Actinobacteria exclusively within the sub-class Acidimicrobidae were shown by 16S rDNA community analysis to be major components of the bacterial community associated with two sponge species in the genus Xestospongia. Four groups of Actinobacteria were identified in Xestospongia spp., with three of these four groups being found in both Xestospongia muta from Key Largo, Florida and Xestospongia testudinaria from Manado, Indonesia. This suggests that these groups are true symbionts in these sponges and may play a common role in both the Pacific and Atlantic sponge species. The fourth group was found only in X. testudinaria and was a novel assemblage distantly related to any previously sequenced actinobacterial clones. The only actinobacteria that were obtained in initial culturing attempts were Gordonia, Micrococcus and Brachybacterium spp., none of which were represented in the clone libraries. The closest cultured actinobacteria to all the Acidimicrobidae clones from Xestospongia spp. are ‘Microthrix parvicella’ and Acidimicrobium spp. Xestospongia spp. can now be targeted as source material from which to culture novel Acidimicrobidae to investigate their potential as producers of bioactive compounds. Isolation of sponge-associated Acidimicrobidae will also make it possible to elucidate their role as sponge symbionts.
Keywords16S rDNA Acidimicrobium Actinobacteria Marine Sponge
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