Raman spectroscopy plays a major role in robust detection of biomolecules and mineral signatures in halophile research. An overview of Raman spectroscopic investigations in halophile research of the last decade is given here to show advantages of the approach, progress made as well as limits of the technique. Raman spectroscopy is an excellent tool to monitor and identify microbial pigments and other biomolecules in extant and extinct halophile biomass. Studies of bottom gypsum crusts from salterns, native evaporitic sediments, halite inclusions, and endoliths as well as cultures of halophilic microorganisms permitted to understand the content, distribution, and behavior of important molecular species. The first papers describing Raman spectroscopic detection of microbiological and geochemical key markers using portable instruments are highlighted as well.
Raman spectroscopy; halophilic; salterns; gypsum crusts; compatible solutes; carotenoids
Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) isolates collected from citrus germplasm, dooryard and field trees in California from 1914 have been maintained in planta under quarantine in the Citrus Clonal Protection Program (CCPP), Riverside, California. This collection, therefore, represents populations of CTV isolates obtained over time and space in California. To determine CTV genetic diversity in this context, genotypes of CTV isolates from the CCPP collection were characterized using multiple molecular markers (MMM). Genotypes T30, VT, and T36 were found at high frequencies with T30 and T30+VT genotypes being the most abundant. The MMM analysis did not identify T3 and B165/T68 genotypes; however, biological and phylogenetic analysis suggested some relationships of CCPP CTV isolates with these two genotypes. Phylogenetic analysis of the CTV coat protein (CP) gene sequences classified the tested isolates into seven distinct clades. Five clades were in association with the standard CTV genotypes T30, T36, T3, VT, and B165/T68. The remaining two identified clades were not related to any standard CTV genotypes. Spatiotemporal analysis indicated a trend of reduced genotype and phylogenetic diversity as well as virulence from southern California (SC) at early (1907–1957) in comparison to that of central California (CC) isolates collected from later (1957–2009) time periods. CTV biological characterization also indicated a reduced number and less virulent stem pitting (SP) CTV isolates compared to seedling yellows isolates introduced to California. This data provides a historical insight of the introduction, movement, and genetic diversity of CTV in California and provides genetic and biological information useful for CTV quarantine, eradication, and disease management strategies such as CTV-SP cross protection.
bioindexing; diversity; stem pitting; seedling yellows; virus exclusion
Information gathered with advanced nucleotide sequencing technologies, small molecule detection systems and computational biology is revealing that a community of microbes and their genes, now termed “the microbiome,” located in gut and rhizosphere, is responsible for maintaining the health of human beings and plants, respectively. Within the complete microbiome a “core-microbiome” exists that plays the pivotal role in well being of humans and plants. Recent studies in medicine have shown that an artificial mixture of bacteria representing the core gut microbiome of healthy person when transferred into gut of diseased person results in re-establishment of normal microflora in the latter leading to alleviation from diseased condition. In agriculture, though not exactly in similar manner as in medicine, success in plant disease management has been achieved through transfer of microbiome by mixing disease suppressive soils with disease conducive soils. A study more similar to artificial gut microbiome transfer in medical field has been recently reported in agriculture, in which transfer of microbiome via soil solutions (filtered and unfiltered) has shown ability to alleviate drought stress in Arabidopsis thaliana. However, the exact practice of transferring artificially cultivated core-microbiome as in medicine has not thus far been attempted in plant disease management. Nonetheless, as the gut and rhizosphere microbiome are known to share many common traits, there exists a good scope for accomplishing similar studies in agriculture. Based upon the information drawn from all recent works in microbiome studies of gut and rhizosphere, we propose that tailor-made core-microbiome transfer therapy can be a success in agriculture too and it could become a viable strategy for management of plant diseases in future.
