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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 14 Nov 2022 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: 2022-11-09

Hepowit NL, JA Maupin-Furlow (2023)

Application of Archaea in Deubiquitinase-Like Enzyme Discovery and Activity Assay.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2591:151-169.

Archaea can be used as microbial platforms to discover new types of deubiquitinase-like (DUB-like) enzymes and to produce ubiquitin/ubiquitin-like (Ub/Ubl) protein conjugates as substrates for DUB/DUB-like activity assays. Here we outline how to use archaea to synthesize, purify, and assay the activity of DUB-like enzymes with unusual properties, including catalytic activity in hypersaline conditions, organic solvents, and high temperatures. We also outline the application of archaea in forming Ub/Ubl isopeptide linkages that include the covalent attachments of diverse archaeal and eukaryotic Ub/Ubls to target proteins. Archaea form these Ub/Ubl-linked protein conjugates in vivo, and the resulting products are found to serve as useful DUB substrates for in vitro assays.

RevDate: 2022-11-04

Adam PS, Kolyfetis GE, Bornemann TLV, et al (2022)

Genomic remnants of ancestral methanogenesis and hydrogenotrophy in Archaea drive anaerobic carbon cycling.

Science advances, 8(44):eabm9651.

Anaerobic methane metabolism is among the hallmarks of Archaea, originating very early in their evolution. Here, we show that the ancestor of methane metabolizers was an autotrophic CO2-reducing hydrogenotrophic methanogen that possessed the two main complexes, methyl-CoM reductase (Mcr) and tetrahydromethanopterin-CoM methyltransferase (Mtr), the anaplerotic hydrogenases Eha and Ehb, and a set of other genes collectively called "methanogenesis markers" but could not oxidize alkanes. Overturning recent inferences, we demonstrate that methyl-dependent hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis has emerged multiple times independently, either due to a loss of Mtr while Mcr is inherited vertically or from an ancient lateral acquisition of Mcr. Even if Mcr is lost, Mtr, Eha, Ehb, and the markers can persist, resulting in mixotrophic metabolisms centered around the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway. Through their methanogenesis remnants, Thorarchaeia and two newly reconstructed order-level lineages in Archaeoglobi and Bathyarchaeia act as metabolically versatile players in carbon cycling of anoxic environments across the globe.

RevDate: 2022-11-04

Verma A, Åberg-Zingmark E, Sparrman T, et al (2022)

Insights into the evolution of enzymatic specificity and catalysis: From Asgard archaea to human adenylate kinases.

Science advances, 8(44):eabm4089.

Enzymatic catalysis is critically dependent on selectivity, active site architecture, and dynamics. To contribute insights into the interplay of these properties, we established an approach with NMR, crystallography, and MD simulations focused on the ubiquitous phosphotransferase adenylate kinase (AK) isolated from Odinarchaeota (OdinAK). Odinarchaeota belongs to the Asgard archaeal phylum that is believed to be the closest known ancestor to eukaryotes. We show that OdinAK is a hyperthermophilic trimer that, contrary to other AK family members, can use all NTPs for its phosphorylation reaction. Crystallographic structures of OdinAK-NTP complexes revealed a universal NTP-binding motif, while 19F NMR experiments uncovered a conserved and rate-limiting dynamic signature. As a consequence of trimerization, the active site of OdinAK was found to be lacking a critical catalytic residue and is therefore considered to be "atypical." On the basis of discovered relationships with human monomeric homologs, our findings are discussed in terms of evolution of enzymatic substrate specificity and cold adaptation.

RevDate: 2022-10-31

Peiter N, M Rother (2023)

In vivo probing of SECIS-dependent selenocysteine translation in Archaea.

Life science alliance, 6(1): pii:6/1/e202201676.

Cotranslational insertion of selenocysteine (Sec) proceeds by recoding UGA to a sense codon. This recoding is governed by the Sec insertion sequence (SECIS) element, an RNA structure on the mRNA, but size, location, structure determinants, and mechanism differ for Bacteria, Eukarya, and Archaea. For Archaea, the structure-function relation of the SECIS is poorly understood, as only rather laborious experimental approaches are established. Furthermore, these methods do not allow for quantitative probing of Sec insertion. In order to overcome these limitations, we engineered bacterial β-lactamase into an archaeal selenoprotein, thereby establishing a reporter system, which correlates enzyme activity to Sec insertion. Using this system, in vivo Sec insertion depending on the availability of selenium and the presence of a SECIS element was assessed in Methanococcus maripaludis Furthermore, a minimal SECIS element required for Sec insertion in M. maripaludis was defined and a conserved structural motif shown to be essential for function. Besides developing a convenient tool for selenium research, converting a bacterial enzyme into an archaeal selenoprotein provides proof of concept that novel selenoproteins can be engineered in Archaea.

RevDate: 2022-10-31

Cha G, Liu Y, Yang Q, et al (2022)

Comparative Genomic Insights into Chemoreceptor Diversity and Habitat Adaptation of Archaea.

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Diverse archaea, including many unknown species and phylogenetically deeply rooted taxa, survive in extreme environments. They play crucial roles in the global carbon cycle and element fluxes in many terrestrial, marine, saline, host-associated, hot-spring, and oilfield environments. There is little knowledge of the diversity of chemoreceptors that are presumably involved in their habitat adaptation. Thus, we have explored this diversity through phylogenetic and comparative genomic analyses of complete archaeal genomes. The results show that chemoreceptors are significantly richer in archaea of mild environments than in those of extreme environments, that specific ligand-binding domains of the chemoreceptors are strongly associated with specific habitats, and that the number of chemoreceptors correlates with genome size. The results indicate that the successful adaptation of archaea to specific habitats has been associated with the acquisition and maintenance of chemoreceptors, which may be crucial for their survival in these environments. IMPORTANCE Archaea are capable of sensing and responding to environmental changes by several signal transduction systems with different mechanisms. Much attention is paid to model organisms with complex signaling networks to understand their composition and function, but general principles regarding how an archaeal species organizes its chemoreceptor diversity and habitat adaptation are poorly understood. Here, we have explored this diversity through phylogenetic and comparative genomic analyses of complete archaeal genomes. Signaling sensing and adaptation processes are tightly related to the ligand-binding domain, and it is clear that evolution and natural selection in specialized niches under constant conditions have selected for smaller genome sizes. Taken together, our results extend the understanding of archaeal adaptations to different environments and emphasize the importance of ecological constraints in shaping their evolution.

RevDate: 2022-10-27

Khan F, K Suguna (2022)

Crystal structure of an L-type lectin domain from archaea.

Proteins [Epub ahead of print].

The crystal structures of an L-type lectin domain from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii in apo and mannose-bound forms have been determined. A thorough investigation of L-type lectin domains from several organisms provides insight into the differences in these domains from different kingdoms of life. While the overall fold of the L-type lectin domain is conserved, differences in the lengths of the carbohydrate-binding loops and significant variations in the Mn2+ -binding site compared to the Ca2+ -binding site are observed. Further, the sequence and phylogenetic analyses suggest that the archaeal L-type lectin domain is evolutionarily closer to the plant legume lectins than to its bacterial or animal counterparts. This is the first report of the biochemical, structural, sequence, and phylogenetic analyses of an L-type lectin domain from archaea and serves to enhance our understanding of the species-specific differences and evolution of L-type lectin domains. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2022-10-24

Baati H, Siala M, Azri C, et al (2022)

Hydrolytic enzyme screening and carotenoid production evaluation of halophilic archaea isolated from highly heavy metal-enriched solar saltern sediments.

Brazilian journal of microbiology : [publication of the Brazilian Society for Microbiology] [Epub ahead of print].

This paper aimed to screen the enzymatic activities and evaluate the carotenoid production level of twenty-two halophilic archaea isolated from Sfax solar saltern sediments. The molecular identification performed by sequencing the 16S rRNA genes showed that all strains have a high similarity degree (99.7-100%) with Halobacterium salinarum NRC-1. The strains were screened for the presence of eight hydrolase activities using agar plate-based assays. The most detected enzyme was gelatinase (77.27% of total strains), followed by protease (63.63%) and amylase activities (50%). The carotenoid production yields of the strains ranged between 2.027 and 14.880 mg/l. The UV-Visible spectroscopy of pigments revealed that it was a bacterioruberin type. When evaluated and compared to the standard β-carotene, the antioxidant capacities of these pigments showed a scavenging activity of more than 75% at a concentration of 5 μg/ml for three strains (AS16, AS17, and AS18). Then a sequence of one-step optimization processes was performed, using the one-factor-at-a-time approach, to define the optimum conditions for growth and carotenoid production of the highest carotenoid producing strain (AS17). Different environmental factors and nutritional conditions were tested. Variations in these factors were found to deeply influence growth and carotenoid production. A maximum carotenoid production (16.490 mg/l), higher than that of the control (14.880 mg/l), was observed at 37 °C, pH 7, 250 g/l of salinity, with 80% air phase in the flask at 110 rpm, in presence of light and in culture media containing (g/l) 10, yeast extract; 7.5, casamino acid; 20, MgSO4; 4, KCl; and 3, trisodium citrate.

RevDate: 2022-10-21

Yan G, Sun X, Dong Y, et al (2022)

Vanadate reducing bacteria and archaea may use different mechanisms to reduce vanadate in vanadium contaminated riverine ecosystems as revealed by the combination of DNA-SIP and metagenomic-binning.

Water research, 226:119247 pii:S0043-1354(22)01192-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Vanadium (V) is a transitional metal that poses health risks to exposed humans. Microorganisms play an important role in remediating V contamination by reducing more toxic and mobile vanadate (V(V)) to less toxic and mobile V(IV). In this study, DNA-stable isotope probing (SIP) coupled with metagenomic-binning was used to identify microorganisms responsible for V(V) reduction and determine potential metabolic mechanisms in cultures inoculated with a V-contaminated river sediment. Anaeromyxobacter and Geobacter spp. were identified as putative V(V)-reducing bacteria, while Methanosarcina spp. were identified as putative V(V)-reducing archaea. The bacteria may use the two nitrate reductases NarG and NapA for respiratory V(V) reduction, as has been demonstrated previously for other species. It is proposed that Methanosarcina spp. may reduce V(V) via anaerobic methane oxidation pathways (AOM-V) rather than via respiratory V(V) reduction performed by their bacterial counterparts, as indicated by the presence of genes associated with anaerobic methane oxidation coupled with metal reduction in the metagenome assembled genome (MAG) of Methanosarcina. Briefly, methane may be oxidized through the "reverse methanogenesis" pathway to produce electrons, which may be further captured by V(V) to promote V(V) reduction. More specially, V(V) reduction by members of Methanosarcina may be driven by electron transport (CoMS-SCoB heterodisulfide reductase (HdrDE), F420H2 dehydrogenases (Fpo), and multi-heme c-type cytochrome (MHC)). The identification of putative V(V)-reducing bacteria and archaea and the prediction of their different pathways for V(V) reduction expand current knowledge regarding the potential fate of V(V) in contaminated sites.

RevDate: 2022-10-20

Shao N, Fan Y, Chou CW, et al (2022)

Expression of divergent methyl/alkyl coenzyme M reductases from uncultured archaea.

Communications biology, 5(1):1113.

Methanogens and anaerobic methane-oxidizing archaea (ANME) are important players in the global carbon cycle. Methyl-coenzyme M reductase (MCR) is a key enzyme in methane metabolism, catalyzing the last step in methanogenesis and the first step in anaerobic methane oxidation. Divergent mcr and mcr-like genes have recently been identified in uncultured archaeal lineages. However, the assembly and biochemistry of MCRs from uncultured archaea remain largely unknown. Here we present an approach to study MCRs from uncultured archaea by heterologous expression in a methanogen, Methanococcus maripaludis. Promoter, operon structure, and temperature were important determinants for MCR production. Both recombinant methanococcal and ANME-2 MCR assembled with the host MCR forming hybrid complexes, whereas tested ANME-1 MCR and ethyl-coenzyme M reductase only formed homogenous complexes. Together with structural modeling, this suggests that ANME-2 and methanogen MCRs are structurally similar and their reaction directions are likely regulated by thermodynamics rather than intrinsic structural differences.

RevDate: 2022-10-20

Hocher A, Borrel G, Fadhlaoui K, et al (2022)

Growth temperature and chromatinization in archaea.

Nature microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

DNA in cells is associated with proteins that constrain its structure and affect DNA-templated processes including transcription and replication. HU and histones are the main constituents of chromatin in bacteria and eukaryotes, respectively, with few exceptions. Archaea, in contrast, have diverse repertoires of nucleoid-associated proteins (NAPs). To analyse the evolutionary and ecological drivers of this diversity, we combined a phylogenomic survey of known and predicted NAPs with quantitative proteomic data. We identify the Diaforarchaea as a hotbed of NAP gain and loss, and experimentally validate candidate NAPs in two members of this clade, Thermoplasma volcanium and Methanomassiliicoccus luminyensis. Proteomic analysis across a diverse sample of 19 archaea revealed that NAP investment varies from <0.03% to >5% of total protein. This variation is predicted by growth temperature. We propose that high levels of chromatinization have evolved as a mechanism to prevent uncontrolled helix denaturation at higher temperatures, with implications for the origin of chromatin in both archaea and eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2022-10-18

Xin YJ, Bao CX, Tan S, et al (2022)

Haladaptatus halobius sp. nov. and Haladaptatus salinisoli sp. nov., two extremely halophilic archaea isolated from Gobi saline soil.

International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology, 72(10):.

