ResearchPad - extremophiles https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Crystal structure of <i>Thermus thermophilus</i> methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase and determinants of thermostability]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13865 The elucidation of mechanisms behind the thermostability of proteins is extremely important both from the theoretical and applied perspective. Here we report the crystal structure of methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (MTHFD) from Thermus thermophilus HB8, a thermophilic model organism. Molecular dynamics trajectory analysis of this protein at different temperatures (303 K, 333 K and 363 K) was compared with homologous proteins from the less temperature resistant organism Thermoplasma acidophilum and the mesophilic organism Acinetobacter baumannii using several data reduction techniques like principal component analysis (PCA), residue interaction network (RIN) analysis and rotamer analysis. These methods enabled the determination of important residues for the thermostability of this enzyme. The description of rotamer distributions by Gini coefficients and Kullback–Leibler (KL) divergence both revealed significant correlations with temperature. The emerging view seems to indicate that a static salt bridge/charged residue network plays a fundamental role in the temperature resistance of Thermus thermophilus MTHFD by enhancing both electrostatic interactions and entropic energy dispersion. Furthermore, this analysis uncovered a relationship between residue mutations and evolutionary pressure acting on thermophilic organisms and thus could be of use for the design of future thermostable enzymes.

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<![CDATA[Carbonylation accumulation of the Hypsibius exemplaris anhydrobiote reveals age-associated marks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2d2eaed5eed0c484d9b150

Together with nematodes and rotifers, tardigrade belong to micrometazoans that can cope with environmental extremes such as UV and solar radiations, dehydration, supercooling or overheating. Tardigrade can resist the harshest conditions by turning to cryptobiosis, an anhydrobiotic state that results from almost complete dehydration and is characterized by an ametabolic status. Although reports have challenged the molecular basis of the mechanisms underlying genomic injury resistance, little is yet known regarding the possible involvement of other tardigrade macromolecules in injury during a stress experience. In this report, we show that the tardigrade Hypsibius exemplaris can accumulate molecular damages by means of in situ detection of carbonyls. Furthermore, we demonstrate that living tardigrade can accumulate carbonylation. Finally, we reveal that anhydrobiotic tardigrade can be constitutively affected by carbonylation that marks aging in other metazoans.

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<![CDATA[Transcription Start Site Associated RNAs (TSSaRNAs) Are Ubiquitous in All Domains of Life]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da25ab0ee8fa60b805bb

A plethora of non-coding RNAs has been discovered using high-resolution transcriptomics tools, indicating that transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation is much more complex than previously appreciated. Small RNAs associated with transcription start sites of annotated coding regions (TSSaRNAs) are pervasive in both eukaryotes and bacteria. Here, we provide evidence for existence of TSSaRNAs in several archaeal transcriptomes including: Halobacterium salinarum, Pyrococcus furiosus, Methanococcus maripaludis, and Sulfolobus solfataricus. We validated TSSaRNAs from the model archaeon Halobacterium salinarum NRC-1 by deep sequencing two independent small-RNA enriched (RNA-seq) and a primary-transcript enriched (dRNA-seq) strand-specific libraries. We identified 652 transcripts, of which 179 were shown to be primary transcripts (∼7% of the annotated genome). Distinct growth-associated expression patterns between TSSaRNAs and their cognate genes were observed, indicating a possible role in environmental responses that may result from RNA polymerase with varying pausing rhythms. This work shows that TSSaRNAs are ubiquitous across all domains of life.

