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Bacterial partners travel around the world

Fluorescence microscopy reveals that the lucinide gills are full of symbiotic organisms. Lucinids host them in special cells called bacterial sites. Bacterial symbiosis is labeled with green and magenta, and the host nucleus is labeled with gold. Credit: Lukas Leibrecht

This year of the pandemic restricted human travel abroad. This is not the case with the fine bacteria in some parts of the ocean. They are affiliated with clams that live in the sand under the sparkling waters of coastal habitats around the world. According to a study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen and the University of Vienna PNAS, Bacterial symbiotic organisms inhabiting the gill of Lucinide travel across national borders around the world.


The Lucinidae family, or lucinids for short, is composed of about 500 species of bivalves.According to them, they are at least 400 million years old Fossil recordWe have succeeded in colonizing a variety of habitats, from beautiful beaches to deep waters that are more than 1 km below sea level and unaffected by the sun. Their ability to thrive in a wide variety of habitats is made possible by their “criminal partner”, the sulfur-oxidizing bacteria. Symbiosis It uses hydrogen sulfide, commonly known as “rotten egg gas,” as an energy source to power primary production. This process is similar to the photosynthesis used by plants, but is independent of sunlight, symbiont and lucinide itself.

Establish a partnership near or far

Finding the right partner in the wild is a matter of life and death of lucinids. They must pick up their bacterial partners at a very early life stage where they settle in the sediment after the larval stage.From this time on, they are their Bacterial symbiosis For nutrition. However, there are very few bacterial cells and the ocean is full of candidates. Animals that are heavily dependent on bacteria are usually expected to form partnerships with their local population. These microorganisms may work best under the unique conditions of the local habitat. New studies based on metagenomic analysis of symbiotic bacteria in lucinide reveal that this is not always the case. Some bacterial symbiotic bacteria travel the world and are true cosmopolitans.

Symbiotic organisms distributed worldwide

“Using state-of-the-art DNA sequencing and genomic assembly, a single bacterial symbiotic species is among the eight Lucinide species that span three oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans) across the tropics of both hemispheres. It was discovered to be the most abundant symbiotic organism. “Leticia Wilkins of the Maxplank Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany, shared the first author of the publication with Jaos Bacteria at the University of Vienna, Austria. “These symbiotic organisms are virtually everywhere.” Researchers report that other known symbiotic organisms have been so successful in dispersing and establishing symbiosis with Lucinide. They named it Candidatus Thiodiazotrophataylori. “To recognize John Taylor’s wisdom from the Natural History Museum in London. He has devoted 25 years of his life to the study of Lucinide biology and taxonomy,” Osbatik said.

“This unexpected finding disagrees with the previous notion that symbiotic organisms are locally acquired, which suggests that symbiotic organisms are much more mobile,” Osbatik said. Stated. The incredible flexibility of this partnership is beneficial to both hosts and symbionts as it increases the likelihood of finding compatible partners across diverse habitats around the world. Prior to this study, lucinid studies were primarily conducted in easily accessible locations. For the first time, teams around Wilkins and Osvatic presented an expanded global dataset. new discovery Shows how distant habitats are connected.

Symbionts sans frontieres: Bacterial partners travel around the world

Lucinids are the most species-rich and widely distributed family of marine bivalves that host bacterial endosymbiotic organisms. In this photo, a large specimen of Ctena imbricatula checks the environment with its feet, which can be magnified 10 times the size of its body. Credits: Laetitia Wilkins

Scientists working together to find living things to work with

Like the relationship between symbiotic organisms and clams, this discovery would not have been possible without scientists reaching out and working together around the world. Benedict Yuen of the University of Vienna, the lead author of the treatise, said: “Through John Taylor, I was able to access various Lucinido samples at the Natural History Museum in London. Samples were personally collected by Matthieu Leray in Panama, Yolanda Camacho in Costa Rica, Olivier Gross in Guadeloupe, and Jan. A. Vangils of Mauritania. “

Symbionts sans frontieres: Bacterial partners travel around the world

This is the favorite place for the surveyed clams to live: the Bocas del Toro seaweed in Panama (Thalassia testudinum) Lucinid habitat characterized by sand patches in the bed. Credits: Laetitia Wilkins

Also discovered: two new species of cozy unity

In addition, extensive data collection by Wilkins, Osbatik and his team has uncovered two new Lucinide symbiotic organisms. These are described and named after Miriam Weber and Christian Lott, former researchers at the Maxplank Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen. .. These symbiotic organisms (now known as Thiodioazotropha weberae and lotti) are found in the clams Loripes orbiculatus on the island of Elba, Italy, and coexist peacefully in the gills of the same host. “Before genomic analysis was used, it was assumed that each clam hosted only one species of symbiotic organism,” Wilkins explained. “But many clams on Elba Island are home to two symbiotic species. Miriam and Christians have found a population of this clam in the Bay of Fetobaia. We have collected a very strong data set on this symbiosis. Thanks to them, we were able to do it. “

Next, researchers want to know how symbiotic organisms move. “They leave the bivalve house and cross the globe,” added co-author Gillian Petersen. “Not only beneficial symbiotic organisms such as Candidatus T. taylori, but also pathogens can spread to the environment, but usually we don’t know how.”


“Agricultural” bacteria that promote growth in the ocean


For more information:
Jay T. Osvatic et al. , “Global biogeography of chemosynthetic symbiotic organisms reveals both locally and globally distributed symbiotic groups.” PNAS (2021). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.2104378118

Provided by
Max Planck Society

Quote: Symbionts sans frontieres: Bacterial partners travel around the world (July 12, 2021) July 12, 2021 https://phys.org/news/2021-07-symbionts-sans-frontieres-bacterial- Obtained from partners.html

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Bacterial partners travel around the world

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