Researchers at the University of Cologne took their inspiration from the popular video game “Pokemon” when naming the newly discovered species of bacteria. They called the microorganisms “Pokemonas,” the college explained. The decisive factor in choosing the name was the lifestyle of the bacteria, which are reported to be found in globular amoebas. This reminded the scientists of the little monsters from the game “Pokemon”, which – when not needed – are kept in spherical balls. In the game, these are the so-called Pokéballs.
Bacteria that can cause lung disease
The previously unknown bacterium belongs, according to the information, to the order Legionellales. Bacteria of this arrangement are being observed with interest by science, as some of them can cause lung disease in humans and animals – for example the well-known Legionnaires disease, which can be fatal. Legionella bacteria live and multiply as parasites in the host cells. In particular, they use amoebae for this purpose. The team of scientists in Cologne selected the amoebae from the group Thecofilosea to conduct their investigations.
“We wanted to test amoebae for legionellosis and chose a group of amoebae for our research that are not closely related to the hosts examined so far,” said co-researcher Marcel Dominic Solbach. Indeed, according to their own statements, scientists have succeeded in discovering different types of Legionellales in Thecofilosea amoeba – including two previously undescribed genera. They named one of them “Pokemonas” due to their lifestyle in the amoeba globular group.
Understand the methods of infection better
According to the researchers, the new findings should, among other things, help to better understand the pathways of infection in order to be able to prevent disease outbreaks in humans.