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<![CDATA[Acidophilic Green Alga Pseudochlorella sp. YKT1 Accumulates High Amount of Lipid Droplets under a Nitrogen-Depleted Condition at a Low-pH]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da03ab0ee8fa60b74bd8

Microalgal storage lipids are considered to be a promising source for next-generation biofuel feedstock. However, microalgal biodiesel is not yet economically feasible due to the high cost of production. One of the reasons for this is that the use of a low-cost open pond system is currently limited because of the unavoidable contamination with undesirable organisms. Extremophiles have an advantage in culturing in an open pond system because they grow in extreme environments toxic to other organisms. In this study, we isolated the acidophilic green alga Pseudochlorella sp. YKT1 from sulfuric acid mine drainage in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. The vegetative cells of YKT1 display the morphological characteristics of Trebouxiophyceae and molecular phylogenetic analyses indicated it to be most closely related to Pseudochlorella pringsheimii. The optimal pH and temperature for the growth of YKT1 are pH 3.0–5.0 and a temperature 20–25°C, respectively. Further, YKT1 is able to grow at pH 2.0 and at 32°C, which corresponds to the usual water temperature in the outdoors in summer in many countries. YKT1 accumulates a large amount of storage lipids (∼30% of dry weigh) under a nitrogen-depleted condition at low-pH (pH 3.0). These results show that acidophilic green algae will be useful for industrial applications by acidic open culture systems.

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<![CDATA[Two Novel Heat-Soluble Protein Families Abundantly Expressed in an Anhydrobiotic Tardigrade]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa8ab0ee8fa60ba8523

Tardigrades are able to tolerate almost complete dehydration by reversibly switching to an ametabolic state. This ability is called anhydrobiosis. In the anhydrobiotic state, tardigrades can withstand various extreme environments including space, but their molecular basis remains largely unknown. Late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins are heat-soluble proteins and can prevent protein-aggregation in dehydrated conditions in other anhydrobiotic organisms, but their relevance to tardigrade anhydrobiosis is not clarified. In this study, we focused on the heat-soluble property characteristic of LEA proteins and conducted heat-soluble proteomics using an anhydrobiotic tardigrade. Our heat-soluble proteomics identified five abundant heat-soluble proteins. All of them showed no sequence similarity with LEA proteins and formed two novel protein families with distinct subcellular localizations. We named them Cytoplasmic Abundant Heat Soluble (CAHS) and Secretory Abundant Heat Soluble (SAHS) protein families, according to their localization. Both protein families were conserved among tardigrades, but not found in other phyla. Although CAHS protein was intrinsically unstructured and SAHS protein was rich in β-structure in the hydrated condition, proteins in both families changed their conformation to an α-helical structure in water-deficient conditions as LEA proteins do. Two conserved repeats of 19-mer motifs in CAHS proteins were capable to form amphiphilic stripes in α-helices, suggesting their roles as molecular shield in water-deficient condition, though charge distribution pattern in α-helices were different between CAHS and LEA proteins. Tardigrades might have evolved novel protein families with a heat-soluble property and this study revealed a novel repertoire of major heat-soluble proteins in these anhydrobiotic animals.

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<![CDATA[Physiological and Genomic Features of a Novel Sulfur-Oxidizing Gammaproteobacterium Belonging to a Previously Uncultivated Symbiotic Lineage Isolated from a Hydrothermal Vent]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da37ab0ee8fa60b86984

Strain Hiromi 1, a sulfur-oxidizing gammaproteobacterium was isolated from a hydrothermal vent chimney in the Okinawa Trough and represents a novel genus that may include a phylogenetic group found as endosymbionts of deep-sea gastropods. The SSU rRNA gene sequence similarity between strain Hiromi 1 and the gastropod endosymbionts was approximately 97%. The strain was shown to grow both chemolithoautotrophically and chemolithoheterotrophically with an energy metabolism of sulfur oxidation and O2 or nitrate reduction. Under chemolithoheterotrophic growth conditions, the strain utilized organic acids and proteinaceous compounds as the carbon and/or nitrogen sources but not the energy source. Various sugars did not support growth as a sole carbon source. The observation of chemolithoheterotrophy in this strain is in line with metagenomic analyses of endosymbionts suggesting the occurrence of chemolithoheterotrophy in gammaproteobacterial symbionts. Chemolithoheterotrophy and the presence of homologous genes for virulence- and quorum sensing-related functions suggest that the sulfur-oxidizing chomolithotrophic microbes seek animal bodies and microbial biofilm formation to obtain supplemental organic carbons in hydrothermal ecosystems.

