Isolation and identification of an epibiotic bacterium associated with heterocystous Anabaena cells
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Heterotrophic bacteria are commonly found in close associations with photosynthetic cyanobacteria in aquatic ecosystems. Some of these associations can be species-specific and mutualistic, resulting in optimal growth and nitrogen-fixing potential for the cyanobacteria. A two-membered culture, consisting of a heterotrophic, epibiotic bacterium attached to an Anabaena sp. was studied in the work reported here. The epibiotic bacterium was grown in pure culture, and both organisms were identified on the basis of their 16S rRNA gene sequence. The specificity of the epibiont for the Anabaena sp. heterocysts was confirmed by re-association experiments. The epibiont is a member of the Alphaproteobacteria in the order Rhizobiales, with close relatives that include a group of aerobic anoxygenic photosynthetic marine isolates commonly associated with dinoflagellate phytoplankton. The close association of the epibiotic bacterium with its Anabaena host, and its phylogenic affiliation allude to the evolutionary history of association with photosynthetic organisms for a group of Rhizobia and warrant further investigation.
Author Posting. © Marine Biological Laboratory, 2006. This article is posted here by permission of Marine Biological Laboratory for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Biological Bulletin 210 (2006): 73-77.