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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2006 Jul-Aug;53(4):280-91.

Cellular identity of a novel small subunit rDNA sequence clade of apicomplexans: description of the marine parasite Rhytidocystis polygordiae n. sp. (host: Polygordius sp., Polychaeta).

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1
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Program in Evolutionary Biology, Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4. bleander@interchange.ubc.ca

Abstract

A new species of Rhytidocystis (Apicomplexa) is characterized from North American waters of the Atlantic Ocean using electron microscopy and phylogenetic analyses of small subunit (SSU) rDNA sequences. Rhytidocystis polygordiae n. sp. is a parasite of the polychaete Polygordius sp. and becomes the fourth described species within this genus. The trophozoites of R. polygordiae were relatively small oblong cells (L=35-55 microm; W=20-25 microm) and distinctive in possessing subterminal indentations at both ends of the cell. The surface of the trophozoites had six to eight longitudinal series of small transverse folds and several micropores arranged in short linear rows. The trophozoites of R. polygordiae were positioned beneath the brush border of the intestinal epithelium but appeared to reside between the epithelial cells within the extracellular matrix rather than within the cells. The trophozoites possessed a uniform distribution of paraglycogen granules, putative apicoplasts, mitochondria with tubular cristae, and a centrally positioned nucleus. The trophozoites were non-motile and lacked a mucron and an apical complex. Intracellular sporozoites of R. polygordiae had a conoid, a few rhoptries, micronemes, dense granules, and a posteriorly positioned nucleus. Phylogenies inferred from SSU rDNA sequences demonstrated a close relationship between R. polygordiae and the poorly known parasite reported from the hemolymph of the giant clam Tridacna crocea. The rhytidocystid clade diverged early in the apicomplexan radiation and showed a weak affinity to a clade consisting of cryptosporidian parasites, monocystids, and neogregarines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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