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<![CDATA[Phylogenetically Driven Sequencing of Extremely Halophilic Archaea Reveals Strategies for Static and Dynamic Osmo-response]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da87ab0ee8fa60b9c99b

Organisms across the tree of life use a variety of mechanisms to respond to stress-inducing fluctuations in osmotic conditions. Cellular response mechanisms and phenotypes associated with osmoadaptation also play important roles in bacterial virulence, human health, agricultural production and many other biological systems. To improve understanding of osmoadaptive strategies, we have generated 59 high-quality draft genomes for the haloarchaea (a euryarchaeal clade whose members thrive in hypersaline environments and routinely experience drastic changes in environmental salinity) and analyzed these new genomes in combination with those from 21 previously sequenced haloarchaeal isolates. We propose a generalized model for haloarchaeal management of cytoplasmic osmolarity in response to osmotic shifts, where potassium accumulation and sodium expulsion during osmotic upshock are accomplished via secondary transport using the proton gradient as an energy source, and potassium loss during downshock is via a combination of secondary transport and non-specific ion loss through mechanosensitive channels. We also propose new mechanisms for magnesium and chloride accumulation. We describe the expansion and differentiation of haloarchaeal general transcription factor families, including two novel expansions of the TATA-binding protein family, and discuss their potential for enabling rapid adaptation to environmental fluxes. We challenge a recent high-profile proposal regarding the evolutionary origins of the haloarchaea by showing that inclusion of additional genomes significantly reduces support for a proposed large-scale horizontal gene transfer into the ancestral haloarchaeon from the bacterial domain. The combination of broad (17 genera) and deep (≥5 species in four genera) sampling of a phenotypically unified clade has enabled us to uncover both highly conserved and specialized features of osmoadaptation. Finally, we demonstrate the broad utility of such datasets, for metagenomics, improvements to automated gene annotation and investigations of evolutionary processes.

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<![CDATA[A comparative study of cold- and warm-adapted Endonucleases A using sequence analyses and molecular dynamics simulations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdbae5

The psychrophilic and mesophilic endonucleases A (EndA) from Aliivibrio salmonicida (VsEndA) and Vibrio cholera (VcEndA) have been studied experimentally in terms of the biophysical properties related to thermal adaptation. The analyses of their static X-ray structures was no sufficient to rationalize the determinants of their adaptive traits at the molecular level. Thus, we used Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations to compare the two proteins and unveil their structural and dynamical differences. Our simulations did not show a substantial increase in flexibility in the cold-adapted variant on the nanosecond time scale. The only exception is a more rigid C-terminal region in VcEndA, which is ascribable to a cluster of electrostatic interactions and hydrogen bonds, as also supported by MD simulations of the VsEndA mutant variant where the cluster of interactions was introduced. Moreover, we identified three additional amino acidic substitutions through multiple sequence alignment and the analyses of MD-based protein structure networks. In particular, T120V occurs in the proximity of the catalytic residue H80 and alters the interaction with the residue Y43, which belongs to the second coordination sphere of the Mg2+ ion. This makes T120V an amenable candidate for future experimental mutagenesis.

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<![CDATA[A High-Resolution Crystal Structure of a Psychrohalophilic α–Carbonic Anhydrase from Photobacterium profundum Reveals a Unique Dimer Interface]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da74ab0ee8fa60b9623c

Bacterial α–carbonic anhydrases (α-CA) are zinc containing metalloenzymes that catalyze the rapid interconversion of CO2 to bicarbonate and a proton. We report the first crystal structure of a pyschrohalophilic α–CA from a deep-sea bacterium, Photobacterium profundum. Size exclusion chromatography of the purified P. profundum α–CA (PprCA) reveals that the protein is a heterogeneous mix of monomers and dimers. Furthermore, an “in-gel” carbonic anhydrase activity assay, also known as protonography, revealed two distinct bands corresponding to monomeric and dimeric forms of PprCA that are catalytically active. The crystal structure of PprCA was determined in its native form and reveals a highly conserved “knot-topology” that is characteristic of α–CA’s. Similar to other bacterial α–CA’s, PprCA also crystallized as a dimer. Furthermore, dimer interface analysis revealed the presence of a chloride ion (Cl-) in the interface which is unique to PprCA and has not been observed in any other α–CA’s characterized so far. Molecular dynamics simulation and chloride ion occupancy analysis shows 100% occupancy for the Cl- ion in the dimer interface. Zinc coordinating triple histidine residues, substrate binding hydrophobic patch residues, and the hydrophilic proton wire residues are highly conserved in PprCA and are identical to other well-studied α–CA’s.

