Bacterial symbioses allow annelids to colonise extreme ecological niches, such as hydrothermal vents and whale falls. Yet, the genetic principles sustaining these symbioses remain unclear. Here, we show that different genomic adaptations underpin the symbioses of phylogenetically related annelids with distinct nutritional strategies. Genome compaction and extensive gene losses distinguish the heterotrophic symbiosis of the bone-eating worm Osedax frankpressi from the chemoautotrophic symbiosis of deep-sea Vestimentifera. Osedax’s endosymbionts complement many of the host’s metabolic deficiencies, including the loss of pathways to recycle nitrogen and synthesise some amino acids. Osedax’s endosymbionts possess the glyoxylate cycle, which could allow more efficient catabolism of bone-derived nutrients and the production of carbohydrates from fatty acids. Unlike in most Vestimentifera, innate immunity genes are reduced in O. frankpressi, which, however, has an expansion of matrix metalloproteases to digest collagen. Our study supports that distinct nutritional interactions influence host genome evolution differently in highly specialised symbioses.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)