Atelocyanobacterium thalassa

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Candidatus Atelocyanobacterium thalassa
Scientific classification
Ca. Atelocyanobacterium thalassa

Candidatus Atelocyanobacterium thalassa (previously cyanobacterium UCYN-A,) is a species of cyanobacteria commonly found throughout the world's oceans.[1] Unlike many other cyanobacteria, A. thalassa lacks the ability to perform photosynthesis. Instead, it is found in a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic algae. A. thalassa fixes nitrogen for the algae, while the algae provides carbon for A. thalassa through photosynthesis.[2]


A. thalassa was first described in 1998 as a nitrogen-fixing bacteria with a much-reduced genome.[2] The microbe was originally given the name UCYN-A for "unicellular cyanobacteria group A".[3] In 2012, A. thalassa was described to be in a symbiotic association with the unicellular algae Braarudosphaera bigelowii and Chrysochromulina parkeae.[1]


A. thalassa lacks a variety of metabolic components common to cyanobacteria, including the oxygen-producing photosystem II complex of the photosynthetic apparatus, the carboxysome, enzymes of the Calvin and tricarboxylic acid cycles, as well as several enzymes involved in amino acid synthesis.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b Thompson, A. W.; Foster, R. A.; Krupke, A.; Carter, B. J.; Musat, N.; Vaulot, D.; Kuypers, M. M. M.; Zehr, J. P. (20 September 2012). "Unicellular Cyanobacterium Symbiotic with a Single-Celled Eukaryotic Alga". Science. 337 (6101): 1546–1550. Bibcode:2012Sci...337.1546T. doi:10.1126/science.1222700. PMID 22997339.
  2. ^ a b Tim Stephens (20 September 2012). "Unusual symbiosis discovered in marine microorganisms". University of California Santa Cruz Newscenter. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Zehr Laboratory". University of California, Santa Cruz. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  4. ^ Tripp, H. James; Bench, Shellie R.; Turk, Kendra A.; Foster, Rachel A.; Desany, Brian A.; Niazi, Faheem; Affourtit, Jason P.; Zehr, Jonathan P. (2009). "Metabolic streamlining in an open-ocean nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium". Nature. 464 (7285): 90–94. doi:10.1038/nature08786. PMID 20173737.
  5. ^ Bothe, H.; Tripp, H. J.; Zehr, J. P. (2010). "Unicellular cyanobacteria with a new mode of life: the lack of photosynthetic oxygen evolution allows nitrogen fixation to proceed". Arch Microbiol. 192 (10): 783–90. doi:10.1007/s00203-010-0621-5. PMID 20803290.

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