Get access

Linking Chemical and Microbial Diversity in Marine Sponges: Possible Role for Poribacteria as Producers of Methyl-Branched Fatty Acids

Authors

  • Thomas Hochmuth,

    1. Kekulé Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bonn, Gerhard-Domagk-Strasse 1, 53121 Bonn (Germany), Fax: (+49) 228-739712
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Holger Niederkrüger,

    1. Kekulé Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bonn, Gerhard-Domagk-Strasse 1, 53121 Bonn (Germany), Fax: (+49) 228-739712
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Christine Gernert,

    1. Department of Botany II, Julius von Sachs Institute for Biological Sciences, University of Würzburg, Julius-von-Sachs Platz 3, 97082 Würzburg (Germany)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Alexander Siegl,

    1. Department of Botany II, Julius von Sachs Institute for Biological Sciences, University of Würzburg, Julius-von-Sachs Platz 3, 97082 Würzburg (Germany)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dr. Stefan Taudien,

    1. Genome Analysis, Leibniz Institute for Age Research, Fritz Lipmann Institute, Beutenbergstrasse 11, Beutenberg Campus, 07745 Jena (Germany)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dr. Matthias Platzer,

    1. Genome Analysis, Leibniz Institute for Age Research, Fritz Lipmann Institute, Beutenbergstrasse 11, Beutenberg Campus, 07745 Jena (Germany)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Prof. Dr. Phillip Crews,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (USA)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Prof. Dr. Ute Hentschel,

    1. Department of Botany II, Julius von Sachs Institute for Biological Sciences, University of Würzburg, Julius-von-Sachs Platz 3, 97082 Würzburg (Germany)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Prof. Dr. Jörn Piel

    Corresponding author
    1. Kekulé Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bonn, Gerhard-Domagk-Strasse 1, 53121 Bonn (Germany), Fax: (+49) 228-739712
    • Kekulé Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bonn, Gerhard-Domagk-Strasse 1, 53121 Bonn (Germany), Fax: (+49) 228-739712
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Many marine sponges contain massive numbers of largely uncultivated, phylogenetically diverse bacteria that seem to be important contributors to the chemistry of these animals. Insights into the diversity, origin, distribution, and function of their metabolic gene communities are crucial to dissect the chemical ecology and biotechnological potential of sponge symbionts. This study reveals a sharp dichotomy between high and low microbial abundance sponges with respect to polyketide synthase (PKS) gene content, the presence of methyl-branched fatty acids, and the presence of members of the symbiotic candidate phylum “Poribacteria”. For the symbiont-rich sponge Cacospongia mycofijiensis, a source of the tubulin-inhibiting fijianolides (=laulimalides), near-exhaustive large-scale sequencing of PKS gene-derived PCR amplicons was conducted. Although these amplicons exhibit high diversity at the sequence level, almost all of them belong to a single, architecturally unique group of PKSs present in “Poribacteria” and are proposed to synthesize methyl-branched fatty acids. Three components of this PKS were studied in vitro, providing initial insight into its biochemistry.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary