Our results suggest that
, the intramitochondrial bacterium, does not invade mitochondria like predatory bacteria do but instead moves from mitochondrion to mitochondrion within the oocytes of
. A better understanding of the lifestyle of
will allow us to better define the role of this bacterial symbiont in the host physiology.
AbstractTaxonomy is the science of defining and naming groups of biological organisms based on shared characteristics and, more recently, on evolutionary relationships. With the birth of novel genomics/bioinformatics techniques and the increasing interest in microbiome studies, a further advance of taxonomic discipline appears not only possible but highly desirable. The present work proposes a new approach to modern taxonomy, consisting in the inclusion of novel descriptors in the organism characterization: (1) the presence of associated microorganisms (e.g.: symbionts, microbiome), (2) the mitochondrial genome of the host, (3) the symbiont genome. This approach aims to provide a deeper comprehension of the evolutionary/ecological dimensions of organisms since their very first description. Particularly interesting, are those complexes formed by the host plus associated microorganisms, that in the present study we refer to as “holobionts”. We illustrate this approach through the description of the ciliateEuplotes vanleeuwenhoekisp. nov. and its bacterial endosymbiont “CandidatusPinguicoccus supinus” gen. nov., sp. nov. The endosymbiont possesses an extremely reduced genome (~ 163 kbp); intriguingly, this suggests a high integration between host and symbiont.
AbstractRickettsialesare a lineage of obligatorily intracellularAlphaproteobacteria, encompassing important human pathogens, manipulators of host reproduction, and mutualists. Here we report the discovery of a novelRickettsialesbacterium associated withParamecium, displaying a unique extracellular lifestyle, including the ability to replicate outside host cells. Genomic analyses show that the bacterium possesses a higher capability to synthesize amino acids, compared to all investigatedRickettsiales. Considering these observations, phylogenetic and phylogenomic reconstructions, and re-evaluating the different means of interaction ofRickettsialesbacteria with eukaryotic cells, we propose an alternative scenario for the evolution of intracellularity inRickettsiales. According to our reconstruction, theRickettsialesancestor would have been an extracellular and metabolically versatile bacterium, while obligate intracellularity and genome reduction would have evolved later in parallel and independently in different sub-lineages. The proposed new scenario could impact on the open debate on the lifestyle of the last common ancestor of mitochondria withinAlphaproteobacteria.
Midichloria mitochondrii” is an intramitochondrial bacterium of the order
associated with the sheep tick
. Bacteria phylogenetically related to “
. Midichloria mitochondrii” (midichloria and like organisms [MALOs]) have been shown to be associated with a wide range of hosts, from amoebae to a variety of animals, including humans. Despite numerous studies focused on specific members of the MALO group, no comprehensive phylogenetic and statistical analyses have so far been performed on the group as a whole. Here, we present a multidisciplinary investigation based on 16S rRNA gene sequences using both phylogenetic and statistical methods, thereby analyzing MALOs in the overall framework of the
. This study revealed that (i) MALOs form a monophyletic group; (ii) the MALO group is structured into distinct subgroups, verifying current genera as significant evolutionary units and identifying several subclades that could represent novel genera; (iii) the MALO group ranks at the level of described
families, leading to the proposal of the novel family “
Midichloriaceae.” In addition, based on the phylogenetic trees generated, we present an evolutionary scenario to interpret the distribution and life history transitions of these microorganisms associated with highly divergent eukaryotic hosts: we suggest that aquatic/environmental protista have acted as evolutionary reservoirs for members of this novel family, from which one or more lineages with the capacity of infecting metazoa have evolved.