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Ménage-à-trois: The amoeba Nuclearia sp. from Lake Zurich with its ecto- and endosymbiotic bacteria


Dirren, Sebastian; Salcher, Michaela M; Blom, J F; Schweikert, M; Posch, T (2014). Ménage-à-trois: The amoeba Nuclearia sp. from Lake Zurich with its ecto- and endosymbiotic bacteria. Protist, 165(5):745-758.

Abstract

We present a fascinating triad relationship between a eukaryotic amoeba and its two bacterial symbionts. The morphological characteristics of the amoeba allowed for a confident assignment to the genus Nuclearia (Opisthokonta, Nucleariidae), but species identification resulted in an ambiguous result. Sequence analysis indicated an affiliation to the species N. thermophila, however, several morphological features contradict the original description. Amoebal isolates were cultured for several years with their preferred food source, the microcystin-producing harmful cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens. Symbioses of the amoeba with ecto- and endosymbiotic bacteria were maintained over this period. Several thousand cells of the ectosymbiont are regularly arranged inside a layer of extracellular polymeric substances produced by the amoeba. The ectosymbiont was identified as Paucibacter toxinivorans (Betaproteobacteria), which was originally isolated by enrichment with microcystins. We found indications that our isolated ectosymbiont indeed contributed to toxin-degradation. The endosymbiont (Gammaproteobacteria, 15-20 bacteria per amoeba) is enclosed in symbiosomes inside the host cytoplasm and represents probably an obligate symbiont. We propose the name "Candidatus Endonucleariobacter rarus" for this bacterium that was neither found free-living nor in a symbiotic association. Nucleariidae are uniquely suited model organisms to study the basic principles of symbioses between opisthokonts and prokaryotes.

Abstract

We present a fascinating triad relationship between a eukaryotic amoeba and its two bacterial symbionts. The morphological characteristics of the amoeba allowed for a confident assignment to the genus Nuclearia (Opisthokonta, Nucleariidae), but species identification resulted in an ambiguous result. Sequence analysis indicated an affiliation to the species N. thermophila, however, several morphological features contradict the original description. Amoebal isolates were cultured for several years with their preferred food source, the microcystin-producing harmful cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens. Symbioses of the amoeba with ecto- and endosymbiotic bacteria were maintained over this period. Several thousand cells of the ectosymbiont are regularly arranged inside a layer of extracellular polymeric substances produced by the amoeba. The ectosymbiont was identified as Paucibacter toxinivorans (Betaproteobacteria), which was originally isolated by enrichment with microcystins. We found indications that our isolated ectosymbiont indeed contributed to toxin-degradation. The endosymbiont (Gammaproteobacteria, 15-20 bacteria per amoeba) is enclosed in symbiosomes inside the host cytoplasm and represents probably an obligate symbiont. We propose the name "Candidatus Endonucleariobacter rarus" for this bacterium that was neither found free-living nor in a symbiotic association. Nucleariidae are uniquely suited model organisms to study the basic principles of symbioses between opisthokonts and prokaryotes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:20 Feb 2015 11:58
Last Modified:20 May 2016 15:41
Publisher:Urban und Fischer Verlag
ISSN:1434-4610
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.protis.2014.08.004
PubMed ID:25248027

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