Metagenomic investigation of vestimentiferan tubeworm endosymbionts from Mid-Cayman Rise reveals new insights into metabolism and diversity
Anderson, Rika E.
Cavanaugh, Colleen M.
Huber, Julie A.
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The microbial endosymbionts of two species of vestimentiferan tubeworms (Escarpia sp. and Lamellibrachia sp.2) collected from an area of low-temperature hydrothermal diffuse vent flow at the Mid-Cayman Rise (MCR) in the Caribbean Sea were characterized using microscopy, phylogenetic analyses, and a metagenomic approach. Bacteria, with a typical Gram negative cell envelope contained within membrane-bound vacuoles, were observed within the trophosome of both tubeworm species. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene and ITS region suggested MCR individuals harbored highly similar endosymbionts that were > 98% identical, with the exception of two symbionts that showed a 60 bp insertion within the ITS region. All sequences from MCR endosymbionts formed a separate well-supported clade that diverged from those of symbionts of seep and vent vestimentiferans from the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Mediterranean Sea. The metagenomes of the symbionts of two specimens of each tubeworm species were sequenced, and two distinct Gammaproteobacteria metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of more than 4 Mbp assembled. An Average Nucleotide Identity (ANI) of 86.5% between these MAGs, together with distinct 16S rRNA gene and ITS sequences, indicate the presence of multiple endosymbiont phylotypes at the MCR, with one MAG shared between one Escarpia and two Lamellibrachia individuals, indicating these endosymbionts are not specific to either host species. Genes for sulfur and hydrogen oxidation, nitrate reduction (assimilatory and dissimilatory), glycolysis and the Krebs cycle, peptide, sugar, and lipid transporters, and both rTCA and CBB carbon fixation cycles were detected in the MAGs, highlighting key and shared functions with symbiont metagenomes of the vestimentiferans Riftia, Tevnia, and Ridgeia from the Pacific. The potential for a second hydrogen oxidation pathway (via a bidirectional hydrogenase), formate dehydrogenase, a catalase, and several additional peptide transporters were found exclusively in the MCR endosymbiont MAGs. The present study adds new evidence that tubeworm endosymbionts can potentially switch from autotrophic to heterotrophic metabolism, or may be mixotrophic, presumably while free-living, and also suggests their versatile metabolic potential may enable both the host and symbionts to exploit a wide range of environmental conditions. Together, the marked gene content and sequence dissimilarity at the rRNA operon and whole genome level between vent and seep symbionts suggest these newly described endosymbionts from the MCR belong to a novel tubeworm endosymbiont genera, introduced as Candidatus Vondammii.
© The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Microbiome 6 (2018): 19, doi:10.1186/s40168-018-0411-x.
Suggested CitationMicrobiome 6 (2018): 19
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