Endozoicomonas bacteria are emerging as extremely diverse and flexible symbionts of numerous marine hosts inhabiting oceans worldwide. Their hosts range from simple invertebrate species, such as sponges and corals, to complex vertebrates, such as fish. Although widely distributed, the functional role of Endozoicomonas within their host microenvironment is not well understood. In this review, we provide a summary of the currently recognized hosts of Endozoicomonas and their global distribution. Next, the potential functional roles of Endozoicomonas, particularly in light of recent microscopic, genomic, and genetic analyses, are discussed. These analyses suggest that Endozoicomonas typically reside in aggregates within host tissues, have a free-living stage due to their large genome sizes, show signs of host and local adaptation, participate in host-associated protein and carbohydrate transport and cycling, and harbour a high degree of genomic plasticity due to the large proportion of transposable elements residing in their genomes. This review will finish with a discussion on the methodological tools currently employed to study Endozoicomonas and host interactions and review future avenues for studying complex host-microbial symbioses.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We would like to acknowledge the following sources for funding: this work was supported by a KAUST-WHOI Post-doctoral Partnership Award to MJN and a KAUST-WHOI Special Academic Partnership Funding Reserve Award to CRV and AA. Research in this study was further supported by baseline research funds to CRV by KAUST and NSF award OCE-1233612 to AA.