ABSTRACT. To understand the source of the multiple DNA sequence variants of Nosema bombi ribosomal RNA (rRNA) found in a single bumble bee host, we PCR amplified, cloned, and sequenced the partial rRNA gene from 125 clones, which were derived from four out of 46 spores individually isolated from a single host by laser microdissection. At least two rRNA variants, characterized by either (GTTT)2 or (GTTT)3 repeat units within the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, were found per spore in approximately equal proportions, variants which were also found in approximately equal proportions in 55 clones of the two DNA extracts of multiple spores from the same host. Firstly, we demonstrate for the first time that DNA sequences can be obtained from single-binucleate microsporidia. Secondly, it appears that concerted evolution has not homogenized the sequences of all rRNA copies within a single N. bombi spore or even within a single nucleus. We thereby demonstrate unequivocally that two or more rRNA sequence variants exist per N. bombi spore, and urge caution in the use of multicopy rRNA genes for population genetic and phylogenetic analysis of this and other Microsporidia unless homologous copies can be reliably typed.
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