Molecular identification of methane monooxygenase and quantitative analysis of methanotrophic endosymbionts under laboratory maintenance in Bathymodiolus platifrons from the South China Sea.
ABSTRACT: Deep-sea mussels of the genus Bathymodiolus are numerically dominant macrofauna in many cold seep and hydrothermal vent ecosystems worldwide, and they depend on organic carbon produced by symbionts present in the epithelial cells of the gills. Although Bathymodiolus platifrons represents typical methanotrophic endosymbiosis, our understanding of molecular mechanisms of methane oxidization and carbon fixation is still in its infancy. Moreover, the laboratory maintenance of B. platifrons and the symbiont abundance dynamics during maintenance has not been reported. In the present study, we report the first systematic identification and phylogenetic analysis of three subunits of methane monooxygenase (pmoA, pmoB, and pmoC) obtained from the endosymbiotic bacteria found in B. platifrons. The coding sequences (CDS) of the three genes in the B. platifrons endosymbiont were 750, 1,245, and 753 bp, encoding 249, 414, and 250 amino acids, respectively. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis revealed that the symbiont of B. platifrons belongs to the type I methanotrophs. In order to clarify the impact of environmental methane on symbiont abundance, a 34-day laboratory maintenance experiment was conducted in which B. platifrons individuals were acclimatized to methane-present and methane-absent environments. Symbiont abundance was evaluated by calculating the relative DNA content of the methane monooxygenase gene using quantitative real-time PCR. We found that symbiont quantity immediately decreased from its initial level, then continued to gradually decline during maintenance. At 24 and 34 days of maintenance, symbiont abundance in the methane-absent environment had significantly decreased compared to that in the methane-present environment, indicating that the maintenance of symbionts relies on a continuous supply of methane. Our electron microscopy results validated the qPCR analysis. This study enriches our knowledge of the molecular basis and the dynamic changes of the methanotrophic endosymbiosis in B. platifrons, and provides a feasible model biosystem for further investigation of methane oxidization, the carbon fixation process, and environmental adaptations of deep-sea mussels.
Project description:Sterols are key cyclic triterpenoid lipid components of eukaryotic cellular membranes, which are synthesized through complex multi-enzyme pathways. Similar to most animals, Bathymodiolus mussels, which inhabit deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystems and harbor methanotrophic and/or thiotrophic bacterial endosymbionts, possess cholesterol as their main sterol. Based on the stable carbon isotope analyses, it has been suggested that host Bathymodiolus mussels synthesize cholesterol using a sterol intermediate derived from the methanotrophic endosymbionts. To test this hypothesis, we sequenced the genome of the methanotrophic endosymbiont in Bathymodiolus platifrons. The genome sequence data demonstrated that the endosymbiont potentially generates up to 4,4-dimethyl-cholesta-8,14,24-trienol, a sterol intermediate in cholesterol biosynthesis, from methane. In addition, transcripts for a subset of the enzymes of the biosynthetic pathway to cholesterol downstream from a sterol intermediate derived from methanotroph endosymbionts were detected in our transcriptome data for B. platifrons. These findings suggest that this mussel can de novo synthesize cholesterol from methane in cooperation with the symbionts. By in situ hybridization analyses, we showed that genes associated with cholesterol biosynthesis from both host and endosymbionts were expressed exclusively in the gill epithelial bacteriocytes containing endosymbionts. Thus, cholesterol production is probably localized within these specialized cells of the gill. Considering that the host mussel cannot de novo synthesize cholesterol and depends largely on endosymbionts for nutrition, the capacity of endosymbionts to synthesize sterols may be important in establishing symbiont-host relationships in these chemosynthetic mussels.
