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Molecular diversity of the microsporidium Kneallhazia solenopsae reveals an expanded host range among fire ants in North America

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Kneallhazia solenopsae is a pathogenic microsporidium that infects the fire ants Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri in South America and the USA. In this study, we analyzed the prevalence and molecular diversity of K. solenopsae in fire ants from North and South America. We report the first empirical evidence of K. solenopsae infections in the tropical fire ant, Solenopsis geminata, and S. geminata Solenopsis xyloni hybrids, revealing an expanded host range for this microsporidium. We also analyzed the molecular diversity at the 16S ribosomal RNA gene in K. solenopsae from the ant hosts S. invicta, S. richteri, S. geminata and S. geminata S. xyloni hybrids from North America, Argentina and Brazil. We found 22 16S haplotypes. One of these haplotypes (WD_1) appears to be widely distributed, and is found in S. invicta from the USA and S. geminata from southern Mexico. Phylogenetic analyses of 16S sequences revealed that K. solenopsae haplotypes fall into one of two major clades that are differentiated by 2–3%. In some cases, multiple K. solenopsae haplotypes per colony were found, suggesting either an incomplete homogenization among gene copies within the 16S gene cluster or multiple K. solenopsae variants simultaneously infecting host colonies.
Marina Ascunce
Microsporidia , Solenopsis geminata , Solenopsis invicta , Solenopsis richteri , Solenopsis xyloni , fire ants , genetic variation , geographical distribution , haplotypes , host range , hosts , hybrids , multigene family , pathogens , phylogeny , ribosomal RNA , sequence analysis , Argentina , Brazil , Mexico , United States
Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 2010 v.105 no.3
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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