Academic Journals Database
Disseminating quality controlled scientific knowledge

Morphology and molecular phylogeny of a marine interstitial tetraflagellate with putative endosymbionts: Auranticordis quadriverberis n. gen. et sp. (Cercozoa)

Author(s): Chantangsi Chitchai | Esson Heather | Leander Brian

Journal: BMC Microbiology
ISSN 1471-2180

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 123;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Abstract Background Comparative morphological studies and environmental sequencing surveys indicate that marine benthic environments contain a diverse assortment of microorganisms that are just beginning to be explored and characterized. The most conspicuous predatory flagellates in these habitats range from about 20–150 μm in size and fall into three major groups of eukaryotes that are very distantly related to one another: dinoflagellates, euglenids and cercozoans. The Cercozoa is a diverse group of amoeboflagellates that cluster together in molecular phylogenies inferred mainly from ribosomal gene sequences. These molecular phylogenetic studies have demonstrated that several enigmatic taxa, previously treated as Eukaryota insertae sedis, fall within the Cercozoa, and suggest that the actual diversity of this group is largely unknown. Improved knowledge of cercozoan diversity is expected to help resolve major branches in the tree of eukaryotes and demonstrate important cellular innovations for understanding eukaryote evolution. Results A rare tetraflagellate, Auranticordis quadriverberis n. gen. et sp., was isolated from marine sand samples. Uncultured cells were in low abundance and were individually prepared for electron microscopy and DNA sequencing. These flagellates possessed several novel features, such as (1) gliding motility associated with four bundled recurrent flagella, (2) heart-shaped cells about 35–75 μm in diam., and (3) bright orange coloration caused by linear arrays of muciferous bodies. Each cell also possessed about 2–30 pale orange bodies (usually 4–5 μm in diam.) that were enveloped by two membranes and sac-like vesicles. The innermost membrane invaginated to form unstacked thylakoids that extended towards a central pyrenoid containing tailed viral particles. Although to our knowledge, these bodies have never been described in any other eukaryote, the ultrastructure was most consistent with photosynthetic endosymbionts of cyanobacterial origin. This combination of morphological features did not allow us to assign A. quadriverberis to any known eukaryotic supergroup. Thus, we sequenced the small subunit rDNA sequence from two different isolates and demonstrated that this lineage evolved from within the Cercozoa. Conclusion Our discovery and characterization of A. quadriverberis underscores how poorly we understand the diversity of cercozoans and, potentially, represents one of the few independent cases of primary endosymbiosis within the Cercozoa and beyond.
Affiliate Program      Why do you need a reservation system?