Loliginid and sepiolid squid light organs are known to host a variety of bacterial species from the family Vibrionaceae, yet little is known about the species diversity and characteristics among different host squids. Here we present a broad-ranging molecular and physiological analysis of the bacteria colonizing light organs in loliginid and sepiolid squids from various field locations of the Indo-West Pacific (Australia and Thailand). Our PCR-RFLP analysis, physiological characterization, carbon utilization profiling, and electron microscopy data indicate that loliginid squid in the Indo-West Pacific carry a consortium of bacterial species from the families Vibrionaceae and Photobacteriaceae. This research also confirms our previous report of the presence of Vibrio harveyi as a member of the bacterial population colonizing light organs in loliginid squid. pyrH sequence data were used to confirm isolate identity, and indicates that Vibrio and Photobacterium comprise most of the light organ colonizers of squids from Australia, confirming previous reports for Australian loliginid and sepiolid squids. In addition, combined phylogenetic analysis of PCR-RFLP and 16S rDNA data from Australian and Thai isolates associated both Photobacterium and Vibrio clades with both loliginid and sepiolid strains, providing support that geographical origin does not correlate with their relatedness. These results indicate that both loliginid and sepiolid squids demonstrate symbiont specificity (Vibrionaceae), but their distribution is more likely due to environmental factors that are present during the infection process. This study adds significantly to the growing evidence for complex and dynamic associations in nature and highlights the importance of exploring symbiotic relationships in which non-virulent strains of pathogenic Vibrio species could establish associations with marine invertebrates.
Many cyanobacteria produce cyanotoxins, which has been well documented from freshwater environments but not investigated to the same extent in marine environments. Cyanobacteria are an obligate component of the polymicrobial disease of corals known as black band disease (BBD). Cyanotoxins were previously shown to be present in field samples of BBD and in a limited number of BBD cyanobacterial cultures. These toxins were suggested as one of the mechanisms contributing to BBD-associated coral tissue lysis and death. In this work, we tested nine cyanobacterial isolates from BBD and additionally nine isolated from non-BBD marine sources for their ability to produce toxins. The presence of toxins was determined using cell extracts of laboratory grown cyanobacterial cultures using ELISA and the PP2A assay. Based on these tests, it was shown that cyanobacterial toxins belonging to the microcystin/nodularin group were produced by cyanobacteria originating from both BBD and non-BBD sources. Several environmental factors that can be encountered in the highly dynamic microenvironment of BBD were tested for their effect on both cyanobacterial growth yield and rate of toxin production using two of the BBD isolates of the genera Leptolyngbya and Geitlerinema. While toxin production was the highest under mixotrophic conditions (light and glucose) for the Leptolyngbya isolate, it was highest under photoautotrophic conditions for the Geitlerinema isolate. Our results show that toxin production among marine cyanobacteria is more widespread than previously documented, and we present data showing three marine cyanobacterial genera (Phormidium, Pseudanabaena, and Spirulina) are newly identified as cyanotoxin producers. We also show that cyanotoxin production by BBD cyanobacteria can be affected by environmental factors that are present in the microenvironment associated with this coral disease.