microbiome; core-microbiome; plant; disease management; soil; rhizosphere; root; gut
Lincomycin is commonly used on swine farms for growth promotion as well as disease treatment and control. Consequently, lincomycin may accumulate in the environment adjacent to the swine farms in many ways, thereby influencing antibiotic resistance in the environment. Levels of lincomycin-resistance genes and lincomycin residues in water and soil samples collected from multiple sites near wastewater discharge areas were investigated in this study. Sixteen lincomycin-resistance and 16S rRNA genes were detected using real-time PCR. Three genes, lnu(F), erm(A), and erm(B), were detected in all water and soil samples except control samples. Lincomycin residues were determined by rapid resolution liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, with concentrations detected as high as 9.29 ng/mL in water and 0.97 ng/g in soil. A gradual reduction in the levels of lincomycin-resistance genes and lincomycin residues in the waters and soils were detected from multiple sites along the path of wastewater discharging to the surrounding environment from the swine farms. Significant correlations were found between levels of lincomycin-resistance genes in paired water and soil samples (r = 0.885, p = 0.019), and between lincomycin-resistance genes and lincomycin residues (r = 0.975, p < 0.01). This study emphasized the potential risk of dissemination of lincomycin-resistance genes such as lnu(F), erm(A), and erm(B), associated with lincomycin residues in surrounding environments adjacent to swine farms.
culture-independent method; agriculture field; swine farm; lnu(F); erm(A); erm(B)
Methanogens typically occur in reduced anoxic environments. However, in recent studies it has been shown that many aerated upland soils, including desert soils also host active methanogens. Here we show that soil samples from high-altitude cold deserts in the western Himalayas (Ladakh, India) produce CH4 after incubation as slurry under anoxic conditions at rates comparable to those of hot desert soils. Samples of matured soil from three different vegetation belts (arid, steppe, and subnival) were compared with younger soils originating from frontal and lateral moraines of receding glaciers. While methanogenic rates were higher in the samples from matured soils, CH4 was also produced in the samples from the recently deglaciated moraines. In both young and matured soils, those covered by a biological soil crust (biocrust) were more active than their bare counterparts. Isotopic analysis showed that in both cases CH4 was initially produced from H2/CO2 but later mostly from acetate. Analysis of the archaeal community in the in situ soil samples revealed a clear dominance of sequences related to Thaumarchaeota, while the methanogenic community comprised only a minor fraction of the archaeal community. Similar to other aerated soils, the methanogenic community was comprised almost solely of the genera Methanosarcina and Methanocella, and possibly also Methanobacterium in some cases. Nevertheless, ~103 gdw−1 soil methanogens were already present in the young moraine soil together with cyanobacteria. Our results demonstrate that Methanosarcina and Methanocella not only tolerate atmospheric oxygen but are also able to survive in these harsh cold environments. Their occurrence in newly deglaciated soils shows that they are early colonizers of desert soils, similar to cyanobacteria, and may play a role in the development of desert biocrusts.
methanogens; desert ecosystems; cold climate; deglaciations; cyanobacteria; biological soil crust; high-altitude ecosystem; stable carbon isotope
Gram-positive spore-forming sulfate reducers and particularly members of the genus Desulfotomaculum are commonly found in the subsurface biosphere by culture based and molecular approaches. Due to their metabolic versatility and their ability to persist as endospores. Desulfotomaculum spp. are well-adapted for colonizing environments through a slow sedimentation process. Because of their ability to grow autotrophically (H2/CO2) and produce sulfide or acetate, these microorganisms may play key roles in deep lithoautotrophic microbial communities. Available data about Desulfotomaculum spp. and related species from studies carried out from deep freshwater lakes, marine sediments, oligotrophic and organic rich deep geological settings are discussed in this review.
Desulfotomaculum; deep subsurface; geomicrobiology; sulfate-reduction; lithoautotrophy; sporulation
Geological CO2 sequestration in unmineable subsurface oil/gas fields and coal formations has been proposed as a means of reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. However, the feasibility of injecting CO2 into subsurface depends upon a variety of geological and economic conditions, and the ecological consequences are largely unpredictable. In this study, we developed a new flow-through-type reactor system to examine potential geophysical, geochemical and microbiological impacts associated with CO2 injection by simulating in-situ pressure (0–100 MPa) and temperature (0–70°C) conditions. Using the reactor system, anaerobic artificial fluid and CO2 (flow rate: 0.002 and 0.00001 ml/min, respectively) were continuously supplemented into a column comprised of bituminous coal and sand under a pore pressure of 40 MPa (confined pressure: 41 MPa) at 40°C for 56 days. 16S rRNA gene analysis of the bacterial components showed distinct spatial separation of the predominant taxa in the coal and sand over the course of the experiment. Cultivation experiments using sub-sampled fluids revealed that some microbes survived, or were metabolically active, under CO2-rich conditions. However, no methanogens were activated during the experiment, even though hydrogenotrophic and methylotrophic methanogens were obtained from conventional batch-type cultivation at 20°C. During the reactor experiment, the acetate and methanol concentration in the fluids increased while the δ13Cacetate, H2 and CO2 concentrations decreased, indicating the occurrence of homo-acetogenesis. 16S rRNA genes of homo-acetogenic spore-forming bacteria related to the genus Sporomusa were consistently detected from the sandstone after the reactor experiment. Our results suggest that the injection of CO2 into a natural coal-sand formation preferentially stimulates homo-acetogenesis rather than methanogenesis, and that this process is accompanied by biogenic CO2 conversion to acetate.
geological CO2 sequestration; bituminous coal; geobio-reactor system; coal-bed methane; methanogen; homo-acetogenesis
Interest in using bacteriophages to control the growth and spread of bacterial pathogens is being revived in the wake of widespread antibiotic resistance. However, little is known about the ecological effects that high concentrations of phages in the environment might have on natural microbial communities. We review the current evidence suggesting phage-mediated environmental perturbation, with a focus on agricultural examples, and describe the potential implications for human health and agriculture. Specifically, we examine the known and potential consequences of phage application in certain agricultural practices, discuss the risks of evolved bacterial resistance to phages, and question whether the future of phage therapy will emulate that of antibiotic treatment in terms of widespread resistance. Finally, we propose some basic precautions that could preclude such phenomena and highlight existing methods for tracking bacterial resistance to phage therapeutic agents.
phage therapy; antibiotic resistance; coevolution; phage resistance; microbial communities
Bacteria successfully colonize distinct niches because they can sense and appropriately respond to a variety of environmental signals. Of particular interest is how a bacterium negotiates the multiple, complex environments posed during successful infection of an animal host. One tractable model system to study how a bacterium manages a host’s multiple environments is the symbiotic relationship between the marine bacterium, Vibrio fischeri, and its squid host, Euprymna scolopes. V. fischeri encounters many different host surroundings ranging from initial contact with the squid to ultimate colonization of a specialized organ known as the light organ. For example, upon recognition of the squid, V. fischeri forms a biofilm aggregate outside the light organ that is required for efficient colonization. The bacteria then disperse from this biofilm to enter the organ, where they are exposed to nitric oxide, a molecule that can act as both a signal and an antimicrobial. After successfully managing this potentially hostile environment, V. fischeri cells finally establish their niche in the deep crypts of the light organ where the bacteria bioluminesce in a pheromone-dependent fashion, a phenotype that E. scolopes utilizes for anti-predation purposes. The mechanism by which V. fischeri manages these environments to outcompete all other bacterial species for colonization of E. scolopes is an important and intriguing question that will permit valuable insights into how a bacterium successfully associates with a host. This review focuses on specific molecular pathways that allow V. fischeri to establish this exquisite bacteria–host interaction.
