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Linking hydrothermal geochemistry to organismal physiology: Physiological versatility in Riftia pachyptila from sedimented and basalt-hosted vents

Robidart, Julie C.; Roque, Annelys; Song, Pengfei; Girguis, Peter R.. 2011 Linking hydrothermal geochemistry to organismal physiology: Physiological versatility in Riftia pachyptila from sedimented and basalt-hosted vents. PLoS ONE, 6 (7). e21692. 10.1371/journal.pone.0021692

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Abstract/Summary

Much of what is known regarding Riftia pachyptila physiology is based on the wealth of studies of tubeworms living at diffuse flows along the fast-spreading, basalt-hosted East Pacific Rise (EPR). These studies have collectively suggested that Riftia pachyptila and its chemoautotrophic symbionts are physiologically specialized, highly productive associations relying on hydrogen sulfide and oxygen to generate energy for carbon fixation, and the symbiont's nitrate reduction to ammonia for energy and biosynthesis. However, Riftia also flourish in sediment-hosted vents, which are markedly different in geochemistry than basalt-hosted systems. Here we present data from shipboard physiological studies and global quantitative proteomic analyses of Riftia pachyptila trophosome tissue recovered from tubeworms residing in the EPR and the Guaymas basin, a sedimented, hydrothermal vent field. We observed marked differences in symbiont nitrogen metabolism in both the respirometric and proteomic data. The proteomic data further suggest that Riftia associations in Guaymas may utilize different sulfur compounds for energy generation, may have an increased capacity for energy storage, and may play a role in degrading exogenous organic carbon. Together these data reveal that Riftia symbionts are far more physiologically plastic than previously considered, and that -contrary to previous assertions- Riftia do assimilate reduced nitrogen in some habitats. These observations raise new hypotheses regarding adaptations to the geochemical diversity of habitats occupied by Riftia, and the degree to which the environment influences symbiont physiology and evolution.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1371/journal.pone.0021692
ISSN: 1932-6203
Date made live: 03 Feb 2015 13:37 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/509567

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