The type 1 fimbrial subunit gene of the human Actinomyces viscosus T14V was used as a DNA probe in Southern analyses to detect related DNA sequences in 16 of 30 strains of Actinomyces spp. under conditions of high stringency. The organisms with homology to the DNA probe included two human and six nonhuman A. viscosus, three human and three nonhuman A. naeslundii, and two A. bovis isolates. Homologous DNA sequences were not detected in strains of A. odontolyticus and A. israelii examined in this study. Northern (RNA) blot analysis revealed expression of a transcript from each of the A. viscosus and A. naeslundii strains and from one A. bovis strain that was comparable in size to that detected from A. viscosus T14V. Cell surface fimbriae were observed on a majority of the strains that expressed the transcript. Various degrees of cross-immunoreactivities between these strains and antibodies specific for type 1 fimbriae of A. viscosus T14V were also observed by colony immunoassay. Thus, the data clearly demonstrate the existence in, and expression by, divergent Actinomyces groups of genomic sequences that are closely related to the type 1 fimbriae of A. viscosus T14V
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