Abstract: Deep-sea environments are largely unexplored habitats where a surprising number of species may be found in large communities, thriving regardless of the darkness, extreme cold, and high pressure. Their unique geochemical features result in reducing environments rich in methane and sulfides, sustaining complex chemosynthetic ecosystems that represent one of the most surprising findings in oceans in the last 40 years. The deep-sea Lucky Strike hydrothermal vent field, located in the Mid Atlantic Ridge, is home to large vent mussel communities where Bathymodiolus azoricus represents the dominant faunal biomass, owing its survival to symbiotic associations with methylotrophic or methanotrophic and thiotrophic bacteria. The recent transcriptome sequencing and analysis of gill tissues from B. azoricus revealed a number of genes of bacterial origin, hereby analyzed to provide a functional insight into the gill microbial community. The transcripts supported a metabolically active microbiome and a variety of mechanisms and pathways, evidencing also the sulfur and methane metabolisms. Taxonomic affiliation of transcripts and 16S rRNA community profiling revealed a microbial community dominated by thiotrophic and methanotrophic endosymbionts of B. azoricus and the presence of a Sulfurovum-like epsilonbacterium.
Keywords: Bathymodiolus azoricus; mussel; Lucky Strike; Mid Atlantic Ridge; deep-sea; thiotrophic endosymbiont; methanotrophic endosymbiont; Sulfurovum
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Egas, C.; Pinheiro, M.; Gomes, P.; Barroso, C.; Bettencourt, R. The Transcriptome of Bathymodiolus azoricus Gill Reveals Expression of Genes from Endosymbionts and Free-Living Deep-Sea Bacteria. Mar. Drugs 2012, 10, 1765-1783.
Egas C, Pinheiro M, Gomes P, Barroso C, Bettencourt R. The Transcriptome of Bathymodiolus azoricus Gill Reveals Expression of Genes from Endosymbionts and Free-Living Deep-Sea Bacteria. Marine Drugs. 2012; 10(8):1765-1783.
Egas, Conceição; Pinheiro, Miguel; Gomes, Paula; Barroso, Cristina; Bettencourt, Raul. 2012. "The Transcriptome of Bathymodiolus azoricus Gill Reveals Expression of Genes from Endosymbionts and Free-Living Deep-Sea Bacteria." Mar. Drugs 10, no. 8: 1765-1783.