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Cellular identification of a novel uncultured marine stramenopile (MAST-12 Clade) small-subunit rRNA gene sequence from a norwegian estuary by use of fluorescence in situ hybridization-scanning electron microscopy

Applied and Environmental Microbiology 73(8): 2718-2726
Cellular identification of a novel uncultured marine stramenopile (MAST-12 Clade) small-subunit rRNA gene sequence from a norwegian estuary by use of fluorescence in situ hybridization-scanning electron microscopy
Revealing the cellular identity of organisms behind environmental eukaryote rRNA gene sequences is a major objective in microbial diversity research. We sampled an estuarine oxygen-depleted microbial mat in southwestern Norway and retrieved an 18S rRNA gene signature that branches in the MAST-12 clade, an environmental marine stramenopile clade. Detailed phylogenetic analyses revealed that MAST-12 branches among the heterotrophic stramenopiles as a sister of the free-living Bicosoecida and the parasitic genus Blastocystis. Specific sequence signatures confirmed a relationship to these two groups while excluding direct assignment. We designed a specific oligonucleoticle probe for the target sequence and detected the corresponding organism in incubation samples using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Using the combined FISH-scanning electron microscopy approach (T. Stoeck, W. H. Fowle, and S. S. Epstein, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 69:6856-6863, 2003), we determined the morphotype of the target organism among the very diverse possible morphologies of the heterotrophic stramenopilles. The unpigmented cell is spherical and about 5 [mu]m in diameter and possesses a short flagellum and a long flagellum, both emanating anteriorly. The long flagellum bears mastigonemes in a characteristic arrangement, and its length (30 [mu]m) distinguishes the target organism from other recognized heterotrophic stramenopiles. The short flagellum is naked and often directed posteriorly. The organism possesses neither a lorica nor a stalk. The morphological characteristics that we discovered should help isolate a representative of a novel stramenopile group, possibly at a high taxonomic level, in order to study its ultrastructure, physiological capabilities, and ecological role in the environment.

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Accession: 013657337

PMID: 17293516

DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02158-06

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