AbstractProtists frequently host diverse bacterial symbionts, in particular those affiliated with the order Holosporales (Alphaproteobacteria). All characterised members of this bacterial lineage have been retrieved in obligate association with a wide range of eukaryotes, especially multiple protist lineages (e.g. amoebozoans, ciliates, cercozoans, euglenids, and nucleariids), as well as some metazoans (especially arthropods and related ecdysozoans). While the genus Paramecium and other ciliates have been deeply investigated for the presence of symbionts, known members of the family “Candidatus Paracaedibacteraceae” (Holosporales) are currently underrepresented in such hosts. Herein, we report the description of “Candidatus Intestinibacterium parameciiphilum” within the family “Candidatus Paracaedibacteraceae”, inhabiting the cytoplasm of Paramecium biaurelia. This novel bacterium is almost twice as big as its relative “Candidatus Intestinibacterium nucleariae” from the opisthokont Nuclearia and does not present a surrounding halo. Based on phylogenetic analyses of 16S rRNA gene sequences, we identified six further potential species-level lineages within the genus. Based on the provenance of the respective samples, we investigated the environmental distribution of the representatives of “Candidatus Intestinibacterium” species. Obtained results are consistent with an obligate endosymbiotic lifestyle, with protists, in particular freshwater ones, as hosts. Thus, available data suggest that association with freshwater protists could be the ancestral condition for the members of the “Candidatus Intestinibacterium” genus.
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.