Two extremely halophilic archaeal strains, PSR5T and PSR8T, were isolated from a saline soil sample collected from the Tarim Basin, Xinjiang, PR China. Both strains had two copies of the 16S rRNA genes rrn1 and rrn2, showing 2.6 and 3.9% divergence, respectively. The rrn1 gene of PSR5T showed 98.4 and 95.3% similarity to the rrn1 and rrn2 genes of strain PSR8T; the rrn2 gene of PSR5T displayed 97.4 and 96.7% similarity to those of strain PSR8T, respectively. Phylogenetic analyses based on the 16S rRNA and rpoB' genes revealed that strains PSR5T and PSR8T formed a single cluster, and then tightly clustered with the current four Haladaptatus species (93.5-97.1% similarities for the 16S rRNA gene and 89.3-90.9% similarities for the rpoB' gene, respectively). Several phenotypic characteristics differentiate strains PSR5T and PSR8T from current Haladaptatus members. The polar lipids of the two strains are phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol phosphate methyl ester phosphatidylglycerol sulphate and three glycolipids. One of the glycolipids is sulphated mannosyl glucosyl diether, and the remaining two glycolipids are unidentified. The average nucleotide identity, in silico DNA-DNA hybridization, amino acid identity and percentage of conserved proteins values between the two strains were 88.5, 39.1, 89.3 and 72.8 %, respectively, much lower than the threshold values proposed as a species boundary. These values among the two strains and Haladaptatus members were 77.9-79.2, 22.0-23.5, 75.1-78.2 and 56.8-69.9 %, respectively, much lower than the recommended threshold values for species delimitation. These results suggested that strains PSR5T and PSR8T represent two novel species of Haladaptatus. Based on phenotypic, chemotaxonomic, genomic and phylogenetic properties, strains PSR5T (=CGMCC 1.16851T=JCM 34141T) and PSR8T (=CGMCC 1.17025T=JCM 34142T) represent two novel species of the genus Haladaptatus, for which the names Haladaptatus halobius sp. nov. and Haladaptatus salinisoli sp. nov. are proposed.

RevDate: 2022-10-17

van Wolferen M, Pulschen AA, Baum B, et al (2022)

The cell biology of archaea.

Nature microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

The past decade has revealed the diversity and ubiquity of archaea in nature, with a growing number of studies highlighting their importance in ecology, biotechnology and even human health. Myriad lineages have been discovered, which expanded the phylogenetic breadth of archaea and revealed their central role in the evolutionary origins of eukaryotes. These discoveries, coupled with advances that enable the culturing and live imaging of archaeal cells under extreme environments, have underpinned a better understanding of their biology. In this Review we focus on the shape, internal organization and surface structures that are characteristic of archaeal cells as well as membrane remodelling, cell growth and division. We also highlight some of the technical challenges faced and discuss how new and improved technologies will help address many of the key unanswered questions.

RevDate: 2022-10-17

Hofmann M, Norris PR, Malik L, et al (2022)

Metallosphaera javensis sp. nov., a novel species of thermoacidophilic archaea, isolated from a volcanic area.

International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology, 72(10):.

A novel thermoacidophilic archeaon, strain J1T (=DSM 112778T,=JCM 34702T), was isolated from a hot pool in a volcanic area of Java, Indonesia. Cells of the strain were irregular, motile cocci of 1.0-1.2 µm diameter. Aerobic, organoheterotrophic growth with casamino acids was observed at an optimum temperature of 70 °C in a range of 55-78 °C and at an optimum pH of 3 in a range of 1.5 to 5. Various organic compounds were utilized, including a greater variety of sugars than has been reported for growth of other species of the genus. Chemolithoautotrophic growth was observed with reduced sulphur compounds, including mineral sulphides. Ferric iron was reduced during anaerobic growth with elemental sulphur. Cellular lipids were calditoglycerocaldarchaeol and caldarchaeol with some derivates. The organism contained the respiratory quinone caldariellaquinone. On the basis of phylogenetic and chemotaxonomic comparison with its closest relatives, it was concluded that strain J1T represents a novel species, for which the name Metallosphaera javensis is proposed. Low DNA-DNA relatedness values (16S rRNA gene <98.4%, average nucleotide identity (ANI) <80.1%) distinguished J1T from other species of the genus Metallosphaera and the DNA G+C content of 47.3% is the highest among the known species of the genus.

RevDate: 2022-10-14

Zheng XW, Wu ZP, Sun YP, et al (2022)

Halorussus vallis sp. nov., Halorussus aquaticus sp. nov., Halorussus gelatinilyticus sp. nov., Halorussus limi sp. nov., Halorussus salilacus sp. nov., Halorussus salinisoli sp. nov.: six extremely halophilic archaea isolated from solar saltern, salt lake and saline soil.

Extremophiles : life under extreme conditions, 26(3):32.

Six novel halophilic archaeal strains of XZYJT10T, XZYJ18T, XZYJT40T, XZYJT49T, YCN54T and LT46T were isolated from a solar saltern in Tibet, a salt lake in Shanxi, and a saline soil in Xinjiang, China. Sequence similarities of 16S rRNA and rpoB' genes among strains XZYJT10T, XZYJ18T, XZYJT40T, XZYJT49T, YCN54T, LT46T and current members of Halorussus were 90.6-97.8% and 87.8-96.4%, respectively. The average nucleotide identity and in silico DNA-DNA hybridization values among these six strains and current Halorussus members were in the range of 76.5-87.5% and 21.0-33.8%, respectively. These values were all below the species boundary threshold values. The phylogenomic tree based on 122 conserved archaeal protein marker genes revealed that the six novel strains formed individual distinct branches and clustered tightly with Halorussus members. Several phenotypic characteristics distinguished the six strains from current Halorussus members. Polar lipid analysis showed that the six novel strains contained phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol phosphate methyl ester, phosphatidylglycerol sulfate and two to three glycolipids. Phenotypic, chemotaxonomic and phylogenetic properties showed that the six strains represented six novel species within the genus Halorussus, for which the names Halorussus vallis sp. nov., Halorussus aquaticus sp. nov., Halorussus gelatinilyticus sp. nov., Halorussus limi sp. nov., Halorussus salilacus sp. nov., and Halorussus salinisoli sp. nov. are proposed.

RevDate: 2022-10-14

Uzelac M, Li Y, Chakladar J, et al (2022)

Archaea Microbiome Dysregulated Genes and Pathways as Molecular Targets for Lung Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

International journal of molecular sciences, 23(19): pii:ijms231911566.

The human microbiome is a vast collection of microbial species that exist throughout the human body and regulate various bodily functions and phenomena. Of the microbial species that exist in the human microbiome, those within the archaea domain have not been characterized to the extent of those in more common domains, despite their potential for unique metabolic interaction with host cells. Research has correlated tumoral presence of bacterial microbial species to the development and progression of lung cancer; however, the impacts and influences of archaea in the microbiome remain heavily unexplored. Within the United States lung cancer remains highly fatal, responsible for over 100,000 deaths every year with a 5-year survival rate of roughly 22.9%. This project attempts to investigate specific archaeal species' correlation to lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) incidence, patient staging, death rates across individuals of varying ages, races, genders, and smoking-statuses, and potential molecular targets associated with archaea microbiome. Archaeal species abundance was assessed across lung tissue samples of 527 LUAD patients, 479 LUSC patients, and 99 healthy individuals. Nine archaeal species were found to be of significantly altered abundance in cancerous samples as compared to normal counterparts, 6 of which are common to both LUAD and LUSC subgroups. Several of these species are of the taxonomic class Thermoprotei or the phylum Euryarchaeota, both known to contain metabolic processes distinct from most bacterial species. Host-microbe metabolic interactions may be responsible for the observed correlation of these species' abundance with cancer incidence. Significant microbes were correlated to patient gene expression to reveal genes of altered abundance with respect to high and low archaeal presence. With these genes, cellular oncogenic signaling pathways were analyzed for enrichment across cancer and normal samples. In comparing gene expression between LUAD and adjacent normal samples, 2 gene sets were found to be significantly enriched in cancers. In LUSC comparison, 6 sets were significantly enriched in cancer, and 34 were enriched in normals. Microbial counts across healthy and cancerous patients were then used to develop a machine-learning based predictive algorithm, capable of distinguishing lung cancer patients from healthy normal with 99% accuracy.

RevDate: 2022-10-13

Jeter VL, Schwarzwalder AH, Rayment I, et al (2022)

Structural studies of the phosphoribosyltransferase involved in cobamide biosynthesis in methanogenic archaea and cyanobacteria.

Scientific reports, 12(1):17175.

Cobamides (Cbas) are coenzymes used by cells across all domains of life, but de novo synthesis is only found in some bacteria and archaea. Five enzymes assemble the nucleotide loop in the alpha phase of the corrin ring. Condensation of the activated ring and nucleobase yields adenosyl-Cba 5'-phosphate, which upon dephosphorylation yields the biologically active coenzyme (AdoCba). Base activation is catalyzed by a phosphoribosyltransferase (PRTase). The structure of the Salmonella enterica PRTase enzyme (i.e., SeCobT) is well-characterized, but archaeal PRTases are not. To gain insights into the mechanism of base activation by the PRTase from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii (MjCobT), we solved crystal structures of the enzyme in complex with substrate and products. We determined several structures: (i) a 2.2 Å structure of MjCobT in the absence of ligand (apo), (ii) structures of MjCobT bound to nicotinate mononucleotide (NaMN) and α-ribazole 5'-phosphate (α-RP) or α-adenylyl-5'-phosphate (α-AMP) at 2.3 and 1.4 Å, respectively. In MjCobT the general base that triggers the reaction is an aspartate residue (Asp 52) rather than a glutamate residue (E317) as in SeCobT. Notably, the dimer interface in MjCobT is completely different from that observed in SeCobT. Finally, entry PDB 3L0Z does not reflect the correct structure of MjCobT.

RevDate: 2022-10-10

Benito Merino D, Zehnle H, Teske A, et al (2022)

Deep-branching ANME-1c archaea grow at the upper temperature limit of anaerobic oxidation of methane.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:988871.

In seafloor sediments, the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) consumes most of the methane formed in anoxic layers, preventing this greenhouse gas from reaching the water column and finally the atmosphere. AOM is performed by syntrophic consortia of specific anaerobic methane-oxidizing archaea (ANME) and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). Cultures with diverse AOM partners exist at temperatures between 12°C and 60°C. Here, from hydrothermally heated sediments of the Guaymas Basin, we cultured deep-branching ANME-1c that grow in syntrophic consortia with Thermodesulfobacteria at 70°C. Like all ANME, ANME-1c oxidize methane using the methanogenesis pathway in reverse. As an uncommon feature, ANME-1c encode a nickel-iron hydrogenase. This hydrogenase has low expression during AOM and the partner Thermodesulfobacteria lack hydrogen-consuming hydrogenases. Therefore, it is unlikely that the partners exchange hydrogen during AOM. ANME-1c also does not consume hydrogen for methane formation, disputing a recent hypothesis on facultative methanogenesis. We hypothesize that the ANME-1c hydrogenase might have been present in the common ancestor of ANME-1 but lost its central metabolic function in ANME-1c archaea. For potential direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET), both partners encode and express genes coding for extracellular appendages and multiheme cytochromes. Thermodesulfobacteria encode and express an extracellular pentaheme cytochrome with high similarity to cytochromes of other syntrophic sulfate-reducing partner bacteria. ANME-1c might associate specifically to Thermodesulfobacteria, but their co-occurrence is so far only documented for heated sediments of the Gulf of California. However, in the deep seafloor, sulfate-methane interphases appear at temperatures up to 80°C, suggesting these as potential habitats for the partnership of ANME-1c and Thermodesulfobacteria.

RevDate: 2022-10-06

Somee MR, Amoozegar MA, Dastgheib SMM, et al (2022)

Genome-resolved analyses show an extensive diversification in key aerobic hydrocarbon-degrading enzymes across bacteria and archaea.

BMC genomics, 23(1):690.

BACKGROUND: Hydrocarbons (HCs) are organic compounds composed solely of carbon and hydrogen that are mainly accumulated in oil reservoirs. As the introduction of all classes of hydrocarbons including crude oil and oil products into the environment has increased significantly, oil pollution has become a global ecological problem. However, our perception of pathways for biotic degradation of major HCs and key enzymes in these bioconversion processes has mainly been based on cultured microbes and is biased by uneven taxonomic representation. Here we used Annotree to provide a gene-centric view of the aerobic degradation ability of aliphatic and aromatic HCs in 23,446 genomes from 123 bacterial and 14 archaeal phyla. RESULTS: Apart from the widespread genetic potential for HC degradation in Proteobacteria, Actinobacteriota, Bacteroidota, and Firmicutes, genomes from an additional 18 bacterial and 3 archaeal phyla also hosted key HC degrading enzymes. Among these, such degradation potential has not been previously reported for representatives in the phyla UBA8248, Tectomicrobia, SAR324, and Eremiobacterota. Genomes containing whole pathways for complete degradation of HCs were only detected in Proteobacteria and Actinobacteriota. Except for several members of Crenarchaeota, Halobacterota, and Nanoarchaeota that have tmoA, ladA, and alkB/M key genes, respectively, representatives of archaeal genomes made a small contribution to HC degradation. None of the screened archaeal genomes coded for complete HC degradation pathways studied here; however, they contribute significantly to peripheral routes of HC degradation with bacteria.

CONCLUSION: Phylogeny reconstruction showed that the reservoir of key aerobic hydrocarbon-degrading enzymes in Bacteria and Archaea undergoes extensive diversification via gene duplication and horizontal gene transfer. This diversification could potentially enable microbes to rapidly adapt to novel and manufactured HCs that reach the environment.

