Chloroflexus aurantiacus is a thermophilic filamentous anoxygenic phototrophic (FAP) bacterium, and can grow phototrophically under anaerobic conditions or chemotrophically under aerobic and dark conditions. According to 16S rRNA analysis, Chloroflexi species are the earliest branching bacteria capable of photosynthesis, and Cfl. aurantiacus has been long regarded as a key organism to resolve the obscurity of the origin and early evolution of photosynthesis. Cfl. aurantiacus contains a chimeric photosystem that comprises some characters of green sulfur bacteria and purple photosynthetic bacteria, and also has some unique electron transport proteins compared to other photosynthetic bacteria.
The complete genomic sequence of Cfl. aurantiacus has been determined, analyzed and compared to the genomes of other photosynthetic bacteria.
Abundant genomic evidence suggests that there have been numerous gene adaptations/replacements in Cfl. aurantiacus to facilitate life under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions, including duplicate genes and gene clusters for the alternative complex III (ACIII), auracyanin and NADH:quinone oxidoreductase; and several aerobic/anaerobic enzyme pairs in central carbon metabolism and tetrapyrroles and nucleic acids biosynthesis. Overall, genomic information is consistent with a high tolerance for oxygen that has been reported in the growth of Cfl. aurantiacus. Genes for the chimeric photosystem, photosynthetic electron transport chain, the 3-hydroxypropionate autotrophic carbon fixation cycle, CO2-anaplerotic pathways, glyoxylate cycle, and sulfur reduction pathway are present. The central carbon metabolism and sulfur assimilation pathways in Cfl. aurantiacus are discussed. Some features of the Cfl. aurantiacus genome are compared with those of the Roseiflexus castenholzii genome. Roseiflexus castenholzii is a recently characterized FAP bacterium and phylogenetically closely related to Cfl. aurantiacus. According to previous reports and the genomic information, perspectives of Cfl. aurantiacus in the evolution of photosynthesis are also discussed.
The genomic analyses presented in this report, along with previous physiological, ecological and biochemical studies, indicate that the anoxygenic phototroph Cfl. aurantiacus has many interesting and certain unique features in its metabolic pathways. The complete genome may also shed light on possible evolutionary connections of photosynthesis.
Light and heavy membrane fractions have been isolated by equilibrium sucrose density centrifugation from Rhodopseudomonas capsulata 938 GCM grown aerobically in the dark (chemotrophically) and anaerobically in the light (phototrophically). The densities of the light and heavy fractions from phototrophic cells were 1.1004 to 1.1006 and 1.1478, respectively, and the densities of the light and heavy fractions from chemotrophic cells were 1.0957 to 1.0958 and 1.1315, respectively. Both fractions were active in photochemical and respiratory functions and in electron transport-coupled phosphorylation. The light membrane fraction isolated from chemotrophic cells contained the reaction center and the light-harvesting pigment-protein complex B 870, but not the variable light-harvesting complex B 800-850. A small amount of the complex B 800-850 was present in the light fraction isolated from phototrophically grown cells, but it was not energetically coupled to the photosynthetic apparatus. From inhibitor studies, difference spectroscopy, and measurement of enzyme activities it was tentatively concluded that the light membrane fraction contains only the reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-oxidizing electron transport chain having a KCN-insensitive, low-potential cytochrome c oxidase, whereas the heavy fraction contains additionally the succinate dehydrogenase and a high-potential cytochrome b terminal oxidase sensitive to KCN. The light membrane fraction was more labile than the heavy fraction in terms of phosphorylating activity.
Diverse bacteria are known to oxidize millimolar concentrations of ferrous iron [Fe(II)] under anaerobic conditions, both phototrophically and chemotrophically. Yet whether they can do this under conditions that are relevant to natural systems is understood less well. In this study, we tested how light, Fe(II) speciation, pH, and salinity affected the rate of Fe(II) oxidation by Rhodobacter capsulatus SB1003. Although R. capsulatus cannot grow photoautotrophically on Fe(II), it oxidizes Fe(II) at rates comparable to those of bacteria that do grow photoautotrophically on Fe(II) as soon as it is exposed to light, provided it has a functional photosystem. Chelation of Fe(II) by diverse organic ligands promotes Fe(II) oxidation, and as the pH increases, so does the oxidation rate, except in the presence of nitrilotriacetate; nonchelated forms of Fe(II) are also more rapidly oxidized at higher pH. Salt concentrations typical of marine environments inhibit Fe(II) oxidation. When growing photoheterotrophically on humic substances, R. capsulatus is highly sensitive to low concentrations of Fe(II); it is inhibited in the presence of concentrations as low as 5 μM. The product of Fe(II) oxidation, ferric iron, does not hamper growth under these conditions. When other parameters, such as pH or the presence of chelators, are adjusted to promote Fe(II) oxidation, the growth inhibition effect of Fe(II) is alleviated. Together, these results suggest that Fe(II) is toxic to R. capsulatus growing under strictly anaerobic conditions and that Fe(II) oxidation alleviates this toxicity.