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<![CDATA[Effect of dietary supplementation with Lactobacillus acidophilus D2/CSL (CECT 4529) on caecum microbioma and productive performance in broiler chickens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf565

This study examines the effects of the dietary supplementation with Lactobacillus acidophilus D2/CSL (CECT 4529) (LA) on productive performances, incidence of foot pad dermatitis and caecum microbioma in broiler chickens. A total of 1,100 one-day old male Ross 308 chicks were divided into 2 groups of 16 replicates with 25 birds each and reared from 1–41 d. One group was fed a basal diet (CON) and the other group the same diet supplemented with LA. Caecum contents were collected from 4 selected birds at day one and 5 selected birds at the end of the rearing period. Then, they were submitted to DNA extraction and whole DNA shotgun metagenomic sequencing. Overall, the LA supplementation produced a significant beneficial effect on body weight gain between 15–28 d and improved feed conversion rate in the overall period. On the contrary, litter moisture, pH and incidence of the foot pad lesions were not affected by LA. Birds treated with LA showed a lower occurrence of pasty vent at both 14 and 28 d. At the end of the rearing period, Lachanospiraceae were significantly higher in LA birds in comparison to CON (17.07 vs 14.39%; P = 0.036). Moreover, Ruminococcus obeum, Clostridium clostridioforme, Roseburia intestinalis, Lachnospiraceae bacterium 14-2T and Coprococcus eutactus were significantly higher in LA birds in comparison to CON. The relative abundance of Lactobacillus acidophilus was comparable between LA and CON groups. However, a positive effect was observed in relation to the metabolic functions in the treated group, with particular reference to the higher abundance of β-glucosidase. In conclusion, the LA supplementation improved broiler productive performances and metabolic functions promoting animal health.

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<![CDATA[Genetic toolbox for controlled expression of functional proteins in Geobacillus spp.]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc456

Species of genus Geobacillus are thermophilic bacteria and play an ever increasing role as hosts for biotechnological applications both in academia and industry. Here we screened a number of Geobacillus strains to determine which industrially relevant carbon sources they can utilize. One of the strains, G. thermoglucosidasius C56-YS93, was then chosen to develop a toolbox for controlled gene expression over a wide range of levels. It includes a library of semi-synthetic constitutive promoters (76-fold difference in expression levels) and an inducible promoter from the xylA gene. A library of synthetic in silico designed ribosome binding sites was also created for further tuning of translation. The PxylA was further used to successfully express native and heterologous xylanases in G. thermoglucosidasius. This toolbox enables fine-tuning of gene expression in Geobacillus species for metabolic engineering approaches in production of biochemicals and heterologous proteins.

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<![CDATA[Lactobacillus acidophilus K301 Inhibits Atherogenesis via Induction of 24 (S), 25-Epoxycholesterol-Mediated ABCA1 and ABCG1 Production and Cholesterol Efflux in Macrophages]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d7ab0ee8fa60b665d0

