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Prevalence, complete genome and metabolic potentials of a phylogenetically novel cyanobacterial symbiont in the coral-killing sponge, Terpios hoshinota

By Yu-Hsiang Chen, Hsing-Ju Chen, Cheng-Yu Yang, Jia-Ho Shiu, Daphne Z Hoh, Pei-Wen Chiang, Wenhua Savanna Chow, Chaolun Allen Chen, Tin-Han Shih, Szu-Hsien Lin, Chi-Ming Yang, James Davis Reimer, Euichi Hirose, Budhi Hascaryo Iskandar, Hui Huang, Peter J. Schupp, Chun Hong James Tan, Hideyuki Yamashiro, Ming-Hui Liao, Sen-Lin Tang

Posted 05 Feb 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.04.429686

Terpios hoshinota is a ferocious, space-competing sponge that kills a variety of stony corals by overgrowth. Outbreaks of this species have led to intense coral reef damage and declines in living corals on the square kilometer scale in many geographical locations. Our large-scale 16S rRNA gene survey across three oceans revealed that the core microbiome of T. hoshinota included operational taxonomic units (OTUs) related to Prochloron, Endozoicomonas, Pseudospirillum, SAR116, Magnetospira, and Ruegeria. A Prochloron-related OTU was the most dominant cyanobacterium in T. hoshinota in the western Pacific Ocean, South China Sea, and Indian Ocean. The complete metagenome-assembled genome of the Prochloron-related cyanobacterium and our pigment analysis revealed that this bacterium had phycobiliproteins and phycobilins and lacked chlorophyll b, inconsistent with the iconic definition of Prochloron. Furthermore, the phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA genes and 120 single-copy genes demonstrated that the bacterium was phylogenetically distinct to Prochloron, strongly suggesting that it should be a sister taxon to Prochloron; we therefore proposed this symbiotic cyanobacterium as a novel species under a new genus: Candidatus Paraprochloron terpiosii. With the recovery of the complete genome, we characterized the metabolic potentials of the novel cyanobacterium in carbon and nitrogen cycling and proposed a model for the interaction between Ca. Pp. terpiosi LD05 and T. hoshinota. In addition, comparative genomics analysis revealed that Ca. Paraprochloron and Prochloron showed distinct features in transporter systems and DNA replication. Importance: The finding that one species predominates cyanobacteria in T. hoshinota from different geographic locations indicates that this sponge and Ca. Pp. terpiosi LD05 share a tight relationship. This study builds the foundation for T. hoshinota's microbiome and paves a way for understanding the ecosystem, invasion mechanism, and causes of outbreak of this coral-killing sponge. Also, the first Prochloron-related complete genome enables us to study this bacterium with molecular approaches in the future and broadens our knowledge of the evolution of symbiotic cyanobacteria.

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