Oceanic dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an assemblage of reduced carbon compounds, which results from biotic and abiotic processes. The biotic processes consist in either release or uptake of specific molecules by marine organisms. Heterotrophic bacteria have been mostly considered to influence the DOM composition by preferential uptake of certain compounds. However, they also secrete a variety of molecules depending on physiological state, environmental and growth conditions, but so far the full set of compounds secreted by these bacteria has never been investigated. In this study, we analyzed the exo-metabolome, metabolites secreted into the environment, of the heterotrophic marine bacterium Pseudovibrio sp. FO-BEG1 via ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry, comparing phosphate limited with phosphate surplus growth conditions. Bacteria belonging to the Pseudovibrio genus have been isolated worldwide, mainly from marine invertebrates and were described as metabolically versatile Alphaproteobacteria. We show that the exo-metabolome is unexpectedly large and diverse, consisting of hundreds of compounds that differ by their molecular formulae. It is characterized by a dynamic recycling of molecules, and it is drastically affected by the physiological state of the strain. Moreover, we show that phosphate limitation greatly influences both the amount and the composition of the secreted molecules. By assigning the detected masses to general chemical categories, we observed that under phosphate surplus conditions the secreted molecules were mainly peptides and highly unsaturated compounds. In contrast, under phosphate limitation the composition of the exo-metabolome changed during bacterial growth, showing an increase in highly unsaturated, phenolic, and polyphenolic compounds. Finally, we annotated the detected masses using multiple metabolite databases. These analyses suggested the presence of several masses analogue to masses of known bioactive compounds. However, the annotation was successful only for a minor part of the detected molecules, underlining the current gap in knowledge concerning the biosynthetic ability of marine heterotrophic bacteria.
The majority of strains belonging to the genus Pseudovibrio have been isolated from marine invertebrates such as tunicates, corals and particularly sponges, but the physiology of these bacteria is poorly understood. In this study, we analyse for the first time the genomes of two Pseudovibrio strains - FO-BEG1 and JE062. The strain FO-BEG1 is a required symbiont of a cultivated Beggiatoa strain, a sulfide-oxidizing, autotrophic bacterium, which was initially isolated from a coral. Strain JE062 was isolated from a sponge. The presented data show that both strains are generalistic bacteria capable of importing and oxidizing a wide range of organic and inorganic compounds to meet their carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and energy requirements under both, oxic and anoxic conditions. Several physiological traits encoded in the analysed genomes were verified in laboratory experiments with both isolates. Besides the versatile metabolic abilities of both Pseudovibrio strains, our study reveals a number of open reading frames and gene clusters in the genomes that seem to be involved in symbiont-host interactions. Both Pseudovibrio strains have the genomic potential to attach to host cells, interact with the eukaryotic cell machinery, produce secondary metabolites and supply the host with cofactors.
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