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Bibliography on: Archaea

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Robert J. Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, a publisher, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology. More About:  RJR | OUR TEAM | OUR SERVICES | THIS WEBSITE

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 05 Aug 2020 at 01:30 Created: 

Archaea

In 1977, Carl Woese and George Fox applied molecular techniques to biodiversity and discovered that life on Earth consisted of three, not two (prokaryotes and eukaryotes), major lineages, tracing back nearly to the very origin of life on Earth. The third lineage has come to be known as the Archaea. Organisms now considered Archaea were originally thought to be a kind of prokaryote, but Woese and Fox showed that they were as different from prokaryotes as they were from eukaryotes. To understand life on Earth one must also understand the Archaea .

Created with PubMed® Query: archaea[TITLE] OR archaebacteria[TITLE] NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

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RevDate: 2020-08-04

Akıl C, Tran LT, Orhant-Prioux M, et al (2020)

Insights into the evolution of regulated actin dynamics via characterization of primitive gelsolin/cofilin proteins from Asgard archaea.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America pii:2009167117 [Epub ahead of print].

Asgard archaea genomes contain potential eukaryotic-like genes that provide intriguing insight for the evolution of eukaryotes. The eukaryotic actin polymerization/depolymerization cycle is critical for providing force and structure in many processes, including membrane remodeling. In general, Asgard genomes encode two classes of actin-regulating proteins from sequence analysis, profilins and gelsolins. Asgard profilins were demonstrated to regulate actin filament nucleation. Here, we identify actin filament severing, capping, annealing and bundling, and monomer sequestration activities by gelsolin proteins from Thorarchaeota (Thor), which complete a eukaryotic-like actin depolymerization cycle, and indicate complex actin cytoskeleton regulation in Asgard organisms. Thor gelsolins have homologs in other Asgard archaea and comprise one or two copies of the prototypical gelsolin domain. This appears to be a record of an initial preeukaryotic gene duplication event, since eukaryotic gelsolins are generally comprise three to six domains. X-ray structures of these proteins in complex with mammalian actin revealed similar interactions to the first domain of human gelsolin or cofilin with actin. Asgard two-domain, but not one-domain, gelsolins contain calcium-binding sites, which is manifested in calcium-controlled activities. Expression of two-domain gelsolins in mammalian cells enhanced actin filament disassembly on ionomycin-triggered calcium release. This functional demonstration, at the cellular level, provides evidence for a calcium-controlled Asgard actin cytoskeleton, indicating that the calcium-regulated actin cytoskeleton predates eukaryotes. In eukaryotes, dynamic bundled actin filaments are responsible for shaping filopodia and microvilli. By correlation, we hypothesize that the formation of the protrusions observed from Lokiarchaeota cell bodies may involve the gelsolin-regulated actin structures.

RevDate: 2020-07-27

Zhang L, Jiang D, Wu M, et al (2020)

New Insights Into DNA Repair Revealed by NucS Endonucleases From Hyperthermophilic Archaea.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:1263.

Hyperthermophilic Archaea (HA) thrive in high temperature environments and their genome is facing severe stability challenge due to the increased DNA damage levels caused by high temperature. Surprisingly, HA display spontaneous mutation frequencies similar to mesophilic microorganisms, thereby indicating that the former must possess more efficient DNA repair systems than the latter to counteract the potentially enhanced mutation rates under the harsher environment. Although a few repair proteins or enzymes from HA have been biochemically and structurally characterized, the molecular mechanisms of DNA repair of HA remain largely unknown. Genomic analyses of HA revealed that they lack MutS/MutL homologues of the mismatch repair (MMR) pathway and the recognition proteins of the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway. Endonucleases play an essential role in DNA repair. NucS endonuclease, a novel endonuclease recently identified in some HA and bacteria, has been shown to act on branched, mismatched, and deaminated DNA, suggesting that this endonuclease is a multifunctional enzyme involved in NER, MMR, and deaminated base repair in a non-canonical manner. However, the catalytic mechanism and the physiological function of NucS endonucleases from HA need to be further clarified to determine how they participate in the different DNA repair pathways in cells from HA. In this review, we focus on recent advances in our understanding of the function of NucS endonucleases from HA in NER, MMR, and deaminated DNA repair, and propose directions for future studies of the NucS family of endonucleases.

RevDate: 2020-07-21

Charlesworth J, Kimyon O, Manefield M, et al (2020)

Archaea join the conversation: detection of AHL-like activity across a range of archaeal isolates.

FEMS microbiology letters pii:5874252 [Epub ahead of print].

Quorum sensing is a mechanism of genetic control allowing single cell organisms to coordinate phenotypic response(s) across a local population and is often critical for ecosystem function. Although quorum sensing has been extensively studied in bacteria comparatively less is known about this mechanism in Archaea. Given the growing significance of Archaea in both natural and anthropogenic settings, it is important to delineate how widespread this phenomenon of signaling is in this domain. Employing a plasmid-based AHL biosensor in conjunction with thin layer chromatography (TLC), the present study screened a broad range of euryarchaeota isolates for potential signaling activity. Data indicated the presence of 11 new Archaeal isolates with AHL-like activity against the LuxR-based AHL biosensor, including for the first time putative AHL activity in a thermophile. The presence of multiple signals and distinct changes between growth phases were also shown via TLC. Multiple signal molecules were detected using TLC in Haloferax mucosum, Halorubrum kocurii, Natronococcus occultus and Halobacterium salinarium. The finding of multiple novel signal producers suggests the potential for quorum sensing to play an important role not only in the regulation of complex phenotypes within Archaea but the potential for cross-talk with bacterial systems.

RevDate: 2020-07-17

Hogrel G, Lu Y, Alexandre N, et al (2020)

Role of RadA and DNA Polymerases in Recombination-Associated DNA Synthesis in Hyperthermophilic Archaea.

Biomolecules, 10(7): pii:biom10071045.

Among the three domains of life, the process of homologous recombination (HR) plays a central role in the repair of double-strand DNA breaks and the restart of stalled replication forks. Curiously, main protein actors involved in the HR process appear to be essential for hyperthermophilic Archaea raising interesting questions about the role of HR in replication and repair strategies of those Archaea living in extreme conditions. One key actor of this process is the recombinase RadA, which allows the homologous strand search and provides a DNA substrate required for following DNA synthesis and restoring genetic information. DNA polymerase operation after the strand exchange step is unclear in Archaea. Working with Pyrococcus abyssi proteins, here we show that both DNA polymerases, family-B polymerase (PolB) and family-D polymerase (PolD), can take charge of processing the RadA-mediated recombination intermediates. Our results also indicate that PolD is far less efficient, as compared with PolB, to extend the invaded DNA at the displacement-loop (D-loop) substrate. These observations coincide with previous genetic analyses obtained on Thermococcus species showing that PolB is mainly involved in DNA repair without being essential probably because PolD could take over combined with additional partners.

RevDate: 2020-07-13

Wu L, Chen X, Wei W, et al (2020)

A Critical Review on Nitrous Oxide Production by Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea.

Environmental science & technology [Epub ahead of print].

The continuous increase of nitrous oxide (N2O) in the atmosphere has become a global concern due to its property as a potent greenhouse gas. Given the important role of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) in ammonia oxidation and their involvement in N2O production, a clear understanding of the knowledge on archaeal N2O production is necessary for global N2O mitigation. Compared to bacterial N2O production by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), AOA-driven N2O production pathways are less-well elucidated. In this review, we synthesized the currently proposed AOA-driven N2O production pathways in combination with enzymology distinction, analysed the role of AOA species involved in N2O production pathways, discussed the relative contribution of AOA to N2O production in both natural and anthropogenic environments, summarised the factors affecting archaeal N2O yield, and compared the distinctions among approaches used to differentiate ammonia oxidizer-associated N2O production. We then put forward perspectives for archaeal N2O production and future challenges to further improve our understanding of the production pathways, putative enzymes involved and potential approaches for identification in order to potentially achieve effective N2O mitigations.

RevDate: 2020-07-13

Wang L, Pang Q, Peng F, et al (2020)

Response Characteristics of Nitrifying Bacteria and Archaea Community Involved in Nitrogen Removal and Bioelectricity Generation in Integrated Tidal Flow Constructed Wetland-Microbial Fuel Cell.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:1385.

This study explores nitrogen removal performance, bioelectricity generation, and the response of microbial community in two novel tidal flow constructed wetland-microbial fuel cells (TFCW-MFCs) when treating synthetic wastewater under two different chemical oxygen demand/total nitrogen (COD/TN, or simplified as C/N) ratios (10:1 and 5:1). The results showed that they achieved high and stable COD, NH4+-N, and TN removal efficiencies. Besides, TN removal rate of TFCW-MFC was increased by 5-10% compared with that of traditional CW-MFC. Molecular biological analysis revealed that during the stabilization period, a low C/N ratio remarkably promoted diversities of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in the cathode layer, whereas a high one enhanced the richness of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) in each medium; the dominant genera in AOA, AOB, and NOB were Candidatus Nitrosotenuis, Nitrosomonas, and Nitrobacter. Moreover, a high C/N ratio facilitated the growth of Nitrosomonas, while it inhibited the growth of Candidatus Nitrosotenuis. The distribution of microbial community structures in NOB was separated by space rather than time or C/N ratio, except for Nitrobacter. This is caused by the differences of pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), and nitrogen concentration. The response of microbial community characteristics to nitrogen transformations and bioelectricity generation demonstrated that TN concentration is significantly negatively correlated with AOA-shannon, AOA-chao, 16S rRNA V4-V5-shannon, and 16S rRNA V4-V5-chao, particularly due to the crucial functions of Nitrosopumilus, Planctomyces, and Aquicella. Additionally, voltage output was primarily influenced by microorganisms in the genera of Nitrosopumilus, Nitrosospira, Altererythrobacter, Gemmata, and Aquicella. This study not only presents an applicable tool to treat high nitrogen-containing wastewater, but also provides a theoretical basis for the use of TFCW-MFC and the regulation of microbial community in nitrogen removal and electricity production.

RevDate: 2020-07-08

Qin W, Zheng Y, Zhao F, et al (2020)

Alternative strategies of nutrient acquisition and energy conservation map to the biogeography of marine ammonia-oxidizing archaea.

The ISME journal pii:10.1038/s41396-020-0710-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) are among the most abundant and ubiquitous microorganisms in the ocean, exerting primary control on nitrification and nitrogen oxides emission. Although united by a common physiology of chemoautotrophic growth on ammonia, a corresponding high genomic and habitat variability suggests tremendous adaptive capacity. Here, we compared 44 diverse AOA genomes, 37 from species cultivated from samples collected across diverse geographic locations and seven assembled from metagenomic sequences from the mesopelagic to hadopelagic zones of the deep ocean. Comparative analysis identified seven major marine AOA genotypic groups having gene content correlated with their distinctive biogeographies. Phosphorus and ammonia availabilities as well as hydrostatic pressure were identified as selective forces driving marine AOA genotypic and gene content variability in different oceanic regions. Notably, AOA methylphosphonate biosynthetic genes span diverse oceanic provinces, reinforcing their importance for methane production in the ocean. Together, our combined comparative physiological, genomic, and metagenomic analyses provide a comprehensive view of the biogeography of globally abundant AOA and their adaptive radiation into a vast range of marine and terrestrial habitats.

RevDate: 2020-07-07

Shi X, Gao G, Tian J, et al (2020)

Symbiosis of sulfate-reducing bacteria and methanogenic archaea in sewer systems.

Environment international, 143:105923 pii:S0160-4120(20)31878-X [Epub ahead of print].

Sulfide and methane emissions always simultaneously exist in natural environment and constitute a major topic of societal concern. However, the metabolic environments between sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) and methanogenic archaea (MA) exist a great difference, which seems to be opposite to the coexisting phenomenon. To explore this issue, the comprehensive biofilm structures, substrate consuming and metabolism pathways of SRB and MA were investigated in a case study of urban sewers. The results showed that, due to the stricter environmental requirements of MA than SRB, SRB became the preponderant microorganism which promoted the rapid generation of sulfide in the initial period of biofilm formation. According to a metagenomic analysis, the SRB appeared to be more preferential than MA in sewers, and the preponderant SRB could provide a key medium (Methyl-coenzyme M) for methane metabolism. Therefore, the diversity of MA gradually increased, and the symbiosis system formed preliminarily. In addition, via L-cysteine, methane metabolism also participated in sulfide consumption which was involved in cysteine and methionine metabolism. This phenomenon of sulfide consumption led to the forward reaction of sulfide metabolism, which could promote sulfide generation while stabilizing the pH value (H+ concentration) and S2- concentrations which should have inhibited SRB and MA production. Therefore, the heavily intertwined interactions between sulfide and methane metabolism provided environmental security for SRB and MA, and completely formed the symbiosis between SRB and MA. Based on these findings, an ecological model involving synergistic mechanism between sulfide and methane generation is proposed and this model can also improve understanding on the symbiosis of SRB and MA in the natural environment.

RevDate: 2020-07-07

Lin Z, Huang W, Zhou J, et al (2020)

The variation on nitrogen removal mechanisms and the succession of ammonia oxidizing archaea and ammonia oxidizing bacteria with temperature in biofilm reactors treating saline wastewater.

Bioresource technology, 314:123760 pii:S0960-8524(20)31032-4 [Epub ahead of print].

To reveal nitrogen removal mechanisms under environmental stresses, biofilm reactors were operated at different temperatures (10 °C-35 °C) treating saline wastewater (salinity 3%). The results showed nitrogen removal efficiency was 98.46% at 30 °C and 60.85% at 10 °C, respectively. Both ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) participated in nitrification. 94.9% of the overall ammonia oxidation was attributed to AOA at 10 °C, but only 48.2% of that was undertaken by AOA at 35 °C. AOA had a greater contribution at low temperature, which demonstrated that nitrogen removal pathway varied with temperature. Aerobic denitrification was more stable than anoxic denitrification. High-throughput sequencing showed Crenarchaeota was the dominant AOA (97.02-34.47%), cooperating with various heterotrophic AOB. Real-time PCR indicated that AOA was three orders of magnitude more abundant than AOB. AOA was more resistant to low temperature and high-saline stresses. Ammonia oxidizers had distinct responses to temperature change and showed diverse relationships at different temperatures.

RevDate: 2020-07-07

Eichler J (2020)

N-glycosylation in Archaea - New roles for an ancient post-translational modification.

Molecular microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Genome analysis points to N-glycosylation as being an almost universal post-translational modification in Archaea. Although such predictions have been confirmed in only a limited number of species, such studies are making it increasingly clear that the N-linked glycans which decorate archaeal glycoproteins present diversity in terms of both glycan composition and architecture far beyond what is seen in the other two domains of life. In addition to continuing to decipher pathways of N-glycosylation, recent efforts have revealed how Archaea exploit this variability in novel roles. In addition to encouraging glycoprotein synthesis, folding and assembly into properly functioning higher-ordered complexes, N-glycosylation also provides Archaea with a strategy to cope with changing environments. Archaea can also exploit the apparent species-specific nature of N-glycosylation for selectivity in mating, and hence to maintain species boundaries, and in other events where cell-selective interactions are required. At the same, addressing components of N-glycosylation pathways across archaeal phylogeny offers support for the concept of an archaeal origin for eukaryotes. In this MicroReview, these and other recent discoveries related to N-glycosylation in Archaea are considered.

RevDate: 2020-07-07

Zou D, Wan R, Han L, et al (2020)

Genomic Characteristics of a Novel Species of Ammonia-oxidizing Archaea from the Jiulong River Estuary.

Applied and environmental microbiology pii:AEM.00736-20 [Epub ahead of print].

Ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) are ubiquitous in diverse ecosystems, and play a pivotal role in global nitrogen and carbon cycling. Although AOA diversity and distribution are widely studied mainly based on the amoA (alpha subunit of ammonia monooxygenase) genotypes, only limited investigations addressed the relationship between AOA genetic adaptation, metabolic features, and ecological niches, especially in estuaries. Here, we have described the AOA communities along the Jiulong River Estuary in Southern China. Nine high-quality AOA metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) were obtained by metagenomics. Five of the MAGs are proposed to constitute a new species, Ca Nitrosopumilus aestuariumsis sp. nov., based on the phylogenies of the 16S-23S rRNA genes and concatenated ribosomal proteins, as well as the average amino acid identity. Comparative genomic analysis revealed unique features of the new species, including a high number of genes related to diverse carbohydrate-active enzymes, phosphatases, heavy metal transport systems, flagellation, and chemotaxis. These genes may be crucial for AOA adaptation to the eutrophic and heavy metal-contaminated Jiulong River Estuary. The uncovered detailed genomic characteristics of the new estuarine AOA species highlights AOA contribution to ammonia oxidation in the Jiulong River Estuary.IMPORTANCE In this study, AOA communities along a river of Southern China were characterized and metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of a novel AOA clade were also obtained. Based on the characterization of AOA genomes, this study suggested adaptation of the novel AOAs to estuarine environments, providing new information for ecology of estuarine AOA and nitrogen cycle in contaminated estuarine environments.

RevDate: 2020-07-07

Pappenreiter PA, Zwirtmayr S, Mauerhofer LM, et al (2019)

Development of a simultaneous bioreactor system for characterization of gas production kinetics of methanogenic archaea at high pressure.

Engineering in life sciences, 19(7):537-544.

Cultivation of methanogens under high pressure offers a great opportunity in biotechnological processes, one of which is the improvement of the gas-liquid transfer of substrate gases into the medium broth. This article describes a newly developed simultaneous bioreactor system consisting of four identical cultivation vessels suitable for investigation of microbial activity at pressures up to 50 bar and temperatures up to 145°C. Initial pressure studies at 10 and 50 bar of the autotrophic and hydrogenotrophic methanogens Methanothermobacter marburgensis, Methanobacterium palustre, and Methanobacterium thermaggregans were performed to evaluate the reproducibility of the system as well as to test the productivity of these strains. The strains were compared with respect to gas conversion (%), methane evolution rate (MER) (mmol L-1 h-1), turnover rate (h-1), and maximum conversion rate (kmin) (bar h-1). A pressure drop that can be explained by the reaction stoichiometry showed that all tested strains were active under pressurized conditions. Our study sheds light on the production kinetics of methanogenic strains under high-pressure conditions. In addition, the simultaneous bioreactor system is a suitable first step screening system for analyzing the substrate uptake and/or production kinetics of gas conversion and/or gas production processes for barophilic or barotolerant microbes.

RevDate: 2020-07-01

Zhang Y, Zuo JE, Wang SK, et al (2020)

[Spatial Distribution of Nitrogen Metabolism Functional Genes of Eubacteria and Archaebacteria in Dianchi Lake].

Huan jing ke xue= Huanjing kexue, 41(6):2908-2917.

Nitrogen metabolism plays an important role in the nitrogen cycle and transformation in Dianchi Lake. Not only do eukaryotes participate in nitrogen transformation but prokaryotes, as the main drivers of the nitrogen cycle, also play an extremely important role in the nitrogen cycle. Based on 16S rDNA high-throughput sequencing technology, 13 sites in Caohai and Waihai of Dianchi Lake were monitored, and PICRUSt function analysis method was adopted to analyze the microbial community diversity and key genes of nitrogen metabolism in Dianchi Lake. Bacteria belonging to 35 phyla and 427 genera were found in Dianchi Lake water and mainly included Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. Archaea had 14 phyla and 61 genera and mainly belonged to Euryarchaeota. The overall bacterial richness index of Dianchi Lake was higher than that of archaea, and the bacterial diversity index of Caohai was higher than that of Waihai. Functional prediction showed functional richness of bacteria and archaea. There were 35 KO pathways involved in nitrogen metabolism in bacteria, including key genes such as nitrogenous nitrate-reducing gene nirB, nitric oxide reductase gene norB in denitrification, and nitroreductase gene nasK. There were 23 KO pathways involved in nitrogen metabolism in archaea, involving nifH, nifK, and nifD nitrogenase genes in nitrogen fixation. The copy number of nitrogenase genes was significantly higher than that of other nitrogenase genes. The copy number of nitrogen-fixing genes of archaea was higher than that of bacteria, the nitrogen metabolism capacity of archaea in Caohai was higher than that in Waihai, and the potential of nitrogen-fixation of archaea in Dianchi Lake water was higher than that of bacteria. From the perspective of community structure and function prediction of bacteria and archaea, this study discussed the differences of nitrogen cycle in bacteria and archaea in different areas of Dianchi Lake and provided a decision basis for water environment management in Dianchi Lake.

RevDate: 2020-06-30

Song Y, Zhu Z, Zhou W, et al (2020)

High-efficiency transformation of archaea by direct PCR products with its application to directed evolution of a thermostable enzyme.

Microbial biotechnology [Epub ahead of print].

Hyperthermophilic archaea with unique biochemical and physiological characteristics are important organisms for fundamental research of life science and have great potential for biotechnological applications. However, low transformation efficiency of foreign DNA molecules impedes developments in genetic modification tools and industrial applications. In this study, we applied prolonged overlap extension PCR (POE-PCR) to generate multimeric DNA molecules and then transformed them into two hyperthermophilic archaea, Thermococcus kodakarensis KOD1 and Pyrococcus yayanosii A1. This study was the first example to demonstrate the enhanced transformation efficiencies of POE-PCR products by a factor of approximately 100 for T. kodakarensis KOD1 and 8 for P. yayanosii A1, respectively, relative to circular shuttle plasmids. Furthermore, directed evolution of a modestly thermophilic enzyme, Methanothermococcus okinawensis 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGR), was conducted to obtain more stable ones due to high transformation efficiency of T. kodakarensis (i.e. ~3 × 104 CFU per μg DNA). T. kodakarensis harbouring the most thermostable MoHMGR mutant can grow in the presence of a thermostable antibiotic simvastatin at 85°C and even higher temperatures. This high transformation efficiency technique could not only help develop more hyperthermophilic enzyme mutants via directed evolution but also simplify genetical modification of archaea, which could be novel hosts for industrial biotechnology.

RevDate: 2020-06-25

Leoni C, Volpicella M, Fosso B, et al (2020)

A Differential Metabarcoding Approach to Describe Taxonomy Profiles of Bacteria and Archaea in the Saltern of Margherita di Savoia (Italy).

Microorganisms, 8(6): pii:microorganisms8060936.

Microorganisms inhabiting saline environments are an interesting ecological model for the study of the adaptation of organisms to extreme living conditions and constitute a precious resource of enzymes and bioproducts for biotechnological applications. We analyzed the microbial communities in nine ponds with increasing salt concentrations (salinity range 4.9-36.0%) of the Saltern of Margherita di Savoia (Italy), the largest thalassohaline saltern in Europe. A deep-metabarcoding NGS procedure addressing separately the V5-V6 and V3-V4 hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA gene of Bacteria and Archaea, respectively, and a CARD-FISH (catalyzed reporter deposition fluorescence in situ hybridization) analysis allowed us to profile the dynamics of microbial populations at the different salt concentrations. Both the domains were detected throughout the saltern, even if the low relative abundance of Archaea in the three ponds with the lowest salinities prevented the construction of the relative amplicon libraries. The highest cell counts were recorded at 14.5% salinity for Bacteria and at 24.1% salinity for Archaea. While Bacteria showed the greatest number of genera in the first ponds (salinity range 4.9-14.5%), archaeal genera were more numerous in the last ponds of the saltern (salinity 24.1-36.0%). Among prokaryotes, Salinibacter was the genus with the maximum abundance (~49% at 34.6% salinity). Other genera detected at high abundance were the archaeal Haloquadratum (~43% at 36.0% salinity) and Natronomonas (~18% at 13.1% salinity) and the bacterial "Candidatus Aquiluna" (~19% at 14.5% salinity). Interestingly, "Candidatus Aquiluna" had not been identified before in thalassohaline waters.

RevDate: 2020-06-22

Coker OO, Kai Wu WK, Wong SH, et al (2020)

Altered Gut Archaea Composition and Interaction with Bacteria are Associated with Colorectal Cancer.

Gastroenterology pii:S0016-5085(20)34843-5 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Changes in the intestinal microbiota have been associated with development and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). Archaea are stable components of the microbiota, but little is known about their composition or contribution to colorectal carcinogenesis. We analyzed archaea in fecal microbiomes of 2 large cohorts of patients with CRC.

METHODS: We performed shotgun metagenomic analyses of fecal samples from 585 subjects (184 patients with CRC, 197 patients with adenomas, and 204 healthy individuals [controls]) from discovery (165 individuals) and validation (420 individuals) cohorts. Assignment of taxonomies was performed by exact k-mer alignment against an integrated microbial reference genome database.

RESULTS: Principal component analysis of archaeomes revealed distinct clusters in fecal samples from patients with CRC, patients with adenomas, and controls (P<.001), indicating an alteration in the composition of enteric archaea during tumorigenesis. Fecal samples from patients with CRC had significant enrichment of halophilic and depletion of methanogenic archaea. The halophilic Natrinema sp. J7-2 increased progressively in samples from controls, to patients with adenomas, to patients with CRC. Abundances of 9 archaea species that were enriched in fecal samples from patients with CRC distinguished them from controls with areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.82 in the discovery cohort and 0.83 in the validation cohort. An association between archaea and bacteria diversities was observed in fecal samples from controls but not from patients with CRC. Archaea that were enriched in fecal samples from patients with CRC had an extensive mutual association with bacteria that were enriched in the same samples, and exclusivity with bacteria that were lost from these samples.

CONCLUSIONS: Archaeomes of fecal samples from patients with CRC are characterized by enrichment of halophiles and depletion of methanogens. Studies are needed to determine whether associations between specific archaea and bacteria species in samples from patients with CRC contribute to or are a response to colorectal tumorigenesis.

RevDate: 2020-06-17

Zhao J, Meng Y, Drewer J, et al (2020)

Differential Ecosystem Function Stability of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea and Bacteria following Short-Term Environmental Perturbation.

mSystems, 5(3): pii:5/3/e00309-20.

Rapidly expanding conversion of tropical forests to oil palm plantations in Southeast Asia leads to soil acidification following intensive nitrogen fertilization. Changes in soil pH are predicted to have an impact on archaeal ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), and complete (comammox) ammonia oxidizers and, consequently, on nitrification. It is therefore critical to determine whether the predicted effects of pH on ammonia oxidizers and nitrification activity apply in tropical soils subjected to various degrees of anthropogenic activity. This was investigated by experimental manipulation of pH in soil microcosms from a land-use gradient (forest, riparian, and oil palm soils). The nitrification rate was greater in forest soils with native neutral pH than in converted acidic oil palm soils. Ammonia oxidizer activity decreased following acidification of the forest soils but increased after liming of the oil palm soils, leading to a trend of a reversed net nitrification rate after pH modification. AOA and AOB nitrification activity was dependent on pH, but AOB were more sensitive to pH modification than AOA, which demonstrates a greater stability of AOA than AOB under conditions of short-term perturbation. In addition, these results predict AOB to be a good bioindicator of nitrification response following pH perturbation during land-use conversion. AOB and/or comammox species were active in all soils along the land-use gradient, even, unexpectedly, under acidic conditions, suggesting their adaptation to native acidic or acidified soils. The present study therefore provided evidence for limited stability of soil ammonia oxidizer activity following intensive anthropogenic activities, which likely aggravates the vulnerability of nitrogen cycle processes to environmental disturbance.IMPORTANCE Physiological and ecological studies have provided evidence for pH-driven niche specialization of ammonia oxidizers in terrestrial ecosystems. However, the functional stability of ammonia oxidizers following pH change has not been investigated, despite its importance in understanding the maintenance of ecosystem processes following environmental perturbation. This is particularly true after anthropogenic perturbation, such as the conversion of tropical forest to oil palm plantations. This study demonstrated a great impact of land-use conversion on nitrification, which is linked to changes in soil pH due to common agricultural practices (intensive fertilization). In addition, the different communities of ammonia oxidizers were differently affected by short-term pH perturbations, with implications for future land-use conversions but also for increased knowledge of associated global nitrous oxide emissions and current climate change concerns.

RevDate: 2020-06-14

Di Giulio M (2020)

The phylogenetic distribution of the glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase and Glu-tRNAGln amidotransferase in the fundamental lineages would imply that the ancestor of archaea, that of eukaryotes and LUCA were progenotes.

Bio Systems pii:S0303-2647(20)30073-3 [Epub ahead of print].

The function of the glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase and Glu-tRNAGln amidotransferase might be related to the origin of the genetic code because, for example, glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase catalyses the fundamental reaction that makes the genetic code. If the evolutionary stage of the origin of these two enzymes could be unambiguously identified, then the genetic code should still have been originating at that particular evolutionary stage because the fundamental reaction that makes the code itself was still evidently evolving. This would result in that particular evolutionary moment being attributed to the evolutionary stage of the progenote because it would have a relationship between the genotype and the phenotype not yet fully realized because the genetic code was precisely still originating. I then analyzed the distribution of the glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase and Glu-tRNAGln aminodotrasferase in the main phyletic lineages. Since in some cases the origin of these two enzymes can be related to the evolutionary stages of ancestors of archaea and eukaryotes, this would indicate these ancestors as progenotes because at that evolutionary moment the genetic code was evidently still evolving, thus realizing the definition of progenote. The conclusion that the ancestor of archaea and that of eukaryotes were progenotes would imply that even the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) was a progenote because it appeared, on the tree of life, temporally before these ancestors.

RevDate: 2020-06-13

Pinevich AV (2020)

On the use of basic terms eukaryotic cell/eukaryotes/nucleated organisms, on evolutionary views challenged by the discovery of eukaryotic signatures in asgard archaea, and on a new taxon name for eukaryotes.

Bio Systems pii:S0303-2647(20)30077-0 [Epub ahead of print].

The endosymbiosis theory most widely accepted variant surmises the engulfment of bacterial cell by archaeal cell. For decades, this scenario was reputed to be an unconfirmed hypothesis, and only recently it has obtained an indirect proof in Asgard archaea environmental DNA encoding eukaryotic signatures - actin cytoskeleton, small GTPases, and ESCRT complex. In view of growing interest to this aspect of the endosymbiosis theory, it seemed timely to revisit basic terms eukaryotic cell/eukaryotes/nucleated organisms. The article highlights inadequate applications of these terms, and seeks for their consistency with regard to phylogeny and taxonomy. Additionally, new name Caryosignifera is proposed for the archaeal phylum represented by: (1) several underexplored representatives of Asgard archaea manifested by above-mentioned DNA; (2) extant descendants of extinct engulfing archaea; (3) eukaryotic host cell lineages in modern nucleated organisms (protists, algae, plants, fungi, and animals).

RevDate: 2020-06-12

Gryta A, M Frąc (2020)

Methodological Aspects of Multiplex Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism-Technique to Describe the Genetic Diversity of Soil Bacteria, Archaea and Fungi.

Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 20(11): pii:s20113292.

The molecular fingerprinting methods used to evaluate soil microbial diversity could also be used as effective biosensors for the purposes of monitoring ecological soil status. The biodiversity of microorganisms is a relevant index of soil activity and there is a necessity to develop tools to generate reliable results for an emerging approach in the field of environmental control using microbial diversity biosensors. This work reports a method under development for determining soil microbial diversity using high efficiency Multiplex PCR-Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (M-T-RFLP) for the simultaneous detection of bacteria, archaea and fungi. Three different primer sets were used in the reaction and the analytical conditions were optimized. Optimal analytical conditions were achieved using 0.5 µM of primer for bacteria and 1 µM for archaea and fungi, 4 ng of soil DNA template, and HaeIII restriction enzyme. Comparative tests using the proposed analytical approach and a single analysis of each microorganism group were carried out to indicate that both genetic profiles were similar. The Jaccard similarity coefficient between single and multiplexing approach ranged from 0.773 to 0.850 for bacteria and fungi, and 0.208 to 0.905 for archaea. In conclusion, the multiplexing and pooling approaches significantly reduced the costs and time required to perform the analyses, while maintaining a proper effectiveness.

RevDate: 2020-06-09

Murray AE, Freudenstein J, Gribaldo S, et al (2020)

Roadmap for naming uncultivated Archaea and Bacteria.

Nature microbiology pii:10.1038/s41564-020-0733-x [Epub ahead of print].

The assembly of single-amplified genomes (SAGs) and metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) has led to a surge in genome-based discoveries of members affiliated with Archaea and Bacteria, bringing with it a need to develop guidelines for nomenclature of uncultivated microorganisms. The International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP) only recognizes cultures as 'type material', thereby preventing the naming of uncultivated organisms. In this Consensus Statement, we propose two potential paths to solve this nomenclatural conundrum. One option is the adoption of previously proposed modifications to the ICNP to recognize DNA sequences as acceptable type material; the other option creates a nomenclatural code for uncultivated Archaea and Bacteria that could eventually be merged with the ICNP in the future. Regardless of the path taken, we believe that action is needed now within the scientific community to develop consistent rules for nomenclature of uncultivated taxa in order to provide clarity and stability, and to effectively communicate microbial diversity.

RevDate: 2020-06-08

Zhou S, Xiang H, JL Liu (2020)

CTP synthase forms cytoophidia in archaea.

Journal of genetics and genomics = Yi chuan xue bao pii:S1673-8527(20)30066-7 [Epub ahead of print].

CTP synthase (CTPS) is an important metabolic enzyme that catalyzes the rate-limiting reaction of nucleotide CTP de novo synthesis. Since 2010, a series of studies have demonstrated that CTPS can form filamentous structures in bacteria and eukaryotes, which are termed cytoophidia. However, it is unknown whether cytoophidia exist in the third domain of life, archaea. Using Haloarcula hispanica as a model system, here we demonstrate that CTPS forms distinct intracellular compartments in archaea. Under stimulated emission depletion microscopy, we find that the structures of H. hispanica CTPS are elongated, similar to cytoophidia in bacteria and eukaryotes. When Haloarcula cells are cultured in low-salt medium, the occurrence of cytoophidia increases dramatically. In addition, treatment of H. hispanica with a glutamine analog or overexpression of CTPS can promote cytoophidium assembly. Our study reveals that CTPS can form cytoophidia in all three domains of life, suggesting that forming cytoophidia is an ancient property of CTPS.

RevDate: 2020-06-05

Anonymous (2020)

Corrigendum to: D-Galactose catabolism in archaea: Operation of the DeLey-Doudoroff pathway in Haloferax volcanii.

FEMS microbiology letters, 367(11):.

RevDate: 2020-06-05

Tang L (2020)

Taxonomy of Bacteria and Archaea.

Nature methods, 17(6):562.

RevDate: 2020-06-05

Peng X, Mayo-Muñoz D, Bhoobalan-Chitty Y, et al (2020)

Anti-CRISPR Proteins in Archaea.

Trends in microbiology pii:S0966-842X(20)30133-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Anti-CRISPR (Acr) proteins are natural inhibitors of CRISPR-Cas immune systems. To date, Acrs inhibiting types I, II, III, V, and VI CRISPR-Cas systems have been characterized. While most known Acrs are derived from bacterial phages and prophages, very few have been characterized in the domain Archaea, despite the nearly ubiquitous presence of CRISPR-Cas in archaeal cells. Here we summarize the discovery and characterization of the archaeal Acrs with the representatives encoded by a model archaeal virus, Sulfolobus islandicus rod-shaped virus 2 (SIRV2). AcrID1 inhibits subtype I-D CRISPR-Cas immunity through direct interaction with the large subunit Cas10d of the effector complex, and AcrIIIB1 inhibits subtype III-B CRISPR-Cas immunity through a mechanism interfering with middle/late gene targeting. Future development of efficient screening methods will be key to uncovering the diversity of archaeal Acrs.

RevDate: 2020-05-25

Qi L, Li J, Jia J, et al (2020)

Comprehensive analysis of the pre-ribosomal RNA maturation pathway in a methanoarchaeon exposes the conserved circularization and linearization mode in archaea.

RNA biology [Epub ahead of print].

The ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes are generally organized as an operon and cotranscribed into a polycistronic precursor; therefore, processing and maturation of pre-rRNAs are essential for ribosome biogenesis. However, rRNA maturation pathways of archaea, particularly of methanoarchaea, are scarcely known. Here, we thoroughly elucidated the maturation pathway of the rRNA operon (16S-tRNAAla-23S-tRNACys-5S) in Methanolobus psychrophilus, one representative of methanoarchaea. Enzymatic assay demonstrated that EndA, a tRNA splicing endoribonuclease, cleaved bulge-helix-bulge (BHB) motifs buried in the processing stems of pre-16S and pre-23S rRNAs. Northern blot and quantitative PCR detected splicing-coupled circularization of pre-16S and pre-23S rRNAs, which accounted for 2% and 12% of the corresponding rRNAs, respectively. Importantly, endoribonuclease Nob1 was determined to linearize circular pre-16S rRNA at the mature 3' end so to expose the anti-Shine-Dalgarno sequence, while circular pre-23S rRNA was linearized at the mature 5' end by an unknown endoribonuclease. The resultant 5' and 3' extension in linearized pre-16S and pre-23S rRNAs were finally matured through 5'-3' and 3'-5' exoribonucleolytic trimming, respectively. Additionally, a novel processing pathway of endoribonucleolysis coupled with exoribonucleolysis was identified for the pre-5S rRNA maturation in this methanogen, which could be also conserved in most methanogenic euryarchaea. Based on evaluating the phylogenetic conservation of the key elements that are involved in circularization and linearization of pre-rRNA maturation, we predict that the rRNA maturation mode revealed here could be prevalent among archaea.

RevDate: 2020-05-25

Eckert I, Z Weinberg (2020)

Discovery of 20 novel ribosomal leader candidates in bacteria and archaea.

BMC microbiology, 20(1):130 pii:10.1186/s12866-020-01823-6.

BACKGROUND: RNAs perform many functions in addition to supplying coding templates, such as binding proteins. RNA-protein interactions are important in multiple processes in all domains of life, and the discovery of additional protein-binding RNAs expands the scope for studying such interactions. To find such RNAs, we exploited a form of ribosomal regulation. Ribosome biosynthesis must be tightly regulated to ensure that concentrations of rRNAs and ribosomal proteins (r-proteins) match. One regulatory mechanism is a ribosomal leader (r-leader), which is a domain in the 5' UTR of an mRNA whose genes encode r-proteins. When the concentration of one of these r-proteins is high, the protein binds the r-leader in its own mRNA, reducing gene expression and thus protein concentrations. To date, 35 types of r-leaders have been validated or predicted.

RESULTS: By analyzing additional conserved RNA structures on a multi-genome scale, we identified 20 novel r-leader structures. Surprisingly, these included new r-leaders in the highly studied organisms Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Our results reveal several cases where multiple unrelated RNA structures likely bind the same r-protein ligand, and uncover previously unknown r-protein ligands. Each r-leader consistently occurs upstream of r-protein genes, suggesting a regulatory function. That the predicted r-leaders function as RNAs is supported by evolutionary correlations in the nucleotide sequences that are characteristic of a conserved RNA secondary structure. The r-leader predictions are also consistent with the locations of experimentally determined transcription start sites.

CONCLUSIONS: This work increases the number of known or predicted r-leader structures by more than 50%, providing additional opportunities to study structural and evolutionary aspects of RNA-protein interactions. These results provide a starting point for detailed experimental studies.

RevDate: 2020-05-22

Shi LD, Lv PL, Wang M, et al (2020)

A mixed consortium of methanotrophic archaea and bacteria boosts methane-dependent selenate reduction.

The Science of the total environment, 732:139310 pii:S0048-9697(20)32827-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Though methane-based selenate reduction has been reported, neither the selenate load nor the removal rate could satisfy practical applications, thus limiting this technique to bio-remediate selenate pollution. In the present study, using a membrane biofilm batch reactor (MBBR), we successfully enriched a consortium performing methane-dependent selenate reduction, with enhanced reduction rates from 16.1 to 28.9 μM-day-1 under a comparable Se concentration to industrial wastewaters (i.e., ~500 μM). During active reduction, 16S rRNA gene copies of Archaea and Bacteria were both increased more than one order of magnitude. Clone library construction and high-throughput sequencing indicated that Methanosarcina and Methylocystis were the only methane-oxidizing microorganisms. The presence of 20 mM bromoethanesulphonate or 0.15 mM acetylene both significantly, but not completely, inhibited methane-dependent selenate reduction, indicating the concurrent contributions of methanotrophic archaea and bacteria. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) revealed that archaea directly adhered to the surface of the membrane while bacteria were in the outer layer, together forming the mature biofilm. This study highlights the crucial role of both methanotrophic archaea and bacteria in methane-dependent selenate reduction, and lays foundations in applying methane to bio-remediate practical selenate pollution.

RevDate: 2020-05-22

Yang D, Xiao X, He N, et al (2020)

Effects of reducing chemical fertilizer combined with organic amendments on ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea communities in a low-fertility red paddy field.

Environmental science and pollution research international pii:10.1007/s11356-020-09120-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Ammonia oxidation process in soil has a great contribution to the emission of nitrous oxide, which is a hot issue in the study of N cycle of rice field ecosystem. Organic amendments which partially substitute chemical nitrogen fertilizer are widely adopted to optimizing N management and reduce the use of chemical nitrogen fertilizers in the paddy ecosystem, but their long-term effects on ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB) were not well understood. Thus, based on a 6-year field trial that comprised four fertilization strategies (CF, chemical fertilizer; PM, pig manure substituting for 20% chemical N; BF, biogas slurry substituting for 20% chemical N; and GM, milk vetch substituting for 20% chemical N) and no N fertilizer application as CK, the abundance and community structure of ammonia oxidizers were examined by using qPCR and Illumina Miseq sequencing approaches based on the functional marker genes (amoA) in a low-fertility paddy field. The results revealed that 6 years of organic-substitute fertilization significantly increased AOA abundance in comparison with NF and CF. However, only CF and PM had a higher AOB abundance than those in NF and no significant difference between CF and organic-substitute treatments was observed. Both AOA and AOB were significantly correlated with soil potential nitrification rate (PNR). Moreover, organic-substitute treatments showed the evident changes in the AOA community, while little were observed in the AOB community. Soil pH was the main predictor for AOA abundance, while NH4+-N and NO3--N were the main predictors for AOB abundance. This study suggests that both AOA and AOB were jointly contributed to the variation of soil potential nitrification rate, while the AOA community was shown to be more responsive to organic-substitute fertilization strategies than AOB in the tested soils.

RevDate: 2020-05-20

Lu Z, Fu T, Li T, et al (2020)

Coevolution of Eukaryote-like Vps4 and ESCRT-III Subunits in the Asgard Archaea.

mBio, 11(3): pii:mBio.00417-20.

The emergence of the endomembrane system is a key step in the evolution of cellular complexity during eukaryogenesis. The endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery is essential and required for the endomembrane system functions in eukaryotic cells. Recently, genes encoding eukaryote-like ESCRT protein components have been identified in the genomes of Asgard archaea, a newly proposed archaeal superphylum that is thought to include the closest extant prokaryotic relatives of eukaryotes. However, structural and functional features of Asgard ESCRT remain uncharacterized. Here, we show that Vps4, Vps2/24/46, and Vps20/32/60, the core functional components of the Asgard ESCRT, coevolved eukaryote-like structural and functional features. Phylogenetic analysis shows that Asgard Vps4, Vps2/24/46, and Vps20/32/60 are closely related to their eukaryotic counterparts. Molecular dynamics simulation and biochemical assays indicate that Asgard Vps4 contains a eukaryote-like microtubule-interacting and transport (MIT) domain that binds the distinct type 1 MIT-interacting motif and type 2 MIT-interacting motif in Vps2/24/46 and Vps20/32/60, respectively. The Asgard Vps4 partly, but much more efficiently than homologs from other archaea, complements the vps4 null mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, further supporting the functional similarity between the membrane remodeling machineries of Asgard archaea and eukaryotes. Thus, this work provides evidence that the ESCRT complexes from Asgard archaea and eukaryotes are evolutionarily related and functionally similar. Thus, despite the apparent absence of endomembranes in Asgard archaea, the eukaryotic ESCRT seems to have been directly inherited from an Asgard ancestor, to become a key component of the emerging endomembrane system.IMPORTANCE The discovery of Asgard archaea has changed the existing ideas on the origins of eukaryotes. Researchers propose that eukaryotic cells evolved from Asgard archaea. This hypothesis partly stems from the presence of multiple eukaryotic signature proteins in Asgard archaea, including homologs of ESCRT proteins that are essential components of the endomembrane system in eukaryotes. However, structural and functional features of Asgard ESCRT remain unknown. Our study provides evidence that Asgard ESCRT is functionally comparable to the eukaryotic counterparts, suggesting that despite the apparent absence of endomembranes in archaea, eukaryotic ESCRT was inherited from an Asgard archaeal ancestor, alongside the emergence of endomembrane system during eukaryogenesis.

RevDate: 2020-05-19

Baker BJ, De Anda V, Seitz KW, et al (2020)

Author Correction: Diversity, ecology and evolution of Archaea.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

RevDate: 2020-05-19

Meador TB, Schoffelen N, Ferdelman TG, et al (2020)

Carbon recycling efficiency and phosphate turnover by marine nitrifying archaea.

Science advances, 6(19):eaba1799 pii:aba1799.

Thaumarchaeotal nitrifiers are among the most abundant organisms in the ocean, but still unknown is the carbon (C) yield from nitrification and the coupling of these fluxes to phosphorus (P) turnover and release of metabolites from the cell. Using a dual radiotracer approach, we found that Nitrosopumilus maritimus fixed roughly 0.3 mol C, assimilated 2 mmol P, and released ca. 10-2 mol C and 10-5 mol P as dissolved organics (DOC and DOP) per mole ammonia respired. Phosphate turnover may influence assimilation fluxes by nitrifiers in the euphotic zone, which parallel those of the dark ocean. Collectively, marine nitrifiers assimilate up to 2 Pg C year-1 and 0.05 Pg P year-1 and thereby recycle roughly 5% of mineralized C and P into marine biomass. Release of roughly 50 Tg DOC and 0.2 Tg DOP by thaumarchaea each year represents a small but fresh input of reduced substrates throughout the ocean.

RevDate: 2020-05-19

Takemata N, SD Bell (2020)

Emerging views of genome organization in Archaea.

Journal of cell science, 133(10): pii:133/10/jcs243782.

Over the past decade, advances in methodologies for the determination of chromosome conformation have provided remarkable insight into the local and higher-order organization of bacterial and eukaryotic chromosomes. Locally folded domains are found in both bacterial and eukaryotic genomes, although they vary in size. Importantly, genomes of metazoans also possess higher-order organization into A- and B-type compartments, regions of transcriptionally active and inactive chromatin, respectively. Until recently, nothing was known about the organization of genomes of organisms in the third domain of life - the archaea. However, despite archaea possessing simple circular genomes that are morphologically reminiscent of those seen in many bacteria, a recent study of archaea of the genus Sulfolobus has revealed that it organizes its genome into large-scale domains. These domains further interact to form defined A- and B-type compartments. The interplay of transcription and localization of a novel structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) superfamily protein, termed coalescin, defines compartment identity. In this Review, we discuss the mechanistic and evolutionary implications of these findings.

RevDate: 2020-05-18

Lekontseva N, Mikhailina A, Fando M, et al (2020)

Crystal structures and RNA-binding properties of Lsm proteins from archaea Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and Methanococcus vannielii: Similarity and difference of the U-binding mode.

Biochimie pii:S0300-9084(20)30097-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Sm and Sm-like (Lsm) proteins are considered as an evolutionary conserved family involved in RNA metabolism in organisms from bacteria and archaea to human. Currently, the function of Sm-like archaeal proteins (SmAP) is not well understood. Here, we report the crystal structures of SmAP proteins from Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and Methanococcus vannielii and a comparative analysis of their RNA-binding sites. Our data show that these SmAPs have only a uridine-specific RNA-binding site, unlike their bacterial homolog Hfq, which has three different RNA-binding sites. Moreover, variations in the amino acid composition of the U-binding sites of the two SmAPs lead to a difference in protein affinity for oligo(U) RNA. Surface plasmon resonance data and nucleotide-binding analysis confirm the high affinity of SmAPs for uridine nucleotides and oligo(U) RNA and the reduced affinity for adenines, guanines, cytidines and corresponding oligo-RNAs. In addition, we demonstrate that MvaSmAP1 and SacSmAP2 are capable of melting an RNA hairpin and, apparently, promote its interaction with complementary RNA.

RevDate: 2020-05-08

Gelsinger DR, Dallon E, Reddy R, et al (2020)

Ribosome profiling in archaea reveals leaderless translation, novel translational initiation sites, and ribosome pausing at single codon resolution.

Nucleic acids research pii:5831753 [Epub ahead of print].

High-throughput methods, such as ribosome profiling, have revealed the complexity of translation regulation in Bacteria and Eukarya with large-scale effects on cellular functions. In contrast, the translational landscape in Archaea remains mostly unexplored. Here, we developed ribosome profiling in a model archaeon, Haloferax volcanii, elucidating, for the first time, the translational landscape of a representative of the third domain of life. We determined the ribosome footprint of H. volcanii to be comparable in size to that of the Eukarya. We linked footprint lengths to initiating and elongating states of the ribosome on leadered transcripts, operons, and on leaderless transcripts, the latter representing 70% of H. volcanii transcriptome. We manipulated ribosome activity with translation inhibitors to reveal ribosome pausing at specific codons. Lastly, we found that the drug harringtonine arrested ribosomes at initiation sites in this archaeon. This drug treatment allowed us to confirm known translation initiation sites and also reveal putative novel initiation sites in intergenic regions and within genes. Ribosome profiling revealed an uncharacterized complexity of translation in this archaeon with bacteria-like, eukarya-like, and potentially novel translation mechanisms. These mechanisms are likely to be functionally essential and to contribute to an expanded proteome with regulatory roles in gene expression.

RevDate: 2020-05-08

Rawat M, JA Maupin-Furlow (2020)

Redox and Thiols in Archaea.

Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(5): pii:antiox9050381.

Low molecular weight (LMW) thiols have many functions in bacteria and eukarya, ranging from redox homeostasis to acting as cofactors in numerous reactions, including detoxification of xenobiotic compounds. The LMW thiol, glutathione (GSH), is found in eukaryotes and many species of bacteria. Analogues of GSH include the structurally different LMW thiols: bacillithiol, mycothiol, ergothioneine, and coenzyme A. Many advances have been made in understanding the diverse and multiple functions of GSH and GSH analogues in bacteria but much less is known about distribution and functions of GSH and its analogues in archaea, which constitute the third domain of life, occupying many niches, including those in extreme environments. Archaea are able to use many energy sources and have many unique metabolic reactions and as a result are major contributors to geochemical cycles. As LMW thiols are major players in cells, this review explores the distribution of thiols and their biochemistry in archaea.

RevDate: 2020-05-06

Li Y, Fan C, Wang L, et al (2020)

Interaction type of tetrabromobisphenol A and copper manipulates ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria communities in co-contaminated river sediments.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 264:114671 pii:S0269-7491(19)37793-0 [Epub ahead of print].

The combined contamination of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and heavy metals in electronic waste (e-waste) recycling and disposal areas has been a serious concern owing to their environmental persistence and chronic toxicities. Ammonia oxidizers, e.g., ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB) play essential roles in nitrogen cycling and can serve as ideal indicators that reflect the changes in sediment health in response to environmental variables. There is currently very little information available on the combined toxic effects of BFRs and heavy metals on AOA and AOB communities. In this study, two typical e-waste pollutants, tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and copper (Cu), were selected as target contaminants to investigate the individual and combined effects of both pollutants on AOA and AOB communities in river sediments. Respective treatments of TBBPA (1, 10, and 20 mg/kg wet weight), Cu (100 mg/kg wet weight) and their combined treatments (weight ratios of 1:100, 1:10, and 1:5) were performed in laboratory experiments. High-throughput sequencing was applied to explore the response of ammonia oxidizers to TBBPA and Cu. The interaction types of TBBPA and Cu were calculated by the directional classification system to reveal the individual and combined toxicities of both contaminants to the ammonia oxidizers. On days 15 and 30, the dominant interaction type of TBBPA and Cu was synergistic (62.50%), and the combined contamination exacted selective pressure and inhibition on the AOB and AOA communities. On days 45 and 90, the interaction type shifted to be antagonistic (83.33%), with both the AOB and AOA communities gradually reaching stable population equilibria. The alteration of the interaction type is attributed to the elevated TBBPA/Cu tolerance as the incubation time increased. This study disclosed the interaction types of TBBPA and Cu in contaminated river sediments, and revealed that the combined effect could potentially manipulate AOB and AOA communities.

RevDate: 2020-05-06

Juottonen H, Fontaine L, Wurzbacher C, et al (2020)

Archaea in boreal Swedish lakes are diverse, dominated by Woesearchaeota and follow deterministic community assembly.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Despite their key role in biogeochemical processes, particularly the methane cycle, archaea are widely underrepresented in molecular surveys because of their lower abundance compared to bacteria and eukaryotes. Here, we use parallel high-resolution small subunit rRNA gene sequencing to explore archaeal diversity in 109 Swedish lakes and correlate archaeal community assembly mechanisms to large-scale latitudinal, climatic (nemoral to arctic), and nutrient (oligotrophic to eutrophic) gradients. Sequencing with universal primers showed the contribution of archaea was on average 0.8% but increased up to 1.5% of the three domains in forest lakes. Archaea-specific sequencing revealed that freshwater archaeal diversity could be partly explained by lake variables associated with nutrient status. Combined with deterministic co-occurrence patterns this finding suggests that ecological drift is overridden by environmental sorting, as well as other deterministic processes such as biogeographic and evolutionary history, leading to lake-specific archaeal biodiversity. Acetoclastic, hydrogenotrophic and methylotrophic methanogens as well as ammonia-oxidizing archaea were frequently detected across the lakes. Archaea-specific sequencing also revealed representatives of Woesearchaeota and other phyla of the DPANN superphylum. This study adds to our understanding of the ecological range of key archaea in freshwaters and links these taxa to hypotheses about processes governing biogeochemical cycles in lakes.

RevDate: 2020-05-06

Xie F, Ma A, Zhou H, et al (2020)

Niche differentiation of denitrifying anaerobic methane oxidizing bacteria and archaea leads to effective methane filtration in a Tibetan alpine wetland.

