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Stand Genomic Sci. 2017 Sep 2;12:50. doi: 10.1186/s40793-017-0266-y. eCollection 2017.

Genome sequence of the sulfur-oxidizing Bathymodiolus thermophilus gill endosymbiont.

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Institute of Pharmacy, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany.
Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Department of Symbiosis, Bremen, Germany.
Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
Department of Genomic and Applied Microbiology & Göttingen Genomics Laboratory, Georg August University, Göttingen, Germany.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA USA.
Imaging Center of the Department of Biology, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Biology Department, Woods Hole, MA USA.
Institute of Marine Biotechnology, Walther-Rathenau-Straße 49A, 17489 Greifswald, Germany.
Contributed equally


Bathymodiolus thermophilus, a mytilid mussel inhabiting the deep-sea hydrothermal vents of the East Pacific Rise, lives in symbiosis with chemosynthetic Gammaproteobacteria within its gills. The intracellular symbiont population synthesizes nutrients for the bivalve host using the reduced sulfur compounds emanating from the vents as energy source. As the symbiont is uncultured, comprehensive and detailed insights into its metabolism and its interactions with the host can only be obtained from culture-independent approaches such as genomics and proteomics. In this study, we report the first draft genome sequence of the sulfur-oxidizing symbiont of B. thermophilus, here tentatively named Candidatus Thioglobus thermophilus. The draft genome (3.1 Mb) harbors 3045 protein-coding genes. It revealed pathways for the use of sulfide and thiosulfate as energy sources and encodes the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle for CO2 fixation. Enzymes required for the synthesis of the tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates oxaloacetate and succinate were absent, suggesting that these intermediates may be substituted by metabolites from external sources. We also detected a repertoire of genes associated with cell surface adhesion, bacteriotoxicity and phage immunity, which may perform symbiosis-specific roles in the B. thermophilus symbiosis.


Autotrophy; Hydrothermal vents; Marine invertebrate symbiosis; Thiotrophy; Uncultured endosymbiont

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