Chemoautotrophic symbionts in the gills of the bivalve mollusc Lucinoma borealis and the sediment chemistry of its habitat.
ABSTRACT Lucinoma borealis has enlarged gills, which contain numerous prokaryotes in specialized cells (bacteriocytes) in the subfilamentar region. The gills also contain high concentrations of elemental sulphur and of a c-type cytochrome. Homogenates of gill tissue show ribulosebisphosphate carboxylase and phosphoribulokinase activity; they also show activity for adenylylsulphate reductase, an enzyme concerned in the oxidation of sulphur, and will phosphorylate ADP on the addition of sulphite or sulphide. Fixation of bicarbonate by gill tissue from starved animals is enhanced in the presence of 100 µM sulphide. The sediment in which the animals live contains 1-6 $\mu $g atoms per litre of dissolved iron and hence there is very little dissolved sulphide, 200 nM, or less (80 nmol dm-3 sediment). Thiosulphate concentrations are also low, 300 nM, or less (120 nmol dm-3 sediment). In contrast, there are acid-labile sulphide concentrations up to 14 mmol dm-3 and elemental sulphur concentrations up to 4 mg atom per cubic decimetre of sediment. The mean sulphate reduction rate in the sediment varied seasonally with temperature over the range 1640-4920 nmol sulphate reduced per hour per cubic decimetre. L. borealis was usually found below the region of maximum sulphate reduction. Hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide concentrations were all 160 nmol dm-3, or less. Despite the low levels of dissolved sulphide the association between prokaryote and host appears to be able to exploit this habitat by the oxidation of reduced sulphur species; ways in which the bivalve may be able to extract these from the sediment are discussed. The bivalves may obtain half their carbon from the autotrophic prokaryotes.
Article: Effects of long-term starvation on a host bivalve (Codakia orbicularis, Lucinidae) and its symbiont population.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The bivalve Codakia orbicularis, hosting sulfur-oxidizing gill endosymbionts, was starved (in artificial seawater filtered through a 0.22-mum-pore-size membrane) for a long-term experiment (4 months). The effects of starvation were observed using transmission electron microscopy, fluorescence in situ hybridization and catalyzed reporter deposition (CARD-FISH), and flow cytometry to monitor the anatomical and physiological modifications in the gill organization of the host and in the symbiotic population housed in bacteriocytes. The abundance of the symbiotic population decreased through starvation, with a loss of one-third of the bacterial population each month, as shown by CARD-FISH. At the same time, flow cytometry revealed significant changes in the physiology of symbiotic cells, with a decrease in cell size and modifications to the nucleic acid content, while most of the symbionts maintained a high respiratory activity (measured using the 5-cyano-2,3-ditolyl tetrazolium chloride method). Progressively, the number of symbiont subpopulations was reduced, and the subsequent multigenomic state, characteristic of this symbiont in freshly collected clams, turned into one and five equivalent genome copies for the two remaining subpopulations after 3 months. Concomitant structural modifications appeared in the gill organization. Lysosymes became visible in the bacteriocytes, while large symbionts disappeared, and bacteriocytes were gradually replaced by granule cells throughout the entire lateral zone. Those data suggested that host survival under these starvation conditions was linked to symbiont digestion as the main nutritional source.Applied and environmental microbiology 05/2009; 75(10):3304-13. · 3.69 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Most of the world's biodiversity occurs within developing countries that require donor support to build their conservation capacity. Unfortunately, some of these countries experience high levels of political corruption, which may limit the success of conservation projects by reducing effective funding levels and distorting priorities. We investigated whether changes in three well surveyed and widespread components of biodiversity were associated with national governance scores and other socio-economic measures. Here we show that governance scores were correlated with changes in total forest cover, but not with changes in natural forest cover. We found strong associations between governance scores and changes in the numbers of African elephants and black rhinoceroses, and these socio-economic factors explained observed patterns better than any others. Finally, we show that countries rich in species and identified as containing priority areas for conservation have lower governance scores than other nations. These results stress the need for conservationists to develop and implement policies that reduce the effects of political corruption and, in this regard, we question the universal applicability of an influential approach to conservation that seeks to ban international trade in endangered species.Nature 12/2003; 426(6962):67-70. · 36.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Many aquatic animal species can survive sulfide exposure to some extent through oxidation of the sulfide, which results mainly in thiosulfate. In several species, sulfide oxidation is localized in the mitochondria and is accompanied by ATP synthesis. In addition, blood-based and intracellular compounds can augment sulfide oxidation. The formation of thiosulfate requires oxygen, which results in an increase in oxygen consumption of some species. If not all sulfide is detoxified, cytochrome C oxidase is inhibited. Under these conditions, a sulfide-dependent anaerobic energy metabolism commences.Annual Review of Physiology 02/1998; 60:33-53. · 20.83 Impact Factor