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Dimorphism in methane seep-dwelling ecotypes of the largest known bacteria

Bailey, Jake V. and Salman, Verena and Rouse, Gregory W. and Schulz-Vogt, Heide N. and Levin, Lisa A. and Orphan, Victoria J. (2011) Dimorphism in methane seep-dwelling ecotypes of the largest known bacteria. ISME Journal, 5 (12). pp. 1926-1935. ISSN 1751-7362. PMCID PMC3223306.

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We present evidence for a dimorphic life cycle in the vacuolate sulfide-oxidizing bacteria that appears to involve the attachment of a spherical Thiomargarita-like cell to the exteriors of invertebrate integuments and other benthic substrates at methane seeps. The attached cell elongates to produce a stalk-like form before budding off spherical daughter cells resembling free-living Thiomargarita that are abundant in surrounding sulfidic seep sediments. The relationship between the attached parent cell and free-living daughter cell is reminiscent of the dimorphic life modes of the prosthecate Alphaproteobacteria, but on a grand scale, with individual elongate cells reaching nearly a millimeter in length. Abundant growth of attached Thiomargarita-like bacteria on the integuments of gastropods and other seep fauna provides not only a novel ecological niche for these giant bacteria, but also for animals that may benefit from epibiont colonization.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Levin, Lisa A.0000-0002-2858-8622
Orphan, Victoria J.0000-0002-5374-6178
Additional Information:© 2011 International Society for Microbial Ecology. Received 20 September 2010; revised 28 March 2011; accepted 3 May 2011; published online 23 June 2011. This study was funded by the Agouron Institute, the University of Minnesota Department of Geology and Geophysics, the Max Planck Society, and the National Science Foundation (OCE-0826254 and OCE 09-39557). Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, a member of the NSF funded Materials Research Facilities Network ( via the MRSEC program with assistance from Chris Frethem and Fang Zhou. Scanning electron microscopy was performed in the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Limnological Research Center with the support of Amy Myrbo. Furthermore, we thank Tony Rathburn, Shana Goffredi, Anders Waren, Danwei Huang, Anne Dekas, Olivia Mason, Ben Harrison, the crew of the R/V Atlantis and pilots of the DSV Alvin (15–44 and 15–59) for assistance at sea, and Ben Grupe for providing live gastropods from Hydrate Ridge. We thank the reviewers of this manuscript for valuable comments that helped improve the manuscript. The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Agouron InstituteUNSPECIFIED
University of MinnesotaUNSPECIFIED
Max Planck SocietyUNSPECIFIED
NSFOCE 09-39557
Subject Keywords:Beggiatoa; budding; epibiont; sulfur bacteria; Thiomargarita; Thioploca
Issue or Number:12
PubMed Central ID:PMC3223306
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120206-101449345
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Official Citation:Dimorphism in methane seep-dwelling ecotypes of the largest known bacteria Jake V Bailey, Verena Salman, Gregory W Rouse, Heide N Schulz-Vogt, Lisa A Levin and Victoria J Orphan ISME J 5: 1926-1935; advance online publication, June 23, 2011; doi:10.1038/ismej.2011.66
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:29146
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:06 Feb 2012 18:54
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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