RhopH3, Rhoptry Gene Conserved in the Free-Living Alveolate Flagellate Colpodella sp. (Apicomplexa)

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European Journal of Protistology


In this study, we investigated morphological, immunological and molecular characteristics of Colpodella sp. (American Type Culture Collection 50594) in a diprotist culture containing Bodo caudatus as prey using Plasmodium rhoptry specific antibodies and oligonucleotide primers targeting Plasmodium falciparum rhoptry genes. In culture, Colpodella sp. attached to its prey using the apical end with attachment lasting for approximately 20 min while the cytoplasmic contents of the prey were aspirated into the posterior food vacuole of Colpodella sp. Encystment of Colpodella sp. was observed following feeding. Indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and confocal microscopy using P. falciparum rhoptry specific antibodies showed intense reactivity with cytoplasmic vesicles of Colpodella sp. Bodo caudatus from diprotist and monoprotist (ATCC 30395) cultures showed weak background reactivity. Giemsa staining permitted differentiation of both protists. Genomic DNA isolated from the diprotist culture was used in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with oligonucleotide primers targeting the P. falciparum rhoptry genes RhopH3, RhopH1/Clag3.2 and RAMA. Primers targeting exon 7 of the P. falciparum RhopH3 gene amplified an approximately 2 kb DNA fragment from the diprotist DNA template. DNA sequence and BLAST search analysis of the amplified product from diprotist DNA identified the RhopH3 gene demonstrating that the RhopH3 gene is conserved in Colpodella sp.