Vibrio fischeri; Euprymna scolopes; symbiosis; biofilm; chemotaxis; antimicrobials; bioluminescence
Cholera is still a major public health concern in many African countries. In Angola, after a decade of absence, cholera reemerged in 1987, spreading throughout the country until 1996, with outbreaks recurring in a seasonal pattern. In 2006 Angola was hit by one of the most severe outbreaks of the last decade, with ca. 240,000 cases reported. We analyzed 21 clinical strains isolated between 1992 and 2006 from several provinces throughout the country: Benguela, Bengo, Luanda, Cuando Cubango, and Cabinda. We used two multiplex PCR assays to investigate discriminatory mobile genetic elements (MGE) [Integrative Conjugative Elements (ICEs), VSP-II, GI12, GI14, GI15, K, and TLC phages] and we compared the profiles obtained with those of different reference V. cholerae O1 variants (prototypical, altered, and hybrid), responsible for the ongoing 7th pandemic. We also tested the strains for the presence of specific VSP-II variants and for the presence of a genomic island (GI) (WASA-1), correlated with the transmission of seventh pandemic cholera from Africa to South America. Based on the presence/absence of the analyzed genetic elements, five novel profiles were detected in the epidemic strains circulating in the 1990s. The most frequent profiles, F and G, were characterized by the absence of ICEs and the three GIs tested, and the presence of GI WASA-1 and the WASA variant of the VSP-II island. Our results identified unexpected variability within the 1990s epidemic, showing different rearrangements in a dynamic part of the genome not present in the prototypical V. cholerae O1 N16961. Moreover the 2006 strains differed from the current pandemic V. cholerae O1 strain. Taken together, our results highlight the role of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in diversifying the genetic background of V. cholerae within a single epidemic.
V. cholerae O1; Angola; mobilome; genomic islands; epidemic variants
Functional gene pyrosequencing is emerging as a useful tool to examine the diversity and abundance of microbes that facilitate key biogeochemical processes. One such process, denitrification, is of particular importance because it converts fixed nitrate (NO−3) to N2 gas, which returns to the atmosphere. In nitrogen limited salt marshes, removal of NO−3 prior to entering adjacent waters helps prevent eutrophication. Understanding the dynamics of salt marsh microbial denitrification is thus imperative for the maintenance of healthy coastal ecosystems. We used pyrosequencing of the nirS gene to examine the denitrifying community response to fertilization in experimentally enriched marsh plots. A key challenge in the analysis of sequence data derived from pyrosequencing is understanding whether small differences in gene sequences are ecologically meaningful. We applied a novel approach from information theory to determine that the optimal similarity level for clustering DNA sequences into OTUs, while still capturing the ecological complexity of the system, was 88%. With this clustering, phylogenetic analysis yielded 6 dominant clades of denitrifiers, the largest of which, accounting for more than half of all the sequences collected, had no close cultured representatives. Of the 638 OTUs identified, only 11 were present in all plots and no single OTU was dominant. We did, however, find a large number of specialist OTUs that were present only in a single plot. The high degree of endemic OTUs, while accounting for a large proportion of the nirS diversity in the plots, were found in lower abundance than the generalist taxa. The proportion of specialist taxa increased with increasing supply of nutrients, suggesting that addition of fertilizer may create conditions that expand the niche space for denitrifying organisms and may enhance the genetic capacity for denitrification.
DNA sequence clustering; AIC; network analysis; nirS; salt marsh; eutrophication; functional gene pyrosequencing
Aerobic degradation of methylphosphonate (MPn) by marine bacterioplankton has been hypothesized to contribute significantly to the ocean's methane supersaturation, yet little is known about MPn utilization by marine microbes. To identify the microbial taxa and metabolic functions associated with MPn-driven methane production we performed parallel metagenomic, metatranscriptomic, and functional screening of microcosm perturbation experiments using surface water collected in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. In nutrient amended microcosms containing MPn, a substrate-driven microbial succession occurred. Initially, the addition of glucose and nitrate resulted in a bloom of Vibrionales and a transcriptional profile dominated by glucose-specific PTS transport and polyhydroxyalkanoate biosynthesis. Transcripts associated with phosphorus (P) acquisition were also overrepresented and suggested that the addition of glucose and nitrate had driven the community to P depletion. At this point, a second community shift occurred characterized by the increase in C-P lyase containing microbes of the Vibrionales and Rhodobacterales orders. Transcripts associated with C-P lyase components were among the most highly expressed at the community level, and only C-P lyase clusters were recovered in a functional screen for MPn utilization, consistent with this pathway being responsible for the majority, if not all, of the methane accumulation we observed. Our results identify specific bacterioplankton taxa that can utilize MPn aerobically under conditions of P limitation using the C-P lyase pathway, and thereby elicit a significant increase in the dissolved methane concentration.
methylphosphonate; phosphonates; genomics; transcriptomics; functional screens
Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) biomineralize magnetosomes, nano-scale crystals of magnetite or greigite in membrane enclosures that comprise a permanent magnetic dipole in each cell. MTB control the mineral composition, habit, size, and crystallographic orientation of the magnetosomes, as well as their arrangement within the cell. Studies involving magnetosomes that contain mineral and biological phases require multidisciplinary efforts. Here we use crystallographic, genomic and phylogenetic perspectives to review the correlations between magnetosome mineral habits and the phylogenetic affiliations of MTB, and show that these correlations have important implications for the evolution of magnetosome synthesis, and thus magnetotaxis.
magnetotactic bacteria; magnetite; greigite; magnetosomes; morphology; biomineralization; evolution
Human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs) are the etiologic agents of lower respiratory infections and pneumonia in infants, young children and immunocompromised hosts. The overarching goal for the prevention of HPIV infection is the development of an effective vaccine against HPIVs. In the present study, we investigated the effectiveness of oligomannose-coated liposomes (OMLs) as an antigen-delivery system in combination with a synthetic double-stranded RNA analog for the induction of mucosal and systematic immunity against HPIV3. Full-length hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) protein was synthesized using the wheat germ cell-free protein production system and then encapsulated into OML to serve as the antigen. Intranasal administration of the HN-filling OML (OML-HN) with the synthetic double-stranded RNA adjuvant, polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidylic acid [poly(I:C)] generated significant viral-specific systemic and mucosal immune responses as evidenced by the prominent induction of serum IgG and nasal wash IgA, respectively. On the other hand, no significant immune responses were observed in mice immunized with OML-HN without the adjuvant. Furthermore, serum from mice immunized with OML-HN plus poly(I:C) significantly suppressed viral infection in cell culture model. Our results provide the first evidence that intranasal co-administration of OML-encapsulated HN with the poly(I:C) adjuvant augments the viral-specific immunity against HPIV3.
HPIV3; HN; vaccine; oligomannose-coated liposome; adjuvant
Though the most ready example of biomineralization is the calcium phosphate of vertebrate bones and teeth, many bacteria are capable of creating biominerals inside their cells. Because of the diversity of these organisms and the minerals they produce, their study may reveal aspects of the fundamental mechanisms of biomineralization in more complex organisms. The best-studied case of intracellular biomineralization in bacteria is the magnetosome, an organelle produced by a diverse group of aquatic bacteria that contains single-domain crystals of the iron oxide magnetite (Fe3O4) or the iron sulfide greigite (Fe3S4). Here, recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms of bacterial magnetite biomineralization are discussed and used as a framework for understanding less-well studied examples, including the bacterial intracellular biomineralization of cadmium, selenium, silver, nickel, uranium, and calcium carbonate. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the biological formation of these minerals will have important implications for technologies such as the fabrication of nanomaterials and the bioremediation of toxic compounds.
