, Volume 126, Issue 3, pp 163-172
Date: 13 Jul 2007

Gill-symbiosis in mytilidae associated with wood fall environments

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Abstract

Bivalves belonging to the genera Idas and Adipicola were collected from wood fall environments in the west Pacific (Vanuatu islands) between 300 and 890 m depths in 2004. Bacterial symbionts were checked by three complementary techniques: histological and DAPI staining, in situ hybridization (FISH), and TEM. No bacteria were detected inside the gills of the two species, rejecting the endosymbiosis hypothesis. However, results from our study demonstrated the existence of ectosymbionts colonizing microvilli differentiated at the apical surface of the cells constituting the lateral zone of gill filaments. These ectosymbionts are γ-Proteobacteria due to their strong hybridization with the specific probe GAM42; in contrast no hybridization was obtained from either gills or other host tissues by using the oligonucleotide probes specific to α- β- and δ-Proteobacteria. Based on TEM observations, these Gram-negative bacterial symbionts are not methanotrophic due to the lack of concentric stacking of intracellular membranes in their cytoplasm. Such ectosymbionts may represent thioautotrophic bacteria as already described in various Mytilidae from hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. Unfortunately, no phylogenetic analysis could be done in this study to compare their DNA sequence to that of other marine invertebrate symbionts described to date.