Author(s): Meyer B, Kuever J
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE)-based analyses of 16S rRNA, aprA, and amoA genes demonstrated that a phylogenetically diverse and complex microbial community was associated with the Caribbean deep-water sponge Polymastia cf. corticata Ridley and Dendy, 1887. From the 38 archaeal and bacterial 16S rRNA phylotypes identified, 53\% branched into the sponge-specific, monophyletic sequence clusters determined by previous studies (considering predominantly shallow-water sponge species), whereas 26\% appeared to be P. cf. corticata specifically associated microorganisms ("specialists"); 21\% of the phylotypes were confirmed to represent seawater- and sediment-derived proteobacterial species ("contaminants") acquired by filtration processes from the host environment. Consistently, the aprA and amoA gene-based analyses indicated the presence of environmentally derived sulfur- and ammonia-oxidizers besides putative sponge-specific sulfur-oxidizing Gammaproteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria and a sulfate-reducing archaeon. A sponge-specific, endosymbiotic sulfur cycle as described for marine oligochaetes is proposed to be also present in P. cf. corticata. Overall, the results of this work support the recent studies that demonstrated the sponge species specificity of the associated microbial community while the biogeography of the host collection site has only a minor influence on the composition. In P. cf. corticata, the specificity of the sponge-microbe associations is even extended to the spatial distribution of the microorganisms within the sponge body; distinct bacterial populations were associated with the different tissue sections, papillae, outer and inner cortex, and choanosome. The local distribution of a phylotype within P. cf. corticata correlated with its (1) phylogenetic affiliation, (2) classification as sponge-specific or nonspecifically associated microorganism, and (3) potential ecological role in the host sponge.
This article was published in Microb Ecol
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology