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Oecologia. 2004 Mar;139(1):131-9. Epub 2004 Jan 28.

Potent cytotoxins produced by a microbial symbiont protect host larvae from predation.

Author information

1
Graduate College of Marine Studies, University of Delaware, Lewes, DE 19958, USA. nlopanik@umich.edu

Abstract

Larvae of the sessile marine invertebrate Bugula neritina (Bryozoa) are protected by an effective chemical defense. From the larvae, we isolated three bryostatin-class macrocyclic polyketides, including the novel bryostatin 20, that deterred feeding by a common planktivorous fish that co-occurs with B. neritina. A unique bacterial symbiont of B. neritina, Endobugula sertula, was hypothesized as the putative source of the bryostatins. We show that: (1) bryostatins are concentrated in B. neritina larvae and protect them against predation by fish; (2) the adults are not defended by bryostatins; and (3) E. sertula produces bryostatins. This study represents the first example from the marine environment of a microbial symbiont producing an anti-predator defense for its host and, in this case, specifically for the host's larval stage, which is exceptionally vulnerable to predators.

PMID:
14747940
DOI:
10.1007/s00442-004-1487-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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