The Likelihood of Misidentifying Rodent Pasteurellaceae by Using Results from a Single PCR Assay

Hagit Dafni, Lea Greenfeld, Roni Oren, Alon Harmelin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The precise identification of rodent Pasteurellaceae is known to be highly challenging. An unknown strain of Pasteurellaceae appeared and rapidly spread throughout our animal facilities. Standard microbiology, combined with biochemical analysis, suggested that the bacteria strain was Rodentibacter pneumotropicus or R. heylii. We submitted samples of the unknown bacteria and known isolates of R. pneumotropicus, R. heylii, and Muribacter muris, to 2 service laboratories that provide animal health monitoring. Results of microbiology tests performed by both laboratories, species-specific PCR analysis performed by one laboratory, and independent 16S rRNA gene sequencing yielded identical identification of the unknown bacteria as Pasteurellaceae (Pasteurella spp.) and not R. pneumotropicus or R. heylii. In contrast, the similarly intended PCR assay performed by the other laboratory identified the bacteria as R. heylii. Careful evaluation of all of the results led us to conclude that the correct identification of the bacteria is Pasteurellaceae. From our experience, we recommend that a combination of several methods should be used to achieve correct identification of rodent Pasteurellaceae. Specifically, we advise that all primer sets used should be disclosed when reporting PCR test results, including in health reports provided by service laboratories and animal vendors. Careful, correct, and informative health monitoring reports are most beneficial to animal researchers and caretakers who might encounter the presence and effects of rodent Pasteurellaceae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-207
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2019


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