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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Uniting the classification of cultured and uncultured bacteria and archaea using 16S rRNA gene sequences.
Nat. Rev. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 08-15-2014
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Publicly available sequence databases of the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene, also known as 16S rRNA in bacteria and archaea, are growing rapidly, and the number of entries currently exceeds 4 million. However, a unified classification and nomenclature framework for all bacteria and archaea does not yet exist. In this Analysis article, we propose rational taxonomic boundaries for high taxa of bacteria and archaea on the basis of 16S rRNA gene sequence identities and suggest a rationale for the circumscription of uncultured taxa that is compatible with the taxonomy of cultured bacteria and archaea. Our analyses show that only nearly complete 16S rRNA sequences give accurate measures of taxonomic diversity. In addition, our analyses suggest that most of the 16S rRNA sequences of the high taxa will be discovered in environmental surveys by the end of the current decade.
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Genomic encyclopedia of bacteria and archaea: sequencing a myriad of type strains.
PLoS Biol.
PUBLISHED: 08-01-2014
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Microbes hold the key to life. They hold the secrets to our past (as the descendants of the earliest forms of life) and the prospects for our future (as we mine their genes for solutions to some of the planet's most pressing problems, from global warming to antibiotic resistance). However, the piecemeal approach that has defined efforts to study microbial genetic diversity for over 20 years and in over 30,000 genome projects risks squandering that promise. These efforts have covered less than 20% of the diversity of the cultured archaeal and bacterial species, which represent just 15% of the overall known prokaryotic diversity. Here we call for the funding of a systematic effort to produce a comprehensive genomic catalog of all cultured Bacteria and Archaea by sequencing, where available, the type strain of each species with a validly published name (currently?11,000). This effort will provide an unprecedented level of coverage of our planet's genetic diversity, allow for the large-scale discovery of novel genes and functions, and lead to an improved understanding of microbial evolution and function in the environment.
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Genomic Encyclopedia of Type Strains, Phase I: The one thousand microbial genomes (KMG-I) project.
Stand Genomic Sci
PUBLISHED: 06-15-2014
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The Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea (GEBA) project was launched by the JGI in 2007 as a pilot project with the objective of sequencing 250 bacterial and archaeal genomes. The two major goals of that project were (a) to test the hypothesis that there are many benefits to the use the phylogenetic diversity of organisms in the tree of life as a primary criterion for generating their genome sequence and (b) to develop the necessary framework, technology and organization for large-scale sequencing of microbial isolate genomes. While the GEBA pilot project has not yet been entirely completed, both of the original goals have already been successfully accomplished, leading the way for the next phase of the project. Here we propose taking the GEBA project to the next level, by generating high quality draft genomes for 1,000 bacterial and archaeal strains. This represents a combined 16-fold increase in both scale and speed as compared to the GEBA pilot project (250 isolate genomes in 4+ years). We will follow a similar approach for organism selection and sequencing prioritization as was done for the GEBA pilot project (i.e. phylogenetic novelty, availability and growth of cultures of type strains and DNA extraction capability), focusing on type strains as this ensures reproducibility of our results and provides the strongest linkage between genome sequences and other knowledge about each strain. In turn, this project will constitute a pilot phase of a larger effort that will target the genome sequences of all available type strains of the Bacteria and Archaea.
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Draft Genome Sequence of Geobacillus thermopakistaniensis Strain MAS1.
Genome Announc
PUBLISHED: 06-07-2014
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Geobacillus thermopakistaniensis strain MAS1 was isolated from a hot spring located in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. The draft genome sequence was 3.5 Mb and identified a number of genes of potential industrial importance, including genes encoding glycoside hydrolases, pullulanase, amylopullulanase, glycosidase, and alcohol dehydrogenases.
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The relationship of the whole genome sequence identity to DNA hybridization varies between genera of prokaryotes.
Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek
PUBLISHED: 06-02-2014
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In the original proposal of Wayne et al. (Int J Syst Bacteriol 37:463-464, 1987), two measures of genetic relatedness were proposed to set the boundary for prokaryotic species. The first was the change in the melting temperature (?Tm) of heteroduplex DNA and the second was the extent of DNA-DNA hybridization (DDH). While this approach was justified given the experimental error inherent in these methods, genomic sequencing has the potential to measure both parameters with great precision. The average nucleotide identity (ANIb), a surrogate for the ?Tm, and the calculated DDH (cDDH) were determined from the complete genomes of representatives of 17 genera of prokaryotes. When the ANIb was >75 %, the ratio (100-cDDH)/(100-ANIb) was 3.69 ± 0.93 (± SD) and varied from about 2.35 to 4.59 between genera. The differences among genera was highly significant (p < 0.001) but not correlated with specific phylogenetic or physiological groups. Moreover, the ANIm was a poor measure of ANIb when ANIb was <75 %. Because the ANIb and cDDH provide different measures of relatedness, it is no longer appropiate to consider both when delineating species. For these reasons, measures of relatedness based upon sequence identity should be used for delineating species in the future.
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Draft Genome Sequence of the Aquatic Phosphorus-Solubilizing and -Mineralizing Bacterium Bacillus sp. Strain CPSM8.
Genome Announc
PUBLISHED: 02-01-2014
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Bacillus sp. strain CPSM8 is an efficient solubilizer and mineralizer of phosphorus. Here, we present the 4.39-Mb draft genome sequence of the strain, providing insight into the phosphorus-releasing genes related to productivity in aquatic habitats.
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The putative tRNA 2-thiouridine synthetase Ncs6 is an essential sulfur carrier in Methanococcus maripaludis.
FEBS Lett.
PUBLISHED: 01-28-2014
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Thiolation of carbon-2 of uridine located in the first position of the anticodons of tRNAUUG(Gln), tRNAUUC(Glu), and tRNAUUU(Lys) is a conserved RNA modification event requiring the 2-thiouridine synthetase Ncs6/Ctu1 in archaea and eukaryotes. Ncs6/Ctu1 activates uridine by adenylation, but its role in sulfur transfer is unclear. Here we show that Mmp1356, the Ncs6/Ctu1 homolog in the archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis, forms a persulfide enzyme adduct with an active site cysteine; this suggests that Mmp1356 directly participates in sulfur transfer as a persulfide carrier. Transposon mutagenesis shows that Mmp1356 is likely to be an essential protein.
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Regulatory and functional diversity of methylmercaptopropionate coenzyme A ligases from the dimethylsulfoniopropionate demethylation pathway in Ruegeria pomeroyi DSS-3 and other proteobacteria.
