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Journal Article

Dimorphism in methane seep-dwelling ecotypes of the largest known bacteria

MPS-Authors
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Salman,  V.
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Schulz-Vogt,  H. N.
Ecophysiology Group, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Salman11.pdf
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Citation

Bailey, J. V., Salman, V., Rouse, G. W., Schulz-Vogt, H. N., Levin, L. A., & Orphan, V. J. (2011). Dimorphism in methane seep-dwelling ecotypes of the largest known bacteria. The ISME Journal, 5(12), 1926-1935.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-C8E7-9
Abstract
We present evidence for a dimorphic life cycle in the vacuolate sulfide-oxidizing bacteria that appears to involve the attachment of a spherical Thiomargarita-like cell to the exteriors of invertebrate integuments and other benthic substrates at methane seeps. The attached cell elongates to produce a stalk-like form before budding off spherical daughter cells resembling free-living Thiomargarita that are abundant in surrounding sulfidic seep sediments. The relationship between the attached parent cell and free-living daughter cell is reminiscent of the dimorphic life modes of the prosthecate Alphaproteobacteria, but on a grand scale, with individual elongate cells reaching nearly a millimeter in length. Abundant growth of attached Thiomargarita-like bacteria on the integuments of gastropods and other seep fauna provides not only a novel ecological niche for these giant bacteria, but also for animals that may benefit from epibiont colonization.