Motility is a critical function needed for nutrient acquisition, biofilm formation, and the avoidance of harmful chemicals and predators. Flagellar motility is one of the most pressure-sensitive cellular processes in mesophilic bacteria; therefore, it is ecologically relevant to determine how deep-sea microbes have adapted their motility systems for functionality at depth. In this study, the motility of the deep-sea piezophilic bacterium Photobacterium profundum SS9 was investigated and compared with that of the related shallow-water piezosensitive strain Photobacterium profundum 3TCK, as well as that of the well-studied piezosensitive bacterium Escherichia coli. The SS9 genome contains two flagellar gene clusters: a polar flagellum gene cluster (PF) and a putative lateral flagellum gene cluster (LF). In-frame deletions were constructed in the two flagellin genes located within the PF cluster (flaA and flaC), the one flagellin gene located within the LF cluster (flaB), a component of a putative sodium-driven flagellar motor (motA2), and a component of a putative proton-driven flagellar motor (motA1). SS9 PF flaA, flaC, and motA2 mutants were defective in motility under all conditions tested. In contrast, the flaB and motA1 mutants were defective only under conditions of high pressure and high viscosity. flaB and motA1 gene expression was strongly induced by elevated pressure plus increased viscosity. Direct swimming velocity measurements were obtained using a high-pressure microscopic chamber, where increases in pressure resulted in a striking decrease in swimming velocity for E. coli and a gradual reduction for 3TCK which proceeded up to 120 MPa, while SS9 increased swimming velocity at 30 MPa and maintained motility up to a maximum pressure of 150 MPa. Our results indicate that P. profundum SS9 possesses two distinct flagellar systems, both of which have acquired dramatic adaptations for optimal functionality under high-pressure conditions.
There is considerable evidence correlating the production of increased proportions of membrane unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) with bacterial growth at low temperatures or high pressures. In order to assess the importance of UFAs to microbial growth under these conditions, the effects of conditions altering UFA levels in the psychrotolerant piezophilic deep-sea bacterium Photobacterium profundum SS9 were investigated. The fatty acids produced by P. profundum SS9 grown at various temperatures and pressures were characterized, and differences in fatty acid composition as a function of phase growth, and between inner and outer membranes, were noted. P. profundum SS9 was found to exhibit enhanced proportions of both monounsaturated (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated (PUFAs) fatty acids when grown at a decreased temperature or elevated pressure. Treatment of cells with cerulenin inhibited MUFA but not PUFA synthesis and led to a decreased growth rate and yield at low temperature and high pressure. In addition, oleic acid-auxotrophic mutants were isolated. One of these mutants, strain EA3, was deficient in the production of MUFAs and was both low-temperature sensitive and high-pressure sensitive in the absence of exogenous 18:1 fatty acid. Another mutant, strain EA2, produced little MUFA but elevated levels of the PUFA species eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5n-3). This mutant grew slowly but was not low-temperature sensitive or high-pressure sensitive. Finally, reverse genetics was employed to construct a mutant unable to produce EPA. This mutant, strain EA10, was also not low-temperature sensitive or high-pressure sensitive. The significance of these results to the understanding of the role of UFAs in growth under low-temperature or high-pressure conditions is discussed.
Microorganisms adapted to piezopsychrophilic growth dominate the majority of the biosphere that is at relatively constant low temperatures and high pressures, but the genetic bases for the adaptations are largely unknown. Here we report the use of transposon mutagenesis with the deep-sea bacterium Photobacterium profundum strain SS9 to isolate dozens of mutant strains whose growth is impaired at low temperature and/or whose growth is altered as a function of hydrostatic pressure. In many cases the gene mutation-growth phenotype relationship was verified by complementation analysis. The largest fraction of loci associated with temperature sensitivity were involved in the biosynthesis of the cell envelope, in particular the biosynthesis of extracellular polysaccharide. The largest fraction of loci associated with pressure sensitivity were involved in chromosomal structure and function. Genes for ribosome assembly and function were found to be important for both low-temperature and high-pressure growth. Likewise, both adaptation to temperature and adaptation to pressure were affected by mutations in a number of sensory and regulatory loci, suggesting the importance of signal transduction mechanisms in adaptation to either physical parameter. These analyses were the first global analyses of genes conditionally required for low-temperature or high-pressure growth in a deep-sea microorganism.