Ninety-six class 1 integron-positive and 96 integron-negative Escherichia coli isolates cultured from the water of the Warta River, Poland, were characterized for their phylogenetic group affiliation and for the presence of genes associated with virulence. Most strains belonged to phylogenetic group A, but phylogenetic group affiliation was not related with the presence of integrons. The occurrence of heat-stable toxin gene of enterotoxigenic E. coli, S fimbriae subunit gene sfaS, and siderophore receptor genes, fyuA and iutA, was associated with the presence of class 1 integrons. Moreover, virulence factor score (the total number of virulence-associated genes) was associated with the presence of integrons in groups. The results bring new insight into relations between the presence of integrons in E. coli, virulence traits, as well as phylogenetic group affiliation.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has become an important stress factor in polar regions due to anthropogenically induced ozone depletion. Although extensive research has been conducted on adaptations of polar organisms to this stress factor, few studies have focused on semi-terrestrial algae so far, in spite of their apparent vulnerability. This study investigates the effect of UV on two semi-terrestrial arctic strains (B, G) and one Antarctic strain (E) of the green alga Zygnema, isolated from Arctic and Antarctic habitats. Isolates of Zygnema were exposed to experimentally enhanced UV A and B (predominant UV A) to photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) ratio. The pigment content, photosynthetic performance and ultrastructure were studied by means of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), chlorophyll a fluorescence and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In addition, phylogenetic relationships of the investigated strains were characterised using rbcL sequences, which determined that the Antarctic isolate (E) and one of the Arctic isolates (B) were closely related, while G is a distinct lineage. The production of protective phenolic compounds was confirmed in all of the tested strains by HPLC analysis for both controls and UV-exposed samples. Moreover, in strain E, the content of phenolics increased significantly (p = 0.001) after UV treatment. Simultaneously, the maximum quantum yield of photosystem II photochemistry significantly decreased in UV-exposed strains E and G (p < 0.001), showing a clear stress response. The phenolics were most probably stored at the cell periphery in vacuoles and cytoplasmic bodies that appear as electron-dense particles when observed by TEM after high-pressure freeze fixation. While two strains reacted moderately on UV exposure in their ultrastructure, in strain G, damage was found in chloroplasts and mitochondria. Plastidal pigments and xanthophyll cycle pigments were investigated by HPLC analysis; UV A- and UV B-exposed samples had a higher deepoxidation state as controls, particularly evident in strain B. The results indicate that phenolics are involved in UV protection of Zygnema and also revealed different responses to UV stress across the three strains, suggesting that other protection mechanisms may be involved in these organisms.
It is a well-recognized fact that the composition of human salivary microbial community is greatly affected by its nutritional environment. However, most studies are currently focused on major carbon or nitrogen sources with limited attention to trace elements like essential mineral ions. In this study, we examined the effect of iron availability on the bacterial profiles of an in vitro human salivary microbial community as iron is an essential trace element for the survival and proliferation of virtually all microorganisms. Analysis via a combination of PCR with denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) demonstrated a drastic change in species composition of an in vitro human salivary microbiota when iron was scavenged from the culture medium by addition of the iron chelator 2,2’- bipyridyl (Bipy). This shift in community profile was prevented by the presence of excessive ferrous iron (Fe2+). Most interestingly, under iron deficiency, the in vitro grown salivary microbial community became dominated by several hemolytic bacterial species, including Streptococcus spp., Gemella spp. and Granulicatella spp.all of which have been implicated in infective endocarditis. These data provide evidence that iron availability can modulate host-associated oral microbial communities, resulting in a microbiota with potential clinical impact.
iron availability; microbial flora; oral cavity
Tuberculate mycorrhizae on Pinus contorta (lodgepole pine) have previously been shown to reduce acetylene, but an outstanding question has been to what degree these structures could meet the nitrogen requirements of the tree. We compared the growth, tissue nitrogen contents, and stable nitrogen isotope ratios of P. contorta growing in gravel pits to the same species growing on adjacent intact soil. Trees growing in severely nitrogen deficient gravel pits had virtually identical growth rates and tissue nitrogen contents to those growing on intact soil that had nitrogen levels typical for the area. δ15N values for trees in the gravel pits were substantially lower than δ15N values for trees on intact soil, and isotope ratios in vegetation were lower than the isotope ratios of the soil. The form of soil nitrogen in the gravel pits was almost exclusively nitrate, while ammonium predominated in the intact soil. Discrimination against 15N during plant uptake of soil nitrate in the highly N-deficient soil should be weak or nonexistent. Therefore, the low δ15N in the gravel pit trees suggests that trees growing in gravel pits were using another nitrogen source in addition to the soil. Precipitation-borne nitrogen in the study area is extremely low. In conjunction with our other work, these findings strongly suggests that P. contorta and its microbial symbionts or associates fix nitrogen in sufficient amounts to sustain vigorous tree growth on the most nitrogen-deficient soils.
Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is associated with altered intestinal microflora and other symptoms that may lead to possibly death. In critically ill patients, diarrhea increases rates of morbimortality. Assessing diarrhea risks is thus important for clinicians. For this reason, we conducted a hypothesis-generating study focused on antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) to provide insight into methods of prevention. We evaluated the hypothesis of predisposing factors within the resident intestinal microbiota in a cohort of outpatients receiving antibiotherapy. Among the pool of tested variables, only those related to bacterial 16S rRNA genes were found to be relevant. Complex statistical analyses provided further information: amid the bacteria 16S rRNA genes, eight were determined to be essential for diarrhea predisposition and characterized from the most important to the least. Using these markers, AAD risk could be estimated with an error of 2%. This molecular analysis offers new perspectives for clinical applications at the level of prevention.
Adult; Analysis of Variance; Anti-Bacterial Agents; adverse effects; Bacteria; genetics; Diarrhea; chemically induced; prevention & control; Disease Susceptibility; microbiology; Genes, Bacterial; Humans; Intestines; microbiology; Metagenome; Middle Aged; Multivariate Analysis; RNA, Bacterial; genetics; RNA, Ribosomal, 16S; genetics; Risk Factors; Young Adult; Data-Mining; Diarrhea; Microbiota genes; Prevention; Risk factors
Due to potential sequencing errors in pyrosequencing data, species richness and diversity indices of microbial systems can be miscalculated. The “traditional” sequence refinement method is not sufficient to account for overestimations (e.g., length, primer errors, ambiguous nucleotides). Recent in silico and single-organism studies have revealed the importance of sequence quality scores in the estimation of ecological indices; however, this is the first study to compare quality-score stringencies across four regions of the SSU rRNA gene sequence (V1V2, V3, V4, and V6) with actual environmental samples compared directly to corresponding clone libraries produced from the same primer sets. The nucleic acid sequences determined via pyrosequencing were subjected to varying quality-score cutoffs that ranged from 25 to 32, and at each quality-score cutoff, either 10 or 15 % of the nucleotides were allowed to be below the cutoff. When species richness estimates were compared for the tested samples, the cutoff values of Q2715%, Q3010%, and Q3215% for V1V2, V4, and V6, respectively, estimated similar values as obtained with clone libraries and Sanger sequencing. The most stringent Q tested (Q3210%) was not enough to account for species richness inflation of the V3 region pyrosequence data. Results indicated that quality-score assessment greatly improved estimates of ecological indices for environmental samples (species richness and α-diversity) and that the effect of quality-score filtering was region-dependent.
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The development of multispecies oral microbial communities involves complex intra- and interspecies interactions at various levels. The ability to adhere to the resident bacteria or the biofilm matrix and overcome community resistance are among the key factors that determine whether a bacterium can integrate into a community. In this study, we focus on community integration of Fusobacterium nucleatum, a prevalent Gram-negative oral bacterial species that is considered an important member of the oral community due to its ability to adhere to Gram-positive as well as Gram-negative species. This interaction with a variety of different species is thought to facilitate the establishment of multispecies oral microbial community. However, the majority of experiments thus far has focused on the physical adherence between two species as measured by in vitro co-aggregation assays, while the community-based effects on the integration of F. nucleatum into multispecies microbial community remains to be investigated. In this study, we demonstrated using an established in vitro mice oral microbiota (O-mix) that the viability of F. nucleatum was significantly reduced upon addition to the O-mix due to cell contact-dependent induction of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production by oral community. Interestingly, this inhibitory effect was significantly alleviated when F. nucleatum was allowed to adhere to its known interacting partner species (such as Streptococcus sanguinis) prior to addition. Furthermore, this aggregate formation-dependent protection was absent in the F. nucleatum mutant strain ΔFn1526 that is unable to bind to a number of Gram-positive species. More importantly, this protective effect was also observed during integration of F. nucleatum into a human salivary microbial community (S-mix). These results support the idea that by adhering to other oral microbes, such as streptococci, F. nucleatum is able to mask the surface components that are recognized by H2O2 producing oral community members. This evasion strategy prevents detection by antagonistic oral bacteria and allows integration into the developing oral microbial community.
