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Bartolomé C, Buendía-Abad M, Ornosa C, De la Rúa P, Martín-Hernández R, Higes M, Maside X

Bee trypanosomatids: first steps in the analysis of the genetic variation and population structure of L. passim, C. bombi and C. mellificae

Microbial Ecology (2021)

DOI: 10.1007/s00248-021-01882-w


Trypanosomatids are among the most prevalent parasites in bees but, despite the fact that their impact on the colonies can be quite important and that their infectivity may potentially depend on their genotypes, little is known about the population diversity of these pathogens. Here we cloned and sequenced three non-repetitive single copy loci (DNA topoisomerase II, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and RNA polymerase II large subunit, RPB1) to produce new genetic data from Crithidia bombi, Crithidia mellificae and Lotmaria passim isolated from honeybees and bumblebees. These were analysed by applying population genetic tools in order to quantify and compare their variability within and between species, and to obtain information on their demography and population structure. The general pattern for the three species was that (1) they were subject to the action of purifying selection on nonsynonymous variants, (2) the levels of within species diversity were similar irrespective of the host, (3) there was evidence of recombination among haplotypes and (4) they showed no haplotype structuring according to the host. Crithidia bombi exhibited the lowest levels of synonymous variation (πS= 0.06 ± 0.04 %) — and a mutation frequency distribution compatible with a population expansion after a bottleneck — that contrasted with the extensive polymorphism displayed by Crithidia mellificae (πS= 2.24 ± 1.00 %), which likely has a more ancient origin. Lotmaria passim showed intermediate values (πS= 0.40 ± 0.28 %) and an excess of variants a low frequencies probably linked to the spread of this species to new geographical areas.