Identification, sequencing, and localization of a new carbonic anhydrase transcript from the hydrothermal vent tubeworm Riftia pachyptila

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The vestimentiferan annelid Riftia pachyptila forms dense populations at hydrothermal vents along the East Pacific Rise at a depth of 2600 m. It harbors CO2-assimilating sulfide-oxidizing bacteria that provide all of its nutrition. To find specific host transcripts that could be important for the functioning of this symbiosis, we used a subtractive suppression hybridization approach to identify plume- or trophosome-specific proteins. We demonstrated the existence of carbonic anhydrase transcripts, a protein endowed with an essential role in generating the influx of CO2 required by the symbionts. One of the transcripts was previously known and sequenced. Our quantification analyses showed a higher expression of this transcript in the trophosome compared to the branchial plume or the body wall. A second transcript, with 69.7% nucleotide identity compared to the previous one, was almost only expressed in the branchial plume. Fluorescent in situ hybridization confirmed the coexpression of the two transcripts in the branchial plume in contrast with the trophosome where only one transcript could be detected. An alignment of these translated carbonic anhydrase cDNAs with vertebrate and nonvertebrate carbonic anhydrase protein sequences revealed the conservation of most amino acids involved in the catalytic site. According to the phylogenetic analyses, the two R. pachyptila transcripts clustered together but not all nonvertebrate sequences grouped together. Complete sequencing of the new carbonic anhydrase transcript revealed the existence of two slightly divergent isoforms probably coded by two different genes.

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