Coexistence of poribacterial phylotypes among geographically widespread and phylogenetically divergent sponge hosts

Georg Steinert, Johanna Gutleben, Akhirta Atikana, Rene H. Wijffels, Hauke Smidt, Detmer Sipkema*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Marine sponges are benthic 'filter-feeding' invertebrates that can host dense and diverse bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic communities. Due to the finding of several genes encoding symbiosis factors, such as adhesins, ankyrin repeats and tetratricopeptide repeats, the candidate phylum 'Poribacteria' is considered as a promising model microorganism for studying the origin of host-symbiont interactions in sponges. However, relatively little is known about its global diversity and phylogenetic distribution among different sponge hosts. Therefore, in this study we investigated phylogenetic relationships among poribacterial phylotypes and generated a phylogenetic network to examine the distribution and intraspecific diversity of the phylotypes between phylogenetically divergent host-sponges at a global scale. For this study 361 poribacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences obtained by Sanger sequencing from 15 different countries and 8 marine regions were gathered. We could demonstrate that the candidate phylum 'Poribacteria' is composed of diverse phylotypes, which are distributed among a wide range of phylogenetically divergent sponge hosts. The current phylogenetic analyses found neither conclusive evidence for co-speciation with its hosts, nor biogeographical correlation. Moreover, we identified a novel poribacterial clade, which might represent a link between the previously established four 'Poribacteria' clades.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-91
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
Issue number1
Early online date14 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


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