Abstract: A total of 22 Pasteurellaceae isolates obtained from the oral cavity of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) at different wildlife centers in Australia were investigated using amplification and sequencing of two housekeeping genes, rpoA and recN. The available sequences from the Lonepinella koalarum type strain (ACM3666T) and the recent isolates of Lonepinella-like bacteria obtained from human infected wounds associated with koala bites were also included. Phylogenetic analysis was performed on the concatenated rpoA-recN genes and genome relatedness was calculated based on the recN sequences. The oral cavity isolates, the koala bite wound isolates, and L. koalarum ACM3666T resulted in four clusters (Clusters 1–4). Clusters 1–3 were clearly not members of the genus Lonepinella. Cluster 1 was closely related to the genus Fredericksenia, and Clusters 2 and 3 appeared to be novel genera. Cluster 4 consisted of three subclusters: Cluster 4a with one koala bite wound isolate and L. koalarum ACM3666T, Cluster 4b with three oral cavity isolates and two Lonepinella-like wound isolates, and Cluster 4c with three nearly identical oral cavity isolates that may represent a different species within the genus Lonepinella. The rich Pasteurellaceae population, including potential novel taxa in the oral cavity of koalas supports an important role of these highly adapted microorganisms in the physiology of koalas. Moreover, the pathogenic potential of Lonepinella-like species is an important consideration when investigating infected koala bites in humans.
Connie Wan Hui Chong, C. Espinosa-Gongora, P. Blackall
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine