Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Dreier A., Stannek L., Blumenberg M., Taviani M., Sigovini M., Wrede C., Thiel V., Hoppert M. The fingerprint of chemosymbiosis: origin and preservation of isotopic biosignatures in the nonseep bivalve Loripes lacteus compared with Venerupis aurea. In: Fems Microbiology Ecology, vol. 81 (2) pp. 480 - 493. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 111 RIVER ST, HOBOKEN 07030-5774, NJ USA, 2012.
Endosymbionts in marine bivalves leave characteristic biosignatures in their host organisms. Two nonseep bivalve species collected in Mediterranean lagoons, thiotrophic symbiotic Loripes lacteus and filter-feeding nonsymbiotic Venerupis aurea, were studied in detail with respect to generation and presence of such signatures in living animals, and the preservation of these signals in subfossil (late Pleistocene) sedimentary shells. Three key enzymes from sulfur oxidation (APS-reductase), CO2 fixation (RubisCO) and assimilation of nitrogen [glutamine synthetase (GS)] were detected by immunofluorescence in the bacterial symbionts of Loripes. In Loripes, major activity was derived from GS of the symbionts whereas in Venerupis the host GS is active. In search of geologically stable biosignatures for thiotrophic chemosymbiosis that might be suitable to detect such associations in ancient bivalves, we analyzed the isotopic composition of shell lipids (d 13C ) and the bulk organic matrix of the shell (d 13C , d 15N , d 34S ). In the thiotrophic Loripes, d 13C values were depleted compared with the filter-feeding Venerupis by as much as 8.5 parts per thousand for individual fatty acids, and 4.4 parts per thousand for bulk organic carbon. Likewise, bulk d 15N and d 34S values were more depleted in recent thiotrophic Loripes. Whereas d 34S values were found to be unstable over time, the combined d 15N and d 13C values in organic shell extracts revealed a specific signature for chemosymbiosis in recent and subfossil specimens.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2012.01374.x
Subject endosymbiosis; thiotrophic bivalves; biosignatures; stable isotope ratios

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