This article is about the bacterial phylum. For spiral-shaped bacteria in general, see
Cross section of a spirochaete cell
Spirochaetes (also spelled spirochetes) belong to a phylum of distinctive diderm (double-membrane) bacteria, most of which have long, helically coiled (corkscrew-shaped) cells. Spirochaetes are [1 ] chemoheterotrophic in nature, with lengths between 5 and 250 µm and diameters around 0.1–0.6 µm.
Spirochaetes are distinguished from other bacterial phyla by the location of their
flagella, sometimes called axial filaments, which run lengthwise between the bacterial inner membrane and outer membrane in periplasmic space. These cause a twisting motion which allows the spirochaete to move about. When reproducing, a spirochaete will undergo asexual transverse binary fission.
Most spirochaetes are free-living and
anaerobic, but there are numerous exceptions.
Classification [ edit ]
The spirochaetes are divided into three families (
Brachyspiraceae, Leptospiraceae, and Spirochaetaceae), all placed within a single order ( Spirochaetales). Disease-causing members of this phylum include the following:
Cavalier-Smith has postulated that the Spirochaetes belong in a larger clade called Gracilicutes. [5 ]
Phylogeny [ edit ]
The currently accepted taxonomy is based on the
List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN) and [6 ] National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the phylogeny is based on 16S rRNA-based LTP release 111 by [7 ] 'The All-Species Living Tree' Project. [8 ]
♦ Type strain lost or not available
♪ Prokaryotes where no pure ( axenic) cultures are isolated or available, i. e. not cultivated or can not be sustained in culture for more than a few serial passages
♠ Strains found at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) but not listed in the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LSPN)
Historical [ edit ]
Salvarsan, the first partially organic synthetic antimicrobial drug in medical history, was effective against spirochaetes only and was primarily used to cure syphilis.
See also [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
External links [ edit ]