Genome of an endosymbiont coupling N2 fixation to cellulolysis within protist cells in termite gut

Yuichi Hongoh, Vineet K. Sharma, Tulika Prakash, Satoko Noda, Hidehiro Toh, Todd D. Taylor, Toshiaki Kudo, Yoshiyuki Sakaki, Atsushi Toyoda, Masahira Hattori, Moriya Ohkuma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Termites harbor diverse symbiotic gut microorganisms, the majority of which are as yet uncultivable and their interrelationships unclear. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of the uncultured Bacteroidales endosymbiont of the cellulolytic protist Pseudotrichonympha grassii, which accounts for 70% of the bacterial cells in the gut of the termite Coptotermes formosanus. Functional annotation of the chromosome (1,114,206 base pairs) unveiled its ability to fix dinitrogen and recycle putative host nitrogen wastes for biosynthesis of diverse amino acids and cofactors, and import glucose and xylose as energy and carbon sources. Thus, nitrogen fixation and cellulolysis are coupled within the protist's cells. This highly evolved symbiotic system probably underlies the ability of the worldwide pest termites Coptotermes to use wood as their sole food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1108-1109
Number of pages2
JournalScience
Volume322
Issue number5904
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Nov 14
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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