J. Bacteriol.
PUBLISHED: 01-17-2014
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The organosulfur compound dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is produced by phytoplankton and is ubiquitous in the surface ocean. Once released from phytoplankton, marine bacteria degrade DMSP by either the cleavage pathway to form the volatile gas dimethylsulfide (DMS) or the demethylation pathway, yielding methanethiol (MeSH), which is readily assimilated or oxidized. The enzyme DmdB, a methylmercaptopropionate (MMPA)-coenzyme A (CoA) ligase, catalyzes the second step in the demethylation pathway and is a major regulatory point. The two forms of DmdB present in the marine roseobacter Ruegeria pomeroyi DSS-3, RPO_DmdB1 and RPO_DmdB2, and the single form in the SAR11 clade bacterium "Candidatus Pelagibacter ubique" HTCC1062, PU_DmdB1, were characterized in detail. DmdB enzymes were also examined from Ruegeria lacuscaerulensis ITI-1157, Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1, and Burkholderia thailandensis E264. The DmdB enzymes separated into two phylogenetic clades. All enzymes had activity with MMPA and were sensitive to inhibition by salts, but there was no correlation between the clades and substrate specificity or salt sensitivity. All Ruegeria species enzymes were inhibited by physiological concentrations (70 mM) of DMSP. However, ADP reversed the inhibition of RPO_DmdB1, suggesting that this enzyme was responsive to cellular energy charge. MMPA reversed the inhibition of RPO_DmdB2 as well as both R. lacuscaerulensis ITI-1157 DmdB enzymes, suggesting that a complex regulatory system exists in marine bacteria. In contrast, the DmdBs of the non-DMSP-metabolizing P. aeruginosa PAO1 and B. thailandensis E264 were not inhibited by DMSP, suggesting that DMSP inhibition is a specific adaptation of DmdBs from marine bacteria.
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Diversity of the DNA replication system in the Archaea domain.
Archaea
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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The precise and timely duplication of the genome is essential for cellular life. It is achieved by DNA replication, a complex process that is conserved among the three domains of life. Even though the cellular structure of archaea closely resembles that of bacteria, the information processing machinery of archaea is evolutionarily more closely related to the eukaryotic system, especially for the proteins involved in the DNA replication process. While the general DNA replication mechanism is conserved among the different domains of life, modifications in functionality and in some of the specialized replication proteins are observed. Indeed, Archaea possess specific features unique to this domain. Moreover, even though the general pattern of the replicative system is the same in all archaea, a great deal of variation exists between specific groups.
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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Degradation of Phytoplankton-Associated Arenibacter spp. and Description of Arenibacter algicola sp. nov., an Aromatic Hydrocarbon-Degrading Bacterium.
Appl. Environ. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 11-08-2013
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Pyrosequencing of the bacterial community associated with a cosmopolitan marine diatom during enrichment with crude oil revealed several Arenibacter phylotypes, of which one (OTU-202) had become significantly enriched by the oil. Since members of the genus Arenibacter have not been previously shown to degrade hydrocarbons, we attempted to isolate a representative strain of this genus in order to directly investigate its hydrocarbon-degrading potential. Based on 16S rRNA sequencing, one isolate (designated strain TG409(T)) exhibited >99% sequence identity to three type strains of this genus. On the basis of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, strain TG409(T) represents a novel species in the genus Arenibacter, for which the name Arenibacter algicola sp. nov. is proposed. We reveal for the first time that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) degradation is a shared phenotype among members of this genus, indicating that it could be used as a taxonomic marker for this genus. Kinetic data for PAH mineralization rates showed that naphthalene was preferred to phenanthrene, and its mineralization was significantly enhanced in the presence of glass wool (a surrogate for diatom cell surfaces). During enrichment on hydrocarbons, strain TG409(T) emulsified n-tetradecane and crude oil, and cells were found to be preferentially attached to oil droplets, indicating an ability by the strain to express cell surface amphiphilic substances (biosurfactants or bioemulsifiers) as a possible strategy to increase the bioavailability of hydrocarbons. This work adds to our growing knowledge on the diversity of bacterial genera in the ocean contributing to the degradation of oil contaminants and of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria found living in association with marine eukaryotic phytoplankton.
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Metabolism of dimethylsulphoniopropionate by Ruegeria pomeroyi?DSS-3.
Mol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 06-27-2013
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Ruegeria pomeroyi?DSS-3 possesses two general pathways for metabolism of dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP), an osmolyte of algae and abundant carbon source for marine bacteria. In the DMSP cleavage pathway, acrylate is transformed into acryloyl-CoA by propionate-CoA ligase (SPO2934) and other unidentified acyl-CoA ligases. Acryloyl-CoA is then reduced to propionyl-CoA by AcuI or SPO1914. Acryloyl-CoA is also rapidly hydrated to 3-hydroxypropionyl-CoA by acryloyl-CoA hydratase (SPO0147). A SPO1914 mutant was unable to grow on acrylate as the sole carbon source, supporting its role in this pathway. Similarly, growth on methylmercaptopropionate, the first intermediate of the DMSP demethylation pathway, was severely inhibited by a mutation in the gene encoding crotonyl-CoA carboxylase/reductase, demonstrating that acetate produced by this pathway was metabolized by the ethylmalonyl-CoA pathway. Amino acids and nucleosides from cells grown on (13) C-enriched DMSP possessed labelling patterns that were consistent with carbon from DMSP being metabolized by both the ethylmalonyl-CoA and acrylate pathways as well as a role for pyruvate dehydrogenase. This latter conclusion was supported by the phenotype of a pdh mutant, which grew poorly on electron-rich substrates. Additionally, label from [(13) C-methyl] DMSP only appeared in carbons derived from methyl-tetrahydrofolate, and there was no evidence for a serine cycle of C-1 assimilation.
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Changes in the Soil Bacterial Communities in a Cedar Plantation Invaded by Moso Bamboo.
Microb. Ecol.
PUBLISHED: 06-18-2013
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Moso bamboo is fast-growing and negatively allelopathic to neighboring plants. However, there is little information on the effects of its establishment and expansion to adjacent forest soil communities. To better understand the impacts of bamboo invasion on soil communities, the phylogenetic structure and diversity of the soil bacterial communities in moso bamboo forest, adjacent Japanese cedar plantation, and bamboo-invaded transition zone were examined using a combination of 16S rRNA gene clone libraries and bar-coded pyrosequencing techniques. Based on the number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs), Shannon diversity index, Chao1 estimator, and rarefaction analysis of both techniques, the bamboo soil bacterial community was the most diverse, followed by the transition zone, with the cedar plantation possessing the lowest diversity. The results from both techniques revealed that the Acidobacteria and Proteobacteria predominated in the three communities, though the relative abundance was different. The 250 most abundant OTUs represented about 70 % of the total sequences found by pyrosequencing. Most of these OTUs were found in all three soil communities, demonstrating the overall similarity among the bacterial communities. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis showed further that the bamboo and transition soil communities were more similar with each other than the cedar soils. These results suggest that bamboo invasion to the adjacent cedar plantation gradually increased the bacterial diversity and changed the soil community. In addition, while the 10 most abundant OTUs were distributed worldwide, related sequences were not abundant in soils from outside the forest studied here. This result may be an indication of the uniqueness of this region.
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Genome-scale analysis of gene function in the hydrogenotrophic methanogenic archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 03-04-2013
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A comprehensive whole-genome analysis of gene function by transposon mutagenesis and deep sequencing methodology has been implemented successfully in a representative of the Archaea domain. Libraries of transposon mutants were generated for the hydrogenotrophic, methanogenic archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis S2 using a derivative of the Tn5 transposon. About 89,000 unique insertions were mapped to the genome, which allowed for the classification of 526 genes or about 30% of the genome as possibly essential or strongly advantageous for growth in rich medium. Many of these genes were homologous to eukaryotic genes that encode fundamental processes in replication, transcription, and translation, providing direct evidence for their importance in Archaea. Some genes classified as possibly essential were unique to the archaeal or methanococcal lineages, such as that encoding DNA polymerase PolD. In contrast, the archaeal homolog to the gene encoding DNA polymerase B was not essential for growth, a conclusion confirmed by construction of an independent deletion mutation. Thus PolD, and not PolB, likely plays a fundamental role in DNA replication in methanococci. Similarly, 121 hypothetical ORFs were classified as possibly essential and likely play fundamental roles in methanococcal information processing or metabolism that are not established outside this group of prokaryotes.
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Genetic confirmation of the role of sulfopyruvate decarboxylase in coenzyme M biosynthesis in Methanococcus maripaludis.
Archaea
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Coenzyme M is an essential coenzyme for methanogenesis. The proposed biosynthetic pathway consists of five steps, of which the fourth step is catalyzed by sulfopyruvate decarboxylase (ComDE). Disruption of the gene comE by transposon mutagenesis resulted in a partial coenzyme M auxotroph, which grew poorly in the absence of coenzyme M and retained less than 3% of the wild type level of coenzyme M biosynthesis. Upon coenzyme M addition, normal growth of the mutant was restored. Moreover, complementation of the mutation with the wild type comE gene in trans restored full growth in the absence of coenzyme M. These results confirm that ComE plays an important role in coenzyme M biosynthesis. The inability to yield a complete CoM auxotroph suggests that either the transposon insertion failed to completely inactivate the gene or M. maripaludis possesses a promiscuous activity that partially complemented the mutation.
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Crystal structure of DmdD, a crotonase superfamily enzyme that catalyzes the hydration and hydrolysis of methylthioacryloyl-CoA.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Dimethyl-sulphoniopropionate (DMSP) is produced in abundance by marine phytoplankton, and the catabolism of this compound is an important source of carbon and reduced sulfur for marine bacteria and other organisms. The enzyme DmdD catalyzes the last step in the methanethiol (MeSH) pathway of DMSP catabolism. DmdD is a member of the crotonase superfamily of enzymes, and it catalyzes both the hydration and the hydrolysis of methylthioacryloyl-CoA (MTA-CoA), converting it to acetaldehyde, CO2, MeSH, and CoA. We report here the crystal structure of Ruegeria pomeroyi DmdD free enzyme at 1.5 Å resolution and the structures of the E121A mutant in complex with MTA-CoA and 3-methylmercaptopropionate-CoA (MMPA-CoA) at 1.8 Å resolution. DmdD is a hexamer, composed of a dimer of trimers where the three monomers of each trimer are related by a crystallographic 3-fold axis. The overall structure of this hexamer is similar to those of canonical crotonases. However, the C-terminal loops of DmdD in one of the trimers assume a different conformation and contribute to CoA binding in the active site of a neighboring monomer of the trimer, while these loops in the second trimer are disordered. MTA-CoA is bound deep in the active site in the first trimer, but shows a 1.5 Å shift in its position in the second trimer. MMPA-CoA has a similar binding mode to MTA-CoA in the first trimer. MMPA-CoA cannot be hydrated and is only hydrolyzed slowly by DmdD. Replacement of the sulfur atom in MMPA-CoA with a methylene group abolishes hydrolysis, suggesting that the unique property of the substrate is a major determinant of the hydrolysis activity of DmdD.
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Porticoccus hydrocarbonoclasticus sp. nov., an aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacterium identified in laboratory cultures of marine phytoplankton.
Appl. Environ. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 12-02-2011
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A marine bacterium, designated strain MCTG13d, was isolated from a laboratory culture of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedrum CCAP1121/2 by enrichment with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as the sole carbon source. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence comparisons, the strain was most closely related to Porticoccus litoralis IMCC2115(T) (96.5%) and to members of the genera Microbulbifer (91.4 to 93.7%) and Marinimicrobium (90.4 to 92.0%). Phylogenetic trees showed that the strain clustered in a distinct phyletic line in the class Gammaproteobacteria for which P. litoralis is presently the sole cultured representative. The strain was strictly aerobic, rod shaped, Gram negative, and halophilic. Notably, it was able to utilize hydrocarbons as sole sources of carbon and energy, whereas sugars did not serve as growth substrates. The predominant isoprenoid quinone of strain MCTG13d was Q-8, and the dominant fatty acids were C(16:1?7c), C(18:1?7c), and C(16:0). DNA G+C content for the isolate was 54.9 ± 0.42 mol%. Quantitative PCR primers targeting the 16S rRNA gene of this strain showed that this organism was common in other laboratory cultures of marine phytoplankton. On the basis of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, strain MCTG13d represents a novel species of Porticoccus, for which the name Porticoccus hydrocarbonoclasticus sp. nov. is proposed. The discovery of this highly specialized hydrocarbon-degrading bacterium living in association with marine phytoplankton suggests that phytoplankton represent a previously unrecognized biotope of novel bacterial taxa that degrade hydrocarbons in the ocean.
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Molecular characterization of soil bacterial community in a perhumid, low mountain forest.
Microbes Environ.
