NadpisThe Green Tetrahymena utriculariae n. sp. (Ciliophora, Oligohymenophorea) with Its Endosymbiotic Algae (Micractinium sp.), Living in Traps of a Carnivorous Aquatic Plant
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AutořiPitsch, G, Adamec, L, Dirren, S, Nitsche, F, Šimek, K, Sirova, D, Posch, T
JournalJournal of Eukaryotic Microbiology

The genus Tetrahymena (Ciliophora, Oligohymenophorea) probably represents
the best studied ciliate genus. At present, more than forty species have been
described. All are colorless, i.e. they do not harbor symbiotic algae, and as aerobes
they need at least microaerobic habitats. Here, we present the morphological
and molecular description of the first green representative,
Tetrahymena utriculariae n. sp., living in symbiosis with endosymbiotic algae
identified as Micractinium sp. (Chlorophyta). The full life cycle of the ciliate
species is documented, including trophonts and theronts, conjugating cells,
resting cysts and dividers. This species has been discovered in an exotic habitat,
namely in traps of the carnivorous aquatic plant Utricularia reflexa (originating
from Okavango Delta, Botswana). Green ciliates live as commensals of the
plant in this anoxic habitat. Ciliates are bacterivorous, however, symbiosis with
algae is needed to satisfy cell metabolism but also to gain oxygen from symbionts.
When ciliates are cultivated outside their natural habitat under aerobic
conditions and fed with saturating bacterial food, they gradually become
aposymbiotic. Based on phylogenetic analyses of 18S rRNA and mitochondrial
cox1 genes T. utriculariae forms a sister group to Tetrahymena thermophila.