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“Pokemonas” – New Bacteria Related to Lung Parasites Discovered, Named After Pokémon

Gentle microscope picture of a Thecofilosea amoeba with intracellular Legionellales micro organism (‘Ca. Pokemonas kadabra’). The micro organism had been stained pink by so-called “fluorescence in situ hybridization.” Credit score: Marcel Dominik Solbach

A analysis workforce on the College of Cologne has found beforehand undescribed micro organism in amoebae which might be associated to Legionella and should even trigger illness. The researchers from Professor Dr. Michael Bonkowski’s working group on the Institute of Zoology have named one of many newly found micro organism “Pokemonas” as a result of they stay in spherical amoebae, comparable to Pokémon within the online game, that are caught in balls. The outcomes of their analysis have been printed within the journal Frontiers in Mobile and An infection Microbiology.

Bacteria of the order Legionellales have lengthy been of scientific curiosity as a result of a few of these micro organism are identified to trigger lung illness in people and animals — corresponding to Legionnaires’ illness, which is brought on by the species Legionella pneumophila and may typically be deadly. Legionellales micro organism stay and multiply as intracellular parasites within the cells of organisms as hosts. Specifically, the hosts of Legionellales are amoebae. The time period “amoeba” is used to describe a wide range of microorganisms that aren’t intently associated, however share a variable form and crawling locomotion by the use of pseudopods.

‘We needed to display screen amoebae for Legionellales and selected a bunch of amoebae for our analysis that had no shut relationship to the hosts that had been beforehand studied. The selection fell on the amoeba group Thecofilosea, which is commonly neglected by researchers,’ explains Marcel Dominik Solbach.

Illustration of a Thecofilosea amoeba with intracellular Legionellales micro organism (‘Ca. Pokemonas kadabra’). Credit score: Marcel Dominik Solbach

And certainly, the spherical Thecofilosea function host organisms for Legionellales. In Thecofilosea amoebae from environmental samples, the scientists had been in a position to detect numerous Legionellales species, together with two beforehand undescribed genera and one undescribed species from the genus Legionella. “The outcomes present that the vary of identified host organisms of those micro organism is significantly wider than beforehand thought. As well as, these findings recommend that many extra amoebae might function hosts for Legionellales — and thus doubtlessly as vectors of illness. To analyze this additional, we at the moment are sequencing the whole genome of those micro organism,” stated Dr. Kenneth Dumack, who led the venture.

Sooner or later, these new findings ought to assist to higher perceive how Legionellales micro organism are associated amongst one another, and make clear their interactions with their hosts in addition to the routes of an infection so as to forestall outbreaks of the illnesses in people.

The researchers named one of many genera of micro organism they found “Pokemonas.” The genus identify “Pokemonas” is a play on phrases primarily based on the online game franchise Pokémon, which celebrates its twenty fifth anniversary this yr and which most schoolchildren, college students, and their mother and father needs to be acquainted with. The identify alludes to the intracellular life-style of the micro organism within the ball-shaped Thecofilosea amoebae, as a result of within the Pokémon collection video games, little monsters are caught in balls, very like “Pokemonas” within the Thecofilosea.

Reference: “Novel Endosymbionts in Rhizarian Amoebae Suggest Common An infection of Unrelated Free-Dwelling Amoebae by Legionellales” by Marcel Dominik Solbach, Michael Bonkowski and Kenneth Dumack, 8 March 2021, Frontiers in Mobile and An infection Microbiology.
DOI: 10.3389/fcimb.2021.642216

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