Volume 24, Issue 5 p. 2299-2314
Research article

Communality in microbial stress response and differential metabolic interactions revealed by time-series analysis of sponge symbionts

Jessica A. Taylor

Jessica A. Taylor

Centre for Marine Science and Innovation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

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Cristina Díez-Vives

Cristina Díez-Vives

Centre for Marine Science and Innovation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid, Spain

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Shaun Nielsen

Shaun Nielsen

Centre for Marine Science and Innovation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

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Bernd Wemheuer

Bernd Wemheuer

Centre for Marine Science and Innovation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

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Torsten Thomas

Corresponding Author

Torsten Thomas

Centre for Marine Science and Innovation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

For correspondence. E-mail [email protected]; Tel. +61 410159525.

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First published: 01 March 2022
Citations: 4

Summary

The diversity and function of sponge-associated symbionts is now increasingly understood; however, we lack an understanding of how they dynamically behave to ensure holobiont stability in the face of environmental variation. Here, we performed a metatransciptomic analysis on three microbial symbionts of the sponge Cymbastela concentrica in situ over 14 months and through differential gene expression and correlation analysis to environmental variables uncovered differences that speak to their metabolic activities and level of symbiotic and environmental interactions. The nitrite-oxidizing Ca. Porinitrospira cymbastela maintained a seemingly stable metabolism, with the few differentially expressed genes related only to stress responses. The heterotrophic Ca. Porivivens multivorans displayed differential use of holobiont-derived compounds and respiration modes, while the ammonium-oxidizing archaeon Ca. Nitrosopumilus cymbastelus differentially expressed genes related to phosphate metabolism and symbiosis effectors. One striking similarity between the symbionts was their similar variation in expression of stress-related genes. Our time-series study showed that the microbial community of C. concentrica undertakes dynamic gene expression adjustments in response to the surroundings, tuned to deal with general stress and metabolic interactions between holobiont members. The success of these dynamic adjustments likely underpins the stability of the sponge holobiont and may provide resilience against environmental change.