Genome sequencing of Prototheca zopfii genotypes 1 and 2 provides evidence of a severe reduction in organellar genomes.
ABSTRACT: Prototheca zopfii (P. zopfii, class Trebouxiophyceae, order Chlorellales, family Chlorellaceae), a non-photosynthetic predominantly free-living unicellular alga, is one of the few pathogens belonging to the plant kingdom. This alga can affect many vertebrate hosts, sustaining systemic infections and diseases such as mastitis in cows. The aim of our work was to sequence and assemble the P. zopfii genotype 1 and genotype 2 mitochondrial and plastid genomes. Remarkably, the P. zopfii mitochondrial (38 Kb) and plastid (28 Kb) genomes are models of compaction and the smallest known in the Trebouxiophyceae. As expected, the P. zopfii genotype 1 and 2 plastid genomes lack all the genes involved in photosynthesis, but, surprisingly, they also lack those coding for RNA polymerases. Our results showed that plastid genes are actively transcribed in P. zopfii, which suggests that the missing RNA polymerases are substituted by nuclear-encoded paralogs. The simplified architecture and highly-reduced gene complement of the P. zopfii mitochondrial and plastid genomes are closer to those of P. stagnora and the achlorophyllous obligate parasite Helicosporidium than to those of P. wickerhamii or P. cutis. This similarity is also supported by maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses inferences. Overall, the P. zopfii sequences reported here, which include nuclear genome drafts for both genotypes, will help provide both a deeper understanding of the evolution of Prototheca spp. and insights into the corresponding host/pathogen interactions.
Project description:Of the Prototheca genus, Prototheca wickerhamii has the highest clinical significance in humans. However, neither nuclear nor organellar genomes of this species were sequenced until now. The hitherto determined and analyzed mitochondrial and plastid genomes of the alleged P. wickerhamii species belong in fact to another species, recently named Prototheca xanthoriae. This study provides a first insight into the organellar genomes of a true P. wickerhamii (type strain ATCC 16529). The P. wickerhamii mitochondrion had a 53.8-kb genome, which was considerably larger than that of Prototheca ciferrii (formerly Prototheca zopfii gen. 1) and Prototheca bovis (formerly Prototheca zopfii gen. 2), yet similarly functional, with the differences in size attributable to a higher number of introns and the presence of extra unique putative genes. The 48-kb plastid genome of P. wickerhamii, compared to autotrophic Trebouxiophyceae, was highly reduced due to the elimination of the photosynthesis-related genes. The gene content of the plastid genome of P. wickerhamii was, however, very similar to other colorless Prototheca species. Plastid genome-based phylogeny reinforced the polyphyly of the genus Prototheca, with Helicosporidium and Auxenochlorella branching within clades of Prototheca species. Phylogenetic reconstruction also confirmed the close relationship of P. wickerhamii and P. xanthoriae, which is reflected in the synteny of their organellar genomes. Interestingly, the entire set of atp genes was lost in P. wickerhamii plastid genome while being preserved in P. xanthoriae.
Project description:Prototheca zopfii is an alga increasingly isolated from bovine mastitis. Of the two genotypes of P. zopfii (genotype I and II (GT-I and -II)), P. zopfii GT-II is the genotype associated with acute mastitis and decreased milk production, although its pathogenesis is not well known. The objective was to determine inflammatory and apoptotic roles of P. zopfii GT-II in cultured mammary epithelial cells (from cattle and mice) and murine macrophages and using a murine model of mastitis. Prototheca zopfii GT-II (but not GT-I) invaded bovine and murine mammary epithelial cells (MECs) and induced apoptosis, as determined by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling assay. This P. zopfii GT-II driven apoptosis corresponded to mitochondrial pathways; mitochondrial transmembrane resistance (??m) was altered and modulation of mitochondrion-mediated apoptosis regulating genes changed (increased transcriptional Bax, cytochrome-c and Apaf-1 and downregulated Bcl-2), whereas caspase-9 and -3 expression increased. Apoptotic effects by P. zopfii GT-II were more pronounced in macrophages compared to MECs. In a murine mammary infection model, P. zopfii GT-II replicated in the mammary gland and caused severe inflammation with infiltration of macrophages and neutrophils and upregulation of pro-inflammatory genes (TNF-?, IL-1? and Cxcl-1) and also apoptosis of epithelial cells. Thus, we concluded P. zopfii GT-II is a mastitis-causing pathogen that triggers severe inflammation and also mitochondrial apoptosis.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Helicosporidia are achlorophyllous, non-photosynthetic protists that are obligate parasites of invertebrates. Highly specialized, these pathogens feature an unusual cyst stage that dehisces inside the infected organism and releases a filamentous cell displaying surface projections, which will penetrate the host gut wall and eventually reproduce in the hemolymph. Long classified as incertae sedis or as relatives of other parasites such as Apicomplexa or Microsporidia, the Helicosporidia were surprisingly identified through molecular phylogeny as belonging to the Chlorophyta, a phylum of green algae. Most phylogenetic analyses involving Helicosporidia have placed them within the subgroup Trebouxiophyceae and further suggested a close affiliation between the Helicosporidia and the genus Prototheca. Prototheca species are also achlorophyllous and pathogenic, but they infect vertebrate hosts, inducing protothecosis in humans. The complete plastid genome of an Helicosporidium species was recently described and is a model of compaction and reduction. Here we describe the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of the same strain, Helicosporidium sp. ATCC 50920 isolated from the black fly Simulium jonesi. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The circular mapping 49343 bp mitochondrial genome of Helicosporidium closely resembles that of the vertebrate parasite Prototheca wickerhamii. The two genomes share an almost identical gene complement and display a level of synteny that is higher than any other sequenced chlorophyte mitochondrial DNAs. Interestingly, the Helicosporidium mtDNA feature a trans-spliced group I intron, and a second group I intron that contains two open reading frames that appear to be degenerate maturase/endonuclease genes, both rare characteristics for this type of intron. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The architecture, genome content, and phylogeny of the Helicosporidium mitochondrial genome are all congruent with its close relationship to Prototheca within the Trebouxiophyceae. The Helicosporidium mitochondrial genome does, however, contain a number of novel features, particularly relating to its introns.
