Species from the genus Chlamydia are well known for their ability to infect a variety of organisms. They are obligate parasites that are widely distributed in nature and can withstand a variety of environmental stressors. Studies have recently demonstrated their prevalence in the environment lurking within protist reservoirs. The most characterized of these involves Chlamydia infections in the free-living amoebae Acanthamoebae . Recently, we have found that approximately half of wild collected Dictyostelium discoideum (social amoebae) are infected with Neochlamydia, a newly identified genus of the Chlamydia order. The goal of this project was to better understand the relationship between the bacteria Neochlamydia and the social amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum. Specifically, we asked whether Neochlamydia infections alter amoebae fitness using a collection of assays and environmental contexts. We found that Neochlamydia infected amoebae show subtle, but interesting, differences in fitness under a small subset of fitness contexts. We also attempted to transfer Neochlamydia to new amoebae hosts using 3 distinct strategies. Puzzlingly, we were unable to transfer Neochlamydia infections to new hosts, which leads us to speculate on how these infections are acquired in the wild.
|Commitee:||Esselman, Betsy, Hubert, Amy|
|School:||Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 58/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Chlamydia, Dictyostelium discoideum, Neochlamydia, Obligate symbiont, Unculturable|
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