Characterization of mycobacterial isolates phylogenetically related to, but different from, Mycobacterium simiae

Enrico Tortoli, Claudio Piersimoni, Philip Kirschner, Alessandro Bartoloni, Claudio Burrini, Carla Lacchini, Antonia Mantella, Guido Muzzi, Cristiana Passerini Tosi, Valeria Penati, Claudio Scarparo, M. Tullia Simonetti, Eric C. Böttger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) revealed four previously unreported profiles within a group of mycobacteria consisting of 14 clinical isolates. These mycobacteria, whose identification by conventional tests appeared problematic, mostly resembled Mycobacterium avium complex or Mycobacterium simiae. Genetic analysis revealed, within this group, six different nucleic acid sequences in a hypervariable 16S rRNA segment, but all the isolates appeared to be phylogenetically related to M. simiae. Six isolates representing the largest of groups defined by means of genetic sequencing turned out to belong to the newly described species Mycobacterium lentiflavum. Furthermore, three such clusters precisely coincided with three of those defined by HPLC, while the three remaining clusters shared almost identical HPLC profiles. All but one strain (which, although clearly not belonging to the M. avium complex, hybridized with specific commercial DNA probes) showed high-grade resistance to the majority of antimycobacterial drugs. Three of the isolates were clinically significant according to stringent criteria. Sophisticated techniques, like genetic sequencing or HPLC, by now seem indispensable for differentiating unusual and new mycobacteria from well-established ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-702
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology


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