Chemosynthetic symbionts of marine invertebrate animals are capable of nitrogen fixation

Jillian M Petersen, Anna Kemper, Harald Gruber-Vodicka, Ulisse Cardini, Matthijs van der Geest, Manuel Kleiner, Silvia Bulgheresi, Marc Mußmann, Craig Herbold, Brandon K B Seah, Chakkiath Paul Antony, Dan Liu, Alexandra Belitz, Miriam Weber

Chemosynthetic symbioses are partnerships between invertebrate animals and chemosynthetic bacteria. The latter are the
primary producers, providing most of the organic carbon needed for the animal host’s nutrition. We sequenced genomes
of the chemosynthetic symbionts from the lucinid bivalve Loripes lucinalis and the stilbonematid nematode Laxus oneistus.
The symbionts of both host species encoded nitrogen fixation genes. This is remarkable as no marine chemosynthetic
symbiont was previously known to be capable of nitrogen fixation. We detected nitrogenase expression by the symbionts
of lucinid clams at the transcriptomic and proteomic level. Mean stable nitrogen isotope values of Loripes lucinalis were
within the range expected for fixed atmospheric nitrogen, further suggesting active nitrogen fixation by the symbionts.
The ability to fix nitrogen may be widespread among chemosynthetic symbioses in oligotrophic habitats, where nitrogen
availability often limits primary productivity.

Department für Mikrobiologie und Ökosystemforschung, Zentrum für Mikrobiologie und Umweltsystemwissenschaft
Externe Organisation(en)
Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie, Centre for Marine Biodiversity, Exploitation and Conservation (MARBEC), University of Calgary, HYDRA Centro Marino Elba, Universität Wien, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Nature Microbiology
Anzahl der Seiten
ÖFOS 2012
106005 Bioinformatik, 106026 Ökosystemforschung, 106022 Mikrobiologie, 106021 Meeresbiologie
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Microbiology (medical), Genetics, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Immunology
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 14 – Leben unter Wasser
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