Polynucleobacter bacteria in the brackish-water species Euplotes harpa (Ciliata Hypotrichia).
ABSTRACT We have found a Polynucleobacter bacterium in the cytoplasm of Euplotes harpa, a species living in a brackish-water habitat, with a cirral pattern not corresponding to that of the freshwater Euplotes species known to harbor this type of bacteria. The symbiont has been found in three strains of the species, obtained by clonal cultures from ciliates collected in different geographic regions. The 16S rRNA gene sequence of this bacterium identifies it as a member of the beta-proteobacterial genus Polynucleobacter. This sequence shares a high similarity value (98.4-98.5%) with P. necessarius, the type species of the genus, and is associated with 16S rRNA gene sequences of environmental clones and bacterial strains included in the Polynucleobacter cluster (>95%). An oligonucleotide probe was designed to corroborate the assignment of the retrieved sequence to the symbiont and to detect similar bacteria rapidly. Antibiotic experiments showed that the elimination of the bacteria stops the reproductive cycle in E. harpa, as has been shown for the freshwater Euplotes species.