Multigene phylogeny resolves deep branching of Amoebozoa

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2015 Feb;83:293-304. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2014.08.011. Epub 2014 Aug 20.


Amoebozoa is a key phylum for eukaryote phylogeny and evolutionary history, but its phylogenetic validity has been questioned since included species are very diverse: amoebo-flagellate slime-moulds, naked and testate amoebae, and some flagellates. 18S rRNA gene trees have not firmly established its internal topology. To rectify this we sequenced cDNA libraries for seven diverse Amoebozoa and conducted phylogenetic analyses for 109 eukaryotes (17-18 Amoebozoa) using 60-188 genes. We conducted Bayesian inferences with the evolutionarily most realistic site-heterogeneous CAT-GTR-Γ model and maximum likelihood analyses. These unequivocally establish the monophyly of Amoebozoa, showing a primary dichotomy between the previously contested subphyla Lobosa and Conosa. Lobosa, the entirely non-flagellate lobose amoebae, are robustly partitioned into the monophyletic classes Tubulinea, with predominantly tube-shaped pseudopodia, and Discosea with flattened cells and different locomotion. Within Conosa 60/70-gene trees with very little missing data show a primary dichotomy between the aerobic infraphylum Semiconosia (Mycetozoa and Variosea) and secondarily anaerobic Archamoebae. These phylogenetic features are entirely congruent with the most recent major amoebozoan classification emphasising locomotion modes, pseudopodial morphology, and ultrastructure. However, 188-gene trees where proportionally more taxa have sparser gene-representation weakly place Archamoebae as sister to Macromycetozoa instead, possibly a tree reconstruction artefact of differentially missing data.

Keywords: Amoebae phylogenomics; Eukaryote-wide phylogeny; Himatismenida; Nolandella; Semiconosia; Varipodida.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amoebozoa / classification*
  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Gene Library
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phylogeny*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA