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Fueled by methane: deep-sea sponges from asphalt seeps gain their nutrition from methane-oxidizing symbionts
Max Planck Inst Marine Microbiol, Celsiusstr 1, D-28359 Bremen, Germany;Israel Limnol & Oceanog Res, Tel Shikmona, IL-3108000 Haifa, Israel.
Max Planck Inst Marine Microbiol, Celsiusstr 1, D-28359 Bremen, Germany.
Max Planck Inst Marine Microbiol, Celsiusstr 1, D-28359 Bremen, Germany;Quadram Inst Biosci, Norwich Res Pk, Norwich, Norfolk, England.
Max Planck Inst Marine Microbiol, Celsiusstr 1, D-28359 Bremen, Germany.
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2019 (English)In: The ISME Journal, ISSN 1751-7362, E-ISSN 1751-7370, Vol. 13, no 5, p. 1209-1225Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sponges host a remarkable diversity of microbial symbionts, however, the benefit their microbes provide is rarely understood. Here, we describe two new sponge species from deep-sea asphalt seeps and show that they live in a nutritional symbiosis with methane-oxidizing (MOX) bacteria. Metagenomics and imaging analyses revealed unusually high amounts of MOX symbionts in hosts from a group previously assumed to have low microbial abundances. These symbionts belonged to the Marine Methylotrophic Group 2 Glade. They are host-specific and likely vertically transmitted, based on their presence in sponge embryos and streamlined genomes, which lacked genes typical of related free-living MOX. Moreover, genes known to play a role in host-symbiont interactions, such as those that encode eukaryote-like proteins, were abundant and expressed. Methane assimilation by the symbionts was one of the most highly expressed metabolic pathways in the sponges. Molecular and stable carbon isotope patterns of lipids confirmed that methane-derived carbon was incorporated into the hosts. Our results revealed that two species of sponges, although distantly related, independently established highly specific, nutritional symbioses with two closely related methanotrophs. This convergence in symbiont acquisition underscores the strong selective advantage for these sponges in harboring MOX bacteria in the food-limited deep sea.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP , 2019. Vol. 13, no 5, p. 1209-1225
National Category
Microbiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-382816DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0346-7ISI: 000464960400008PubMedID: 30647460OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-382816DiVA, id: diva2:1313733
Funder
EU, European Research Council, 340535EU, Horizon 2020German Research Foundation (DFG)Available from: 2019-05-06 Created: 2019-05-06 Last updated: 2019-05-06Bibliographically approved

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