Phylogenetic diversity of the Rickettsiae. Academic Article uri icon


  • Small subunit rRNA sequences have been determined for representative strains of six species of the family Rickettsiaceae: Rickettsia rickettsii, Rickettsia prowazekii, Rickettsia typhi, Coxiella burnetii, Ehrlichia risticii, and Wolbachia persica. The relationships among these sequences and those of other eubacteria show that all members of the family Rickettsiaceae belong to the so-called purple bacterial phylum. The three representatives of the genus Rickettsia form a tight monophyletic cluster within the alpha subdivision of the purple bacteria. E. risticii also belongs to the alpha subdivision and shows a distant yet specific relationship to the genus Rickettsia. However, the family as a whole is not monophyletic, in that C. burnetii and W. persica are members of the gamma subdivision. The former appears to show a specific, but rather distant, relationship to the genus Legionella.

published proceedings

  • J Bacteriol

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Weisburg, W. G., Dobson, M. E., Samuel, J. E., Dasch, G. A., Mallavia, L. P., Baca, O., ... Woese, C. R.

citation count

  • 309

complete list of authors

  • Weisburg, WG||Dobson, ME||Samuel, JE||Dasch, GA||Mallavia, LP||Baca, O||Mandelco, L||Sechrest, JE||Weiss, E||Woese, CR

publication date

  • August 1989