Relationship of the luminous bacterial symbiont of the Caribbean flashlight fish, Kryptophanaron alfredi (family Anomalopidae) to other luminous bacteria based on bacterial luciferase (luxA) genes
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Flashlight fishes (family Anomalopidae) have light organs that contain luminous bacterial symbionts. Although the symbionts have not yet been successfully cultured, the luciferase genes have been cloned directly from the light organ of the Caribbean species, Kryptophanaron alfredi. The goal of this project was to evaluate the relationship of the symbiont to free-living luminous bacteria by comparison of genes coding for bacterial luciferase (lux genes). Hybridization of a luxAB probe from the Kryptophanaron alfredi symbiont to DNAs from 9 strains (8 species) of luminous bacteria showed that none of the strains tested had lux genes highly similar to the symbiont. The most similar were a group consisting of Vibrio harveyi, Vibrio splendidus and Vibrio orientalis. The nucleotide sequence of the luciferase α subunit gene luxA of the Kryptophanaron alfredi symbiont was determined in order to do a more detailed comparison with published luxA sequences from Vibrio harveyi, Vibrio fischeri and Photobacterium leiognathi. The hybridization results, sequence comparisons and the mol% G+C of the Kryptophanaron alfredi symbiont luxA gene suggest that the symbiont may be considered as a new species of luminous Vibrio related to Vibrio harveyi.
Key wordsBioluminescence Symbiosis Kryptophanaron alfredi
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