coaggregation; Fusobacterium nucleatum; microbial flora; oral cavity; community resistance
The alpha-Proteobacterium Bartonella is a common parasite of voles and mice, giving rise to short-lived (4 weeks to 2 months) infections. Here, we report high sequence diversity in genes of the VirB/VirD type IV secretion system (T4SS), amongst Bartonella from natural rodent populations in NE Poland. The VirB5 protein is predicted to consist of three conserved alpha helices separated by loops of variable length which include numerous indels. The C-terminal domain includes repeat stretches of KEK residues, reflecting underlying homopolymeric stretches of adenine residues. A total of 16 variants of VirB5, associated with host identity, but not bacterial taxon, were identified from 22 Bartonella isolates. One was clearly a recombinant from two others, another included an insertion of two KEK repeats. The virB5 gene appears to evolve via both mutation and recombination, as well as slippage mediated insertion/deletion events. The recombinational units are thought to be relatively short, as there was no evidence of linkage disequilibrium between virB5 and the bepA locus only 5.5 kb distant. The diversity of virB5 is assumed to be related to immunological role of this protein in Bartonella infections; diversity of virB5 may assist persistence of Bartonella in the rodent population, despite the relatively short (3–4 weeks) duration of individual infections. It is clear from the distribution of virB5 and bepA alleles that recombination within and between clades is widespread, and frequently crosses the boundaries of conventionally recognised Bartonella species.
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The capability and speed in generating genomic data have increased profoundly since the release of the draft human genome in 2000. Additionally, sequencing costs have continued to plummet as the next generation of highly efficient sequencing technologies (next-generation sequencing) became available and commercial facilities promote market competition. However, new challenges have emerged as researchers attempt to efficiently process the massive amounts of sequence data being generated. First, the described genome sequences are unequally distributed among the branches of bacterial life and, second, bacterial pan-genomes are often not considered when setting aims for sequencing projects. Here, we propose that scientists should be concerned with attaining an improved equal representation of most of the bacterial tree of life organisms, at the genomic level. Moreover, they should take into account the natural variation that is often observed within bacterial species and the role of the often changing surrounding environment and natural selection pressures, which is central to bacterial speciation and genome evolution. Not only will such efforts contribute to our overall understanding of the microbial diversity extant in ecosystems as well as the structuring of the extant genomes, but they will also facilitate the development of better methods for (meta)genome annotation.
The phylogenetic structure and community composition were analysed in an existing data set of marine bacterioplankton communities to elucidate the evolutionary and ecological processes dictating the assembly. The communities were sampled from coastal waters at nine locations distributed worldwide and were examined through the use of comprehensive clone libraries of 16S ribosomal RNA genes. The analyses show that the local communities are phylogenetically different from each other and that a majority of them are phylogenetically clustered, i.e. the species (operational taxonomic units) were more related to each other than expected by chance. Accordingly, the local communities were assembled non-randomly from the global pool of available bacterioplankton. Further, the phylogenetic structures of the communities were related to the water temperature at the locations. In agreement with similar studies, including both macroorganisms and bacteria, these results suggest that marine bacterial communities are structured by “habitat filtering”, i.e. through non-random colonization and invasion determined by environmental characteristics. Different bacterial types seem to have different ecological niches that dictate their survival in different habitats. Other eco-evolutionary processes that may contribute to the observed phylogenetic patterns are discussed. The results also imply a mapping between phenotype and phylogenetic relatedness which facilitates the use of community phylogenetic structure analysis to infer ecological and evolutionary assembly processes.
