Molecular Evidence of Chlamydia-Like Organisms in the Feces of Myotis daubentonii Bats.Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 01 15; 83(2)AE
Chlamydia-like organisms (CLOs) are recently identified members of the Chlamydiales order. CLOs share intracellular lifestyles and biphasic developmental cycles, and they have been detected in environmental samples as well as in various hosts such as amoebae and arthropods. In this study, we screened bat feces for the presence of CLOs by molecular analysis. Using pan-Chlamydiales PCR targeting the 16S rRNA gene, Chlamydiales DNA was detected in 54% of the specimens. PCR amplification, sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA and 23S rRNA genes were used to classify positive specimens and infer their phylogenetic relationships. Most sequences matched best with Rhabdochlamydia species or uncultured Chlamydia sequences identified in ticks. Another set of sequences matched best with sequences of the Chlamydia genus or uncultured Chlamydiales from snakes. To gain evidence of whether CLOs in bat feces are merely diet borne, we analyzed insects trapped from the same location where the bats foraged. Interestingly, the CLO sequences resembling Rhabdochlamydia spp. were detected in insect material as well, but the other set of CLO sequences was not, suggesting that this set might not originate from prey. Thus, bats represent another potential host for Chlamydiales and could harbor novel, previously unidentified members of this order.
Several pathogenic viruses are known to colonize bats, and recent analyses indicate that bats are also reservoir hosts for bacterial genera. Chlamydia-like organisms (CLOs) have been detected in several animal species. CLOs have high 16S rRNA sequence similarity to Chlamydiaceae and exhibit similar intracellular lifestyles and biphasic developmental cycles. Our study describes the frequent occurrence of CLO DNA in bat feces, suggesting an expanding host species spectrum for the Chlamydiales As bats can acquire various infectious agents through their diet, prey insects were also studied. We identified CLO sequences in bats that matched best with sequences in prey insects but also CLO sequences not detected in prey insects. This suggests that a portion of CLO DNA present in bat feces is not prey borne. Furthermore, some sequences from bat droppings not originating from their diet might well represent novel, previously unidentified members of the Chlamydiales order.