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German researchers say this bacteria is related to the potentially deadly lung parasites Legionella and may cause disease.

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Legionellales bacteria have long been studied by scientists due to their connection to lung disease in both humans and animals. Legionellales bacteria act as parasites within the cells of their hosts, multiplying as intracellular parasites.

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Credit: Marcel Dominik Solbach Legionellales specifically prefer setting up shop within amoebae, which may refer to any microorganism that is not closely related, but shares a variable shape and crawling locomotion by means of pseudopods.

Sure enough, the Thecofilosea indeed appear to serve as hosts.

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Among Thecofilosea amoebae from environmental samples, study authors noted Legionellales species, including two previously unknown genera and one unknown species originating from the genus Legionella. In addition, these findings suggest that many more amoebae may serve as hosts for Legionellales — and thus potentially as vectors of disease.

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Kenneth Dumack. The study appears in the journal Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.

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