PUBLISHED: 07-05-2011
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Forest disturbance often results in changes in soil properties and microbial communities. In the present study, we characterized a soil bacterial community subjected to disturbance using 16S rRNA gene clone libraries. The community was from a disturbed broad-leaved, low mountain forest ecosystem at Huoshaoliao (HSL) located in northern Taiwan. This locality receives more than 4,000 mm annual precipitation, one of the highest precipitations in Taiwan. Based on the Shannon diversity index, Chao1 estimator, richness and rarefaction curve analysis, the bacterial community in HSL forest soils was more diverse than those previously investigated in natural and disturbed forest soils with colder or less humid weather conditions. Analysis of molecular variance also revealed that the bacterial community in disturbed soils significantly differed from natural forest soils. Most of the abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) in the disturbed soil community at HSL were less abundant or absent in other soils. The disturbances influenced the composition of bacterial communities in natural and disturbed forests and increased the diversity of the disturbed forest soil community. Furthermore, the warmer and humid weather conditions could also increase community diversity in HSL soils.
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Bacterial Catabolism of Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP).
Front Microbiol
PUBLISHED: 04-29-2011
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Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is a metabolite produced primarily by marine phytoplankton and is the main precursor to the climatically important gas dimethylsulfide (DMS). DMS is released upon bacterial catabolism of DMSP, but it is not the only possible fate of DMSP sulfur. An alternative demethylation/demethiolation pathway results in the eventual release of methanethiol, a highly reactive volatile sulfur compound that contributes little to the atmospheric sulfur flux. The activity of these pathways control the natural flux of sulfur released to the atmosphere. Although these biochemical pathways and the factors that regulate them are of great interest, they are poorly understood. Only recently have some of the genes and pathways responsible for DMSP catabolism been elucidated. Thus far, six different enzymes have been identified that catalyze the cleavage of DMSP, resulting in the release of DMS. In addition, five of these enzymes appear to produce acrylate, while one produces 3-hydroxypropionate. In contrast, only one enzyme, designated DmdA, has been identified that catalyzes the demethylation reaction producing methylmercaptopropionate (MMPA). The metabolism of MMPA is performed by a series of three coenzyme-A mediated reactions catalyzed by DmdB, DmdC, and DmdD. Interestingly, CandidatusPelagibacter ubique, a member of the SAR11 clade of Alphaproteobacteria that is highly abundant in marine surface waters, possessed functional DmdA, DmdB, and DmdC enzymes. Microbially mediated transformations of both DMS and methanethiol are also possible, although many of the biochemical and molecular genetic details are still unknown. This review will focus on the recent discoveries in the biochemical pathways that mineralize and assimilate DMSP carbon and sulfur, as well as the areas for which a comprehensive understanding is still lacking.
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Novel pathway for assimilation of dimethylsulphoniopropionate widespread in marine bacteria.
Nature
PUBLISHED: 03-30-2011
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Dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) accounts for up to 10% of carbon fixed by marine phytoplankton in ocean surface waters, producing an estimated 11.7-103?Tmol S per year, most of which is processed by marine bacteria through the demethylation/demethiolation pathway. This pathway releases methanethiol (MeSH) instead of the climatically active gas dimethylsulphide (DMS) and enables marine microorganisms to assimilate the reduced sulphur. Despite recognition of this critical microbial transformation for over two decades, the biochemical pathway and enzymes responsible have remained unidentified. Here we show that three new enzymes related to fatty acid ?-oxidation constitute the pathway that assimilates methylmercaptopropionate (MMPA), the first product of DMSP demethylation/demethiolation, and that two previously unknown coenzyme A (CoA) derivatives, 3-methylmercaptopropionyl-CoA (MMPA-CoA) and methylthioacryloyl-CoA (MTA-CoA), are formed as novel intermediates. A member of the marine roseobacters, Ruegeria pomeroyi DSS-3, requires the MMPA-CoA pathway for MMPA assimilation and MeSH production. This pathway and the ability to produce MeSH from MMPA are present in diverse bacteria, and the ubiquitous SAR11 clade bacterium Pelagibacter ubique possesses enzymes for at least the first two steps. Analysis of marine metagenomic data indicates that the pathway is widespread among bacterioplankton in the ocean surface waters, making it one of the most important known routes for acquisition of reduced carbon and sulphur by surface ocean heterotrophs.
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Genetic systems for hydrogenotrophic methanogens.
Meth. Enzymol.
PUBLISHED: 03-16-2011
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Methanogens are obligate anaerobic Archaea that produce energy from the biosynthesis of methane. These lithotrophic microorganisms are widely distributed in oxygen-free environments and participate actively in the carbon cycle. Indeed, methanogenesis plays a major role in the last step of the anoxic degradation of organic substances, transforming acetate, CO(2), and H(2) to methane. The vast majority of the known methanogens are classified as hydrogenotrophic because they use principally H(2) as the electron donor to drive the reduction of CO(2). Unlike many other cultured Archaea, many methanogens thrive in neutral pH, low salinity, and temperate environments. This has been a great advantage in cultivating these organisms in laboratory conditions and in the development of genetic tools. Moreover, the hydrogenotroph Methanococcus maripaludis is currently a model organism among Archaea, not only for its utility in genetic but also for biochemical and physiological studies. Over time, a broad spectrum of genetic tools and techniques has been developed for methanococci, such as site-directed mutagenesis, selectable markers, transformation methods, and reporter genes. These tools have contributed greatly to the overall understanding of this group of microorganisms and the processes that govern its life style. In this chapter, we describe in detail the available genetic tools for the hydrogenotrophic methanogens.
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Transition of microbial communities during the adaption to anaerobic digestion of carrot waste.
Bioresour. Technol.
PUBLISHED: 02-24-2011
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In this study a microbial community suitable for anaerobic digestion of carrot pomace was developed from inocula obtained from natural environmental sources. The changes along the process were monitored using pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. As the community adapted from a diverse natural community to a community with a definite function, diversity decreased drastically. Major bacterial groups remaining after enrichment were Bacilli (31-45.3%), Porphyromonadaceae (12.1-24.8%) and Spirochaetes (12.5-18.5%). The archaeal population was even less diverse and mainly represented by a single OTU that was 99.7% similar to Methanosarcina mazei. One enrichment which failed to produce large amounts of methane had shifts in the bacterial populations and loss of methanogenic archaea.
