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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 Jul;62(7):2324-30.

Environmental transmission of a sulfur-oxidizing bacterial gill endosymbiont in the tropical lucinid bivalve Codakia orbicularis.

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  • 1Département de Biologie, Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, Pointe-à-Pitre, French West Indies.


Codakia orbicularis is a large tropical member of the bivalve mollusk family Lucinidae which inhabits shallow-water sea-grass beds (Thalassia testudinum environment) and harbors sulfur-oxidixing endosymbiotic bacteria within bacteriocytes of its gill filaments. When a C. orbicularis-specific 16S rDNA (DNA encoding rRNA) primer is used with a bacterium-specific 16S rDNA reverse primer in amplifications by PCR, the primer set was unsuccessful in amplifying symbiont DNA targets from ovaries, eggs, veligers, and metamorphosed juveniles (600 microns to 1 mm in shell length) cultivated in sterile sand, whereas successful amplifications were obtained from gill tissue of adult specimens and from metamorphosed juveniles (600 microns to 1 mm in shell length) cultivated in unsterilized sea-grass bed sand. To ascertain the presence of the symbiont target in juveniles, restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, Southern blotting, and transmission electron microscopy were used. Specific hybridizations and observation of endosymbiotic bacteria in the gills of numerous juveniles cultivated in unsterilized sea-grass bed sand showed that the sulfur-oxidizing endosymbionts of C. orbicularis are environmentally transmitted to the new generation after larval metamorphosis.

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