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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 723696, 5 pages
Research Article

Distribution and Abundance of Archaea in South China Sea Sponge Holoxea sp. and the Presence of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea in Sponge Cells

1Marine Biotechnology Laboratory, State Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism and School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, China
2Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Changhai Road 225, Shanghai 200438, China

Received 14 January 2011; Revised 13 May 2011; Accepted 28 June 2011

Copyright © 2011 Fang Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Compared with bacterial symbionts, little is known about archaea in sponges especially about their spatial distribution and abundance. Understanding the distribution and abundance of ammonia-oxidizing archaea will help greatly in elucidating the potential function of symbionts in nitrogen cycling in sponges. In this study, gene libraries of 16S rRNA gene and ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA) genes and quantitative real-time PCR were used to study the spatial distribution and abundance of archaea in the South China Sea sponge Holoxea sp. As a result, Holoxea sp. specific AOA, mainly group C1a (marine group I: Crenarchaeota) were identified. The presence of ammonia-oxidizing crenarchaea was observed for the first time within sponge cells. This study suggested a close relationship between sponge host and its archaeal symbionts as well as the archaeal potential contribution to sponge host in the ammonia-oxidizing process of nitrification.