Project description:Bovine mastitis is an important and complex disease responsible for economic losses in the dairy industry. Biotype II strains of the green alga Prototheca zopfii can be involved, most often resulting in chronic mastitis of difficult treatment associated with reduced milk production. This type of infection is rare, but the number of reported cases is increasing worldwide. In order to determine the kind of species involved in mastitis by Prototheca in northwest Portugal, 41 Prototheca isolates were genetically characterized. The algae are part of Prototheca isolates that were collected during a 6-year period, isolated from the milk of 41 dairy cows in a total of 22 herds with a history of increasing somatic cell counts, mild clinical signs of udder infection, and unsuccessful response to the usual therapy. PCR amplification of the 18S ribosomal DNA (rDNA), amplified rDNA restriction analysis, and phylogenetic analyses of the 18S rDNA sequences were performed. Thirty-seven isolates were identified as P. zopfii var. hydrocarbonea and four as Prototheca blaschkeae. These data suggest a high incidence of P. zopfii var. hydrocarbonea mastitis in the region and demonstrate for the first time the involvement of P. blaschkeae with bovine mammary gland infections.
Project description:Achlorophyllous unicellular microalgae of the genus Prototheca (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta) are the only known plants that cause infections in both humans and animals, collectively referred to as protothecosis. Human protothecosis, most commonly manifested as cutaneous, articular, and disseminated disease, is primarily caused by Protothecawickerhamii, followed by Protothecazopfii and, sporadically, by Protothecacutis and Protothecamiyajii In veterinary medicine, however, P. zopfii is a major pathogen responsible for bovine mastitis, which is a predominant form of protothecal disease in animals. Historically, identification of Prototheca spp. has relied upon phenotypic criteria; these were later replaced by molecular typing schemes, including DNA sequencing. However, the molecular markers interrogated so far, mostly located in the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) cluster, do not provide sufficient discriminatory power to distinguish among all Prototheca spp. currently recognized. Our study is the first attempt to develop a fast, reliable, and specific molecular method allowing identification of all Prototheca spp. We propose the mitochondrial cytb gene as a new and robust marker for diagnostics and phylogenetic studies of the Prototheca algae. The cytb gene displayed important advantages over the rDNA markers. Not only did the cytb gene have the highest discriminatory capacity for resolving all Prototheca species, but it also performed best in terms of technical feasibility, understood as ease of amplification, sequencing, and multiple alignment analysis. Based on the species-specific polymorphisms in the partial cytb gene, we developed a fast and straightforward PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) assay for identification and differentiation of all Prototheca species described so far. The newly proposed method is advocated to be a new gold standard in diagnostics of protothecal infections in human and animal populations.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Chorella is the representative taxon of Chlorellales in Trebouxiophyceae, and its chloroplast (cp) genomic information has been thought to depend only on studies concerning Chlorella vulgaris and GenBank information of C. variablis. Mitochondrial (mt) genomic information regarding Chlorella is currently unavailable. To elucidate the evolution of organelle genomes and genetic information of Chlorella, we have sequenced and characterized the cp and mt genomes of Arctic Chlorella sp. ArM0029B. RESULTS: The 119,989-bp cp genome lacking inverted repeats and 65,049-bp mt genome were sequenced. The ArM0029B cp genome contains 114 conserved genes, including 32 tRNA genes, 3 rRNA genes, and 79 genes encoding proteins. Chlorella cp genomes are highly rearranged except for a Chlorella-specific six-gene cluster, and the ArM0029B plastid resembles that of Chlorella variabilis except for a 15-kb gene cluster inversion. In the mt genome, 62 conserved genes, including 27 tRNA genes, 3 rRNA genes, and 32 genes encoding proteins were determined. The mt genome of ArM0029B is similar to that of the non-photosynthetic species Prototheca and Heicosporidium. The ArM0029B mt genome contains a group I intron, with an ORF containing two LAGLIDADG motifs, in cox1. The intronic ORF is shared by C. vulgaris and Prototheca. The phylogeny of the plastid genome reveals that ArM0029B showed a close