intracellular biomineralization; magnetotactic bacteria; bioremediation; magnetite; selenium nanospheres; cadmium sulfide; calcium carbonate; nanoparticles
Weak organic acids such as sorbic acid are important food preservatives and powerful fungistatic agents. These compounds accumulate in the cytosol and disturb the cellular pH and energy homeostasis. Candida glabrata is in many aspects similar to Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, with regard to confrontation to sorbic acid, two of the principal response pathways behave differently in C. glabrata. In yeast, sorbic acid stress causes activation of many genes via the transcription factors Msn2 and Msn4. The C. glabrata homologs CgMsn2 and CgMsn4 are apparently not activated by sorbic acid. In contrast, in C. glabrata the high osmolarity glycerol (HOG) pathway is activated by sorbic acid. Here we show that the MAP kinase of the HOG pathway, CgHog1, becomes phosphorylated and has a function for weak acid stress resistance. Transcript profiling of weak acid treated C. glabrata cells suggests a broad and very similar response pattern of cells lacking CgHog1 compared to wild type which is over lapping with but distinct from S. cerevisiae. The PDR12 gene was the highest induced gene in both species and it required CgHog1 for full expression. Our results support flexibility of the response cues for general stress signaling pathways, even between closely related yeasts, and functional extension of a specific response pathway.
sorbic acid; HOG pathway; Candida glabrata; stress response; Fungal pathogen
Nutrient richness, and specifically the abundance of mono- and disaccharides that characterize several food matrixes, such as milk and grape juice, has allowed the speciation of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts with a high fermentation capacity instead of energetically favorable respiratory metabolism. In these environmental contexts, rapid sugar consumption and lactic acid or ethanol production, accumulation, and tolerance, together with the ability to propagate in the absence of oxygen, are several of the “winning” traits that have apparently evolved and become specialized to perfection in these fermenting microorganisms. Here, we summarize and discuss the evolutionary context that has driven energetic metabolism in food-associated microorganisms, using the dairy species Lactococcus lactis and Streptococcus thermophilus among prokaryotes and the bakers’ yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae among eukaryotes as model organisms.
lactic acid bacteria; yeast; metabolism; evolution; food microbiology
An antifungal lipopeptide fengycin, producing strain SM1 was isolated from farm land soil sample and identified as Bacillus thuringiensis strain SM1 by using 16S rDNA analysis. Fengycin detected in the culture extract was further purified using HPLC and showed a molecular mass of 1492.8 Da by MALDI-TOF-MS analysis. Purified fengycin was allowed to construct their self-assembled structure onto a hydrophobic surface showing a clear improvement of antibacterial activity. In self-assembly, fengycin adapts a spherical micelle core shell like structure. Self-assembled fengycin may be a successful antimicrobial compound modifying its action from confined antifungal function. Besides it can open up a new area of research in supramolecular lipopeptide based compound making. This can revealed the mode of action of this unique self-assembled structure to fully evaluate its potential for use as an antimicrobial drug to control the emergence of bacterial infection.
antimicrobial activity; Bacillus thuringiensis; fengycin; self-assembled structure
Ralstonia solanacearum is a soil and water-borne pathogen that can infect a wide range of plants and cause the devastating bacterial wilt disease. To successfully colonize a host, R. solanacearum requires the type III secretion system (T3SS), which delivers bacterial effector proteins inside the plant cells. HrpG is a central transcriptional regulator that drives the expression of the T3SS and other virulence determinants. hrpG transcription is highly induced upon plant cell contact and its product is also post-transcriptionally activated by metabolic signals present when bacteria are grown in minimal medium (MM). Here, we describe a transcriptional induction of hrpG at early stages of bacterial co-culture with plant cells that caused overexpression of the downstream T3SS effector genes. This induction was maintained in a strain devoid of prhA, the outer membrane receptor that senses bacterial contact with plant cells, demonstrating that this is a response to an unknown signal. Induction was unaffected after disruption of the known R. solanacearum pathogenicity regulators, indicating that it is controlled by a non-described system. Moreover, plant contact-independent signals are also important in planta, as shown by the hrpG induction triggered by apoplastic and xylem extracts. We also found that none of the amino acids or sugars present in the apoplast and xylem saps studied correlated with hrpG induction. This suggests that a small molecule or an environmental condition is responsible for the T3SS gene expression inside the plants. Our results also highlight the abundance and diversity of possible carbon, nitrogen and energy sources likely used by R. solanacearum during growth in planta.
