Rapid differentiation of phenotypically and genotypically similar Synechococcus elongatus strains by PCR fingerprinting.
The presence of repeated DNA (short tandemly repeated repetitive [STRR] and long tandemly repeated repetitive [LTRR]) sequences in the genome of cyanobacteria was used to generate a fingerprint method for symbiotic and free-living isolates. Primers corresponding to the STRR and LTRR sequences were used in the PCR, resulting in a method which generate specific fingerprints for individual isolates. The method was useful both with purified DNA and with intact cyanobacterial filaments or cells as templates for the PCR. Twenty-three Nostoc isolates from a total of 35 were symbiotic isolates from the angiosperm Gunnera species, including isolates from the same Gunnera species as well as from different species. The results show a genetic similarity among isolates from different Gunnera species as well as a genetic heterogeneity among isolates from the same Gunnera species. Isolates which have been postulated to be closely related or identical revealed similar results by the PCR method, indicating that the technique is useful for clustering of even closely related strains. The method was applied to nonheterocystus cyanobacteria from which a fingerprint pattern was obtained.