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Cysteine is not the sulfur source for iron-sulfur cluster and methionine biosynthesis in the methanogenic archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 08-06-2010
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Three multiprotein systems are known for iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster biogenesis in prokaryotes and eukaryotes as follows: the NIF (nitrogen fixation), the ISC (iron-sulfur cluster), and the SUF (mobilization of sulfur) systems. In all three, cysteine is the physiological sulfur source, and the sulfur is transferred from cysteine desulfurase through a persulfidic intermediate to a scaffold protein. However, the biochemical nature of the sulfur source for Fe-S cluster assembly in archaea is unknown, and many archaea lack homologs of cysteine desulfurases. Methanococcus maripaludis is a methanogenic archaeon that contains a high amount of protein-bound Fe-S clusters (45 nmol/mg protein). Cysteine in this archaeon is synthesized primarily via the tRNA-dependent SepRS/SepCysS pathway. When a ?sepS mutant (a cysteine auxotroph) was grown with (34)S-labeled sulfide and unlabeled cysteine, <8% of the cysteine, >92% of the methionine, and >87% of the sulfur in the Fe-S clusters in proteins were labeled, suggesting that the sulfur in methionine and Fe-S clusters was derived predominantly from exogenous sulfide instead of cysteine. Therefore, this investigation challenges the concept that cysteine is always the sulfur source for Fe-S cluster biosynthesis in vivo and suggests that Fe-S clusters are derived from sulfide in those organisms, which live in sulfide-rich habitats.
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The ecological coherence of high bacterial taxonomic ranks.
Nat. Rev. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 06-07-2010
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The species is a fundamental unit of biological organization, but its relevance for Bacteria and Archaea is still hotly debated. Even more controversial is whether the deeper branches of the ribosomal RNA-derived phylogenetic tree, such as the phyla, have ecological importance. Here, we discuss the ecological coherence of high bacterial taxa in the light of genome analyses and present examples of niche differentiation between deeply diverging groups in terrestrial and aquatic systems. The ecological relevance of high bacterial taxa has implications for bacterial taxonomy, evolution and ecology.
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Characterization of energy-conserving hydrogenase B in Methanococcus maripaludis.
J. Bacteriol.
PUBLISHED: 05-28-2010
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The Methanococcus maripaludis energy-conserving hydrogenase B (Ehb) generates low potential electrons required for autotrophic CO(2) assimilation. To analyze the importance of individual subunits in Ehb structure and function, markerless in-frame deletions were constructed in a number of M. maripaludis ehb genes. These genes encode the large and small hydrogenase subunits (ehbN and ehbM, respectively), a polyferredoxin and ferredoxin (ehbK and ehbL, respectively), and an ion translocator (ehbF). In addition, a gene replacement mutation was constructed for a gene encoding a putative membrane-spanning subunit (ehbO). When grown in minimal medium plus acetate (McA), all ehb mutants had severe growth deficiencies except the DeltaehbO::pac strain. The membrane-spanning ion translocator (DeltaehbF) and the large hydrogenase subunit (DeltaehbN) deletion strains displayed the severest growth defects. Deletion of the ehbN gene was of particular interest because this gene was not contiguous to the ehb operon. In-gel activity assays and Western blots confirmed that EhbN was part of the membrane-bound Ehb hydrogenase complex. The DeltaehbN strain was also sensitive to growth inhibition by aryl acids, indicating that Ehb was coupled to the indolepyruvate oxidoreductase (Ior), further supporting the hypothesis that Ehb provides low potential reductants for the anabolic oxidoreductases in M. maripaludis.
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Change in bacterial community structure in response to disturbance of natural hardwood and secondary coniferous forest soils in central taiwan.
Microb. Ecol.
PUBLISHED: 05-03-2010
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Forest management often results in changes in the soil and its microbial communities. In the present study, differences in the soil bacterial community caused by forest management practices were characterized using small subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene clone libraries. The communities were from a native hardwood forest (HWD) and two adjacent conifer plantations in a low-elevation montane, subtropical experimental forest at the Lienhuachi Experimental Forest (LHCEF) in central Taiwan. At this locality, the elevation ranges from 600 to 950 m, the mean annual precipitation is 2,200 mm, the mean annual temperature is 20.8 °C, and the soil pH is 4. The conifer forests included a Cunninghamia konishii Hay (CNH) plantation of 40 years and an old growth Calocedrus formosana (Florin) Florin (CLC) forest of 80 years. A total of 476 clones were sequenced and assigned into 12 phylogenetic groups. Proteobacteria-affiliated clones (53%) predominated in the library from HWD soils. In contrast, Acidobacteria was the most abundant phylum and comprised 39% and 57% in the CLC and CNH libraries, respectively. Similarly, the most abundant OTUs in HWD soils were greatly reduced or absent in the CLC and CNH soils. Based on several diversity indices, the numbers of abundant OTUs and singletons, and rarefaction curves, the diversity of the HWD community (0.95 in evenness and Shannon diversity indices) was somewhat less than that in the CNH soils (0.97 in evenness and Shannon diversity indices). The diversity of the community in CLC soils was intermediate. The differences in diversity among the three communities may also reflect changes in abundances of a few OTUs. The CNH forest soil community may be still in a successional phase that is only partially stabilized after 40 years. Analysis of molecular variance also revealed that the bacterial community composition of HWD soils was significantly different from CLC and CNH soils (p = 0.001). These results suggest that the disturbance of forest conversion and tree species composition are important factors influencing the soil bacterial community among three forest ecosystems in the same climate.
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Methanococci use the diaminopimelate aminotransferase (DapL) pathway for lysine biosynthesis.
J. Bacteriol.
PUBLISHED: 04-23-2010
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The pathway of lysine biosynthesis in the methanococci has not been identified previously. A variant of the diaminopimelic acid (DAP) pathway uses diaminopimelate aminotransferase (DapL) to catalyze the direct conversion of tetrahydrodipicolinate (THDPA) to ll-DAP. Recently, the enzyme DapL (MTH52) was identified in Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus and shown to belong to the DapL1 group. Although the Methanococcus maripaludis genome lacks a gene that can be unambiguously assigned a DapL function based on sequence similarity, the open reading frame MMP1527 product shares 30% amino acid sequence identity with MTH52. A Deltammp1527 deletion mutant was constructed and found to be a lysine auxotroph, suggesting that this DapL homolog in methanococci is required for lysine biosynthesis. In cell extracts of the M. maripaludis wild-type strain, the specific activity of DapL using ll-DAP and alpha-ketoglutarate as substrates was 24.3 + or - 2.0 nmol min(-1) mg of protein(-1). The gene encoding the DapL homolog in Methanocaldococcus jannaschii (MJ1391) was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, and the protein was purified. The maximum activity of MJ1391 was observed at 70 degrees C and pH 8.0 to 9.0. The apparent K(m)s of MJ1391 for ll-DAP and alpha-ketoglutarate were 82.8 + or - 10 microM and 0.42 + or - 0.02 mM, respectively. MJ1391 was not able to use succinyl-DAP or acetyl-DAP as a substrate. Phylogenetic analyses suggested that two lateral gene transfers occurred in the DapL genes, one from the archaea to the bacteria in the DapL2 group and one from the bacteria to the archaea in the DapL1 group. These results demonstrated that the DapL pathway is present in marine methanogens belonging to the Methanococcales.