R. solanacearum in planta; plant inputs in hrp regulon; apoplast and xylem contents; novel induction of HrpG; pathogenicity mutants; sugars and aminoacids tomato fluids
In order to construct a more universal model for understanding the genetic requirements for bacterial AsIII oxidation, an in silico examination of the available sequences in the GenBank was assessed and revealed 21 conserved 5–71 kb arsenic islands within phylogenetically diverse bacterial genomes. The arsenic islands included the AsIII oxidase structural genes aioBA, ars operons (e.g., arsRCB) which code for arsenic resistance, and pho, pst, and phn genes known to be part of the classical phosphate stress response and that encode functions associated with regulating and acquiring organic and inorganic phosphorus. The regulatory genes aioXSR were also an island component, but only in Proteobacteria and orientated differently depending on whether they were in α-Proteobacteria or β-/γ-Proteobacteria. Curiously though, while these regulatory genes have been shown to be essential to AsIII oxidation in the Proteobacteria, they are absent in most other organisms examined, inferring different regulatory mechanism(s) yet to be discovered. Phylogenetic analysis of the aio, ars, pst, and phn genes revealed evidence of both vertical inheritance and horizontal gene transfer (HGT). It is therefore likely the arsenic islands did not evolve as a whole unit but formed independently by acquisition of functionally related genes and operons in respective strains. Considering gene synteny and structural analogies between arsenate and phosphate, we presumed that these genes function together in helping these microbes to be able to use even low concentrations of phosphorus needed for vital functions under high concentrations of arsenic, and defined these sequences as the arsenic islands.
arsenic islands; arsenite oxidase; AioBA; phosphorus; synteny
In flooded and non-flooded impounded forests of Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), the community structure of the ammonia-oxidizing betaproteobacteria (β-AOB) differed among distinct mangrove vegetation cover types and hydrological regimes. This had been explained by a differential response of lineages of β-AOB to the prevailing soil conditions that included increased levels of moisture and ammonium. To test this hypothesis, slurries of soils collected from a flooded and a non-flooded impoundment were subjected to enhanced levels of ammonium in the absence and presence of additional shaking. After a period of 6 days, the community composition of the β-AOB based on the 16S rRNA gene was determined and compared with the original community structures. Regardless of the incubation conditions and the origin of the samples, sequences belonging to the Nitrosomonas aestuarii lineage became increasingly dominant, whereas the number of sequences of the lineages of Nitrosospira (i.e., Cluster 1) and Nitrosomonas sp. Nm143 declined. Changes in community structure were related to changes in community sizes determined by quantitative PCR based on the amoA gene. The amoA gene copy numbers of β-AOB were compared to those of the ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA). Gene copy numbers of the bacteria increased irrespective of incubation conditions, but the numbers of archaea declined in the continuously shaken cultures. This observation is discussed in relation to the distribution of the β-AOB lineages in the impounded Black mangrove forests.
ammonia oxidation; betaproteobacteria; mangroves; slurries; oxygen
Reductive dehalogenases are the critical enzymes for anaerobic organohalide respiration, a microbial metabolic process that has been harnessed for bioremediation efforts to resolve chlorinated solvent contamination in groundwater and is implicated in the global halogen cycle. Reductive dehalogenase sequence diversity is informative for the dechlorination potential of the site or enrichment culture. A suite of degenerate PCR primers targeting a comprehensive curated set of reductive dehalogenase genes was designed and applied to 12 DNA samples extracted from contaminated and pristine sites, as well as six enrichment cultures capable of reducing chlorinated compounds to non-toxic end-products. The amplified gene products from four environmental sites and two enrichment cultures were sequenced using Illumina HiSeq, and the reductive dehalogenase complement of each sample determined. The results indicate that the diversity of the reductive dehalogenase gene family is much deeper than is currently accounted for: one-third of the translated proteins have less than 70% pairwise amino acid identity to database sequences. Approximately 60% of the sequenced reductive dehalogenase genes were broadly distributed, being identified in four or more samples, and often in previously sequenced genomes as well. In contrast, 17% of the sequenced reductive dehalogenases were unique, present in only a single sample and bearing less than 90% pairwise amino acid identity to any previously identified proteins. Many of the broadly distributed reductive dehalogenases are uncharacterized in terms of their substrate specificity, making these intriguing targets for further biochemical experimentation. Finally, comparison of samples from a contaminated site and an enrichment culture derived from the same site 8 years prior allowed examination of the effect of the enrichment process.
