Theses and Dissertations


Seungho Kang

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Brown, Matthew W.

Committee Member

Spiegel, Fredrick

Committee Member

Jordan, Heather

Committee Member

Range, Ryan C.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 2 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


Amoebozoa is the eukaryotic supergroup sister to Obazoa, the lineage that contains the animals (including us humans) and Fungi. Amoebozoa is extraordinarily diverse, encompassing important model organisms and significant pathogens. Although amoebozoans are integral to global nutrient cycles and present in nearly all environments, they remain vastly understudied. Here we have isolated a naked eukaryotic amoeba with filose subpseudopodia, and a simple life cycle consisting of a trophic amoeba and a cyst stage. Using a wholistic approach including light, electron, fluorescence microscopy and SSU rDNA, we find that this amoeboid organism fails to match any previously described eukaryote genus. Our isolate amoebae are most similar to some variosean amoebae which also possess acutely pointed filose subpseudopodia. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian tree of the SSU-rDNA gene places our isolate in Variosea of Amoebozoa as a novel lineage with high statistical support closely related to the highly diverse protosteloid amoebae Protostelium. This novel variosean is herein named “Hodorica filosa” n. g. n. sp. We present a robust phylogeny of Amoebozoa based on a broad representative set of taxa in a phylogenomic framework (325 genes). By sampling 61 taxa using culture-based and single-cell transcriptomics, our analyses show two major clades of Amoebozoa, Discosea and Tevosa. Overall, the main macroevolutionary patterns in Amoebozoa appear to result from the parallel losses of homologous characters of a multiphase life cycle that included flagella, sex, and sporocarps rather than independent acquisition of convergent features Integrins are transmembrane receptors that activate signal transduction pathways upon extracellular matrix binding. The Integrin Mediated Adhesion Complex (IMAC), mediates various cell physiological processes and are key elements that are associated animal multicellularity. The IMAC was thought to be specific to animals. Over the last decade however, the IMAC complexes were discovered throughout Obazoa. We show the presence of an ancestral complex of integrin adhesion proteins that predate the evolution of the Amoebozoa. Co-option of an ancient protein complex was key to the emergence of animal multicellularity. The role of the IMAC in a unicellular context is unknown but must also play a critical role for at least some unicellular organisms.