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Fluorescence in situ hybridization probes targeting members of the phylum Candidatus Saccharibacteria falsely target Eikelboom type 1851 filaments and other Chloroflexi members

Nittami, Tadashi, Speirs, Lachlan B. M., Fukuda, Junji, Watanabe, Masatoshi, Seviour, Robert J.
Environmental microbiology reports 2014 v.6 no.6 pp. 611-617
activated sludge, bacteria, base pair mismatch, clones, fluorescence, fluorescence in situ hybridization, hybridization, ribosomal RNA, sequence homology, Australia, Japan
The FISH probe TM7‐305 is thought to target the filamentous Eikelboom morphotype 0041 as a member of the Candidatus ‘Saccharibacteria’ (formerly TM7) phylum. However, with activated sludge samples in both Japan and Australia, this probe hybridized consistently with filamentous bacteria fitting the description of the morphotype 1851, which also responded positively to the CHL1851 FISH probe designed to target Chloroflexi members of this morphotype. 16S rRNA clone libraries from samples containing type 1851 TM7‐305‐positive filaments yielded Chloroflexi clones with high sequence similarity to Kouleothrix aurantiaca. These contained a variant TM7‐305 probe target site possessing weakly destabilizing mismatches insufficient to prevent probe hybridization. Furthermore, the TM7‐905 FISH probe, designed to target members of the entire Candidatus ‘Saccharibacteria’ phylum, also hybridized with the filament morphotypes 0041/0675, which responded also to the phylum level Chloroflexi probes. Many Chloroflexi sequences have only a single base mismatch to the TM7‐905 probe target sequence. When competitor probes for both the TM7‐305 and TM7‐905 Chloroflexi non‐target sites were applied, no fluorescent signal was seen in any of the filamentous organisms also hybridizing with the aforementioned Chloroflexi probes. These data indicate that these competitor probes must be included in hybridizations when both the TM7‐905 and TM7‐305 FISH probes are applied, to minimize potential false positive FISH results.