Project description:Deep-sea mussels of the genus Bathymodiolus (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) harbor symbiotic bacteria in their gills and are among the dominant invertebrate species at cold seeps and hydrothermal vents. An undescribed Bathymodiolus species was collected at a depth of 3,150 m in a newly discovered cold seep area on the southeast Atlantic margin, close to the Zaire channel. Transmission electron microscopy, comparative 16S rRNA analysis, and fluorescence in situ hybridization indicated that this Bathymodiolus sp. lives in a dual symbiosis with sulfide- and methane-oxidizing bacteria. A distinct distribution pattern of the symbiotic bacteria in the gill epithelium was observed, with the thiotrophic symbiont dominating the apical region and the methanotrophic symbiont more abundant in the basal region of the bacteriocytes. No variations in this distribution pattern or in the relative abundances of the two symbionts were observed in mussels collected from three different mussel beds with methane concentrations ranging from 0.7 to 33.7 microM. The 16S rRNA sequence of the methanotrophic symbiont is most closely related to those of known methanotrophic symbionts from other bathymodiolid mussels. Surprisingly, the thiotrophic Bathymodiolus sp. 16S rRNA sequence does not fall into the monophyletic group of sequences from thiotrophic symbionts of all other Bathymodiolus hosts. While these mussel species all come from vents, this study describes the first thiotrophic sequence from a seep mussel and shows that it is most closely related (99% sequence identity) to an environmental clone sequence obtained from a hydrothermal plume near Japan.
Project description:Bathymodiolid mussels dominate hydrothermal vents, cold methane/sulfide-hydrocarbon seeps, and other sites of organic enrichment. Here, we aimed to explore the innate immune system and detoxification mechanism of the deep sea mussel Bathymodiolus platifrons collected from a methane seep in the South China Sea. We sequenced the transcriptome of the mussels' gill, foot and mantle tissues and generated a transcriptomic database containing 96,683 transcript sequences. Based on GO and KEGG annotations, we reported transcripts that were related to the innate immune system, heavy metal detoxification and sulfide metabolic genes. Our in-depth analysis on the isoforms of peptidoglycan recognition protein (PGRP) that have different cellular location and potentially differential selectivity towards peptidoglycan (PGN) from gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria were differentially expressed in different tissues. We also reported a potentially novel form of metallothionein and the production of phytochelatin in B. platifrons, which has not been reported in any of its coastal relative Mytilus mussel species. Overall, the present study provided new insights into heavy metal and sulfide metabolism in B. platifrons and can be served as the basis for future molecular studies on host-symbiont interactions in cold seep mussels.
Project description:Mussels of the genus Bathymodiolus are among the most widespread colonizers of hydrothermal vent and cold seep environments, sustained by endosymbiosis with chemosynthetic bacteria. Presumed species of Bathymodiolus are abundant at newly discovered cold seeps on the Mid-Atlantic continental slope, however morphological taxonomy is challenging, and their phylogenetic affinities remain unestablished. Here we used mitochondrial sequence to classify species found at three seep sites (Baltimore Canyon seep (BCS; ~400m); Norfolk Canyon seep (NCS; ~1520m); and Chincoteague Island seep (CTS; ~1000m)). Mitochondrial COI (N = 162) and ND4 (N = 39) data suggest that Bathymodiolus childressi predominates at these sites, although single B. mauritanicus and B. heckerae individuals were detected. As previous work had suggested that methanotrophic and thiotrophic interactions can both occur at a site, and within an individual mussel, we investigated the symbiont communities in gill tissues of a subset of mussels from BCS and NCS. We constructed metabarcode libraries with four different primer sets spanning the 16S gene. A methanotrophic phylotype dominated all gill microbial samples from BCS, but sulfur-oxidizing Campylobacterota were represented by a notable minority of sequences from NCS. The methanotroph phylotype shared a clade with globally distributed Bathymodiolus spp. symbionts from methane seeps and hydrothermal vents. Two distinct Campylobacterota phylotypes were prevalent in NCS samples, one of which shares a clade with Campylobacterota associated with B. childressi from the Gulf of Mexico and the other with Campylobacterota associated with other deep-sea fauna. Variation in chemosynthetic symbiont communities among sites and individuals has important ecological and geochemical implications and suggests shifting reliance on methanotrophy. Continued characterization of symbionts from cold seeps will provide a greater understanding of the ecology of these unique environments as well and their geochemical footprint in elemental cycling and energy flux.
