Marine Biology

, Volume 136, Issue 6, pp 969-977

First online:

Identification of the antifungal peptide-containing symbiont of the marine sponge Theonella swinhoei as a novel δ-proteobacterium, “Candidatus Entotheonella palauensis”

  • E. W. SchmidtAffiliated withScripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0202, USA Fax: 001 (0)858 534-7313 e-mail: mhaygood@ucsd.edu
  • , A. Y. ObraztsovaAffiliated withScripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0202, USA Fax: 001 (0)858 534-7313 e-mail: mhaygood@ucsd.edu
  • , S. K. DavidsonAffiliated withScripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0202, USA Fax: 001 (0)858 534-7313 e-mail: mhaygood@ucsd.edu
  • , D. J. FaulknerAffiliated withScripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0202, USA Fax: 001 (0)858 534-7313 e-mail: mhaygood@ucsd.edu
  • , M. G. HaygoodAffiliated withScripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0202, USA Fax: 001 (0)858 534-7313 e-mail: mhaygood@ucsd.edu

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Abstract

 The Palauan sponge Theonella swinhoei (class Demospongiae, order Lithistida, family Theonellidae) harbors filamentous bacterial symbionts that contain theopalauamide, an antifungal, bicyclic glycopeptide. In this study, the filamentous symbionts were shown to be novel bacteria belonging to the δ-subdivision of proteobacteria. The 16S rRNA gene sequence was determined using a combination of denaturing gradient-gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and specific polymerase chain-reaction (PCR) primers, and its source was confirmed by in situ hybridization. In a series of culture experiments, the filamentous bacteria were propagated in a mixed culture on agar plates. Related 16S rRNA gene sequences were isolated from related sponges with slightly different chemistry. The taxonomic status “Candidatus Entotheonella palauensis” is proposed for the theopalauamide-containing filamentous bacteria from T. swinhoei.