JCVI: Endosymbiotic Bacteria In the Parasitic Ciliate Ichthyophthirius multifiliis
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Sun, H. Y., Noe, J., Barber, J., Coyne, R. S., Cassidy-Hanley, D., Clark, T. G., Findly, R. C., Dickerson, H. W.

Endosymbiotic Bacteria In the Parasitic Ciliate Ichthyophthirius multifiliis

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Oct 09;

PubMed Citation


Endosymbiotic bacteria were identified in the parasitic ciliate Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, a common pathogen of freshwater fish. PCR amplification of DNA prepared from two isolates of I. multifiliis, using primers that bind conserved sequences in bacterial 16S rRNA genes, generated an approximately 1460 bp DNA product, which was cloned and sequenced. Sequence analysis demonstrated that 16S rRNA gene sequences from three classes of bacteria were present in the PCR product. These included an Alphaproteobacteria (Rickettsiales), a Sphingobacteria and Flavobacterium columnare. DAPI staining showed endosymbionts dispersed throughout the cytoplasm of trophonts and, in most, but not all theronts. Endosymbionts were observed by transmission electron microscopy in the cytoplasm, surrounded by a prominent, electron-translucent halo, characteristic of Rickettsia. Fluorescence in situ hybridization demonstrated that bacteria from the Rickettsiales and Sphingobacteriales classes are endosymbionts of I. multifiliis, found in the cytoplasm, but not in the macronucleus or micronucleus. In contrast, F. columnare was not detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization. It likely adheres to I. multifiliis through association with cilia. The role that endosymbiotic bacteria play in the life history of I. multifiliis is not known.