Understanding the secret of symbiosis between animals and algae – Deciphering the interaction between Hydra and symbiont
July 26(Thu), 2018
A research group led by Mayuko Hamada, an assistant professor at Ushimado Marine Institute, Okayama University, and Noriyuki Satoh, a professor at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, together with another research group led by Professor Thomas C. G. Bosch of Kiel University, solved the mystery of the symbiosis between Hydra and Chlorella through genomic analysis. The complete research results were published in the British science magazine eLife on June 27, 2018.
The co-existence of animals and algae can be observed in many species, such as coral and jellyfish. They build relationships that are mutually beneficial by exchanging nutrients and providing a safe living environment. However, the details of the interactions of this symbiotic relationship and the relationship’s evolution processes have remained unknown. Through a genomic analysis of green hydra where Chlorella, which is green algae, lives symbiotically with Hydra, a cooperative relationship involving nutrients, in which Chlorella receives some nutrients such as amino acid from Hydra while providing photosynthetic products to Hydra, was identified. In addition, it was found that in the symbiont Chlorella, as the number of transporter genes for taking in amino acid supplied by Hydra increased, its nitrate assimilation system degenerated. It became clear that the symbiont Chlorella becomes specialized within the body of Hydra in order to live efficiently.
This research on the symbiotic mechanism between animals and algae not only helps us to understand the actual evolution of such unique symbiont relationships, but it is also expected to be a foundation for solving environmental issues such as coral bleaching and the industrial use of algae.
Authors: Mayuko Hamada, Katja Schröder, Jay Bathia, Ulrich Kürn, Sebastian Fraune, Mariia Khalturina, Konstantin Khalturin, Chuya Shinzato, Nori Satoh, Thomas CG Bosch
Title: Metabolic co-dependence drives the evolutionarily ancient Hydra-Chlorella symbiosis.
Year of Publication: 2018
Okayama University Silicon Valley Office (OUSVO)
Contact: Mototaka Senda, Ph.D.