Get access

Wide bacterial diversity associated with tubes of the vent worm Riftia pachyptila

Authors


*For correspondence. E-mail puri.lopez@snv.jussieu.fr; Tel. (+33) 1 44 27 58 01; Fax (+33) 1 44 27 52 50.

Summary

We carried out a 16S rDNA-based molecular survey of the prokaryotic diversity associated with the chitin tubes of the giant vent tubeworm Riftia pachyptila (collected at the East Pacific Rise, 9°N and 13°N). Scanning electron microscopy showed dense microbial populations, particularly on the external surface of the middle and upper tube regions, which included very diverse prokaryotic morphotypes. We used archaeal- and bacterial-specific primers for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification, but only bacterial amplicons were obtained. We analysed a total of 87 clones. Most belonged to the ɛ-Proteobacteria, but also to the δ-, α- and γ-Proteobacteria. A broad diversity of phylotypes belonging to other bacterial divisions was detected, including Verrucomicrobia, the Cytophaga–Flavobacterium–Bacteroides group and the candidate division OP8. We also retrieved a sequence, R76-B150, of uncertain phylogenetic affiliation, which could represent a novel candidate division. The sequence of the R. pachyptilaγ-proteobacterial endosymbiont was not detected. The bacterial diversity found suggests that complex metabolic interactions, particularly based on sulphur chemistry, may be occurring in different microniches of the R. pachyptila tubes.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary