Cytology of terminally differentiated Epulopiscium mother cells

Ward, Rebekah J., Clements, Kendall D., Choat, John Howard, and Angert, Esther R. (2009) Cytology of terminally differentiated Epulopiscium mother cells. DNA and Cell Biology, 28 (2). pp. 57-64.

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Epulopiscium sp. type B, a member of the Firmicutes, is a large (up to 300μm), cigar-shaped bacterial symbiont of surgeonfish that propagates itself by forming multiple intracellular offspring. This unusual form of reproduction is an apparent modification of a developmental program used by some Firmicutes to produce an endospore. At the onset of offspring formation, the Epulopiscium cell divides at both poles. The polar cells are engulfed by the larger mother cell and grow within the mother cell. At the final stages of development, the Epulopiscium mother cell lyses. Here we describe changes in Epulopiscium cell structure, focusing on mother cell DNA replication and cell death. DNA replication was examined by labeling cells with the nucleotide analog bromodeoxyuridine. As expected, DNA replication occurs in the developing offspring. However, well after passage of genetic information from parent to offspring is complete, DNA within the mother cell continues to replicate. Using fluorescence microscopy, we found that near the end of the offspring growth cycle, mother cell DNA disintegrates. The mother cell membrane and wall deteriorate as well. DNA replication within this terminally differentiated cell indicates the importance of mother cell nucleoids in cell maintenance and the development of offspring. The synchronized timing of mother cell deterioration within a population suggests that the Epulopiscium mother cell undergoes a programmed cell death. The programmed death of the mother cell may allow for the timely release of resources accumulated in the mother cell to provide nutrients to populations of these intestinal microbes and their host.

Item ID: 10552
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1557-7430
Keywords: marine science; DNA; bacterial genome; cytological organization; bacterial size
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2010 04:18
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060504 Microbial Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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