Evidence for Methylotrophic Symbionts in a Hydrothermal Vent Mussel (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) from the Mid-Atlantic Ridget

Abstract

Symbioses between chemolithoautotrophic bacteria and the major macrofaunal species found at hydrothermal vents have been reported for numerous sites in the Pacific Ocean. We present microscopical and enzymatic evidence that methylotrophic bacteria occur as intracellular symbionts in a new species of mytilid mussel discovered at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge hydrothermal vents. Two distinct ultrastructural types of gram-negative procaryotic symbionts were observed within gill epithelial cells by transmission electron microscopy: small coccoid or rod-shaped cells and larger coccoid cells with stacked intracytoplasmic membranes typical of methane-utilizing bacteria. Methanol dehydrogenase, an enzyme diagnostic of methylotrophs, was detected in the mytilid gills, while tests for ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase, the enzyme diagnostic of autotrophy via the Calvin cycle, were negative. Stable carbon isotope values (813C) of mytilid tissue (-32.7 and -32.5%o for gill and foot tissues, respectively) fall within the range of values reported for Pacific vent symbioses but do not preclude the use of vent-derived methane reported to be isotopically heavy relative to biogenically produced methane.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{CavanaughEvidenceFM, title={Evidence for Methylotrophic Symbionts in a Hydrothermal Vent Mussel (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) from the Mid-Atlantic Ridget}, author={Colleen M. Cavanaugh} }