Lactobacillus acidophilus species are well-known probiotics with the beneficial activity of regulating cholesterol levels. In this study, we showed that L. acidophilus K301 reduced the level of cholesterol through reverse transport in macrophages. L. acidophilus K301 upregulated the mRNA and protein levels of genes such as ATP-binding cassette A1 (ABCA1) and ATP-binding cassette G1 (ABCG1) under the control of liver X receptor (LXR), resulting in increased apoA-I-dependent cholesterol efflux in phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-differentiated THP-1 cells. L. acidophilus K301 induced both ABCA1 and ABCG1 through the endogenous LXR agonist 24(S), 25-epoxcycholesterol, which is synthesized by intracellular cholesterol synthetic pathways. In vivo studies using L. acidophilus K301-treated ApoE-/- mice showed reduced accumulation of lipoproteins in the arterial lumen. The inhibitory effects of L. acidophilus K301 on accumulation of lipoprotein in atherosclerotic plaques were mediated by the induction of squalene reductase (SQLE) and oxidosqualene cyclase (OSC) and resulted in ABCA1-mediated cholesterol efflux. Taken together, our findings revealed that Lactobacillus acidophilus K301 regulates the expression of genes related to cholesterol reverse transport via the induction of endogenous LXR agonist, suggesting the therapeutic potential of Lactobacillus acidophilus K301 as an anti-atherosclerotic agent.

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<![CDATA[Genetic identification and evolutionary trends of the seagrass Halophila nipponica in temperate coastal waters of Korea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5bab0ee8fa60bdf7e1

Although seagrass species in the genus Halophila are generally distributed in tropical or subtropical regions, H. nipponica has been reported to occur in temperate coastal waters of the northwestern Pacific. Because H. nipponica occurs only in the warm temperate areas influenced by the Kuroshio Current and shows a tropical seasonal growth pattern, such as severely restricted growth in low water temperatures, it was hypothesized that this temperate Halophila species diverged from tropical species in the relatively recent evolutionary past. We used a phylogenetic analysis of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions to examine the genetic variability and evolutionary trend of H. nipponica. ITS sequences of H. nipponica from various locations in Korea and Japan were identical or showed very low sequence divergence (less than 3-base pair, bp, difference), confirming that H. nipponica from Japan and Korea are the same species. Halophila species in the section Halophila, which have simple phyllotaxy (a pair of petiolate leaves at the rhizome node), were separated into five well-supported clades by maximum parsimony analysis. H. nipponica grouped with H. okinawensis and H. gaudichaudii from the subtropical regions in the same clade, the latter two species having quite low ITS sequence divergence from H. nipponica (7–15-bp). H. nipponica in Clade I diverged 2.95 ± 1.08 million years ago from species in Clade II, which includes H. ovalis. According to geographical distribution and genetic similarity, H. nipponica appears to have diverged from a tropical species like H. ovalis and adapted to warm temperate environments. The results of divergence time estimates suggest that the temperate H. nipponica is an older species than the subtropical H. okinawensis and H. gaudichaudii and they may have different evolutionary histories.

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<![CDATA[Genome Analysis of the Biotechnologically Relevant Acidophilic Iron Oxidising Strain JA12 Indicates Phylogenetic and Metabolic Diversity within the Novel Genus “Ferrovum”]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da08ab0ee8fa60b76b0a

Background

Members of the genus “Ferrovum” are ubiquitously distributed in acid mine drainage (AMD) waters which are characterised by their high metal and sulfate loads. So far isolation and microbiological characterisation have only been successful for the designated type strain “Ferrovum myxofaciens” P3G. Thus, knowledge about physiological characteristics and the phylogeny of the genus “Ferrovum” is extremely scarce.

Objective

In order to access the wider genetic pool of the genus “Ferrovum” we sequenced the genome of a “Ferrovum”-containing mixed culture and successfully assembled the almost complete genome sequence of the novel “Ferrovum” strain JA12.

Phylogeny and Lifestyle

The genome-based phylogenetic analysis indicates that strain JA12 and the type strain represent two distinct “Ferrovum” species. “Ferrovum” strain JA12 is characterised by an unusually small genome in comparison to the type strain and other iron oxidising bacteria. The prediction of nutrient assimilation pathways suggests that “Ferrovum” strain JA12 maintains a chemolithoautotrophic lifestyle utilising carbon dioxide and bicarbonate, ammonium and urea, sulfate, phosphate and ferrous iron as carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorous and energy sources, respectively.