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Complete genome sequence of Methanoculleus marisnigri Romesser et al. 1981 type strain JR1.
Stand Genomic Sci
PUBLISHED: 09-25-2009
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Methanoculleus marisnigri Romesser et al. 1981 is a methanogen belonging to the order Methanomicrobiales within the archaeal phylum Euryarchaeota. The type strain, JR1, was isolated from anoxic sediments of the Black Sea. M. marisnigri is of phylogenetic interest because at the time the sequencing project began only one genome had previously been sequenced from the order Methanomicrobiales. We report here the complete genome sequence of M. marisnigri type strain JR1 and its annotation. This is part of a Joint Genome Institute 2006 Community Sequencing Program to sequence genomes of diverse Archaea.
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Complete genome sequence of Methanocorpusculum labreanum type strain Z.
Stand Genomic Sci
PUBLISHED: 09-24-2009
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Methanocorpusculum labreanum is a methanogen belonging to the order Methanomicrobiales within the archaeal kingdom Euryarchaeota. The type strain Z was isolated from surface sediments of Tar Pit Lake in the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California. M. labreanum is of phylogenetic interest because at the time the sequencing project began only one genome had previously been sequenced from the order Methanomicrobiales. We report here the complete genome sequence of M. labreanum type strain Z and its annotation. This is part of a 2006 Joint Genome Institute Community Sequencing Program project to sequence genomes of diverse Archaea.
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Prepublication data sharing.
Nature
PUBLISHED: 09-11-2009
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Rapid release of prepublication data has served the field of genomics well. Attendees at a workshop in Toronto recommend extending the practice to other biological data sets.
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Proteocatella sphenisci gen. nov., sp. nov., a psychrotolerant, spore-forming anaerobe isolated from penguin guano.
Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 07-20-2009
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A novel, obligately anaerobic, psychrotolerant bacterium, designated strain PPP2T, was isolated from guano of the Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) in Chilean Patagonia. Cells were Gram-stain-positive, spore-forming, straight rods (0.7-0.8x3.0-5.0 microm) that were motile by means of peritrichous flagella. Growth was observed at pH 6.7-9.7 (optimum pH 8.3) and 2-37 degrees C (optimum 29 degrees C). Growth was observed between 0 and 4% (w/v) NaCl with optimum growth at 0.5% (w/v). Strain PPP2T was a catalase-negative chemo-organoheterotroph that was capable of fermentative metabolism. Peptone, bacto-tryptone, Casamino acids, oxalate, starch, chitin and yeast extract were utilized as substrates. The major metabolic products were acetate, butyrate and ethanol. Strain PPP2T was resistant to ampicillin, but sensitive to tetracycline, chloramphenicol, rifampicin, kanamycin, vancomycin and gentamicin. The DNA G+C content of strain PPP2T was 39.5 mol%. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that strain PPP2T was related most closely to Clostridium sticklandii SR (approximately 90% 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity). On the basis of phylogenetic analysis and phenotypic characteristics, strain PPP2T is considered to represent a novel species of a new genus, for which the name Proteocatella sphenisci gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain of Proteocatella sphenisci is PPP2T (=ATCC BAA-755T=JCM 12175T=CIP 108034T).
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Spirochaeta dissipatitropha sp. nov., an alkaliphilic, obligately anaerobic bacterium, and emended description of the genus Spirochaeta Ehrenberg 1835.
Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 07-07-2009
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A novel obligately anaerobic, mesophilic, alkaliphilic spirochaete, strain ASpC2(T), was isolated from an anaerobic sediment of alkaline, hypersaline Owens Lake in California, USA. The Gram-negative cells are motile, helical in shape and 0.23 x 8.0-18.0 mum. Growth occurs within the following ranges: 13-41 degrees C, with optimal growth at 35 degrees C; 1-3 % (w/v) NaCl, with optimal growth at 2 % (w/v) NaCl; and pH 7.8-10.5, with optimal growth at pH 10.0. The novel isolate is strictly alkaliphilic and requires high concentrations of carbonate ions in the medium. It utilizes some sugars, some organic acids, some amino acids, Casamino acids, yeast extract and peptone. The main end products of glucose fermentation are CO(2) and acetate. Strain ASpC2(T) is resistant to kanamycin and rifampicin, but sensitive to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, gentamicin and tetracycline. The DNA G+C content of the new isolate is 43.8 mol%, its genome size is 6 x 10(8) Da and the melting temperature of its genomic DNA is 71 degrees C. DNA-DNA hybridization experiments demonstrated 46 % similarity with the phylogenetically most closely related species, Spirochaeta asiatica Z-7591(T). On the basis of physiological and molecular properties, the new isolate belongs taxonomically to a novel species within the genus Spirochaeta, for which the name Spirochaeta dissipatitropha sp. nov. is proposed (type strain, ASpC2(T)=ATCC BAA-1083(T)=JCM 12856(T)). S. dissipatitropha ASpC2(T) is the second strain in the genus (after Spirochaeta smaragdinae SEBR 4228(T)) that is able to use proteolysis products as the sole energy source, and additional tests have shown that other halo-alkaliphilic spirochaetes (Spirochaeta americana, Spirochaeta alkalica and Spirochaeta africana) are also able to grow on yeast extract alone; therefore, an emended description for the genus Spirochaeta is given.
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Tryptophan auxotrophs were obtained by random transposon insertions in the Methanococcus maripaludis tryptophan operon.
FEMS Microbiol. Lett.
PUBLISHED: 06-12-2009
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Methanococcus maripaludis is an anaerobic, methane-producing archaeon that utilizes H(2) or formate for the reduction of CO(2) to methane. Tryptophan auxotrophs were constructed by in vitro insertions of the Tn5 transposon into the tryptophan operon, followed by transformation into M. maripaludis. This method could serve for rapid insertions into large cloned DNA regions.
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Bacterial community diversity in undisturbed perhumid montane forest soils in Taiwan.
Microb. Ecol.
