Seminar Details

A sponge-associated acts as detoxification organ for host by mineralizing arsenic and barium in organelle-like structure




Dr. Ray Keren - Dept. of Zoology, Tel Aviv University


Arsenic is a ubiquitous and toxic element. Organisms accumulate arsenic from food and environment, driving the evolution of mechanisms for coping with excess arsenic. Higher metazoans cope with toxic metals by accumulation in organs dedicated to detoxification and excretion, like the liver, kidneys, or gills. While sponges lack differentiated organs and tissues, they harbor a diverse consortium of symbiotic bacteria performing various functions. Since microorganisms have a major impact on the natural arsenic cycle, we sought to examine their role in the hyper-accumulation of arsenic and barium in the sponge Theonella swinhoei. Here we show that a single sponge-symbiotic bacterium, Entotheonella sp., constitutes the arsenic and barium accumulating entity within its host. Moreover, we demonstrate that Entotheonella sp. mineralizes both arsenic and barium in intracellular membrane-bound compartments. In this symbiosis, Entotheonella sp. acts as a de-facto detoxifying organ for its host, while harboring an organelle-like detoxifying compartment in itself.

To Seminar List