Unique Metabolic Features

The potential utilisation of urea by “Ferrovum” strain JA12 is moreover remarkable since it may furthermore represent a strategy among extreme acidophiles to cope with the acidic environment. Unlike other acidophilic chemolithoautotrophs “Ferrovum” strain JA12 exhibits a complete tricarboxylic acid cycle, a metabolic feature shared with the closer related neutrophilic iron oxidisers among the Betaproteobacteria including Sideroxydans lithotrophicus and Thiobacillus denitrificans. Furthermore, the absence of characteristic redox proteins involved in iron oxidation in the well-studied acidophiles Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans (rusticyanin) and Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans (iron oxidase) indicates the existence of a modified pathway in “Ferrovum” strain JA12. Therefore, the results of the present study extend our understanding of the genus “Ferrovum” and provide a comprehensive framework for future comparative genome and metagenome studies.

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<![CDATA[Diversity, Distribution and Hydrocarbon Biodegradation Capabilities of Microbial Communities in Oil-Contaminated Cyanobacterial Mats from a Constructed Wetland]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da30ab0ee8fa60b84570

Various types of cyanobacterial mats were predominant in a wetland, constructed for the remediation of oil-polluted residual waters from an oil field in the desert of the south-eastern Arabian Peninsula, although such mats were rarely found in other wetland systems. There is scarce information on the bacterial diversity, spatial distribution and oil-biodegradation capabilities of freshwater wetland oil-polluted mats. Microbial community analysis by Automated Ribosomal Spacer Analysis (ARISA) showed that the different mats hosted distinct microbial communities. Average numbers of operational taxonomic units (OTUsARISA) were relatively lower in the mats with higher oil levels and the number of shared OTUsARISA between the mats was <60% in most cases. Multivariate analyses of fingerprinting profiles indicated that the bacterial communities in the wetland mats were influenced by oil and ammonia levels, but to a lesser extent by plant density. In addition to oil and ammonia, redundancy analysis (RDA) showed also a significant contribution of temperature, dissolved oxygen and sulfate concentration to the variations of the mats’ microbial communities. Pyrosequencing yielded 282,706 reads with >90% of the sequences affiliated to Proteobacteria (41% of total sequences), Cyanobacteria (31%), Bacteriodetes (11.5%), Planctomycetes (7%) and Chloroflexi (3%). Known autotrophic (e.g. Rivularia) and heterotrophic (e.g. Azospira) nitrogen-fixing bacteria as well as purple sulfur and non-sulfur bacteria were frequently encountered in all mats. On the other hand, sequences of known sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRBs) were rarely found, indicating that SRBs in the wetland mats probably belong to yet-undescribed novel species. The wetland mats were able to degrade 53–100% of C12–C30 alkanes after 6 weeks of incubation under aerobic conditions. We conclude that oil and ammonia concentrations are the major key players in determining the spatial distribution of the wetland mats’ microbial communities and that these mats contribute directly to the removal of hydrocarbons from oil field wastewaters.

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<![CDATA[Transcriptomics of Desiccation Tolerance in the Streptophyte Green Alga Klebsormidium Reveal a Land Plant-Like Defense Reaction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db47ab0ee8fa60bd9148

Background

Water loss has significant effects on physiological performance and survival rates of algae. However, despite the prominent presence of aeroterrestrial algae in terrestrial habitats, hardly anything is known about the molecular events that allow aeroterrestrial algae to survive harsh environmental conditions. We analyzed the transcriptome and physiology of a strain of the alpine aeroterrestrial alga Klebsormidium crenulatum under control and strong desiccation-stress conditions.

