSTRACT: The diversity of nitrogen-fixing organisms in the symbiotic intestinal microflora of a lower termite, Reticulitermes speratus, was investigated without culturing the resident microorganisms. Fragments of the nifH gene, which encodes the dinitrogenase reductase, were directly amplified from the DNA of the mixed microbial population in the termite gut and were clonally isolated. The phylogenetic analysis of the nifH product amino acid sequences showed that there was a remarkable diversity of nitrogenase genes in the termite gut. A large number of the termite nifH sequences were most closely related to those of a firmicute, Clostridium pasteurianum, with a few being most closely related to either the (gamma) subclass of the proteobacteria or a sequence of Desulfovibrio gigas. Some of the others were distantly related to those of the bacteria and were seemingly derived from the domain Archaea. The phylogenetic positions of these nifH sequences corresponded to those of genera found during a previous determination of rRNA-based phylogeny of the termite intestinal microbial community, of which a majority consisted of new, yet-uncultivated species. The results revealed that we have little knowledge of the organisms responsible for nitrogen fixation in termites.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC1388910 | BioStudies | 1996-01-01T00:00:00Z


REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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