Advertisement

Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 159, Issue 6, pp 498–505 | Cite as

The complex life-cycle of a polymorphic prokaryote epibiont of the photosynthetic bacterium Chromatium weissei

  • K. J. Clarke
  • B. J. Finlay
  • E. Vicente
  • H. Lloréns
  • M. R. Miracle
Original Papers

Abstract

In natural populations of the anaerobic phototrophic bacterium Chromatium weissei, many cells support a prokaryotic epibiont. This epibiont appears in several forms, all from the life cycle of a single species. A typical epibiont consists of one to five flattened coccoid cells stacked one above the other, perpendicular to the C. weissei surface. The cells at the proximal and distal ends of the stack are 0.6 μm in diameter and 0.8 μm in length; mid-stack cells are slightly shorter. A typical three or four cell stack is 2 μm in length. Small mesosome-like inclusions in the distal cell are involved in the development of ‘droplet’ shaped cells which are released from the end of each stack. These specialised ‘droplet’ cells probably transfer to new hosts when C. weissei cells collide, thereafter developing into new epibiont stacks. It is likely that the epibiont grows heterotrophically using the substantial production of dissolved organic carbon within the dense plates of photosynthesising C. weissei which develop naturally. Thus the epibiont uses its unusual method of growth and dispersion to maintain position in the microbial plate upon which it depends.

Key words

Chromatium weissei Prokaryote epibiont Life cycle Dissolved organic carbon Microbial plate Anaerobic aquatic bacteria Meromictic lakes Bacterial interactions 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bavendamm W (1924) Die farblosen und roten Schwefelbakterien des Süß und Salzwassers. Fischer-Verlag, Jena, pp 93–94Google Scholar
  2. Esteve I, Guerrero R, Montesinos E, Abellà C (1983) Electron microscope study of the interaction of epibiontic bacteria with Chromatium minus in natural habitats. Microb Ecol 9: 57–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Esteve I, Gaju N, Mir J, Guerrero R (1992) Comparison of techniques to determine the abundance of predatory bacteria attacking Chromatiaceae. FEMS Microb Ecol 86: 205–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Finlay BJ, Clarke KJ, Vicente E, Miracle MR (1991) Anaerobic ciliates from a sulphide-rich solution lake in Spain. Europ J Protistol 27: 148–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Guerrero R, Pedrós-Alió C, Esteve I, Mas J, Chase D, Margulis L (1986) Predatory prokaryotes: predation and primary consumption evolved in bacteria. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 83: 2138–2142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Guerrero R, Esteve I, Pedrós-Alió C, Gaju N (1987) Predatory bacteria in prokaryotic communities: The earliest trophic relationships. Ann NY Acad 503: 238–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Miracle MR, Vicente E, Pedrós-Alió C (1992) Biological studies of Spanish meromictic and stratified karstic lakes. Limnética 8: 59–77Google Scholar
  8. Potthoff H (1921) Zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der Gattungen Chromatium und Spirillum. Zentralbl Bacteriol II 55: 9–13Google Scholar
  9. Potthoff H (1922) Zur Frage nach dem Vorkommen von Befruchtungsvorgängen bei Bakterien. Naturwissenschaften 18: 441 bis 446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Stolz JF (1991) Structure of phototrophic prokaryotes. CRC Press, Boston, USAGoogle Scholar
  11. Vicente E, Rodrigo MA, Camacho A, Miracle MR (1991) Phototrophic prokaryotes in a karstic sulphate lake. Verh Intern Verein Limnol 24: 998–1004Google Scholar
  12. Warming E (1875) Om nogle ved Danmarks kyster levende bakterier. Videnskabelige Meddelelser Kopenhagen 20–28: 3–116Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. J. Clarke
    • 1
  • B. J. Finlay
    • 1
  • E. Vicente
    • 2
    • 3
  • H. Lloréns
    • 2
    • 3
  • M. R. Miracle
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Freshwater Ecology, Windermere LaboratoryThe Ferry HouseAmblesideUK
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of ValenciaBurjassot (Valencia)Spain
  3. 3.Department of Ecology, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of ValenciaBurjassot (Valencia)Spain

Personalised recommendations