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1.  Spatial variations of community structures and methane cycling across a transect of Lei-Gong-Hou mud volcanoes in eastern Taiwan 
This study analyzed cored sediments retrieved from sites distributed across a transect of the Lei-Gong-Hou mud volcanoes in eastern Taiwan to uncover the spatial distributions of biogeochemical processes and community assemblages involved in methane cycling. The profiles of methane concentration and carbon isotopic composition revealed various orders of the predominance of specific methane-related metabolisms along depth. At a site proximal to the bubbling pool, the methanogenic zone was sandwiched by the anaerobic methanotrophic zones. For two sites distributed toward the topographic depression, the methanogenic zone overlaid the anaerobic methanotrophic zone. The predominance of anaerobic methanotrophy at specific depth intervals is supported by the enhanced copy numbers of the ANME-2a 16S rRNA gene and coincides with high dissolved Fe/Mn concentrations and copy numbers of the Desulfuromonas/Pelobacter 16S rRNA gene. Assemblages of 16S rRNA and mcrA genes revealed that methanogenesis was mediated by Methanococcoides and Methanosarcina. pmoA genes and a few 16S rRNA genes related to aerobic methanotrophs were detected in limited numbers of subsurface samples. While dissolved Fe/Mn signifies the presence of anaerobic metabolisms near the surface, the correlations between geochemical characteristics and gene abundances, and the absence of aerobic methanotrophs in top sediments suggest that anaerobic methanotrophy is potentially dependent on iron/manganese reduction and dominates over aerobic methanotrophy for the removal of methane produced in situ or from a deep source. Near-surface methanogenesis contributes to the methane emissions from mud platform. The alternating arrangements of methanogenic and methanotrophic zones at different sites suggest that the interactions between mud deposition, evaporation, oxidation and fluid transport modulate the assemblages of microbial communities and methane cycling in different compartments of terrestrial mud volcanoes.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00121
PMCID: PMC3971192  PMID: 24723919
mud volcano; methanogenesis; methanotrophy; metal reduction; ANME group; Taiwan
2.  Ser-634 and Ser-636 of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus RTA are Involved in Transactivation and are Potential Cdk9 Phosphorylation Sites 
The replication and transcription activator (RTA) of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), K-RTA, is a lytic switch protein that moderates the reactivation process of KSHV latency. By mass spectrometric analysis of affinity purified K-RTA, we showed that Thr-513 or Thr-514 was the primary in vivo phosphorylation site. Thr-513 and Thr-514 are proximal to the nuclear localization signal (527KKRK530) and were previously hypothesized to be target sites of Ser/Thr kinase hKFC. However, substitutions of Thr with Ala at 513 and 514 had no effect on K-RTA subcellular localization or transactivation activity. By contrast, replacement of Ser with Ala at Ser-634 and Ser-636 located in a Ser/Pro-rich region of K-RTA, designated as S634A/S636A, produced a polypeptide with ∼10 kDa shorter in molecular weight and reduced transactivation in a luciferase reporter assay relative to the wild type. In contrast to prediction, the decrease in molecular weight was not due to lack of phosphorylation because the overall Ser and Thr phosphorylation state in K-RTA and S634A/S636A were similar, excluding that Ser-634 or Ser-636 motif served as docking sites for consecutive phosphorylation. Interestingly, S634A/S636A lost ∼30% immuno-reactivity to MPM2, an antibody specific to pSer/pThr-Pro motif, indicating that 634SPSP637 motif was in vivo phosphorylated. By in vitro kinase assay, we showed that K-RTA is a substrate of CDK9, a Pro-directed Ser/Thr kinase central to transcriptional regulation. Importantly, the capability of K-RTA in associating with endogenous CDK9 was reduced in S634A/S636A, which suggested that Ser-634 and Ser-636 may be involved in CDK9 recruitment. In agreement, S634A/S636A mutant exhibited ∼25% reduction in KSHV lytic cycle reactivation relative to that by the wild type K-RTA. Taken together, our data propose that Ser-634 and Ser-636 of K-RTA are phosphorylated by host transcriptional kinase CDK9 and such a process contributes to a full transcriptional potency of K-RTA.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2012.00060
PMCID: PMC3283893  PMID: 22371709
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus; replication and transcription activator; phosphorylation; negative elongation factor B; CDK9

Results 1-2 (2)