Physiological Homogeneity Among the Endosymbionts of Riftia Pachyptila and Tevnia Jerichonana Revealed by Proteogenomics

ISME J. 2012 Apr;6(4):766-76. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2011.137. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

Abstract

The two closely related deep-sea tubeworms Riftia pachyptila and Tevnia jerichonana both rely exclusively on a single species of sulfide-oxidizing endosymbiotic bacteria for their nutrition. They do, however, thrive in markedly different geochemical conditions. A detailed proteogenomic comparison of the endosymbionts coupled with an in situ characterization of the geochemical environment was performed to investigate their roles and expression profiles in the two respective hosts. The metagenomes indicated that the endosymbionts are genotypically highly homogeneous. Gene sequences coding for enzymes of selected key metabolic functions were found to be 99.9% identical. On the proteomic level, the symbionts showed very consistent metabolic profiles, despite distinctly different geochemical conditions at the plume level of the respective hosts. Only a few minor variations were observed in the expression of symbiont enzymes involved in sulfur metabolism, carbon fixation and in the response to oxidative stress. Although these changes correspond to the prevailing environmental situation experienced by each host, our data strongly suggest that the two tubeworm species are able to effectively attenuate differences in habitat conditions, and thus to provide their symbionts with similar micro-environments.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Carbon Cycle
  • Metagenomics / methods
  • Polychaeta / microbiology*
  • Polychaeta / physiology*
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Symbiosis