RevDate: 2022-10-01

Zhang X, Huang Y, Liu Y, et al (2022)

An ancient respiratory system in the widespread sedimentary archaea Thermoprofundales.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:6742362 [Epub ahead of print].

Thermoprofundales, formerly Marine Benthic Group D (MBG-D), is a ubiquitous archaeal lineage found in sedimentary environments worldwide. However, its taxonomic classification, metabolic pathways, and evolutionary history are largely unexplored because of its uncultivability and limited number of sequenced genomes. In this study, phylogenomic analysis and average amino acid identity values of a collection of 146 Thermoprofundales genomes revealed five Thermoprofundales subgroups (A-E) with distinct habitat preferences. Most of the microorganisms from Subgroups B and D were thermophiles inhabiting hydrothermal vents and hot spring sediments, whereas those from Subgroup E were adapted to surface environments where sunlight is available. H2 production may be featured in Thermoprofundales as evidenced by a gene cluster encoding the ancient membrane-bound hydrogenase (MBH) complex. Interestingly, a unique structure separating the MBH gene cluster into two modular units was observed exclusively in the genomes of Subgroup E, which included a peripheral arm encoding the [NiFe] hydrogenase domain and a membrane arm encoding the Na+/H+ antiporter domain. These two modular structures were confirmed to function independently by detecting the H2-evolving activity in vitro and salt tolerance to 0.2 M NaCl in vivo, respectively. The peripheral arm of Subgroup E resembles the proposed common ancestral respiratory complex of modern respiratory systems, which plays a key role in the early evolution of life. In addition, molecular dating analysis revealed that Thermoprofundales is an early emerging archaeal lineage among the extant MBH-containing microorganisms, indicating new insights into the evolution of this ubiquitous archaea lineage.

RevDate: 2022-09-28

Meng K, Chung CZ, Söll D, et al (2022)

Unconventional genetic code systems in archaea.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:1007832.

Archaea constitute the third domain of life, distinct from bacteria and eukaryotes given their ability to tolerate extreme environments. To survive these harsh conditions, certain archaeal lineages possess unique genetic code systems to encode either selenocysteine or pyrrolysine, rare amino acids not found in all organisms. Furthermore, archaea utilize alternate tRNA-dependent pathways to biosynthesize and incorporate members of the 20 canonical amino acids. Recent discoveries of new archaeal species have revealed the co-occurrence of these genetic code systems within a single lineage. This review discusses the diverse genetic code systems of archaea, while detailing the associated biochemical elements and molecular mechanisms.

RevDate: 2022-09-24

Guo LT, Amikura K, Jiang HK, et al (2022)

Ancestral Archaea Expanded the Genetic Code with Pyrrolysine.

The Journal of biological chemistry pii:S0021-9258(22)00964-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS) facilitates the co-translational installation of the 22nd amino acid pyrrolysine. Owing to its tolerance for diverse amino acid substrates, and its orthogonality in multiple organisms, PylRS has emerged as a major route to install noncanonical amino acids into proteins in living cells. Recently, a novel class of PylRS enzymes was identified in a subset of methanogenic archaea. Enzymes within this class (ΔPylSn) lack the N-terminal tRNA-binding domain that is widely conserved amongst PylRS enzymes, yet remain highly active and orthogonal in bacteria and eukaryotes. In this study, we use biochemical and in vivo UAG-readthrough assays to characterize the aminoacylation efficiency and substrate spectrum of a ΔPylSn class PylRS from the archaeon Ca. Methanomethylophilus alvus. We show that, compared to the full-length enzyme from Methanosarcina mazei, the Ca. M. alvus PylRS displays reduced aminoacylation efficiency, but an expanded amino acid substrate spectrum. To gain insight into the evolution of ΔPylSn enzymes, we performed molecular phylogeny using 156 PylRS and 105 tRNAPyl sequences from diverse anaerobic archaea and bacteria. This analysis suggests that the PylRS•tRNAPyl pair diverged before the evolution of the three domains of life, placing an early limit on the evolution of the Pyl-decoding trait. Furthermore, our results document the co-evolutionary history of PylRS and tRNAPyl and reveal the emergence of tRNAPyl sequences with unique A73 and U73 discriminator bases. The orthogonality of these tRNAPyl species with the more common G73-containing tRNAPyl will enable future efforts to engineer PylRS systems for further genetic code expansion.

RevDate: 2022-09-23

Guo Z, Jalalah M, Alsareii SA, et al (2022)

Biochar addition augmented the microbial community and aided the digestion of high-loading slaughterhouse waste: Active enzymes of bacteria and archaea.

Chemosphere pii:S0045-6535(22)03028-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The biogas production (BP), volatile fatty acids (VFAs), microbial communities, and microbes' active enzymes were studied upon the addition of biochar (0-1.5%) at 6% and 8% slaughterhouse waste (SHW) loadings. The 0.5% biochar enhanced BP by 1.5- and 1.6-folds in 6% and 8% SHW-loaded reactors, respectively. Increasing the biochar up to 1.5% caused a reduction in BP at 6% SHW. However, the BP from 8% of SHW was enhanced by 1.4-folds at 1.5% biochar. The VFAs production in all 0.5% biochar amended reactors was highly significant compared to control (p value < 0.05). The biochar addition increased the bacterial and archaeal diversity at both 6% and 8% SHW loadings. The highest number of OTUs at 0.5% biochar were 567 and 525 in 6% and 8% SHW, respectively. Biochar prompted the Clostridium abundance and increased the lyases and transaminases involved in the degradation of lipids and protein, respectively. Biochar addition improved the Methanosaeta and Methanosphaera abundance in which the major enzymes were reductase and hydrogenase. The archaeal enzymes showed mixed acetoclastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis.

RevDate: 2022-09-23

Pilotto S, F Werner (2022)

How to Shut Down Transcription in Archaea during Virus Infection.

Microorganisms, 10(9): pii:microorganisms10091824.

Multisubunit RNA polymerases (RNAPs) carry out transcription in all domains of life; during virus infection, RNAPs are targeted by transcription factors encoded by either the cell or the virus, resulting in the global repression of transcription with distinct outcomes for different host-virus combinations. These repressors serve as versatile molecular probes to study RNAP mechanisms, as well as aid the exploration of druggable sites for the development of new antibiotics. Here, we review the mechanisms and structural basis of RNAP inhibition by the viral repressor RIP and the crenarchaeal negative regulator TFS4, which follow distinct strategies. RIP operates by occluding the DNA-binding channel and mimicking the initiation factor TFB/TFIIB. RIP binds tightly to the clamp and locks it into one fixed position, thereby preventing conformational oscillations that are critical for RNAP function as it progresses through the transcription cycle. TFS4 engages with RNAP in a similar manner to transcript cleavage factors such as TFS/TFIIS through the NTP-entry channel; TFS4 interferes with the trigger loop and bridge helix within the active site by occlusion and allosteric mechanisms, respectively. The conformational changes in RNAP described above are universally conserved and are also seen in inactive dimers of eukaryotic RNAPI and several inhibited RNAP complexes of both bacterial and eukaryotic RNA polymerases, including inactive states that precede transcription termination. A comparison of target sites and inhibitory mechanisms reveals that proteinaceous repressors and RNAP-specific antibiotics use surprisingly common ways to inhibit RNAP function.

RevDate: 2022-09-22

Groult B, Bredin P, CS Lazar (2022)

Ecological processes differ in community assembly of Archaea, Bacteria and Eukaryotes in a biogeographical survey of groundwater habitats in the Quebec region (Canada).

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Aquifers are inhabited by microorganisms from the three major domains of life: archaea, eukaryotes and bacteria. Although interest in the processes that govern the assembly of these microbial communities is growing, their study is almost systematically limited to one of the three domains of life. Archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes are however interconnected and essential to understand the functioning of their living ecosystems. We, therefore, conducted a spatial study of the distribution of microorganisms by sampling 35 wells spread over an area of 10 000 km2 in the Quebec region (Canada). The obtained data allowed us to define the impact of geographic distance and geochemical water composition on the microbial communities. A null model approach was used to infer the relative influence of stochastic and determinist ecological processes on the assembly of the microbial community from all three domains. We found that the organisms from these three groups are mainly governed by stochastic mechanisms. However, this apparent similarity does not reflect the differences in the processes that govern the phyla assembly. The results obtained highlight the importance of considering all the microorganisms without neglecting their individual specificities. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2022-09-21

Pallen MJ, Rodriguez-R LM, NF Alikhan (2022)

Naming the unnamed: over 65,000 Candidatus names for unnamed Archaea and Bacteria in the Genome Taxonomy Database.

International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology, 72(9):.

Thousands of new bacterial and archaeal species and higher-level taxa are discovered each year through the analysis of genomes and metagenomes. The Genome Taxonomy Database (GTDB) provides hierarchical sequence-based descriptions and classifications for new and as-yet-unnamed taxa. However, bacterial nomenclature, as currently configured, cannot keep up with the need for new well-formed names. Instead, microbiologists have been forced to use hard-to-remember alphanumeric placeholder labels. Here, we exploit an approach to the generation of well-formed arbitrary Latinate names at a scale sufficient to name tens of thousands of unnamed taxa within GTDB. These newly created names represent an important resource for the microbiology community, facilitating communication between bioinformaticians, microbiologists and taxonomists, while populating the emerging landscape of microbial taxonomic and functional discovery with accessible and memorable linguistic labels.

RevDate: 2022-09-21

Adam PS, Bornemann TLV, AJ Probst (2022)

Progress and Challenges in Studying the Ecophysiology of Archaea.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2522:469-486.

It has been less than two decades since the study of archaeal ecophysiology has become unshackled from the limitations of cultivation and amplicon sequencing through the advent of metagenomics. As a primer to the guide on producing archaeal genomes from metagenomes, we briefly summarize here how different meta'omics, imaging, and wet lab methods have contributed to progress in understanding the ecophysiology of Archaea. We then peer into the history of how our knowledge on two particularly important lineages was assembled: the anaerobic methane and alkane oxidizers, encountered primarily among Euryarchaeota, and the nanosized, mainly parasitic, members of the DPANN superphylum.

RevDate: 2022-09-21

Thomsen J, Weidenbach K, Metcalf WW, et al (2022)

Genetic Methods and Construction of Chromosomal Mutations in Methanogenic Archaea.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2522:105-117.

Genetic manipulation through markerless exchange enables the modification of several genomic regions without leaving a selection marker in the genome. Here, a method using hpt coding for hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase as a counter selectable marker is described. For Methanosarcina species a chromosomal deletion of the hpt gene is firstly generated, which confers resistance to the purine analogue 8-aza-2,6-diaminopurine (8-ADP). In a second step, the reintroduction of the hpt gene on a plasmid leads to a selectable loss of 8-ADP resistance after a homologous recombination event (pop-in). A subsequent pop-out event restores the 8-ADP resistance and can generate chromosomal mutants with frequencies of about 50%.

RevDate: 2022-09-21

Forterre P (2022)

Archaea: A Goldmine for Molecular Biologists and Evolutionists.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2522:1-21.

The rebuttal of the prokaryote-eukaryote dichotomy and the elaboration of the three domains concept by Carl Woese and colleagues has been a breakthrough in biology. With the methodologies available at this time, they have shown that a single molecule, the 16S ribosomal RNA, could reveal the global organization of the living world. Later on, mining archaeal genomes led to major discoveries in archaeal molecular biology, providing a third model for comparative molecular biology. These analyses revealed the strong eukaryal flavor of the basic molecular fabric of Archaea and support rooting the universal tree between Bacteria and Arcarya (the clade grouping Archaea and Eukarya). However, in contradiction with this conclusion, it remains to understand why the archaeal and bacterial mobilomes are so similar and so different from the eukaryal one. These last years, the number of recognized archaea lineages (phyla?) has exploded. The archaeal nomenclature is now in turmoil and debates about the nature of the last universal common ancestor, the last archaeal common ancestor, and the topology of the tree of life are still going on. Interestingly, the expansion of the archaeal eukaryome, especially in the Asgard archaea, has provided new opportunities to study eukaryogenesis. In recent years, the application to Archaea of the new methodologies described in the various chapters of this book have opened exciting avenues to study the molecular biology and the physiology of these fascinating microorganisms.

RevDate: 2022-09-21

Chow C, Padda KP, Puri A, et al (2022)

An Archaic Approach to a Modern Issue: Endophytic Archaea for Sustainable Agriculture.

Current microbiology, 79(11):322.

Archaea have existed for over 3.5 billion years, yet they were detected in the plant endosphere only in the recent past and still, not much is known about them. Archaeal endophytes may be important microorganisms for sustainable agriculture, particularly in the face of climate change and increasing food demand due to population growth. Recent advances in culture-independent methods of research have revealed a diverse abundance of archaea from the phyla Euryarchaeota, Crenarchaeaota, and Thaumarchaeota globally that are associated with significant crops such as maize, rice, coffee, and olive. Novel insights into the plant microbiome have revealed specific genes in archaea that may be involved in numerous plant metabolic functions including amino acid production and phytohormone modulation. This is the first review article to address what is known about archaea as endophytes, including their patterns of colonization and abundance in various parts of different crop plants grown under diverse environmental conditions. This review aims to facilitate mainstream discussions and encourage future research regarding the occurrence and role of endophytic archaea in plants, particularly in relation to agricultural applications.

RevDate: 2022-09-16

Yue Y, Wang F, Pan J, et al (2022)

Spatiotemporal dynamics, community assembly and functional potentials of sedimentary archaea in reservoirs: coaction of stochasticity and nutrient load.

FEMS microbiology ecology pii:6701916 [Epub ahead of print].

Archaea participate in biogeochemical cycles in aquatic ecosystems, and deciphering their community dynamics and assembly mechanisms is key to understanding their ecological functions. Here, sediments from twelve selected reservoirs from the Wujiang and Pearl River basins in southwest China were investigated using 16S rRNA Illumina sequencing and qPCR for archaeal abundance and richness in all seasons. Generally, archaeal abundance and α-diversity were significantly correlated with temperature; however, β-diversity analysis showed that community structures varied greatly among locations rather than seasons, indicating a distance-decay pattern with geographical variation. The null model revealed the major contribution of stochasticity to archaeal community assembly, which was further confirmed by the neutral community model that could explain 71.7% and 90.2% of the variance in archaeal assembly in the Wujiang and Pearl River basins, respectively. Moreover, sediment total nitrogen and organic carbon levels were significantly correlated with archaeal abundance and α-diversity. Interestingly, these nutrient levels were positively and negatively correlated, respectively, with the abundance of methanogenic and ammonia-oxidized archaea-the dominant sedimentary archaea in these reservoirs. Taken together, this work systematically characterized archaeal community profiles in reservoir sediments and demonstrated the combined action of stochastic processes and nutrient load in shaping archaeal communities in reservoir ecosystems.

RevDate: 2022-09-20
CmpDate: 2022-09-13

Zhu Q, S Mirarab (2022)

Assembling a Reference Phylogenomic Tree of Bacteria and Archaea by Summarizing Many Gene Phylogenies.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2569:137-165.

Phylogenomics is the inference of phylogenetic trees based on multiple marker genes sampled in the genomes of interest. An important challenge in phylogenomics is the potential incongruence among the evolutionary histories of individual genes, which can be widespread in microorganisms due to the prevalence of horizontal gene transfer. This protocol introduces the procedures for building a phylogenetic tree of a large number of microbial genomes using a broad sampling of marker genes that are representative of whole-genome evolution. The protocol highlights the use of a gene tree summary method, which can effectively reconstruct the species tree while accounting for the topological conflicts among individual gene trees. The pipeline described in this protocol is scalable to tens of thousands of genomes while retaining high accuracy. We discussed multiple software tools, libraries, and scripts to enable convenient adoption of the protocol. The protocol is suitable for microbiology and microbiome studies based on public genomes and metagenomic data.

RevDate: 2022-09-01

Hoegenauer C, Hammer HF, Mahnert A, et al (2022)

Methanogenic archaea in the human gastrointestinal tract.

Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology [Epub ahead of print].

The human microbiome is strongly interwoven with human health and disease. Besides bacteria, viruses and eukaryotes, numerous archaea are located in the human gastrointestinal tract and are responsible for methane production, which can be measured in clinical methane breath analyses. Methane is an important readout for various diseases, including intestinal methanogen overgrowth. Notably, the archaea responsible for methane production are largely overlooked in human microbiome studies due to their non-bacterial biology and resulting detection issues. As such, their importance for health and disease remains largely unclear to date, in particular as not a single archaeal representative has been deemed to be pathogenic. In this Perspective, we discuss the current knowledge on the clinical relevance of methanogenic archaea. We explain the archaeal unique response to antibiotics and their negative and positive effects on human physiology, and present the current understanding of the use of methane as a diagnostic marker.

RevDate: 2022-08-31

Kuroda K, Yamamoto K, Nakai R, et al (2022)

Symbiosis between Candidatus Patescibacteria and Archaea Discovered in Wastewater-Treating Bioreactors.

mBio [Epub ahead of print].

Each prokaryotic domain, Bacteria and Archaea, contains a large and diverse group of organisms characterized by their ultrasmall cell size and symbiotic lifestyles (potentially commensal, mutualistic, and parasitic relationships), namely, Candidatus Patescibacteria (also known as the Candidate Phyla Radiation/CPR superphylum) and DPANN archaea, respectively. Cultivation-based approaches have revealed that Ca. Patescibacteria and DPANN symbiotically interact with bacterial and archaeal partners and hosts, respectively, but that cross-domain symbiosis and parasitism have never been observed. By amending wastewater treatment sludge samples with methanogenic archaea, we observed increased abundances of Ca. Patescibacteria (Ca. Yanofskybacteria/UBA5738) and, using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), discovered that nearly all of the Ca. Yanofskybacteria/UBA5738 cells were attached to Methanothrix (95.7 ± 2.1%) and that none of the cells were attached to other lineages, implying high host dependency and specificity. Methanothrix filaments (multicellular) with Ca. Yanofskybacteria/UBA5738 attached had significantly more cells with no or low detectable ribosomal activity (based on FISH fluorescence) and often showed deformations at the sites of attachment (based on transmission electron microscopy), suggesting that the interaction is parasitic. Metagenome-assisted metabolic reconstruction showed that Ca. Yanofskybacteria/UBA5738 lacks most of the biosynthetic pathways necessary for cell growth and universally conserves three unique gene arrays that contain multiple genes with signal peptides in the metagenome-assembled genomes of the Ca. Yanofskybacteria/UBA5738 lineage. The results shed light on a novel cross-domain symbiosis and inspire potential strategies for culturing CPR and DPANN. IMPORTANCE One highly diverse phylogenetic group of Bacteria, Ca. Patescibacteria, remains poorly understood, but, from the few cultured representatives and metagenomic investigations, they are thought to live symbiotically or parasitically with other bacteria or even with eukarya. We explored the possibility of symbiotic interactions with Archaea by amending wastewater treatment sludge samples that were rich in Ca. Patescibacteria and Archaea with an isolate archaeon that is closely related to a methanogen population abundant in situ (Methanothrix). This strategic cultivation successfully established enrichment cultures that were mainly comprised of Ca. Patescibacteria (family level lineage Ca. Yanofskybacteria/UBA5738) and Methanothrix, in which we found highly specific physical interactions between the two organisms. Microscopic observations based on transmission electron microscopy, target-specific fluorescence in situ hybridization, and metagenomic analyses showed evidence that the interaction is likely parasitic. The results show a novel cross-domain parasitism between Bacteria and Archaea and suggest that the amendment of host Archaea may be an effective approach in culturing novel Ca. Patescibacteria.

RevDate: 2022-09-22

Gou Y, Song Y, Yang S, et al (2022)

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon removal from subsurface soil mediated by bacteria and archaea under methanogenic conditions: Performance and mechanisms.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 313:120023 pii:S0269-7491(22)01237-4 [Epub ahead of print].

In situ anoxic bioremediation is an easy-to-use technology to remediate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-contaminated soil. Degradation of PAHs mediated by soil bacteria and archaea using CO2 as the electron acceptor is an important process for eliminating PAHs under methanogenic conditions; however, knowledge of the performance and mechanisms involved is poorly unveiled. In this study, the effectiveness and efficiency of NaHCO3 (CO2) as an electron acceptor to stimulate the degradation of PAHs by bacteria and archaea in highly contaminated soil were investigated. The results showed that CO2 addition (EC2000) promoted PAH degradation compared to soil without added CO2 (EC0), with 4.18%, 9.01%-8.05%, and 6.19%-12.45% increases for 2-, 3- and 4-ring PAHs after 250 days of incubation, respectively. Soil bacterial abundances increased with increasing incubation time, especially for EC2000 (2.90 × 108 g-1 soil higher than EC0, p < 0.05). Different succession patterns of the soil bacterial and archaeal communities during PAH degradation were observed. According to the PCoA and ANOSIM results, the soil bacterial communities were greatly (ANOSIM: R = 0.7232, P = 0.001) impacted by electron acceptors, whereas significant differences in the archaeal communities were not observed (ANOSIM: R = 0.553, P = 0.001). Soil bacterial and archaeal co-occurrence network analyses showed that positive correlations outnumbered the negative correlations throughout the incubation period for both treatments (e.g., EC0 and EC2000), suggesting the prevalence of coexistence/cooperation within and between these two domains rather than competition. The higher complexity, connectance, edge, and node numbers in EC2000 revealed stronger linkage and a more stable co-occurrence network compared to EC0. The results of this study could improve the knowledge on the removal of PAHs and the responses of soil bacteria and archaea to CO2 application, as well as a scientific basis for the in situ anoxic bioremediation of PAH-contaminated industrial sites.

RevDate: 2022-08-30
CmpDate: 2022-08-30

Amores GR, Zepeda-Ramos G, García-Fajardo LV, et al (2022)

The gut microbiome analysis of Anastrepha obliqua reveals inter-kingdom diversity: bacteria, fungi, and archaea.

Archives of microbiology, 204(9):579.

The fruit fly Anastrepha obliqua is an economically important pest. The sterile insect technique to control it involves mass production and release of sterile flies to reduce the reproduction of the wild population. As noted in different Tephritidae, the performance of sterile males may be affected by the assimilation of nutrients under mass-rearing conditions. In the wild, the fly's life cycle suggests the acquisition of different organisms that could modulate its fitness and physiology. For A. obliqua, there is no information regarding microorganisms other than bacteria. This study analyzed bacteria, fungal, and archaea communities in the A. obliqua gut through denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles of 16S (using a different set of primers for bacteria and archaea) and 18S ribosomal DNA markers. We found that wild flies presented higher microbial diversity related to fructose assimilation than laboratory species, suggesting that microorganisms have led to a specialized metabolism to process nutrients associated with an artificial diet. We identified species that have not been previously described in this fruit fly, especially actinobacteria and archaea, by employing different primer sets aimed at the same molecular marker but targeting diverse hypervariable regions of 16S rDNA. The possibility that Archaea affect fly fitness should not be ignored. This report on the intestinal microbial (bacteria, archaea, and fungi) composition of A. obliqua contributes to our understanding of the role of microorganisms in the development and physiology of the flies.

RevDate: 2022-08-30

Alharbi F, Knura T, Siebers B, et al (2022)

Thermostable and O2-Insensitive Pyruvate Decarboxylases from Thermoacidophilic Archaea Catalyzing the Production of Acetaldehyde.

Biology, 11(8):.

Pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) is a key enzyme involved in ethanol fermentation, and it catalyzes the decarboxylation of pyruvate to acetaldehyde and CO2. Bifunctional PORs/PDCs that also have additional pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase (POR) activity are found in hyperthermophiles, and they are mostly oxygen-sensitive and CoA-dependent. Thermostable and oxygen-stable PDC activity is highly desirable for biotechnological applications. The enzymes from the thermoacidophiles Saccharolobus (formerly Sulfolobus) solfataricus (Ss, Topt = 80 °C) and Sulfolobus acidocaldarius (Sa, Topt = 80 °C) were purified and characterized, and their biophysical and biochemical properties were determined comparatively. Both enzymes were shown to be heterodimeric, and their two subunits were determined by SDS-PAGE to be 37 ± 3 kDa and 65 ± 2 kDa, respectively. The purified enzymes from S. solfataricus and S. acidocaldarius showed both PDC and POR activities which were CoA-dependent, and they were thermostable with half-life times of 2.9 ± 1 and 1.1 ± 1 h at 80 °C, respectively. There was no loss of activity in the presence of oxygen. Optimal pH values for their PDC and POR activity were determined to be 7.9 and 8.6, respectively. In conclusion, both thermostable SsPOR/PDC and SaPOR/PDC catalyze the CoA-dependent production of acetaldehyde from pyruvate in the presence of oxygen.

RevDate: 2022-08-28
CmpDate: 2022-08-26

Grivard A, Goubet I, Duarte Filho LMS, et al (2022)

Archaea Carotenoids: Natural Pigments with Unexplored Innovative Potential.

Marine drugs, 20(8):.

For more than 40 years, marine microorganisms have raised great interest because of their major ecological function and their numerous applications for biotechnology and pharmacology. Particularly, Archaea represent a resource of great potential for the identification of new metabolites because of their adaptation to extreme environmental conditions and their original metabolic pathways, allowing the synthesis of unique biomolecules. Studies on archaeal carotenoids are still relatively scarce and only a few works have focused on their industrial scale production and their biotechnological and pharmacological properties, while the societal demand for these bioactive pigments is growing. This article aims to provide a comprehensive review of the current knowledge on carotenoid metabolism in Archaea and the potential applications of these pigments in biotechnology and medicine. After reviewing the ecology and classification of these microorganisms, as well as their unique cellular and biochemical characteristics, this paper highlights the most recent data concerning carotenoid metabolism in Archaea, the biological properties of these pigments, and biotechnological considerations for their production at industrial scale.

RevDate: 2022-08-23

Yoshinaga M, Nakayama T, Y Inagaki (2022)

A novel structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC)-related protein family specific to Archaea.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:913088.

The ATPases belonging to the structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) superfamily are involved in the maintenance of chromosome organization and dynamics, as well as DNA repair. The major proteins in this superfamily recognized to date are either conserved among the three domains of Life (i.e., SMC and Rad50) or specific to Bacteria (i.e., RecF, RecN, and MukB). In Archaea, no protein related to SMC (SMC-related protein) with a broad taxonomic distribution has been reported. Nevertheless, two SMC-related proteins, namely coalescin and Sph, have been identified in crenarchaea Sulfolobus spp. and the euryarchaeon Halobacterium salinarum, respectively, hinting that the diversity of SMC-related proteins has been overlooked in Archaea. In this study, we report a novel SMC-related protein that is distributed among broad archaeal lineages and termed "Archaea-specific SMC-related proteins" or "ASRPs." We further demonstrate that the ASRP family encloses both coalescin and Sph but the two proteins represent only a tip of the diversity of this family.

RevDate: 2022-09-22

Mafra D, Ribeiro M, Fonseca L, et al (2022)

Archaea from the gut microbiota of humans: Could be linked to chronic diseases?.

