Two new species of Ripella (Amoebozoa, Vannellida) and unusual intragenomic variability in the SSU rRNA gene of this genus

Eur J Protistol. 2017 Oct;61(Pt A):92-106. doi: 10.1016/j.ejop.2017.09.003. Epub 2017 Sep 14.


Two new species, Ripella decalvata and R. tribonemae (Amoebozoa, Vannellida), are described and the diversity of known strains assigned to the genus analyzed. Ripella spp. are closely similar to each other in the light microscopic characters and sequences of small-subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA gene, but differences in the cell coat structure and cytochrome oxidase (COI) gene sequences are more prominent. SSU rRNA in R. platypodia CCAP1589/2, R. decalvata and R. tribonemae demonstrates an unusual pattern of intragenomic variation. Sequencing of multiple molecular clones of this gene produced numerous sequence variants in a number of specific sites. These sites were usually terminal parts of several variable helices in all studied strains. Analysis of all known Ripella strains shows that SSU rRNA sites differing between strains of different origin are mainly restricted to these areas of the gene. There are only two sites, which differ between strains, but not within genomes. This intragenomic variability of the SSU rRNA gene, seemingly characteristic of all Ripella spp., was never reported to be so extensive in Amoebozoa. The data obtained show another example of complex organization of rRNA gene cluster in protists and emphasize caution needed when interpreting the metagenomic data based on this marker.

Keywords: Amoebozoa; Molecular phylogeny; Ripella; Taxonomy; Vannellida; rRNA.

MeSH terms

  • Amoebozoa / classification*
  • Amoebozoa / cytology
  • Amoebozoa / genetics*
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / genetics
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / genetics
  • Species Specificity


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S
  • Electron Transport Complex IV