The copyright line for this article was changed on December 09, 2015.
Cellular interactions: lessons from the nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria
Article first published online: 15 OCT 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Phycology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Phycological Society of America.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Journal of Phycology
Volume 49, Issue 6, pages 1024–1035, December 2013
How to Cite
Thompson, A. W. and Zehr, J. P. (2013), Cellular interactions: lessons from the nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria. Journal of Phycology, 49: 1024–1035. doi: 10.1111/jpy.12117
- Issue published online: 9 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 15 OCT 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 31 AUG 2013 01:50AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Received: 12 MAY 2013
- National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Microbial Oceanography Research and Education
- Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Microbiology Initiative
- nitrogen fixation;
Marine nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria play a central role in the open-ocean microbial community by providing fixed nitrogen (N) to the ocean from atmospheric dinitrogen (N2) gas. Once thought to be dominated by one genus of cyanobacteria, Trichodesmium, it is now clear that marine N2-fixing cyanobacteria in the open ocean are more diverse, include several previously unknown symbionts, and are geographically more widespread than expected. The next challenge is to understand the ecological implications of this genetic and phenotypic diversity for global oceanic N cycling. One intriguing aspect of the cyanobacterial N2 fixers ecology is the range of cellular interactions they engage in, either with cells of their own species or with photosynthetic protists. From organelle-like integration with the host cell to a free-living existence, N2-fixing cyanobacteria represent the range of types of interactions that occur among microbes in the open ocean. Here, we review what is known about the cellular interactions carried out by marine N2-fixing cyanobacteria and where future work can help. Discoveries related to the functional roles of these specialized cells in food webs and the microbial community will improve how we interpret their distribution and abundance patterns and contributions to global N and carbon (C) cycles.