Proposal to create subspecies of Rickettsia sibirica and an emended description of Rickettsia sibirica

Pierre Edouard Fournier, Yong Zhu, Xuejie Yu, Didier Raoult

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

32 Scopus citations


The Rickettsia sibirica species is composed of isolates that are genotypically close but can be classified within two distinct serotypes, that is, R. sibirica sensu stricto and R. sibirica mongolitimonae (incorrectly named R. mongolotimonae). We investigated the possibility of classifying rickettsiae closely related to R. sibirica as R. sibirica subspecies, as proposed by the ad hoc Committee on Reconciliation of Approaches to Bacterial Systematics. For this, we first estimated the genotypic variability by using multilocus sequence typing (MLST), including the sequencing of five genes, and multispacer typing (MST) using three intergenic spacers, of five isolates and three tick amplicons of R. sibirica sensu stricto and six isolates of A. sibirica mongolotimonae. Then, we selected a representative of each MLST genotype and used mouse serotyping to estimate their degree of taxonomic relatedness. Among the 14 isolates or tick amplicons studied, 2 MLST genotypes were identified: (i) the R. sibirica sensu stricto type; and (ii) the R. sibirica mongolitimonae type. Representatives of the two MLST types were classified within three MST types and into two serotypes. Therefore, as isolates within the R. sibirica species are genotypically homogeneous but show MST genotypic, serotypic, and epidemio-clinical dissimilarities, we propose to modify the nomenclature of the R. sibirica species through the creation of subspecies. We propose the names R. sibirica subsp. sibirica subsp. nov. (type strain = 2-4-6, ATCC VR-541 T), and R. sibirica subsp. mongolitimonae subsp. nov. (type strain = HA-91, ATCC VR-1526T). The description of A. sibirica is emended to accommodate the two subspecies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCentury of Rickettsiology; Emerging, Reemerging Rickettsioses, Molecular Diagnostics. amd Emerging Veterinary Rickettsioses
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)1573316393, 9781573316392
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Rickettsia siberica
  • Subspecies
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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