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Unicellular cyanobacterium symbiotic with a single-celled eukaryotic alga
Thompson, A.W.; Foster, R.A.; Krupke, A.; Carter, B.J.; Musat, N.; Vaulot, D.; Kuypers, M.M.; Zehr, J.P. (2012). Unicellular cyanobacterium symbiotic with a single-celled eukaryotic alga. Science (Wash.) 337(6101): 1546-1550.
In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: New York, N.Y. ISSN 0036-8075, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Thompson, A.W.
  • Foster, R.A.
  • Krupke, A.
  • Carter, B.J.
  • Musat, N.
  • Vaulot, D.
  • Kuypers, M.M.
  • Zehr, J.P.

    Symbioses between nitrogen (N)(2)-fixing prokaryotes and photosynthetic eukaryotes are important for nitrogen acquisition in N-limited environments. Recently, a widely distributed planktonic uncultured nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium (UCYN-A) was found to have unprecedented genome reduction, including the lack of oxygen-evolving photosystem II and the tricarboxylic acid cycle, which suggested partnership in a symbiosis. We showed that UCYN-A has a symbiotic association with a unicellular prymnesiophyte, closely related to calcifying taxa present in the fossil record. The partnership is mutualistic, because the prymnesiophyte receives fixed N in exchange for transferring fixed carbon to UCYN-A. This unusual partnership between a cyanobacterium and a unicellular alga is a model for symbiosis and is analogous to plastid and organismal evolution, and if calcifying, may have important implications for past and present oceanic N-2 fixation.

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