Lophomonas blattarum is a facultative commensal gut dweller of common pest cockroaches. Its cells are roughly spherical in shape with an apical tuft of ~50 flagella. Controversially, it has been implicated in human respiratory infections based on light microscopic observations of similarly shaped cells in sputum or bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Here, we have sequenced the 18S rRNA gene of L. blattarum and its sole congener, Lophomonas striata, isolated from cockroaches. Both species branch in a fully supported clade with Trichonymphida, consistent with a previous study of L. striata, but not consistent with sequences from human samples attributed to L. blattarum.
Keywords: Tetratrichomonas; dyspnea; empyema; flagellate; hypermastigote; lophomoniasis; pleural trichomonosis; symbiosis; trichomonad.
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