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Eukaryotic plankton assemblages in 11 high-mountain lakes located at altitudes of 2,817 to 5,134 m and over a total area of ca. one million square kilometers on the Eastern Tibet Plateau, spanning a salinity gradient from 0.2 (freshwater) to 187.1 g l−1 (hypersaline), were investigated by cultivation independent methods. Two 18S rRNA gene-based fingerprint approaches, i.e., the terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) with subsequent band sequencing were applied. Samples of the same lake type (e.g., freshwater) generally shared more of the same bands or T-RFs than samples of different types (e.g., freshwater versus saline). However, a certain number of bands or T-RFs among the samples within each lake were distinct, indicating the potential presence of significant genetic diversity within each lake. PCA indicated that the most significant environmental gradient among the investigated lakes was salinity. The observed molecular profiles could be further explained (17–24%) by ion percentage of chloride, carbonate and bicarbonate, and sulfate, which were also covaried with change of altitude and latitude. Sequence analysis of selected major DGGE bands revealed many sequences (largely protist) that are not related to any known cultures but to uncultured eukaryotic picoplankton and unidentified eukaryotes. One fourth of the retrieved sequences showed ≤97% similarity to the closest sequences in the GenBank. Sequences related to well-known heterotrophic nanoflagellates were not retrieved from the DGGE gels. Several groups of eukaryotic plankton, which were found worldwide and detected in low land lakes, were also detected in habitats located above 4,400 m, suggesting a cosmopolitan distribution of these phylotypes. Collectively, our study suggests that there was a high beta-diversity of eukaryotic plankton assemblages in the investigated Tibetan lakes shaped by multiple geographic and environmental factors.
Mine tailing deposits in semiarid and arid environments frequently remain devoid of vegetation due to the toxicity of the substrate and the absence of a diverse soil microbial community capable of supporting seed germination and plant growth. The contribution of the plant growth promoting bacterium (PGPB) Azospirillum brasilense Sp6 to the growth of quailbush in compost-amended, moderately acidic, high-metal content mine tailings using an irrigation-based reclamation strategy was examined along with its influence on the rhizosphere bacterial community. Sp6 inoculation resulted in a significant (2.2-fold) increase in plant biomass production. The data suggest that the inoculum successfully colonized the root surface and persisted throughout the 60-day experiment in both the rhizosphere, as demonstrated by excision and sequencing of the appropriate denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) band, and the rhizoplane, as indicated by fluorescent in situ hybridization of root surfaces. Changes in rhizosphere community structure in response to Sp6 inoculation were evaluated after 15, 30, and 60 days using DGGE analysis of 16S rRNA polymerase chain reaction amplicons. A comparison of DGGE profiles using canonical correspondence analysis revealed a significant treatment effect (Sp6-inoculated vs. uninoculated plants vs. unplanted) on bacterial community structure at 15, 30, and 60 days (p<0.05). These data indicate that in an extremely stressed environment such as acid mine tailings, an inoculated plant growth promoting bacterium not only can persist and stimulate plant growth but also can directly or indirectly influence rhizobacterial community development.
Six bacterial genera containing species commonly used as probiotics for human consumption or starter cultures for food fermentation were compared and contrasted, based on publicly available complete genome sequences. The analysis included 19 Bifidobacterium genomes, 21 Lactobacillus genomes, 4 Lactococcus and 3 Leuconostoc genomes, as well as a selection of Enterococcus (11) and Streptococcus (23) genomes. The latter two genera included genomes from probiotic or commensal as well as pathogenic organisms to investigate if their non-pathogenic members shared more genes with the other probiotic genomes than their pathogenic members. The pan- and core genome of each genus was defined. Pairwise BLASTP genome comparison was performed within and between genera. It turned out that pathogenic Streptococcus and Enterococcus shared more gene families than did the non-pathogenic genomes. In silico multilocus sequence typing was carried out for all genomes per genus, and the variable gene content of genomes was compared within the genera. Informative BLAST Atlases were constructed to visualize genomic variation within genera. The clusters of orthologous groups (COG) classes of all genes in the pan- and core genome of each genus were compared. In addition, it was investigated whether pathogenic genomes contain different COG classes compared to the probiotic or fermentative organisms, again comparing their pan- and core genomes. The obtained results were compared with published data from the literature. This study illustrates how over 80 genomes can be broadly compared using simple bioinformatic tools, leading to both confirmation of known information as well as novel observations.
