Phylogenetic Oligodeoxynucleotide Probes for the Major Subclasses of Proteobacteria: Problems and Solutions
Based on comparative analyses of 16S and 23S ribosomal RNA sequences we have located sites specific for the alpha-, beta-, and gamma-subclasses of Proteobacteria. Short oligodeoxynucleotides complementary to these signature regions were evaluated as potential nucleic acid probes for the differentiation of the major subclasses of Proteobacteria. Hybridization conditions were optimized by the addition of form-amide to the hybridization buffer and high stringency post-hybridization washing. Single-mismatch discrimination of probes was further improved by blocking nontarget probe binding sites with competitor oligonucleotides. Nonisotopic dot-blot hybridization to reference strains demonstrated the expected probe specificities, whole cell hybridization with fluorescent probe derivatives allowed the classification of individual microbial cells. The probes will be useful for determinative studies and for the in situ monitoring of population distribution and dynamics in microbial communities.