PUBLISHED: 06-11-2009
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The diversity and composition of soil bacterial communities in three topographic sites (summit, foot slope, and lakeshore) from subtropical montane forest ecosystem in Taiwan were examined by using 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis. This locality is temperate, perhumid, and has low soil acidity (pH < 4), which is an uncommon ecosystem in a monsoonal part of Southeast Asia. A total of 481 clones were sequenced and placed into ten phylogenetic groups according to their similarities to type strains of described organisms. Toposequence of the transect was investigated from summit to foot slope and at the lakeshore. More than 86% of the clones were affiliated with members of the Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria. Within the Proteobacteria, the beta-Proteobacteria was the most abundant, then alpha-Proteobacteria and gamma-Proteobacteria. Based on the Shannon diversity index (H) analysis, the bacterial community in the foot slope was the most diverse (H = 0.86) and that in summit was the least diverse (H = 0.68). The composition and diversity of soil bacterial communities in the three sites suggested no trend with topographic change. Less than 20% of the sequences were Acidobacteria-affiliated clones. The low proportion of Acidobacteria observed may be related to the high soil moisture and anaerobic microhabitats. Moreover, Shannon diversity indices revealed these bacterial communities to have lower diversity than that of other temperate (H = 0.90) and tropical forest (H = 0.82) ecosystems. The extreme acidity of soil pH and high soil moisture of this forest may explain composition and reduced the diversity of these soil bacterial communities.
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The complete genome sequence of Staphylothermus marinus reveals differences in sulfur metabolism among heterotrophic Crenarchaeota.
BMC Genomics
PUBLISHED: 04-02-2009
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Staphylothermus marinus is an anaerobic, sulfur-reducing peptide fermenter of the archaeal phylum Crenarchaeota. It is the third heterotrophic, obligate sulfur reducing crenarchaeote to be sequenced and provides an opportunity for comparative analysis of the three genomes.
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Genomic characterization of methanomicrobiales reveals three classes of methanogens.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 03-30-2009
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Methanomicrobiales is the least studied order of methanogens. While these organisms appear to be more closely related to the Methanosarcinales in ribosomal-based phylogenetic analyses, they are metabolically more similar to Class I methanogens.
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The diverse bacterial community in intertidal, anaerobic sediments at Sapelo Island, Georgia.
Microb. Ecol.
PUBLISHED: 02-11-2009
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The phylogenetic diversity and composition of the bacterial community in anaerobic sediments from Sapelo Island, GA, USA were examined using 16S rRNA gene libraries. The diversity of this community was comparable to that of soil, and 1,186 clones formed 817 OTUs at 99% sequence similarity. Chao1 estimators for the total richness were also high, at 3,290 OTUs at 99% sequence similarity. The program RDPquery was developed to assign clones to taxonomic groups based upon comparisons to the RDP database. While most clones could be assigned to describe phyla, fewer than 30% of the clones could be assigned to a described order. Similarly, nearly 25% of the clones were only distantly related (<90% sequence similarity) to other environmental clones, illustrating the unique composition of this community. One quarter of the clones were related to one or more undescribed orders within the gamma-Proteobacteria. Other abundant groups included the delta-Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Cyanobacteria. While these phyla were abundant in other estuarine sediments, the specific members at Sapelo Island appeared to be different from those previously described in other locations, suggesting that great diversity exists between as well as within estuarine intertidal sediments. In spite of the large differences in pore water chemistry with season and depth, differences in the bacterial community were modest over the temporal and spatial scales examined and generally restricted to only certain taxa.
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The Sac10b homolog in Methanococcus maripaludis binds DNA at specific sites.
J. Bacteriol.
PUBLISHED: 01-23-2009
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The Sac10b protein family, also known as Alba, is widely distributed in Archaea. Sac10b homologs in thermophilic Sulfolobus species are very abundant. They bind both DNA and RNA with high affinity and without sequence specificity, and their physiological functions are still not fully understood. Mma10b from the euryarchaeote Methanococcus maripaludis is a mesophilic member of the Sac10b family. Mma10b is not abundant and constitutes only approximately 0.01% of the total cellular protein. Disruption of mma10b resulted in poor growth of the mutant in minimal medium at near the optimal growth temperature but had no detectable effect on growth in rich medium. Quantitative proteomics, real time reverse transcription-PCR, and enzyme assays revealed that the expression levels of some genes involved in CO(2) assimilation and other activities were changed in the Deltamma10b mutant. Chromatin immunoprecipitation suggested a direct association of Mma10b with an 18-bp DNA binding motif in vivo. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays and DNase I footprinting confirmed that Mma10b preferentially binds specific sequences of DNA with an apparent Kd in the 100 nM range. These results suggested that the physiological role of Mma10b in the mesophilic methanococci is greatly diverged from that of homologs in thermophiles.
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Polycyclovorans algicola gen. nov., sp. nov., an aromatic-hydrocarbon-degrading marine bacterium found associated with laboratory cultures of marine phytoplankton.
Appl. Environ. Microbiol.
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A strictly aerobic, halotolerant, rod-shaped bacterium, designated strain TG408, was isolated from a laboratory culture of the marine diatom Skeletonema costatum (CCAP1077/1C) by enrichment with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as the sole carbon source. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis placed this organism within the order Xanthomonadales of the class Gammaproteobacteria. Its closest relatives included representatives of the Hydrocarboniphaga-Nevskia-Sinobacter clade (<92% sequence similarity) in the family Sinobacteraceae. The strain exhibited a narrow nutritional spectrum, preferring to utilize aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbon compounds and small organic acids. Notably, it displayed versatility in degrading two- and three-ring PAHs. Moreover, catechol 2,3-dioxygenase activity was detected in lysates, indicating that this strain utilizes the meta-cleavage pathway for aromatic compound degradation. Cells produced surface blebs and contained a single polar flagellum. The predominant isoprenoid quinone of strain TG408 was Q-8, and the dominant fatty acids were C(16:0), C(16:1) ?7c, and C(18:1) ?7c. The G+C content of the isolates DNA was 64.3 mol% ± 0.34 mol%. On the basis of distinct phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, strain TG408 represents a novel genus and species in the class Gammaproteobacteria for which the name Polycyclovorans algicola gen. nov., sp. nov., is proposed. Quantitative PCR primers targeting the 16S rRNA gene of this strain were developed and used to show that this organism is found associated with other species of marine phytoplankton. Phytoplankton may be a natural biotope in the ocean where new species of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria await discovery and which contribute significantly to natural remediation processes.
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Biosynthesis of 4-thiouridine in tRNA in the methanogenic archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis.