Strains of all 18 species of the family Rhodospirillaceae (nonsulfur photosynthetic bacteria) were studied for their comparative nitrogen-fixing abilities. All species, with the exception of Rhodocyclus purpureus, were capable of growth with N2 as the sole nitrogen source under photosynthetic (anaerobic) conditions. Most rapid growth on N2 was observed in strains of Rhodopseudomonas capsulata. Within the genus Rhodopseudomonas, the species R. capsulata, R. sphaeroides, R. viridis, R. gelatinosa, and R. blastica consistently showed the highest in vivo nitrogenase rates (with the acetylene reduction technique); nitrogenase rates in other species of Rhodopseudomonas and in most species of Rhodospirillum were notably lower. Chemotrophic (dark microaerobic) nitrogen fixation occurred in all species with the exception of one strain of Rhodospirillum fulvum; oxygen requirements for dark N2 fixation varied considerably among species and even within strains of the same species. We conclude that the capacity to fix molecular nitrogen is virtually universal among members of the Rhodospirillaceae but that the efficacy of the process varies considerably among species.
Cells of Rhodospirillum rubrum were grown photoorganotrophically and chemoorganotrophically and then starved for organic carbon and combined nitrogen under four conditions: anaerobically in the light and dark and aerobically in the light and dark. Illumination prolonged viability and suppressed the net degradation of cell material of phototrophically grown cells, but had no effect on chemotrophically grown cells that did not contain bacteriochlorophyll. The half-life survival times of carbohydrate-rich phototrophically grown cells during starvation anaerobically or aerobically in the light were 17 and 14.5 days, respectively. The values for starvation aerobically and anaerobically in the dark were 3 and 0.5 days, respectively. Chemotrophically grown cells had half-life survival times of 3 and 4 days during starvation aerobically in the light and dark, respectively, and 0.8 day during starvation anaerobically in the light or dark. Of all cell constituents examined, carbohydrate was most extensively degraded during starvation, although the rate of degradation was slowest for phototrophically grown cells starved anaerobically in the light. Phototrophically grown cells containing poly-β-hydroxybutyrate as carbon reserve were less able to survive starvation anaerobically in the light than were carbohydrate-rich cells starved under comparable conditions. Light intensity had a significant effect on viability of phototrophically grown cells starving anaerobically. At light intensities of 320 to 650 lx, the half-life survival times were 17 to 24 days. At 2,950 to 10,500 lx, the survival times decreased to 1.5 to 5.5 days. The kinetics of cell death correlated well with the rate of loss of cell mass of starving cells. However, the cause of death could not be attributed to degradation of any specific cell component.
LOV domains are protein photosensors conserved in bacteria, archaea, plants and fungi that detect blue light via a flavin cofactor. In the bacterial kingdom, LOV domains are present in both chemotrophic and phototrophic species, where they are found N-terminally of signaling and regulatory domains such as sensor histidine kinases, diguanylate cyclases/phosphodiesterases, DNA-binding domains, and σ factor regulators. In this review, we describe the current state of knowledge on the function of bacterial LOV proteins, the structural basis of LOV domain-mediated signal transduction, and the use of LOV domains as genetically-encoded photoswitches in synthetic biology.
Anaerobic bacteria include diverse species that can grow at environmental extremes of temperature, pH, salinity, substrate toxicity, or available free energy. The first evolved archaebacterial and eubacterial species appear to have been anaerobes adapted to high temperatures. Thermoanaerobes and their stable enzymes have served as model systems for basic and applied studies of microbial cellulose and starch degradation, methanogenesis, ethanologenesis, acetogenesis, autotrophic CO2 fixation, saccharidases, hydrogenases, and alcohol dehydrogenases. Anaerobes, unlike aerobes, appear to have evolved more energy-conserving mechanisms for physiological adaptation to environmental stresses such as novel enzyme activities and stabilities and novel membrane lipid compositions and functions. Anaerobic syntrophs do not have similar aerobic bacterial counterparts. The metabolic end products of syntrophs are potent thermodynamic inhibitors of energy conservation mechanisms, and they require coordinated consumption by a second partner organism for species growth. Anaerobes adapted to environmental stresses and their enzymes have biotechnological applications in organic waste treatment systems and chemical and fuel production systems based on biomass-derived substrates or syngas. These kinds of anaerobes have only recently been examined by biologists, and considerably more study is required before they are fully appreciated by science and technology.
