Taxonomic and functional heterogeneity of the gill microbiome in a symbiotic coastal mangrove lucinid species.ISME J. 2019 04; 13(4):902-920.IJ
Lucinidae clams harbor gammaproteobacterial thioautotrophic gill endosymbionts that are environmentally acquired. Thioautotrophic lucinid symbionts are related to metabolically similar symbionts associated with diverse marine host taxa and fall into three distinct phylogenetic clades. Most studies on the lucinid-bacteria chemosymbiosis have been done with seagrass-dwelling hosts, whose symbionts belong to the largest phylogenetic clade. In this study, we examined the taxonomy and functional repertoire of bacterial endosymbionts at an unprecedented resolution from Phacoides pectinatus retrieved from mangrove-lined coastal sediments, which are underrepresented in chemosymbiosis studies. The P. pectinatus thioautotrophic endosymbiont expressed metabolic gene variants for thioautotrophy, respiration, and nitrogen assimilation distinct from previously characterized lucinid thioautotrophic symbionts and other marine symbionts. At least two other bacterial species with different metabolisms were also consistently identified in the P. pectinatus gill microbiome, including a Kistimonas-like species and a Spirochaeta-like species. Bacterial transcripts involved in adhesion, growth, and virulence and mixotrophy were highly expressed, as were host-related hemoglobin and lysozyme transcripts indicative of sulfide/oxygen/CO2 transport and bactericidal activity. This study suggests the potential roles of P. pectinatus and its gill microbiome species in mangrove sediment biogeochemistry and offers insights into host and microbe metabolisms in the habitat.