Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 10747141
J Clin Microbiol 2000 Apr; 38(4): 1545-51
The cellular fatty acid compositions of 29 strains of Yersinia pestis representing the global diversity of this species have been analyzed by gas-liquid chromatography to investigate the extent of fatty acid polymorphism in this microorganism. After culture standardization, all Y. pestis strains studied displayed some major fatty acids, namely, the 12:0, 14:0, 3-OH-14:0, 16:0, 16:1omega9cis, 17:0-cyc, and 18:1omega9trans compounds. The fatty acid composition of the various isolates studied was extremely homogeneous (average Bousfield’s coefficient, 0.94) and the subtle variations observed did not correlate with epidemiological and genetic characteristics of the strains. Y. pestis major fatty acid compounds were analogous to those found in other Yersinia species. However, when the ratios for the 12:0/16:0 and 14:0/16:0 fatty acids were plotted together, the genus Yersinia could be separated into three clusters corresponding to (i) nonpathogenic strains and species of Yersinia, (ii) pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica isolates, and (iii) Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and Y. pestis strains. The grouping of the two latter species into the same cluster was also demonstrated by their high Bousfield’s coefficients (average, 0.89). Therefore, our results indicate that the fatty acid composition of Y. pestis is highly homogeneous and very close to that of Y. pseudotuberculosis.