The Rhodobacter capsulatus response regulator CtrA controls the expression of 227 genes, some of which are upregulated by both the phosphorylated and unphosphorylated forms of CtrA. Therefore, CtrA concentration alone, regardless of phosphorylation state, may determine expression of downstream genes, yet little is known about the regulation of ctrA in R. capsulatus. In this study we used a ctrA : : lacZ fusion plasmid to study the effects of medium composition, growth conditions and growth phase on R. capsulatus ctrA gene expression. These experiments indicate that ctrA expression is higher when cultures are grown in phototrophic (anaerobic) conditions compared with chemotrophic (aerobic) conditions, and is higher when grown in a minimal medium compared with a rich medium. We used several mutants to investigate possible regulatory pathways, and found that in R. capsulatus ctrA is not autoregulated but is regulated by a quorum-sensing system. The expression of ctrA increased as cell cultures moved through exponential phase and into stationary phase, with high levels of expression persisting long after culture turbidity plateaued. Although this growth phase-dependent pattern of expression was also observed in a quorum-sensing mutant, the magnitude of ctrA expression was about 50 % of the wild-type strain at all phases. Furthermore, reduction of phosphate concentration in the growth medium decreased ctrA expression in a culture density-independent manner, whereas reduction of malic acid (carbon source) or ammonium (nitrogen source) concentration had no effect. The regulation of ctrA expression in R. capsulatus appears to require the coordination of multiple pathways involved in detecting a variety of environmental conditions.
PMID: 23154973 CAMSID: cams2907
Rhodopseudomonas capsulata cells were shifted from phototrophic (anaerobic, light) to chemotrophic (semiaerobic, dark, 10% air saturation) growth conditions. During the adaptation period of 4 h, the bacteriochlorophyll content of cells and membranes decreased, and a newly synthesized 65-kilodalton polypeptide of the cytochrome oxidase was incorporated into the membrane fraction. The enzymatic activity of the cytochrome oxidase increased strongly after a lag time of 2 h. The amount of cytochrome oxidase protein does not follow the same kinetics. The relative amount of a membrane-bound cytochrome c of low molecular weight, which has been proposed to be a donor for the cytochrome oxidase, increased during adaptation.
Bathymodiolin mussels occur at hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, where they thrive thanks to symbiotic associations with chemotrophic bacteria. Closely related genera Idas and Adipicola are associated with organic falls, ecosystems that have been suggested as potential evolutionary ‘stepping stones’ in the colonization of deeper and more sulphide-rich environments. Such a scenario should result from specializations to given environments from species with larger ecological niches. This study provides molecular-based evidence for the existence of two mussel species found both on sunken wood and bones. Each species specifically harbours one bacterial phylotype corresponding to thioautotrophic bacteria related to other bathymodiolin symbionts. Phylogenetic patterns between hosts and symbionts are partially congruent. However, active endocytosis and occurrences of minor symbiont lineages within species which are not their usual host suggest an environmental or horizontal rather than strictly vertical transmission of symbionts. Although the bacteria are close relatives, their localization is intracellular in one mussel species and extracellular in the other, suggesting that habitat choice is independent of the symbiont localization. The variation of bacterial densities in host tissues is related to the substrate on which specimens were sampled and could explain the abilities of host species to adapt to various substrates.
Idas; Adipicola; molecular taxonomy; organic falls; symbiosis; thioautotrophy
The phototrophic consortium “Chlorochromatium aggregatum” currently represents the most highly developed interspecific association of bacteria and consists of green sulfur bacteria, so-called epibionts, surrounding a central, motile, chemotrophic bacterium. In order to identify subcellular structures characteristic of this symbiosis, consortia were studied by a combination of high-resolution analytical scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and three-dimensional reconstruction and image analyses. Epibionts are interconnected and to a lesser extent are also connected with the central bacterium, by electron-dense, hair-like filaments. In addition, numerous periplasmic tubules extend from the outer membrane of the central bacterium and are in direct contact with the outer membrane of the epibionts. In each epibiont cell, the attachment site to the central bacterium is characterized by the absence of chlorosomes and an additional 17-nm-thick layer (epibiont contact layer [ECL]) attached to the inner side of the cytoplasmic membrane. The ECL is only occasionally observed in pure cultures of the epibiont, where it occurs in about 10 to 20% of the free-living cells. A striking feature of the central bacterium is the presence of one or two hexagonally packed flat crystals (central bacterium crystal [CBC]) per cell. The CBC reaches 1 μm in length, is 35 nm thick, and consists of bilayers of subunits with a spacing of 9 nm. A detailed model for consortia is presented, summarizing our conclusions regarding (i) cohesion of the cells, (ii) common periplasmic space between the central bacterium and the epibiont, (iii) ECL as a symbiosis-specific structure, and (iv) formation of the interior paracrystalline structures, central bacterium membrane layer, and CBC.
Heliobacterium modesticaldum is a gram-positive nitrogen-fixing phototrophic bacterium that can grow either photoheterotrophically or chemotrophically but not photoautotrophically. Surprisingly, this organism is lacking only one gene for the complete reverse tricarboxylic acid (rTCA) cycle required for autotrophic carbon fixation. Along with the genomic information reported recently, we use multiple experimental approaches in this report to address questions regarding energy metabolic pathways in darkness, CO2 fixation, sugar assimilation and acetate metabolism.
We present the first experimental evidence that D-ribose, D-fructose and D-glucose can be photoassimilated by H. modesticaldum as sole carbon sources in newly developed defined growth medium. Also, we confirm two non-autotrophic CO2-fixation pathways utilized by H. modesticaldum: reactions catalyzed by pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, and report acetate excretion during phototrophic and chemotrophic growth. Further, genes responsible for pyruvate fermentation, which provides reducing power for nitrogen assimilation, carbon metabolism and hydrogen production, are either active or up-regulated during chemotrophic growth. The discovery of ferredoxin-NADP+ oxidoreductase (FNR) activity in cell extracts provides the reducing power required for carbon and nitrogen metabolisms. Moreover, we show that photosynthetic pigments are produced by H. modesticaldum during the chemotrophic growth, and demonstrate that H. modesticaldum performs nitrogen fixation during both phototrophic and chemotrophic growth.
Collectively, this report represents the first comprehensive studies for energy metabolism in heliobacteria, which have the simplest known photosynthetic machinery among the entire photosynthetic organisms. Additionally, our studies provide new and essential insights, as well as broaden current knowledge, on the energy metabolism of the thermophilic phototrophic bacterium H. modesticaldum during phototrophic and chemotrophic growth.
The Yellowstone caldera contains the most numerous and diverse geothermal systems on Earth, yielding an extensive array of unique high-temperature environments that host a variety of deeply-rooted and understudied Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya. The combination of extreme temperature and chemical conditions encountered in geothermal environments often results in considerably less microbial diversity than other terrestrial habitats and offers a tremendous opportunity for studying the structure and function of indigenous microbial communities and for establishing linkages between putative metabolisms and element cycling. Metagenome sequence (14–15,000 Sanger reads per site) was obtained for five high-temperature (>65°C) chemotrophic microbial communities sampled from geothermal springs (or pools) in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) that exhibit a wide range in geochemistry including pH, dissolved sulfide, dissolved oxygen and ferrous iron. Metagenome data revealed significant differences in the predominant phyla associated with each of these geochemical environments. Novel members of the Sulfolobales are dominant in low pH environments, while other Crenarchaeota including distantly-related Thermoproteales and Desulfurococcales populations dominate in suboxic sulfidic sediments. Several novel archaeal groups are well represented in an acidic (pH 3) Fe-oxyhydroxide mat, where a higher O2 influx is accompanied with an increase in archaeal diversity. The presence or absence of genes and pathways important in S oxidation-reduction, H2-oxidation, and aerobic respiration (terminal oxidation) provide insight regarding the metabolic strategies of indigenous organisms present in geothermal systems. Multiple-pathway and protein-specific functional analysis of metagenome sequence data corroborated results from phylogenetic analyses and clearly demonstrate major differences in metabolic potential across sites. The distribution of functional genes involved in electron transport is consistent with the hypothesis that geochemical parameters (e.g., pH, sulfide, Fe, O2) control microbial community structure and function in YNP geothermal springs.
Light is a ubiquitous environmental signal that many organisms sense and respond to by modulating their physiological responses accordingly. While this is an expected response among phototrophic microorganisms, the ability of chemotrophic prokaryotes to sense and react to light has become a puzzling and novel issue in bacterial physiology, particularly among bacterial pathogens. In this work, we show that the opportunistic pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii senses and responds to blue light. Motility and formation of biofilms and pellicles were observed only when bacterial cells were incubated in darkness. In contrast, the killing of Candida albicans filaments was enhanced when they were cocultured with bacteria under light. These bacterial responses depend on the expression of the A. baumannii ATCC 17978 A1S_2225 gene, which codes for an 18.6-kDa protein that contains an N-terminal blue-light-sensing-using flavin (BLUF) domain and lacks a detectable output domain(s). Spectral analyses of the purified recombinant protein showed its ability to sense light by a red shift upon illumination. Therefore, the A1S_2225 gene, which is present in several members of the Acinetobacter genus, was named blue-light-sensing A (blsA). Interestingly, temperature plays a role in the ability of A. baumannii to sense and respond to light via the BlsA photoreceptor protein.
A signaling module known to organize the actin cytoskeleton during neuronal guidance also instructs synaptic vesicle clustering during synapse assembly.
Netrin is a chemotrophic factor known to regulate a number of neurodevelopmental processes, including cell migration, axon guidance, and synaptogenesis. Although the role of Netrin in synaptogenesis is conserved throughout evolution, the mechanisms by which it instructs synapse assembly are not understood. Here we identify a mechanism by which the Netrin receptor UNC-40/DCC instructs synaptic vesicle clustering in vivo. UNC-40 localized to presynaptic regions in response to Netrin. We show that UNC-40 interacted with CED-5/DOCK180 and instructed CED-5 presynaptic localization. CED-5 in turn signaled through CED-10/Rac1 and MIG-10/Lamellipodin to organize the actin cytoskeleton in presynaptic regions. Localization of this signaling pathway to presynaptic regions was necessary for synaptic vesicle clustering during synapse assembly but not for the subcellular localization of active zone proteins. Thus, vesicle clustering and localization of active zone proteins are instructed by separate pathways downstream of Netrin. Our data indicate that signaling modules known to organize the actin cytoskeleton during guidance can be co-opted to instruct synaptic vesicle clustering.
Pyruvate kinase (PYK) is a critical allosterically regulated enzyme that links glycolysis, the primary energy metabolism, to cellular metabolism. Lactic acid bacteria rely almost exclusively on glycolysis for their energy production under anaerobic conditions, which reinforces the key role of PYK in their metabolism. These organisms are closely related, but have adapted to a huge variety of native environments. They include food-fermenting organisms, important symbionts in the human gut, and antibiotic-resistant pathogens. In contrast to the rather conserved inhibition of PYK by inorganic phosphate, the activation of PYK shows high variability in the type of activating compound between different lactic acid bacteria. System-wide comparative studies of the metabolism of lactic acid bacteria are required to understand the reasons for the diversity of these closely related microorganisms. These require knowledge of the identities of the enzyme modifiers. Here, we predict potential allosteric activators of PYKs from three lactic acid bacteria which are adapted to different native environments. We used protein structure-based molecular modeling and enzyme kinetic modeling to predict and validate potential activators of PYK. Specifically, we compared the electrostatic potential and the binding of phosphate moieties at the allosteric binding sites, and predicted potential allosteric activators by docking. We then made a kinetic model of Lactococcus lactis PYK to relate the activator predictions to the intracellular sugar-phosphate conditions in lactic acid bacteria. This strategy enabled us to predict fructose 1,6-bisphosphate as the sole activator of the Enterococcus faecalis PYK, and to predict that the PYKs from Streptococcus pyogenes and Lactobacillus plantarum show weaker specificity for their allosteric activators, while still having fructose 1,6-bisphosphate play the main activator role in vivo. These differences in the specificity of allosteric activation may reflect adaptation to different environments with different concentrations of activating compounds. The combined computational approach employed can readily be applied to other enzymes.
Some lactic acid bacteria are antibiotic resistant pathogens causing severe diseases whereas others are healthy probiotics used in the food industry. What makes an LAB a friend or a foe and how do they adapt to survive in such different environments? Here, we addressed this problem by focusing on the enzyme pyruvate kinase, which plays a central role in the metabolism of lactic acid bacteria. This enzyme needs to react quickly to changes in the environment and, therefore, its activity is strictly regulated. In this study, we used computational techniques to predict the cellular substances, called allosteric activators that are responsible for the quick and effective activation of pyruvate kinase. We modeled the three dimensional structures of pyruvate kinases from different bacteria and computed interactions with possible activators. We simulated the dynamic behavior of the pyruvate kinase activity and, considering the cellular concentrations of metabolites in the different organisms, predicted the activators. We found that different lactic acid bacteria have different preferences for activators and that the level of activator specificity can be related to the environment in which the bacteria live.
Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) coupled to sulfate reduction (SR) is assumed to be a syntrophic process, in which methanotrophic archaea produce an interspecies electron carrier (IEC), which is subsequently utilized by sulfate-reducing bacteria. In this paper, six methanogenic substrates are tested as candidate-IECs by assessing their effect on AOM and SR by an anaerobic methanotrophic enrichment. The presence of acetate, formate or hydrogen enhanced SR, but did not inhibit AOM, nor did these substrates trigger methanogenesis. Carbon monoxide also enhanced SR but slightly inhibited AOM. Methanol did not enhance SR nor did it inhibit AOM, and methanethiol inhibited both SR and AOM completely. Subsequently, it was calculated at which candidate-IEC concentrations no more Gibbs free energy can be conserved from their production from methane at the applied conditions. These concentrations were at least 1,000 times lower can the final candidate-IEC concentration in the bulk liquid. Therefore, the tested candidate-IECs could not have been produced from methane during the incubations. Hence, acetate, formate, methanol, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen can be excluded as sole IEC in AOM coupled to SR. Methanethiol did inhibit AOM and can therefore not be excluded as IEC by this study.
Anaerobic oxidation of methane; Interspecies electron carrier; Methanogenic substrates
Denitrification is a distinct means of energy conservation, making use of N oxides as terminal electron acceptors for cellular bioenergetics under anaerobic, microaerophilic, and occasionally aerobic conditions. The process is an essential branch of the global N cycle, reversing dinitrogen fixation, and is associated with chemolithotrophic, phototrophic, diazotrophic, or organotrophic metabolism but generally not with obligately anaerobic life. Discovered more than a century ago and believed to be exclusively a bacterial trait, denitrification has now been found in halophilic and hyperthermophilic archaea and in the mitochondria of fungi, raising evolutionarily intriguing vistas. Important advances in the biochemical characterization of denitrification and the underlying genetics have been achieved with Pseudomonas stutzeri, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Paracoccus denitrificans, Ralstonia eutropha, and Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Pseudomonads represent one of the largest assemblies of the denitrifying bacteria within a single genus, favoring their use as model organisms. Around 50 genes are required within a single bacterium to encode the core structures of the denitrification apparatus. Much of the denitrification process of gram-negative bacteria has been found confined to the periplasm, whereas the topology and enzymology of the gram-positive bacteria are less well established. The activation and enzymatic transformation of N oxides is based on the redox chemistry of Fe, Cu, and Mo. Biochemical breakthroughs have included the X-ray structures of the two types of respiratory nitrite reductases and the isolation of the novel enzymes nitric oxide reductase and nitrous oxide reductase, as well as their structural characterization by indirect spectroscopic means. This revealed unexpected relationships among denitrification enzymes and respiratory oxygen reductases. Denitrification is intimately related to fundamental cellular processes that include primary and secondary transport, protein translocation, cytochrome c biogenesis, anaerobic gene regulation, metalloprotein assembly, and the biosynthesis of the cofactors molybdopterin and heme D1. An important class of regulators for the anaerobic expression of the denitrification apparatus are transcription factors of the greater FNR family. Nitrate and nitric oxide, in addition to being respiratory substrates, have been identified as signaling molecules for the induction of distinct N oxide-metabolizing enzymes.
Intracellular levels of three coenzyme A (CoA) molecular species, i.e., nonesterified CoA (CoASH), acetyl-CoA, and malonyl-CoA, in a variety of aerobic and facultatively anaerobic bacteria were analyzed by the acyl-CoA cycling method developed by us. It was demonstrated that there was an intrinsic difference between aerobes and facultative anaerobes in the changes in the size and composition of CoA pools. The CoA pools in the aerobic bacteria hardly changed and were significantly smaller than those of the facultatively anaerobic bacteria. On the other hand, in the facultatively anaerobic bacteria, the size and composition of the CoA pool drastically changed within minutes in response to the carbon and energy source provided. Acetyl-CoA was the major component of the CoA pool in the facultative anaerobes grown on sufficient glucose, although CoASH was dominant in the aerobes. Therefore, the acetyl-CoA/CoASH ratios in facultatively anaerobic bacteria were 10 times higher than those in aerobic bacteria. In Escherichia coli K-12 cells, the addition of reagents to inhibit the respiratory system led to a rapid decrease in the amount of acetyl-CoA with a concomitant increase in the amount of CoASH, whereas the addition of cerulenin, a specific inhibitor of fatty acid synthase, triggered the intracellular accumulation of malonyl-CoA. The acylation and deacylation of the three CoA molecular species coordinated with the energy-yielding systems and the restriction of the fatty acid-synthesizing system of cells. These data suggest that neither the accumulation of acetyl-CoA nor that of malonyl-CoA exerts negative feedback on pyruvate dehydrogenase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase, respectively.
