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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2007 Jan;59(1):64-70.

Evidence for chemoautotrophic symbiosis in a Mediterranean cold seep clam (Bivalvia: Lucinidae): comparative sequence analysis of bacterial 16S rRNA, APS reductase and RubisCO genes.

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UMR 7138, Adaptation aux milieux extrêmes, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.


Symbioses between lucinid clams (Bivalvia: Lucinidae) and autotrophic sulphide-oxidizing bacteria have mainly been studied in shallow coastal species, and information regarding deep-sea species is scarce. Here we study the symbiosis of a clam, resembling Lucinoma kazani, which was recently collected in sediment cores from new cold-seep sites in the vicinity of the Nile deep-sea fan, eastern Mediterranean, at depths ranging from 507 to 1691 m. A dominant bacterial phylotype, related to the sulphide-oxidizing symbiont of Lucinoma aequizonata, was identified in gill tissue by comparative 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. A second phylotype, related to spirochete sequences, was identified twice in a library of 94 clones. Comparative analyses of gene sequences encoding the APS reductase alpha subunit and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase support the hypothesis that the dominant symbiont can perform sulphide oxidation and autotrophy. Transmission electron micrographs of gills confirmed the dominance of sulphide-oxidizing bacteria, which display typical vacuoles, and delta(13)C values measured in gill and foot tissue further support the hypothesis for a chemoautotrophic-sourced host carbon nutrition.

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