A peptide antibiotic from the Abyss

While innate immunity is well described in numerous multicellular species, functional data on how the immune system has evolved to tolerate and control bacteria in deep-sea organisms is not known. For this study, we used the emblematic model Alvinella pompejana which is the most thermotolerant animal known on Earth. Alvinella inhabits the walls of chimneys at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. The worm relies on a symbiotic association offering a unique opportunity to discover biochemical adaptations that allow animals to thrive in such a hostile habitat. We report on the characterization of the first antibiotic peptide from a deep-sea animal, namely alvinellacin. After purification and peptide sequencing, both the gene and the peptide tertiary structures were elucidated. This antimicrobial peptide (AMP) is evolutionary linked to a family of AMPs from coastal annelids. Since Alvinella precludes in vivo investigation due to lethal decompression effects upon sampling, we developed shipboard ex vivo assays to demonstrate that in addition to immunological functions, alvinellacin shapes and controls the microflora associated with the worm. Our results provide insights into the nature of abyssal AMPs and uncover their role in helping organisms to persist in the hydrothermal world by controlling epibiosis.

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First Name: 
Aurélie
Last Name: 
Tasiemski
Telephone: 
333 20 33 59 57
Affiliation: 
UMR CNRS-University of Lille1, 8198, GEPV, France
First Name: 
Sascha
Last Name: 
Jung
Affiliation: 
Institute of Biochemistry, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
First Name: 
Céline
Last Name: 
Boidin-Wichlacz
Affiliation: 
UMR CNRS 8198, GEPV, Ecoimmunology of Marine Annelids, Université de Lille1
First Name: 
Didier
Last Name: 
Jollivet
Affiliation: 
UMR CNRS-UPMC 7144, GAME, Station Biologique, 29680 Roscoff
First Name: 
Florence
Last Name: 
Pradillon
Affiliation: 
IFREMER, Centre de Brest
First Name: 
Costantino
Last Name: 
Vetriani
Affiliation: 
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University
Choose keywords that are most applicable to your abstract. (Three maximum.): 
Trophic relations (including symbiosis)
Physiology
Microbiology
Abstract ID: 
CBE5-114
First Name: 
Oliver
Last Name: 
Hecht
Affiliation: 
Institute of Biochemistry, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
First Name: 
Frank
Last Name: 
Sönnichsen
Affiliation: 
Otto Diels Institute for Organic Chemistry, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
First Name: 
Christoph
Last Name: 
Gelhaus
Affiliation: 
Institute of Zoology, Zoophysiology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
Affiliation12: 
Institute of Biochemistry, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
Last Name12: 
Grötzinger
First Name12: 
Joachim