Research Output

Archigregarines of the English Channel revisited: New molecular data on Selenidium species including early described and new species and the uncertainties of phylogenetic relationships

  Background

Gregarines represent an important transition step from free-living predatory (colpodellids s.l.) and/or photosynthetic (Chromera and Vitrella) apicomplexan lineages to the most important pathogens, obligate intracellular parasites of humans and domestic animals such as coccidians and haemosporidians (Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, Eimeria, Babesia, etc.). While dozens of genomes of other apicomplexan groups are available, gregarines are barely entering the molecular age. Among the gregarines, archigregarines possess a unique mixture of ancestral (myzocytosis) and derived (lack of apicoplast, presence of subpellicular microtubules) features.

Methodology/Principal findings

In this study we revisited five of the early-described species of the genus Selenidium including the type species Selenidium pendula, with special focus on surface ultrastructure and molecular data. We were also able to describe three new species within this genus. All species were characterized at morphological (light and scanning electron microscopy data) and molecular (SSU rDNA sequence data) levels. Gregarine specimens were isolated from polychaete hosts collected from the English Channel near the Station Biologique de Roscoff, France: Selenidium pendula from Scolelepis squamata, S. hollandei and S. sabellariae from Sabellaria alveolata, S. sabellae from Sabella pavonina, Selenidium fallax from Cirriformia tentaculata, S. spiralis sp. n. and S. antevariabilis sp. n. from Amphitritides gracilis, and S. opheliae sp. n. from Ophelia roscoffensis. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of these data showed archigregarines clustering into five separate clades and support previous doubts about their monophyly.

Conclusions/Significance

Our phylogenies using the extended gregarine sampling show that the archigregarines are indeed not monophyletic with one strongly supported clade of Selenidium sequences around the type species S. pendula. We suggest the revision of the whole archigregarine taxonomy with only the species within this clade remaining in the genus Selenidium, while the other species should be moved into newly erected genera. However, the SSU rDNA phylogenies show very clearly that the tree topology and therefore the inferred relationships within and in between clades are unstable and such revision would be problematic without additional sequence data.

  • Type:

    Article

  • Date:

    03 November 2017

  • Publication Status:

    Published

  • DOI:

    10.1371/journal.pone.0187430

  • ISSN:

    1932-6203

  • Library of Congress:

    QH301 Biology

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    578 Natural history of organisms

  • Funders:

    European Commission

Citation

Rueckert, S., & Horák, A. (2017). Archigregarines of the English Channel revisited: New molecular data on Selenidium species including early described and new species and the uncertainties of phylogenetic relationships. PLOS ONE, 12(11), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187430

Authors

Keywords

Gregarines, pathogens, Selenidium,

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