Epulopiscium viviparus

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For the first time, scientists have sequenced the genome of a mysterious species of giant bacterium Epulopiscium viviparus that can be seen without a microscope.

About Epulopiscium viviparus

  • It is a bacteria which live symbiotically in the guts of a fish, Naso tonganus, in tropical ocean environments. 
  • The first member of Epulopiscium – whose name comes from the Latin words for "a guest" and "of a fish" – was discovered in 1985.
  • Epulopiscium viviparus has modified its metabolism to make the most of its environment, by using a rare method to make energy and to move (the same swimming method is used by the bacteria that cause cholera), and by devoting a huge portion of its genetic code to making enzymes that can harvest the nutrients available in its host’s gut.
  • It makes enzymes that are highly efficient at nutrient extraction from their host fish, especially carbohydrates called polysaccharides from the algae that forms a large part of N. tonganus's diet.
  • It has plentiful enzymes that make ATP too, the 'energy currency' that supports a wide variety of cellular processes.
  • Researchers discovered space for these molecules in a unique membrane, similar to the mitochondria of more complex organisms.

Q1) What are Enzymes ?

These are proteins that help speed up metabolism, or the chemical reactions in our bodies. They build some substances and break others down. All living things have enzymes. Our bodies naturally produce enzymes.

Source: Researchers Sequence Genome of Giant Symbiotic Bacterium