Heteroduplex structures in 16S-23S rRNA intergenic transcribed spacer PCR products reveal ribosomal interoperonic polymorphisms within single Frankia strains

M. Gtari*, L. Brusetti, A. Cherif, A. Boudabous, Daniele Daffonchio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aims: Detection of polymorphisms in intergenic transcribed spacer (ITS) 16S-23S rRNA within single Frankia strains. Methods and Results: Polymorphisms in the 16S-23S rRNA ITS were investigated in single-colony subcultures of seven Frankia isolates. Multiple ITS-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) bands were detected solely in isolates BMG5.5 and BMG5.11. The slow-migrating bands in the ITS-PCR agarose gel electrophoresis profiles of the isolates were revealed to be heteroduplexes on the basis of their migration shift in different electrophoretic matrices, southern hybridization and the single-strand DNA mung bean endonuclease digestion. Laser-scanned capillary electrophoresis detected two ITS-PCR fragments differing in length by three and six nucleotide insertions/deletions in strains BMG5.5 and BMG5.11, respectively. Sequence analysis of the cloned ITS showed that in strain BMG5.5 the two ITS differed by the presence of three to four copies of the 3-bp tandem repeat 5′-TGG-3′. In strain BMG5.11, the two ITS differed by the presence of two to three copies of the 6-bp tandem repeat 5′-CTTGGG-3′. Conclusions: We demonstrate the occurrence of ITS 16S-23S rRNa polymorphisms within single Frankia strains. Significance and Impact of the Study: We reported the occurrence of ITS 16S-23S rRNA polymorphisms within single Frankia strains from Elaeagnus host group recognized as the more flexible strains within Frankia genus. Furthermore, we underscored the applied interest of strains BMG5.11 and BMG5.5 in future ecological studies using ITS 16S-23S rRNA as molecular marker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1040
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007


  • Frankia
  • Heteroduplex
  • ITS 16S-23S rRNA
  • Interoperon polymorphism
  • PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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