Environment international, 140:105764 pii:S0160-4120(20)30935-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Denitrifying anaerobic methane oxidation (DAMO) is a vital methane sink in wetlands. However, the interactions and niche partitioning of DAMO bacteria and archaea in freshwater wetland soils, in addition to the interactions among microorganisms that couple methane and nitrogen cycling is still unclear, despite that these factors may govern the fate of methane and nitrogen in wetlands. Here, we evaluated the vertical distribution of DAMO bacteria and archaea in soil layers along with the potential interactions among populations in the methane-coupled nitrogen cycling microbial community of Tibetan freshwater wetlands. A combination of molecular biology, stable isotope tracer technology, and microbial bioinformatics was used to evaluate these interrelated dynamics. The abundances and potential methane oxidation rates indicated that DAMO bacteria and archaea differentially occupy surface and subsurface soil layers, respectively. The inferred interactions between DAMO bacteria and nitrogen cycling microorganisms within their communities are complex, DAMO bacteria apparently achieve an advantage in the highly competitive environment of surface soils layers and occupy a specific niche in those environments. Conversely, the apparent relationships between DAMO archaea and nitrogen cycling microorganisms are relatively simple, wherein high levels of cooperation are inferred between DAMO archaea and nitrate-producing organisms in subsurface soils layers. These results suggest that the vertical distribution patterns of DAMO bacteria and archaea enable them to play significant roles in the methane oxidation activity of different soil layers and collectively form an effective methane filtration consortium.

RevDate: 2020-05-05

Wang Y, Wegener G, Ruff SE, et al (2020)

Methyl/alkyl-coenzyme M reductase-based anaerobic alkane oxidation in archaea.

Methyl-coenzyme M reductase (MCR) has been originally identified to catalyze the final step of the methanogenesis pathway. About 20 years ago anaerobic methane-oxidizing archaea (ANME) were discovered that use MCR enzymes to activate methane. ANME thrive at the thermodynamic limit of life, are slow-growing, and in most cases form syntrophic consortia with sulfate-reducing bacteria. Recently, archaea that have the ability to anaerobically oxidize non-methane multi-carbon alkanes such as ethane and n-butane were described in both, enrichment cultures and environmental samples. These anaerobic multi-carbon alkane-oxidizing archaea (ANKA) use enzymes homologous to MCR named alkyl-coenzyme M reductase (ACR). Here we review the recent progresses on the diversity, distribution and functioning of both ANME and ANKA by presenting a detailed MCR/ACR-based phylogeny, compare their metabolic pathways, and discuss the gaps in our knowledge of physiology of these organisms. To improve our understanding of alkane oxidation in archaea, we identified three directions for future research: i) expanding cultivation attempts to validate omics-based metabolic models of yet-uncultured organisms, ii) performing biochemical and structural analyses of key enzymes to understand thermodynamic and steric constraints, iii) investigating evolution of anaerobic alkane metabolisms and their impact on biogeochemical cycles.

RevDate: 2020-05-05

Baker BJ, De Anda V, Seitz KW, et al (2020)

Diversity, ecology and evolution of Archaea.

Nature microbiology pii:10.1038/s41564-020-0715-z [Epub ahead of print].

Compared to bacteria, our knowledge of archaeal biology is limited. Historically, microbiologists have mostly relied on culturing and single-gene diversity surveys to understand Archaea in nature. However, only six of the 27 currently proposed archaeal phyla have cultured representatives. Advances in genomic sequencing and computational approaches are revolutionizing our understanding of Archaea. The recovery of genomes belonging to uncultured groups from the environment has resulted in the description of several new phyla, many of which are globally distributed and are among the predominant organisms on the planet. In this Review, we discuss how these genomes, together with long-term enrichment studies and elegant in situ measurements, are providing insights into the metabolic capabilities of the Archaea. We also debate how such studies reveal how important Archaea are in mediating an array of ecological processes, including global carbon and nutrient cycles, and how this increase in archaeal diversity has expanded our view of the tree of life and early archaeal evolution, and has provided new insights into the origin of eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2020-04-29

DeWerff SJ, Bautista MA, Pauly M, et al (2020)

Killer Archaea: Virus-Mediated Antagonism to CRISPR-Immune Populations Results in Emergent Virus-Host Mutualism.

mBio, 11(2): pii:mBio.00404-20.

Theory, simulation, and experimental evolution demonstrate that diversified CRISPR-Cas immunity to lytic viruses can lead to stochastic virus extinction due to a limited number of susceptible hosts available to each potential new protospacer escape mutation. Under such conditions, theory predicts that to evade extinction, viruses evolve toward decreased virulence and promote vertical transmission and persistence in infected hosts. To better understand the evolution of host-virus interactions in microbial populations with active CRISPR-Cas immunity, we studied the interaction between CRISPR-immune Sulfolobus islandicus cells and immune-deficient strains that are infected by the chronic virus SSV9. We demonstrate that Sulfolobus islandicus cells infected with SSV9, and with other related SSVs, kill uninfected, immune strains through an antagonistic mechanism that is a protein and is independent of infectious virus. Cells that are infected with SSV9 are protected from killing and persist in the population. We hypothesize that this infection acts as a form of mutualism between the host and the virus by removing competitors in the population and ensuring continued vertical transmission of the virus within populations with diversified CRISPR-Cas immunity.IMPORTANCE Multiple studies, especially those focusing on the role of lytic viruses in key model systems, have shown the importance of viruses in shaping microbial populations. However, it has become increasingly clear that viruses with a long host-virus interaction, such as those with a chronic lifestyle, can be important drivers of evolution and have large impacts on host ecology. In this work, we describe one such interaction with the acidic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus islandicus and its chronic virus Sulfolobus spindle-shaped virus 9. Our work expands the view in which this symbiosis between host and virus evolved, describing a killing phenotype which we hypothesize has evolved in part due to the high prevalence and diversity of CRISPR-Cas immunity seen in natural populations. We explore the implications of this phenotype in population dynamics and host ecology, as well as the implications of mutualism between this virus-host pair.

RevDate: 2020-04-28

Parks DH, Chuvochina M, Chaumeil PA, et al (2020)

A complete domain-to-species taxonomy for Bacteria and Archaea.

Nature biotechnology pii:10.1038/s41587-020-0501-8 [Epub ahead of print].

The Genome Taxonomy Database is a phylogenetically consistent, genome-based taxonomy that provides rank-normalized classifications for ~150,000 bacterial and archaeal genomes from domain to genus. However, almost 40% of the genomes in the Genome Taxonomy Database lack a species name. We address this limitation by using commonly accepted average nucleotide identity criteria to set bounds on species and propose species clusters that encompass all publicly available bacterial and archaeal genomes. Unlike previous average nucleotide identity studies, we chose a single representative genome to serve as the effective nomenclatural 'type' defining each species. Of the 24,706 proposed species clusters, 8,792 are based on published names. We assigned placeholder names to the remaining 15,914 species clusters to provide names to the growing number of genomes from uncultivated species. This resource provides a complete domain-to-species taxonomic framework for bacterial and archaeal genomes, which will facilitate research on uncultivated species and improve communication of scientific results.

RevDate: 2020-04-22

Hahn CJ, Laso-Pérez R, Vulcano F, et al (2020)

"Candidatus Ethanoperedens," a Thermophilic Genus of Archaea Mediating the Anaerobic Oxidation of Ethane.

mBio, 11(2): pii:mBio.00600-20.

Cold seeps and hydrothermal vents deliver large amounts of methane and other gaseous alkanes into marine surface sediments. Consortia of archaea and partner bacteria thrive on the oxidation of these alkanes and its coupling to sulfate reduction. The inherently slow growth of the involved organisms and the lack of pure cultures have impeded the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of archaeal alkane degradation. Here, using hydrothermal sediments of the Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California) and ethane as the substrate, we cultured microbial consortia of a novel anaerobic ethane oxidizer, "Candidatus Ethanoperedens thermophilum" (GoM-Arc1 clade), and its partner bacterium "Candidatus Desulfofervidus auxilii," previously known from methane-oxidizing consortia. The sulfate reduction activity of the culture doubled within one week, indicating a much faster growth than in any other alkane-oxidizing archaea described before. The dominance of a single archaeal phylotype in this culture allowed retrieval of a closed genome of "Ca. Ethanoperedens," a sister genus of the recently reported ethane oxidizer "Candidatus Argoarchaeum." The metagenome-assembled genome of "Ca. Ethanoperedens" encoded a complete methanogenesis pathway including a methyl-coenzyme M reductase (MCR) that is highly divergent from those of methanogens and methanotrophs. Combined substrate and metabolite analysis showed ethane as the sole growth substrate and production of ethyl-coenzyme M as the activation product. Stable isotope probing demonstrated that the enzymatic mechanism of ethane oxidation in "Ca. Ethanoperedens" is fully reversible; thus, its enzymatic machinery has potential for the biotechnological development of microbial ethane production from carbon dioxide.IMPORTANCE In the seabed, gaseous alkanes are oxidized by syntrophic microbial consortia that thereby reduce fluxes of these compounds into the water column. Because of the immense quantities of seabed alkane fluxes, these consortia are key catalysts of the global carbon cycle. Due to their obligate syntrophic lifestyle, the physiology of alkane-degrading archaea remains poorly understood. We have now cultivated a thermophilic, relatively fast-growing ethane oxidizer in partnership with a sulfate-reducing bacterium known to aid in methane oxidation and have retrieved the first complete genome of a short-chain alkane-degrading archaeon. This will greatly enhance the understanding of nonmethane alkane activation by noncanonical methyl-coenzyme M reductase enzymes and provide insights into additional metabolic steps and the mechanisms underlying syntrophic partnerships. Ultimately, this knowledge could lead to the biotechnological development of alkanogenic microorganisms to support the carbon neutrality of industrial processes.

RevDate: 2020-04-21

Berkemer SJ, SE McGlynn (2020)

A new analysis of archaea-bacteria domain separation: variable phylogenetic distance and the tempo of early evolution.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5818498 [Epub ahead of print].

Comparative genomics and molecular phylogenetics are foundational for understanding biological evolution. Although many studies have been made with the aim of understanding the genomic contents of early life, uncertainty remains. A study by Weiss et al. (2016) identified a number of protein families in the last universal common ancestor of archaea and bacteria (LUCA) which were not found in previous works. Here we report new research that suggests the clustering approaches used in this previous study under-sampled protein families, resulting in incomplete phylogenetic trees which do not reflect protein family evolution. Phylogenetic analysis of protein families which include more sequence homologs rejects a simple LUCA hypothesis based on phylogenetic separation of the bacterial and archaeal domains for a majority of the previously identified LUCA proteins (∼82%). To supplement limitations of phylogenetic inference derived from incompletely populated orthologous groups, and to test the hypothesis of a period of rapid evolution preceding the separation of the domains, we compared phylogenetic distances both within, and between domains, for thousands of orthologous groups. We find a substantial diversity of interdomain vs. intradomain branch lengths, even among protein families which exhibit a single domain separating branch and are thought to be associated with the LUCA. Additionally, phylogenetic trees with long interdomain branches relative to intradomain branches are enriched in information categories of protein families in comparison to those associated with metabolic functions. These results provide a new view of protein family evolution, and temper claims about the phenotype and habitat of the LUCA.

RevDate: 2020-04-17

López-García P, D Moreira (2020)

Cultured Asgard Archaea Shed Light on Eukaryogenesis.

Cell, 181(2):232-235.

The first cultured Asgard archaeon lives in metabolic symbiosis with hydrogen-scavenging microbes. Its full-genome analysis authenticates the existence of Asgard archaea, previously only known from metagenome-assembled genomes, confirms their closer phylogenetic relatedness to eukaryotes and reinforces the idea that the eukaryotic cell evolved from an integrated archaeal-bacterial syntrophic consortium.

RevDate: 2020-04-17

Molnár J, Magyar B, Schneider G, et al (2020)

Identification of a novel archaea virus, detected in hydrocarbon polluted Hungarian and Canadian samples.

PloS one, 15(4):e0231864 pii:PONE-D-19-31815.

Metagenomics is a helpful tool for the analysis of unculturable organisms and viruses. Viruses that target bacteria and archaea play important roles in the microbial diversity of various ecosystems. Here we show that Methanosarcina virus MV (MetMV), the second Methanosarcina sp. virus with a completely determined genome, is characteristic of hydrocarbon pollution in environmental (soil and water) samples. It was highly abundant in Hungarian hydrocarbon polluted samples and its genome was also present in the NCBI SRA database containing reads from hydrocarbon polluted samples collected in Canada, indicating the stability of its niche and the marker feature of this virus. MetMV, as the only currently identified marker virus for pollution in environmental samples, could contribute to the understanding of the complicated network of prokaryotes and their viruses driving the decomposition of environmental pollutants.

RevDate: 2020-04-17

Inoue K, Tsunoda SP, Singh M, et al (2020)

Schizorhodopsins: A family of rhodopsins from Asgard archaea that function as light-driven inward H+ pumps.

Science advances, 6(15):eaaz2441 pii:aaz2441.

Schizorhodopsins (SzRs), a rhodopsin family first identified in Asgard archaea, the archaeal group closest to eukaryotes, are present at a phylogenetically intermediate position between typical microbial rhodopsins and heliorhodopsins. However, the biological function and molecular properties of SzRs have not been reported. Here, SzRs from Asgardarchaeota and from a yet unknown microorganism are expressed in Escherichia coli and mammalian cells, and ion transport assays and patch clamp analyses are used to demonstrate SzR as a novel type of light-driven inward H+ pump. The mutation of a cytoplasmic glutamate inhibited inward H+ transport, suggesting that it functions as a cytoplasmic H+ acceptor. The function, trimeric structure, and H+ transport mechanism of SzR are similar to that of xenorhodopsin (XeR), a light-driven inward H+ pumping microbial rhodopsins, implying that they evolved convergently. The inward H+ pump function of SzR provides new insight into the photobiological life cycle of the Asgardarchaeota.

RevDate: 2020-04-16

Tourte M, Schaeffer P, Grossi V, et al (2020)

Functionalized Membrane Domains: An Ancestral Feature of Archaea?.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:526.

Bacteria and Eukarya organize their plasma membrane spatially into domains of distinct functions. Due to the uniqueness of their lipids, membrane functionalization in Archaea remains a debated area. A novel membrane ultrastructure predicts that monolayer and bilayer domains would be laterally segregated in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus barophilus. With very different physico-chemical parameters of the mono- and bilayer, each domain type would thus allow the docking of different membrane proteins and express different biological functions in the membrane. To estimate the ubiquity of this putative membrane ultrastructure in and out of the order Thermococcales, we re-analyzed the core lipid composition of all the Thermococcales type species and collected all the literature data available for isolated archaea. We show that all species of Thermococcales synthesize a mixture of diether bilayer forming and tetraether monolayer forming lipids, in various ratio from 10 to 80% diether in Pyrococcus horikoshii and Thermococcus gorgonarius, respectively. Since the domain formation prediction rests only on the coexistence of di- and tetraether lipids, we show that all Thermococcales have the ability for domain formation, i.e., differential functionalization of their membrane. Extrapolating this view to the whole Archaea domain, we show that almost all archaea also have the ability to synthesize di- and tetraether lipids, which supports the view that functionalized membrane domains may be shared between all Archaea. Hence domain formation and membrane compartmentalization may have predated the separation of the three domains of life and be essential for the cell cycle.

RevDate: 2020-04-13

Fadhlaoui K, Arnal ME, Martineau M, et al (2020)

Archaea, specific genetic traits, and development of improved bacterial live biotherapeutic products: another face of next-generation probiotics.

Applied microbiology and biotechnology pii:10.1007/s00253-020-10599-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Trimethylamine (TMA) and its oxide TMAO are important biomolecules involved in disease-associated processes in humans (e.g., trimethylaminuria and cardiovascular diseases). TMAO in plasma (pTMAO) stems from intestinal TMA, which is formed from various components of the diet in a complex interplay between diet, gut microbiota, and the human host. Most approaches to prevent the occurrence of such deleterious molecules focus on actions to interfere with gut microbiota metabolism to limit the synthesis of TMA. Some human gut archaea however use TMA as terminal electron acceptor for producing methane, thus indicating that intestinal TMA does not accumulate in some human subjects. Therefore, a rational alternative approach is to eliminate neo-synthesized intestinal TMA. This can be achieved through bioremediation of TMA by these peculiar methanogenic archaea, either by stimulating or providing them, leading to a novel kind of next-generation probiotics referred to as archaebiotics. Finally, specific components which are involved in this archaeal metabolism could also be used as intestinal TMA sequesters, facilitating TMA excretion along with stool. Referring to a standard pharmacological approach, these TMA traps could be synthesized ex vivo and then delivered into the human gut. Another approach is the engineering of known probiotic strain in order to metabolize TMA, i.e., live engineered biotherapeutic products. These alternatives would require, however, to take into account the necessity of synthesizing the 22nd amino acid pyrrolysine, i.e., some specificities of the genetics of TMA-consuming archaea. Here, we present an overview of these different strategies and recent advances in the field that will sustain such biotechnological developments. KEY POINTS: • Some autochthonous human archaea can use TMA for their essential metabolism, a methyl-dependent hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. • They could therefore be used as next-generation probiotics for preventing some human diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases and trimethylaminuria. • Their genetic capacities can also be used to design live recombinant biotherapeutic products. • Encoding of the 22nd amino acid pyrrolysine is necessary for such alternative developments.

RevDate: 2020-04-08

Compte-Port S, Fillol M, Gich F, et al (2020)

Metabolic versatility of freshwater sedimentary archaea feeding on different organic carbon sources.

PloS one, 15(4):e0231238 pii:PONE-D-19-33592.

Members of the phylum Bathyarchaeota and the class Thermoplasmata are widespread in marine and freshwater sediments where they have been recognized as key players in the carbon cycle. Here, we tested the responsiveness of archaeal communities on settled plant debris and sediment from a karstic lake to different organic carbon amendments (amino acids, plant-derived carbohydrates, and aromatics) using a lab-scale microcosm. Changes in the composition and abundance of sediment and biofilm archaeal communities in both DNA and RNA fractions were assessed by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and qPCR, respectively, after 7 and 30 days of incubation. Archaeal communities showed compositional changes in terms of alpha and beta diversity in relation to the type of carbon source (amino acids vs. plant-derived compounds), the nucleic acid fraction (DNA vs. RNA), and the incubation time (7 vs. 30 days). Distinct groups within the Bathyarchaeota (Bathy-15 and Bathy-6) and the Thermoplasmata (MBG-D) differently reacted to carbon supplements as deduced from the analysis of RNA libraries. Whereas Bathyarchaeota in biofilms showed a long-term positive response to humic acids, their counterparts in the sediment were mainly stimulated by the addition of tryptophan, suggesting the presence of different subpopulations in both habitats. Overall, our work presents an in vitro assessment of the versatility of archaea inhabiting freshwater sediments towards organic carbon and introduces settled leaf litter as a new habitat for the Bathyarchaeota and the Thermoplasmata.