Uricolytic bacteria were present in guts of Reticulitermes flavipes in populations up to 6 × 104 cells per gut. Of 82 strains isolated under strict anaerobic conditions, most were group N Streptococcus sp., Bacteroides termitidis, and Citrobacter sp. All isolates used uric acid (UA) as an energy source anaerobically, but not aerobically, and NH3 was the major nitrogenous product of uricolysis. However, none of the isolates had an absolute requirement for UA. Utilization of heterocyclic compounds other than UA was limited. Fresh termite gut contents also degraded UA anaerobically, as measured by 14CO2 evolution from [2-14C]UA. The magnitude of anaerobic uricolysis [0.67 pmol of UA catabolized/(gut × h)] was entirely consistent with the population density of uricolytic bacteria in situ. Uricolytic gut bacteria may convert UA in situ to products usable by termites for carbon, nitrogen, energy, or all three. This possibility is consistent with the fact that R. flavipes termites from UA, but they do not void the purine in excreta despite the lack of uricase in their tissues.
Carbon monoxide (CO), well known as a toxic gas, is increasingly recognized as a key metabolite and signaling molecule. Microbial utilization of CO is quite common, evidenced by the rapid escalation in description of new species of CO-utilizing bacteria and archaea. Carbon monoxide dehydrogenase (CODH), the protein complex that enables anaerobic CO-utilization, has been well-characterized from an increasing number of microorganisms, however the regulation of multiple CO-related gene clusters in single isolates remains unexplored. Many species are extraordinarily resistant to high CO concentrations, thriving under pure CO at more than one atmosphere. We hypothesized that, in strains that can grow exclusively on CO, both carbon acquisition via the CODH/acetyl CoA synthase complex and energy conservation via a CODH-linked hydrogenase must be differentially regulated in response to the availability of CO. The CO-sensing transcriptional activator, CooA is present in most CO-oxidizing bacteria. Here we present a genomic and phylogenetic survey of CODH operons and cooA genes found in CooA-containing bacteria. Two distinct groups of CooA homologs were found: one clade (CooA-1) is found in the majority of CooA-containing bacteria, whereas the other clade (CooA-2) is found only in genomes that encode multiple CODH clusters, suggesting that the CooA-2 might be important for cross-regulation of competing CODH operons. Recombinant CooA-1 and CooA-2 regulators from the prototypical CO-utilizing bacterium Carboxydothermus hydrogenoformans were purified, and promoter binding analyses revealed that CooA-1 specifically regulates the hydrogenase-linked CODH, whereas CooA-2 is able to regulate both the hydrogenase-linked CODH and the CODH/ACS operons. These studies point to the ability of dual CooA homologs to partition CO into divergent CO-utilizing pathways resulting in efficient consumption of a single limiting growth substrate available across a wide range of concentrations.
carbon monoxide; thermophiles; hydrogenogens; carboxydotrophs; Carboxydothermus hydrogenoformans; carbon monoxide dehydrogenase; CooA
Massive usage, along with careless handling, storage, spills, and leakages made chloroethenes (CEs) one of the most abundant classes of groundwater contaminants. Anaerobic organohalide respiring bacteria (OHRB) can couple reductive dechlorination of CEs with energy conservation, a central microbial process in (enhanced) natural attenuation of CE-contaminated aquifers. Spatial variability of OHRB guild members present in contaminated sites has not yet been investigated in detail and it is not known whether the spatial localization of contaminated sites could impact differentially remediation capacities. The goal of this study was to investigate how spatially distant microbial communities responded to the presence of CEs. Bacterial communities associated with five geographically distant European CE-contaminated aquifers were analyzed with terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism. Numerical ecology tools were used to assess the separate and combined effects on the communities of their spatial localization, their local environmental conditions and their contaminant concentrations. Three spatial scales were used for the assessment of the structuration of the communities as a function of geographical distances, namely at the aquifer scale, at medium (50 km) and long (ca. 1000 km) distances between aquifers. As a result, bacterial communities were structured with an almost identical contribution by both the geographical position of the aquifer and local environmental variables, especially electron donors and acceptors. The impact of environmental factors decreased with distance between aquifers, with the concomitant increase in importance of a geographical factor. Contrastingly, CEs contributed at a low extent at the medium scale and became important only when all aquifers were considered together, at a large geographical scale, suggesting that distant communities were structured partially by a common niche specialization in organohalide respiration.
bacterial communities; organohalide respiration; Dehalococcoides; chloroethenes; aquifers; T-RFLP; numerical ecology; biogeography
Duplicate anaerobic fermentor systems were used to examine changes in a community of human fecal bacteria supplied with different carbohydrate energy sources. A panel of group-specific fluorescent in situ hybridization probes targeting 16S rRNA sequences revealed that the fermentors supported growth of a greater proportion of Bacteroides and a lower proportion of gram-positive anaerobes related to Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Ruminococcus flavefaciens-Ruminococcus bromii, Eubacterium rectale-Clostridium coccoides, and Eubacterium cylindroides than the proportions in the starting fecal inoculum. Nevertheless, certain substrates, such as dahlia inulin, caused a pronounced increase in the number of bacteria related to R. flavefaciens-R. bromii and E. cylindroides. The ability of three strictly anaerobic, gram-positive bacteria to compete with the complete human fecal flora was tested in the same experiment by using selective plating to enumerate the introduced strains. The Roseburia-related strain A2-183F was able to grow on all substrates despite the fact that it was unable to utilize complex carbohydrates in pure culture, and it was assumed that this organism survived by cross-feeding. In contrast, Roseburia intestinalis L1-82R and Eubacterium sp. strain A2-194R survived less well despite the fact that they were able to utilize polysaccharides in pure culture, except that A2-194R was stimulated 100-fold by inulin. These results suggest that many low-G+C-content gram-positive obligate anaerobes may be selected against during in vitro incubation, although several groups were stimulated by inulin. Thus, considerable caution is necessary when workers attempt to predict the in vivo effects of probiotics and prebiotics from their effects in vitro.
Chlorinated methanes are important industrial chemicals and significant environmental pollutants. While the highly chlorinated methanes, trichloromethane and tetrachloromethane, are not productively metabolized by bacteria, chloromethane and dichloromethane are used by both aerobic and anaerobic methylotrophic bacteria as carbon and energy sources. Some of the dehalogenation reactions involved in the utilization of the latter two compounds have been elucidated. In a strictly anaerobic acetogenic bacterium growing with chloromethane, an inducible enzyme forming methyltetrahydrofolate and chloride from chloromethane and tetrahydrofolate catalyzes dehalogenation of the growth substrate. A different mechanism for the nucleophilic displacement of chloride is observed in aerobic methylotrophic bacteria utilizing dichloromethane as the sole carbon and energy source. These organisms possess the enzyme dichloromethane dehalogenase which, in a glutathione-dependent reaction, converts dichloromethane to inorganic chloride and formaldehyde, a central metabolite of methylotrophic growth. Sequence comparisons have shown that bacterial dichloromethane dehalogenases belong to the glutathione S-transferase enzyme family, and within this family to class Theta. The dehalogenation reactions underlying aerobic utilization of chloromethane by a pure culture and anaerobic growth with dichloromethane by an acetogenic mixed culture are not known. It appears that they are based on mechanisms other than nucleophilic attack by tetrahydrofolate or glutathione.
Proteobacteria are thought to have diverged from a phototrophic ancestor, according to the scattered distribution of phototrophy throughout the proteobacterial clade, and so the occurrence of numerous closely related phototrophic and chemotrophic microorganisms may be the result of the loss of genes for phototrophy. A widespread form of bacterial phototrophy is based on the photochemical reaction center, encoded by puf and puh operons that typically are in a ‘photosynthesis gene cluster’ (abbreviated as the PGC) with pigment biosynthesis genes. Comparison of two closely related Citromicrobial genomes (98.1% sequence identity of complete 16S rRNA genes), Citromicrobium sp. JL354, which contains two copies of reaction center genes, and Citromicrobium strain JLT1363, which is chemotrophic, revealed evidence for the loss of phototrophic genes. However, evidence of horizontal gene transfer was found in these two bacterial genomes. An incomplete PGC (pufLMC-puhCBA) in strain JL354 was located within an integrating conjugative element, which indicates a potential mechanism for the horizontal transfer of genes for phototrophy.