J. Biol. Chem.
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4-Thiouridine (s(4)U) is a conserved modified nucleotide at position 8 of bacterial and archaeal tRNAs and plays a role in protecting cells from near-UV killing. Escherichia coli employs the following two enzymes for its synthesis: the cysteine desulfurase IscS, which forms a Cys persulfide enzyme adduct from free Cys; and ThiI, which adenylates U8 and transfers sulfur from IscS to form s(4)U. The C-terminal rhodanese-like domain (RLD) of ThiI is responsible for the sulfurtransferase activity. The mechanism of s(4)U biosynthesis in archaea is not known as many archaea lack cysteine desulfurase and an RLD of the putative ThiI. Using the methanogenic archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis, we show that deletion of ThiI (MMP1354) abolished the biosynthesis of s(4)U but not of thiamine. MMP1354 complements an Escherichia coli ?thiI mutant for s(4)U formation, indicating that MMP1354 is sufficient for sulfur incorporation into s(4)U. In the absence of an RLD, MMP1354 uses Cys(265) and Cys(268) located in the PP-loop pyrophosphatase domain to generate persulfide and disulfide intermediates for sulfur transfer. In vitro assays suggest that S(2-) is a physiologically relevant sulfur donor for s(4)U formation catalyzed by MMP1354 (K(m) for Na(2)S is ?1 mm). Thus, methanogenic archaea developed a strategy for sulfur incorporation into s(4)U that differs from bacteria; this may be an adaptation to life in sulfide-rich environments.
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Essential anaplerotic role for the energy-converting hydrogenase Eha in hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
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Despite decades of study, electron flow and energy conservation in methanogenic Archaea are still not thoroughly understood. For methanogens without cytochromes, flavin-based electron bifurcation has been proposed as an essential energy-conserving mechanism that couples exergonic and endergonic reactions of methanogenesis. However, an alternative hypothesis posits that the energy-converting hydrogenase Eha provides a chemiosmosis-driven electron input to the endergonic reaction. In vivo evidence for both hypotheses is incomplete. By genetically eliminating all nonessential pathways of H(2) metabolism in the model methanogen Methanococcus maripaludis and using formate as an additional electron donor, we isolate electron flow for methanogenesis from flux through Eha. We find that Eha does not function stoichiometrically for methanogenesis, implying that electron bifurcation must operate in vivo. We show that Eha is nevertheless essential, and a substoichiometric requirement for H(2) suggests that its role is anaplerotic. Indeed, H(2) via Eha stimulates methanogenesis from formate when intermediates are not otherwise replenished. These results fit the model for electron bifurcation, which renders the methanogenic pathway cyclic, and as such requires the replenishment of intermediates. Defining a role for Eha and verifying electron bifurcation provide a complete model of methanogenesis where all necessary electron inputs are accounted for.
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Sulfur metabolism in archaea reveals novel processes.
Environ. Microbiol.
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Studies on sulfur metabolism in archaea have revealed many novel enzymes and pathways and have advanced our understanding on metabolic processes, not only of the archaea, but of biology in general. A variety of dissimilatory sulfur metabolisms, i.e. reactions used for energy conservation, are found in archaea from both the Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota phyla. Although not yet fully characterized, major processes include aerobic elemental sulfur (S(0)) oxidation, anaerobic S(0) reduction, anaerobic sulfate/sulfite reduction and anaerobic respiration of organic sulfur. Assimilatory sulfur metabolism, i.e. reactions used for biosynthesis of sulfur-containing compounds, also possesses some novel features. Cysteine biosynthesis in some archaea uses a unique tRNA-dependent pathway. Fe-S cluster biogenesis in many archaea differs from that in bacteria and eukaryotes and requires unidentified components. The eukaryotic ubiquitin system is conserved in archaea and involved in both protein degradation and biosynthesis of sulfur-containing cofactors. Lastly, specific pathways are utilized for the biosynthesis of coenzyme M and coenzyme B, the sulfur-containing cofactors required for methanogenesis.
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Genomic insights into bacterial DMSP transformations.
Ann Rev Mar Sci
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Genomic and functional genomic methods applied to both model organisms and natural communities have rapidly advanced understanding of bacterial dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) degradation in the ocean. The genes for the two main pathways in bacterial degradation, routing DMSP to distinctly different biogeochemical fates, have recently been identified. The genes dmdA, -B, -C, and -D mediate the demethylation of DMSP and facilitate retention of carbon and sulfur in the marine microbial food web. The genes dddD, -L, -P, -Q, -W, and -Y mediate the cleavage of DMSP to dimethylsulfide (DMS), with important consequences for ocean-atmosphere sulfur flux. In ocean metagenomes, sufficient copies of these genes are present for approximately 60% of surface ocean bacterial cells to directly participate in DMSP degradation. The factors that regulate these two competing pathways remain elusive, but gene transcription analyses of natural bacterioplankton communities are making headway in unraveling the intricacies of bacterial DMSP processing in the ocean.
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Methanogens: a window into ancient sulfur metabolism.
Trends Microbiol.
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Methanogenesis is an ancient metabolism that originated on the early anoxic Earth. The buildup of O(2) about 2.4 billion years ago led to formation of a large oceanic sulfate pool, the onset of widespread sulfate reduction and the marginalization of methanogens to anoxic and sulfate-poor niches. Contemporary methanogens are restricted to anaerobic habitats and may have retained some metabolic relics that were common in early anaerobic life. Consistent with this hypothesis, methanogens do not utilize sulfate as a sulfur source, Cys is not utilized as a sulfur donor for Fe-S cluster and Met biosynthesis, and Cys biosynthesis uses an unusual tRNA-dependent pathway.
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Algiphilus aromaticivorans gen. nov., sp. nov., an aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacterium isolated from a culture of the marine dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedrum, and proposal of Algiphilaceae fam. nov.
Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol.
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A strictly aerobic, halotolerant, Gram-stain-negative, rod-shaped bacterium, designated strain DG1253(T), was isolated from a laboratory culture of the marine dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedrum (CCAP 1121/2). The strain was able to degrade two- and three-ring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. It exhibited a narrow nutritional spectrum, preferring to utilize aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbon compounds and small organic acids. Cells produced surface blebs and contained a single polar flagellum. The predominant isoprenoid quinone of strain DG1253(T) was Q-8. The fatty acid profile was dominated by C(18:1)?7c. The mean DNA G+C content of strain DG1253(T) was 63.6 ± 0.25 mol%. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis placed this organism within the order Xanthomonadales of the class Gammaproteobacteria. Its closest relatives included representatives of the Hydrocarboniphaga-Nevskia-Sinobacter clade (? 89.9% 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity) in the family Sinobacteraceae. On the basis of distinct phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, strain DG1253(T) is considered to represent a novel species of a new genus in the class Gammaproteobacteria, for which the name Algiphilus aromaticivorans gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain of the type species, Algiphilus aromaticivorans, is DG1253(T) (=ATCC BAA-2243(T)=DSM 24793(T)). In addition, a new family, Algiphilaceae fam. nov., is proposed to accommodate the genus Algiphilus.
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