Anaerobe, 77:102629 pii:S1075-9964(22)00122-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Archaea comprise a unique domain of organisms with distinct biochemical and genetic differences from bacteria. Methane-forming archaea, methanogens, constitute the predominant group of archaea in the human gut microbiota, with Methanobrevibacter smithii being the most prevalent. However, the effect of methanogenic archaea and their methane production on chronic disease remains controversial. As perturbation of the microbiota is a feature of chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases and chronic kidney disease, assessing the influence of archaea could provide a new clue to mitigating adverse effects associated with dysbiosis. In this review, we will discuss the putative role of archaea in the gut microbiota in humans and the possible link to chronic diseases.

RevDate: 2022-08-16

Peng Y, Xie T, Wu Z, et al (2022)

Archaea: An under-estimated kingdom in livestock animals.

Frontiers in veterinary science, 9:973508.

Archaea are considered an essential group of gut microorganisms in both humans and animals. However, they have been neglected in previous studies, especially those involving non-ruminants. In this study, we re-analyzed published metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data sequenced from matched samples to explore the composition and the expression activity of gut archaea in ruminants (cattle and sheep) and monogastric animals (pig and chicken). Our results showed that the alpha and beta diversity of each host species, especially cattle and chickens, calculated from metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data were significantly different, suggesting that metatranscriptomic data better represent the functional status of archaea. We detected that the relative abundance of 17 (cattle), 7 (sheep), 20 (pig), and 2 (chicken) archaeal species were identified in the top 100 archaeal taxa when analyzing the metagenomic datasets, and these species were classified as the "active archaeal species" for each host species by comparison with corresponding metatranscriptomic data. For example, The expressive abundance in metatranscriptomic dataset of Methanosphaera cuniculi and Methanosphaera stadtmanae were 30- and 27-fold higher than that in metagenomic abundance, indicating their potentially important function in the pig gut. Here we aim to show the potential importance of archaea in the livestock digestive tract and encourage future research in this area, especially on the gut archaea of monogastric animals.

RevDate: 2022-08-16
CmpDate: 2022-08-16

Zhao H, L Zhang (2022)

Metagenome-assembled Genomes of Six Novel Ammonia-oxidizing Archaea (AOA) from Agricultural Upland Soil.

Microbes and environments, 37(3):.

Ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), key players in agricultural upland soil nitrification, convert soil ammonium to nitrite. The microbial oxidation of ammonia to nitrite is an important part of the global biogeochemical nitrogen cycle. In the present study, we recovered six novel AOA metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) containing genes for carbon (C) fixation and nitrogen (N) metabolism by using a deep shotgun metagenomic sequencing strategy. We also found that these AOA MAGs possessed cobalamin synthesis genes, suggesting that AOA are vitamin suppliers in agricultural upland soil. Collectively, the present results deepen our understanding of the metabolic potential and phylogeny of AOA in agroecosystems.

RevDate: 2022-08-24
CmpDate: 2022-08-05

Ledesma L, Hernandez-Guerrero R, E Perez-Rueda (2022)

Prediction of DNA-Binding Transcription Factors in Bacteria and Archaea Genomes.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2516:103-112.

DNA-binding transcription factors (TFs) play a central role in the gene expression of all organisms, from viruses to humans, including bacteria and archaea. The role of these proteins is the fate of gene expression in the context of environmental challenges. Because thousands of genomes have been sequenced to date, predictions of the encoded proteins are validated through the use of bioinformatics tools to obtain the necessary experimental, posterior knowledge. In this chapter, we describe three approaches to identify TFs in protein sequences. The first approach integrates the results of sequence comparisons and PFAM assignments, using as reference a manually curated collection of TFs. The second approach considers the prediction of DNA-binding structures, such as the classical helix-turn-helix (HTH); and the third approach considers a deep learning model. We suggest that all approaches must be considered together to increase the possibility of identifying new TFs in bacterial and archaeal genomes.

RevDate: 2022-08-24
CmpDate: 2022-08-05

Sybers D, Charlier D, E Peeters (2022)

In Vitro Transcription Assay for Archaea Belonging to Sulfolobales.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2516:81-102.

Archaeal transcription and its regulation are characterized by a mosaic of eukaryotic and bacterial features. Molecular analysis of the functioning of the archaeal RNA polymerase, basal transcription factors, and specific promoter-containing DNA templates allows to unravel the mechanisms of transcription regulation in archaea. In vitro transcription is a technique that allows the study of this process in a simplified and controlled environment less complex than the archaeal cell. In this chapter, we present an in vitro transcription methodology for the study of transcription in Sulfolobales. It is described how to purify the RNA polymerase and the basal transcription factors TATA-binding protein and transcription factor B of Saccharolobus solfataricus and how to perform in vitro transcription reactions and transcript detection. Application of this protocol for other archaeal species could require minor modifications to protein overexpression and purification conditions.

RevDate: 2022-08-24
CmpDate: 2022-08-05

Maruyama H (2022)

Micrococcal Nuclease Digestion Assays for the Analysis of Chromosome Structure in Archaea.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2516:29-38.

The digestion of chromosomes using micrococcal nuclease (MNase) enables the analysis of their fundamental structural units. For example, the digestion of eukaryotic chromatin using MNase results in laddered DNA fragments (~150 bp increment), which reflects the length of the DNA wrapped around regularly spaced nucleosomes. Here, we describe the application of MNase to examine the chromosome structure in Archaea. We used Thermococcus kodakarensis, a hyperthermophilic euryarchaeon that encodes proteins homologous to eukaryotic histones. Methods for chromosome extraction and agarose gel electrophoresis of MNase-digested DNA including small fragments (~30 bp) are also described.

RevDate: 2022-08-24
CmpDate: 2022-08-05

Rashid FM, Detmar L, RT Dame (2022)

Chromosome Conformation Capture in Bacteria and Archaea.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2516:1-28.

The three-dimensional structure of the chromosome is encoded within its sequence and regulates activities such as replication and transcription. This necessitates the study of the spatial organization of the chromosome in relation to the underlying sequence. Chromosome conformation capture (3C) techniques are proximity ligation-based approaches that simplify the three-dimensional architecture of the chromosome into a one-dimensional library of hybrid ligation junctions. Deciphering the information contained in these libraries resolves chromosome architecture in a sequence-specific manner. This chapter describes the preparation of 3C libraries for bacteria and archaea. It details how the three-dimensional architecture of local chromatin can be extracted from the 3C library using qPCR (3C-qPCR), and it summarizes the processing of 3C libraries for next-generation sequencing (3C-Seq) for a study of global chromosome organization.

RevDate: 2022-08-05
CmpDate: 2022-08-05

Wang BB, Sun YP, Wu ZP, et al (2022)

Halorientalis salina sp. nov., Halorientalis marina sp. nov., Halorientalis litorea sp. nov.: three extremely halophilic archaea isolated from a salt lake and coarse sea salt.

Extremophiles : life under extreme conditions, 26(3):26.

Three halophilic archaeal strains, NEN8T, GDY88T and ZY14T, were isolated from a salt lake in Tibet and coarse sea salt samples from Guangdong and Hebei, China, respectively. These strains formed three separate clades (showing 94.4-95.8% and 87.1-89.4% similarities, respectively) and then clustered with the current Halorientalis members (showing 90.7-97.6% and 87.0-91.2% similarities, respectively), as revealed by phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA and rpoB' genes. The overall genome-related index, average nucleotide identity (ANI), in silico DNA-DNA hybridization (DDH), average amino acid identity (AAI) and the percentage of conserved proteins (POCP) values, among the three strains and members of the genus Halorientalis were 76.0-88.0%, 21.3-37.2%, 69.0-88.3% and 57.7-78.1%, clearly below the threshold values for species demarcation. Strains NEN8T, GDY88T and ZY14T could be distinguished from current Halorientalis species according to differential phenotypic characteristics. The major polar lipids of the three strains were phosphatidylglycerol (PG), phosphatidylglycerol phosphate methyl ester (PGP-Me), sulfated mannosyl glucosyl diether (S-DGD-1) and disulfated mannosyl glucosyl diether (S2-DGD). In addition, mannosyl glucosyl diether (DGD-1) was detected in strain NEN8T and phosphatidic acid (PA), posssulfated galactosyl mannosyl glucosyl diether (S-TGD-1) and sulfated mannosyl glucosyl diether-phosphatidic acid (S-DGD-PA) were observed in strain ZY14T. These results revealed that strains NEN8T (= CGMCC 1.17213T = JCM 34155T), GDY88T (= CGMCC 1.18548T = JCM 34481T) and ZY14T (= CGMCC 1.17178T = JCM 34154T) represent three novel species of the genus Halorientalis, for which the names Halorientalis salina sp. nov., Halorientalis marina sp. nov. and Halorientalis litorea sp. nov. are proposed.

RevDate: 2022-09-13
CmpDate: 2022-09-13

Wegener G, Laso-Pérez R, Orphan VJ, et al (2022)

Anaerobic Degradation of Alkanes by Marine Archaea.

Annual review of microbiology, 76:553-577.

Alkanes are saturated apolar hydrocarbons that range from their simplest form, methane, to high-molecular-weight compounds. Although alkanes were once considered biologically recalcitrant under anaerobic conditions, microbiological investigations have now identified several microbial taxa that can anaerobically degrade alkanes. Here we review recent discoveries in the anaerobic oxidation of alkanes with a specific focus on archaea that use specific methyl coenzyme M reductases to activate their substrates. Our understanding of the diversity of uncultured alkane-oxidizing archaea has expanded through the use of environmental metagenomics and enrichment cultures of syntrophic methane-, ethane-, propane-, and butane-oxidizing marine archaea with sulfate-reducing bacteria. A recently cultured group of archaea directly couples long-chain alkane degradation with methane formation, expanding the range of substrates used for methanogenesis. This article summarizes the rapidly growing knowledge of the diversity, physiology, and habitat distribution of alkane-degrading archaea.

RevDate: 2022-09-20
CmpDate: 2022-08-02

Rattanasriampaipong R, Zhang YG, Pearson A, et al (2022)

Archaeal lipids trace ecology and evolution of marine ammonia-oxidizing archaea.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(31):e2123193119.

Archaeal membrane lipids are widely used for paleotemperature reconstructions, yet these molecular fossils also bear rich information about ecology and evolution of marine ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA). Here we identified thermal and nonthermal behaviors of archaeal glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) by comparing the GDGT-based temperature index (TEX86) to the ratio of GDGTs with two and three cyclopentane rings (GDGT-2/GDGT-3). Thermal-dependent biosynthesis should increase TEX86 and decrease GDGT-2/GDGT-3 when the ambient temperature increases. This presumed temperature-dependent (PTD) trend is observed in GDGTs derived from cultures of thermophilic and mesophilic AOA. The distribution of GDGTs in suspended particulate matter (SPM) and sediments collected from above the pycnocline-shallow water samples-also follows the PTD trend. These similar GDGT distributions between AOA cultures and shallow water environmental samples reflect shallow ecotypes of marine AOA. While there are currently no cultures of deep AOA clades, GDGTs derived from deep water SPM and marine sediment samples exhibit nonthermal behavior deviating from the PTD trend. The presence of deep AOA increases the GDGT-2/GDGT-3 ratio and distorts the temperature-controlled correlation between GDGT-2/GDGT-3 and TEX86. We then used Gaussian mixture models to statistically characterize these diagnostic patterns of modern AOA ecology from paleo-GDGT records to infer the evolution of marine AOA from the Mid-Mesozoic to the present. Long-term GDGT-2/GDGT-3 trends suggest a suppression of today's deep water marine AOA during the Mesozoic-early Cenozoic greenhouse climates. Our analysis provides invaluable insights into the evolutionary timeline and the expansion of AOA niches associated with major oceanographic and climate changes.

RevDate: 2022-07-31
CmpDate: 2022-07-28

Chong PL, Chang A, Yu A, et al (2022)

Vesicular and Planar Membranes of Archaea Lipids: Unusual Physical Properties and Biomedical Applications.

International journal of molecular sciences, 23(14):.

Liposomes and planar membranes made of archaea or archaea-like lipids exhibit many unusual physical properties compared to model membranes composed of conventional diester lipids. Here, we review several recent findings in this research area, which include (1) thermosensitive archaeosomes with the capability to drastically change the membrane surface charge, (2) MthK channel's capability to insert into tightly packed tetraether black lipid membranes and exhibit channel activity with surprisingly high calcium sensitivity, and (3) the intercalation of apolar squalane into the midplane space of diether bilayers to impede proton permeation. We also review the usage of tetraether archaeosomes as nanocarriers of therapeutics and vaccine adjuvants, as well as the biomedical applications of planar archaea lipid membranes. The discussion on archaeosomal therapeutics is focused on partially purified tetraether lipid fractions such as the polar lipid fraction E (PLFE) and glyceryl caldityl tetraether (GCTE), which are the main components of PLFE with the sugar and phosphate removed.

RevDate: 2022-09-06
CmpDate: 2022-08-18

Boswinkle K, McKinney J, KD Allen (2022)

Highlighting the Unique Roles of Radical S-Adenosylmethionine Enzymes in Methanogenic Archaea.

Journal of bacteriology, 204(8):e0019722.

Radical S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) enzymes catalyze an impressive variety of difficult biochemical reactions in various pathways across all domains of life. These metalloenzymes employ a reduced [4Fe-4S] cluster and SAM to generate a highly reactive 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical that is capable of initiating catalysis on otherwise unreactive substrates. Interestingly, the genomes of methanogenic archaea encode many unique radical SAM enzymes with underexplored or completely unknown functions. These organisms are responsible for the yearly production of nearly 1 billion tons of methane, a potent greenhouse gas as well as a valuable energy source. Thus, understanding the details of methanogenic metabolism and elucidating the functions of essential enzymes in these organisms can provide insights into strategies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions as well as inform advances in bioenergy production processes. This minireview provides an overview of the current state of the field regarding the functions of radical SAM enzymes in methanogens and discusses gaps in knowledge that should be addressed.

