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Environ Microbiol. 2008 Apr;10(4):1087-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2007.01515.x. Epub 2007 Dec 19.

Diversity and mode of transmission of ammonia-oxidizing archaea in marine sponges.

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Department of Microbial Ecology, University of Vienna, Althanstr. 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


The model marine crenarchaeote 'Cenarchaeum symbiosum' is until now the only ammonia-oxidizing archaeon known from a marine sponge. Here, phylogenetic analyses based on the 16S rRNA and ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA) genes revealed the presence of putative ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) in a diverse range of sponges from the western Pacific, Caribbean and Mediterranean. amoA diversity was limited even between different oceans, with many of the obtained sequences (75.9%; n(total) = 83) forming a monophyletic, apparently sponge- (and coral-) specific lineage, analogous to those previously inferred from comparative 16S rRNA gene studies of sponge-associated microbes. The presence of AOA in sponge larvae, as detected by 16S rRNA and amoA PCR assays as well as by fluorescence in situ hybridization, suggests they are vertically transmitted and thus might be of importance for ammonia detoxification within the sponge.

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