Phylogeny of parasitic parabasalia and free-living relatives inferred from conventional markers vs. Rpb1, a single-copy gene.
ABSTRACT: Parabasalia are single-celled eukaryotes (protists) that are mainly comprised of endosymbionts of termites and wood roaches, intestinal commensals, human or veterinary parasites, and free-living species. Phylogenetic comparisons of parabasalids are typically based upon morphological characters and 18S ribosomal RNA gene sequence data (rDNA), while biochemical or molecular studies of parabasalids are limited to a few axenically cultivable parasites. These previous analyses and other studies based on PCR amplification of duplicated protein-coding genes are unable to fully resolve the evolutionary relationships of parabasalids. As a result, genetic studies of Parabasalia lag behind other organisms.Comparing parabasalid EF1?, ?-tubulin, enolase and MDH protein-coding genes with information from the Trichomonas vaginalis genome reveals difficulty in resolving the history of species or isolates apart from duplicated genes. A conserved single-copy gene encodes the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (Rpb1) in T. vaginalis and other eukaryotes. Here we directly sequenced Rpb1 degenerate PCR products from 10 parabasalid genera, including several T. vaginalis isolates and avian isolates, and compared these data by phylogenetic analyses. Rpb1 genes from parabasalids, diplomonads, Parabodo, Diplonema and Percolomonas were all intronless, unlike intron-rich homologs in Naegleria, Jakoba and Malawimonas.The phylogeny of Rpb1 from parasitic and free-living parabasalids, and conserved Rpb1 insertions, support Trichomonadea, Tritrichomonadea, and Hypotrichomonadea as monophyletic groups. These results are consistent with prior analyses of rDNA and GAPDH sequences and ultrastructural data. The Rpb1 phylogenetic tree also resolves species- and isolate-level relationships. These findings, together with the relative ease of Rpb1 isolation, make it an attractive tool for evaluating more extensive relationships within Parabasalia.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Inferring the evolutionary history of phylogenetically isolated, deep-branching groups of taxa-in particular determining the root-is often extraordinarily difficult because their close relatives are unavailable as suitable outgroups. One of these taxonomic groups is the phylum Parabasalia, which comprises morphologically diverse species of flagellated protists of ecological, medical, and evolutionary significance. Indeed, previous molecular phylogenetic analyses of members of this phylum have yielded conflicting and possibly erroneous inferences. Furthermore, many species of Parabasalia are symbionts in the gut of termites and cockroaches or parasites and therefore formidably difficult to cultivate, rendering available data insufficient. Increasing the numbers of examined taxa and informative characters (e.g., genes) is likely to produce more reliable inferences. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Actin and elongation factor-1? genes were identified newly from 22 species of termite-gut symbionts through careful manipulations and seven cultured species, which covered major lineages of Parabasalia. Their protein sequences were concatenated and analyzed with sequences of previously and newly identified glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and the small-subunit rRNA gene. This concatenated dataset provided more robust phylogenetic relationships among major groups of Parabasalia and a more plausible new root position than those previously reported. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:We conclude that increasing the number of sampled taxa as well as the addition of new sequences greatly improves the accuracy and robustness of the phylogenetic inference. A morphologically simple cell is likely the ancient form in Parabasalia as opposed to a cell with elaborate flagellar and cytoskeletal structures, which was defined as most basal in previous inferences. Nevertheless, the evolution of Parabasalia is complex owing to several independent multiplication and simplification events in these structures. Therefore, systematics based solely on morphology does not reflect the evolutionary history of parabasalids.
Project description:Nuclear-coded valyl-tRNA synthetase (ValRS) of eukaryotes is regarded of mitochondrial origin. Complete ValRS sequences obtained by us from two amitochondriate protists, the diplomonad, Giardia lamblia and the parabasalid, Trichomonas vaginalis were of the eukaryotic type, strongly suggesting an identical history of ValRS in all eukaryotes studied so far. The findings indicate that diplomonads are secondarily amitochondriate and give further evidence for such conclusion reached recently concerning parabasalids. Together with similar findings on other amitochondriate groups (microsporidia and entamoebids), this work provides critical support for the emerging notion that no representatives of the premitochondrial stage of eukaryotic phylogenesis exist among the species living today.
Project description:The hindguts of lower termites and Cryptocercus cockroaches are home to a distinct community of archaea, bacteria, and protists (primarily parabasalids and some oxymonads). Within a host species, the composition of these hindgut communities appears relatively stable, but the evolutionary and ecological factors structuring community composition and stability are poorly understood, as are differential impacts of these factors on protists, bacteria, and archaea. We analyzed the microbial composition of parabasalids and bacteria in the hindguts of Cryptocercus punctulatus and 23 species spanning 4 families of lower termites by pyrosequencing variable regions of the small-subunit rRNA gene. Especially for the parabasalids, these data revealed undiscovered taxa and provided a phylogenetic basis for a more accurate understanding of diversity, diversification, and community composition. The composition of the parabasalid communities was found to be strongly structured by the phylogeny of their hosts, indicating the importance of historical effects, although exceptions were also identified. Particularly, spirotrichonymphids and trichonymphids likely were transferred between host lineages. In contrast, host phylogeny was not sufficient to explain the majority of bacterial community composition, but the compositions of the Bacteroidetes, Elusimicrobia, Tenericutes, Spirochaetes, and Synergistes were structured by host phylogeny perhaps due to their symbiotic associations with protists. All together, historical effects probably resulting from vertical inheritance have had a prominent role in structuring the hindgut communities, especially of the parabasalids, but dispersal and environmental acquisition have played a larger role in community composition than previously expected.
