Here we present the draft genome sequence of Chrysiogenes arsenatis strain DSM 11915, only the second genome sequence from the phylum Chrysiogenetes. This strictly anaerobic organism was isolated from arsenic-contaminated gold mine wastewater and respires arsenate or nitrate instead of oxygen. The assembly contains 2,824,977 bp in 22 scaffolds.
The Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, Chlamydiae (PVC) super-phylum contains bacteria with either complex cellular organization or simple cell structure; it also includes organisms of different lifestyles (pathogens, mutualists, commensal, and free-living). Genome content evolution of this group has not been studied in a systematic fashion, which would reveal genes underlying the emergence of PVC-specific phenotypes. Here, we analyzed the evolutionary dynamics of 26 PVC genomes and several outgroup species. We inferred HGT, duplications, and losses by reconciliation of 27,123 gene trees with the species phylogeny. We showed that genome expansion and contraction have driven evolution within Planctomycetes and Chlamydiae, respectively, and balanced each other in Verrucomicrobia and Lentisphaerae. We also found that for a large number of genes in PVC genomes the most similar sequences are present in Acidobacteria, suggesting past and/or current ecological interaction between organisms from these groups. We also found evidence of shared ancestry between carbohydrate degradation genes in the mucin-degrading human intestinal commensal Akkermansia muciniphila and sequences from Acidobacteria and Bacteroidetes, suggesting that glycoside hydrolases are transferred laterally between gut microbes and that the process of carbohydrate degradation is crucial for microbial survival within the human digestive system. Further, we identified a highly conserved genetic module preferentially present in compartmentalized PVC species and possibly associated with the complex cell plan in these organisms. This conserved machinery is likely to be membrane targeted and involved in electron transport, although its exact function is unknown. These genes represent good candidates for future functional studies.
genome evolution in PVC super-phylum; cellular compartmentalization; DUF1501 and Planctomycetes-specific cytochromes; mucin-degradation by Akkermansia muciniphila
Our knowledge of pathogens and symbionts is heavily biased toward phyla containing species that are straightforward to isolate in pure culture. Novel bacterial phyla are often represented by a handful of strains, and the number of species interacting with eukaryotes is likely underestimated. Identification of predicted pathogenesis and symbiosis determinants such as the Type III Secretion System (T3SS) in the genomes of “free-living” bacteria suggests that these microbes participate in uncharacterized interactions with eukaryotes. Our study aimed to test this hypothesis on Verrucomicrobium spinosum (phylum Verrucomicrobia) and to begin characterization of its predicted T3SS. We showed the putative T3SS structural genes to be transcriptionally active, and that expression of predicted effector proteins was toxic to yeast in an established functional screen. Our results suggest that the predicted T3SS genes of V. spinosum could encode a functional T3SS, although further work is needed to determine whether V. spinosum produces a T3SS injectisome that delivers the predicted effectors. In the absence of a known eukaryotic host, we made use of invertebrate infection models. The injection or feeding of V. spinosum to Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans, respectively, was shown to result in increased mortality rates relative to controls, a phenomenon exaggerated in C. elegans mutants hypersensitive to pathogen infection. This finding, although not conclusively demonstrating pathogenesis, suggests that V. spinosum is capable of pathogenic activity toward an invertebrate host. Symbiotic interactions with a natural host provide an alternative explanation for the results seen in the invertebrate models. Further work is needed to determine whether V. spinosum can establish and maintain interactions with eukaryotic species found in its natural habitat, and whether the predicted T3SS is directly involved in pathogenic or symbiotic activity.
