Skip to comments.Salamander's egg surprise - Algae enjoy symbiotic relationship with embryos.
Posted on 08/10/2010 12:27:42 AM PDT by neverdem
Scientists have stumbled across the first example of a photosynthetic organism living inside a vertebrate's cells. The discovery is a surprise because the adaptive immune systems of vertebrates generally destroy foreign biological material. In this case, however, a symbiotic alga seems to be surviving unchallenged and might be giving its host a solar-powered metabolic boost.
The embryos of the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) have long been known to enjoy a mutualistic relationship with the single-celled alga Oophila amblystomatis. The salamanders' viridescent eggs are coloured by algae living in the jelly-like material that surrounds the embryo. The embryos produce nitrogen-rich waste that is useful to the algae, which, in turn, supply the developing embryos with extra oxygen. The algae clearly benefit their salamander hosts: Lynda Goff, a molecular marine biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, showed 30 years ago that salamander embryos lacking algae in their surrounding jelly are slower to hatch.
Ryan Kerney of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, has now found that these algae also live inside the embryo's cells. Such a close coexistence with a photosynthetic organism has previously been found only in invertebrates, such as corals. Kerney took long-exposure fluorescent images of pre-hatchling salamander embryos, and saw scattered dots in the unstained tissue an indicator that it might contain chlorophyll. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images showed mitochondria in the salamander cells...
One of Kerney's most curious discoveries suggests that the algae may be a maternal gift. He has found the same algae in the oviducts of adult female spotted salamanders, where the embryo-encompassing jelly sacs first form...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
They’ve uncovered our secret plan for world domination!
But you have GREEN power from the SUN! How crunchy granola cool is that?
Why only the pix of the eggs, not the TEM scans of the cells?
Maybe the eggs are far more picturesque.
Maybe so.. I wonder what Newt thinks of his “relatives”?
I wonder if that was a mistype. It isn't unusual to find mitochondria in the cells, since all eukaryotic cells have them. OTOH, finding chloroplasts in the salamander cells would be very surprising.
Also, the article overstates the significance of foreign biological material living symbiotically within the body. Many species of bacteria live on and within the body. They protect us from infection. E. coli (and maybe other species) makes vitamin K that we need to survive. What *is* significant is that the symbiotic organism is photosynthetic.
Both mitochondria and chloroplasts are thought to be ancient bacteria that took up residence inside eukaryotes. Although incapable of independent life, they still function like bacteria.
I don't think in either of those cases that the "foreign" party lives "within" cells, but external to them.
You only read the excerpt. The full sentence is:
“Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images showed mitochondria in the salamander cells clustering close to the algae. “
Waaaay cool but we were the only species capable of actually making Green Energy work and we *weren’t* going to share.
Curse those infernal meddling scientists!
Now, we’ll have to go to Plan B.
[don’t ask....it’s simply too horrible for the human mind to even contemplate]
Laugh while you still can, silly mammal.
All too soon, you’ll be kneeling before your new Amphibian Overlords.
Yeah. I thought you should know...
I believe Emilio
Lizardo's uh, Salamando's line is "Laugha while-a you can, monkeyboy!"
Thanks neverdem.The embryos produce nitrogen-rich waste that is useful to the algae, which, in turn, supply the developing embryos with extra oxygen.To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
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That works for me....:)