Project description:Meiosis is a defining feature of eukaryotes but its phylogenetic distribution has not been broadly determined, especially among eukaryotic microorganisms (i.e. protists)-which represent the majority of eukaryotic 'supergroups'. We surveyed genomes of animals, fungi, plants and protists for meiotic genes, focusing on the evolutionarily divergent parasitic protist Trichomonas vaginalis. We identified homologs of 29 components of the meiotic recombination machinery, as well as the synaptonemal and meiotic sister chromatid cohesion complexes. T. vaginalis has orthologs of 27 of 29 meiotic genes, including eight of nine genes that encode meiosis-specific proteins in model organisms. Although meiosis has not been observed in T. vaginalis, our findings suggest it is either currently sexual or a recent asexual, consistent with observed, albeit unusual, sexual cycles in their distant parabasalid relatives, the hypermastigotes. T. vaginalis may use meiotic gene homologs to mediate homologous recombination and genetic exchange. Overall, this expanded inventory of meiotic genes forms a useful "meiosis detection toolkit". Our analyses indicate that these meiotic genes arose, or were already present, early in eukaryotic evolution; thus, the eukaryotic cenancestor contained most or all components of this set and was likely capable of performing meiotic recombination using near-universal meiotic machinery.
Project description:Multiple prokaryotic lineages use the arginine deiminase (ADI) pathway for anaerobic energy production by arginine degradation. The distribution of this pathway among eukaryotes has been thought to be very limited, with only two specialized groups living in low oxygen environments (Parabasalia and Diplomonadida) known to possess the complete set of all three enzymes. We have performed an extensive survey of available sequence data in order to map the distribution of these enzymes among eukaryotes and to reconstruct their phylogenies.We have found genes for the complete pathway in almost all examined representatives of Metamonada, the anaerobic protist group that includes parabasalids and diplomonads. Phylogenetic analyses indicate the presence of the complete pathway in the last common ancestor of metamonads and heterologous transformation experiments suggest its cytosolic localization in the metamonad ancestor. Outside Metamonada, the complete pathway occurs rarely, nevertheless, it was found in representatives of most major eukaryotic clades.Phylogenetic relationships of complete pathways are consistent with the presence of the Archaea-derived ADI pathway in the last common ancestor of all eukaryotes, although other evolutionary scenarios remain possible. The presence of the incomplete set of enzymes is relatively common among eukaryotes and it may be related to the fact that these enzymes are involved in other cellular processes, such as the ornithine-urea cycle. Single protein phylogenies suggest that the evolutionary history of all three enzymes has been shaped by frequent gene losses and horizontal transfers, which may sometimes be connected with their diverse roles in cellular metabolism.
Project description:BACKGROUND: For three decades the Mutator system was thought to be exclusive of plants, until the first homolog representatives were characterized in fungi and in early-diverging amoebas earlier in this decade. RESULTS: Here, we describe and characterize four families of Mutator-like elements in a new eukaryotic group, the Parabasalids. These Trichomonas vaginalis Mutator- like elements, or TvMULEs, are active in T. vaginalis and patchily distributed among 12 trichomonad species and isolates. Despite their relatively distinctive amino acid composition, the inclusion of the repeats TvMULE1, TvMULE2, TvMULE3 and TvMULE4 into the Mutator superfamily is justified by sequence, structural and phylogenetic analyses. In addition, we identified three new TvMULE-related sequences in the genome sequence of Candida albicans. While TvMULE1 is a member of the MuDR clade, predominantly from plants, the other three TvMULEs, together with the C. albicans elements, represent a new and quite distinct Mutator lineage, which we named TvCaMULEs. The finding of TvMULE1 sequence inserted into other putative repeat suggests the occurrence a novel TE family not yet described. CONCLUSION: These findings expand the taxonomic distribution and the range of functional motif of MULEs among eukaryotes. The characterization of the dynamics of TvMULEs and other transposons in this organism is of particular interest because it is atypical for an asexual species to have such an extreme level of TE activity; this genetic landscape makes an interesting case study for causes and consequences of such activity. Finally, the extreme repetitiveness of the T. vaginalis genome and the remarkable degree of sequence identity within its repeat families highlights this species as an ideal system to characterize new transposable elements.