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The rhizospheres of five different potato cultivars (including a genetically modified cultivar) obtained from a loamy sand soil and two from a sandy peat soil, next to corresponding bulk soils, were studied with respect to their community structures and potential function. For the former analyses, we performed bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene-based PCR denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) on the basis of soil DNA; for the latter, we extracted microbial communities and subjected these to analyses in phenotype arrays (PM1, PM2, and PM4, Biolog), with a focus on the use of different carbon, sulfur and phosphorus sources. In addition, we performed bacterial PCR-DGGE on selected wells to assess the structures of these substrate-responsive communities. Effects of soil type, the rhizosphere, and cultivar on the microbial community structures were clearly observed. Soil type was the most determinative parameter shaping the functional communities, whereas the rhizosphere and cultivar type also exerted an influence. However, no genetically modified plant effect was observed. The effects were imminent based on general community analysis and also single-compound analysis. Utilization of some of the carbon and sulfur sources was specific per cultivar, and different microbial communities were found as defined by cultivar. Thus, both soil and cultivar type shaped the potato root-associated bacterial communities that were responsive to some of the substrates in phenotype arrays.
The genus Pseudomonas has gone through many taxonomic revisions over the past 100 years, going from a very large and diverse group of bacteria to a smaller, more refined and ordered list having specific properties. The relationship of the Pseudomonas genus to Azotobacter vinelandii is examined using three genomic sequence-based methods. First, using 16S rRNA trees, it is shown that A. vinelandii groups within the Pseudomonas close to Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Genomes from other related organisms (Acinetobacter, Psychrobacter, and Cellvibrio) are outside the Pseudomonas cluster. Second, pan genome family trees based on conserved gene families also show A. vinelandii to be more closely related to Pseudomonas than other related organisms. Third, exhaustive BLAST comparisons demonstrate that the fraction of shared genes between A. vinelandii and Pseudomonas genomes is similar to that of Pseudomonas species with each other. The results of these different methods point to a high similarity between A. vinelandii and the Pseudomonas genus, suggesting that Azotobacter might actually be a Pseudomonas.
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The phylogenetic diversity of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) was surveyed in the surface sediments from the northern part of the South China Sea (SCS). The distribution pattern of AOA in the western Pacific was discussed through comparing the SCS with other areas in the western Pacific including Changjiang Estuary and the adjacent East China Sea where high input of anthropogenic nitrogen was evident, the tropical West Pacific Continental Margins close to the Philippines, the deep-sea methane seep sediments in the Okhotsk Sea, the cold deep sea of Northeastern Japan Sea, and the hydrothermal field in the Southern Okinawa Trough. These various environments provide a wide spectrum of physical and chemical conditions for a better understanding of the distribution pattern and diversities of AOA in the western Pacific. Under these different conditions, the distinct community composition between shallow and deep-sea sediments was clearly delineated based on the UniFrac PCoA and Jackknife Environmental Cluster analyses. Phylogenetic analyses showed that a few ammonia-oxidizing archaeal subclades in the marine water column/sediment clade and endemic lineages were indicative phylotypes for some environments. Higher phylogenetic diversity was observed in the Philippines while lower diversity in the hydrothermal vent habitat. Water depth and possibly with other environmental factors could be the main driving forces to shape the phylogenetic diversity of AOA observed, not only in the SCS but also in the whole western Pacific. The multivariate regression tree analysis also supported this observation consistently. Moreover, the functions of current and other climate factors were also discussed in comparison of phylogenetic diversity. The information collectively provides important insights into the ecophysiological requirements of uncultured ammonia-oxidizing archaeal lineages in the western Pacific Ocean.
