Symbiotic adaptation drives genome streamlining of the cyanobacterial sponge symbiont "Candidatus Synechococcus pongiarum"

Zhao-Ming Gao, Yong Wang, Ren-Mao Tian, Yue Him Wong, Zenon B. Batang, Abdulaziz M. Al-Suwailem, Vladimir B. Bajic, Pei-Yuan Qian

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71 Scopus citations


"Candidatus Synechococcus spongiarum" is a cyanobacterial symbiont widely distributed in sponges, but its functions at the genome level remain unknown. Here, we obtained the draft genome (1.66 Mbp, 90% estimated genome recovery) of "Ca. Synechococcus spongiarum" strain SH4 inhabiting the Red Sea sponge Carteriospongia foliascens. Phylogenomic analysis revealed a high dissimilarity between SH4 and free-living cyanobacterial strains. Essential functions, such as photosynthesis, the citric acid cycle, and DNA replication, were detected in SH4. Eukaryoticlike domains that play important roles in sponge-symbiont interactions were identified exclusively in the symbiont. However, SH4 could not biosynthesize methionine and polyamines and had lost partial genes encoding low-molecular-weight peptides of the photosynthesis complex, antioxidant enzymes, DNA repair enzymes, and proteins involved in resistance to environmental toxins and in biosynthesis of capsular and extracellular polysaccharides. These genetic modifications imply that "Ca. Synechococcus spongiarum" SH4 represents a low-light-adapted cyanobacterial symbiont and has undergone genome streamlining to adapt to the sponge's mild intercellular environment. 2014 Gao et al.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Microbiology


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  • SH4_Meta_454 Metagenome

    Gao, Z. (Creator), Wang, Y. (Creator), Tian, R. (Creator), Wong, Y. H. (Creator), Batang, Z. B. (Creator), Al-Suwailem, A. M. (Creator), Bajic, V. B. (Creator), Qian, P. (Creator), Gao, Z. (Creator), Tian, R. (Creator), Wong, Y. H. (Creator) & Qian, P. (Creator), NCBI, Jan 18 2014


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