RevDate: 2022-07-19

Flusche T, R Rajan (2022)

Molecular Details of DNA Integration by CRISPR-Associated Proteins During Adaptation in Bacteria and Archaea.

Advances in experimental medicine and biology [Epub ahead of print].

Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins constitute an adaptive immune system in bacteria and archaea, where immunological memory is retained in the CRISPR locus as short pieces of the intruding nucleic acid, termed spacers. The adaptation to new infections occurs through the integration of a new spacer into the CRISPR array. For immune protection, spacers are transcribed into CRISPR RNAs (crRNA) that are used to guide the effector nuclease of the system in sequence-dependent target cleavage. Spacers originate as a prespacer from either DNA or RNA depending on the CRISPR-Cas system being observed, and the nearly universal Cas proteins, Cas1 and Cas2, insert the prespacer into the CRISPR locus during adaptation in all systems that contain them. The mechanism of site-specific prespacer integration varies across CRISPR classes and types, and distinct differences can even be found within the same subtype. In this review, the current knowledge on the mechanisms of prespacer integration in type II-A CRISPR-Cas systems will be described. Comparisons of the currently characterized type II-A systems show that distinct mechanisms exist within different members of this subtype and are correlated to sequence-specific interactions of Cas proteins and the DNA elements present in the CRISPR array. These observations indicate that nature has fine-tuned the mechanistic details while performing the basic step of DNA integration by Cas proteins, which offers unique advantages to develop Cas1-Cas2-based biotechnology.

RevDate: 2022-08-16
CmpDate: 2022-08-05

Villain P, Catchpole R, Forterre P, et al (2022)

Expanded Dataset Reveals the Emergence and Evolution of DNA Gyrase in Archaea.

Molecular biology and evolution, 39(8):.

DNA gyrase is a type II topoisomerase with the unique capacity to introduce negative supercoiling in DNA. In bacteria, DNA gyrase has an essential role in the homeostatic regulation of supercoiling. While ubiquitous in bacteria, DNA gyrase was previously reported to have a patchy distribution in Archaea but its emergent function and evolutionary history in this domain of life remains elusive. In this study, we used phylogenomic approaches and an up-to date sequence dataset to establish global and archaea-specific phylogenies of DNA gyrases. The most parsimonious evolutionary scenario infers that DNA gyrase was introduced into the lineage leading to Euryarchaeal group II via a single horizontal gene transfer from a bacterial donor which we identified as an ancestor of Gracilicutes and/or Terrabacteria. The archaea-focused trees indicate that DNA gyrase spread from Euryarchaeal group II to some DPANN and Asgard lineages via rare horizontal gene transfers. The analysis of successful recent transfers suggests a requirement for syntropic or symbiotic/parasitic relationship between donor and recipient organisms. We further show that the ubiquitous archaeal Topoisomerase VI may have co-evolved with DNA gyrase to allow the division of labor in the management of topological constraints. Collectively, our study reveals the evolutionary history of DNA gyrase in Archaea and provides testable hypotheses to understand the prerequisites for successful establishment of DNA gyrase in a naive archaeon and the associated adaptations in the management of topological constraints.

RevDate: 2022-09-19
CmpDate: 2022-09-19

Ou YF, Dong HP, McIlroy SJ, et al (2022)

Expanding the phylogenetic distribution of cytochrome b-containing methanogenic archaea sheds light on the evolution of methanogenesis.

The ISME journal, 16(10):2373-2387.

Methane produced by methanogenic archaea has an important influence on Earth's changing climate. Methanogenic archaea are phylogenetically diverse and widespread in anoxic environments. These microorganisms can be divided into two subgroups based on whether or not they use b-type cytochromes for energy conservation. Methanogens with b-type cytochromes have a wider substrate range and higher growth yields than those without them. To date, methanogens with b-type cytochromes were found exclusively in the phylum "Ca. Halobacteriota" (formerly part of the phylum Euryarchaeota). Here, we present the discovery of metagenome-assembled genomes harboring methyl-coenzyme M reductase genes reconstructed from mesophilic anoxic sediments, together with the previously reported thermophilic "Ca. Methylarchaeum tengchongensis", representing a novel archaeal order, designated the "Ca. Methylarchaeales", of the phylum Thermoproteota (formerly the TACK superphylum). These microorganisms contain genes required for methyl-reducing methanogenesis and the Wood-Ljundahl pathway. Importantly, the genus "Ca. Methanotowutia" of the "Ca. Methylarchaeales" encode a cytochrome b-containing heterodisulfide reductase (HdrDE) and methanophenazine-reducing hydrogenase complex that have similar gene arrangements to those found in methanogenic Methanosarcinales. Our results indicate that members of the "Ca. Methylarchaeales" are methanogens with cytochromes and can conserve energy via membrane-bound electron transport chains. Phylogenetic and amalgamated likelihood estimation analyses indicate that methanogens with cytochrome b-containing electron transfer complexes likely evolved before diversification of Thermoproteota or "Ca. Halobacteriota" in the early Archean Eon. Surveys of public sequence databases suggest that members of the lineage are globally distributed in anoxic sediments and may be important players in the methane cycle.

RevDate: 2022-09-08
CmpDate: 2022-07-11

Kern M, S Ferreira-Cerca (2022)

Differential Translation Activity Analysis Using Bioorthogonal Noncanonical Amino Acid Tagging (BONCAT) in Archaea.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2533:229-246.

The study of protein production and degradation in a quantitative and time-dependent manner is a major challenge to better understand cellular physiological response. Among available technologies bioorthogonal noncanonical amino acid tagging (BONCAT) is an efficient approach allowing for time-dependent labeling of proteins through the incorporation of chemically reactive noncanonical amino acids like L-azidohomoalanine (L-AHA). The azide-containing amino-acid derivative enables a highly efficient and specific reaction termed click chemistry, whereby the azide group of the L-AHA reacts with a reactive alkyne derivate, like dibenzocyclooctyne (DBCO) derivatives, using strain-promoted alkyne-azide cycloaddition (SPAAC). Moreover, available DBCO containing reagents are versatile and can be coupled to fluorophore (e.g., Cy7) or affinity tag (e.g., biotin) derivatives, for easy visualization and affinity purification, respectively.Here, we describe a step-by-step BONCAT protocol optimized for the model archaeon Haloferax volcanii , but which is also suitable to harness other biological systems. Finally, we also describe examples of downstream visualization, affinity purification of L-AHA-labeled proteins and differential expression analysis.In conclusion, the following BONCAT protocol expands the available toolkit to explore proteostasis using time-resolved semiquantitative proteomic analysis in archaea .

RevDate: 2022-08-01

Buessecker S, Palmer M, Lai D, et al (2022)

An essential role for tungsten in the ecology and evolution of a previously uncultivated lineage of anaerobic, thermophilic Archaea.

Nature communications, 13(1):3773.

Trace metals have been an important ingredient for life throughout Earth's history. Here, we describe the genome-guided cultivation of a member of the elusive archaeal lineage Caldarchaeales (syn. Aigarchaeota), Wolframiiraptor gerlachensis, and its growth dependence on tungsten. A metagenome-assembled genome (MAG) of W. gerlachensis encodes putative tungsten membrane transport systems, as well as pathways for anaerobic oxidation of sugars probably mediated by tungsten-dependent ferredoxin oxidoreductases that are expressed during growth. Catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescence in-situ hybridization (CARD-FISH) and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) show that W. gerlachensis preferentially assimilates xylose. Phylogenetic analyses of 78 high-quality Wolframiiraptoraceae MAGs from terrestrial and marine hydrothermal systems suggest that tungsten-associated enzymes were present in the last common ancestor of extant Wolframiiraptoraceae. Our observations imply a crucial role for tungsten-dependent metabolism in the origin and evolution of this lineage, and hint at a relic metabolic dependence on this trace metal in early anaerobic thermophiles.

RevDate: 2022-06-30

Cai M, X Tang (2022)

Human Archaea and Associated Metabolites in Health and Disease.

Biochemistry [Epub ahead of print].

Trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses, live in or on the human body. Microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions are often influenced by diffusible and microbe-associated small molecules. Over the past few years, it has become evident that these interactions have a substantial impact on human health and disease. In this Perspective, we summarize the research involving the discovery of methanogenic and non-methanogenic archaea associated with the human body. In particular, we emphasize the importance of some archaeal metabolites in mediating intra- and interspecies interactions in the ecological environment of the human body. A deep understanding of the archaeal metabolites as well as their biological functions may reveal in more detail whether and how archaea are involved in maintaining human health and/or causing certain diseases.

RevDate: 2022-07-18
CmpDate: 2022-06-30

Kropp C, Lipp J, Schmidt AL, et al (2022)

Identification of acetylated diether lipids in halophilic Archaea.

MicrobiologyOpen, 11(3):e1299.

As a hallmark of Archaea, their cell membranes are comprised of ether lipids. However, Archaea-type ether lipids have recently been identified in Bacteria as well, with a somewhat different composition: In Bacillales, sn-glycerol 1-phosphate is etherified with one C35 isoprenoid chain, which is longer than the typical C20 chain in Archaea, and instead of a second isoprenoid chain, the product heptaprenylglyceryl phosphate becomes dephosphorylated and afterward diacetylated by the O-acetyltransferase YvoF. Interestingly, database searches have revealed YvoF homologs in Halobacteria (Archaea), too. Here, we demonstrate that YvoF from Haloferax volcanii can acetylate geranylgeranylglycerol in vitro. Additionally, we present the first-time identification of acetylated diether lipids in H. volcanii and Halobacterium salinarum by mass spectrometry. A variety of different acetylated lipids, namely acetylated archaeol, and acetylated archaetidylglycerol, were found, suggesting that halobacterial YvoF has a broad substrate range. We suppose that the acetyl group might serve to modify the polarity of the lipid headgroup, with still unknown biological effects.

RevDate: 2022-08-11
CmpDate: 2022-06-29

Banciu HL, Gridan IM, Zety AV, et al (2022)

Asgard archaea in saline environments.

Extremophiles : life under extreme conditions, 26(2):21.

Members of candidate Asgardarchaeota superphylum appear to share numerous eukaryotic-like attributes thus being broadly explored for their relevance to eukaryogenesis. On the contrast, the ecological roles of Asgard archaea remains understudied. Asgard archaea have been frequently associated to low-oxygen aquatic sedimentary environments worldwide spanning a broad but not extreme salinity range. To date, the available information on diversity and potential biogeochemical roles of Asgardarchaeota mostly sourced from marine habitats and to a much lesser extend from true saline environments (i.e., > 3% w/v total salinity). Here, we provide an overview on diversity and ecological implications of Asgard archaea distributed across saline environments and briefly explore their metagenome-resolved potential for osmoadaptation. Loki-, Thor- and Heimdallarchaeota are the dominant Asgard clades in saline habitats where they might employ anaerobic/microaerophilic organic matter degradation and autotrophic carbon fixation. Homologs of primary solute uptake ABC transporters seemingly prevail in Thorarchaeota, whereas those putatively involved in trehalose and ectoine biosynthesis were mostly inferred in Lokiarchaeota. We speculate that Asgardarchaeota might adopt compatible solute-accumulating ('salt-out') strategy as response to salt stress. Our current understanding on the distribution, ecology and salt-adaptive strategies of Asgardarchaeota in saline environments are, however, limited by insufficient sampling and incompleteness of the available metagenome-assembled genomes. Extensive sampling combined with 'omics'- and cultivation-based approaches seem, therefore, crucial to gain deeper knowledge on this particularly intriguing archaeal lineage.

RevDate: 2022-08-11
CmpDate: 2022-07-04

Rambo IM, Langwig MV, Leão P, et al (2022)

Genomes of six viruses that infect Asgard archaea from deep-sea sediments.

Nature microbiology, 7(7):953-961.

Asgard archaea are globally distributed prokaryotic microorganisms related to eukaryotes; however, viruses that infect these organisms have not been described. Here, using metagenome sequences recovered from deep-sea hydrothermal sediments, we characterize six relatively large (up to 117 kb) double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viral genomes that infected two Asgard archaeal phyla, Lokiarchaeota and Helarchaeota. These viruses encode Caudovirales-like structural proteins, as well as proteins distinct from those described in known archaeal viruses. Their genomes contain around 1-5% of genes associated with eukaryotic nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDVs) and appear to be capable of semi-autonomous genome replication, repair, epigenetic modifications and transcriptional regulation. Moreover, Helarchaeota viruses may hijack host ubiquitin systems similar to eukaryotic viruses. Genomic analysis of these Asgard viruses reveals that they contain features of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic viruses, and provides insights into their potential infection and host interaction mechanisms.

RevDate: 2022-09-13
CmpDate: 2022-09-13

Garcia PS, Gribaldo S, G Borrel (2022)

Diversity and Evolution of Methane-Related Pathways in Archaea.

Annual review of microbiology, 76:727-755.

Methane is one of the most important greenhouse gases on Earth and holds an important place in the global carbon cycle. Archaea are the only organisms that use methanogenesis to produce energy and rely on the methyl-coenzyme M reductase complex (Mcr). Over the last decade, new results have significantly reshaped our view of the diversity of methane-related pathways in the Archaea. Many new lineages that synthesize or use methane have been identified across the whole archaeal tree, leading to a greatly expanded diversity of substrates and mechanisms. In this review, we present the state of the art of these advances and how they challenge established scenarios of the origin and evolution of methanogenesis, and we discuss the potential trajectories that may have led to this strikingly wide range of metabolisms.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-06-28

Xiong X, Rao Y, Tu X, et al (2022)

Gut archaea associated with bacteria colonization and succession during piglet weaning transitions.

