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1.  Seasonal dynamics of active SAR11 ecotypes in the oligotrophic Northwest Mediterranean Sea 
The ISME Journal  2014;9(2):347-360.
A seven-year oceanographic time series in NW Mediterranean surface waters was combined with pyrosequencing of ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) and ribosomal RNA gene copies (16S rDNA) to examine the environmental controls on SAR11 ecotype dynamics and potential activity. SAR11 diversity exhibited pronounced seasonal cycles remarkably similar to total bacterial diversity. The timing of diversity maxima was similar across narrow and broad phylogenetic clades and strongly associated with deep winter mixing. Diversity minima were associated with periods of stratification that were low in nutrients and phytoplankton biomass and characterised by intense phosphate limitation (turnover time<5 h). We propose a conceptual framework in which physical mixing of the water column periodically resets SAR11 communities to a high diversity state and the seasonal evolution of phosphate limitation competitively excludes deeper-dwelling ecotypes to promote low diversity states dominated (>80%) by SAR11 Ia. A partial least squares (PLS) regression model was developed that could reliably predict sequence abundances of SAR11 ecotypes (Q2=0.70) from measured environmental variables, of which mixed layer depth was quantitatively the most important. Comparison of clade-level SAR11 rRNA:rDNA signals with leucine incorporation enabled us to partially validate the use of these ratios as an in-situ activity measure. However, temporal trends in the activity of SAR11 ecotypes and their relationship to environmental variables were unclear. The strong and predictable temporal patterns observed in SAR11 sequence abundance was not linked to metabolic activity of different ecotypes at the phylogenetic and temporal resolution of our study.
PMCID: PMC4303628  PMID: 25238399
2.  Genome Sequence of the Sponge-Associated Ruegeria halocynthiae Strain MOLA R1/13b, a Marine Roseobacter with Two Quorum-Sensing-Based Communication Systems 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(5):e00998-14.
Ruegeria halocynthiae MOLA R1/13b is an alphaproteobacterium isolated from the Mediterranean sea sponge Crambe crambe. We report here the genome sequence and its annotation, revealing the presence of quorum-sensing genes. This is the first report of the full genome of a Ruegeria halocynthiae strain.
PMCID: PMC4192380  PMID: 25301648
3.  Draft Genome Sequence of the Gammaproteobacterial Strain MOLA455, a Representative of a Ubiquitous Proteorhodopsin-Producing Group in the Ocean 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(1):e01203-13.
Strain MOLA455 is a marine gammaproteobacterium isolated from the bay of Banyuls-sur-Mer, France. Here, we present its genome sequence and annotation. Genome analysis revealed the presence of genes associated with a possibly photoheterotrophic lifestyle that uses a proteorhodopsin protein.
PMCID: PMC3907726  PMID: 24482511
4.  Genome Sequence of Strain MOLA814, a Proteorhodopsin-Containing Representative of the Betaproteobacteria Common in the Ocean 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(6):e01062-13.
Strain MOLA814 is a marine betaproteobacterium that was isolated from seawater in the Beaufort Sea. Here, we present its genome sequence and annotation. Genome analysis revealed the presence of a proteorhodopsin-encoding sequence together with its retinal-producing pathway, indicating that this strain might generate energy by using light.
PMCID: PMC3868856  PMID: 24356832
5.  A single betaproteobacterium dominates the microbial community of the crambescidine-containing sponge Crambe crambe 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2583.
Crambe crambe is a marine sponge that produces high concentrations of the pharmacologically significant pentacyclic guanidine alkaloids (PGAs), Crambescines and Crambescidines. Although bio-mimetic chemical synthesis of PGAs suggests involvement of microorganisms in their biosynthesis, there are conflicting reports on whether bacteria are associated with this sponge or not. Using 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing we show that the associated bacterial community of C. crambe is dominated by a single bacterial species affiliated to the Betaproteobacteria. Microscopy analysis of sponge tissue sections using a specific probe and in situ hybridization confirmed its dominance in the sponge mesohyl and a single microbial morphology was observed by transmission electron microscopy. If confirmed the presence of a simple bacteria community in C. crambe makes this association a very pertinent model to study sponge-bacteria interactions and should allow further research into the possible implication of bacteria in PGA biosynthesis.
PMCID: PMC3761228  PMID: 24002533
6.  A novel clade of Prochlorococcus found in high nutrient low chlorophyll waters in the South and Equatorial Pacific Ocean 
The ISME journal  2010;5(6):933-944.
A novel high-light (HL)-adapted Prochlorococcus clade was discovered in high nutrient and low chlorophyll (HNLC) waters in the South Pacific Ocean by phylogenetic analyses of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and 16S–23S internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences. This clade, named HNLC fell within the HL-adapted Prochlorococcus clade with sequences above 99% similarity to one another, and was divided into two subclades, HNLC1 and HNLC2. The distribution of the whole HNLC clade in a northwest to southeast transect in the South Pacific (HNLC-to-gyre) and two 8°N to 8°S transects in the Equatorial Pacific was determined by quantitative PCR using specific primers targeting ITS regions. HNLC was the dominant HL Prochlorococcus clade (2–9% of bacterial 16S rRNA genes) at the three westernmost stations in the South Pacific but decreased to less than 0.1% at the other stations being replaced by the eMIT9312 ecotype in the hyperoligotrophic gyre. The highest contributions of HNLC Prochlorococcus in both Equatorial Pacific transects along the latitudinal lines of 170°W and 155°W were observed at the southernmost stations, reaching 16 and 6% of bacterial 16S rRNA genes, respectively, whereas eMIT9312 dominated near the Equator. Spearman Rank Order correlation analysis indicated that although both the HNLC clade and eMIT9312 were correlated with temperature, they showed different correlations with regard to nutrients. HNLC only showed significant correlations to ammonium uptake and regeneration rates, whereas eMIT9312 was negatively correlated with inorganic nutrients.
PMCID: PMC3131852  PMID: 21124492
16S rRNA; Equatorial Pacific; HNLC; ITS; Prochlorococcus; qPCR
7.  Development and Application of Quantitative-PCR Tools for Subgroups of the Roseobacter Clade ▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(23):7542-7547.
Specific SYBR green-based quantitative-PCR assays targeting conserved regions in the 16S-23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer regions were developed for five subgroups of the environmentally abundant and biogeochemically active Roseobacter clade of marine bacteria. The assays were applied to field samples demonstrating their utility in investigations of abundant Roseobacter group phylotypes in the environment.
PMCID: PMC2786420  PMID: 19801463
8.  BchY-Based Degenerate Primers Target All Types of Anoxygenic Photosynthetic Bacteria in a Single PCR▿ † ‡  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(23):7556-7559.
To detect anoxygenic bacteria containing either type 1 or type 2 photosynthetic reaction centers in a single PCR, we designed a degenerate primer set based on the bchY gene. The new primers were validated in silico using the GenBank nucleotide database as well as by PCR on pure strains and environmental DNA.
PMCID: PMC2786397  PMID: 19801482
9.  High Temporal but Low Spatial Heterogeneity of Bacterioplankton in the Chesapeake Bay▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(21):6776-6789.
Compared to freshwater and the open ocean, less is known about bacterioplankton community structure and spatiotemporal dynamics in estuaries, particularly those with long residence times. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States, but despite its ecological and economic significance, little is known about its microbial community composition. A rapid screening approach, ITS (internal transcribed spacer)-LH (length heterogeneity)-PCR, was used to screen six rRNA operon (16S rRNA-ITS-23S rRNA) clone libraries constructed from bacterioplankton collected in three distinct regions of the Chesapeake Bay over two seasons. The natural length variation of the 16S-23S rRNA gene ITS region, as well as the presence and location of tRNA-alanine coding regions within the ITS, was determined for 576 clones. Clones representing unique ITS-LH-PCR sizes were sequenced and identified. Dramatic shifts in bacterial composition (changes within subgroups or clades) were observed for the Alphaproteobacteria (Roseobacter clade, SAR11), Cyanobacteria (Synechococcus), and Actinobacteria, suggesting strong seasonal variation within these taxonomic groups. Despite large gradients in salinity and phytoplankton parameters, a remarkably homogeneous bacterioplankton community was observed in the bay in each season. Stronger seasonal, rather than spatial, variation of the bacterioplankton population was also supported by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and LH-PCR analyses, indicating that environmental parameters with stronger seasonal, rather than regional, dynamics, such as temperature, might determine bacterioplankton community composition in the Chesapeake Bay.
PMCID: PMC2074944  PMID: 17827310
10.  Diverse and Unique Picocyanobacteria in Chesapeake Bay, Revealed by 16S-23S rRNA Internal Transcribed Spacer Sequences†§  
rRNA internal transcribed spacer phylogeny showed that Chesapeake Bay is populated with diverse Synechococcus strains, including members of the poorly studied marine cluster B. Marine cluster B prevailed in the upper bay, while marine cluster A was common in the lower bay. Interestingly, marine cluster B Synechococcus included phycocyanin- and phycoerythrin-rich strains.
PMCID: PMC1393199  PMID: 16517680
11.  Novel Primers Reveal Wider Diversity among Marine Aerobic Anoxygenic Phototrophs†  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2005;71(12):8958-8962.
Aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria (AAnPs) were previously proposed to account for up to 11% of marine bacterioplankton and to potentially have great ecological importance in the world's oceans. Our data show that previously used primers based on the M subunit of anoxygenic photosynthetic reaction center genes (pufM) do not comprehensively identify the diversity of AAnPs in the ocean. We have designed and tested a new set of pufM-specific primers and revealed several new AAnP variants in environmental DNA samples and genomic libraries.