Project description:Deep-sea Bathymodiolus mussels, depending on species and location, have the capacity to host sulfur-oxidizing (thiotrophic) and methanotrophic eubacteria in gill bacteriocytes, although little is known about the mussels' mode of symbiont acquisition. Previous studies of Bathymodiolus host and symbiont relationships have been based on collections of nonoverlapping species across wide-ranging geographic settings, creating an apparent model for vertical transmission. We present genetic and cytological evidence for the environmental acquisition of thiotrophic endosymbionts by vent mussels from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Open pit structures in cell membranes of the gill surface revealed likely sites for endocytosis of free-living bacteria. A population genetic analysis of the thiotrophic symbionts exploited a hybrid zone where two Bathymodiolus species intergrade. Northern Bathymodiolus azoricus and southern Bathymodiolus puteoserpentis possess species-specific DNA sequences that identify both their symbiont strains (internal transcribed spacer regions) and their mitochondria (ND4). However, the northern and southern symbiont-mitochondrial pairs were decoupled in the hybrid zone. Such decoupling of symbiont-mitochondrial pairs would not occur if the two elements were transmitted strictly vertically through the germ line. Taken together, these findings are consistent with an environmental source of thiotrophic symbionts in Bathymodiolus mussels, although an environmentally "leaky" system of vertical transmission could not be excluded.
Project description:Deep-sea mussels of the subfamily Bathymodiolinae are common and numerically dominant species widely distributed in cold seeps and hydrothermal vents. During long-time evolution, deep-sea mussels have evolved to be well adapted to the local environment of cold seeps and hydrothermal vents by various ways, especially by establishing endosymbiosis with chemotrophic bacteria. However, biological processes underlying the establishment and maintenance of symbiosis between host mussels and symbionts are largely unclear. In the present study, Gigantidas platifrons genes possibly involved in the symbiosis with methane oxidation symbionts were identified and characterized by Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) pull-down and in situ hybridization. Five immune related proteins including Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), integrin, vacuolar sorting protein (VSP), matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP1), and leucine-rich repeat (LRR-1) were identified by LPS pull-down assay. These five proteins were all conserved in either molecular sequences or functional domains and known to be key molecules in host immune recognition, phagocytosis, and lysosome-mediated digestion. Furthermore, in situ hybridization of LRR-1, TLR2 and VSP genes was conducted to investigate their expression patterns in gill tissues of G. platifrons. Consequently, LRR-1, TLR2, and VSP genes were found expressed exclusively in the bacteriocytes of G. platifrons. Therefore, it was suggested that TLR2, integrin, VSP, MMP1, and LRR-1 might be crucial molecules in the symbiosis between G. platifrons and methane oxidation bacteria by participating in symbiosis-related immune processes.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The deep-sea hydrothermal vent mussel Bathymodiolus azoricus harbors thiotrophic and methanotrophic symbiotic bacteria in its gills. While the symbiotic relationship between this hydrothermal mussel and these chemoautotrophic bacteria has been described, the molecular processes involved in the cross-talking between symbionts and host, in the maintenance of the symbiois, in the influence of environmental parameters on gene expression, and in transcriptome variation across individuals remain poorly understood. In an attempt to understand how, and to what extent, this double symbiosis affects host gene expression, we used a transcriptomic approach to identify genes potentially regulated by symbiont characteristics, environmental conditions or both. This study was done on mussels from two contrasting populations. RESULTS: Subtractive libraries allowed the identification of about 1000 genes putatively regulated by symbiosis and/or environmental factors. Microarray analysis showed that 120 genes (3.5% of all genes) were differentially expressed between the Menez Gwen (MG) and Rainbow (Rb) vent fields. The total number of regulated genes in mussels harboring a high versus a low symbiont content did not differ significantly. With regard to the impact of symbiont content, only 1% of all genes were regulated by thiotrophic (SOX) and methanotrophic (MOX) bacteria content in MG mussels whereas 5.6% were regulated in mussels collected at Rb. MOX symbionts also impacted a higher proportion of genes than SOX in both vent fields. When host transcriptome expression was analyzed with respect to symbiont gene expression, it was related to symbiont quantity in each field. CONCLUSIONS: Our study has produced a preliminary description of a transcriptomic response in a hydrothermal vent mussel host of both thiotrophic and methanotrophic symbiotic bacteria. This model can help to identify genes involved in the maintenance of symbiosis or regulated by environmental parameters. Our results provide evidence of symbiont effect on transcriptome regulation, with differences related to type of symbiont, even though the relative percentage of genes involved remains limited. Differences observed between the vent site indicate that environment strongly influences transcriptome regulation and impacts both activity and relative abundance of each symbiont. Among all these genes, those participating in recognition, the immune system, oxidative stress, and energy metabolism constitute new promising targets for extended studies on symbiosis and the effect of environmental parameters on the symbiotic relationships in B. azoricus.