Principal Findings

For comparison we first established a reference transcriptome. The high-coverage reference transcriptome includes about 24,183 sequences (1.5 million reads, 636 million bases). The reference transcriptome encodes for all major pathways (energy, carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, sugars), nearly all deduced pathways are complete or missing only a few transcripts. Upon strong desiccation, more than 7000 transcripts showed changes in their expression levels. Most of the highest up-regulated transcripts do not show similarity to known viridiplant proteins, suggesting the existence of some genus- or species-specific responses to desiccation. In addition, we observed the up-regulation of many transcripts involved in desiccation tolerance in plants (e.g. proteins similar to those that are abundant in late embryogenesis (LEA), or proteins involved in early response to desiccation ERD), and enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of the raffinose family of oligosaccharides (RFO) known to act as osmolytes). Major physiological shifts are the up-regulation of transcripts for photosynthesis, energy production, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) metabolism, which is supported by elevated cellular glutathione content as revealed by immunoelectron microscopy as well as an increase in total antiradical power. However, the effective quantum yield of Photosystem II and CO2 fixation decreased sharply under the applied desiccation stress. In contrast, transcripts for cell integrative functions such as cell division, DNA replication, cofactor biosynthesis, and amino acid biosynthesis were down-regulated.

Significance

This is the first study investigating the desiccation transcriptome of a streptophyte green alga. Our results indicate that the cellular response is similar to embryophytes, suggesting that embryophytes inherited a basic cellular desiccation tolerance from their streptophyte predecessors.

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<![CDATA[An Intertwined Evolutionary History of Methanogenic Archaea and Sulfate Reduction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da77ab0ee8fa60b97278

Hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis and dissimilatory sulfate reduction, two of the oldest energy conserving respiratory systems on Earth, apparently could not have evolved in the same host, as sulfite, an intermediate of sulfate reduction, inhibits methanogenesis. However, certain methanogenic archaea metabolize sulfite employing a deazaflavin cofactor (F420)-dependent sulfite reductase (Fsr) where N- and C-terminal halves (Fsr-N and Fsr-C) are homologs of F420H2 dehydrogenase and dissimilatory sulfite reductase (Dsr), respectively. From genome analysis we found that Fsr was likely assembled from freestanding Fsr-N homologs and Dsr-like proteins (Dsr-LP), both being abundant in methanogens. Dsr-LPs fell into two groups defined by following sequence features: Group I (simplest), carrying a coupled siroheme-[Fe4-S4] cluster and sulfite-binding Arg/Lys residues; Group III (most complex), with group I features, a Dsr-type peripheral [Fe4-S4] cluster and an additional [Fe4-S4] cluster. Group II Dsr-LPs with group I features and a Dsr-type peripheral [Fe4-S4] cluster were proposed as evolutionary intermediates. Group III is the precursor of Fsr-C. The freestanding Fsr-N homologs serve as F420H2 dehydrogenase unit of a putative novel glutamate synthase, previously described membrane-bound electron transport system in methanogens and of assimilatory type sulfite reductases in certain haloarchaea. Among archaea, only methanogens carried Dsr-LPs. They also possessed homologs of sulfate activation and reduction enzymes. This suggested a shared evolutionary history for methanogenesis and sulfate reduction, and Dsr-LPs could have been the source of the oldest (3.47-Gyr ago) biologically produced sulfide deposit.

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<![CDATA[Rapid Recovery of Cyanobacterial Pigments in Desiccated Biological Soil Crusts following Addition of Water]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac2ab0ee8fa60bb11ad

We examined soil surface colour change to green and hydrotaxis following addition of water to biological soil crusts using pigment extraction, hyperspectral imaging, microsensors and 13C labeling experiments coupled to matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization time of flight-mass spectrometry (MALD-TOF MS). The topsoil colour turned green in less than 5 minutes following water addition. The concentrations of chlorophyll a (Chl a), scytonemin and echinenon rapidly increased in the top <1 mm layer while in the deeper layer, their concentrations remained low. Hyperspectral imaging showed that, in both wet and dehydrated crusts, cyanobacteria formed a layer at a depth of 0.2–0.4 mm and this layer did not move upward after wetting. 13C labeling experiments and MALDI TOF analysis showed that Chl a was already present in the desiccated crusts and de novo synthesis of this molecule started only after 2 days of wetting due to growth of cyanobacteria. Microsensor measurements showed that photosynthetic activity increased concomitantly with the increase of Chl a, and reached a maximum net rate of 92 µmol m−2 h−1 approximately 2 hours after wetting. We conclude that the colour change of soil crusts to green upon water addition was not due to hydrotaxis but rather to the quick recovery and reassembly of pigments. Cyanobacteria in crusts can maintain their photosynthetic apparatus intact even under prolonged periods of desiccation with the ability to resume their photosynthetic activities within minutes after wetting.

