Endosymbiont Capture, a Repeated Process of Endosymbiont Transfer with Replacement in Trypanosomatids Angomonas spp.


Trypanosomatids of the subfamily Strigomonadinae bear permanent intracellular bacterial symbionts acquired by the common ancestor of these flagellates. However, the cospeciation pattern inherent to such relationships was revealed to be broken upon the description of Angomonas ambiguus, which is sister to A. desouzai, but bears an endosymbiont genetically close to that of A. deanei. Based on phylogenetic inferences, it was proposed that the bacterium from A. deanei had been horizontally transferred to A. ambiguus. Here, we sequenced the bacterial genomes from two A. ambiguus isolates, including a new one from Papua New Guinea, and compared them with the published genome of the A. deanei endosymbiont, revealing differences below the interspecific level. Our phylogenetic analyses confirmed that the endosymbionts of A. ambiguus were obtained from A. deanei and, in addition, demonstrated that this occurred more than once. We propose that coinfection of the same blowfly host and the phylogenetic relatedness of the trypanosomatids facilitate such transitions, whereas the drastic difference in the occurrence of the two trypanosomatid species determines the observed direction of this process. This phenomenon is analogous to organelle (mitochondrion/plastid) capture described in multicellular organisms and, thereafter, we name it endosymbiont capture.

In Pathogens 10(6): 702
James Cotton
James Cotton
Senior Staff Scientist

My research interests are in the genomics, and particularly population genomics of parasites, particularly those that cause neglected tropical diseases