RevDate: 2020-04-05

Jin D, Zhang F, Shi Y, et al (2020)

Diversity of bacteria and archaea in the groundwater contaminated by chlorinated solvents undergoing natural attenuation.

Environmental research, 185:109457 pii:S0013-9351(20)30350-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Chlorinated solvents (CS)-contaminated groundwater poses serious risks to the environment and public health. Microorganisms play a vital role in efficient remediation of CS. In this study, the microbial community (bacterial and archaeal) composition of three CS-contaminated groundwater wells located at an abandoned chemical factory which covers three orders of magnitude in concentration (0.02-16.15 mg/L) were investigated via 16S rRNA gene high-throughput sequencing. The results indicated that Proteobacteria and Thaumarchaeota were the most abundant bacterial and archaeal groups at the phylum level in groundwater, respectively. The major bacterial genera (Flavobacterium sp., Mycobacterium sp. and unclassified Parcubacteria taxa, etc.) and archaeal genera (Thaumarchaeota Group C3, Miscellaneous Crenarchaeotic Group and Miscellaneous Euryarchaeotic Group, etc.) might be involved in the dechlorination processes. In addition, Pearson's correlation analyses showed that alpha diversity of the bacterial community was not significantly correlated with CS concentration, while alpha diversity of archaeal community greatly decreased with the increased contamination of CS. Moreover, partial Mantel test indicated that oxidation-reduction potential, dissolved oxygen, temperature and methane concentration were major drivers of bacterial and archaeal community composition, whereas CS concentration had no significant impact, indicating that both indigenous bacterial and archaeal community compositions are capable of withstanding elevated CS contamination. This study improves our understanding of how the natural microbial community responds to high CS-contaminated groundwater.

RevDate: 2020-04-01

Abril AG, Rama JLR, Sánchez-Pérez A, et al (2020)

Prokaryotic sigma factors and their transcriptional counterparts in Archaea and Eukarya.

Applied microbiology and biotechnology pii:10.1007/s00253-020-10577-0 [Epub ahead of print].

RNA polymerases (RNAPs) carry out transcription in the three domains of life, Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. Transcription initiation is highly regulated by a variety of transcription factors, whose number and subunit complexity increase during evolution. This process is regulated in Bacteria by the σ factor, while the three eukaryotic RNAPs require a complex set of transcription factors (TFs) and a TATA-binding protein (TBP). The archaeal transcription system appears to be an ancestral version of the eukaryotic RNAPII, requiring transcription factor B (TFB), TBP, and transcription factor E (TFE). The function of the bacterial sigma (σ) factor has been correlated to the roles played by the eukaryotic RNAP II and the archaeal RNAP. In addition, σ factors, TFB, and TFIIB all contain multiple DNA binding helix-turn-helix (HTH) structural motifs; although TFIIB and TFB display two HTH domains, while the bacterial σ factor spans 4 HTH motifs. The sequence similarities and structure alignments of the bacterial σ factor, eukaryotic TFIIB, and archaeal TFB evidence that these three proteins are homologs.Key Points• Transcription initiation is highly regulated by TFs.• Transcription is finely regulated in all domains of life by different sets of TFs.• Specific TFs in Bacteria, Eukarya and Archaea are homologs.

RevDate: 2020-03-27

Sun J, Xu Z, B Hao (2010)

Whole-genome based Archaea phylogeny and taxonomy: A composition vector approach.

Chinese science bulletin = Kexue tongbao, 55(22):2323-2328.

The newly proposed alignment-free and parameter-free composition vector (CVtree) method has been successfully applied to infer phylogenetic relationship of viruses, chloroplasts, bacteria, and fungi from their whole-genome data. In this study we pay special attention to the phylogenetic positions of 56 Archaea genomes among which 7 species have not been listed either in Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology or in Taxonomic Outline of Bacteria and Archaea (TOBA). By inspecting the stable monophyletic branchings in CVTrees reconstructed from a total of 861 genomes (56 Archaea plus 797 Bacteria, using 8 Eukarya as outgroups) definite taxonomic assignments were proposed for these not-fully-classified species. Further development of Archaea taxonomy may verify the predicted phylogenetic results of the CVTree approach.

RevDate: 2020-03-23

Cai M, Liu Y, Yin X, et al (2020)

Diverse Asgard archaea including the novel phylum Gerdarchaeota participate in organic matter degradation.

Science China. Life sciences pii:10.1007/s11427-020-1679-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Asgard is an archaeal superphylum that might hold the key to understand the origin of eukaryotes, but its diversity and ecological roles remain poorly understood. Here, we reconstructed 15 metagenomic-assembled genomes from coastal sediments covering most known Asgard archaea and a novel group, which is proposed as a new Asgard phylum named as the "Gerdarchaeota". Genomic analyses predict that Gerdarchaeota are facultative anaerobes in utilizing both organic and inorganic carbon. Unlike their closest relatives Heimdallarchaeota, Gerdarchaeota have genes encoding for cellulase and enzymes involved in the tetrahydromethanopterin-based Wood-Ljungdahl pathway. Transcriptomics showed that most of our identified Asgard archaea are capable of degrading organic matter, including peptides, amino acids and fatty acids, occupying ecological niches in different depths of layers of the sediments. Overall, this study broadens the diversity of the mysterious Asgard archaea and provides evidence for their ecological roles in coastal sediments.

RevDate: 2020-03-11

Zhao R, Dahle H, Ramírez GA, et al (2020)

Indigenous Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea in Oxic Subseafloor Oceanic Crust.

mSystems, 5(2): pii:5/2/e00758-19.

Oceanic ridge flank systems represent one of the largest and least-explored microbial habitats on Earth. Fundamental ecological questions regarding community activity, recruitment, and succession in this environment remain unanswered. Here, we investigated ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) in the sediment-buried basalts on the oxic and young ridge flank at North Pond, a sediment-filled pond on the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and compared them with those in the overlying sediments and bottom seawater. Nitrification in the North Pond basement is thermodynamically favorable and is supported by a reaction-transport model simulating the dynamics of nitrate in the crustal fluids. Nitrification rate is estimated to account for 6% to 7% of oxygen consumption, which is similar to the ratios found in marine oxic sediments, suggesting that aerobic mineralization of organic matter is the major ammonium source for crustal nitrifiers. Using the archaeal 16S rRNA and amoA genes as phylogenetic markers, we show that AOA, composed solely of Nitrosopumilaceae, are the major archaeal dwellers at North Pond. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that the crustal AOA communities are distinct from those in the bottom seawater and the upper oxic sediments but are similar to those in the basal part of the overlying sediment column, suggesting either similar environmental selection or the dispersal of microbes across the sediment-basement interface. Additionally, quantitative abundance data suggest enrichment of the dominant Nitrosopumilaceae clade (Eta clade) in the basement compared to the seawater. This study explored AOA and their activity in the upper oceanic crust, and our results have ecological implications for the biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen in the crustal subsurface.IMPORTANCE Ridge flanks represent the major avenue of chemical and heat exchange between the Earth's oceans and the lithosphere and are thought to harbor an enormous and understudied biosphere. However, little is known about the diversity and functionality of the crustal biosphere. Here, we report an indigenous community of archaea specialized in ammonia oxidation (i.e., AOA) in the oxic oceanic crust at North Pond. These AOA are the dominant archaea and are likely responsible for most of the cycling taking place in the first step of nitrification, a feasible nitrogen cycling step in the oxic basement. The crustal AOA community structure significantly differs from that in deep ocean water but is similar to that of the community in the overlying sediments in close proximity. This report links the occurrence of AOA to their metabolic activity in the oxic subseafloor crust and suggests that ecological selection and in situ proliferation may shape the microbial community structure in the rocky subsurface.

RevDate: 2020-03-09

Jeon JH, Lee HS, Shin HC, et al (2020)

Evidence for binary Smc complexes lacking kite subunits in archaea.

IUCrJ, 7(Pt 2):193-206 pii:be5282.

SMC complexes play a central role in chromosome organization in all domains of life. The bacterial Smc-ScpAB complex is a three-subunit complex composed of Smc, ScpA and ScpB. ScpA bridges the two ATPase domains of the Smc homodimer, while ScpB, which belongs to the kite family of proteins, interacts with ScpA. The three subunits are known to be equally important for the function of Smc-ScpAB in bacteria. From crystallographic and biochemical studies, evidence is provided that six archaeal ScpA proteins are unable to interact with the only putative ScpB found in these species. Structure-based sequence alignment reveals that these archaeal ScpAs lack the ScpB-binding segment that is commonly present in the middle of bacterial ScpA sequences, which is thus responsible for their inability to interact with ScpB. ScpA proteins lacking the ScpB-binding segment are found to prevail in archaea. Moreover, two archaeal ScpA proteins with a longer middle region also failed to bind their putative ScpB partner. Furthermore, all or most species belonging to five out of 14 euryarchaeotal orders contain Smc and ScpA but not a detectable ScpB homologue. These data support the notion that archaeal Smc-based complexes generally function as a two-subunit complex composed of only Smc and ScpA.

RevDate: 2020-03-03

Taylor HB, HD Kurtz (Jr) (2020)

Composition, diversity, and activity of aerobic ammonia-oxidizing Bacteria and Archaea in the intertidal sands of a grand strand South Carolina beach.

MicrobiologyOpen [Epub ahead of print].

Aerobic ammonia oxidation to nitrite has been established as an important ecosystem process in regulating the level of nitrogen in marine ecosystems. This process is carried out by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) within the classes Betaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria and ammonia-oxidizing Archaea (AOA) from the phylum Thaumarchaeota, and the latter of which has been established as more prevalent in marine systems. This study investigated the presence, abundance, and activity of these groups of microbes at a beach near Springmaid Pier in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, through the implementation of next generation sequencing, quantitative PCR (qPCR), and microcosm experiments to monitor activity. Sequencing analysis revealed a diverse community of ammonia-oxidizing microbes dominated by AOA classified within the family Nitrosopumilaceae, and qPCR revealed the abundance of AOA amoA genes over AOB by at least an order of magnitude in most samples. Microcosm studies indicate that the rates of potential ammonia oxidation in these communities satisfy Michaelis-Menten substrate kinetics and this process is more active at temperatures corresponding to summer months than winter. Potential rates in AOA medium were higher than that of AOB medium, indicating a potentially greater contribution of AOA to this process in this environment. In conclusion, this study provides further evidence of the dominance of AOA in these environments compared with AOB and highlights the overall efficiency of this process at turning over excess ammonium that may be present in these environments.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Sanders TJ, Wenck BR, Selan JN, et al (2020)

FttA is a CPSF73 homologue that terminates transcription in Archaea.

Nature microbiology pii:10.1038/s41564-020-0667-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Regulated gene expression is largely achieved by controlling the activities of essential, multisubunit RNA polymerase transcription elongation complexes (TECs). The extreme stability required of TECs to processively transcribe large genomic regions necessitates robust mechanisms to terminate transcription. Efficient transcription termination is particularly critical for gene-dense bacterial and archaeal genomes1-3 in which continued transcription would necessarily transcribe immediately adjacent genes and result in conflicts between the transcription and replication apparatuses4-6; the coupling of transcription and translation7,8 would permit the loading of ribosomes onto aberrant transcripts. Only select sequences or transcription termination factors can disrupt the otherwise extremely stable TEC and we demonstrate that one of the last universally conserved archaeal proteins with unknown biological function is the Factor that terminates transcription in Archaea (FttA). FttA resolves the dichotomy of a prokaryotic gene structure (operons and polarity) and eukaryotic molecular homology (general transcription apparatus) that is observed in Archaea. This missing link between prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription regulation provides the most parsimonious link to the evolution of the processing activities involved in RNA 3'-end formation in Eukarya.

RevDate: 2020-02-22

Wright CL, Schatteman A, Crombie AT, et al (2020)

Inhibition of ammonia monooxygenase from ammonia oxidising archaea by linear and aromatic alkynes.

Applied and environmental microbiology pii:AEM.02388-19 [Epub ahead of print].

Ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) is a key nitrogen transforming enzyme belonging to the same copper-dependent membrane monooxygenase family (CuMMO) as the particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO). The AMO from ammonia oxidising archaea (AOA) is very divergent from both the AMO of ammonia oxidising bacteria (AOB) and the pMMO from methanotrophs and little is known about the structure or substrate range of the archaeal AMO. This study compares inhibition by C2-C8 linear 1-alkynes of AMO from two phylogenetically distinct strains of AOA, "Candidatus Nitrosocosmicus franklandus" C13 and "Candidatus Nitrosotalea sinensis" Nd2, with AMO from Nitrosomonas europaea and pMMO from Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath). An increased sensitivity of the archaeal AMO to short-chain-length alkynes (≤C5) appeared to be conserved across AOA lineages. Similarities in C2-C8 alkyne inhibition profiles between AMO from AOA and pMMO from M. capsulatus suggested that the archaeal AMO has a narrower substrate range compared to that of N. europaea AMO. Inhibition of AMO from "Ca. Nitrosocosmicus franklandus" and N. europaea by the aromatic alkyne phenylacetylene was also investigated. Kinetic data revealed that the mechanism by which phenylacetylene inhibits "Ca. Nitrosocosmicus franklandus" and N. europaea is different, indicating differences in the AMO active site between AOA and AOB. Phenylacetylene was found to be a specific and irreversible inhibitor of AMO from "Ca. Nitrosocosmicus franklandus" which does not compete with NH3 for binding at the active site.ImportanceArchaeal and bacterial ammonia oxidisers (AOA and AOB) initiate nitrification by oxidising ammonia to hydroxylamine, a reaction catalysed by ammonia monooxygenase (AMO). AMO enzyme is difficult to purify in active form and its structure and biochemistry remain largely unexplored. The bacterial AMO and the closely related particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO) have a broad range of hydrocarbon co-oxidation substrates. This study provides insights into the AMO of previously unstudied archaeal genera, by comparing the response of the archaeal AMO, a bacterial AMO and pMMO to inhibition by linear 1-alkynes and the aromatic alkyne, phenylacetylene. Reduced sensitivity to inhibition by larger alkynes suggests that the archaeal AMO has a narrower hydrocarbon substrate range compared to the bacterial AMO, as previously reported for other genera of AOA. Phenylacetylene inhibited the archaeal and bacterial AMO at different thresholds and by different mechanisms of inhibition, highlighting structural differences between the two forms of monooxygenase.

RevDate: 2020-02-22

Yang X, Ni K, Shi Y, et al (2020)

Heavy nitrogen application increases soil nitrification through ammonia-oxidizing bacteria rather than archaea in acidic tea (Camellia sinensis L.) plantation soil.

The Science of the total environment, 717:137248 pii:S0048-9697(20)30758-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Nitrogen (N) fertilizer is widely used in agricultural ecosystems and influences N transformation processes in the soil such as nitrification. However, whether nitrification is primarily dominated by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) or archaea (AOA) under heavy N application is still under debate. In the present work, the effect of long-term (12 years) N fertilization on soil nitrification and the key influencing factors were investigated in acidic tea plantation soil that received four different rates of N application (0, 119, 285, and 569 kg N ha-1 yr-1). Nitrification potential was measured and partitioned using chemical inhibitors. The abundance of functional genes involved in ammonia oxidation was quantified using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Ammonia-oxidizing communities were identified by shotgun metagenome sequencing. Potential nitrification rate in tea plantation soil was mainly dominated by autotrophic nitrification (PNRA) (71-79%). PNRA and heterotrophic nitrification (PNRH) were both significantly increased by heavy N (569 kg ha-1) application. Moreover, PNRA was mainly due to the contribution of AOB (52-66%) in N-treated soils, and N569 significantly increased the AOB contribution without affecting the AOA contribution. N569 increased the functional gene abundance of AOB and TAO100 (a non-halophilic γ-AOB) but decreased that of AOA. The dominant AOB (Nitrosomonas, Nitrosospira, and Nitrosococcus), AOA (Nitrososphaera and Nitrosopumilus) and commamox (Nitrospira) groups were profoundly altered by long-term N application rates. Partial least squares regression showed that total nitrification (PNRT), PNRA, and PNRAOB were primarily explained by the functional gene abundance of nitrifiers whereas PNRH and PNRAOA were closely associated with soil and pruned litter properties. Moreover, structural equation modeling (SEM) revealed that long-term N application significantly and indirectly affected nitrification potential by directly influencing soil properties, pruned litter properties, and functional gene abundance. Understanding the relative contribution of AOA and AOB to nitrification may help to better regulate N fertilizer use in agricultural ecosystems.

RevDate: 2020-02-19

Eckl DB, Huber H, W Bäumler (2020)

First Report on Photodynamic Inactivation of Archaea Including a Novel Method for High-Throughput Reduction Measurement.

Photochemistry and photobiology [Epub ahead of print].

Archaea are considered third, independent domain of living organisms besides eukaryotic and bacterial cells. To date, no report is available of photodynamic inactivation (PDI) of any Archaea cells. Two commercially available photosensitizers (SAPYR, TMPyP) were used to investigate photodynamic inactivation of Halobacterium salinarum. In addition, a novel high throughput method was tested to evaluate microbial reduction in vitro. Due to the high salt content of the culture medium, the physical and chemical properties of photosensitizers were analyzed via spectroscopy and fluorescence based DPBF assays. Attachment or uptake of photosensitizers to or in archaeal cells was investigated. The photodynamic inactivation of Halobacterium salinarum was evaluated via growth curve method allowing a high throughput of samples. The presented results indicate that the photodynamic mechanisms are working even in high salt environments. Either photosensitizer inactivated the bacterial cells with a reduction of 99.9% at least. The growth curves provided a fast and precise measurement of cell viability. The results show for the first time that PDI can kill not only bacterial cells but also robust Archaea. The novel method for generating high throughput growth curves provides benefits for future research regarding antimicrobial substances in general.