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<![CDATA[Genomic and transcriptomic analyses reveal adaptation mechanisms of an Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans strain YL15 to alpine acid mine drainage]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60bdff03

Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans is an acidophile that often occurs in low temperature acid mine drainage, e.g., that located at high altitude. Being able to inhabit the extreme environment, the bacterium must possess strategies to copy with the survival stress. Nonetheless, information on the strategies is in demand. Here, genomic and transcriptomic assays were performed to illuminate the adaptation mechanisms of an A. ferrivorans strain YL15, to the alpine acid mine drainage environment in Yulong copper mine in southwest China. Genomic analysis revealed that strain has a gene repertoire for metal-resistance, e.g., genes coding for the mer operon and a variety of transporters/efflux proteins, and for low pH adaptation, such as genes for hopanoid-synthesis and the sodium:proton antiporter. Genes for various DNA repair enzymes and synthesis of UV-absorbing mycosporine-like amino acids precursor indicated hypothetical UV radiation—resistance mechanisms in strain YL15. In addition, it has two types of the acquired immune system–type III-B and type I-F CRISPR/Cas modules against invasion of foreign genetic elements. RNA-seq based analysis uncovered that strain YL15 uses a set of mechanisms to adapt to low temperature. Genes involved in protein synthesis, transmembrane transport, energy metabolism and chemotaxis showed increased levels of RNA transcripts. Furthermore, a bacterioferritin Dps gene had higher RNA transcript counts at 6°C, possibly implicated in protecting DNA against oxidative stress at low temperature. The study represents the first to comprehensively unveil the adaptation mechanisms of an acidophilic bacterium to the acid mine drainage in alpine regions.

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<![CDATA[The Discovery of Stromatolites Developing at 3570 m above Sea Level in a High-Altitude Volcanic Lake Socompa, Argentinean Andes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da82ab0ee8fa60b9b126

We describe stromatolites forming at an altitude of 3570 m at the shore of a volcanic lake Socompa, Argentinean Andes. The water at the site of stromatolites formation is alkaline, hypersaline, rich in inorganic nutrients, very rich in arsenic, and warm (20–24°C) due to a hydrothermal input. The stromatolites do not lithify, but form broad, rounded and low-domed bioherms dominated by diatom frustules and aragonite micro-crystals agglutinated by extracellular substances. In comparison to other modern stromatolites, they harbour an atypical microbial community characterized by highly abundant representatives of Deinococcus-Thermus, Rhodobacteraceae, Desulfobacterales and Spirochaetes. Additionally, a high proportion of the sequences that could not be classified at phylum level showed less than 80% identity to the best hit in the NCBI database, suggesting the presence of novel distant lineages. The primary production in the stromatolites is generally high and likely dominated by Microcoleus sp. Through negative phototaxis, the location of these cyanobacteria in the stromatolites is controlled by UV light, which greatly influences their photosynthetic activity. Diatoms, dominated by Amphora sp., are abundant in the anoxic, sulfidic and essentially dark parts of the stromatolites. Although their origin in the stromatolites is unclear, they are possibly an important source of anaerobically degraded organic matter that induces in situ aragonite precipitation. To the best of our knowledge, this is so far the highest altitude with documented actively forming stromatolites. Their generally rich, diverse and to a large extent novel microbial community likely harbours valuable genetic and proteomic reserves, and thus deserves active protection. Furthermore, since the stromatolites flourish in an environment characterized by a multitude of extremes, including high exposure to UV radiation, they can be an excellent model system for studying microbial adaptations under conditions that, at least in part, resemble those during the early phase of life evolution on Earth.

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