PMCID: PMC1317425  PMID: 16332899
12.  Quantitative Analysis of Small-Subunit rRNA Genes in Mixed Microbial Populations via 5′-Nuclease Assays 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2000;66(11):4605-4614.
Few techniques are currently available for quantifying specific prokaryotic taxa in environmental samples. Quantification of specific genotypes has relied mainly on oligonucleotide hybridization to extracted rRNA or intact rRNA in whole cells. However, low abundance and cellular rRNA content limit the application of these techniques in aquatic environments. In this study, we applied a newly developed quantitative PCR assay (5′-nuclease assay, also known as TaqMan) to quantify specific small-subunit (SSU) rRNA genes (rDNAs) from uncultivated planktonic prokaryotes in Monterey Bay. Primer and probe combinations for quantification of SSU rDNAs at the domain and group levels were developed and tested for specificity and quantitative reliability. We examined the spatial and temporal variations of SSU rDNAs from Synechococcus plus Prochlorococcus and marine Archaea and compared the results of the quantitative PCR assays to those obtained by alternative methods. The 5′-nuclease assays reliably quantified rDNAs over at least 4 orders of magnitude and accurately measured the proportions of genes in artificial mixtures. The spatial and temporal distributions of planktonic microbial groups measured by the 5′-nuclease assays were similar to the distributions estimated by quantitative oligonucleotide probe hybridization, whole-cell hybridization assays, and flow cytometry.
PMCID: PMC92356  PMID: 11055900
13.  Kinetic Bias in Estimates of Coastal Picoplankton Community Structure Obtained by Measurements of Small-Subunit rRNA Gene PCR Amplicon Length Heterogeneity 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  1998;64(11):4522-4529.
Marine bacterioplankton diversity was examined by quantifying natural length variation in the 5′ domain of small-subunit (SSU) rRNA genes (rDNA) amplified by PCR from a DNA sample from the Oregon coast. This new technique, length heterogeneity analysis by PCR (LH-PCR), determines the relative proportions of amplicons originating from different organisms by measuring the fluorescence emission of a labeled primer used in the amplification reaction. Relationships between the sizes of amplicons and gene phylogeny were predicted by an analysis of 366 SSU rDNA sequences from cultivated marine bacteria and from bacterial genes cloned directly from environmental samples. LH-PCR was used to compare the distribution of bacterioplankton SSU rDNAs from a coastal water sample with that of an SSU rDNA clone library prepared from the same sample and also to examine the distribution of genes in the PCR products from which the clone library was prepared. The analysis revealed that the relative frequencies of genes amplified from natural communities are highly reproducible for replicate sets of PCRs but that a bias possibly caused by the reannealing kinetics of product molecules can skew gene frequencies when PCR product concentrations exceed threshold values.
PMCID: PMC106679  PMID: 9797317
14.  Phylogenetic Diversity of Ultraplankton Plastid Small-Subunit rRNA Genes Recovered in Environmental Nucleic Acid Samples from the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts of the United States 
The scope of marine phytoplankton diversity is uncertain in many respects because, like bacteria, these organisms sometimes lack defining morphological characteristics and can be a challenge to grow in culture. Here, we report the recovery of phylogenetically diverse plastid small-subunit (SSU) rRNA gene (rDNA) clones from natural plankton populations collected in the Pacific Ocean off the mouth of Yaquina Bay, Oreg. (OCS clones), and from the eastern continental shelf of the United States off Cape Hatteras, N.C. (OM clones). SSU rRNA gene clone libraries were prepared by amplifying rDNAs from nucleic acids isolated from plankton samples and cloning them into plasmid vectors. The PCR primers used for amplification reactions were designed to be specific for bacterial SSU rRNA genes; however, plastid genes have a common phylogenetic origin with bacteria and were common in both SSU rRNA gene clone libraries. A combination of restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses, nucleic acid sequencing, and taxon-specific oligonucleotide probe hybridizations revealed that 54 of the 116 OCS gene clones were of plastid origin. Collectively, clones from the OCS and OM libraries formed at least eight unique lineages within the plastid radiation, including gene lineages related to the classes Bacillariophyceae, Cryptophyceae, Prymnesiophyceae, Chrysophyceae, and Prasinophyceae; for a number of unique clones, no close phylogenetic neighbors could be identified with confidence. Only a group of two OCS rRNA gene clones showed close identity to the plastid SSU rRNA gene sequence of a cultured organism [Emiliania huxleyi (Lohmann) Hay and Mohler; 99.8% similar]. The remaining clones could not be identified to the genus or species level. Although cryptic species are not as prevalent among phytoplankton as they are among their bacterial counterparts, this genetic survey nonetheless uncovered significant new information about phytoplankton diversity.
PMCID: PMC124708  PMID: 9435081

Results 1-14 (14)