Diverse Legionella-Like Bacteria Associated with Testate Amoebae of the Genus Arcella (Arcellinida: Amoebozoa). Academic Article uri icon


  • Diverse species of Legionella and Legionella-like amoebal pathogens (LLAPs) have been identified as intracellular bacteria in many amoeboid protists. There are, however, other amoeboid groups such as testate amoeba for which we know little about their potential to host such bacteria. In this study, we assessed the occurrence and diversity of Legionella spp. in cultures and environmental isolates of freshwater arcellinid testate amoebae species, Arcella hemispherica, Arcella intermedia, and Arcella vulgaris, via 16S rRNA gene sequence analyses and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that A. hemispherica, A. intermedia, and A. vulgaris host Legionella-like bacteria with 94-98% identity to other Legionella spp. based on NCBI BLAST search. Phylogenetic analysis placed Legionella-like Arcella-associated bacteria (LLAB) in three different clusters within a tree containing all other members of Legionella and LLAPs. The intracellular localization of the Legionella within Arcella hosts was confirmed using FISH with a Legionella-specific probe. This study demonstrates that the host range of Legionella and Legionella-like bacteria in the Amoebozoa extends beyond members of "naked" amoebae species, with members of the testate amoebae potentially serving an ecological role in the dispersal, protection, and replication of Legionella spp. in natural environments.

publication date

  • July 2018