Verrucomicrobia; genome; eukaryotic host
Whole-genome scans for positive Darwinian selection are widely used to detect evolution of genome novelty. Most approaches are based on evaluation of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution rate ratio across evolutionary lineages. These methods are sensitive to saturation of synonymous sites and thus cannot be used to study evolution of distantly related organisms. In contrast, indels occur less frequently than amino acid replacements, accumulate more slowly, and can be employed to characterize evolution of diverged organisms. As indels are also subject to the forces of natural selection, they can generate functional changes through positive selection. Here, we present a new computational approach to detect selective constraints on indel substitutions at the whole-genome level for distantly related organisms. Our method is based on ancestral sequence reconstruction, takes into account the varying susceptibility of different types of secondary structure to indels, and according to simulation studies is conservative. We applied this newly developed framework to characterize the evolution of organisms of the Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, Chlamydiae (PVC) bacterial superphylum. The superphylum contains organisms with unique cell biology, physiology, and diverse lifestyles. It includes bacteria with simple cell organization and more complex eukaryote-like compartmentalization. Lifestyles range from free-living organisms to obligate pathogens. In this study, we conduct a whole-genome level analysis of indel substitutions specific to evolutionary lineages of the PVC superphylum and found that indels evolved under positive selection on up to 12% of gene tree branches. We also analyzed possible functional consequences for several case studies of predicted indel events.
selection; indel substitutions; PVC superphylum
The complete genomes of three strains from the phylum Acidobacteria were compared. Phylogenetic analysis placed them as a unique phylum. They share genomic traits with members of the Proteobacteria, the Cyanobacteria, and the Fungi. The three strains appear to be versatile heterotrophs. Genomic and culture traits indicate the use of carbon sources that span simple sugars to more complex substrates such as hemicellulose, cellulose, and chitin. The genomes encode low-specificity major facilitator superfamily transporters and high-affinity ABC transporters for sugars, suggesting that they are best suited to low-nutrient conditions. They appear capable of nitrate and nitrite reduction but not N2 fixation or denitrification. The genomes contained numerous genes that encode siderophore receptors, but no evidence of siderophore production was found, suggesting that they may obtain iron via interaction with other microorganisms. The presence of cellulose synthesis genes and a large class of novel high-molecular-weight excreted proteins suggests potential traits for desiccation resistance, biofilm formation, and/or contribution to soil structure. Polyketide synthase and macrolide glycosylation genes suggest the production of novel antimicrobial compounds. Genes that encode a variety of novel proteins were also identified. The abundance of acidobacteria in soils worldwide and the breadth of potential carbon use by the sequenced strains suggest significant and previously unrecognized contributions to the terrestrial carbon cycle. Combining our genomic evidence with available culture traits, we postulate that cells of these isolates are long-lived, divide slowly, exhibit slow metabolic rates under low-nutrient conditions, and are well equipped to tolerate fluctuations in soil hydration.
Here we report the complete genome sequence of Teredinibacter turnerae T7901. T. turnerae is a marine gamma proteobacterium that occurs as an intracellular endosymbiont in the gills of wood-boring marine bivalves of the family Teredinidae (shipworms). This species is the sole cultivated member of an endosymbiotic consortium thought to provide the host with enzymes, including cellulases and nitrogenase, critical for digestion of wood and supplementation of the host's nitrogen-deficient diet. T. turnerae is closely related to the free-living marine polysaccharide degrading bacterium Saccharophagus degradans str. 2–40 and to as yet uncultivated endosymbionts with which it coexists in shipworm cells. Like S. degradans, the T. turnerae genome encodes a large number of enzymes predicted to be involved in complex polysaccharide degradation (>100). However, unlike S. degradans, which degrades a broad spectrum (>10 classes) of complex plant, fungal and algal polysaccharides, T. turnerae primarily encodes enzymes associated with deconstruction of terrestrial woody plant material. Also unlike S. degradans and many other eubacteria, T. turnerae dedicates a large proportion of its genome to genes predicted to function in secondary metabolism. Despite its intracellular niche, the T. turnerae genome lacks many features associated with obligate intracellular existence (e.g. reduced genome size, reduced %G+C, loss of genes of core metabolism) and displays evidence of adaptations common to free-living bacteria (e.g. defense against bacteriophage infection). These results suggest that T. turnerae is likely a facultative intracellular ensosymbiont whose niche presently includes, or recently included, free-living existence. As such, the T. turnerae genome provides insights into the range of genomic adaptations associated with intracellular endosymbiosis as well as enzymatic mechanisms relevant to the recycling of plant materials in marine environments and the production of cellulose-derived biofuels.
Several abiotic processes leading to the formation of life-like signatures or later contamination with actual biogenic traces can blur the interpretation of the earliest fossil record. In recent years, a large body of evidence showing the occurrence of diverse and active microbial communities in the terrestrial subsurface has accumulated. Considering the time elapsed since Archaean sedimentation, the contribution of subsurface microbial communities postdating the rock formation to the fossil biomarker pool and other biogenic remains in Archaean rocks may be far from negligible.
In order to evaluate the degree of potential contamination of Archean rocks by modern microorganisms, we looked for the presence of living indigenous bacteria in fresh diamond drillcores through 2,724 Myr-old stromatolites (Tumbiana Formation, Fortescue Group, Western Australia) using molecular methods based on the amplification of small subunit ribosomal RNA genes (SSU rDNAs). We analyzed drillcore samples from 4.3 m and 66.2 m depth, showing signs of meteoritic alteration, and also from deeper “fresh” samples showing no apparent evidence for late stage alteration (68 m, 78.8 m, and 99.3 m). We also analyzed control samples from drilling and sawing fluids and a series of laboratory controls to establish a list of potential contaminants introduced during sample manipulation and PCR experiments. We identified in this way the presence of indigenous bacteria belonging to Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Alpha-, Beta-, and Gammaproteobacteria in aseptically-sawed inner parts of drillcores down to at least 78.8 m depth.
The presence of modern bacterial communities in subsurface fossil stromatolite layers opens the possibility that a continuous microbial colonization had existed in the past and contributed to the accumulation of biogenic traces over geological timescales. This finding casts shadow on bulk analyses of early life remains and makes claims for morphological, chemical, isotopic, and biomarker traces syngenetic with the rock unreliable in the absence of detailed contextual analyses at microscale.
In order to enrich the phylogenetic diversity represented in the available sequenced bacterial genomes and as part of an “Assembling the Tree of Life” project, we determined the genome sequence of Thermomicrobium roseum DSM 5159. T. roseum DSM 5159 is a red-pigmented, rod-shaped, Gram-negative extreme thermophile isolated from a hot spring that possesses both an atypical cell wall composition and an unusual cell membrane that is composed entirely of long-chain 1,2-diols. Its genome is composed of two circular DNA elements, one of 2,006,217 bp (referred to as the chromosome) and one of 919,596 bp (referred to as the megaplasmid). Strikingly, though few standard housekeeping genes are found on the megaplasmid, it does encode a complete system for chemotaxis including both chemosensory components and an entire flagellar apparatus. This is the first known example of a complete flagellar system being encoded on a plasmid and suggests a straightforward means for lateral transfer of flagellum-based motility. Phylogenomic analyses support the recent rRNA-based analyses that led to T. roseum being removed from the phylum Thermomicrobia and assigned to the phylum Chloroflexi. Because T. roseum is a deep-branching member of this phylum, analysis of its genome provides insights into the evolution of the Chloroflexi. In addition, even though this species is not photosynthetic, analysis of the genome provides some insight into the origins of photosynthesis in the Chloroflexi. Metabolic pathway reconstructions and experimental studies revealed new aspects of the biology of this species. For example, we present evidence that T. roseum oxidizes CO aerobically, making it the first thermophile known to do so. In addition, we propose that glycosylation of its carotenoids plays a crucial role in the adaptation of the cell membrane to this bacterium's thermophilic lifestyle. Analyses of published metagenomic sequences from two hot springs similar to the one from which this strain was isolated, show that close relatives of T. roseum DSM 5159 are present but have some key differences from the strain sequenced.
Analyses of viral protein-protein interactions are an important step to understand viral protein functions and their underlying molecular mechanisms. In this study, we adopted a mammalian two-hybrid system to screen the genome-wide intraviral protein-protein interactions of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and therefrom revealed a number of novel interactions which could be partly confirmed by in vitro biochemical assays. Three pairs of the interactions identified were detected in both directions: non-structural protein (nsp) 10 and nsp14, nsp10 and nsp16, and nsp7 and nsp8. The interactions between the multifunctional nsp10 and nsp14 or nsp16, which are the unique proteins found in the members of Nidovirales with large RNA genomes including coronaviruses and toroviruses, may have important implication for the mechanisms of replication/transcription complex assembly and functions of these viruses. Using a SARS-CoV replicon expressing a luciferase reporter under the control of a transcription regulating sequence, it has been shown that several viral proteins (N, X and SUD domains of nsp3, and nsp12) provided in trans stimulated the replicon reporter activity, indicating that these proteins may regulate coronavirus replication and transcription. Collectively, our findings provide a basis and platform for further characterization of the functions and mechanisms of coronavirus proteins.
Colonisation of sessile eukaryotic host surfaces (e.g. invertebrates and seaweeds) by bacteria is common in the marine environment and is expected to create significant inter-species competition and other interactions. The bacterium Pseudoalteromonas tunicata is a successful competitor on marine surfaces owing primarily to its ability to produce a number of inhibitory molecules. As such P. tunicata has become a model organism for the studies into processes of surface colonisation and eukaryotic host-bacteria interactions.
To gain a broader understanding into the adaptation to a surface-associated life-style, we have sequenced and analysed the genome of P. tunicata and compared it to the genomes of closely related strains. We found that the P. tunicata genome contains several genes and gene clusters that are involved in the production of inhibitory compounds against surface competitors and secondary colonisers. Features of P. tunicata's oxidative stress response, iron scavenging and nutrient acquisition show that the organism is well adapted to high-density communities on surfaces. Variation of the P. tunicata genome is suggested by several landmarks of genetic rearrangements and mobile genetic elements (e.g. transposons, CRISPRs, phage). Surface attachment is likely to be mediated by curli, novel pili, a number of extracellular polymers and potentially other unexpected cell surface proteins. The P. tunicata genome also shows a utilisation pattern of extracellular polymers that would avoid a degradation of its recognised hosts, while potentially causing detrimental effects on other host types. In addition, the prevalence of recognised virulence genes suggests that P. tunicata has the potential for pathogenic interactions.
The genome analysis has revealed several physiological features that would provide P. tunciata with competitive advantage against other members of the surface-associated community. We have also identified properties that could mediate interactions with surfaces other than its currently recognised hosts. This together with the detection of known virulence genes leads to the hypothesis that P. tunicata maintains a carefully regulated balance between beneficial and detrimental interactions with a range of host surfaces.
Comparative analysis of small-subunit ribosomal RNA (ss-rRNA) gene sequences forms the basis for much of what we know about the phylogenetic diversity of both cultured and uncultured microorganisms. As sequencing costs continue to decline and throughput increases, sequences of ss-rRNA genes are being obtained at an ever-increasing rate. This increasing flow of data has opened many new windows into microbial diversity and evolution, and at the same time has created significant methodological challenges. Those processes which commonly require time-consuming human intervention, such as the preparation of multiple sequence alignments, simply cannot keep up with the flood of incoming data. Fully automated methods of analysis are needed. Notably, existing automated methods avoid one or more steps that, though computationally costly or difficult, we consider to be important. In particular, we regard both the building of multiple sequence alignments and the performance of high quality phylogenetic analysis to be necessary. We describe here our fully-automated ss-rRNA taxonomy and alignment pipeline (STAP). It generates both high-quality multiple sequence alignments and phylogenetic trees, and thus can be used for multiple purposes including phylogenetically-based taxonomic assignments and analysis of species diversity in environmental samples. The pipeline combines publicly-available packages (PHYML, BLASTN and CLUSTALW) with our automatic alignment, masking, and tree-parsing programs. Most importantly, this automated process yields results comparable to those achievable by manual analysis, yet offers speed and capacity that are unattainable by manual efforts.
Soil ecosystems harbor the most complex prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbial communities on Earth. Experimental approaches studying these systems usually focus on either the soil community's taxonomic structure or its functional characteristics. Many methods target DNA as marker molecule and use PCR for amplification.
Here we apply an RNA-centered meta-transcriptomic approach to simultaneously obtain information on both structure and function of a soil community. Total community RNA is random reversely transcribed into cDNA without any PCR or cloning step. Direct pyrosequencing produces large numbers of cDNA rRNA-tags; these are taxonomically profiled in a binning approach using the MEGAN software and two specifically compiled rRNA reference databases containing small and large subunit rRNA sequences. The pyrosequencing also produces mRNA-tags; these provide a sequence-based transcriptome of the community. One soil dataset of 258,411 RNA-tags of ∼98 bp length contained 193,219 rRNA-tags with valid taxonomic information, together with 21,133 mRNA-tags. Quantitative information about the relative abundance of organisms from all three domains of life and from different trophic levels was obtained in a single experiment. Less frequent taxa, such as soil Crenarchaeota, were well represented in the data set. These were identified by more than 2,000 rRNA-tags; furthermore, their activity in situ was revealed through the presence of mRNA-tags specific for enzymes involved in ammonia oxidation and CO2 fixation.
This approach could be widely applied in microbial ecology by efficiently linking community structure and function in a single experiment while avoiding biases inherent in other methods.
Large DNA viruses are ubiquitous, infecting diverse organisms ranging from algae to man, and have probably evolved from an ancient common ancestor. In aquatic environments, such algal viruses control blooms and shape the evolution of biodiversity in phytoplankton, but little is known about their biological functions. We show that Ostreococcus tauri, the smallest known marine photosynthetic eukaryote, whose genome is completely characterized, is a host for large DNA viruses, and present an analysis of the life-cycle and 186,234 bp long linear genome of OtV5. OtV5 is a lytic phycodnavirus which unexpectedly does not degrade its host chromosomes before the host cell bursts. Analysis of its complete genome sequence confirmed that it lacks expected site-specific endonucleases, and revealed the presence of 16 genes whose predicted functions are novel to this group of viruses. OtV5 carries at least one predicted gene whose protein closely resembles its host counterpart and several other host-like sequences, suggesting that horizontal gene transfers between host and viral genomes may occur frequently on an evolutionary scale. Fifty seven percent of the 268 predicted proteins present no similarities with any known protein in Genbank, underlining the wealth of undiscovered biological diversity present in oceanic viruses, which are estimated to harbour 200Mt of carbon.
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is an aerobic, non-fermentative Gram-negative bacterium widespread in the environment. S. maltophilia Sm777 exhibits innate resistance to multiple antimicrobial agents. Furthermore, this bacterium tolerates high levels (0.1 to 50 mM) of various toxic metals, such as Cd, Pb, Co, Zn, Hg, Ag, selenite, tellurite and uranyl. S. maltophilia Sm777 was able to grow in the presence of 50 mM selenite and 25 mM tellurite and to reduce them to elemental selenium (Se0) and tellurium (Te0) respectively. Transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray analysis showed cytoplasmic nanometer-sized electron-dense Se0 granules and Te0 crystals. Moreover, this bacterium can withstand up to 2 mM CdCl2 and accumulate this metal up to 4% of its biomass. The analysis of soluble thiols in response to ten different metals showed eightfold increase of the intracellular pool of cysteine only in response to cadmium. Measurements by Cd K-edge EXAFS spectroscopy indicated the formation of Cd-S clusters in strain Sm777. Cysteine is likely to be involved in Cd tolerance and in CdS-clusters formation. Our data suggest that besides high tolerance to antibiotics by efflux mechanisms, S. maltophilia Sm777 has developed at least two different mechanisms to overcome metal toxicity, reduction of oxyanions to non-toxic elemental ions and detoxification of Cd into CdS.
Introduced in 1942, sulfasalazine (a conjugate of 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) and sulfapyridine) is the most prescribed medication used to treat “inflammatory” bowel disease (IBD.) Although controversial, there are increasingly compelling data that Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) may be an etiological agent in some or all of IBD. We have shown that two other agents used in the therapy of IBD (methotrexate and 6-MP) profoundly inhibit MAP growth. We concluded that their most plausible mechanism of action is as antiMAP antibiotics. We herein hypothesize that the mechanism of action of 5-ASA and/or sulfapyridine may also simply be to inhibit MAP growth.
The effect on MAP growth kinetics by sulfasalazine and its components were evaluated in bacterial culture of two strains each of MAP and M. avium, using a radiometric (14CO2 BACTEC®) detection system that quantifies mycobacterial growth as arbitrary “growth index units” (GI). Efficacy data are presented as “percent decrease in cumulative GI” (%−ΔcGI).
There are disparate responses to 5-ASA and sulfapyridine in the two subspecies. Against MAP, 5-ASA is inhibitory in a dose-dependent manner (MAP ATCC 19698 46%−ΔcGI at 64 µg/ml), whereas sulfapyridine has virtually no effect. In contrast, against M. avium ATCC 25291, 5-ASA has no effect, whereas sulfapyridine (88%−ΔcGI at 4 µg/ml) is as effective as methotrexate, our positive control (88%−ΔcGI at 4 µg/ml).
5-ASA inhibits MAP growth in culture. We posit that, unknowingly, the medical profession has been treating MAP infections since sulfasalazine's introduction in 1942. These observations may explain, in part, why MAP has not previously been identified as a human pathogen. We conclude that henceforth in clinical trials evaluating antiMAP agents in IBD, if considered ethical, the use of 5-ASA (as well as methotrexate and 6-MP) should be excluded from control groups.
Symbiotic relationships between leguminous plants (family Fabaceae) and nodule-forming bacteria in Australia native ecosystems remain poorly characterized despite their importance. Most studies have focused on temperate parts of the country, where the use of molecular approaches have already revealed the presence of Bradyrhizobium, Ensifer (formerly Sinorhizobium), Mesorhizobium and Rhizobium genera of legume root-nodule bacteria. We here provide the first molecular characterization of nodulating bacteria from tropical Australia.
45 nodule-forming bacterial strains, isolated from eight native legume hosts at eight locations in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, were examined for their genetic diversity and phylogenetic position. Using SSU rDNA PCR-RFLPs and phylogenetic analyses, our survey identified nine genospecies, two of which, Bradyrhizobium genospp. B and P, had been previously identified in south-eastern Australia and one, Mesorhizobium genospecies AA, in southern France. Three of the five newly characterized Bradyrhizobium genospecies were more closely related to B. japonicum USDA110, whereas the other two belonged to the B. elkanii group. All five were each more closely related to strains sampled in various tropical areas outside Australia than to strains known to occur in Australia. We also characterized an entirely novel nodule-forming lineage, phylogenetically distant from any previously described rhizobial and non-rhizobial legume-nodulating lineage within the Rhizobiales.
Overall, the present results support the hypothesis of tropical areas being centres of biodiversity and diversification for legume root-nodule bacteria and confirm the widespread occurrence of Bradyrhizobium genosp. B in continental Australia.
The dimorphic prosthecate bacteria (DPB) are α-proteobacteria that reproduce in an asymmetric manner rather than by binary fission and are of interest as simple models of development. Prior to this work, the only member of this group for which genome sequence was available was the model freshwater organism Caulobacter crescentus. Here we describe the genome sequence of Hyphomonas neptunium, a marine member of the DPB that differs from C. crescentus in that H. neptunium uses its stalk as a reproductive structure. Genome analysis indicates that this organism shares more genes with C. crescentus than it does with Silicibacter pomeroyi (a closer relative according to 16S rRNA phylogeny), that it relies upon a heterotrophic strategy utilizing a wide range of substrates, that its cell cycle is likely to be regulated in a similar manner to that of C. crescentus, and that the outer membrane complements of H. neptunium and C. crescentus are remarkably similar. H. neptunium swarmer cells are highly motile via a single polar flagellum. With the exception of cheY and cheR, genes required for chemotaxis were absent in the H. neptunium genome. Consistent with this observation, H. neptunium swarmer cells did not respond to any chemotactic stimuli that were tested, which suggests that H. neptunium motility is a random dispersal mechanism for swarmer cells rather than a stimulus-controlled navigation system for locating specific environments. In addition to providing insights into bacterial development, the H. neptunium genome will provide an important resource for the study of other interesting biological processes including chromosome segregation, polar growth, and cell aging.
