A novel Chromatiales bacterium is a potential sulfide oxidizer in multiple orders of marine sponges

Adi Lavy*, Ray Keren, Ke Yu, Brian C. Thomas, Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, Jillian F. Banfield, Micha Ilan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Sponges are benthic filter feeders that play pivotal roles in coupling benthic-pelagic processes in the oceans that involve transformation of dissolved and particulate organic carbon and nitrogen into biomass. While the contribution of sponge holobionts to the nitrogen cycle has been recognized in past years, their importance in the sulfur cycle, both oceanic and physiological, has only recently gained attention. Sponges in general, and Theonella swinhoei in particular, harbour a multitude of associated microorganisms that could affect sulfur cycling within the holobiont. We reconstructed the genome of a Chromatiales (class Gammaproteobacteria) bacterium from a metagenomic sequence dataset of a T. swinhoei-associated microbial community. This relatively abundant bacterium has the metabolic capability to oxidize sulfide yet displays reduced metabolic potential suggestive of its lifestyle as an obligatory symbiont. This bacterium was detected in multiple sponge orders, according to similarities in key genes such as 16S rRNA and polyketide synthase genes. Due to its sulfide oxidation metabolism and occurrence in many members of the Porifera phylum, we suggest naming the newly described taxon Candidatus Porisulfidus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-814
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018


FundersFunder number
US Department of EnergyDOE-SC10010566
National Institute of Environmental Health SciencesP42ES004705
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Ministry of Science, Technology and Space
Israel Science Foundation957/14
Israel Science Foundation
Tel Aviv University


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