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Environ Microbiol. 2006 Nov;8(11):1913-25.

Characterization of diatom-cyanobacteria symbioses on the basis of nifH, hetR and 16S rRNA sequences.

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Institute of Marine Science, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.


Richelia intracellularis is a symbiotic heterocystous cyanobacterium that is capable of forming associations with several genera of diatoms. nifH, 16S rRNA and hetR sequences were amplified and cloned from field populations of Richelia associated with Hemiaulus hauckii (N. Atlantic), with Rhizosolenia clevei (N. Pacific), and from a cultivated isolate of Calothrix associated with Chaetoceros from station ALOHA (N. Pacific). Sequence identity was highest (98.2%) among the 16S rRNA sequences, and more divergent for the hetR (83.8%) and nifH (91.1%) sequences. The hetR and nifH DNA and amino acid sequences obtained from the symbionts associated with the three different diatom genera diverged into three separate lineages supported by high bootstrap values. The data indicate that symbionts in the different hosts are distinct species or strains. Furthermore, three previously unidentified heterocystous-like nifH sequence groups recently reported from station ALOHA in the subtropical Pacific, het-1, het-2 and het-3, were linked to Richelia associated with R. clevei, H. hauckii and the Calothrix symbiont of Chaetoceros sp. respectively.

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