Animal–Bacterial Endosymbioses of Gutless Tube-Dwelling Worms in Marine Sediments

  • Takeshi Naganuma
Part of the Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology book series (COLE, volume 17)


Gutless tube-dwelling siboglinid worms of pogonophorans (also known as frenulates) and vestimentiferans depend on primary production of endosymbiotic bacteria. The endosymbionts include thiotrophs that oxidize sulfur for autotrophic production and methanotrophs that oxidize and assimilate methane. Although most of the pogonophoran and vestimentiferan tubeworms possess single thiotrophic 16S rRNA genes (16S rDNA) related to Gammaproteobacteria, some pogonohorans are known to bear single methanotroph species or even dual symbionts of thio- and methanotrophs. The vestimentiferan Lamellibrachia sp. L1 shows symbiotic 16S rDNA sequences of Alpha-, Beta-, Gamma-, and Epsilonproteobacteria, varying among specimens, with RuBisCO form II gene (cbbM) sequences related to Betaproteobacteria. An unidentified pogonophoran from the world’s deepest cold-seep at 7,326 m deep in Japan Trench hosts a symbiotic thiotroph based on 16S rDNA with the RuBisCO form I gene (cbbL). In contrast, a shallow-water pogonophoran (Oligobrachia mashikoi) in coastal Japan Sea has a methanotrophic 16S rDNA and thiotrophic cbbL, which may suggest the feature of type X methanotrophs. These observations demonstrate that pogonophoran and vestimentiferan worms have higher plasticity in bacterial symbioses than previously suspected.


Muddy Sediment Cold Seep Worm Tube Endosymbiotic Bacterium Carbonate Concretion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Biosphere ScienceHiroshima UniversityHigashi-hiroshimaJapan

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