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Salmonella enterica is divided into four subspecies containing a large number of different serovars, several of which are important zoonotic pathogens and some show a high degree of host specificity or host preference. We compare 45 sequenced S. enterica genomes that are publicly available (22 complete and 23 draft genome sequences). Of these, 35 were found to be of sufficiently good quality to allow a detailed analysis, along with two Escherichia coli strains (K-12 substr. DH10B and the avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC O1) strain). All genomes were subjected to standardized gene finding, and the core and pan-genome of Salmonella were estimated to be around 2,800 and 10,000 gene families, respectively. The constructed pan-genomic dendrograms suggest that gene content is often, but not uniformly correlated to serotype. Any given Salmonella strain has a large stable core, whilst there is an abundance of accessory genes, including the Salmonella pathogenicity islands (SPIs), transposable elements, phages, and plasmid DNA. We visualize conservation in the genomes in relation to chromosomal location and DNA structural features and find that variation in gene content is localized in a selection of variable genomic regions or islands. These include the SPIs but also encompass phage insertion sites and transposable elements. The islands were typically well conserved in several, but not all, isolates—a difference which may have implications in, e.g., host specificity.
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Container-breeding mosquitoes, such as Aedes triseriatus, ingest biofilms and filter water column microorganisms directly to obtain the bulk of their nutrition. Scirtid beetles often co-occur with A. triseriatus and may facilitate the production of mosquito adults under low-resource conditions. Using molecular genetic techniques and quantitative assays, we observed changes in the dynamics and composition of bacterial and fungal communities present on leaf detritus and in the water column when scirtid beetles co-occur with A. triseriatus. Data from terminal restriction fragment polymorphism analysis indicated scirtid presence alters the structure of fungal communities in the water column but not leaf-associated fungal communities. Similar changes in leaf and water bacterial communities occurred in response to mosquito presence. In addition, we observed increased processing of leaf detritus, higher leaf-associated enzyme activity, higher bacterial productivity, and higher leaf-associated fungal biomass when scirtid beetles were present. Such shifts suggest beetle feeding facilitates mosquito production indirectly through the microbial community rather than directly through an increase in available fine particulate organic matter.
Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) has been recognized as an important process for the global nitrogen cycle. In this study, the occurrence and diversity of anammox bacteria in the deep-sea subsurface sediments of the South China Sea (SCS) were investigated. Results indicated that the anammox bacterial sequences recovered from this habitat by amplifying both 16S rRNA gene and hydrazine oxidoreductase encoding hzo gene were all closely related to the Candidatus Scalindua genus. A total of 96 16S rRNA gene sequences from 346 clones were grouped into five subclusters: two subclusters affiliated with the brodae and arabica species, while three new subclusters named zhenghei-I, -II, and -III showed ≤97.4% nucleic acid sequence identity with other known Candidatus Scalindua species. Meanwhile, 88 hzo gene sequences from the sediments also formed five distant subclusters within hzo cluster 1c. Through fluorescent real-time PCR analysis, the abundance of anammox bacteria in deep-sea subsurface sediment was quantified by hzo genes, which ranged from 1.19 × 104 to 7.17 × 104 copies per gram of dry sediments. Combining all the information from this study, diverse Candidatus Scalindua anammox bacteria were found in the deep-sea subsurface sediments of the SCS, and they could be involved in the nitrogen loss from the fixed inventory in the habitat.
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Symbiont redundancy in obligate insect–fungal systems is thought to buffer the insect host against symbiont loss and to extend the environmental conditions under which the insect can persist. The mountain pine beetle is associated with at least three well-known and putatively obligate ophiostomatoid fungal symbionts that vary in their environmental tolerances. To better understand the spatial variation in beetle–fungal symbiotic associations, we examined the community composition of ophiostomatoid fungi associated with the mountain pine beetle as a function of latitude and elevation. The region investigated represents the leading edge of a recent outbreak of mountain pine beetle in western Canada. Using regression and principal components analysis, we identified significant spatial patterns in fungal species abundances that indicate symmetrical replacement between two of the three fungi along a latitudinal gradient and little variation in response to elevation. We also identified significant variation in the prevalence of pair-wise species combinations that occur within beetle galleries. Frequencies of pair-wise combinations were significantly different from what was expected given overall species abundances. These results suggest that complex processes of competitive exclusion and coexistence help determine fungal community composition and that the consequences of these processes vary spatially. The presence of three fungal symbionts in different proportions and combinations across a wide range of environmental conditions may help explain the success of mountain pine beetle attacks across a broad geographic range.
