Stenotrophomonas-like bacteria are widespread symbionts in cone snail venom ducts

Joshua P. Torres, Maria Diarey Tianero, Jose Miguel D. Robes, Jason C. Kwan, Jason S. Biggs, Gisela P. Concepcion, Baldomero M. Olivera, Margo Haygood, Eric W. Schmidta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Cone snails are biomedically important sources of peptide drugs, but it is not known whether snail-associated bacteria affect venom chemistry. To begin to answer this question, we performed 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of eight cone snail species, comparing their microbiomes with each other and with those from a variety of other marine invertebrates. We show that the cone snail microbiome is distinct from those in other marine invertebrates and conserved in specimens from around the world, including the Philippines, Guam, California, and Florida. We found that all venom ducts examined contain diverse 16S rRNA gene sequences bearing closest similarity to Stenotrophomonas bacteria. These sequences represent specific symbionts that live in the lumen of the venom duct, where bioactive venom peptides are synthesized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01418-17
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cone snail
  • Natural products
  • Symbiosis
  • Venom duct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

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  • Cite this

    Torres, J. P., Tianero, M. D., Robes, J. M. D., Kwan, J. C., Biggs, J. S., Concepcion, G. P., Olivera, B. M., Haygood, M., & Schmidta, E. W. (2017). Stenotrophomonas-like bacteria are widespread symbionts in cone snail venom ducts. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 83(23), [e01418-17].