Two strains of obligately barophilic bacteria were isolated from a sample of the world’s deepest sediment, which was obtained by the unmanned deep-sea submersible Kaiko in the Mariana Trench, Challenger Deep, at a depth of 10,898 m. From the results of phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences, DNA-DNA relatedness study, and analysis of fatty acid composition, the first strain (DB21MT-2) appears to be most highly similar to Shewanella benthica and close relatives, and the second strain (DB21MT-5) appears to be closely related to the genus Moritella. The optimal pressure conditions for growth of these isolates were 70 MPa for strain DB21MT-2 and 80 MPa for strain DB21MT-5, and no growth was detected at pressures of less than 50 MPa with either strain. This is the first evidence of the existence of an extreme-barophile bacterium of the genus Moritella isolated from the deep-sea environment.
The molecular mechanism(s) by which deep-sea bacteria grow optimally under high hydrostatic pressure at low temperatures is poorly understood. To gain further insight into the mechanism(s), a previous study screened transposon mutant libraries of the deep-sea bacterium Photobacterium profundum SS9 and identified mutants which exhibited alterations in growth at high pressure relative to that of the parent strain. Two of these mutants, FL23 (PBPRA3229::mini-Tn10) and FL28 (PBPRA1039::mini-Tn10), were found to have high-pressure sensitivity and enhanced-growth phenotypes, respectively. The PBPRA3229 and PBPRA1039 genes encode proteins which are highly similar to Escherichia coli DiaA, a positive regulator, and SeqA, a negative regulator, respectively, of the initiation of DNA replication. In this study, we investigated the hypothesis that PBPRA3229 and PBPRA1039 encode DiaA and SeqA homologs, respectively. Consistent with this, we determined that the plasmid-carried PBPRA3229 and PBPRA1039 genes restored synchrony to the initiation of DNA replication in E. coli mutants lacking DiaA and SeqA, respectively. Additionally, PBPRA3229 restored the cold sensitivity phenotype of an E. coli dnaA(Cs) diaA double mutant whereas PBPRA1039 suppressed the cold sensitivity phenotype of an E. coli dnaA(Cs) single mutant. Taken together, these findings show that the genes disrupted in FL23 and FL28 encode DiaA and SeqA homologs, respectively. Consequently, our findings add support to a model whereby high pressure affects the initiation of DNA replication in P. profundum SS9 and either the presence of a positive regulator (DiaA) or the removal of a negative regulator (SeqA) promotes growth under these conditions.
To more fully explore the role of unsaturated fatty acids in high-pressure, low-temperature growth, the fabF gene from the psychrotolerant, piezophilic deep-sea bacterium Photobacterium profundum strain SS9 was characterized and its role and regulation were examined. An SS9 strain harboring a disruption in the fabF gene (strain EA40) displayed growth impairment at elevated hydrostatic pressure concomitant with diminished cis-vaccenic acid (18:1) production. However, growth ability at elevated pressure could be restored to wild-type levels by the addition of exogenous 18:1 to the growth medium. Transcript analysis did not indicate that the SS9 fabF gene is transcriptionally regulated, suggesting that the elevated 18:1 levels produced in response to pressure increase result from posttranscriptional changes. Unlike many pressure-adapted bacterial species such as SS9, the mesophile Escherichia coli did not regulate its fatty acid composition in an adaptive manner in response to changes in hydrostatic pressure. Moreover, an E. coli fabF strain was as susceptible to elevated pressure as wild-type cells. It is proposed that the SS9 fabF product, β-ketoacyl–acyl carrier protein synthase II has evolved novel pressure-responsive characteristics which facilitate SS9 growth at high pressure.
The deep-sea bacterium Photobacterium profundum is an established model for studying high pressure adaptation. In this paper we analyse the parental strain DB110 and the toxR mutant TW30 by massively parallel cDNA sequencing (RNA-seq). ToxR is a transmembrane DNA-binding protein first discovered in Vibrio cholerae, where it regulates a considerable number of genes involved in environmental adaptation and virulence. In P. profundum the abundance and activity of this protein is influenced by hydrostatic pressure and its role is related to the regulation of genes in a pressure-dependent manner.
To better characterize the ToxR regulon, we compared the expression profiles of wt and toxR strains in response to pressure changes. Our results revealed a complex expression pattern with a group of 22 genes having expression profiles similar to OmpH that is an outer membrane protein transcribed in response to high hydrostatic pressure. Moreover, RNA-seq allowed a deep characterization of the transcriptional landscape that led to the identification of 460 putative small RNA genes and the detection of 298 protein-coding genes previously unknown. We were also able to perform a genome-wide prediction of operon structure, transcription start and termination sites, revealing an unexpected high number of genes (992) with large 5′-UTRs, long enough to harbour cis-regulatory RNA structures, suggesting a correlation between intergenic region size and UTR length.
This work led to a better understanding of high-pressure response in P. profundum. Furthermore, the high-resolution RNA-seq analysis revealed several unexpected features about transcriptional landscape and general mechanisms of controlling bacterial gene expression.
High-pressure adaptation; Deep sea; Extremophile; Transcription; Operon; RNA-seq; UTR; Vibrionaceae; Photobacterium profundum; ToxR
Nematodes represent the most abundant benthic metazoa in one of the largest habitats on earth, the deep sea. Characterizing major patterns of biodiversity within this dominant group is a critical step towards understanding evolutionary patterns across this vast ecosystem. The present study has aimed to place deep-sea nematode species into a phylogenetic framework, investigate relationships between shallow water and deep-sea taxa, and elucidate phylogeographic patterns amongst the deep-sea fauna.
Molecular data (18 S and 28 S rRNA) confirms a high diversity amongst deep-sea Enoplids. There is no evidence for endemic deep-sea lineages in Maximum Likelihood or Bayesian phylogenies, and Enoplids do not cluster according to depth or geographic location. Tree topologies suggest frequent interchanges between deep-sea and shallow water habitats, as well as a mixture of early radiations and more recently derived lineages amongst deep-sea taxa. This study also provides convincing evidence of cosmopolitan marine species, recovering a subset of Oncholaimid nematodes with identical gene sequences (18 S, 28 S and cox1) at trans-Atlantic sample sites.
The complex clade structures recovered within the Enoplida support a high global species richness for marine nematodes, with phylogeographic patterns suggesting the existence of closely related, globally distributed species complexes in the deep sea. True cosmopolitan species may additionally exist within this group, potentially driven by specific life history traits of Enoplids. Although this investigation aimed to intensively sample nematodes from the order Enoplida, specimens were only identified down to genus (at best) and our sampling regime focused on an infinitesimal small fraction of the deep-sea floor. Future nematode studies should incorporate an extended sample set covering a wide depth range (shelf, bathyal, and abyssal sites), utilize additional genetic loci (e.g. mtDNA) that are informative at the species level, and apply high-throughput sequencing methods to fully assay community diversity. Finally, further molecular studies are needed to determine whether phylogeographic patterns observed in Enoplids are common across other ubiquitous marine groups (e.g. Chromadorida, Monhysterida).
We report cloning, expression in E. coli, and purification of cytochrome P450 from a deep-sea bacterium Photobacterium profundum strain SS9 (P450-SS9). The enzyme, which is predominately high-spin (86%) in the absence of any added ligand, binds fatty acids and their derivatives and exhibits the highest affinity for myristic acid. Binding of the majority of saturated fatty acids displaces the spin equilibrium further towards the high-spin state, whereas the interactions with unsaturated fatty acids and their derivatives (arachidonoyl glycine) have the opposite effect. Pressure perturbation studies showed that increasing pressure fails to displace the spin equilibrium completely to the low-spin state in the ligand-free P450-SS9 or in the complexes with either myristic acid or arachidonoyl glycine. Stabilization of high-spin P450-SS9 signifies a pressure-induced transition to a state with reduced accessibility of the active site. This transition, which is apparently associated with substantial hydration of the protein, is characterized by the reaction volume change (ΔV) around −100 – −200 mL/mol and P½ of 300-800 bar, which is close to the pressure of habitation of P. profundum. The transition to a state with confined water accessibility is hypothesized to represent a common feature of cytochromes P450 that serves to coordinate heme pocket hydration with ligand binding and the redox state. Displacement of the conformational equilibrium towards the “closed” state in P450-SS9 (even ligand-free) may have evolved to allow the protein to adapt to enhanced protein hydration at high hydrostatic pressures.
A genomic library derived from the deep-sea bacterium Photobacterium profundum SS9 was conjugally delivered into a previously isolated pressure-sensitive SS9 mutant, designated EC1002 (E. Chi and D. H. Bartlett, J. Bacteriol. 175:7533–7540, 1993), and exconjugants were screened for the ability to grow at 280-atm hydrostatic pressure. Several clones were identified that had restored high-pressure growth. The complementing DNA was localized and in all cases found to possess strong homology to recD, a DNA recombination and repair gene. EC1002 was found to be deficient in plasmid stability, a phenotype also seen in Escherichia coli recD mutants. The defect in EC1002 was localized to a point mutation that created a stop codon within the recD gene. Two additional recD mutants were constructed by gene disruption and were both found to possess a pressure-sensitive growth phenotype, although the magnitude of the defect depended on the extent of 3′ truncation of the recD coding sequence. Surprisingly, the introduction of the SS9 recD gene into an E. coli recD mutant had two dramatic effects. At high pressure, SS9 recD enabled growth in the E. coli mutant strain under conditions of plasmid antibiotic resistance selection and prevented cell filamentation. Both of these effects were recessive to wild-type E. coli recD. These results suggest that the SS9 recD gene plays an essential role in SS9 growth at high pressure and that it may be possible to identify additional aspects of RecD function through the characterization of this activity.
Species diversity, phylogenetic affiliations, and environmental occurrence patterns of thiosulfate-oxidizing marine bacteria were investigated by using new isolates from serially diluted continental slope and deep-sea abyssal plain sediments collected off the coast of New England and strains cultured previously from Galapagos hydrothermal vent samples. The most frequently obtained new isolates, mostly from 103- and 104-fold dilutions of the continental slope sediment, oxidized thiosulfate to sulfate and fell into a distinct phylogenetic cluster of marine alpha-Proteobacteria. Phylogenetically and physiologically, these sediment strains resembled the sulfate-producing thiosulfate oxidizers from the Galapagos hydrothermal vents while showing habitat-related differences in growth temperature, rate and extent of thiosulfate utilization, and carbon substrate patterns. The abyssal deep-sea sediments yielded predominantly base-producing thiosulfate-oxidizing isolates related to Antarctic marine Psychroflexus species and other cold-water marine strains of the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides phylum, in addition to gamma-proteobacterial isolates of the genera Pseudoalteromonas and Halomonas-Deleya. Bacterial thiosulfate oxidation is found in a wide phylogenetic spectrum of Flavobacteria and Proteobacteria.
Microbial eukaryotes (nematodes, protists, fungi, etc., loosely referred to as meiofauna) are ubiquitous in marine sediments and likely play pivotal roles in maintaining ecosystem function. Although the deep-sea benthos represents one of the world’s largest habitats, we lack a firm understanding of the biodiversity and community interactions amongst meiobenthic organisms in this ecosystem. Within this vast environment key questions concerning the historical genetic structure of species remain a mystery, yet have profound implications for our understanding of global biodiversity and how we perceive and mitigate the impact of environmental change and anthropogenic disturbance. Using a metagenetic approach, we present an assessment of microbial eukaryote communities across depth (shallow water to abyssal) and ocean basins (deep-sea Pacific and Atlantic). Within the 12 sites examined, our results suggest that some taxa can maintain eurybathic ranges and cosmopolitan deep-sea distributions, but the majority of species appear to be regionally restricted. For OCTUs reporting wide distributions, there appears to be a taxonomic bias towards a small subset of taxa in most phyla; such bias may be driven by specific life history traits amongst these organisms. In addition, low genetic divergence between geographically disparate deep-sea sites suggests either a shorter coalescence time between deep-sea regions or slower rates of evolution across this vast oceanic ecosystem. While high-throughput studies allow for broad assessment of genetic patterns across microbial eukaryote communities, intragenomic variation in rRNA gene copies and the patchy coverage of reference databases currently present substantial challenges for robust taxonomic interpretations of eukaryotic datasets.
microbial eukaryotes; meiofauna; deep-sea; cosmopolitan species; 18S rRNA; phylogeography; 454 sequencing
With the recent increase in the number of mammalian genomes being sequenced, large-scale genome scans for human-specific positive selection are now possible. Selection can be inferred through phylogenetic analysis by comparing the rates of silent and replacement substitution between related species. Maximum-likelihood (ML) analysis of codon substitution models can be used to identify genes with an accelerated pattern of amino acid substitution on a particular lineage. However, the ML methods are computationally intensive and awkward to configure. We have created a database that contains the results of tests for positive selection along the human lineage in 13 721 genes with orthologs in the UCSC multispecies genome alignments. The Human PAML Browser is a resource through which researchers can search for a gene of interest or groups of genes by Gene Ontology category, and obtain coding sequence alignments for the gene and as well as results from tests of positive selection from the software package Phylogenetic Analysis by Maximum Likelihood. The Human PAML Browser is available at http://mendel.gene.cwru.edu/adamslab/pbrowser.py.
Oceans cover approximately 70% of the Earth's surface with an average depth of 3800 m and a pressure of 38 MPa, thus a large part of the biosphere is occupied by high pressure environments. Piezophilic (pressure-loving) organisms are adapted to deep-sea life and grow optimally at pressures higher than 0.1 MPa. To better understand high pressure adaptation from a genomic point of view three different Photobacterium profundum strains were compared. Using the sequenced piezophile P. profundum strain SS9 as a reference, microarray technology was used to identify the genomic regions missing in two other strains: a pressure adapted strain (named DSJ4) and a pressure-sensitive strain (named 3TCK). Finally, the transcriptome of SS9 grown under different pressure (28 MPa; 45 MPa) and temperature (4°C; 16°C) conditions was analyzed taking into consideration the differentially expressed genes belonging to the flexible gene pool.
These studies indicated the presence of a large flexible gene pool in SS9 characterized by various horizontally acquired elements. This was verified by extensive analysis of GC content, codon usage and genomic signature of the SS9 genome. 171 open reading frames (ORFs) were found to be specifically absent or highly divergent in the piezosensitive strain, but present in the two piezophilic strains. Among these genes, six were found to also be up-regulated by high pressure.
These data provide information on horizontal gene flow in the deep sea, provide additional details of P. profundum genome expression patterns and suggest genes which could perform critical functions for abyssal survival, including perhaps high pressure growth.
Functional proteins of complex eukaryotes within the same species are rather invariant. A single catalytic component of telomerase TERT is essential for an active telomerase complex that maintains telomeres. Surprisingly, we have identified two paralogous SpTERT-L and SpTERT-S genes with novel domains in Strongylocentrotus purpuratus (purple sea urchin). The SpTERT-S and SpTERT-L genes were differentially expressed throughout embryogenesis. An unusual germline nucleotide substitution and amino acid variation was evident in these TERTs. The hypervariability of SpTERT-S haplotypes among different individuals reached unprecedented levels of π > 0.2 in exon 11 region. The majority of nucleotide changes observed led to nonsynonymous substitutions creating novel amino acids and motifs, suggesting unusual positive selection and rapid evolution. The majority of these variations were in domains involved in binding of SpTERT to its RNA component. Despite hypervariability at protein level, SpTERT-S conferred telomerase activity, and its suppression during early embryogenesis led to arrest at late mesenchymal blastula. Domain exchange and embryo rescue experiments suggested that SpTERT may have evolved functions unrelated to classic telomerase activity. We suggest that telomerase has a specific and direct function that is essential for integration of early polarity signals that lead to gastrulation. Identification of these unique hypervariable telomerases also suggests presence of a diversity generation mechanism that inculcates hypervariable telomerases and telomere lengths in germline.
Comparisons of genomic sequence between divergent species can provide insight into the action of natural selection across many distinct classes of proteins. Here, we examine the extent of positive selection as a function of tissue-specific and stage-specific gene expression in two closely-related sea urchins, the shallow-water Strongylocentrotus purpuratus and the deep-sea Allocentrotus fragilis, which have diverged greatly in their adult but not larval habitats. Genes that are expressed specifically in adult somatic tissue have significantly higher dN/dS ratios than the genome-wide average, whereas those in larvae are indistinguishable from the genome-wide average. Testis-specific genes have the highest dN/dS values, whereas ovary-specific have the lowest. Branch-site models involving the outgroup S. franciscanus indicate greater selection (ωFG) along the A. fragilis branch than along the S. purpuratus branch. The A. fragilis branch also shows a higher proportion of genes under positive selection, including those involved in skeletal development, endocytosis, and sulfur metabolism. Both lineages are approximately equal in enrichment for positive selection of genes involved in immunity, development, and cell–cell communication. The branch-site models further suggest that adult-specific genes have experienced greater positive selection than those expressed in larvae and that ovary-specific genes are more conserved (i.e., experienced greater negative selection) than those expressed specifically in adult somatic tissues and testis. Our results chart the patterns of protein change that have occurred after habitat divergence in these two species and show that the developmental or functional context in which a gene acts can play an important role in how divergent species adapt to new environments.
positive selection; dN/dS; Strongylocentrotus purpuratus; Allocentrotus fragilis
This study examined the emetic activity of several staphylococcal enterotoxin type A and B (SEA and SEB, respectively) mutants that had either one or two amino acid residue substitutions. New sea gene mutations were constructed by site-directed mutagenesis; gene products were obtained with glycine residues at position 25, 47, 48, 81, 85, or 86 of mature SEA. Culture supernatants from Staphylococcus aureus RN4220, or derivatives containing either sea or a sea mutation, were analyzed for the ability to stimulate proliferation of murine splenocytes, as determined by incorporation of [3H]thymidine. Culture supernatants containing SEA-N25G (a SEA mutant with a substitution of glycine for the asparagine residue at position 25), SEA-F47G, or SEA-L48G did not stimulate T-cell proliferation, unlike supernatants containing the other substitution mutants. Purified preparations of SEA-N25G had weak activity and those of SEA-F47G and SEA-L48G had essentially no activity in the T-cell proliferation assay. All mutants except SEA-V85G, which was degraded by monkey stomach lavage fluid in vitro, were tested for emetic activity. SEA-C106A and two SEB mutants, SEB-D9N/N23D and SEB-F44S (previously referred to as BR-257 and BR-358, respectively), whose construction and altered immunological properties have been reported previously, were also tested in the emetic assay. Each mutant was initially administered intragastrically at doses of 75 to 100 micrograms per animal; if none of the animals responded, the dose was increased four-to fivefold. SEA-F47G, SEA-C106A, and SEB-D9N/N23D were the only mutants that did not induce vomiting at either dose tested; these three mutants had reduced immunological activity. However, there was not a perfect correlation between immunological and emetic activities; SEA-L48G and SEB-F44S retained emetic activity, although they had essentially no T-cell-stimulatory activity. These studies suggest that these two activities can be dissociated.
Anthropogenic disturbances such as fishing, mining, oil drilling, bioprospecting, warming, and acidification in the deep sea are increasing, yet generalities about deep-sea biogeography remain elusive. Owing to the lack of perceived environmental variability and geographical barriers, ranges of deep-sea species were traditionally assumed to be exceedingly large. In contrast, seamount and chemosynthetic habitats with reported high endemicity challenge the broad applicability of a single biogeographic paradigm for the deep sea. New research benefiting from higher resolution sampling, molecular methods and public databases can now more rigorously examine dispersal distances and species ranges on the vast ocean floor. Here, we explore the major outstanding questions in deep-sea biogeography. Based on current evidence, many taxa appear broadly distributed across the deep sea, a pattern replicated in both the abyssal plains and specialized environments such as hydrothermal vents. Cold waters may slow larval metabolism and development augmenting the great intrinsic ability for dispersal among many deep-sea species. Currents, environmental shifts, and topography can prove to be dispersal barriers but are often semipermeable. Evidence of historical events such as points of faunal origin and climatic fluctuations are also evident in contemporary biogeographic ranges. Continued synthetic analysis, database construction, theoretical advancement and field sampling will be required to further refine hypotheses regarding deep-sea biogeography.
biogeography; deep sea; dispersal; range; vicariance; establishment
Transposon-directed cloning was used to isolate the ompL gene from the deep-sea bacterium Photobacterium species strain SS9. The deduced amino acid sequence of OmpL displays sequence homology to porin proteins from enteric bacteria. Gene fusion and primer extension analyses indicate that ompL is transcriptionally regulated by pressure.
The cDNAs of lactate dehydrogenase b (LDH-b) from both deep-sea and shallow living fish species, Corphaenoides armatus and Gadus morhua respectively, have been isolated, sequenced and their encoded products overproduced as recombinant enzymes in E. coli. The proteins were characterised in terms of their kinetic and physical properties and their ability to withstand high pressures. Although the two proteins are very similar in terms of their primary structure, only 21 differences at the amino acid level exist between them, the enzyme from the deep-sea species has a significantly increased tolerance to pressure and a higher thermostability. It was possible to investigate whether the changes in the N-terminal or C-terminal regions played a greater role in barophilic adaptation by the construction of two chimeric enzymes by use of a common restriction site within the cDNAs. One of these hybrids was found to have even greater pressure stability than the recombinant enzyme from the deep-living fish species. It was possible to conclude that the major adaptive changes to pressure tolerance must be located in the N-terminal region of the protein. The types of changes that are found and their spatial location within the protein structure are discussed. An analysis of the kinetic parameters of the enzymes suggests that there is clearly a trade off between Km and kcat values, which likely reflects the necessity of the deep-sea enzyme to operate at low temperatures.
Desulfovibrio piezophilus strain C1TLV30T is a piezophilic anaerobe that was isolated from wood falls in the Mediterranean deep-sea. D. piezophilus represents a unique model for studying the adaptation of sulfate-reducing bacteria to hydrostatic pressure. Here, we report the 3.6 Mbp genome sequence of this piezophilic bacterium. An analysis of the genome revealed the presence of seven genomic islands as well as gene clusters that are most likely linked to life at a high hydrostatic pressure. Comparative genomics and differential proteomics identified the transport of solutes and amino acids as well as amino acid metabolism as major cellular processes for the adaptation of this bacterium to hydrostatic pressure. In addition, the proteome profiles showed that the abundance of key enzymes that are involved in sulfate reduction was dependent on hydrostatic pressure. A comparative analysis of orthologs from the non-piezophilic marine bacterium D. salexigens and D. piezophilus identified aspartic acid, glutamic acid, lysine, asparagine, serine and tyrosine as the amino acids preferentially replaced by arginine, histidine, alanine and threonine in the piezophilic strain. This work reveals the adaptation strategies developed by a sulfate reducer to a deep-sea lifestyle.
Bathymodiolus azoricus is a deep-sea hydrothermal vent mussel found in association with large faunal communities living in chemosynthetic environments at the bottom of the sea floor near the Azores Islands. Investigation of the exceptional physiological reactions that vent mussels have adopted in their habitat, including responses to environmental microbes, remains a difficult challenge for deep-sea biologists. In an attempt to reveal genes potentially involved in the deep-sea mussel innate immunity we carried out a high-throughput sequence analysis of freshly collected B. azoricus transcriptome using gills tissues as the primary source of immune transcripts given its strategic role in filtering the surrounding waterborne potentially infectious microorganisms. Additionally, a substantial EST data set was produced and from which a comprehensive collection of genes coding for putative proteins was organized in a dedicated database, "DeepSeaVent" the first deep-sea vent animal transcriptome database based on the 454 pyrosequencing technology.
A normalized cDNA library from gills tissue was sequenced in a full 454 GS-FLX run, producing 778,996 sequencing reads. Assembly of the high quality reads resulted in 75,407 contigs of which 3,071 were singletons. A total of 39,425 transcripts were conceptually translated into amino-sequences of which 22,023 matched known proteins in the NCBI non-redundant protein database, 15,839 revealed conserved protein domains through InterPro functional classification and 9,584 were assigned with Gene Ontology terms. Queries conducted within the database enabled the identification of genes putatively involved in immune and inflammatory reactions which had not been previously evidenced in the vent mussel. Their physical counterpart was confirmed by semi-quantitative quantitative Reverse-Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reactions (RT-PCR) and their RNA transcription level by quantitative PCR (qPCR) experiments.
We have established the first tissue transcriptional analysis of a deep-sea hydrothermal vent animal and generated a searchable catalog of genes that provides a direct method of identifying and retrieving vast numbers of novel coding sequences which can be applied in gene expression profiling experiments from a non-conventional model organism. This provides the most comprehensive sequence resource for identifying novel genes currently available for a deep-sea vent organism, in particular, genes putatively involved in immune and inflammatory reactions in vent mussels.
The characterization of the B. azoricus transcriptome will facilitate research into biological processes underlying physiological adaptations to hydrothermal vent environments and will provide a basis for expanding our understanding of genes putatively involved in adaptations processes during post-capture long term acclimatization experiments, at "sea-level" conditions, using B. azoricus as a model organism.
Shewanella species are widespread in various environments. Here, the genome sequence of Shewanella piezotolerans WP3, a piezotolerant and psychrotolerant iron reducing bacterium from deep-sea sediment was determined with related functional analysis to study its environmental adaptation mechanisms. The genome of WP3 consists of 5,396,476 base pairs (bp) with 4,944 open reading frames (ORFs). It possesses numerous genes or gene clusters which help it to cope with extreme living conditions such as genes for two sets of flagellum systems, structural RNA modification, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) biosynthesis and osmolyte transport and synthesis. And WP3 contains 55 open reading frames encoding putative c-type cytochromes which are substantial to its wide environmental adaptation ability. The mtr-omc gene cluster involved in the insoluble metal reduction in the Shewanella genus was identified and compared. The two sets of flagellum systems were found to be differentially regulated under low temperature and high pressure; the lateral flagellum system was found essential for its motility and living at low temperature.
The rates of metabolism in animals vary tremendously throughout the biosphere. The origins of this variation are a matter of active debate with some scientists highlighting the importance of anatomical or environmental constraints, while others emphasize the diversity of ecological roles that organisms play and the associated energy demands. Here, we analyse metabolic rates in diverse marine taxa, with special emphasis on patterns of metabolic rate across a depth gradient, in an effort to understand the extent and underlying causes of variation. The conclusion from this analysis is that low rates of metabolism, in the deep sea and elsewhere, do not result from resource (e.g. food or oxygen) limitation or from temperature or pressure constraint. While metabolic rates do decline strongly with depth in several important animal groups, for others metabolism in abyssal species proceeds as fast as in ecologically similar shallow-water species at equivalent temperatures. Rather, high metabolic demand follows strong selection for locomotory capacity among visual predators inhabiting well-lit oceanic waters. Relaxation of this selection where visual predation is limited provides an opportunity for reduced energy expenditure. Large-scale metabolic variation in the ocean results from interspecific differences in ecological energy demand.
metabolism; deep sea; scaling; oxygen consumption; locomotion; marine
The pstA gene encodes an integral membrane protein of the phosphate-specific transport system of Escherichia coli. The nucleotide change in the previously described pstA2 allele was found to be a G----A substitution at position 276 of the nucleotide sequence, resulting in the premature termination of translation. Three mutations in the pstA gene were produced by site-directed mutagenesis. The amino acid substitutions resulting from the three site-directed mutations were Arg-170----Gln, Glu-173----Gln, and Arg-220----Gln. These amino acid residues were selected because a previous PstA protein structure prediction placed them within the membrane. The Arg-220----Gln mutation resulted in the loss of phosphate transport through the phosphate-specific transport system, but the alkaline phosphatase activity remained repressed. Neither the Arg-170----Gln nor the Glu-173----Gln mutation affected phosphate transport. The results are discussed in relation to a proposed structure of the PstA protein.