RevDate: 2020-02-19

Liechty Z, Santos-Medellín C, Edwards J, et al (2020)

Comparative Analysis of Root Microbiomes of Rice Cultivars with High and Low Methane Emissions Reveals Differences in Abundance of Methanogenic Archaea and Putative Upstream Fermenters.

mSystems, 5(1): pii:5/1/e00897-19.

Rice cultivation worldwide accounts for ∼7 to 17% of global methane emissions. Methane cycling in rice paddies is a microbial process not only involving methane producers (methanogens) and methane metabolizers (methanotrophs) but also other microbial taxa that affect upstream processes related to methane metabolism. Rice cultivars vary in their rates of methane emissions, but the influence of rice genotypes on methane cycling microbiota has been poorly characterized. Here, we profiled the rhizosphere, rhizoplane, and endosphere microbiomes of a high-methane-emitting cultivar (Sabine) and a low-methane-emitting cultivar (CLXL745) throughout the growing season to identify variations in the archaeal and bacterial communities relating to methane emissions. The rhizosphere of the high-emitting cultivar was enriched in methanogens compared to that in the low emitter, whereas the relative abundances of methanotrophs between the cultivars were not significantly different. Further analysis of cultivar-sensitive taxa identified families enriched in the high emitter that are associated with methanogenesis-related processes. The high emitter had greater relative abundances of sulfate-reducing and iron-reducing taxa which peak earlier in the season than methanogens and are necessary to lower soil oxidation reduction potential before methanogenesis can occur. The high emitter also had a greater abundance of fermentative taxa which produce methanogenesis precursors (acetate, CO2, and H2). Furthermore, the high emitter was enriched in taxa related to acetogenesis which compete with methanogens for CO2 and H2 These taxa were enriched in a spatio-specific manner and reveal a complex network of microbial interactions on which plant genotype-dependent factors can act to affect methanogenesis and methane emissions.IMPORTANCE Rice cultivation is a major source of anthropogenic emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas with a potentially severe impact on climate change. Emission variation between rice cultivars suggests the feasibility of breeding low-emission rice, but there is a limited understanding of how genotypes affect the microbiota involved in methane cycling. Here, we show that the root microbiome of the high-emitting cultivar is enriched both in methanogens and in taxa associated with fermentation, iron, and sulfate reduction and acetogenesis, processes that support methanogenesis. Understanding how cultivars affect microbes with methanogenesis-related functions is vital for understanding the genetic basis for methane emission in rice and can aid in the development of breeding programs that reduce the environmental impact of rice cultivation.

RevDate: 2020-02-18

Badel C, Da Cunha V, Forterre P, et al (2020)

Pervasive suicidal integrases in deep-sea archaea.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5739972 [Epub ahead of print].

Mobile genetic elements often encode integrases which catalyze the site-specific insertion of their genetic information into the host genome and the reverse reaction of excision. Hyperthermophilic archaea harbor integrases belonging to the SSV-family which carry the MGE recombination site within their open reading frame. Upon integration into the host genome, SSV integrases disrupt their own gene into two inactive pseudogenes and are termed suicidal for this reason. The evolutionary maintenance of suicidal integrases, concurring with the high prevalence and multiples recruitments of these recombinases by archaeal MGEs, is highly paradoxical. To elucidate this phenomenon, we analyzed the wide phylogenomic distribution of a prominent class of suicidal integrases which revealed a highly variable integration site specificity. Our results highlighted the remarkable hybrid nature of these enzymes encoded from the assembly of inactive pseudogenes of different origins. The characterization of the biological properties of one of these integrases, IntpT26-2 showed that this enzyme was active over a wide range of temperatures up to 99 °C and displayed a less stringent site specificity requirement than comparable integrases. These observations concurred in explaining the pervasiveness of these suicidal integrases in the most hyperthermophilic organisms. The biochemical and phylogenomic data presented here revealed a target site switching system operating on highly thermostable integrases and suggested a new model for split gene reconstitution. By generating fast-evolving pseudogenes at high frequency, suicidal integrases constitute a powerful model to approach the molecular mechanisms involved in the generation of active genes variants by the recombination of proto-genes.

RevDate: 2020-02-14

Tästensen JB, Johnsen U, Reinhardt A, et al (2020)

D-Galactose catabolism in archaea: Operation of the DeLey-Doudoroff pathway in Haloferax volcanii.

FEMS microbiology letters pii:5736015 [Epub ahead of print].

The haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii was found to grow on D-galactose as carbon and energy source. Here we report a comprehensive analysis of D-galactose catabolism in H. volcanii. Genome analyses indicated a cluster of genes encoding putative enzymes of the DeLey-Doudoroff pathway for D-galactose degradation including galactose dehydrogenase, galactonate dehydratase, 2-keto-3-deoxygalactonate kinase and 2-keto-3-deoxy-6-phosphogalactonate (KDPGal) aldolase. The recombinant galactose dehydrogenase and galactonate dehydratase showed high specificity for D-galactose and galactonate, respectively, whereas KDPGal aldolase was promiscuous in utilizing KDPGal and also the C4 epimer 2-keto-3-deoxy-6-phosphogluconate as substrates. Growth studies with knock-out mutants indicated the functional involvement of galactose dehydrogenase, galactonate dehydratase and KDPGal aldolase in D-galactose degradation. Further, the transcriptional regulator GacR was identified which was characterized as an activator of genes of the DeLey-Doudoroff pathway. Finally, genes were identified encoding components of an ABC transporter and a knock-out mutant of the substrate binding protein indicated the functional involvement of this transporter in D-galactose uptake. This is the first report of D-galactose degradation via the DeLey-Doudoroff pathway in the domain of archaea.

RevDate: 2020-02-12

Roux S, Krupovic M, Daly RA, et al (2020)

Author Correction: Cryptic inoviruses revealed as pervasive in bacteria and archaea across Earth's biomes.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

RevDate: 2020-02-11

Roy D, McEvoy J, E Khan (2020)

Abundance and activity of ammonia oxidizing archaea and bacteria in bulk water and biofilm in water supply systems practicing chlorination and chloramination: Full and laboratory scale investigations.

The Science of the total environment, 715:137043 pii:S0048-9697(20)30553-2 [Epub ahead of print].

The abundance and nitrification activity of ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in bulk water and biofilm in chloraminated and chlorinated water supply systems were investigated. The abundance of AOB varied between cold and warm periods while that was the case for AOA only in biofilm. Lower ammonia concentrations favored the abundance of AOA over AOB. AOA and AOB were found more in distal zones of the distribution system (DS). Higher numbers of AOA and AOB were observed in DS associated with chloramination compared to those associated with chlorination. Significant positive correlations between ammonia-N in bulk water and AOA indicate a possibility of involvement of AOA in nitrification in DS. A separate laboratory-based experiment simulating DS condition was conducted to understand the effects of chlorine and chloramine dosages and temperature on AOA and AOB. AOA were inhibited less than AOB in the presence of lower concentrations of chlorine and chloramine (1.5 and 2.0 mg/L chlorine; 0.05-0.1 and 0.3-0.4 mg/L chloramine) while both of them were not detected at higher dosages (2.5 mg/L chlorine and 1.5-1.6 mg/L chloramine). At a low temperature (10-12 °C), chloramine and chlorine provided similar inhibition trends in which AOB were inhibited more than AOA. At a high temperature (25 °C), chloramine was less inhibitory to AOA and AOB than chlorine.

RevDate: 2020-02-07

Phung DK, Etienne C, Batista M, et al (2020)

RNA processing machineries in Archaea: the 5'-3' exoribonuclease aRNase J of the β-CASP family is engaged specifically with the helicase ASH-Ski2 and the 3'-5' exoribonucleolytic RNA exosome machinery.

Nucleic acids research pii:5728875 [Epub ahead of print].

A network of RNA helicases, endoribonucleases and exoribonucleases regulates the quantity and quality of cellular RNAs. To date, mechanistic studies focussed on bacterial and eukaryal systems due to the challenge of identifying the main drivers of RNA decay and processing in Archaea. Here, our data support that aRNase J, a 5'-3' exoribonuclease of the β-CASP family conserved in Euryarchaeota, engages specifically with a Ski2-like helicase and the RNA exosome to potentially exert control over RNA surveillance, at the vicinity of the ribosome. Proteomic landscapes and direct protein-protein interaction analyses, strengthened by comprehensive phylogenomic studies demonstrated that aRNase J interplay with ASH-Ski2 and a cap exosome subunit. Finally, Thermococcus barophilus whole-cell extract fractionation experiments provide evidences that an aRNase J/ASH-Ski2 complex might exist in vivo and hint at an association of aRNase J with the ribosome that is emphasised in absence of ASH-Ski2. Whilst aRNase J homologues are found among bacteria, the RNA exosome and the Ski2-like RNA helicase have eukaryotic homologues, underlining the mosaic aspect of archaeal RNA machines. Altogether, these results suggest a fundamental role of β-CASP RNase/helicase complex in archaeal RNA metabolism.

RevDate: 2020-02-06

Lyubetsky VA, Zverkov OA, Rubanov LI, et al (2020)

Optimal Growth Temperature and Intergenic Distances in Bacteria, Archaea, and Plastids of Rhodophytic Branch.

BioMed research international, 2020:3465380.

The lengths of intergenic regions between neighboring genes that are convergent, divergent, or unidirectional were calculated for plastids of the rhodophytic branch and complete archaeal and bacterial genomes. Statistically significant linear relationships between any pair of the medians of these three length types have been revealed in each genomic group. Exponential relationships between the optimal growth temperature and each of the three medians have been revealed as well. The leading coefficients of the regression equations relating all pairs of the medians as well as temperature and any of the medians have the same sign and order of magnitude. The results obtained for plastids, archaea, and bacteria are also similar at the qualitative level. For instance, the medians are always low at high temperatures. At low temperatures, the medians tend to statistically significant greater values and scattering. The original model was used to test our hypothesis that the intergenic distances are optimized in particular to decrease the competition of RNA polymerases within the locus that results in transcribing shortened RNAs. Overall, this points to an effect of temperature for both remote and close genomes.

RevDate: 2020-02-04

Fusco S, Aulitto M, Iacobucci I, et al (2020)

The interaction between the F55 virus-encoded transcription regulator and the RadA host recombinase reveals a common strategy in Archaea and Bacteria to sense the UV-induced damage to the host DNA.

Biochimica et biophysica acta. Gene regulatory mechanisms pii:S1874-9399(19)30442-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Sulfolobus spindle-shaped virus 1 is the only UV-inducible member of the virus family Fuselloviridae. Originally isolated from Saccharolobus shibatae B12, it can also infect Saccharolobus solfataricus. Like the CI repressor of the bacteriophage λ, the SSV1-encoded F55 transcription repressor acts as a key regulator for the maintenance of the SSV1 carrier state. In particular, F55 binds to tandem repeat sequences located within the promoters of the early and UV-inducible transcripts. Upon exposure to UV light, a temporally coordinated pattern of gene expression is triggered. In the case of the better characterized bacteriophage λ, the switch from lysogenic to lytic development is regulated by a crosstalk between the virus encoded CI repressor and the host RecA, which regulates also the SOS response. For SSV1, instead, the regulatory mechanisms governing the switch from the carrier to the induced state have not been completely unravelled. In this study we have applied an integrated biochemical approach based on a variant of the EMSA assay coupled to mass spectrometry analyses to identify the proteins associated with F55 when bound to its specific DNA promoter sequences. Among the putative F55 interactors, we identified RadA and showed that the archaeal molecular components F55 and RadA are functional homologs of bacteriophage λ (factor CI) and Escherichia coli (RecA) system.

RevDate: 2020-02-04

Zhang RY, Zou B, Yan YW, et al (2020)

Design of targeted primers based on 16S rRNA sequences in meta-transcriptomic datasets and identification of a novel taxonomic group in the Asgard archaea.

BMC microbiology, 20(1):25 pii:10.1186/s12866-020-1707-0.

BACKGROUND: Amplification of small subunit (SSU) rRNA genes with universal primers is a common method used to assess microbial populations in various environmental samples. However, owing to limitations in coverage of these universal primers, some microorganisms remain unidentified. The present study aimed to establish a method for amplifying nearly full-length SSU rRNA gene sequences of previously unidentified prokaryotes, using newly designed targeted primers via primer evaluation in meta-transcriptomic datasets.

METHODS: Primer binding regions of universal primer 8F/Arch21F for bacteria or archaea were used for primer evaluation of SSU rRNA sequences in meta-transcriptomic datasets. Furthermore, targeted forward primers were designed based on SSU rRNA reads from unclassified groups unmatched with the universal primer 8F/Arch21F, and these primers were used to amplify nearly full-length special SSU rRNA gene sequences along with universal reverse primer 1492R. Similarity and phylogenetic analysis were used to confirm their novel status.

RESULTS: Using this method, we identified unclassified SSU rRNA sequences that were not matched with universal primer 8F and Arch21F. A new group within the Asgard superphylum was amplified by the newly designed specific primer based on these unclassified SSU rRNA sequences by using mudflat samples.

CONCLUSION: We showed that using specific primers designed based on universal primer evaluation from meta-transcriptomic datasets, identification of novel taxonomic groups from a specific environment is possible.

RevDate: 2020-02-01

Menéndez-Serra M, Ontiveros V, Triadó-Margarit X, et al (2020)

Dynamics and ecological distributions of the Archaea microbiome from inland saline lakes (Monegros Desert, Spain).

FEMS microbiology ecology pii:5719565 [Epub ahead of print].

We characterized the rich Archaea microbiome of shallow inland lakes (Monegros Desert, NE Spain) by 16S rRNA gene tag sequencing covering a wide salinity range (0.1-40% w/v) along three years. Up to 990 OTUs (<97% identity) were detected allocated in 14 major archaeal phyla and heterogeneously distributed along the salt gradient. Dynamics and idiosyncratic ecological distributions were uncovered for the different phyla. A high genetic richness was observed for Woesearchaota and Pacearchaeota (>370 OTUs each), followed by Halobacteria (105), Nanohaloarchaeota (62) and Thermoplasmata (19). Overall, the distribution of genetic richness was strongly correlated with environmental niche amplitude, but not with occurrence. We unveiled high occurrence for a very rich Woesearchaeota assemblage, and an unexpected positive correlation of Pacearchaeota abundance with salinity at >15% dissolved salt content. The estimated dynamic behaviour (temporal 'turnover' rates of presence/absence data) unveiled Thaumarchaeota and Halobacteria as the most dynamic groups, and Aenigmarchaeota and Thermoplasmata as the most stable. The DPANN Pacearchaeota, Woesearchaeota, and Nanohaloarchaeota showed intermediate rates, suggesting higher resilience to environmental perturbations. A rich and dynamic Archaea microbiome was unveiled including unseen ecological traits for relevant members of the still largely unknown DPANN group, supporting a strong ecological differentiation between Pacearchaeota and Woesearchaeota.

RevDate: 2020-01-30

Roy C, Kumar R, S Datta (2020)

Comparative Studies on Ion-pair Energetic, Distribution among Three Domains of Life: Archaea, Eubacteria and Eukarya.

Proteins [Epub ahead of print].

Salt-bridges play a unique role in the structural and functional stability of proteins, especially under harsh environments. How these salt-bridges contribute to the overall thermodynamic stability of protein structure and function across different domains of life is elusive still date. To address the issue, statistical analyses on the energies of salt-bridges, involved in proteins' structure and function, are performed across three domains of life i.e. archaea, eubacteria and eukarya. Results show that although the majority of salt-bridges are stable and conserved, yet the stability of archaeal proteins (∆∆Gnet = -5.06±3.8) is much more than that of eubacteria ∆∆Gnet = -3.7±2.9) and eukarya ∆∆Gnet = -3.54±3.1). Unlike earlier study with archaea, in eukarya and eubacteria, not all buried salt-bridge in our dataset are stable. Buried salt-bridges play surprising role in protein stability, whose variations are clearly observed among these domains. Greater desolvation penalty of buried salt-bridges is compensated by stable network of salt-bridges apart from equal contribution of bridge and background energy terms. On the basis proteins' secondary structure, topology and evolution, our observation show that salt-bridges when present closer to each other in sequence tend to form a greater number. Overall, our comparative study provides insight into the role of specific electrostatic interactions in proteins from different domains of life, which we hope, would be useful for protein engineering and bioinformatics study. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-01-29

Eichler J (2020)

Modifying Post-Translational Modifications: A Strategy Used by Archaea for Adapting to Changing Environments?: Manipulating the Extent, Position, or Content of Post-Translational Modifications May Help Archaea Adapt to Environmental Change.

BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology [Epub ahead of print].

In concert with the selective pressures affecting protein folding and function in the extreme environments in which they can exist, proteins in Archaea have evolved to present permanent molecular adaptations at the amino acid sequence level. Such adaptations may not, however, suffice when Archaea encounter transient changes in their surroundings. Post-translational modifications offer a rapid and reversible layer of adaptation for proteins to cope with such situations. Here, it is proposed that Archaea further augment their ability to survive changing growth conditions by modifying the extent, position, and, where relevant, the composition of different post-translational modifications, as a function of the environment. Support for this hypothesis comes from recent reports describing how patterns of protein glycosylation, methylation, and other post-translational modifications of archaeal proteins are altered in response to environmental change. Indeed, adjusting post-translational modifications as a means to cope with environmental variability may also hold true beyond the Archaea.

RevDate: 2020-01-17

Guo H, Ma L, Liang Y, et al (2020)

Response of ammonia-oxidizing Bacteria and Archaea to long-term saline water irrigation in alluvial grey desert soils.

Scientific reports, 10(1):489 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-57402-x.

Soil nitrification via ammonia oxidation is a key ecosystem process in terrestrial environments, but little is known of how increasing irrigation of farmland soils with saline waters effects these processes. We investigated the effects of long-term irrigation with saline water on the abundances and community structures of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA). Irrigation with brackish or saline water increased soil salinity (EC1:5) and NH4-N compared to irrigation with freshwater, while NO3-N, potential nitrification rates (PNR) and amoA gene copy numbers of AOA and AOB decreased markedly under irrigation regimes with saline waters. Moreover, irrigation with brackish water lowered AOA/AOB ratios. PNR was positively correlated with AOA and AOB amoA gene copy numbers across treatments. Saline and brackish water irrigation significantly increased the diversity of AOA, as noted by Shannon index values, while saline water irrigation markedly reduced AOB diversity. In addition, irrigation with brackish or fresh waters resulted in higher proportions of unclassified taxa in the AOB communities. However, irrigation with saline water led to higher proportions of unclassified taxa in the AOA communities along with the Candidatus Nitrosocaldus genus, as compared to soils irrigated with freshwater. AOA community structures were closely associated with soil salinity, NO3-N, and pH, while AOB communities were only significantly associated with NO3-N and pH. These results suggest that salinity was the dominant factor affecting the growth of ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms and community structure. These results can provide a scientific basis for further exploring the response mechanism of ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms and their roles in nitrogen transformation in alluvial grey desert soils of arid areas.

