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Environ Microbiol Rep. 2015 Aug;7(4):623-33. doi: 10.1111/1758-2229.12298. Epub 2015 Jun 25.

Consortium of the 'bichlorophyllous' cyanobacterium Prochlorothrix hollandica and chemoheterotrophic partner bacteria: culture and metagenome-based description.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biology, St Petersburg State University, St Petersburg, Russia.
Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St Petersburg State University, St Petersburg, Russia.
Center for Algorithmic Biotechnology, St Petersburg State University, St Petersburg, Russia.


'Bacterial consortium' sensu lato applies to mutualism or syntrophy-based systems consisting of unrelated bacteria. Consortia of cyanobacteria have been preferentially studied on Anabaena epibioses; non-photosynthetic satellites of other filamentous or unicellular cyanobacteria were also considered although structure-functional data are few. At the same time, information about consortia of cyanobacteria which have light-harvesting antennae distinct from standard phycobilisome was missing. In this study, we characterized first, via a polyphasic approach, the cultivable consortium of Prochlorothrix hollandica CCAP 1490/1 (filamentous cyanobacterium which contains chlorophylls a, b/carotenoid/protein complex in the absence of phycobilisome) and non-photosynthetic heterotrophic bacteria. The strains of most abundant satellites were isolated and identified. Consortium metagenome reconstructed via 454-pyro and Illumina sequencing was shown to include, except for P. hollandica, several phylotypes of Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. The ratio of consortium members was essentially stable irrespective of culture age, and restored after artificially imposed imbalance. The consortium had a complex spatial arrangement as demonstrated by FISH and SEM images of the association, epibiosis, and biofilm type. Preliminary data of metagenome annotation agreed with the hypothesis that satellite bacteria contribute to P. hollandica protection from reactive oxygen species (ROS).

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