Project description:The aim of this study was first to identify lysozymes paralogs in the deep sea mussel Bathymodiolus azoricus then to measure their relative expression or activity in different tissue or conditions. B. azoricus is a bivalve that lives close to hydrothermal chimney in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR). They harbour in specialized gill cells two types of endosymbiont (gram-bacteria): sulphide oxidizing bacteria (SOX) and methanotrophic bacteria (MOX). This association is thought to be ruled by specific mechanism or actors of regulation to deal with the presence of symbiont but these mechanisms are still poorly understood. Here, we focused on the implication of lysozyme, a bactericidal enzyme, in this endosymbiosis. The relative expression of Ba-lysozymes paralogs and the global anti-microbial activity, were measured in natural population (Lucky Strike--1700 m, Mid-Atlantic Ridge), and in in situ experimental conditions. B. azoricus individuals were moved away from the hydrothermal fluid to induce a loss of symbiont. Then after 6 days some mussels were brought back to the mussel bed to induce a re-acquisition of symbiotic bacteria. Results show the presence of 6 paralogs in B. azoricus. In absence of symbionts, 3 paralogs are up-regulated while others are not differentially expressed. Moreover the global activity of lysozyme is increasing with the loss of symbiont. All together these results suggest that lysozyme may play a crucial role in symbiont regulation.
Project description:The hydrothermal vent mussel Bathymodiolus puteoserpentis (Mytilidae) from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge hosts symbiotic sulfur- and methane-oxidizing bacteria in its gills. In this study, we investigated the activity and distribution of these two symbionts in juvenile mussels from the Logatchev hydrothermal vent field (14°45'N Mid-Atlantic Ridge). Expression patterns of two key genes for chemosynthesis were examined: pmoA (encoding subunit A of the particulate methane monooxygenase) as an indicator for methanotrophy, and aprA (encoding the subunit A of the dissimilatory adenosine-5'-phosphosulfate reductase) as an indicator for thiotrophy. Using simultaneous fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of rRNA and mRNA we observed highest mRNA FISH signals toward the ciliated epithelium where seawater enters the gills. The levels of mRNA expression differed between individual specimens collected in a single grab from the same sampling site, whereas no obvious differences in symbiont abundance or distribution were observed. We propose that the symbionts respond to the steep temporal and spatial gradients in methane, reduced sulfur compounds and oxygen by modifying gene transcription, whereas changes in symbiont abundance and distribution take much longer than regulation of mRNA expression and may only occur in response to long-term changes in vent fluid geochemistry.
Project description:Background:The deep-sea mussels Bathymodiolus azoricus (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) are the dominant macrofauna subsisting at the hydrothermal vents site Menez Gwen in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR). Their adaptive success in such challenging environments is largely due to their gill symbiotic association with chemosynthetic bacteria. We examined the response of vent mussels as they adapt to sea-level environmental conditions, through an assessment of the relative abundance of host-symbiont related RNA transcripts to better understand how the gill microbiome may drive host-symbiont interactions in vent mussels during hypothetical venting inactivity. Results:The metatranscriptome of B. azoricus was sequenced from gill tissues sampled at different time-points during a five-week acclimatization experiment, using Next-Generation-Sequencing. After Illumina sequencing, a total of 181,985,262 paired-end reads of 150 bp were generated with an average of 16,544,115 read per sample. Metatranscriptome analysis confirmed that experimental acclimatization in aquaria accounted for global gill transcript variation. Additionally, the analysis of 16S and 18S rRNA sequences data allowed for a comprehensive characterization of host-symbiont interactions, which included the gradual loss of gill endosymbionts and signaling pathways, associated with stress responses and energy metabolism, under experimental acclimatization. Dominant active transcripts were assigned to the following KEGG categories: "Ribosome", "Oxidative phosphorylation" and "Chaperones and folding catalysts" suggesting specific metabolic responses to physiological adaptations in aquarium environment. Conclusions:Gill metagenomics analyses highlighted microbial diversity shifts and a clear pattern of varying mRNA transcript abundancies and expression during acclimatization to aquarium conditions which indicate change in bacterial community activity. This approach holds potential for the discovery of new host-symbiont associations, evidencing new functional transcripts and a clearer picture of methane metabolism during loss of endosymbionts. Towards the end of acclimatization, we observed trends in three major functional subsystems, as evidenced by an increment of transcripts related to genetic information processes; the decrease of chaperone and folding catalysts and oxidative phosphorylation transcripts; but no change in transcripts of gluconeogenesis and co-factors-vitamins.