BMC veterinary research, 18(1):243.

BACKGROUND: Host-associated gut microbial communities are key players in shaping the fitness and health of animals. However, most current studies have focused on the gut bacteria, neglecting important gut fungal and archaeal components of these communities. Here, we investigated the gut fungi and archaea community composition in Large White piglets using shotgun metagenomic sequencing, and systematically evaluated how community composition association with gut microbiome, functional capacity, and serum metabolites varied across three weaning periods.

RESULTS: We found that Mucoromycota, Ascomycota and Basidiomycota were the most common fungi phyla and Euryarchaeota was the most common archaea phyla across individuals. We identified that Methanosarcina siciliae was the most significantly different archaea species among three weaning periods, while Parasitella parasitica, the only differential fungi species, was significantly and positively correlated with Methanosarcina siciliae enriched in day 28 group. The random forest analysis also identified Methanosarcina siciliae and Parasitella parasitica as weaning-biased archaea and fungi at the species level. Additionally, Methanosarcina siciliae was significantly correlated with P. copri and the shifts of functional capacities of the gut microbiome and several CAZymes in day 28 group. Furthermore, characteristic successional alterations in gut archaea, fungi, bacteria, and serum metabolites with each weaning step revealed a weaning transition coexpression network, e.g., Methanosarcina siciliae and P. copri were positively and significantly correlated with 15-HEPE, 8-O-Methyloblongine, and Troxilin B3.

CONCLUSION: Our findings provide a deep insight into the interactions among gut archaea, fungi, bacteria, and serum metabolites and will present a theoretical framework for understanding gut bacterial colonization and succession association with archaea during piglet weaning transitions.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Doytchinov VV, SG Dimov (2022)

Microbial Community Composition of the Antarctic Ecosystems: Review of the Bacteria, Fungi, and Archaea Identified through an NGS-Based Metagenomics Approach.

Life (Basel, Switzerland), 12(6):.

Antarctica represents a unique environment, both due to the extreme meteorological and geological conditions that govern it and the relative isolation from human influences that have kept its environment largely undisturbed. However, recent trends in climate change dictate an unavoidable change in the global biodiversity as a whole, and pristine environments, such as Antarctica, allow us to study and monitor more closely the effects of the human impact. Additionally, due to its inaccessibility, Antarctica contains a plethora of yet uncultured and unidentified microorganisms with great potential for useful biological activities and production of metabolites, such as novel antibiotics, proteins, pigments, etc. In recent years, amplicon-based next-generation sequencing (NGS) has allowed for a fast and thorough examination of microbial communities to accelerate the efforts of unknown species identification. For these reasons, in this review, we present an overview of the archaea, bacteria, and fungi present on the Antarctic continent and the surrounding area (maritime Antarctica, sub-Antarctica, Southern Sea, etc.) that have recently been identified using amplicon-based NGS methods.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-06-27

Ding R, Yang N, J Liu (2022)

The Osmoprotectant Switch of Potassium to Compatible Solutes in an Extremely Halophilic Archaea Halorubrum kocurii 2020YC7.

Genes, 13(6):.

The main osmoadaptive mechanisms of extremely halophilic archaea include the "salt-in" strategy and the "compatible solutes" strategy. Here we report the osmoadaptive mechanism of an extremely halophilic archaea H. kocurii 2020YC7, isolated from a high salt environment sample. Genomic data revealed that strain 2020YC7 harbors genes trkA, trkH, kch for K+ uptake, kefB for K+ output, treS for trehalose production from polysaccharide, and betaine/carnitine/choline transporter family gene for glycine betaine uptake. Strain 2020YC7 could accumulate 8.17 to 28.67 μmol/mg protein K+ in a defined medium, with its content increasing along with the increasing salinity from 100 to 200 g/L. When exogenous glycine betaine was added, glycine betaine functioned as the primary osmotic solute between 200 and 250 g/L NaCl, which was accumulated up to 15.27 mg/mg protein in 2020YC7 cells. RT-qPCR results completely confirmed these results. Notably, the concentrations of intracellular trehalose decreased from 5.26 to 2.61 mg/mg protein as the NaCl increased from 50 to 250 g/L. In combination with this result, the transcript level of gene treS, which catalyzes the production of trehalose from polysaccharide, was significantly up-regulated at 50-100 g/L NaCl. Therefore, trehalose does not act as an osmotic solute at high NaCl concentrations (more than 100 g/L) but at relatively low NaCl concentrations (50-100 g/L). And we propose that the degradation of cell wall polysaccharide, as a source of trehalose in a low-salt environment, may be one of the reasons for the obligate halophilic characteristics of strain 2020YC7.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-06-21

Krawczyk KT, Locht C, M Kowalewicz-Kulbat (2022)

Halophilic Archaea Halorhabdus Rudnickae and Natrinema Salaciae Activate Human Dendritic Cells and Orient T Helper Cell Responses.

Frontiers in immunology, 13:833635.

Halophilic archaea are procaryotic organisms distinct from bacteria, known to thrive in hypersaline environments, including salt lakes, salterns, brines and salty food. They have also been identified in the human microbiome. The biological significance of halophiles for human health has rarely been examined. The interactions between halophilic archaea and human dendritic cells (DCs) and T cells have not been identified so far. Here, we show for the first time that the halophilic archaea Halorhabdus rudnickae and Natrinema salaciae activate human monocyte-derived DCs, induce DC maturation, cytokine production and autologous T cell activation. In vitro both strains induced DC up-regulation of the cell-surface receptors CD86, CD80 and CD83, and cytokine production, including IL-12p40, IL-10 and TNF-α, but not IL-23 and IL-12p70. Furthermore, autologous CD4+ T cells produced significantly higher amounts of IFN-γ and IL-13, but not IL-17A when co-cultured with halophile-stimulated DCs in comparison to T cells co-cultured with unstimulated DCs. IFN-γ was almost exclusively produced by naïve T cells, while IL-13 was produced by both naïve and memory CD4+ T cells. Our findings thus show that halophilic archaea are recognized by human DCs and are able to induce a balanced cytokine response. The immunomodulatory functions of halophilic archaea and their potential ability to re-establish the immune balance may perhaps participate in the beneficial effects of halotherapies.

RevDate: 2022-07-08

Hu W, Hou Q, Delgado-Baquerizo M, et al (2022)

Continental-scale niche differentiation of dominant topsoil archaea in drylands.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Archaea represent a diverse group of microorganisms often associated with extreme environments. However, an integrated understanding of biogeographical patterns of the specialist Haloarchaea and the potential generalist ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) across large-scale environmental gradients remains limited. We hypothesize that niche differentiation determines their distinct distributions along environmental gradients. To test the hypothesis, we use a continental-scale research network including 173 dryland sites across northern China. Our results demonstrate that Haloarchaea and AOA dominate topsoil archaeal communities. As hypothesized, Haloarchaea and AOA show strong niche differentiation associated with two ecosystem types mainly found in China's drylands (i.e. deserts vs. grasslands), and they differ in the degree of habitat specialization. The relative abundance and richness of Haloarchaea are higher in deserts due to specialization to relatively high soil salinity and extreme climates, while those of AOA are greater in grassland soils. Our results further indicate a divergence in ecological processes underlying the segregated distributions of Haloarchaea and AOA. Haloarchaea are governed primarily by environmental-based processes while the more generalist AOA are assembled mostly via spatial-based processes. Our findings add to existing knowledge of large-scale biogeography of topsoil archaea, advancing our predictive understanding on changes in topsoil archaeal communities in a drier world.

RevDate: 2022-07-29

Hatano T, Palani S, Papatziamou D, et al (2022)

Asgard archaea shed light on the evolutionary origins of the eukaryotic ubiquitin-ESCRT machinery.

Nature communications, 13(1):3398.

The ESCRT machinery, comprising of multiple proteins and subcomplexes, is crucial for membrane remodelling in eukaryotic cells, in processes that include ubiquitin-mediated multivesicular body formation, membrane repair, cytokinetic abscission, and virus exit from host cells. This ESCRT system appears to have simpler, ancient origins, since many archaeal species possess homologues of ESCRT-III and Vps4, the components that execute the final membrane scission reaction, where they have been shown to play roles in cytokinesis, extracellular vesicle formation and viral egress. Remarkably, metagenome assemblies of Asgard archaea, the closest known living relatives of eukaryotes, were recently shown to encode homologues of the entire cascade involved in ubiquitin-mediated membrane remodelling, including ubiquitin itself, components of the ESCRT-I and ESCRT-II subcomplexes, and ESCRT-III and Vps4. Here, we explore the phylogeny, structure, and biochemistry of Asgard homologues of the ESCRT machinery and the associated ubiquitylation system. We provide evidence for the ESCRT-I and ESCRT-II subcomplexes being involved in ubiquitin-directed recruitment of ESCRT-III, as it is in eukaryotes. Taken together, our analyses suggest a pre-eukaryotic origin for the ubiquitin-coupled ESCRT system and a likely path of ESCRT evolution via a series of gene duplication and diversification events.

RevDate: 2022-07-05
CmpDate: 2022-06-15

Verma D, Kumar V, T Satyanarayana (2022)

Genomic attributes of thermophilic and hyperthermophilic bacteria and archaea.

World journal of microbiology & biotechnology, 38(8):135.

Thermophiles and hyperthermophiles are immensely useful in understanding the evolution of life, besides their utility in environmental and industrial biotechnology. Advancements in sequencing technologies have revolutionized the field of microbial genomics. The massive generation of data enhances the sequencing coverage multi-fold and allows to analyse the entire genomic features of microbes efficiently and accurately. The mandate of a pure isolate can also be bypassed where whole metagenome-assembled genomes and single cell-based sequencing have fulfilled the majority of the criteria to decode various attributes of microbial genomes. A boom has, therefore, been seen in analysing the extremophilic bacteria and archaea using sequence-based approaches. Due to extensive sequence analysis, it becomes easier to understand the gene flow and their evolution among the members of bacteria and archaea. For instance, sequencing unveiled that Thermotoga maritima shares around 24% of genes of archaeal origin. Comparative and functional genomics provide an analytical view to understanding the microbial diversity of thermophilic bacteria and archaea, their interactions with other microbes, their adaptations, gene flow, and evolution over time. In this review, the genomic features of thermophilic bacteria and archaea are dealt with comprehensively.

RevDate: 2022-09-13
CmpDate: 2022-09-13

Gophna U, N Altman-Price (2022)

Horizontal Gene Transfer in Archaea-From Mechanisms to Genome Evolution.

Annual review of microbiology, 76:481-502.

Archaea remains the least-studied and least-characterized domain of life despite its significance not just to the ecology of our planet but also to the evolution of eukaryotes. It is therefore unsurprising that research into horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in archaea has lagged behind that of bacteria. Indeed, several archaeal lineages may owe their very existence to large-scale HGT events, and thus understanding both the molecular mechanisms and the evolutionary impact of HGT in archaea is highly important. Furthermore, some mechanisms of gene exchange, such as plasmids that transmit themselves via membrane vesicles and the formation of cytoplasmic bridges that allows transfer of both chromosomal and plasmid DNA, may be archaea-specific. This review summarizes what we know about HGT in archaea, and the barriers that restrict it, highlighting exciting recent discoveries and pointing out opportunities for future research.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Selim S, Akhtar N, Hagagy N, et al (2022)

Selection of Newly Identified Growth-Promoting Archaea Haloferax Species With a Potential Action on Cobalt Resistance in Maize Plants.

Frontiers in plant science, 13:872654.

Soil contamination with cobalt (Co) negatively impacts plant growth and production. To combat Co toxicity, plant growth-promoting microorganisms for improving plant growth are effectively applied. To this end, unclassified haloarchaeal species strain NRS_31 (OL912833), belonging to Haloferax genus, was isolated, identified for the first time, and applied to mitigate the Co phytotoxic effects on maize plants. This study found that high Co levels in soil lead to Co accumulation in maize leaves. Co accumulation in the leaves inhibited maize growth and photosynthetic efficiency, inducing oxidative damage in the tissue. Interestingly, pre-inoculation with haloarchaeal species significantly reduced Co uptake and mitigated the Co toxicity. Induced photosynthesis improved sugar metabolism, allocating more carbon to defend against Co stress. Concomitantly, the biosynthetic key enzymes involved in sucrose (sucrose-P-synthase and invertases) and proline (pyrroline-5- carboxylate synthetase (P5CS), pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase (P5CR)) biosynthesis significantly increased to maintain plant osmotic potential. In addition to their osmoregulation potential, soluble sugars and proline can contribute to maintaining ROS hemostasis. Maize leaves managed their oxidative homeostasis by increasing the production of antioxidant metabolites (such as phenolics and tocopherols) and increasing the activity of ROS-scavenging enzymes (such as POX, CAT, SOD, and enzymes involved in the AsA/GSH cycle). Inside the plant tissue, to overcome heavy Co toxicity, maize plants increased the synthesis of heavy metal-binding ligands (metallothionein, phytochelatins) and the metal detoxifying enzymes (glutathione S transferase). Overall, the improved ROS homeostasis, osmoregulation, and Co detoxification systems were the basis underlying Co oxidative stress, mitigating haloarchaeal treatment's impact.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-06-08

Lim JK, Yang JI, Kim YJ, et al (2022)

Bioconversion of CO to formate by artificially designed carbon monoxide:formate oxidoreductase in hyperthermophilic archaea.

Communications biology, 5(1):539.

