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Cyanobacterial symbionts diverged in the late Cretaceous towards lineage-specific nitrogen fixation factories in single-celled phytoplankton

AuthorsCornejo-Castillo, Francisco M. ; Cabello, Ana María ; Salazar, Guillem ; Gasol, Josep M. ; Massana, Ramon ; Acinas, Silvia G.
Issue DateMar-2016
PublisherNature Publishing Group
CitationNature Communications 7: 11071 (2016)
AbstractThe unicellular cyanobacterium UCYN-A, one of the major contributors to nitrogen fixation in the open ocean, lives in symbiosis with single-celled phytoplankton. UCYN-A includes several closely related lineages whose partner fidelity, genome-wide expression and time of evolutionary divergence remain to be resolved. Here we detect and distinguish UCYN-A1 and UCYN-A2 lineages in symbiosis with two distinct prymnesiophyte partners in the South Atlantic Ocean. Both symbiotic systems are lineage specific and differ in the number of UCYN-A cells involved. Our analyses infer a streamlined genome expression towards nitrogen fixation in both UCYN-A lineages. Comparative genomics reveal a strong purifying selection in UCYN-A1 and UCYN-A2 with a diversification process ~91 Myr ago, in the late Cretaceous, after the low-nutrient regime period occurred during the Jurassic. These findings suggest that UCYN-A diversified in a co-evolutionary process, wherein their prymnesiophyte partners acted as a barrier driving an allopatric speciation of extant UCYN-A lineages
DescriptionCornejo-Castillo, Francisco M. ... et al.-- 9 pages, 3 figures, 1 table, supplementary data, supplementary information http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11071.-- This article is contribution number 37 of Tara Oceans
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11071
Identifiersdoi: 10.1038/ncomms11071
e-issn: 2041-1723
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