reductive dehalogenase; enrichment culture; degenerate PCR; contaminated site; bioremediation
Ticks are unique among hematophagous arthropods by continuous attachment to host skin and blood feeding for days; complexity and diversity of biologically active molecules differentially expressed in saliva of tick species; their ability to modulate the host defenses of pain and itch, hemostasis, inflammation, innate and adaptive immunity, and wound healing; and, the diverse array of infectious agents they transmit. All of these interactions occur at the cutaneous interface in a complex sequence of carefully choreographed host defense responses and tick countermeasures resulting in an environment that facilitates successful blood feeding and establishment of tick-borne infectious agents within the host. Here, we examine diverse patterns of tick attachment to host skin, blood feeding mechanisms, salivary gland transcriptomes, bioactive molecules in tick saliva, timing of pathogen transmission, and host responses to tick bite. Ticks engage and modulate cutaneous and systemic immune defenses involving keratinocytes, natural killer cells, dendritic cells, T cell subpopulations (Th1, Th2, Th17, Treg), B cells, neutrophils, mast cells, basophils, endothelial cells, cytokines, chemokines, complement, and extracellular matrix. A framework is proposed that integrates tick induced changes of skin immune effectors with their ability to respond to tick-borne pathogens. Implications of these changes are addressed. What are the consequences of tick modulation of host cutaneous defenses? Does diversity of salivary gland transcriptomes determine differential modulation of host inflammation and immune defenses and therefore, in part, the clades of pathogens effectively transmitted by different tick species? Do ticks create an immunologically modified cutaneous environment that enhances specific pathogen establishment? Can tick saliva molecules be used to develop vaccines that block pathogen transmission?
ticks; tick saliva; immune response; pathogen transmission; tick–host interface; immune modulation; skin
Bacteria in the genus Vibrio produce extracellular proteolytic enzymes to obtain nutrients via digestion of various protein substrates. However, the enzymes secreted by human pathogenic species have been documented to modulate the bacterial virulence. Several species including Vibrio cholerae and V. vulnificus are known to produce thermolysin-like metalloproteases termed vibriolysin. The vibriolysin from V. vulnificus, a causative agent of serious systemic infection, is a major toxic factor eliciting the secondary skin damage characterized by formation of the hemorrhagic brae. The vibriolysin from intestinal pathogens may play indirect roles in pathogenicity because it can activate protein toxins and hemagglutinin by the limited proteolysis and can affect the bacterial attachment to or detachment from the intestinal surface by degradation of the mucus layer. Two species causing wound infections, V. alginolyticus and V. parahaemolyticus, produce another metalloproteases so-called collagenases. Although the detailed pathological roles have not been studied, the collagenase is potent to accelerate the bacterial dissemination through digestion of the protein components of the extracellular matrix. Some species produce cymotrypsin-like serine proteases, which may also affect the bacterial virulence potential. The intestinal pathogens produce sufficient amounts of the metalloprotease at the small intestinal temperature; however, the metalloprotease production by extra-intestinal pathogens is much higher around the body surface temperature. On the other hand, the serine protease is expressed only in the absence of the metalloprotease.
Vibrio; vibriolysin; thermolysin; collagenase; serine protease
endogenous retroviruses; multiple sclerosis; MOG; immunopathogeny; genetic association; ERVWE2