Chlamydiae like Chlamydia trachomatis and Chlamydia psittaci are well-known human and animal pathogens. Yet, the chlamydiae are a much larger group of evolutionary ancient obligate intracellular bacteria that includes predominantly symbionts of protists and diverse animals. This makes them ideal model organisms to study evolutionary transitions from symbionts in microbial eukaryotes to pathogens of humans. To this end, comparative genome analysis has served as an important tool. Genome sequence data for many chlamydial lineages are, however, still lacking, hampering our understanding of their evolutionary history. Here, we determined the first high-quality draft genome sequence of the fish pathogen “Candidatus Clavichlamydia salmonicola”, representing a separate genus within the human and animal pathogenic Chlamydiaceae. The “Ca. Clavichlamydia salmonicola” genome harbors genes that so far have been exclusively found in Chlamydia species suggesting that basic mechanisms important for the interaction with chordate hosts have evolved stepwise in the history of chlamydiae. Thus, the genome sequence of “Ca. Clavichlamydia salmonicola” allows to constrain candidate genes to further understand the evolution of chlamydial virulence mechanisms required to infect mammals.
Hepatoplasma crinochetorum” Ps is an extracellular symbiont residing in the hepatopancreas of the terrestrial isopod
. Its genome is highly similar to that of the close relative “
Hepatoplasma crinochetorum” Av from
. However, instead of a clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas system, it encodes a type I restriction modification system.
The obligately intracellular coccoid bacterium UWE25, a symbiont of Acanthamoeba spp., was previously identified as being related to chlamydiae based upon the presence of a chlamydia-like developmental cycle and its 16S rRNA gene sequence. Analysis of its complete genome sequence demonstrated that UWE25 shows many characteristic features of chlamydiae, including dependency on host-derived metabolites, composition of the cell envelope and the ability to thrive as an energy parasite within the cells of its eukaryotic host. Phylogenetic analysis of 44 ribosomal proteins further confirmed the affiliation of UWE25 to the ‘Chlamydiae’. Within this phylum, UWE25 could be assigned to the family Parachlamydiaceae based on comparative analyses of the 16S rRNA, 23S rRNA and endoribonuclease P RNA genes. The distinct dissimilarities from its closest relative, Parachlamydia acanthamoebae Bn9
T (7·1, 9·7 and 28·8 %, respectively), observed in this analysis justify its classification in a new genus. Therefore, the name ‘Candidatus Protochlamydia amoebophila’ is proposed for the designation of the Acanthamoeba sp. symbiont UWE25 (=ATCC PRA-7).