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Previous research had shown that three closely related species of Lysobacter, i.e., Lysobacter antibioticus, Lysobacter capsici, and Lysobacter gummosus, were present in different Rhizoctonia-suppressive soils. However, the population dynamics of these three Lysobacter spp. in different habitats remains unknown. Therefore, a specific primer–probe combination was designed for the combined quantification of these three Lysobacter spp. using TaqMan. Strains of the three target species were efficiently detected with TaqMan, whereas related non-target strains of Lysobacter enzymogenes and Xanthomonas campestris were not or only weakly amplified. Indigenous Lysobacter populations were analyzed in soils of 10 organic farms in the Netherlands during three subsequent years with TaqMan. These soils differed in soil characteristics and crop rotation. Additionally, Lysobacter populations in rhizosphere and bulk soil of different crops on one of these farms were studied. In acid sandy soils low Lysobacter populations were present, whereas pH neutral clay soils contained high populations (respectively, <4.0–5.87 and 6.22–6.95 log gene copy numbers g−1 soil). Clay content, pH and C/N ratio, but not organic matter content in soil, correlated with higher Lysobacter populations. Unexpectedly, different crops did not significantly influence population size of the three Lysobacter spp. and their populations were barely higher in rhizosphere than in bulk soil.
Non-trophic interactions are increasingly recognised as a key parameter of predator–prey interactions. In soil, predation by bacterivorous nematodes is a major selective pressure shaping soil bacterial communities, and many bacteria have evolved defence mechanisms such as toxicity. In this study, we show that extracellular secondary metabolites produced by the model soil bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0 function as a complex defence strategy against bacterivorous nematodes. Using a collection of functional mutants lacking genes for the biosynthesis of one or several extracellular metabolites, we evaluated the impact of bacterial secondary metabolites on the survival and chemotactic behaviour of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Additionally, we followed up the stress status of the nematodes by measuring the activation of the abnormal DAuer Formation (DAF) stress cascade. All studied secondary metabolites contributed to the toxicity of the bacteria, with hydrogen cyanide efficiently repelling the nematodes, and both hydrogen cyanide and 2,4-DAPG functioning as nematicides. Moreover, these metabolites elicited the DAF stress response cascade of C. elegans, showing that they affect nematode physiology already at sublethal concentrations. The results suggest that bacterial secondary metabolites responsible for the suppression of plant pathogens strongly inhibit bacterivorous nematodes and thus likely contribute to the resistance of bacteria against predators in soil.
The filamentous cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens frequently occurs in deep and stratified lakes in the temperate region of the northern hemisphere and is a known producer of the hepatotoxic secondary metabolite microcystin. These cyclic heptapepids are synthesized non-ribosomally via large enzyme complexes encoded by the microcystin (mcy) synthetase gene cluster. The occurrence of cyanobacterial strains lacking microcystin but containing the mcy gene cluster has been reported repeatedly; it was shown that this inactivation is due to mutations such as gene deletion events and the insertion of transposable elements. In the present study, twelve lakes in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland were sampled from July 2005 to October 2007, and the proportion of inactive mcy genotypes was quantified in relation to the total population of the red-pigmented filamentous cyanobacterium Planktothrix by means of quantitative PCR. In total, four different mutations were quantified, namely two insertions affecting mcyD, one insertion affecting mcyA, and a deletion within mcyH and mcyA. The mutations occurred over a wide range of the population density (40 – 570,000 filaments L−1) and their abundance was found to be positively correlated with population density. However, on average, all nontoxic mutants were found in a low proportion only (min 0%, mean 6.5% ± 1.1 (SE), max 52% of the total population). The genotype containing the mcyHA deletion had a significantly higher proportion (min 0%, mean 3.7% ± 1, max 52%) when compared with all the genotypes containing insertions within the mcy gene cluster (min 0%, mean 2.8% ± 0.7, max 24%). The results demonstrate that the occurrence of inactive mcy genotypes is linearly related to the population density and selective sweeps of nontoxic mutants did not occur during the transition from prebloom to bloom conditions.
Toxicity; microcystin; real-time PCR; gene loss; Planktothrix; transposable elements; microevolution