Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Parasitol. 2002 Aug;32(9):1183-91.

The symbiont Capsaspora owczarzaki, nov. gen. nov. sp., isolated from three strains of the pulmonate snail Biomphalaria glabrata is related to members of the Mesomycetozoea.

Author information

Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.


While investigating the resistance of some strains of Biomphalaria glabrata to infection with Schistosoma mansoni, a unicellular eukaryotic symbiont was noted in the snail haemolymph. It was similar in appearance to Nuclearia sp. reported from B. glabrata. Sequences comprising the 18S, ITS1, 5.8S, ITS2 and the beginning of the 28S rDNA gene regions were obtained from symbionts isolated from three strains of B. glabrata, and compared with the same sequences obtained from a culture of Nuclearia sp. 18S rDNA sequences were identical for all four isolates. 18S rDNA sequences were used in a phylogenetic analysis to produce minimum evolution, maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian trees. All four analyses indicated that the B. glabrata symbiont is not closely related to Nuclearia but instead to the Mesomycetozoea, a recently recognised clade of symbiotic eukaryotes. Based on phylogenetic analysis, life history and morphological differences, the symbiont is described as a new genus and species, Capsaspora owczarzaki. Distinguishing characters are the presence of life cycle stage(s) that occur within snail haemolymph; ability to kill and ingest digenetic trematode larvae; ability to undergo asexual fission to produce daughter cells; absence of flagella, a mucous sheath and membranes containing chitin, elastin, or collagen; and presence of long unbranching pseudopodia and a penetration process. Using both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and culturing techniques, the S. mansoni-resistant Salvador and 13-16-R1 strains were found to be significantly more likely to harbour the symbiont than the susceptible M line strain. Small but consistent sequence differences were noted among symbiont isolates from different snail strains, raising the possibility that the symbiont has diverged in different snail lineages. This suggests further that the symbiont is not restricted to albino lab-reared snails. A role, if any, of the symbiont in resistance awaits further study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center