Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS One. 2009 Sep 17;4(9):e7080. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007080.

Molecular phylogeny and description of the novel katablepharid Roombia truncata gen. et sp. nov., and establishment of the Hacrobia taxon nov.

Author information

  • 1Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



Photosynthetic eukaryotes with a secondary plastid of red algal origin (cryptophytes, haptophytes, stramenopiles, dinoflagellates, and apicomplexans) are hypothesized to share a single origin of plastid acquisition according to Chromalveolate hypothesis. Recent phylogenomic analyses suggest that photosynthetic "chromalveolates" form a large clade with inclusion of several non-photosynthetic protist lineages. Katablepharids are one such non-photosynthetic lineage closely related to cryptophytes. Despite their evolutionary and ecological importance, katablepharids are poorly investigated.


Here, we report a newly discovered flagellate, Roombia truncata gen. et sp. nov., that is related to katablepharids, but is morphologically distinct from othermembers of the group in the following ways: (1) two flagella emerge from a papilla-like subapical protrusion, (2) conspicuous ejectisomes are aligned in multiple (5-11) rows, (3) each ejectisome increases in size towards the posterior end of the rows, and (4) upon feeding, a part of cytoplasm elastically stretch to engulf whole prey cell. Molecular phylogenies inferred from Hsp90, SSU rDNA, and LSU rDNA sequences consistently and strongly show R. truncata as the sister lineage to all other katablepharids, including lineages known only from environmental sequence surveys. A close association between katablepharids and cryptophytes was also recovered in most analyses. Katablepharids and cryptophytes are together part of a larger, more inclusive, group that also contains haptophytes, telonemids, centrohelids and perhaps biliphytes. The monophyly of this group is supported by several different molecular phylogenetic datasets and one shared lateral gene transfer; therefore, we formally establish this diverse clade as the "Hacrobia."


Our discovery of R. truncata not only expands our knowledge in the less studied flagellate group, but provide a better understanding of phylogenetic relationship and evolutionary view of plastid acquisition/losses of Hacrobia. Being an ancestral to all katablepharids, and readily cultivable, R. truncata is a good candidate for multiple gene analyses that will contribute to future phylogenetic studies of Hacrobia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk