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16S rRNA RefSeq: V15.23    Genomic RefSeq: V10.1
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Treponema lecithinolyticum (HMT-653)
Taxon Description:
Member of one of the 10 phylogenetic groups of oral treponemes [14]. Originally detected in subjects with periodontitis as not-yet-cultivated phylotype (Group IV) termed Treponema sp. IV:17C:GF6 [4]. Closest cultivable relative is Treponema maltophilum which also falls in Group IV.

Disease Associations:
Association (e.g. diseased vs control sites) in patients with adult periodontitis and rapidly progressive periodontitis [13] and endodontic lesions [2]. Strong activities of phospholipase A and phospholipase C may serve as potential virulence factors [1]

Prevalence and Source:
Detected in human subgingival plaque most often in subjects with periodontitis
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Class: Spirochaetia
Order: Spirochaetales
Genus: Treponema
Species:Treponema lecithinolyticum
Status: Named - Cultured
Type/Reference Strain: ATCC 700332, OMZ 684
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Former Names or Synonyms:
Phylum: Spirochaetes
Treponema sp. IV:17C:GF6
16S rRNA Reference Sequences:    view in
RefSeq tree
RefSeq ID: 653_3040

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Genotypic Description:
Phenotypic Characteristics: Obligately anaerobic catalase negative helically coiled with translational motility in broth especially in media of high viscosity [1]. Will creep on solid surfaces such as agar media or glass. Cells are Gram-negative 0.15 um by 5 um with a 1-2-1 periplasmic flagellar arrangement.N-acetylglucosamine is required for growth and D-arabinose L-fucose or D-ribose enhance growth. Other carbohydrates do not appear to support growth. Lecithin and 1% fetal calf serum inhibits growth. Strains are resistant to rifampicin and fosfomycin.High activities for alkaline phosphatase acid phosphatase B-galactosidase B-glucuronidase N-acetyl-B-glucosaminidase phospholipase A and phospholipase C
Cultivability: Growth on OMIZ-Pat-w/oPC agarose [1] are off-white diffuse (~3 mm) subsurface colonies after 7 days incubation at 37oC. Will not grow in chemically defined media e.g. OMIZ-W1 [1] but requires yeast extract or Neopeptone
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Microbial Ecology
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NCBI Taxon ID: 53418 [Link to NCBI]
PubMed Searches:
[NCBI PubMed Link]
[NCBI (Entrez) Nucleotide Link]
[NCBI (Entrez) Protein Link]
Number of
Genome Sequences:
1 See List
Phylogenetic Trees:
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[1] Siqueira JF Jr, Rôças IN. PCR-based identification of Treponema maltophilum, T amylovorum, T medium, and T lecithinolyticum in primary root canal infections. Arch Oral Biol.2003 Jul;48(7):495-502
[2] Wyss C, Choi BK, Schüpbach P, Moter A, Guggenheim B, Göbel UB. Treponema lecithinolyticum sp. nov., a small saccharolytic spirochaete with phospholipase A and C activities associated with periodontal diseases. Int J Syst Bacteriol.1999 Oct;49 Pt 4:1329-39
[3] Moter A, Riep B, Haban V, Heuner K, Siebert G, Berning M, Wyss C, Ehmke B, Flemmig TF, Göbel UB. Molecular epidemiology of oral treponemes in patients with periodontitis and in periodontitis-resistant subjects. J Clin Microbiol.2006 Sep;44(9):3078-85
[4] Dewhirst FE, Tamer MA, Ericson RE, Lau CN, Levanos VA, Boches SK, Galvin JL, Paster BJ. The diversity of periodontal spirochetes by 16S rRNA analysis. Oral Microbiol Immunol.2000 Jun;15(3):196-202