RevDate: 2020-01-16

Anonymous (2020)

The life of archaea.

Nature, 577(7790):294.

RevDate: 2020-01-16

Besseling MA, Hopmans EC, Bale NJ, et al (2020)

The absence of intact polar lipid-derived GDGTs in marine waters dominated by Marine Group II: Implications for lipid biosynthesis in Archaea.

Scientific reports, 10(1):294 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-57035-0.

The marine pelagic archaeal community is dominated by three major groups, the marine group I (MGI) Thaumarchaeota, and the marine groups II and III (MGII and MGIII) Euryarchaeota. Studies of both MGI cultures and the environment have shown that the MGI core membrane lipids are predominantly composed of glycerol dibiphytanyl glycerol tetraether (GDGT) lipids and the diether lipid archaeol. However, there are no cultured representatives of MGII and III archaea and, therefore, both their membrane lipid composition and potential contribution to the marine archaeal lipid pool remain unknown. Here, we show that GDGTs present in suspended particulate matter of the (sub)surface waters of the North Atlantic Ocean and the coastal North Sea are derived from MGI archaea, and that MGII archaea do not significantly contribute to the pool of GDGTs and archaeol. This implies, in contrast to previous suggestions, that their lipids do not affect the widely used sea surface temperature proxy TEX86. These findings also indicate that MGII archaea are not able to produce any known archaeal lipids, implying that our understanding of the evolution of membrane lipid biosynthesis in Archaea is far from complete.

RevDate: 2020-01-15

Barco RA, Garrity GM, Scott JJ, et al (2020)

A Genus Definition for Bacteria and Archaea Based on a Standard Genome Relatedness Index.

mBio, 11(1): pii:mBio.02475-19.

Genus assignment is fundamental in the characterization of microbes, yet there is currently no unambiguous way to demarcate genera solely using standard genomic relatedness indices. Here, we propose an approach to demarcate genera that relies on the combined use of the average nucleotide identity, genome alignment fraction, and the distinction between type- and non-type species. More than 3,500 genomes representing type strains of species from >850 genera of either bacterial or archaeal lineages were tested. Over 140 genera were analyzed in detail within the taxonomic context of order/family. Significant genomic differences between members of a genus and type species of other genera in the same order/family were conserved in 94% of the cases. Nearly 90% (92% if polyphyletic genera are excluded) of the type strains were classified in agreement with current taxonomy. The 448 type strains that need reclassification directly impact 33% of the genera analyzed in detail. The results provide a first line of evidence that the combination of genomic indices provides added resolution to effectively demarcate genera within the taxonomic framework that is currently based on the 16S rRNA gene. We also identify the emergence of natural breakpoints at the genome level that can further help in the circumscription of taxa, increasing the proportion of directly impacted genera to at least 43% and pointing at inaccuracies on the use of the 16S rRNA gene as a taxonomic marker, despite its precision. Altogether, these results suggest that genomic coherence is an emergent property of genera in Bacteria and ArchaeaIMPORTANCE In recent decades, the taxonomy of Bacteria and Archaea, and therefore genus designation, has been largely based on the use of a single ribosomal gene, the 16S rRNA gene, as a taxonomic marker. We propose an approach to delineate genera that excludes the direct use of the 16S rRNA gene and focuses on a standard genome relatedness index, the average nucleotide identity. Our findings are of importance to the microbiology community because the emergent properties of Bacteria and Archaea that are identified in this study will help assign genera with higher taxonomic resolution.

RevDate: 2020-01-11

Wang C, Tang S, He X, et al (2020)

The abundance and community structure of active ammonia-oxidizing archaea and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria shape their activities and contributions in coastal wetlands.

Water research, 171:115464 pii:S0043-1354(19)31241-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Aerobic ammonia oxidation, an important part of the global nitrogen cycle, is thought to be jointly driven by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) in coastal wetlands. However, the activities and contributions of AOA and AOB in coastal wetlands have remained largely unknown. Here, we investigated the oxidation capability of AOA and AOB in four types of typical coastal wetlands (paddy, estuary, shallow and reed wetland) in the Bohai region in China using DNA-based stable-isotope probing (DNA-SIP), quantitative PCR and high-throughput sequencing techniques. We found that the community structure of AOB varied substantially, and the AOA structure was more stable across different coastal wetlands. The rate of AOA was 0.12, 0.84, 0.45 and 0.93 μg N g-1 soil d-1 in paddy, estuary, shallow and reed wetlands, and the rate of AOB was 5.61, 10.72, 0.74 and 1.16 μg N g-1 soil d-1, respectively. We found that the contribution of AOA gradually increased from paddy to estuary to shallow wetland and finally to reed wetland, with values of 2.03%, 7.25%, 37.53% and 44.51%, respectively. Our results provide new insight into the mechanisms of the differences in activities and the contributions of AOA and AOB in different coastal wetlands, and our findings may contribute to further understanding of the global nitrogen cycle.

RevDate: 2020-01-10

Dekas AE, Parada AE, Mayali X, et al (2019)

Characterizing Chemoautotrophy and Heterotrophy in Marine Archaea and Bacteria With Single-Cell Multi-isotope NanoSIP.

Frontiers in microbiology, 10:2682.

Characterizing and quantifying in situ metabolisms remains both a central goal and challenge for environmental microbiology. Here, we used a single-cell, multi-isotope approach to investigate the anabolic activity of marine microorganisms, with an emphasis on natural populations of Thaumarchaeota. After incubating coastal Pacific Ocean water with 13C-bicarbonate and 15N-amino acids, we used nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) to isotopically screen 1,501 individual cells, and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to assess community composition. We established isotopic enrichment thresholds for activity and metabolic classification, and with these determined the percentage of anabolically active cells, the distribution of activity across the whole community, and the metabolic lifestyle-chemoautotrophic or heterotrophic-of each cell. Most cells (>90%) were anabolically active during the incubation, and 4-17% were chemoautotrophic. When we inhibited bacteria with antibiotics, the fraction of chemoautotrophic cells detected via nanoSIMS increased, suggesting archaea dominated chemoautotrophy. With fluorescence in situ hybridization coupled to nanoSIMS (FISH-nanoSIMS), we confirmed that most Thaumarchaeota were living chemoautotrophically, while bacteria were not. FISH-nanoSIMS analysis of cells incubated with dual-labeled (13C,15N-) amino acids revealed that most Thaumarchaeota cells assimilated amino-acid-derived nitrogen but not carbon, while bacteria assimilated both. This indicates that some Thaumarchaeota do not assimilate intact amino acids, suggesting intra-phylum heterogeneity in organic carbon utilization, and potentially their use of amino acids for nitrification. Together, our results demonstrate the utility of multi-isotope nanoSIMS analysis for high-throughput metabolic screening, and shed light on the activity and metabolism of uncultured marine archaea and bacteria.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Maus D, Heinz J, Schirmack J, et al (2020)

Methanogenic Archaea Can Produce Methane in Deliquescence-Driven Mars Analog Environments.

Scientific reports, 10(1):6 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-56267-4.

The current understanding of the Martian surface indicates that briny environments at the near-surface are temporarily possible, e.g. in the case of the presumably deliquescence-driven Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL). However, whether such dynamic environments are habitable for terrestrial organisms remains poorly understood. This hypothesis was tested by developing a Closed Deliquescence System (CDS) consisting of a mixture of desiccated Martian Regolith Analog (MRA) substrate, salts, and microbial cells, which over the course of days became wetted through deliquescence. The methane produced via metabolic activity for three methanogenic archaea: Methanosarcina mazei, M. barkeri and M. soligelidi, was measured after exposing them to three different MRA substrates using either NaCl or NaClO4 as a hygroscopic salt. Our experiments showed that (1) M. soligelidi rapidly produced methane at 4 °C, (2) M. barkeri produced methane at 28 °C though not at 4 °C, (3) M. mazei was not metabolically reactivated through deliquescence, (4) none of the species produced methane in the presence of perchlorate, and (5) all species were metabolically most active in the phyllosilicate-containing MRA. These results emphasize the importance of the substrate, microbial species, salt, and temperature used in the experiments. Furthermore, we show here for the first time that water provided by deliquescence alone is sufficient to rehydrate methanogenic archaea and to reactivate their metabolism under conditions roughly analogous to the near-subsurface Martian environment.

RevDate: 2020-01-04

Cavalier-Smith T, EE Chao (2020)

Multidomain ribosomal protein trees and the planctobacterial origin of neomura (eukaryotes, archaebacteria).

Protoplasma pii:10.1007/s00709-019-01442-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Palaeontologically, eubacteria are > 3× older than neomura (eukaryotes, archaebacteria). Cell biology contrasts ancestral eubacterial murein peptidoglycan walls and derived neomuran N-linked glycoprotein coats/walls. Misinterpreting long stems connecting clade neomura to eubacteria on ribosomal sequence trees (plus misinterpreted protein paralogue trees) obscured this historical pattern. Universal multiprotein ribosomal protein (RP) trees, more accurate than rRNA trees, are taxonomically undersampled. To reduce contradictions with genically richer eukaryote trees and improve eubacterial phylogeny, we constructed site-heterogeneous and maximum-likelihood universal three-domain, two-domain, and single-domain trees for 143 eukaryotes (branching now congruent with 187-protein trees), 60 archaebacteria, and 151 taxonomically representative eubacteria, using 51 and 26 RPs. Site-heterogeneous trees greatly improve eubacterial phylogeny and higher classification, e.g. showing gracilicute monophyly, that many 'rDNA-phyla' belong in Proteobacteria, and reveal robust new phyla Synthermota and Aquithermota. Monoderm Posibacteria and Mollicutes (two separate wall losses) are both polyphyletic: multiple outer membrane losses in Endobacteria occurred separately from Actinobacteria; neither phylum is related to Chloroflexi, the most divergent prokaryotes, which originated photosynthesis (new model proposed). RP trees support an eozoan root for eukaryotes and are consistent with archaebacteria being their sisters and rooted between Filarchaeota (=Proteoarchaeota, including 'Asgardia') and Euryarchaeota sensu-lato (including ultrasimplified 'DPANN' whose long branches often distort trees). Two-domain trees group eukaryotes within Planctobacteria, and archaebacteria with Planctobacteria/Sphingobacteria. Integrated molecular/palaeontological evidence favours negibacterial ancestors for neomura and all life. Unique presence of key pre-neomuran characters favours Planctobacteria only as ancestral to neomura, which apparently arose by coevolutionary repercussions (explained here in detail, including RP replacement) of simultaneous outer membrane and murein loss. Planctobacterial C-1 methanotrophic enzymes are likely ancestral to archaebacterial methanogenesis and β-propeller-α-solenoid proteins to eukaryotic vesicle coats, nuclear-pore-complexes, and intraciliary transport. Planctobacterial chaperone-independent 4/5-protofilament microtubules and MamK actin-ancestors prepared for eukaryote intracellular motility, mitosis, cytokinesis, and phagocytosis. We refute numerous wrong ideas about the universal tree.

RevDate: 2019-12-31

Knüppel R, Fenk M, Jüttner M, et al (2020)

In Vivo RNA Chemical Footprinting Analysis in Archaea.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2106:193-208.

RNA structural conformation and dynamics govern the functional properties of all RNA/RNP. Accordingly, defining changes of RNA structure and dynamics in various conditions may provide detailed insight into how RNA structural properties regulate the function of RNA/RNP. Traditional chemical footprinting analysis using chemical modifiers allows to sample the dynamics and conformation landscape of diverse RNA/RNP. However, many chemical modifiers are limited in their capacity to provide unbiased information reflecting the in vivo RNA/RNP structural landscape. In the recent years, the development of selective-2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) methodology that uses powerful new chemical modifiers has significantly improved in vitro and in vivo structural probing of secondary and tertiary interactions of diverse RNA species at the single nucleotide level.Although the original discovery of Archaea as an independent domain of life is intimately linked to the technological development of RNA analysis, our understanding of in vivo RNA structural conformation and dynamics in this domain of life remains scarce.This protocol describes the in vivo use of SHAPE chemistry in two evolutionary divergent model Archaea, Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and Haloferax volcanii.

RevDate: 2019-12-30

Coutinho FH, Edwards RA, F Rodríguez-Valera (2019)

Charting the diversity of uncultured viruses of Archaea and Bacteria.

BMC biology, 17(1):109 pii:10.1186/s12915-019-0723-8.

BACKGROUND: Viruses of Archaea and Bacteria are among the most abundant and diverse biological entities on Earth. Unraveling their biodiversity has been challenging due to methodological limitations. Recent advances in culture-independent techniques, such as metagenomics, shed light on the unknown viral diversity, revealing thousands of new viral nucleotide sequences at an unprecedented scale. However, these novel sequences have not been properly classified and the evolutionary associations between them were not resolved.

RESULTS: Here, we performed phylogenomic analysis of nearly 200,000 viral nucleotide sequences to establish GL-UVAB: Genomic Lineages of Uncultured Viruses of Archaea and Bacteria. The pan-genome content of the identified lineages shed light on some of their infection strategies, potential to modulate host physiology, and mechanisms to escape host resistance systems. Furthermore, using GL-UVAB as a reference database for annotating metagenomes revealed elusive habitat distribution patterns of viral lineages and environmental drivers of community composition.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide insights about the genomic diversity and ecology of viruses of prokaryotes. The source code used in these analyses is freely available at https://sourceforge.net/projects/gluvab/.

RevDate: 2019-12-23

Li M, Huang Y, Yang Y, et al (2019)

Heavy metal ions removed from imitating acid mine drainages with a thermoacidophilic archaea: Acidianus manzaensis YN25.

Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 190:110084 pii:S0147-6513(19)31415-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Metals in acid mine drainages (AMD) have posed a great threat to environment, and in situ economic environment-friendly remediation technologies need to be developed. Moreover, the effects of acidophiles on biosorption and migrating behaviors of metals in AMD have not been previously reported. In this study, the extremely thermoacidophilic Archaea, Acidianus manzaensis YN25 (A. manzaensis YN25) was used as a bio-adsorbent to adsorb metals (Cu2+, Ni2+, Cd2+ and Zn2+) from acidic solutions which were taken to imitate AMD. The values of their maximum biosorption capacities at both high (1 mM) and low (0.1 mM) metal concentrations followed the order: Cu2+ > Ni2+ > Cd2+ > Zn2+. With the elevations of temperature and pH value, the adsorption amounts of metals increased. The results also indicated that A. manzaensis YN25 had the highest adsorption affinity to Cu2+ in coexisting system of quaternary metals. Acid-base titration data revealed that carboxyl and phosphoryl groups provided adsorption sites for metals via deprotonation. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) further corroborated that amino played an important role in the biosorption process. The fitted Langmuir model illustrated monolayer adsorption occurring on cell surface. The possible adsorption mechanism of A. manzaensis YN25 mainly involved in electrostatic attraction and complexes formation. This study gives a profound insight into the biosorption behavior of heavy metals in acidic solution by thermoacidophilic Archaea and provides a probable novel strategy for in situ remediation of heavy metals pollution in AMD.

RevDate: 2019-12-19

Hernandez-Guerrero R, Galán-Vásquez E, E Pérez-Rueda (2019)

The protein architecture in Bacteria and Archaea identifies a set of promiscuous and ancient domains.

PloS one, 14(12):e0226604 pii:PONE-D-19-24704.

In this work, we describe a systematic comparative genomic analysis of promiscuous domains in genomes of Bacteria and Archaea. A quantitative measure of domain promiscuity, the weighted domain architecture score (WDAS), was used and applied to 1317 domains in 1320 genomes of Bacteria and Archaea. A functional analysis associated with the WDAS per genome showed that 18 of 50 functional categories were identified as significantly enriched in the promiscuous domains; in particular, small-molecule binding domains, transferases domains, DNA binding domains (transcription factors), and signal transduction domains were identified as promiscuous. In contrast, non-promiscuous domains were identified as associated with 6 of 50 functional categories, and the category Function unknown was enriched. In addition, the WDASs of 52 domains correlated with genome size, i.e., WDAS values decreased as the genome size increased, suggesting that the number of combinations at larger domains increases, including domains in the superfamilies Winged helix-turn-helix and P-loop-containing nucleoside triphosphate hydrolases. Finally, based on classification of the domains according to their ancestry, we determined that the set of 52 promiscuous domains are also ancient and abundant among all the genomes, in contrast to the non-promiscuous domains. In summary, we consider that the association between these two classes of protein domains (promiscuous and non-promiscuous) provides bacterial and archaeal cells with the ability to respond to diverse environmental challenges.

RevDate: 2019-12-19

Bao QL, Wang FH, Bao WK, et al (2019)

[Effects of Rice Straw Addition on Methanogenic Archaea and Bacteria in Two Paddy Soils].

Huan jing ke xue= Huanjing kexue, 40(9):4202-4212.

Rice straw (RS) returning has an important effect on CH4 emission in rice paddy soil. In the present study, two paddy soil types from Jiangxi (JX) and Guangdong (GD), respectively, with different amounts of added RS were incubated through microcosmic anaerobic incubation experiments to investigate the responses of methanogenic archaea and bacteria communities after relatively long-term incubation. The different amounts of added RS affected methanogenic archaea community structures in the JX soil to some extent but did not affect the GD soil. The mcrA gene copy number increased with an increase in RS amount in both soils. Under the same amount of RS, the copy number of this gene in the JX soil was greater than that in the GD soil. In addition, significant positive correlations were shown between the RS amount and the copy number of the mcrA gene, and the response of the copy number was more sensitive to the RS amount in the JX soil. Obvious differences in methanogenic archaea community structures were shown between two soils. Methanosarcinaceae, Methanocellaceae, Methanomicrobiaceae, Methanobacteriaceae, and unknown microorganism (494 bp) were detected in the JX soil, and Methanobacteriaceae, Methanosarcinaceae, and Methanocellaceae were observed in the GD soil. The bacterial communities exhibited obvious differences between the two soil types after 180 days of incubation. The bacterial diversity in the GD soil was higher than that in the JX soil, although the amounts of dominant bacteria in the JX soil, including Bacillus, Desulfovirgula, Thermosporothrix, Acidobacteria/Gp1, Acidobacteria/Gp3, and Ktedonobacter, were higher than those of the GD soil, including Longilinea, Acidobacteria/Gp6, Bellilinea, and Thermosporothrix. RS application promoted the growth of methanogenic archaea as important substrates. Moreover, different structures of methanogens and bacteria were shown between the two soil types after relatively long-term incubation.

