Legionella species diversity in an acidic biofilm community in Yellowstone National Park

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Legionella species are frequently detected in aquatic environments, but their occurrence in extreme, acidic, geothermal habitats has not been explored with cultivation-independent methods. We investigated a predominately eukaryotic algal mat community in a pH 2.7 geothermal stream in Yellowstone National Park for the presence of Legionella and potential host amoebae. Our analyses, using PCR amplification with Legionella-specific primers targeting 16S rRNA genes, detected four known Legionella species, as well as Legionella sequences from species that are not represented in sequence databases, in mat samples and cultivated isolates. The nonrandom occurrence of sequences detected at lower (30°C) and higher (35 to 38°C) temperatures suggests that natural thermal gradients in the stream influence Legionella species distributions in this mat community. We detected only one sequence, Legionella micdadei, from cultivated isolates. We cultured and sequenced partial 18S rRNA gene regions from two potential hosts, Acanthamoeba and Euglena species.




Sheehan, K. B., Henson, J. M., & Ferris, M. J. (2005). Legionella species diversity in an acidic biofilm community in Yellowstone National Park. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71(1), 507–511. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.71.1.507-511.2005

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