Bacteroidales ectosymbionts of gut flagellates shape the nitrogen-fixing community in dry-wood termites.
Summary of "Bacteroidales ectosymbionts of gut flagellates shape the nitrogen-fixing community in dry-wood termites."
Although it is well documented that the lack of nitrogen in the diet of wood-feeding termites is compensated by the nitrogen-fixing capacity of their gut microbiota, the bacteria responsible for this activity are largely unknown. Here, we analyzed the diversity and expression of nitrogenase genes (homologs of nifH) in four species of dry-wood termites (Kalotermitidae), which thrive on a particularly nitrogen-poor resource. Although each species harbored a highly diverse suite of termite-specific homologs in their microliter-sized hindgut, only a core set related to nifH genes of Treponema and Azoarcus spp., 'Azobacteroides pseudotrichonymphae', the first member of the Bacteroidales identified as a diazotroph, and termite-gut-specific anfH genes of hitherto unknown origin were preferentially expressed. Transcription patterns corroborated that the populations of active diazotrophs differ fundamentally between termite genera. Capillary-picked suspensions of the flagellates Devescovina arta and Snyderella tabogae revealed that their bacterial ectosymbionts each possess two paralogs of nifH, which apparently have been acquired consecutively during evolution of Bacteroidales, but only one of them (anfH) is actively expressed. Transcription patterns correlated neither with the molybdenum content of the diet nor with intestinal hydrogen concentrations, measured with microsensors. We propose that the nitrogen-fixing community in different dry-wood termites is shaped by the symbionts of their specific flagellate populations. Our findings suggest that the diazotrophic nature of 'Armantifilum devescovinae' has an important role in the nitrogen metabolism of dry-wood termites and is the driving force of co-evolution with its flagellate host.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The ISME journal
- PubMed Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22189498
- DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2011.194
Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions
Plant Root Nodulation
The formation of a nitrogen-fixing cell mass on PLANT ROOTS following symbiotic infection by nitrogen-fixing bacteria such as RHIZOBIUM or FRANKIA.
A phylum of oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria comprised of unicellular to multicellular bacteria possessing CHLOROPHYLL a and carrying out oxygenic PHOTOSYNTHESIS. Cyanobacteria are the only known organisms capable of fixing both CARBON DIOXIDE (in the presence of light) and NITROGEN. Cell morphology can include nitrogen-fixing heterocysts and/or resting cells called akinetes. Formerly called blue-green algae, cyanobacteria were traditionally treated as ALGAE.
A hemoglobin-like oxygen-binding hemeprotein present in the nitrogen-fixing root nodules of leguminous plants. The red pigment has a molecular weight approximately 1/4 that of hemoglobin and has been suggested to act as an oxido-reduction catalyst in symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
A form-species of nitrogen-fixing CYANOBACTERIA, in the family Nostocaceae, order Nostocales.
A phylum of unicellular flagellates of ancient eukaryotic lineage with unclear taxonomy. They lack a CELL WALL but are covered by a proteinaceous flexible coat, the pellicle, that allows the cell to change shape. Historically some authorities considered them to be an order of protozoa and others classed them as ALGAE (some members have CHLOROPLASTS and some don't).
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