RevDate: 2019-12-19

Guo JL, Liu Y, Wei WX, et al (2019)

[Impact of Dicyandiamide (DCD) and 3,4-Dimethylpyrazole Phosphate (DMPP) on Ammonia-oxidizing Bacteria and Archaea in a Vegetable Planting Soil].

Huan jing ke xue= Huanjing kexue, 40(11):5142-5150.

Nitrification inhibitors (NIs) dicyandiamide (DCD) and 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) showed significant effects in the inhibition of nitrification and the improvement of the utilization efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer in agricultural soils. However, the effects of different NIs on ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA) is still unclear. To verify the inhibitory effect of DCD and DMPP on AOB and AOA, a pot experiment was performed, including Urea, Urea+DCD, and Urea+DMPP treatments. The dynamics of NH4+-N and NO3--N and nitrification potential among different treatments were measured. In addition, real-time PCR and high-throughput sequencing approaches were applied to investigate the changes in the AOB and AOA population abundance and composition. The results revealed that the concentrations of NH4+-N in Urea+DCD and Urea+DMPP treatments were 213% and 675% higher than that in the CK treatment, respectively. However, the concentrations of NO3--N and the nitrification potentials were 13.3% and 37.2%, and 20.4% and 82.4% lower than that in CK treatment, respectively; Furthermore, the copy numbers of the bacterial and archaeal amoA gene were 51.2% and 56.5%, and 6.0% and 27.0% lower than that in the CK treatment, respectively. However, the diversity indexes of AOB and AOA communities, including evenness and richness, exhibited no significant differences after addition of DCD and DMPP. The nork-environmental-samples, unclassified-Nitrosomonadaceae, unclassified-Bacteria, and Nitrosospira, were the predominant genera of the AOB community. The no rank-Crenarchaeota, no rank-environmental-samples and Nitrososphaera were the predominant groups in the AOA community. Summarily, application of DCD and DMPP significantly delayed the transformation of NH4+-N, decreased the formation of NO3--N, inhibited the abundance and changed the composition of AOB and AOA communities. DMPP had a stronger inhibitory effect on nitrification, and on AOB and AOA than DCD. Therefore, compared with DCD, DMPP had a better application prospect regarding the improvement of the nitrogen utilization efficiency in vegetable soil.

RevDate: 2019-12-14

Gribaldo S, C Brochier-Armanet (2019)

Evolutionary relationships between archaea and eukaryotes.

Nature ecology & evolution pii:10.1038/s41559-019-1073-1 [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2019-12-12

Jüttner M, Weiß M, Ostheimer N, et al (2019)

A versatile cis-acting element reporter system to study the function, maturation and stability of ribosomal RNA mutants in archaea.

Nucleic acids research pii:5673628 [Epub ahead of print].

General molecular principles of ribosome biogenesis have been well explored in bacteria and eukaryotes. Collectively, these studies have revealed important functional differences and few similarities between these processes. Phylogenetic studies suggest that the information processing machineries from archaea and eukaryotes are evolutionary more closely related than their bacterial counterparts. These observations raise the question of how ribosome synthesis in archaea may proceed in vivo. In this study, we describe a versatile plasmid-based cis-acting reporter system allowing to analyze in vivo the consequences of ribosomal RNA mutations in the model archaeon Haloferax volcanii. Applying this system, we provide evidence that the bulge-helix-bulge motif enclosed within the ribosomal RNA processing stems is required for the formation of archaeal-specific circular-pre-rRNA intermediates and mature rRNAs. In addition, we have collected evidences suggesting functional coordination of the early steps of ribosome synthesis in H. volcanii. Together our investigation describes a versatile platform allowing to generate and functionally analyze the fate of diverse rRNA variants, thereby paving the way to better understand the cis-acting molecular determinants necessary for archaeal ribosome synthesis, maturation, stability and function.

RevDate: 2019-12-12

Zheng P, Wang C, Zhang X, et al (2019)

Community Structure and Abundance of Archaea in a Zostera marina Meadow: A Comparison between Seagrass-Colonized and Bare Sediment Sites.

Archaea (Vancouver, B.C.), 2019:5108012.

Seagrass colonization alters sediment physicochemical properties by depositing seagrass fibers and releasing organic carbon and oxygen from the roots. How this seagrass colonization-induced spatial heterogeneity affects archaeal community structure and abundance remains unclear. In this study, we investigated archaeal abundance, diversity, and composition in both vegetated and adjacent bare surface sediments of a Zostera marina meadow. High-throughput sequencing of 16S rDNA showed that Woesearchaeota, Bathyarchaeota, and Thaumarchaeota were the most abundant phyla across all samples, accounting for approximately 42%, 21%, and 17% of the total archaeal communities, respectively. In terms of relative abundance, Woesearchaeota and Bathyarchaeota were not significantly different between these two niches; however, specific subclades (Woese-3, Woese-21, Bathy-6, Bathy-18) were significantly enriched in vegetated sediments (P < 0.05), while Thaumarchaeota was favored in unvegetated sites (P = 0.02). The quantification of archaeal 16S rRNA genes showed that the absolute abundance of the whole archaeal community, Bathyarchaeota, and Woese-3, Woese-10, Woese-13, and Woese-21 was significantly more abundant in vegetated sediments than in bare sediments (P < 0.05). Our study expands the available knowledge of the distribution patterns and niche preferences of archaea in seagrass systems, especially for the different subclades of Woesearchaeota and Bathyarchaeota, in terms of both relative proportions and absolute quantities.

RevDate: 2019-12-10

Togo AH, Grine G, Khelaifia S, et al (2019)

Culture of Methanogenic Archaea from Human Colostrum and Milk.

Scientific reports, 9(1):18653 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-54759-x.

Archaeal sequences have been detected in human colostrum and milk, but no studies have determined whether living archaea are present in either of these fluids. Methanogenic archaea are neglected since they are not detected by usual molecular and culture methods. By using improved DNA detection protocols and microbial culture techniques associated with antioxidants previously developed in our center, we investigated the presence of methanogenic archaea using culture and specific Methanobrevibacter smithii and Methanobrevibacter oralis real-time PCR in human colostrum and milk. M. smithii was isolated from 3 colostrum and 5 milk (day 10) samples. M. oralis was isolated from 1 milk sample. For 2 strains, the genome was sequenced, and the rhizome was similar to that of strains previously isolated from the human mouth and gut. M. smithii was detected in the colostrum or milk of 5/13 (38%) and 37/127 (29%) mothers by culture and qPCR, respectively. The different distribution of maternal body mass index according to the detection of M. smithii suggested an association with maternal metabolic phenotype. M. oralis was not detected by molecular methods. Our results suggest that breastfeeding may contribute to the vertical transmission of these microorganisms and may be essential to seed the infant's microbiota with these neglected critical commensals from the first hour of life.

RevDate: 2019-12-05

Prakash D, Iyer PR, Suharti S, et al (2019)

Structure and function of an unusual flavodoxin from the domain Archaea.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America pii:1908578116 [Epub ahead of print].

Flavodoxins, electron transfer proteins essential for diverse metabolisms in microbes from the domain Bacteria, are extensively characterized. Remarkably, although genomic annotations of flavodoxins are widespread in microbes from the domain Archaea, none have been isolated and characterized. Herein is described the structural, biochemical, and physiological characterization of an unusual flavodoxin (FldA) from Methanosarcina acetivorans, an acetate-utilizing methane-producing microbe of the domain Archaea In contrast to all flavodoxins, FldA is homodimeric, markedly less acidic, and stabilizes an anionic semiquinone. The crystal structure reveals an flavin mononucleotide (FMN) binding site unique from all other flavodoxins that provides a rationale for stabilization of the anionic semiquinone and a remarkably low reduction potentials for both the oxidized/semiquinone (-301 mV) and semiquinone/hydroquinone couples (-464 mV). FldA is up-regulated in acetate-grown versus methanol-grown cells and shown here to substitute for ferredoxin in mediating the transfer of low potential electrons from the carbonyl of acetate to the membrane-bound electron transport chain that generates ion gradients driving ATP synthesis. FldA offers potential advantages over ferredoxin by (i) sparing iron for abundant iron-sulfur proteins essential for acetotrophic growth and (ii) resilience to oxidative damage.

RevDate: 2019-12-03

Zhu Q, Mai U, Pfeiffer W, et al (2019)

Phylogenomics of 10,575 genomes reveals evolutionary proximity between domains Bacteria and Archaea.

Nature communications, 10(1):5477 pii:10.1038/s41467-019-13443-4.

Rapid growth of genome data provides opportunities for updating microbial evolutionary relationships, but this is challenged by the discordant evolution of individual genes. Here we build a reference phylogeny of 10,575 evenly-sampled bacterial and archaeal genomes, based on a comprehensive set of 381 markers, using multiple strategies. Our trees indicate remarkably closer evolutionary proximity between Archaea and Bacteria than previous estimates that were limited to fewer "core" genes, such as the ribosomal proteins. The robustness of the results was tested with respect to several variables, including taxon and site sampling, amino acid substitution heterogeneity and saturation, non-vertical evolution, and the impact of exclusion of candidate phyla radiation (CPR) taxa. Our results provide an updated view of domain-level relationships.

RevDate: 2019-12-02

Islam GM, Vi P, KA Gilbride (2019)

Functional relationship between ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and ammonia-oxidizing archaea populations in the secondary treatment system of a full-scale municipal wastewater treatment plant.

Journal of environmental sciences (China), 86:120-130.

The abundance of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea and their amoA genes from the aerobic activated sludge tanks, recycled sludge and anaerobic digesters of a full-scale wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) was determined. Polymerase chain reaction and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis were used to generate diversity profiles, which showed that each population had a consistent profile although the abundance of individual members varied. In the aerobic tanks, the ammonia-oxidizing bacterial (AOB) population was more than 350 times more abundant than the ammonia-oxidizing archaeal (AOA) population, however in the digesters, the AOA population was more than 10 times more abundant. Measuring the activity of the amoA gene expression of the two populations using RT-PCR also showed that the AOA amoA gene was more active in the digesters than in the activated sludge tanks. Using batch reactors and ddPCR, amoA activity could be measured and it was found that when the AOB amoA activity was inhibited in the anoxic reactors, the expression of the AOA amoA gene increased fourfold. This suggests that these two populations may have a cooperative relationship for the oxidation of ammonia.

RevDate: 2019-11-22

Rinke C, Rubino F, Messer LF, et al (2019)

Correction: A phylogenomic and ecological analysis of the globally abundant Marine Group II archaea (Ca. Poseidoniales ord. nov.).

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

RevDate: 2019-11-20

Paula FS, Chin JP, Schnürer A, et al (2019)

The potential for polyphosphate metabolism in Archaea and anaerobic polyphosphate formation in Methanosarcina mazei.

Scientific reports, 9(1):17101 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-53168-4.

Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) is ubiquitous across all forms of life, but the study of its metabolism has been mainly confined to bacteria and yeasts. Few reports detail the presence and accumulation of polyP in Archaea, and little information is available on its functions and regulation. Here, we report that homologs of bacterial polyP metabolism proteins are present across the major taxa in the Archaea, suggesting that archaeal populations may have a greater contribution to global phosphorus cycling than has previously been recognised. We also demonstrate that polyP accumulation can be induced under strictly anaerobic conditions, in response to changes in phosphate (Pi) availability, i.e. Pi starvation, followed by incubation in Pi replete media (overplus), in cells of the methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina mazei. Pi-starved M. mazei cells increased transcript abundance of the alkaline phosphatase (phoA) gene and of the high-affinity phosphate transport (pstSCAB-phoU) operon: no increase in polyphosphate kinase 1 (ppk1) transcript abundance was observed. Subsequent incubation of Pi-starved M. mazei cells under Pi replete conditions, led to a 237% increase in intracellular polyphosphate content and a > 5.7-fold increase in ppk1 gene transcripts. Ppk1 expression in M. mazei thus appears not to be under classical phosphate starvation control.

RevDate: 2019-11-18

Dame-Teixeira N, de Cena JA, Côrtes DA, et al (2019)

Presence of Archaea in dental caries biofilms.

Archives of oral biology, 110:104606 pii:S0003-9969(19)30846-5 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Although the prevalence and functions associated with members of Bacteria are well known in dental caries, the role of Archaea in cariogenic biofilms has not been studied yet.

DESIGN: To detect the presence of Archaea in dental caries, a triplicate of carious dentine samples and duplicate of supragingival biofilms were collected, total microbial DNA was extracted and the composition of the microbiota was investigated. Total DNA was submitted to 16S rRNA gene amplification using universal prokaryotic primers; amplicons were sequenced by high-throughput DNA sequencing. As a second strategy to detect Archaea, a representative sample of caries was chosen and other PCR reactions were performed using specific primers targeting the archaeal 16S rRNA gene; amplicons were cloned and sequenced. Annotation of sequences was performed using SILVA database and the relative abundance of genus level OTUs was calculated.

RESULTS: The high-throughput sequencing method detected archaeal sequences in all samples (identified as group I.1c of the phylum Thaumarchaeota), although in a very low abundance (≤0.03 % of the total sequences). For the second strategy, 14 archaeal clones were detected, with an OTU affiliated to Methanocella clade, and another one affiliated to group I.1b of the phylum Thaumarchaeota.

CONCLUSIONS: Archaeal sequences were detected in dental caries and biofilms from surfaces without caries lesions. DNA sequences of Thaumarchaeota were also identified, showing that overall archaeal diversity in the human oral cavity could be currently underestimated and not restricted to methanogens.

RevDate: 2019-11-12

Brewer TE, Albertsen M, Edwards A, et al (2019)

Unlinked rRNA genes are widespread among bacteria and archaea.

The ISME journal pii:10.1038/s41396-019-0552-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Ribosomes are essential to cellular life and the genes for their RNA components are the most conserved and transcribed genes in bacteria and archaea. Ribosomal RNA genes are typically organized into a single operon, an arrangement thought to facilitate gene regulation. In reality, some bacteria and archaea do not share this canonical rRNA arrangement-their 16S and 23S rRNA genes are separated across the genome and referred to as "unlinked". This rearrangement has previously been treated as an anomaly or a byproduct of genome degradation in intracellular bacteria. Here, we leverage complete genome and long-read metagenomic data to show that unlinked 16S and 23S rRNA genes are more common than previously thought. Unlinked rRNA genes occur in many phyla, most significantly within Deinococcus-Thermus, Chloroflexi, and Planctomycetes, and occur in differential frequencies across natural environments. We found that up to 41% of rRNA genes in soil were unlinked, in contrast to the human gut, where all sequenced rRNA genes were linked. The frequency of unlinked rRNA genes may reflect meaningful life history traits, as they tend to be associated with a mix of slow-growing free-living species and intracellular species. We speculate that unlinked rRNA genes may confer selective advantages in some environments, though the specific nature of these advantages remains undetermined and worthy of further investigation. More generally, the prevalence of unlinked rRNA genes in poorly-studied taxa serves as a reminder that paradigms derived from model organisms do not necessarily extend to the broader diversity of bacteria and archaea.

RevDate: 2019-11-12

Johnsen U, Sutter JM, Reinhardt A, et al (2019)

D-Ribose catabolism in archaea: Discovery of a novel oxidative pathway in Haloarcula species.

Journal of bacteriology pii:JB.00608-19 [Epub ahead of print].

The Haloarcula species H. marismortui and H. hispanica were found to grow on D-ribose, D-xylose and L-arabinose. Here we report the discovery of a novel promiscuous oxidative pathway of pentose degradation based on genome analyses, identification and characterization of enzymes, transcriptional analyses and growth experiments with knock out mutants. Together, the data indicate that in Haloarcula D-ribose, D-xylose and L-arabinose were degraded to α-ketoglutarate involving the following enzymes: (i) a promiscuous pentose dehydrogenase catalyzed the oxidation of D-ribose, D-xylose and L-arabinose. (ii) a promiscuous pentonolactonase is involved in the hydrolysis of ribonolactone, xylonolactone and arabinolactone. (iii) a highly specific dehydratase, ribonate dehydratase, catalyzed the dehydration of ribonate, and a second enzyme, a promiscuous xylonate/gluconate dehydratase, was involved in the conversion of xylonate, arabinonate and gluconate. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that the highly specific ribonate dehydratase constitutes a novel sugar acid dehydratase family within the enolase superfamily. (iv) Finally, 2-keto-3-deoxypentonate dehydratase and α-ketoglutarate semialdehyde dehydrogenase catalyzed the conversion of 2-keto-3-deoxypentanonate to α-ketoglutarate via α-ketoglutarate semialdehyde.We conclude that the expanded substrate specificity of the pentose dehydrogenase and pentonolactonase towards D-ribose and ribonolactone, respectively and the presence of a highly specific ribonate dehydratase are prerequisites of the oxidative degradation of D-ribose in Haloarcula This is the first characterization of an oxidative degradation pathway of D-ribose to α-ketoglutarate in archaea.Importance The utilization and degradation of D-ribose in archaea, the third domain of life, has not been analyzed so far. We show that Haloarcula species utilize D-ribose which is degraded to α-ketoglutarate via a novel oxidative pathway. Evidence is presented that the oxidative degradation of D-ribose involves novel promiscuous enzymes, pentose dehydrogenase and pentonolactonase, and a novel sugar acid dehydratase highly specific for ribonate. This is the first report of an oxidative degradation pathway of D-ribose in archaea, which differs from the canonical non-oxidative pathway of D-ribose degradation reported for most bacteria. The data contribute to our understanding of the unusual sugar degradation pathways and enzymes in archaea.

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RJR Experience and Expertise

Researcher

Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.

Educator

Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.

Administrator

Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.

Technologist

Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.

Publisher

While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.

Speaker

Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.

Facilitator

Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.

Designer

Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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