Parasitology Research

, Volume 113, Issue 9, pp 3151–3158 | Cite as

Acanthamoeba everywhere: high diversity of Acanthamoeba in soils

  • Stefan Geisen
  • Anna Maria Fiore-Donno
  • Julia Walochnik
  • Michael Bonkowski
Original Paper

Abstract

Acanthamoeba is a very abundant genus of soil protists with fundamental importance in nutrient cycling, but several strains can also act as human pathogens. The systematics of the genus is still unclear: currently 18 small-subunit (SSU or 18S) ribosomal RNA sequence types (T1–T18) are recognized, which sometimes contain several different morphotypes; on the other hand, some morphological identical strains belong to different sequence types, sometimes appearing in paraphyletic positions. In this study, we cultivated 65 Acanthamoeba clones from soil samples collected under grassland at three separate locations in the Netherlands, in Sardinia and at high altitude mountains in Tibet. We obtained 24 distinct partial sequences, which predominantly grouped within sequence type T4 followed by T2, T13, T16 and “OX-1” (in the T2/T6 clade). Our sequences were 98–99 % similar, but none was identical to already known Acanthamoeba sequences. The community composition of Acanthamoeba strains differed between locations, T4 being the dominant sequence type in Sardinia and Tibet, but represented only half of the clones from soils in the Netherlands. The other half of clones from the Dutch soils was made up by T2, T16 and “OX-1”, while T13 was only found in Sardinia and Tibet. None of the sequences was identical between localities. Several T4 clones from all three localities and all T13 clones grew at 37 °C while one T4 clone was highly cytopathogenic.

Keywords

Acanthamoeba Soil microbiology Free-living amoebae Molecular ecology Phylogeny Protists 

Supplementary material

436_2014_3976_Fig2_ESM.jpg (1.1 mb)
Supplementary Fig. 1

Phylogenetic analysis of Centramoebida based on 145 SSU sequences (all 18 described SSU types of Acanthamoeba represented) and 1,771 positions, with Balamuthia and Prothacanthamoeba as outgroups. Major clades and T4 are boxed. Only sequence types are named, while individual sequences were omitted for clarity, except for new sequences obtained in this study (in red). Support values >50 % (maximum likelihood, left) or >0.5 (posterior probability, right) are shown for branches leading to major clades. Filled circles represent full support in both analyses; boxes: clades of sequence types with bright boxes containing clones obtained in this study (JPEG 1116 kb)

436_2014_3976_MOESM1_ESM.tif (534 kb)
High resolution image (TIFF 534 kb)
436_2014_3976_Fig3_ESM.jpg (3.3 mb)
Supplementary Fig. 2

Phylogenetic analysis focusing on sequence types and sequences associated with the new sequences obtained in this study. In total, 116 sequences with 1,947 unambiguously aligned positions were used; the tree is unrooted; values higher than 60 for maximum likelihood analyses (left) and 0.60 for Bayesian analyses (right) are shown. Black circles represent full support; red: strains obtained in this study; boxes: associated sequence types with bright boxes containing clones obtained in this study (JPEG 3408 kb)

436_2014_3976_MOESM2_ESM.tif (2.8 mb)
High resolution image (TIFF 2841 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Geisen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Anna Maria Fiore-Donno
    • 1
  • Julia Walochnik
    • 2
  • Michael Bonkowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Zoological InstituteUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Molecular Parasitology, Institute of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and ImmunologyMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)WageningenThe Netherlands

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