Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The first metazoa living in permanently anoxic conditions

Roberto Danovaro*, Antonio Dell'Anno, Antonio Pusceddu, Cristina Gambi, Iben Heiner and Reinhardt Møbjerg Kristensen

BMC Biology 2010, 8:30  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-8-30

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Reply to comment by Christos Chinopoulos

Roberto Danovaro   (2010-06-23 17:36)  Department of Marine Sciences, Polytechnic University of Marche, Via Brecce Bianche 60131 Ancona, Italy email

The pro-oxidant pressure induced by the generation of reactive oxygen species are expected to be absent in the organisms living in the L’Atalante basin because this ecosystem is completely oxygen free since at least 50,000 years. We do not know yet which are the biochemical and physiological mechanisms which allow these organisms to survive in a system characterised by the absence of oxygen and by high concentrations of potentially toxic compounds (i.e. hydrogen sulphide). Such mechanisms should be investigated in the future to improve our understanding how these metazoans can be adapted to live in one of the most hostile environments on Earth.

Competing interests

There are no competing interests

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No signs of oxidative stress? any anti-oxidant mechanisms?

Christos Chinopoulos   (2010-06-23 17:35)  Semmelweis University email

I assume that because these organisms are subject to extremely low oxygen, they do not exhibit signs of oxidative stress. I wonder if they still possess anti-oxidant mechanisms (such glutathione, catalase, superoxide dismutases), or they are equipped with different kind of mechanisms to meet their needs in a high sulfide environment.

Competing interests

No conflict of interest.

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