relationship of Chlorella to Parachlorella and Oocystis within Chlorellales. The distribution of the cox1 intron at 721 support membership in the order Chlorellales. Mitochondrial phylogenomic analyses, however, indicated that ArM0029B shows a greater affinity to MX-AZ01 and Coccomyxa than to the Helicosporidium-Prototheca clade, although the detailed phylogenetic relationships among the three taxa remain to be resolved. CONCLUSIONS: The plastid genome of ArM0029B is similar to that of C. variabilis. The mt sequence of ArM0029B is the first genome to be reported for Chlorella. Chloroplast genome phylogeny supports monophyly of the seven investigated members of Chlorellales. The presence of the cox1 intron at 721 in all four investigated Chlorellales taxa indicates that the cox1 intron had been introduced in early Chorellales as a cis-splice form and that the cis-splicing intron was inherited to recent Chlorellales and was recently trans-spliced in Helicosporidium.
Project description:Several strains of terrestrial algae isolated from biological soil crusts in Germany and Ukraine were identified by morphological methods as the widely distributed species Dictyosphaerium minutum (=Dictyosphaerium chlorelloides). Investigation of the phylogeny showed their position unexpectedly outside of Chlorellaceae (Trebouxiophyceae) and distantly from Chlorella chlorelloides, to which this taxon was attributed after revision of the genus Chlorella based on an integrative approach. SSU rRNA phylogeny determined the position of our strains inside a clade recently described as a new genus of the cryptic alga Xerochlorella olmiae isolated from desert biological soil crusts in the United States. Investigation of the morphology of the authentic strain of X. olmiae showed Dictyosphaerium-like morphology, as well as some other characters, common for our strains and morphospecies D. minutum. The latter alga was described as terrestrial and subsequently united with the earlier described aquatic representative D. chlorelloides because of their similar morphology. The revision of Chlorella mentioned above provided only one aquatic strain (D. chlorelloides), which determined its position in the genus. But terrestrial strains of the morphospecies were not investigated phylogenetically. Our study showed that the terrestrial D. minutum is not related to the morphologically similar D. chlorelloides (=Chlorella chlorelloides, Chlorellaceae), and instead represented a separate lineage in the Trebouxiophyceae, recently described as genus Xerochlorella. Therefore, revision of Xerochlorella is proposed, including nomenclatural combinations, epitypifications, and emendations of two species: X. minuta and X. dichotoma. New characters of the genus based on investigation of morphology and ultrastructure were determined.
Project description:Most of the available mitochondrial and plastid genome sequences are biased towards adenine and thymine (AT) over guanine and cytosine (GC). Examples of GC-rich organelle DNAs are limited to a small but eclectic list of species, including certain green algae. Here, to gain insight in the evolution of organelle nucleotide landscape, we present the GC-rich mitochondrial and plastid DNAs from the trebouxiophyte green alga Coccomyxa sp. C-169. We compare these sequences with other GC-rich organelle DNAs and argue that the forces biasing them towards G and C are nonadaptive and linked to the metabolic and/or life history features of this species. The Coccomyxa organelle genomes are also used for phylogenetic analyses, which highlight the complexities in trying to resolve the interrelationships among the core chlorophyte green algae, but ultimately favour a sister relationship between the Ulvophyceae and Chlorophyceae, with the Trebouxiophyceae branching at the base of the chlorophyte crown.
Project description:1. An enzyme, which in the presence of NAD(+) and CoA oxidizes malonic semialdehyde to acetyl-CoA, has been purified from an extract of the colourless alga Prototheca zopfii. 2. The purified enzyme has optimum pH7.5, is specific for NAD(+) and requires a thiol compound for maximum activity. 3. The enzyme is inhibited by arsenite, N-ethylmaleimide and urea. 4. The results are discussed in relation to those obtained by other workers with a similar bacterial enzyme, and a possible reaction sequence is proposed.
Project description:We report a reactive Aspergillus galactomannan enzymatic immunoassay against the serum of a patient with invasive Prototheca zopfii infection. Analysis of the supernatants of suspensions of P. zopfii and other Prototheca isolates revealed positive results as well. These data suggest cross-reactivity with the serum Aspergillus galactomannan assay in invasive protothecosis.