Multilocus sequence analysis of the family Halomonadaceae.
Multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) protocols have been developed for species circumscription for many taxa. However, at present, no studies based on MLSA have been performed within any moderately halophilic bacterial group. To test the usefulness of MLSA with these kinds of micro-organisms, the family Halomonadaceae, which includes mainly halophilic bacteria, was chosen as a model. This family comprises ten genera with validly published names and 85 species of environmental, biotechnological and clinical interest. In some cases, the phylogenetic relationships between members of this family, based on 16S rRNA gene sequence comparisons, are not clear and a deep phylogenetic analysis using several housekeeping genes seemed appropriate. Here, MLSA was applied using the 16S rRNA, 23S rRNA, atpA, gyrB, rpoD and secA genes for species of the family Halomonadaceae. Phylogenetic trees based on the individual and concatenated gene sequences revealed that the family Halomonadaceae formed a monophyletic group of micro-organisms within the order Oceanospirillales. With the exception of the genera Halomonas and Modicisalibacter, all other genera within this family were phylogenetically coherent. Five of the six studied genes (16S rRNA, 23S rRNA, gyrB, rpoD and secA) showed a consistent evolutionary history. However, the results obtained with the atpA gene were different; thus, this gene may not be considered useful as an individual gene phylogenetic marker within this family. The phylogenetic methods produced variable results, with those generated from the maximum-likelihood and neighbour-joining algorithms being more similar than those obtained by maximum-parsimony methods. Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) plays an important evolutionary role in the family Halomonadaceae; however, the impact of recombination events in the phylogenetic analysis was minimized by concatenating the six loci, which agreed with the current taxonomic scheme for this family. Finally, the findings of this study also indicated that the 16S rRNA, gyrB and rpoD genes were the most suitable genes for future taxonomic studies using MLSA within the family Halomonadaceae.