Project description:Trichomonas vaginalis is a highly divergent, unicellular eukaryote of the phylum Metamonada, class Parabasalia, and the source of a common sexually transmitted infection. This parasite lacks mitochondria, but harbors an evolutionarily related organelle, the hydrogenosome. We explored the role of dynamin-related proteins (DRPs) in the division of the hydrogenosome. Eight DRP homologues [T. vaginalis DRPs (TvDRPs)], which can be grouped into 3 subclasses, are present in T. vaginalis. We examined 5 TvDRPs that are representative of each subclass, by introducing dominant negative mutations analogous to those known to interfere with mitochondrial division in yeast, worms, and mammals. Microscopic and cell fractionation analyses of parasites expressing one of the mutated TvDRPs (TVAG_350040) demonstrated that this protein localizes to hydrogenosomes. Moreover, these organelles were found to be increased in size and reduced in number in cells expressing this dominant negative protein, relative to parasites expressing the corresponding wild-type TvDRP, the other 4 mutant TvDRPs, or an empty vector control. Our data indicate a role for a TvDRP in the fission of T. vaginalis hydrogenosomes, similar to that described for peroxisomes and mitochondria. These findings reveal a conservation of core components involved in the division of diverse eukaryotic organelles across broad phylogenetic distances.
Project description:Fungal endophytes comprise one of the most ubiquitous groups of plant symbionts. They live asymptomatically within vascular plants, bryophytes and also in close association with algal photobionts inside lichen thalli. While endophytic diversity in land plants has been well studied, their diversity in lichens and bryophytes are poorly understood. Here, we compare the endolichenic and endophytic fungal communities isolated from lichens and bryophytes in the Barton Peninsula, King George Island, Antarctica. A total of 93 fungal isolates were collected from lichens and bryophytes. In order to determine their identities and evolutionary relationships, DNA sequences of the nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS), nuclear ribosomal small subunit (nuSSU), nuclear large subunit (nuLSU), and mitochondrial SSU (mtSSU) rDNA were obtained and protein coding markers of the two largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (RPB1 and RPB2) were generated. Multilocus phylogenetic analyses revealed that most of the fungal isolates were distributed in the following six classes in the phylum Ascomycota: Dothideomycetes, Eurotiomycetes, Lecanoromycetes, Leotiomycetes, Pezizomycetes and Sordariomycetes. For the first time we report the presence of subphylum Mortierellomycotina that may belong to an undescribed order in endophytic fungi. Taken together, our results imply that lichens and bryophytes provide similar niches and harbour a selection of these fungi, indicating generalists within the framework of evolutionary adaptation.
Project description:Bondarzewia is a conspicuous and widely distributed mushroom genus, but little is known about its origin and biogeography. Here, we investigated the systematics and biogeography of Bondarzewia species using multi-locus phylogenetic analysis. Four genetic markers, including the internal transcribed spacer (ITS), large nuclear ribosomal RNA subunit (nLSU), elongation factor 1-? (tef1) and mitochondrial small subunit rDNA (mtSSU), were used to infer the phylogenetic relationships of Bondarzewia. We performed Bayesian evolutionary analysis on the gene datasets of the largest and second largest subunits of RNA polymerase II (RPB1 and RPB2). From the results, we inferred that the maximum crown age of Bondarzewia is approximately 25.5 million-years-ago (Mya) and that tropical East Asia is likely to be its ancestral area, with three possible expansions leading to its distribution in North America, Europe and Oceania.
Project description:Objectives: The symbiosis of Trichomonas vaginalis and Mycoplasma hominis is the first described association between two obligate human parasites. Trichomonas is the niche and the vector for the transmission of M. hominis infection. This clinically significant symbiosis may affect T. vaginalis virulence and susceptibility to treatment. The aims of this study were to investigate the intracellularly present Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma species in T. vaginalis strains isolated from the vaginal discharge of infected women as well as to trace the diversity pattern among the species detected in the isolated strains. Methods: Hundred pure T. vaginalis cultures were isolated from ~7,500 patient specimens presented with clinical purulent vaginitis. PCR and sequencing for Mycoplasma/Ureaplasma spp. were performed in DNA extracted from the pure cultures. In addition, vaginal discharge samples were cultured for the presence of M. hominis and U. urealyticum. Phylogenetic analysis assisted the identification of interspecies relationships between the Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma isolates. Results: Fifty four percentage of T. vaginalis isolates were harboring Mycoplasma spp. Phylogenetic analysis revealed three distinct clusters, two with already characterized M. hominis and Ureaplasma spp. (37% of total Mycoplasma spp.), whereas one group formed a distinct cluster matched with the newly identified species Candidatus Mycoplasma girerdii (59.3%) and one or more unknown Mycoplasma spp. (3.7%). Conclusions:T. vaginalis strains associated with vaginal infection might host intracellular mycoplasmas or ureaplasmas. Intracellular Mollicutes that remain undetected in the extracellular environment when conventional diagnostic methods are implemented may comprise either novel species, such as Candidatus M. giredii, or unknown species with yet unexplored clinical significance.