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Oligochaete symbiont insights - Today's Nature

Geoff Read g.read at niwa.cri.nz
Wed May 16 21:18:18 EST 2001

Letter to Nature from: 

Dubilier, Nicole , Caroline  Mülders, Tim  Ferdelman, Dirk  de Beer, Annelie  
Pernthaler, Michael  Klein, Michael  Wagner, Christer  Erséus, Frank  
Thiermann, Jens  Krieger, Olav  Giere, & Rudolf Amann. 2001. 

Endosymbiotic sulphate-reducing and sulphide-oxidizing bacteria in an 
oligochaete worm. - Nature 411(6835):298 - 302. 


Abstract: Stable associations of more than one species of symbiont within 
a single host cell or tissue are assumed to be rare in metazoans because 
competition for space and resources between symbionts can be 
detrimental to the host. In animals with multiple endosymbionts, such as 
mussels from deep-sea hydrothermal vents and reef-building corals, the 
costs of competition between the symbionts are outweighed by the 
ecological and physiological flexibility gained by the hosts. A further option 
for the coexistence of multiple symbionts within a host is if these benefit 
directly from one another, but such symbioses have not been previously 
described. Here we show that in the gutless marine oligochaete Olavius 
algarvensis, endosymbiotic sulphate-reducing bacteria produce sulphide 
that can serve as an energy source for sulphide-oxidizing symbionts of the 
host. Thus, these symbionts do not compete for resources but rather share 
a mutalistic relationship with each other in an endosymbiotic sulphur cycle, 
in addition to their symbiotic relationship with the oligochaete host."

  Geoff Read <g.read at niwa.cri.nz>

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