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New light on the systematics of fungi associated with attine ant gardens and the description of Escovopsis kreiselii sp. nov.

Meirelles LA, Montoya QV, Solomon SE, Rodrigues A - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: During a survey for Escovopsis species in gardens of the lower attine ant Mycetophylax morschi in Brazil, we found four strains belonging to the pink-colored Escovopsis clade.Careful examination of these strains revealed significant morphological differences when compared to previously described species of Escovopsis and Escovopsioides.Specifically, Escovopsis kreiselii is likely associated with gardens of lower-attine ants and its pathogenicity remains uncertain.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, UNESP Univ Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, SP, Brazil.

ABSTRACT
Since the formal description of fungi in the genus Escovopsis in 1990, only a few studies have focused on the systematics of this group. For more than two decades, only two Escovopsis species were described; however, in 2013, three additional Escovopsis species were formally described along with the genus Escovopsioides, both found exclusively in attine ant gardens. During a survey for Escovopsis species in gardens of the lower attine ant Mycetophylax morschi in Brazil, we found four strains belonging to the pink-colored Escovopsis clade. Careful examination of these strains revealed significant morphological differences when compared to previously described species of Escovopsis and Escovopsioides. Based on the type of conidiogenesis (sympodial), as well as morphology of conidiogenous cells (percurrent), non-vesiculated conidiophores, and DNA sequences, we describe the four new strains as a new species, Escovopsis kreiselii sp. nov. Phylogenetic analyses using three nuclear markers (Large subunit RNA; translation elongation factor 1-alpha; and internal transcribed spacer) from the new strains as well as available sequences in public databases confirmed that all known fungi infecting attine ant gardens comprise a monophyletic group within the Hypocreaceae family, with very diverse morphological characteristics. Specifically, Escovopsis kreiselii is likely associated with gardens of lower-attine ants and its pathogenicity remains uncertain.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Phylogenetic position of Escovopsis kreiselii within the Escovopsis clade based on tef1 sequences reconstructed using Bayesian Inference.All Escovopsis species described so far are denoted in bold. In addition to the newly described species, forty-three tef1 sequences representing all Escovopsis morphotypes used in previous studies were retrieved from GenBank. Sequences of tef1 from other Hypocreaceae were used as outgroup. The voucher accession numbers in culture collections follow the taxon names. GenBank accessions and the ant species from which the fungi were isolated are given in parentheses. Different colors indicate the fungal morphotypes found in the Escovopsis clade. Bootstrap values from ML analyses are also indicated from a similar topology. Only PP and bootstrap values ≥ 0.5 or 50 are shown. Phylogeny based on Gerardo et al. [9]. T: ex-type strains. Bar: 0.05 substitutions per nucleotide position.
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pone.0112067.g003: Phylogenetic position of Escovopsis kreiselii within the Escovopsis clade based on tef1 sequences reconstructed using Bayesian Inference.All Escovopsis species described so far are denoted in bold. In addition to the newly described species, forty-three tef1 sequences representing all Escovopsis morphotypes used in previous studies were retrieved from GenBank. Sequences of tef1 from other Hypocreaceae were used as outgroup. The voucher accession numbers in culture collections follow the taxon names. GenBank accessions and the ant species from which the fungi were isolated are given in parentheses. Different colors indicate the fungal morphotypes found in the Escovopsis clade. Bootstrap values from ML analyses are also indicated from a similar topology. Only PP and bootstrap values ≥ 0.5 or 50 are shown. Phylogeny based on Gerardo et al. [9]. T: ex-type strains. Bar: 0.05 substitutions per nucleotide position.

Mentions: The tree topologies reconstructed using both ML and BI in three different phylogenetic analyses were very similar; the final Bayesian trees are displayed in Figs. 3, 4, and S2 Fig. with posterior probabilities and ML bootstrap values to indicate support for individual nodes. The LSU analysis grouped E. kreiselii as closely related to Escovopsis and Escovopsioides species within the phylogeny including other Hypocreaceae members. These fungi are grouped within an “attine-ants associated clade” (S2 Fig.). To compare the new strain with all Escovopsis diversity previously explored in other studies, we also performed a phylogenetic analysis using tef1 (Fig. 3). In this phylogeny, E. kreiselii grouped within the clade of pink-colored Escovopsis described in Gerardo et al. [9]. Unfortunately, it is not possible to include more genes within this phylogenetic analysis because most studies on the parasite phylogeny used only tef1 sequences and the strains are not available in public culture collections. Therefore, aiming to increase the reliability of our analysis, we also reconstructed a tree using two markers (ITS and tef1) of all described species of Escovopsis and Escovopsioides, similar to the analysis conducted by Augustin et al. [19]. Overall, our results suggest that E. kreiselii is a sister group to the clade that contains all previously described species of Escovopsis (Fig. 4), but the phylogenetic position of Escovopsioides nivea remains uncertain, varying depending on the molecular marker used (see Figs. 3, 4 and S2 Fig.). These results along with the morphological data support E. kreiselii as a new species within the hypocrealean fungi associated with attine ants.


New light on the systematics of fungi associated with attine ant gardens and the description of Escovopsis kreiselii sp. nov.

Meirelles LA, Montoya QV, Solomon SE, Rodrigues A - PLoS ONE (2015)

Phylogenetic position of Escovopsis kreiselii within the Escovopsis clade based on tef1 sequences reconstructed using Bayesian Inference.All Escovopsis species described so far are denoted in bold. In addition to the newly described species, forty-three tef1 sequences representing all Escovopsis morphotypes used in previous studies were retrieved from GenBank. Sequences of tef1 from other Hypocreaceae were used as outgroup. The voucher accession numbers in culture collections follow the taxon names. GenBank accessions and the ant species from which the fungi were isolated are given in parentheses. Different colors indicate the fungal morphotypes found in the Escovopsis clade. Bootstrap values from ML analyses are also indicated from a similar topology. Only PP and bootstrap values ≥ 0.5 or 50 are shown. Phylogeny based on Gerardo et al. [9]. T: ex-type strains. Bar: 0.05 substitutions per nucleotide position.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4305282&req=5

pone.0112067.g003: Phylogenetic position of Escovopsis kreiselii within the Escovopsis clade based on tef1 sequences reconstructed using Bayesian Inference.All Escovopsis species described so far are denoted in bold. In addition to the newly described species, forty-three tef1 sequences representing all Escovopsis morphotypes used in previous studies were retrieved from GenBank. Sequences of tef1 from other Hypocreaceae were used as outgroup. The voucher accession numbers in culture collections follow the taxon names. GenBank accessions and the ant species from which the fungi were isolated are given in parentheses. Different colors indicate the fungal morphotypes found in the Escovopsis clade. Bootstrap values from ML analyses are also indicated from a similar topology. Only PP and bootstrap values ≥ 0.5 or 50 are shown. Phylogeny based on Gerardo et al. [9]. T: ex-type strains. Bar: 0.05 substitutions per nucleotide position.
Mentions: The tree topologies reconstructed using both ML and BI in three different phylogenetic analyses were very similar; the final Bayesian trees are displayed in Figs. 3, 4, and S2 Fig. with posterior probabilities and ML bootstrap values to indicate support for individual nodes. The LSU analysis grouped E. kreiselii as closely related to Escovopsis and Escovopsioides species within the phylogeny including other Hypocreaceae members. These fungi are grouped within an “attine-ants associated clade” (S2 Fig.). To compare the new strain with all Escovopsis diversity previously explored in other studies, we also performed a phylogenetic analysis using tef1 (Fig. 3). In this phylogeny, E. kreiselii grouped within the clade of pink-colored Escovopsis described in Gerardo et al. [9]. Unfortunately, it is not possible to include more genes within this phylogenetic analysis because most studies on the parasite phylogeny used only tef1 sequences and the strains are not available in public culture collections. Therefore, aiming to increase the reliability of our analysis, we also reconstructed a tree using two markers (ITS and tef1) of all described species of Escovopsis and Escovopsioides, similar to the analysis conducted by Augustin et al. [19]. Overall, our results suggest that E. kreiselii is a sister group to the clade that contains all previously described species of Escovopsis (Fig. 4), but the phylogenetic position of Escovopsioides nivea remains uncertain, varying depending on the molecular marker used (see Figs. 3, 4 and S2 Fig.). These results along with the morphological data support E. kreiselii as a new species within the hypocrealean fungi associated with attine ants.

Bottom Line: During a survey for Escovopsis species in gardens of the lower attine ant Mycetophylax morschi in Brazil, we found four strains belonging to the pink-colored Escovopsis clade.Careful examination of these strains revealed significant morphological differences when compared to previously described species of Escovopsis and Escovopsioides.Specifically, Escovopsis kreiselii is likely associated with gardens of lower-attine ants and its pathogenicity remains uncertain.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, UNESP Univ Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, SP, Brazil.

ABSTRACT
Since the formal description of fungi in the genus Escovopsis in 1990, only a few studies have focused on the systematics of this group. For more than two decades, only two Escovopsis species were described; however, in 2013, three additional Escovopsis species were formally described along with the genus Escovopsioides, both found exclusively in attine ant gardens. During a survey for Escovopsis species in gardens of the lower attine ant Mycetophylax morschi in Brazil, we found four strains belonging to the pink-colored Escovopsis clade. Careful examination of these strains revealed significant morphological differences when compared to previously described species of Escovopsis and Escovopsioides. Based on the type of conidiogenesis (sympodial), as well as morphology of conidiogenous cells (percurrent), non-vesiculated conidiophores, and DNA sequences, we describe the four new strains as a new species, Escovopsis kreiselii sp. nov. Phylogenetic analyses using three nuclear markers (Large subunit RNA; translation elongation factor 1-alpha; and internal transcribed spacer) from the new strains as well as available sequences in public databases confirmed that all known fungi infecting attine ant gardens comprise a monophyletic group within the Hypocreaceae family, with very diverse morphological characteristics. Specifically, Escovopsis kreiselii is likely associated with gardens of lower-attine ants and its pathogenicity remains uncertain.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus