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1.  Phylogenetic, Microbiological, and Glycoside Hydrolase Diversities within the Extremely Thermophilic, Plant Biomass-Degrading Genus Caldicellulosiruptor▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2010;76(24):8084-8092.
Phylogenetic, microbiological, and comparative genomic analyses were used to examine the diversity among members of the genus Caldicellulosiruptor, with an eye toward the capacity of these extremely thermophilic bacteria to degrade the complex carbohydrate content of plant biomass. Seven species from this genus (C. saccharolyticus, C. bescii, C. hydrothermalis, C. owensensis, C. kronotskyensis, C. lactoaceticus, and C. kristjanssonii) were compared on the basis of 16S rRNA gene phylogeny and cross-species DNA-DNA hybridization to a whole-genome C. saccharolyticus oligonucleotide microarray, revealing that C. saccharolyticus was the most divergent within this group. Growth physiology of the seven Caldicellulosiruptor species on a range of carbohydrates showed that, while all could be cultivated on acid-pretreated switchgrass, only C. saccharolyticus, C. bescii, C. kronotskyensis, and C. lactoaceticus were capable of hydrolyzing Whatman no. 1 filter paper. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of the secretomes from cells grown on microcrystalline cellulose revealed that the cellulolytic species also had diverse secretome fingerprints. The C. saccharolyticus secretome contained a prominent S-layer protein that appears in the cellulolytic Caldicellulosiruptor species, suggesting a possible role in cell-substrate interactions. Growth physiology also correlated with glycoside hydrolase (GH) and carbohydrate-binding module (CBM) inventories for the seven bacteria, as deduced from draft genome sequence information. These inventories indicated that the absence of a single GH and CBM family was responsible for diminished cellulolytic capacity. Overall, the genus Caldicellulosiruptor appears to contain more genomic and physiological diversity than previously reported, and this argues for continued efforts to isolate new members from high-temperature terrestrial biotopes.
PMCID: PMC3008241  PMID: 20971878
2.  Insights into plant biomass conversion from the genome of the anaerobic thermophilic bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii DSM 6725 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;39(8):3240-3254.
Caldicellulosiruptor bescii DSM 6725 utilizes various polysaccharides and grows efficiently on untreated high-lignin grasses and hardwood at an optimum temperature of ∼80°C. It is a promising anaerobic bacterium for studying high-temperature biomass conversion. Its genome contains 2666 protein-coding sequences organized into 1209 operons. Expression of 2196 genes (83%) was confirmed experimentally. At least 322 genes appear to have been obtained by lateral gene transfer (LGT). Putative functions were assigned to 364 conserved/hypothetical protein (C/HP) genes. The genome contains 171 and 88 genes related to carbohydrate transport and utilization, respectively. Growth on cellulose led to the up-regulation of 32 carbohydrate-active (CAZy), 61 sugar transport, 25 transcription factor and 234 C/HP genes. Some C/HPs were overproduced on cellulose or xylan, suggesting their involvement in polysaccharide conversion. A unique feature of the genome is enrichment with genes encoding multi-modular, multi-functional CAZy proteins organized into one large cluster, the products of which are proposed to act synergistically on different components of plant cell walls and to aid the ability of C. bescii to convert plant biomass. The high duplication of CAZy domains coupled with the ability to acquire foreign genes by LGT may have allowed the bacterium to rapidly adapt to changing plant biomass-rich environments.
PMCID: PMC3082886  PMID: 21227922
3.  Hydrogenomics of the Extremely Thermophilic Bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2008;74(21):6720-6729.
Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus is an extremely thermophilic, gram-positive anaerobe which ferments cellulose-, hemicellulose- and pectin-containing biomass to acetate, CO2, and hydrogen. Its broad substrate range, high hydrogen-producing capacity, and ability to coutilize glucose and xylose make this bacterium an attractive candidate for microbial bioenergy production. Here, the complete genome sequence of C. saccharolyticus, consisting of a 2,970,275-bp circular chromosome encoding 2,679 predicted proteins, is described. Analysis of the genome revealed that C. saccharolyticus has an extensive polysaccharide-hydrolyzing capacity for cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and starch, coupled to a large number of ABC transporters for monomeric and oligomeric sugar uptake. The components of the Embden-Meyerhof and nonoxidative pentose phosphate pathways are all present; however, there is no evidence that an Entner-Doudoroff pathway is present. Catabolic pathways for a range of sugars, including rhamnose, fucose, arabinose, glucuronate, fructose, and galactose, were identified. These pathways lead to the production of NADH and reduced ferredoxin. NADH and reduced ferredoxin are subsequently used by two distinct hydrogenases to generate hydrogen. Whole-genome transcriptome analysis revealed that there is significant upregulation of the glycolytic pathway and an ABC-type sugar transporter during growth on glucose and xylose, indicating that C. saccharolyticus coferments these sugars unimpeded by glucose-based catabolite repression. The capacity to simultaneously process and utilize a range of carbohydrates associated with biomass feedstocks is a highly desirable feature of this lignocellulose-utilizing, biofuel-producing bacterium.
PMCID: PMC2576683  PMID: 18776029
4.  Impact of Substrate Glycoside Linkage and Elemental Sulfur on Bioenergetics of and Hydrogen Production by the Hyperthermophilic Archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(21):6842-6853.
Glycoside linkage (cellobiose versus maltose) dramatically influenced bioenergetics to different extents and by different mechanisms in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus when it was grown in continuous culture at a dilution rate of 0.45 h−1 at 90°C. In the absence of S0, cellobiose-grown cells generated twice as much protein and had 50%-higher specific H2 generation rates than maltose-grown cultures. Addition of S0 to maltose-grown cultures boosted cell protein production fourfold and shifted gas production completely from H2 to H2S. In contrast, the presence of S0 in cellobiose-grown cells caused only a 1.3-fold increase in protein production and an incomplete shift from H2 to H2S production, with 2.5 times more H2 than H2S formed. Transcriptional response analysis revealed that many genes and operons known to be involved in α- or β-glucan uptake and processing were up-regulated in an S0-independent manner. Most differentially transcribed open reading frames (ORFs) responding to S0 in cellobiose-grown cells also responded to S0 in maltose-grown cells; these ORFs included ORFs encoding a membrane-bound oxidoreductase complex (MBX) and two hypothetical proteins (PF2025 and PF2026). However, additional genes (242 genes; 108 genes were up-regulated and 134 genes were down-regulated) were differentially transcribed when S0 was present in the medium of maltose-grown cells, indicating that there were different cellular responses to the two sugars. These results indicate that carbohydrate characteristics (e.g., glycoside linkage) have a major impact on S0 metabolism and hydrogen production in P. furiosus. Furthermore, such issues need to be considered in designing and implementing metabolic strategies for production of biofuel by fermentative anaerobes.
PMCID: PMC2074980  PMID: 17827328
5.  Colocation of Genes Encoding a tRNA-mRNA Hybrid and a Putative Signaling Peptide on Complementary Strands in the Genome of the Hyperthermophilic Bacterium Thermotoga maritima†  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(19):6802-6807.
In the genome of the hyperthermophilic bacterium Thermotoga maritima, TM0504 encodes a putative signaling peptide implicated in population density-dependent exopolysaccharide formation. Although not noted in the original genome annotation, TM0504 was found to colocate, on the opposite strand, with the gene encoding ssrA, a hybrid of tRNA and mRNA (tmRNA), which is involved in a trans-translation process related to ribosome rescue and is ubiquitous in bacteria. Specific DNA probes were designed and used in real-time PCR assays to follow the separate transcriptional responses of the colocated open reading frames (ORFs) during transition from exponential to stationary phase, chloramphenicol challenge, and syntrophic coculture with Methanococcus jannaschii. TM0504 transcription did not vary under normal growth conditions. Transcription of the tmRNA gene, however, was significantly up-regulated during chloramphenicol challenge and in T. maritima bound in exopolysaccharide aggregates during methanogenic coculture. The significance of the colocation of ORFs encoding a putative signaling peptide and tmRNA in T. maritima is intriguing, since this overlapping arrangement (tmRNA associated with putative small ORFs) was found to be conserved in at least 181 bacterial genomes sequenced to date. Whether peptides related to TM0504 in other bacteria play a role in quorum sensing is not yet known, but their ubiquitous colocalization with respect to tmRNA merits further examination.
PMCID: PMC1595527  PMID: 16980482

Results 1-5 (5)