The 16S-23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of several Streptococcus thermophilus strains and some related dairy streptococci, S. macedonicus, S. salivarius and S. bovis, was analysed by sequence analysis. All the Streptococcus species were easily discriminated on the basis of sequence variations principally located upstream and downstream of the region encompassing the double-stranded processing sites and the tRNAAla gene. Comparison between tRNAAla gene sequences highlighted a high level of sequence conservation among the Streptococcus species investigated despite their belonging to separated phylogenetic clusters, i.e. the S. salivarius and S. bovis rRNA groups. A low but significant degree of variability was detected among the S. thermophilus strains, allowing the identification of four different ITS sequences. Similarity analysis of the ITS sequences showed that the Streptococcus species were clustered in two main branches, one containing S. macedonicus and S. bovis strains, and one containing S. thermophilus and S. salivarius strains. With the aim of developing a rapid tool for the identification of the dairy streptococci species a multiplex ITS-SSCP analysis of two discrete regions within the ITS locus was carried out.
ASJC Scopus subject areas