Protein translocation to the proper cellular destination may be guided by various classes of sorting signals recognizable in the primary sequence. Detection in some genomes, but not others, may reveal sorting system components by comparison of the phylogenetic profile of the class of sorting signal to that of various protein families.
We describe a short C-terminal homology domain, sporadically distributed in bacteria, with several key characteristics of protein sorting signals. The domain includes a near-invariant motif Pro-Glu-Pro (PEP). This possible recognition or processing site is followed by a predicted transmembrane helix and a cluster rich in basic amino acids. We designate this domain PEP-CTERM. It tends to occur multiple times in a genome if it occurs at all, with a median count of eight instances; Verrucomicrobium spinosum has sixty-five. PEP-CTERM-containing proteins generally contain an N-terminal signal peptide and exhibit high diversity and little homology to known proteins. All bacteria with PEP-CTERM have both an outer membrane and exopolysaccharide (EPS) production genes. By a simple heuristic for screening phylogenetic profiles in the absence of pre-formed protein families, we discovered that a homolog of the membrane protein EpsH (exopolysaccharide locus protein H) occurs in a species when PEP-CTERM domains are found. The EpsH family contains invariant residues consistent with a transpeptidase function. Most PEP-CTERM proteins are encoded by single-gene operons preceded by large intergenic regions. In the Proteobacteria, most of these upstream regions share a DNA sequence, a probable cis-regulatory site that contains a sigma-54 binding motif. The phylogenetic profile for this DNA sequence exactly matches that of three proteins: a sigma-54-interacting response regulator (PrsR), a transmembrane histidine kinase (PrsK), and a TPR protein (PrsT).
These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that PEP-CTERM and EpsH form a protein export sorting system, analogous to the LPXTG/sortase system of Gram-positive bacteria, and correlated to EPS expression. It occurs preferentially in bacteria from sediments, soils, and biofilms. The novel method that led to these findings, partial phylogenetic profiling, requires neither global sequence clustering nor arbitrary similarity cutoffs and appears to be a rapid, effective alternative to other profiling methods.
Modern approaches for bioremediation of radionuclide contaminated environments are based on the ability of microorganisms to effectively catalyze changes in the oxidation states of metals that in turn influence their solubility. Although microbial metal reduction has been identified as an effective means for immobilizing highly-soluble uranium(VI) complexes in situ, the biomolecular mechanisms of U(VI) reduction are not well understood. Here, we show that
c-type cytochromes of a dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium,
Shewanella oneidensis MR-1, are essential for the reduction of U(VI) and formation of extracelluar UO
2 nanoparticles. In particular, the outer membrane (OM) decaheme cytochrome MtrC (metal reduction), previously implicated in Mn(IV) and Fe(III) reduction, directly transferred electrons to U(VI). Additionally, deletions of
omcA significantly affected the in vivo U(VI) reduction rate relative to wild-type MR-1. Similar to the wild-type, the mutants accumulated UO
2 nanoparticles extracellularly to high densities in association with an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). In wild-type cells, this UO
2-EPS matrix exhibited glycocalyx-like properties and contained multiple elements of the OM, polysaccharide, and heme-containing proteins. Using a novel combination of methods including synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy and high-resolution immune-electron microscopy, we demonstrate a close association of the extracellular UO
2 nanoparticles with MtrC and OmcA (outer membrane cytochrome). This is the first study to our knowledge to directly localize the OM-associated cytochromes with EPS, which contains biogenic UO
2 nanoparticles. In the environment, such association of UO
2 nanoparticles with biopolymers may exert a strong influence on subsequent behavior including susceptibility to oxidation by O
2 or transport in soils and sediments.
Microorganisms that catalyze changes in oxidation states of metals can be used to decontaminate environments of radionuclides. Here,
c-type cytochromes on the outer membrane of a dissimilatory metal reducing bacterium are shown to be essential for the reduction of uranium(VI).
Although microbes associated with shallow-water corals have been reported, deepwater coral microbes are poorly characterized. A cultivation-independent analysis of Alaskan seamount octocoral microflora showed that Proteobacteria (classes Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria), Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Acidobacteria dominate and vary in abundance. More sampling is needed to understand the basis and significance of this variation.
Intermycelial transfer of Streptomyces plasmid pIJ101 occurs prior to cellular differentiation and is mediated by plasmid functions that are also required for production of zones of growth-inhibited recipient cells (i.e., pocks) that develop around individual donors during mating on agar medium. Several other pIJ101 functions, including that of the kilB gene, whose unregulated expression on pIJ101 is lethal, are required for normal pock size and so have been postulated to mediate intramycelial spread of the plasmid throughout recipient cells. Using antibodies raised against a KilB fusion protein expressed in Escherichia coli, native KilB protein was detected throughout development of pIJ101-containing Streptomyces lividans cells, with the concentration of KilB increasing dramatically and reaching a maximum during the final stages (i.e., sporulation and secondary metabolism) of cellular differentiation. Insertion of the kilB gene of pIJ101 into the S. lividans chromosome in cells lacking the pIJ101 KorB protein, which normally represses kilB gene transcription, resulted in elevated but still temporally increasing amounts of KilB. The increased expression or accumulation of the KilB spread protein throughout cellular differentiation of S. lividans, which leads to maximum KilB concentrations during developmental stages that occur far later than when intermycelial transfer of pIJ101 is mediated, supports the existence of a subsequent intramycelial component to the pIJ101 spread function. The results also suggest that intramycelial spread of pIJ101 molecules within the recipient extends beyond intercompartmental movements within the substrate mycelia and includes undetermined steps within the spore-yielding aerial hyphae as well.
Methanotrophs are ubiquitous bacteria that can use the greenhouse gas methane as a sole carbon and energy source for growth, thus playing major roles in global carbon cycles, and in particular, substantially reducing emissions of biologically generated methane to the atmosphere. Despite their importance, and in contrast to organisms that play roles in other major parts of the carbon cycle such as photosynthesis, no genome-level studies have been published on the biology of methanotrophs. We report the first complete genome sequence to our knowledge from an obligate methanotroph, Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath), obtained by the shotgun sequencing approach. Analysis revealed a 3.3-Mb genome highly specialized for a methanotrophic lifestyle, including redundant pathways predicted to be involved in methanotrophy and duplicated genes for essential enzymes such as the methane monooxygenases. We used phylogenomic analysis, gene order information, and comparative analysis with the partially sequenced methylotroph Methylobacterium extorquens to detect genes of unknown function likely to be involved in methanotrophy and methylotrophy. Genome analysis suggests the ability of M. capsulatus to scavenge copper (including a previously unreported nonribosomal peptide synthetase) and to use copper in regulation of methanotrophy, but the exact regulatory mechanisms remain unclear. One of the most surprising outcomes of the project is evidence suggesting the existence of previously unsuspected metabolic flexibility in M. capsulatus, including an ability to grow on sugars, oxidize chemolithotrophic hydrogen and sulfur, and live under reduced oxygen tension, all of which have implications for methanotroph ecology. The availability of the complete genome of M. capsulatus (Bath) deepens our understanding of methanotroph biology and its relationship to global carbon cycles. We have gained evidence for greater metabolic flexibility than was previously known, and for genetic components that may have biotechnological potential.
Methanotrophs are bacteria that use methane as a sole carbon source. The genome sequence of Methylococcus capsulatus deepens our understanding of methanotroph biology and its relationship to global carbon cycles