Abstract

The abundance of life on Earth is almost entirely due to biological photosynthesis, which depends on light energy. The source of light in natural habitats has heretofore been thought to be the sun, thus restricting photosynthesis to solar photic environments on the surface of the Earth. If photosynthesis could take place in geothermally illuminated environments, it would increase the diversity of photosynthetic habitats both on Earth and on other worlds that have been proposed to possibly harbor life. Green sulfur bacteria are anaerobes that require light for growth by the oxidation of sulfur compounds to reduce CO2 to organic carbon, and are capable of photosynthetic growth at extremely low light intensities. We describe the isolation and cultivation of a previously unknown green sulfur bacterial species from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent, where the only source of light is geothermal radiation that includes wavelengths absorbed by photosynthetic pigments of this organism.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the ALVIN Group and the captain and crew of R/V Atlantis for assistance in collecting samples, the University of British Columbia Imaging Facility for assistance in electron microscopy, and D. Brune and J. Bickmeier for assistance with mass spectrometry. This research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Canada), the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Astrobiology and Exobiology programs, the U.S. Department of Energy Biosciences program, and the U.S. National Science Foundation RIDGE program.

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Information & Authors

Information

Published in

Go to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Go to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Vol. 102 | No. 26
June 28, 2005
PubMed: 15967984

Classifications

Submission history

Received: March 3, 2005
Published online: June 20, 2005
Published in issue: June 28, 2005

Keywords

  1. photosynthesis
  2. anoxygenic
  3. green sulfur bacterium
  4. evolution
  5. habitat

Acknowledgments

We thank the ALVIN Group and the captain and crew of R/V Atlantis for assistance in collecting samples, the University of British Columbia Imaging Facility for assistance in electron microscopy, and D. Brune and J. Bickmeier for assistance with mass spectrometry. This research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Canada), the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Astrobiology and Exobiology programs, the U.S. Department of Energy Biosciences program, and the U.S. National Science Foundation RIDGE program.

Authors

Affiliations

J. Thomas Beatty
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3; Department Biology I, University of Munich, 80638 München, Germany; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85069; Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775; Biology Department, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187; and Bermuda Biological Station for Research, St. George's GE 01, Bermuda
Jörg Overmann
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3; Department Biology I, University of Munich, 80638 München, Germany; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85069; Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775; Biology Department, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187; and Bermuda Biological Station for Research, St. George's GE 01, Bermuda
Michael T. Lince
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3; Department Biology I, University of Munich, 80638 München, Germany; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85069; Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775; Biology Department, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187; and Bermuda Biological Station for Research, St. George's GE 01, Bermuda
Ann K. Manske
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3; Department Biology I, University of Munich, 80638 München, Germany; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85069; Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775; Biology Department, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187; and Bermuda Biological Station for Research, St. George's GE 01, Bermuda
Andrew S. Lang
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3; Department Biology I, University of Munich, 80638 München, Germany; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85069; Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775; Biology Department, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187; and Bermuda Biological Station for Research, St. George's GE 01, Bermuda
Robert E. Blankenship
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3; Department Biology I, University of Munich, 80638 München, Germany; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85069; Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775; Biology Department, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187; and Bermuda Biological Station for Research, St. George's GE 01, Bermuda
Cindy L. Van Dover
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3; Department Biology I, University of Munich, 80638 München, Germany; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85069; Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775; Biology Department, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187; and Bermuda Biological Station for Research, St. George's GE 01, Bermuda
Tracey A. Martinson
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3; Department Biology I, University of Munich, 80638 München, Germany; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85069; Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775; Biology Department, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187; and Bermuda Biological Station for Research, St. George's GE 01, Bermuda
F. Gerald Plumley
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3; Department Biology I, University of Munich, 80638 München, Germany; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85069; Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775; Biology Department, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187; and Bermuda Biological Station for Research, St. George's GE 01, Bermuda

Notes

To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: [email protected].
Communicated by Bob B. Buchanan, University of California, Berkeley, CA, May 3, 2005

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    An obligately photosynthetic bacterial anaerobe from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    • Vol. 102
    • No. 26
    • pp. 9087-9430

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