Franzen, Caspar, Futerman, Pete H., Schroeder, Josef, Salzberger, Bernd and Kraaijeveld, Alex R.
An ultrastructural and molecular study of Tubulinosema kingi Kramer (Microsporidia: Tubulinosematidae) from Drosophila melanogaster (Diptera: Drosophilidae) and its parasitoid Asobara tabida (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)
Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 91, (3), . (doi:10.1016/j.jip.2005.11.007).
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Tubulinosema kingi is a pathogen of Drosophila spp. that was originally described 40 years ago. Although Drosophila melanogaster is widely used as a model organism for biological research, only limited data about microsporidia infecting Drosophila have been published so far and very little is known about the ultrastructure of T. kingi. In this study, we present the results of ultrastructural and molecular examinations of T. kingi. The whole life cycle took place in direct contact with the host cell cytoplasm and all examined life cycle stages contained a diplokaryon. Very few membrane elements were present in early merogonial stages, but their number and order of arrangement increased as the life cycle proceeded. The cell membrane of meronts had a surface coat of tubular elements that encircled the cell. Later, numerous electron-dense strands without any ornamentation accumulated on the plasma membrane, indicating that cells had entered sporogony. The cell membrane of sporonts was covered by electron-dense material. The polar filament in the spores was slightly anisofilar with the last three or four coils being smaller in diameter. The polar filament has 10 to 14 coils which were arranged predominantly in a single row, but in many spores, one winding of the coiled polar filament was located inside the outer coils. In some spores, the polar filament was irregularly arranged in two or even three rows. Molecular analysis showed that all Tubulinosema spp. are closely related and form a clade of their own that is distinct from the Nosema/Vairimorpha clade. All these ultrastructural and molecular features are in concordance with the family Tubulinosematidae and the genus Tubulinosema which reinforces the recent reclassification of this microsporidium.
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