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Ipswich, MA, United States

Sharp K.H.,Smithsonian Marine Station | Distel D.,Ocean Genome Legacy | Paul V.J.,Smithsonian Marine Station
ISME Journal

In this study, we examine microbial communities of early developmental stages of the coral Porites astreoides by sequence analysis of cloned 16S rRNA genes, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP), and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) imaging. Bacteria are associated with the ectoderm layer in newly released planula larvae, in 4-day-old planulae, and on the newly forming mesenteries surrounding developing septa in juvenile polyps after settlement. Roseobacter clade-associated (RCA) bacteria and Marinobacter sp. are consistently detected in specimens of P. astreoides spanning three early developmental stages, two locations in the Caribbean and 3 years of collection. Multi-response permutation procedures analysis on the TRFLP results do not support significant variation in the bacterial communities associated with P. astreoides larvae across collection location, collection year or developmental stage. The results are the first evidence of vertical transmission (from parent to offspring) of bacteria in corals. The results also show that at least two groups of bacterial taxa, the RCA bacteria and Marinobacter, are consistently associated with juvenile P. astreoides against a complex background of microbial associations, indicating that some components of the microbial community are long-term associates of the corals and may impact host health and survival. © 2012 International Society for Microbial Ecology All rights reserved. Source

Trindade-Silva A.E.,University of Sao Paulo | Lim-Fong G.E.,Randolph-Macon College | Sharp K.H.,Ocean Genome Legacy | Haygood M.G.,Oregon Health And Science University
Current Opinion in Biotechnology

Bryostatins are a family of protein kinase C modulators that have potential applications in biomedicine. Found in miniscule quantities in a small marine invertebrate, lack of supply has hampered their development. In recent years, bryostatins have been shown to have potent bioactivity in the central nervous system, an uncultivated marine bacterial symbiont has been shown to be the likely natural source of the bryostatins, the bryostatin biosynthetic genes have been identified and characterized, and bryostatin analogues with promising biological activity have been developed and tested. Challenges in the development of bryostatins for biomedical and biotechnological application include the cultivation of the bacterial symbiont and heterologous expression of bryostatin biosynthesis genes. Continued exploration of the biology as well as the symbiotic origin of the bryostatins presents promising opportunities for discovery of additional bryostatins, and new functions for bryostatins. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: CROSS-EF ACTIVITIES | Award Amount: 591.00K | Year: 2013

Shipworms are worm-like marine clams that burrow in wood, using wood for both food and shelter. Because few animals eat wood, there is great interest in those that can. Previous research in this investigators laboratory suggested that shipworms digest wood using a method that is different from any other animal. Most animals that eat wood, e.g. termites or wood-eating roaches, do so with the help of enzymes made by bacteria and other microbes that live in their digestive systems. Shipworms, however, have few bacteria in their digestive systems. Instead, they rely on bacterial symbionts that live inside the cells of their gills to produce the digestive enzymes they need. This is unique because no other known animal relies on intracellular symbionts to produce digestive enzymes. In this project, the enzymes produced by these bacteria will be identified in order to characterize their functions, and to determine how these enzymes are transported from inside the cells of the shipworms gills to their digestive system. These enzymes are potentially valuable because they convert wood, the most abundant biomaterial on earth, into soluble sugars that can be fermented into renewable biofuels, e.g. ethanol. They may also be used in production or processing of paper, textiles, detergents, food, animal feed and waste materials. This project will contribute to Ocean Genome Legacys ongoing postdoctoral training and graduate education programs, public outreach for environmental literacy, and internship programs for undergraduate, high school, and minority students. The investigators will also work with colleagues in the Pacific Northwest to develop a STEM education program for Native Alaskan students and teachers that integrates shipworm biology with traditional Native Alaskan ecological knowledge and Western science; this program will utilize educational curricula translated into the Haida language.

Betcher M.A.,Oregon Health And Science University | Fung J.M.,Ocean Genome Legacy | Han A.W.,Oregon Health And Science University | O'Connor R.,Ocean Genome Legacy | And 4 more authors.

Marine bivalves of the family Teredinidae (shipworms) are voracious consumers of wood in marine environments. In several shipworm species, dense communities of intracellular bacterial endosymbionts have been observed within specialized cells (bacteriocytes) of the gills (ctenidia). These bacteria are proposed to contribute to digestion of wood by the host. While the microbes of shipworm gills have been studied extensively in several species, the abundance and distribution of microbes in the digestive system have not been adequately addressed. Here we use Fluorescence In-Situ Hybridization (FISH) and laser scanning confocal microscopy with 16S rRNA directed oligonucleotide probes targeting all domains, domains Bacteria and Archaea, and other taxonomic groups to examine the digestive microbiota of 17 specimens from 5 shipworm species (Bankia setacea, Lyrodus pedicellatus, Lyrodus massa, Lyrodus sp. and Teredo aff. triangularis). These data reveal that the caecum, a large sac-like appendage of the stomach that typically contains large quantities of wood particles and is considered the primary site of wood digestion, harbors only very sparse microbial populations. However, a significant number of bacterial cells were observed in fecal pellets within the intestines. These results suggest that due to low abundance, bacteria in the caecum may contribute little to lignocellulose degradation. In contrast, the comparatively high population density of bacteria in the intestine suggests a possible role for intestinal bacteria in the degradation of lignocellulose. © 2012 Betcher et al. Source

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