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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Mosquito and Fly Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336940

Research Project: Biting Arthropod Surveillance and Control

Location: Mosquito and Fly Research

Title: Microsporidia

item CALI, ANN - Rutgers University
item Becnel, James
item TAKVORIAN, PETER - Rutgers University

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/25/2017
Publication Date: 8/2/2017
Citation: Cali, A., Becnel, J.J., Takvorian, P.M. 2017. Microsporidia. Book Chapter. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-32669-6_27-1.

Interpretive Summary: The Microsporidia have undergone several changes in their taxonomic status. However, this group is now accepted as the Phylum Microsporidia Weiser, 1977(formerly known as Microspora and Microsporida) (Sprague and Becnel 1998). As a phylum of eukaryotic microorganisms, it has been considered a “sister” to the Fungi (Weiss and Becnel 2014; Weiss 2005; James 2006) but not in any fungal group. Microsporidiologists place them in Protista Meiosis was first reported in 1976 (Loubes et al., 1976), and has subsequently been demonstrated several times, and has been reviewed in Vavra and Sprague (1976) and Weiss and Becnel (2014).

Technical Abstract: Microsporidia are unicellular obligate intracellular spore forming eukaryotes classified among the protists. As parasites, they have been reported from every major group of animals from other protists to mammals and man. They are economically and medically important and can be found environmentally in terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems. This phylum consists of over 200 genera and approximately 1,300 species producing benign to lethal infections. While they are extremely diverse, they all share the diagnostic and unique resistant spore. It contains a polar filament complex which begins the life cycle by extruding this filament injecting the spore contents, the sporoplasm, into a host cell. As intracellular parasites they are dependent upon their host for access to nutritional products and have evolved several ways to obtain the required metabolites which in turn have reduced their need to produce many of the biochemicals necessary for their development. As a result of this reduced need to produce their own metabolites, there has been a reduction in their physiological machinery, as well as formation of unique organelles and biochemical pathways. Gene sequencing data has indicated diversity in genome size that ranges from 50+Mbp to the smallest eukaryotic genome reported to date (2.3Mbp).