Host-Symbiont Interactions Between a Marine Mussel and Methanotrophic Bacterial Endosymbionts
CALIFORNIA UNIV SANTA BARBARA MARINE SCIENCE INST
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Since the discovery and demonstration of the symbiosis between methanotrophic symbionts and a deep-sea mytilid in 1986, our efforts have been directed at determining the interactions between the symbionts and hosts which determine the properties of the association. We have investigated the biology of this symbiosis within the context of our developing model of mussel chemoautotroph symbioses in general as being relatively unspecialized with regard to hosts control of the symbionts environment. For example, unlike other groups with chemoautotrophic endosymbionts, Bathymodiolus-like mussels can have either sulfur oxidizing or methanotrophic symbionts or in one recently discovered case both simultaneously. There appears to be relatively little morphological or physiological specialization associated with these symbioses in these mussels and the mussels retain the ability to utility to utilize particulate food as well as organic material from the symbionts. However, the distributions of these mussels and the stable C isotope ratios of their tissues make it clear that the symbionts are the primary source of food for the animals under most conditions.
- Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology