Conti, S. F. (Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, N.H.), and Peter Hirsch. Biology of budding bacteria. III. Fine structure of Rhodomicrobium and Hyphomicrobium spp. J. Bacteriol. 89:503–512. 1965.—The ultrastructure of 14 strains of hyphomicrobia, and of Rhodomicrobium vannielii, was investigated by means of electron microscopy of thin sections. The majority of the strains of hyphomicrobia possessed a well-developed internal membrane system, which appeared to be derived by invagination from the cytoplasmic membrane. The subcellular organization of the hyphomicrobia and R. vannielii was investigated.
Cells of Rhodomicrobium vannielii were grown in a controlled environment at several different light intensities. Differential rates of bacteriochlorophyll (BChl) synthesis and specific BChl contents were inversely related to the light intensity. On the other hand, the specific rate of growth—before reaching a maximal value—was directly related to the intensity of the light. Thin sections of cells grown at moderately low light showed the typical peripherally located, symmetrically distributed lamellate system, whereas an asymmetrical distribution of a less extensive lamellate system occurred in cells grown at high light intensities. It is proposed that a limited number of individual units of the lamellate system are originally derived from inward folds of the cytoplasmic membrane, and that subsequent lamellae arise by proliferation, including possible forking and definite folding back, of the few original lamellar membranes.
The phototrophic purple non-sulfur bacterium Rhodomicrobium vannielii grew phototrophically (illuminated anaerobic conditions) on a variety of aromatic compounds (in the presence of CO2). Benzoate was universally photocatabolized by all five strains of R. vannielii examined, and benzyl alcohol was photocatabolized by four of the five strains. Catabolism of benzyl alcohol by phototrophic bacteria has not been previously reported. Other aromatic substrates supporting reasonably good growth of R. vannielii strains were the methoxylated benzoate derivatives vanillate (4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzoate) and syringate (4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxybenzoate). However, catabolism of vanillate and syringate led to significant inhibition of bacteriochlorophyll synthesis in R. vannielii cells, eventually causing cultures to cease growing. No such effect on photopigment synthesis in cells grown on benzoate or benzyl alcohol was observed. Along with a handful of other species of anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria, the ability of the species R. vannielii to photocatabolize aromatic compounds indicates that this organism may also be ecologically significant as a consumer of aromatic derivatives in illuminated anaerobic habitats in nature.
Eight components, seven of which contained phosphorus, were found in the phospholipid fraction of Rhodomicrobium vannielii. The major components were lipoamino acid (o-ornithine ester of phosphatidyl glycerol, 46.5%) and phosphatidyl choline (26.5%). The other six components were phosphatidyl glycerol (9.7%), bisphosphatidic acid (6.7%), phosphatidyl ethanolamine (4.5%), phosphatidic acid (1.8%), lysophosphatidyl glycerol-o-ornithine ester (3.2%), and N,N-ornithine amide of unidentified fatty acid (0.95%). Total phospholipid accounted for 4.2% of cell dry weight. The major fatty acid was vaccenic acid, C18:1, which accounted for approximately 90% of the total fatty acids of the complex lipid fraction. The other four fatty acids were C16:0 (6.25%), C18:0 (3.8%), C14:0 (0.7%), and C16:1 (0.35%). The sulfolipid content was 0.01% of the cell dry weight or 0.14 μmoles per g of dried cells, assuming that its fatty acid component is vaccenic acid. No steroids were detected.
Under appropriate cultural conditions, cell suspensions of Rhodomicrobium vannielii effect two distinct photoreactions involving molecular hydrogen: (i) the photoreduction of carbon dioxide, and (ii) the photoproduction of hydrogen.
Cells of Rhodomicrobium vannielii grown at 29 C in a lactate-containing medium were extracted at room temperature with organic solvents. The extractable fraction contained the bulk of the simple lipid (1.87% of cell dry weight) and complex lipids (phospholipids, 4.2%; sulfolipid, 0.01%), coenzyme Q (0.09%), and pigments (carotenoids 1.2%; bacteriochlorophyll, 1.9%). The cell residue contained the bound lipids (nonpolar fatty acid fraction, 1.86%; polar hydroxy fatty acids, 0.49%). The residue also contained poly-β-hydroxybutyric acid (0.2%), which was extracted in boiling chloroform. In both the simple and complex lipids, vaccenic acid (11-octadecenoic acid) was the largest single component (approximately 90% in each fraction). The fatty acids of the bound lipid contained 35% vaccenic acid, even- and odd-numbered saturated and unsaturated straight-chain fatty acids, cyclopropane-, branched-, and α- and β-hydroxy fatty acids. The extractable lipids contained only straight-chain saturated and unsaturated even-numbered fatty acids. Nearly 60% of hydroxy fatty acid fraction was α-hydroxydodecanoic acid (24%) and β-hydroxydodecanoic acid (34.5%). Coenzyme Q was crystallized and identified as Q9 on the basis of melting point and chromatographic properties. Q10 had been previously reported.
The fine structure of the photosynthetic bacterium Rhodomicrobium vannielii was studied by the ultra thin sectioning technique. Cells were fixed in buffered osmium tetroxide and embedded in Epoxy resin. The feature most common to nearly all cells was an array of intracellular membranes situated in a concentric manner at the periphery of the cell. The membranes were mostly paired and quite often five pairs were seen aligned together. Calculations from densitometric tracings showed the average width of a "unit" membrane to be 65 A. Sections of material from disrupted cells after passage through a sucrose gradient revealed vesicular forms composed of membranes similar in width to those in the intact cell. Absorption spectra of both intact cells and isolated membranes were very similar in the bacteriochlorophyll regions. Septa and membranes were demonstrated in the filaments that join mature cells. No evidence for chromatophores was obtained although the methods used were adequate for their demonstration in Rhodospirillum rubrum.
The genetic relatedness of a number of budding and prosthecate bacteria was determined by deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) homology experiments of the direct binding type. Strains of Hyphomicrobium sp. isolated from aquatic habitats were found to have relatedness values ranging from 9 to 70% with strain “EA-617,” a subculture of the Hyphomicrobium isolated by Mevius from river water. Strains obtained from soil enrichments had lower values with EA-617, ranging from 3 to 5%. Very little or no homology was detected between the amino acid-utilizing strain Hyphomicrobium neptunium and other Hyphomicrobium strains, although significant homology was observed with the two Hyphomonas strains examined. No homology could be detected between prosthecate bacteria of the genera Rhodomicrobium, Prosthecomicrobium, Ancalomicrobium, or Caulobacter, and Hyphomicrobium strain EA-617 or H. neptunium LE-670. The grouping of Hyphomicrobium strains by their relatedness values agrees well with a grouping according to the base composition of their DNA species. It is concluded that bacteria possessing cellular extensions represent a widely diverse group of organisms.
Water samples were collected aseptically several times throughout the year at nine stations on the Red Cedar River, a stream flowing through farmland and receiving effluent from several municipalities in central Michigan. Total prosthecate bacteria were enumerated by both direct and viable counting techniques. By direct techniques, these bacteria accounted for 0.62 to 1.1% of the total microflora during the study. The predominant type of appendaged bacteria was the caulobacters (Caulobacter, Asticcacaulis, and the fusiform caulobacter), which accounted for 64 to 93% of the total prosthecate forms. The others of importance were prosthecomicrobia (< 1 to 24%), including Prosthecomicrobium and Prosthecochloris; hyphomicrobia (< 1 to 15%), including Hyphomicrobium and Rhodomicrobium; and Ancalomicrobium (< 1 to 6%). The viable counts of heterotrophs also indicated that the caulobacters were the most numerous prosthecate bacteria in the stream. They ranged from fewer than 1 per ml to a maximum of almost 4,000 per ml. During the coldest period, when the total viable counts decreased to about 104 per ml compared to their summer high of over 107 per ml, the caulobacters actually increased in numbers. In December (temperature 0 to 1 C), they comprised from 0.09 to 1.0% of the viable microbial count, and in March (6.0 to 8.0 C) they accounted for 0.14 to 2.8%. The other heterotrophic prosthecate bacteria were generally found at numbers less than 1 per ml, with the exception of the December study when Hyphomicrobium was present in numbers as high as 2,400 per ml. There was no consistent correlation between the frequency of prosthecate bacteria and total coliforms in the stream during the investigation.
We present evidence for a dimorphic life cycle in the vacuolate sulfide-oxidizing bacteria that appears to involve the attachment of a spherical Thiomargarita-like cell to the exteriors of invertebrate integuments and other benthic substrates at methane seeps. The attached cell elongates to produce a stalk-like form before budding off spherical daughter cells resembling free-living Thiomargarita that are abundant in surrounding sulfidic seep sediments. The relationship between the attached parent cell and free-living daughter cell is reminiscent of the dimorphic life modes of the prosthecate Alphaproteobacteria, but on a grand scale, with individual elongate cells reaching nearly a millimeter in length. Abundant growth of attached Thiomargarita-like bacteria on the integuments of gastropods and other seep fauna provides not only a novel ecological niche for these giant bacteria, but also for animals that may benefit from epibiont colonization.
Beggiatoa; budding; epibiont; sulfur bacteria; Thiomargarita; Thioploca
Prosthecate bacteria comprised 0.6 to 10.5% of the bacterial community in samples from 11 pulp mill waste aeration lagoons. Because of their distinct morphology, the genera Ancalomicrobium, Caulobacter, Prosthecobacter, Prosthecomicrobium, Stella, and Hyphomicrobium or Hyphomonas could be identified and enumerated by direct microscopic examination. Monthly samples from one lagoon showed that several genera varied from undetectable to predominant among the appendaged organisms. Temperature (season), type of wood pulped, and pulping process did not significantly affect the density of prosthecate bacteria.
Caulobacters are prosthecate (stalked) bacteria that elaborate an attachment organelle called a holdfast at the tip of the cellular stalk. We examined the binding of lectins to the holdfasts of 16 marine Caulobacter strains and 10 freshwater species or strains by using a panel of fluorescein-conjugated lectins and fluorescence microscopy. The holdfasts of all the marine isolates bound to only wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) and other lectins that bind N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNac) residues. The freshwater caulobacters showed more variability in holdfast composition. Some bound only to WGA and comparable lectins as the marine strains did. Others bound additional or other lectins, and some did not bind to the lectins tested. The binding of WGA appeared to involve the regions of the holdfast involved with adhesion; a holdfast bound to WGA was significantly less adhesive to glass. Competition experiments with WGA-binding holdfasts and oligomers of GlcNac demonstrated that trimers of GlcNac (the preferred substrate for WGA binding) were more effective than dimers or monomers in preventing WGA binding to holdfasts, suggesting that stretches of contiguous GlcNac residues occur in the WGA-binding holdfasts. In addition, differences between freshwater and marine holdfasts in the strength of WGA binding were noted. The effect of a number of proteolytic and glycolytic enzymes on holdfast integrity was examined; the proteases had no effect for all caulobacters. None of the glycolytic enzymes had an effect on marine caulobacter holdfasts, but chitinase and lysozyme (both attack oligomers of GlcNac) disrupted the holdfasts of those freshwater caulobacters that bound WGA. Despite some similarity to chitin, holdfasts did not bind Calcofluor and no measurable effects on holdfast production were detectable after cell growth in the presence of diflubenzuron or polyoxin D, inhibitors of chitin synthesis in other systems. Finally, the holdfasts of all caulobacters bound to colloidal gold particles, without regard to the coating used to stabilize the gold particles. This binding was stronger or more specific than WGA binding; treatment with colloidal gold particles prevented WGA binding, but the reverse was not the case.
The surfaces of water distribution mains and suspended particulate matter from drinking water were examined by using scanning electron microscopy to investigate the nature and extent of association of microorganisms with these surfaces. In addition, X-ray energy-dispersive microanalysis was used to determine the elemental constitution of the pipe surface. Though distributed sparsely and randomly along the pipe surface, a variety of morphologically distinguishable bacteria-like structures and microcolonies were observed. The morphologies of the individual cells varied form chain-forming cocci to filamentous and prosthecate cell types. The iron-oxidizing bacterium Gallionella, recognized by its characteristic helical stalks, was observed both in water samples and attached to pipe surfaces. Attachment of some microbes to the pipe surface was apparently mediated by extracellular fibrillar appendages. Large numbers of rod-shaped bacteria were also evident adhering to the surfaces of suspended detritus or silt particles recovered from water samples by filtration. X-ray energy scans of the pipe surface revealed the presence of five major elemental constituents including silicon, phosphorous, sulfur, calcium, and iron. Smaller quantities of the elements zinc, magnesium, aluminum, potassium, and manganese were also detected. The public health significance of sessile microbial communities in drinking-water distribution systems is discussed.
Carbon monoxide dehydrogenase was purified to homogeneity from Methanococcus vannielii grown with formate as the sole carbon source. The enzyme is composed of subunits with molecular weights of 89,000 and 21,000 in an alpha 2 beta 2 oligomeric structure. The native molecular weight of carbon monoxide dehydrogenase, determined by gel electrophoresis, is 220,000. The enzyme from M. vannielii contains 2 g-atoms of nickel per mol of enzyme. Except for its relatively high pH optimum of 10.5 and its slightly greater net positive charge, the enzyme from M. vannielii closely resembles carbon monoxide dehydrogenase isolated previously from acetate-grown Methanosarcina barkeri. Carbon monoxide dehydrogenase from M. vannielii constitutes 0.2% of the soluble protein of the cell. By comparison the enzyme comprises 5% of the soluble protein in acetate-grown cells of M. barkeri and approximately 1% in methanol-grown cells.
Caulobacters are adherent prosthecate bacteria that are members of bacterial biofouling communities in many environments. Investigation of the cell surface carbohydrates produced by two strains of the freshwater Caulobacter crescentus, CB2A and CB15A, revealed a hitherto undetected extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) or capsule. Isolation and characterization of the EPS fractions showed that each strain produced a unique neutral EPS which could not be readily removed from the cell surface by washing. Monosaccharide analysis showed that the main CB2A EPS contained D-glucose, D-gulose, and D-fucose in a ratio of 3:1:1, whereas the CB15A EPS fraction contained D-galactose, D-glucose, D-mannose, and D-fucose in approximately equal amounts. Methylation analysis of the main CB2A EPS showed the presence of terminal glucose and gulose groups, 3-linked fucosyl, and two 3,4-linked glucosyl units, thus confirming the pentasaccharide repeating unit indicated by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance analysis. Similar studies of the CB15A EPS revealed a tetrasaccharide repeating unit consisting of terminal galactose, 4-linked fucosyl, 3-linked glucosyl, and 3,4-linked mannosyl residues. EPS was not detectable by thin-section electron microscopy techniques, including some methods designed to preserve or enhance capsules, nor was the EPS readily detected on the cell surface by scanning electron microscopy when conventional fixation techniques were used; however, a structure consistent with EPS was revealed when samples were prepared by cryofixation and freeze-substitution methods.
A microscopic survey is presented of the most commonly observed and morphologically conspicuous microorganisms found attached to natural surfaces or to artificial materials deposited in the immediate vicinity of thermal submarine vents at the Galapagos Rift ocean spreading zone at a depth of 2,550 meters. Of special interest were the following findings: (i) all surfaces intermittently exposed to H2S-containing hydrothermal fluid were covered by layers, ca. 5 to 10 μm thick, of procaryotic, gram-negative cells interspaced with amorphous metal (Mn-Fe) deposits; (ii) although some of the cells were encased by dense metal deposits, there was little apparent correlation between metal deposition and the occurrence of microbial mats, (iii) highly differentiated forms appeared to be analogues of certain cyanobacteria, (iv) isolates from massive mats of a prosthecate bacterium could be identified as Hyphomicrobium spp., (v) intracellular membrane systems similar to those found in methylotrophic and nitrifying bacteria were observed in approximately 20% of the cells composing the mats, (vi) thiosulfate enrichments made from mat material resulted in isolations of different types of sulfur-oxidizing bacteria including the obligately chemolithotrophic genus Thiomicrospira.
A succinate-mineral salts medium of pH 5.2 provided selective enrichment conditions for Rhodomicrobium vannielii and for a new species belonging to the Athiorhodaceae, described herein as Rhodopseudomonas acidophila. Seven strains of the new species have been isolated from different sources in the United States and Germany. The cells are rod-shaped or ovoid, 1.0 to 1.3 μm wide and 2 to 5 μm long, and motile by means of polar flagella. Multiplication occurs by budding. The photopigments consist of bacteriochlorophyll a and carotenoids of the spirilloxanthin series, together with new carotenoids. All strains can grow either under anaerobic conditions in the light or under microaerophilic to aerobic conditions in the dark. No growth factors are required. The range of simple organic substrates photo-assimilated resembles that characteristic of Rhodomicrobium. Good photolithotrophic growth is possible at the expense of molecular hydrogen; thiosulfate and sulfide are not utilized.