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author:("warmer, Lars")
1.  Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus modulates its membrane lipids in response to hydrogen and nutrient availability 
Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus strain ΔH is a model hydrogenotrophic methanogen, for which extensive biochemical information, including the complete genome sequence, is available. Nevertheless, at the cell membrane lipid level, little is known about the responses of this archaeon to environmental stimuli. In this study, the lipid composition of M. thermautotrophicus was characterized to verify how this archaeon modulates its cell membrane components during growth phases and in response to hydrogen depletion and nutrient limitation (potassium and phosphate). As opposed to the higher abundance of phospholipids in the stationary phase of control experiments, cell membranes under nutrient, and energy stress were dominated by glycolipids that likely provided a more effective barrier against ion leakage. We also identified particular lipid regulatory mechanisms in M. thermautotrophicus, which included the accumulation of polyprenols under hydrogen-limited conditions and an increased content of sodiated adducts of lipids in nutrient-limited cells. These findings suggest that M. thermautotrophicus intensely modulates its cell membrane lipid composition to cope with energy and nutrient availability in dynamic environments.
PMCID: PMC4302986  PMID: 25657645
archaea; stress response; polar lipids; diether; tetraether
2.  Phylogeography of Cylindrospermopsin and Paralytic Shellfish Toxin-Producing Nostocales Cyanobacteria from Mediterranean Europe (Spain) 
Planktonic Nostocales cyanobacteria represent a challenge for microbiological research because of the wide range of cyanotoxins that they synthesize and their invasive behavior, which is presumably enhanced by global warming. To gain insight into the phylogeography of potentially toxic Nostocales from Mediterranean Europe, 31 strains of Anabaena (Anabaena crassa, A. lemmermannii, A. mendotae, and A. planctonica), Aphanizomenon (Aphanizomenon gracile, A. ovalisporum), and Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii were isolated from 14 freshwater bodies in Spain and polyphasically analyzed for their phylogeography, cyanotoxin production, and the presence of cyanotoxin biosynthesis genes. The potent cytotoxin cylindrospermopsin (CYN) was produced by all 6 Aphanizomenon ovalisporum strains at high levels (5.7 to 9.1 μg CYN mg−1 [dry weight]) with low variation between strains (1.5 to 3.9-fold) and a marked extracellular release (19 to 41% dissolved CYN) during exponential growth. Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) neurotoxins (saxitoxin, neosaxitoxin, and decarbamoylsaxitoxin) were detected in 2 Aphanizomenon gracile strains, both containing the sxtA gene. This gene was also amplified in non-PSP toxin-producing Aphanizomenon gracile and Aphanizomenon ovalisporum. Phylogenetic analyses supported the species identification and confirmed the high similarity of Spanish Anabaena and Aphanizomenon strains with other European strains. In contrast, Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii from Spain grouped together with American strains and was clearly separate from the rest of the European strains, raising questions about the current assumptions of the phylogeography and spreading routes of C. raciborskii. The present study confirms that the nostocalean genus Aphanizomenon is a major source of CYN and PSP toxins in Europe and demonstrates the presence of the sxtA gene in CYN-producing Aphanizomenon ovalisporum.
PMCID: PMC3911061  PMID: 24334673
3.  Limited Stability of Microcystins in Oligopeptide Compositions of Microcystis aeruginosa (Cyanobacteria): Implications in the Definition of Chemotypes 
Toxins  2013;5(6):1089-1104.
The occurrence of diverse oligopeptides in cyanobacteria, including the cyanotoxins microcystins, has been recently used to classify individual clones into sub-specific oligopeptide chemotypes, whose composition and dynamics modulate microcystin concentrations in cyanobacterial blooms. Cyanobacterial chemotyping allows the study of the ecology of chemotypical subpopulations, which have been shown to possess dissimilar ecological traits. However, the stability of chemotypes under changing abiotic conditions is usually assumed and has not been assessed in detail. We monitored oligopeptide patterns of three strains of Microcystis aeruginosa under different nutrient and light conditions. MALDI-TOF MS revealed alterations in the microcystins signatures under N and P poor conditions and high light intensities (150 and 400 μmol photons m−2s−1). Variations in the general oligopeptide composition were caused by a gradual disappearance of microcystins with low relative intensity signals from the fingerprint. The extent of such variations seems to be closely related to physiological stress caused by treatments. Under identical clonal compositions, alterations in the oligopeptide fingerprint may be misinterpreted as apparent shifts in chemotype succession. We discuss the nature of such variations, as well as the consequent implications in the use of cyanobacterial chemotyping in studies at the subpopulation level and propose new guidance for the definition of chemotypes as a consistent subpopulation marker.
PMCID: PMC3717771  PMID: 23744054
MALDI-TOF MS; chemotype; stability; nutrient deficiency; light; oligopeptide
4.  Sedimentation Patterns of Toxin-Producing Microcystis Morphospecies in Freshwater Reservoirs 
Toxins  2013;5(5):939-957.
Understanding the annual cycle of Microcystis is essential for managing the blooms of this toxic cyanobacterium. The current work investigated the sedimentation of microcystin-producing Microcystis spp. in three reservoirs from Central Spain during the summer and autumn of 2006 and 2007. We confirmed remarkable settling fluxes during and after blooms ranging 106–109 cells m−2 d−1, which might represent 0.1%–7.6% of the organic matter settled. A comprehensive analysis of the Valmayor reservoir showed average Microcystis settling rates (0.04 d−1) and velocities (0.7 m d−1) that resembled toxin settling in the same reservoir and were above most reported elsewhere. M. aeruginosa settling rate was significantly higher than that of M. novacekii and M. flos-aquae. Despite the fact that colony sizes did not differ significantly in their average settling rates, we observed extremely high and low rates in large colonies (>5000 cells) and a greater influence of a drop in temperature on small colonies (<1000 cells). We found a 4–14 fold decrease in microcystin cell quota in settling Microcystis of the Cogotas and Valmayor reservoirs compared with pelagic populations, and the hypothetical causes of this are discussed. Our study provides novel data on Microcystis settling patterns in Mediterranean Europe and highlights the need for including morphological, chemotypical and physiological criteria to address the sedimentation of complex Microcystis populations.
PMCID: PMC3709271  PMID: 23645154
Microcystis; microcystins; hepatotoxins; sedimentation; settling; water reservoirs; annual cycle
5.  Novel Cardiolipins from Uncultured Methane-Metabolizing Archaea 
Archaea  2012;2012:832097.
Novel cardiolipins from Archaea were detected by screening the intact polar lipid (IPL) composition of microbial communities associated with methane seepage in deep-sea sediments from the Pakistan margin by high-performance liquid chromatography electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. A series of tentatively identified cardiolipin analogues (dimeric phospholipids or bisphosphatidylglycerol, BPG) represented 0.5% to 5% of total archaeal IPLs. These molecules are similar to the recently described cardiolipin analogues with four phytanyl chains from extreme halophilic archaea. It is worth noting that cardiolipin analogues from the seep archaeal communities are composed of four isoprenoidal chains, which may contain differences in chain length (20 and 25 carbon atoms) and degrees of unsaturation and the presence of a hydroxyl group. Two novel diether lipids, structurally related to the BPGs, are described and interpreted as degradation products of archaeal cardiolipin analogues. Since archaeal communities in seep sediments are dominated by anaerobic methanotrophs, our observations have implications for characterizing structural components of archaeal membranes, in which BPGs are presumed to contribute to modulation of cell permeability properties. Whether BPGs facilitate interspecies interaction in syntrophic methanotrophic consortia remains to be tested.
PMCID: PMC3359654  PMID: 22654563

Results 1-5 (5)