Tropheryma whipplei

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Tropheryma whipplei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Actinobacteria
Class: Actinobacteria
Subclass: Actinobacteridae
Order: Actinomycetales
Family: Cellulomonadaceae
Genus: Tropheryma
Species: T. whipplei
Binomial name
Tropheryma whipplei
La Scola et al. 2001

Tropheryma whipplei, formerly called Tropheryma whippelii,[1] is a bacterium and the causative organism of Whipple's disease[2] and, rarely, of endocarditis.

While T. whipplei is categorized with the Gram-positive Actinobacteria, the organism is commonly found to be Gram-negative or Gram-indeterminate when stained in the laboratory.[2] Whipple himself probably observed the organisms as rod-shaped structures with silver stain in his original case.[3]

History of the name[edit]

No name was given to the organism until 1991 when the name Tropheryma[4] whippelii was proposed after sections of the bacterial genome were sequenced.[5] The name was changed to Tropheryma whipplei in 2001 (correcting the spelling of Whipple's name) when the organism was deposited in bacterial collections.[2]


Main article: Whipple's disease

Genome structure[edit]

Several strains of Tropheryma whipplei have been sequenced.[6][7]


  1. ^ Liang Z, La Scola B, Raoult D (January 2002). "Monoclonal antibodies to immunodominant epitope of Tropheryma whipplei". Clin. Diagn. Lab. Immunol. 9 (1): 156–9. doi:10.1128/CDLI.9.1.156-159.2002. PMC 119894Freely accessible. PMID 11777846. 
  2. ^ a b c La Scola B, Fenollar F, Fournier PE, Altwegg M, Mallet MN, Raoult D (July 2001). "Description of Tropheryma whipplei gen. nov., sp. nov., the Whipple's disease bacillus". Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 51 (Pt 4): 1471–9. PMID 11491348. 
  3. ^ Whipple GH. (1907). "A hitherto undescribed disease characterized anatomically by deposits of fat and fatty acids in the intestinal and mesenteric lymphatic tissues". Johns Hopkins Hosp Bull. 18: 382–91. 
  4. ^ From Greek τροφή trophê, "nourishment, food" and ἔρυμα eruma, "fence, a defence against, barrier".
  5. ^ Relman D, Schmidt T, MacDermott R, Falkow S (1992). "Identification of the uncultured bacillus of Whipple's disease". N Engl J Med. 327 (5): 293–301. doi:10.1056/NEJM199207303270501. PMID 1377787. 
  6. ^ Raoult D, et al. (2003). "Tropheryma whipplei Twist: a human pathogenic Actinobacteria with a reduced genome". Genome Res. 13 (8): 1800–9. PMC 403771Freely accessible. PMID 12902375. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Bentley, SD.; Maiwald, M.; Murphy, LD.; Pallen, MJ.; Yeats, CA.; Dover, LG.; Norbertczak, HT.; Besra, GS.; et al. (Feb 2003). "Sequencing and analysis of the genome of the Whipple's disease bacterium Tropheryma whipplei". Lancet. 361 (9358): 637–44. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(03)12597-4. PMID 12606174.