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Cytoenzymatic investigation of intracellular digestion in the symbiont-bearing hydrothermal bivalve Bathymodiolus azoricus
Kádár, E.; Davis, S.A.; Lobo-Da-Cunha, A. (2008). Cytoenzymatic investigation of intracellular digestion in the symbiont-bearing hydrothermal bivalve Bathymodiolus azoricus. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 153(5): 995-1004.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Kádár, E.
  • Davis, S.A.
  • Lobo-Da-Cunha, A.

    Invertebrates harbouring endosymbiotic chemoautotrophic bacteria are widely distributed in a variety of reducing marine habitats, including deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Bathymodiolids are dominants of the biomass at geochemically distinct vent sites of the Mid Atlantic Ridge (MAR) and thus are good candidates to study biological processes in response to site-specific conditions. To satisfy their nutritional requirements, these organisms depend to varying extent on two types of chemoautotrophic symbionts and on filterfeeding. The quantitative relationships of the nutritional modes are poorly understood. Using enzyme cytochemistry, electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis, the structural and functional aspects of the cellular equipment necessary for lysosomal digestion was studied. We provide evidence for the following: (1) the basis of intracellular digestion of symbionts in Bathymodiolus azoricus from two geochemically distinct vent sites was not mainly in the large lysosomal bodies as previously thought (based on the membranous content resembling bacteria); (2) senescent bacteria are autolysed, possibly by bacterial acid phosphatase, that is more likely a cell cycling of the symbionts rather than an active lysosomal digestion by the host; (3) the consistent absence of hydrolases may indicate the improper use of the name “lysosome” for large vesicles at the base of the gill bacteriocytes (4) nutrient transfer in B. azoricus, therefore, may more likely be accomplished through leaking of metabolites from the symbiont to the host, not excluding lysosomal resorption of dead bacteria as an auxiliary strategy for organic molecule transfer; (5) evidence is provided for microvillar transfer of substances from the seawater that may indicate filter-feeding, in non-symbiotic ciliated gill cells of mussels from Lucky Strike; (6) two types of lysosomal vesicles can be distinguished in digestive cells based on their enzymatic content and their elemental composition.

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