Cooccurring Activities of Two Autotrophic Pathways in Symbionts of the Hydrothermal Vent Tubeworm Riftia pachyptila

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Genome and proteome data predict the presence of both the reductive citric acid cycle (rCAC; also called the reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle) and the CalvinBenson-Bassham cycle (CBB) in “Candidatus Endoriftia persephonae,” the autotrophic sulfur-oxidizing bacterial endosymbiont from the giant hydrothermal vent tubeworm Riftia pachyptila. We tested whether these cycles were differentially induced by sulfide supply, since the synthesis of biosynthetic intermediates by the rCAC is less energetically expensive than that by the CBB. R. pachyptila was incubated under in situ conditions in high-pressure aquaria under low (28 to 40 m mol · h21) or high (180 to 276 m mol · h21) rates of sulfide supply. Symbiont-bearing trophosome samples excised from R. pachyptila maintained under the two conditions were capable of similar rates of CO2 fixation. Activities of the rCAC enzyme ATP-dependent citrate lyase (ACL) and the CBB enzyme 1,3-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO) did not differ between the two conditions, although transcript abundances for ATP-dependent citrate lyase were 4- to 5-fold higher under low-sulfide conditions. d 13C values of internal dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) pools were varied and did not correlate with sul- fide supply rate. In samples taken from freshly collected R. pachyptila, d 13C values of lipids fell between those collected for organisms using either the rCAC or the CBB exclusively. These observations are consistent with cooccurring activities of the rCAC and the CBB in this symbiosis. IMPORTANCE Previous to this study, the activities of the rCAC and CBB in R. pachyptila had largely been inferred from “omics” studies of R. pachyptila without direct assessment of in situ conditions prior to collection. In this study, R. pachyptila was maintained and monitored in high-pressure aquaria prior to measuring its CO2 fixation parameters. Results suggest that ranges in sulfide concentrations similar to those experienced in situ do not exert a strong influence on the relative activities of the rCAC and the CBB. This observation highlights the importance of further study of this symbiosis and other organisms with multiple CO2-fixing pathways, which recent genomics and biochemical studies suggest are likely to be more prevalent than anticipated.

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Applied and Environmental Microbiology