Ferredoxin-dependent metabolic engineering of electron transfer circuits has been developed to enhance redox efficiency in the field of synthetic biology, e.g., for hydrogen production and for reduction of flavoproteins or NAD(P)+. Here, we present the bioconversion of carbon monoxide (CO) gas to formate via a synthetic CO:formate oxidoreductase (CFOR), designed as an enzyme complex for direct electron transfer between non-interacting CO dehydrogenase and formate dehydrogenase using an electron-transferring Fe-S fusion protein. The CFOR-introduced Thermococcus onnurineus mutant strains showed CO-dependent formate production in vivo and in vitro. The maximum formate production rate from purified CFOR complex and specific formate productivity from the bioreactor were 2.2 ± 0.2 μmol/mg/min and 73.1 ± 29.0 mmol/g-cells/h, respectively. The CO-dependent CO2 reduction/formate production activity of synthetic CFOR was confirmed, indicating that direct electron transfer between two unrelated dehydrogenases was feasible via mediation of the FeS-FeS fusion protein.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Zhong L, Qing J, Liu M, et al (2022)

Fungi and Archaea Control Soil N2O Production Potential in Chinese Grasslands Rather Than Bacteria.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:844663.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a powerful greenhouse gas and the predominant stratospheric ozone-depleting substance. Soil is a major source of N2O but remains largely uncertain due to the complicated processes of nitrification and denitrification performed by various groups of microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and archaea. We used incubation experiments to measure the total fungal, archaeal, and bacterial N2O production potential and the microbial functional genes in soils along 3,000 km Chinese grassland transect, including meadow steppe, typical steppe, desert steppe, alpine meadow, and alpine steppe. The results indicated that fungi, archaea, and bacteria contributed 25, 34, and 19% to nitrification and 46, 29, and 15% to denitrification, respectively. The AOA and AOB genes were notably correlated with the total nitrification enzyme activity (TNEA), whereas both narG and nirK genes were significantly correlated with total denitrification enzyme activity (TDEA) at p < 0.01. The correlations between AOA and ANEA (archaeal nitrification enzyme activity), AOB and BNEA (bacterial nitrification enzyme activity), and narG, nirK, and BDEA (bacterial denitrification enzyme activity) showed higher coefficients than those between the functional genes and TNEA/TDEA. The structural equation modeling (SEM) results showed that fungi are dominant in N2O production processes, followed by archaea in the northern Chinese grasslands. Our findings indicate that the microbial functional genes are powerful predictors of the N2O production potential, after distinguishing bacterial, fungal, and archaeal processes. The key variables of N2O production and the nitrogen (N) cycle depend on the dominant microbial functional groups in the N-cycle in soils.

RevDate: 2022-07-19
CmpDate: 2022-06-02

Thevasundaram K, Gallagher JJ, Cherng F, et al (2022)

Engineering nonphotosynthetic carbon fixation for production of bioplastics by methanogenic archaea.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(23):e2118638119.

The conversion of CO2 to value-added products allows both capture and recycling of greenhouse gas emissions. While plants and other photosynthetic organisms play a key role in closing the global carbon cycle, their dependence on light to drive carbon fixation can be limiting for industrial chemical synthesis. Methanogenic archaea provide an alternative platform as an autotrophic microbial species capable of non-photosynthetic CO2 fixation, providing a potential route to engineered microbial fermentation to synthesize chemicals from CO2 without the need for light irradiation. One major challenge in this goal is to connect upstream carbon-fixation pathways with downstream biosynthetic pathways, given the distinct differences in metabolism between archaea and typical heterotrophs. We engineered the model methanogen, Methanococcus maripaludis, to divert acetyl-coenzyme A toward biosynthesis of value-added chemicals, including the bioplastic polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). A number of studies implicated limitations in the redox pool, with NAD(P)(H) pools in M. maripaludis measured to be <15% of that of Escherichia coli, likely since methanogenic archaea utilize F420 and ferredoxins instead. Multiple engineering strategies were used to precisely target and increase the cofactor pool, including heterologous expression of a synthetic nicotinamide salvage pathway as well as an NAD+-dependent formate dehydrogenase from Candida boidinii. Engineered strains of M. maripaludis with improved NADH pools produced up to 171 ± 4 mg/L PHB and 24.0 ± 1.9% of dry cell weight. The metabolic engineering strategies presented in this study broaden the utility of M. maripaludis for sustainable chemical synthesis using CO2 and may be transferable to related archaeal species.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Zheng J, Tao L, Dini-Andreote F, et al (2022)

Dynamic Responses of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea and Bacteria Populations to Organic Material Amendments Affect Soil Nitrification and Nitrogen Use Efficiency.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:911799.

Organic material amendments have been proposed as an effective strategy to promote soil health by enhancing soil fertility and promoting nitrogen (N) cycling and N use efficiency (NUE). Thus, it is important to investigate the extent to which the structure and function of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB) differentially respond to the organic material amendments in field settings. Here, we conducted a 9-year field experiment to track the responses of AOA and AOB populations to the organic material amendments and measured the potential nitrification activity (PNA), plant productivity, and NUE in the plant rhizosphere interface. Our results revealed that the organic material amendments significantly enhanced the abundance and diversity of AOA and AOB populations. Further, significant differences were observed in the composition and co-occurrence network of AOA and AOB. A higher occurrence of potential competitive interactions between taxa and enumerated potential keystone taxa was observed in the AOA-AOB network. Moreover, we found that AOA was more important than AOB for PNA under the organic material amendments. Structural equation modeling suggested that the diversity of AOA and AOB populations induced by the potential competitive interactions with keystone taxa dynamically accelerated the rate of PNA, and positively affected plant productivity and NUE under the organic material amendments. Collectively, our study offers new insights into the ecology and functioning of ammonia oxidizers and highlights the positive effects of organic material amendments on nitrogen cycling dynamics.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Liu H, Zhou P, Cheung S, et al (2022)

Distribution and Oxidation Rates of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea Influenced by the Coastal Upwelling off Eastern Hainan Island.

Microorganisms, 10(5):.

Coastal upwelling causes variations in temperature, salinity and inorganic nutrients in the water column, consequently leading to the shift of microbial populations and their metabolic activities. Impacts of the eastern Hainan upwelling (EHU) on the ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) were investigated based on the amoA gene using pyrosequencing and quantitative PCR at both DNA and cDNA levels, together with the determination of the ammonia oxidation (AO) rate measured with 15N-labelled ammonium. By comparing stations with and without upwelling influence, we found that coastal upwelling correlated with an increase in amoA gene abundance, the dominance of distinct clades for AOA communities at the respective gene and transcript levels, and a large increase in the proportion of the SCM1-like (Nitrosopumilus maritimus-like) cluster as well. The AO rates were generally higher in the deeper water (~25 m), which was in significant positive correlation with the proportion of cluster Water Column A (WCA) at the transcript level, indicating the potential contribution of this cluster to in situ ammonia oxidization. Our study demonstrated that coastal upwelling had a significant impact on the AOA community and ammonia oxidization rate; therefore, this physical forcing should be considered in the future assessment of the global nitrogen budgets and biogeochemical nitrogen cycles.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-05-31

Pastor MM, Sakrikar S, Rodriguez DN, et al (2022)

Comparative Analysis of rRNA Removal Methods for RNA-Seq Differential Expression in Halophilic Archaea.

Biomolecules, 12(5):.

Despite intense recent research interest in archaea, the scientific community has experienced a bottleneck in the study of genome-scale gene expression experiments by RNA-seq due to the lack of commercial and specifically designed rRNA depletion kits. The high rRNA:mRNA ratio (80-90%: ~10%) in prokaryotes hampers global transcriptomic analysis. Insufficient ribodepletion results in low sequence coverage of mRNA, and therefore, requires a substantially higher number of replicate samples and/or sequencing reads to achieve statistically reliable conclusions regarding the significance of differential gene expression between case and control samples. Here, we show that after the discontinuation of the previous version of RiboZero (Illumina, San Diego, CA, USA) that was useful in partially or completely depleting rRNA from archaea, archaeal transcriptomics studies have experienced a slowdown. To overcome this limitation, here, we analyze the efficiency for four different hybridization-based kits from three different commercial suppliers, each with two sets of sequence-specific probes to remove rRNA from four different species of halophilic archaea. We conclude that the key for transcriptomic success with the currently available tools is the probe-specificity for the rRNA sequence hybridization. With this paper, we provide insights into the archaeal community for selecting certain reagents and strategies over others depending on the archaeal species of interest. These methods yield improved RNA-seq sensitivity and enhanced detection of low abundance transcripts.

RevDate: 2022-06-16
CmpDate: 2022-06-16

Fonseca de Souza L, Alvarez DO, Domeignoz-Horta LA, et al (2022)

Maintaining grass coverage increases methane uptake in Amazonian pastures, with a reduction of methanogenic archaea in the rhizosphere.

The Science of the total environment, 838(Pt 2):156225.

Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. The rainforest-to-pasture conversion affects the methane cycle in upland soils, changing it from sink to source of atmospheric methane. However, it remains unknown if management practices could reduce the impact of land-use on methane cycling. In this work, we evaluated how pasture management can regulate the soil methane cycle either by maintaining continuous grass coverage on pasture soils, or by liming the soil to amend acidity. Methane fluxes from forest and pasture soils were evaluated in moisture-controlled greenhouse experiments with and without grass cover (Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) or liming. We also assessed changes in the soil microbial community structure of both bare (bulk) and rhizospheric pasture soils through high throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, and quantified the methane cycling microbiota by their respective marker genes related to methane generation (mcrA) or oxidation (pmoA). The experiments used soils from eastern and western Amazonia, and concurrent field studies allowed us to confirm greenhouse data. The presence of a grass cover not only increased methane uptake by up to 35% in pasture soils, but also reduced the abundance of the methane-producing community. In the grass rhizosphere this reduction was up to 10-fold. Methane-producing archaea belonged to the genera Methanosarcina sp., Methanocella sp., Methanobacterium sp., and Rice Cluster I. Further, we showed that soil liming to increasing pH compromised the capacity of forest and pasture soils to be a sink for methane, and instead converted formerly methane-consuming forest soils to become methane sources in only 40-80 days. Liming reduced the relative abundance of Beijerinckiacea family in forest soils, which account for many known methanotrophs. Our results demonstrate that pasture management that maintains grass coverage can mitigate soil methane emissions, compared to bare (bulk) pasture soil.

RevDate: 2022-09-21
CmpDate: 2022-06-03

Badel C, Samson RY, SD Bell (2022)

Chromosome organization affects genome evolution in Sulfolobus archaea.

Nature microbiology, 7(6):820-830.

In all organisms, the DNA sequence and the structural organization of chromosomes affect gene expression. The extremely thermophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus has one circular chromosome with three origins of replication. We previously revealed that this chromosome has defined A and B compartments that have high and low gene expression, respectively. As well as higher levels of gene expression, the A compartment contains the origins of replication. To evaluate the impact of three-dimensional organization on genome evolution, we characterized the effect of replication origins and compartmentalization on primary sequence evolution in eleven Sulfolobus species. Using single-nucleotide polymorphism analyses, we found that distance from an origin of replication was associated with increased mutation rates in the B but not in the A compartment. The enhanced polymorphisms distal to replication origins suggest that replication termination may have a causal role in their generation. Further mutational analyses revealed that the sequences in the A compartment are less likely to be mutated, and that there is stronger purifying selection than in the B compartment. Finally, we applied the Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq) to show that the B compartment is less accessible than the A compartment. Taken together, our data suggest that compartmentalization of chromosomal DNA can influence chromosome evolution in Sulfolobus. We propose that the A compartment serves as a haven for stable maintenance of gene sequences, while sequences in the B compartment can be diversified.

RevDate: 2022-05-30
CmpDate: 2022-05-30

Bao CX, Li SY, Xin YJ, et al (2022)

Natrinema halophilum sp. nov., Natrinema salinisoli sp. nov., Natrinema amylolyticum sp. nov. and Haloterrigena alkaliphila sp. nov., four extremely halophilic archaea isolated from salt mine, saline soil and salt lake.

International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology, 72(5):.

Four halophilic archaeal strains, YPL8T, SLN56T, LT61T and KZCA68T, were isolated from a salt mine, saline soil and a salt lake located in different regions of China. Sequence similarities of 16S rRNA and rpoB' genes among strains YPL8T, SLN56T, LT61T and the current members of Natrinema were 94.1-98.2 % and 89.3-95.1 %, respectively, while these values among strain KZCA68T and the current members of Haloterrigena were 97.2-97.4 % and 91.7-91.9 %, respectively. The average nucleotide identity, in silico DNA-DNA hybridization and average amino acid identity values among these four strains and their closely related species were all lower than the threshold values for species boundary. All four strains were unable to hydrolyse casein, gelatin, or Tween 80. Strain YPL8T contained phosphatidic acid (PA), phosphatidylglycerol (PG), phosphatidylglycerol phosphate methyl ester (PGP-Me), sulfated mannosyl glucosyl diether (S-DGD-1), disulfated mannosyl glucosyl diether (S2-DGD) and sulfated mannosyl glucosyl diether-phosphatidic acid (S-DGD-PA). Strain SLN56T contained PA, PG, phosphatidylglycerol sulphate (PGS), PGP-Me, S-DGD-1, S2-DGD and S-DGD-PA. Strain LT61T contained PA, PG, PGS, PGP-Me, S-DGD-1 and S2-DGD. The phospholipids of strain KZCA68T were PA, PG and PGP-Me. These results showed that strains YPL8T (=CGMCC 1.13883T=JCM 31181T), SLN56T (=CGMCC 1.14945T=JCM 30832T) and LT61T (=CGMCC 1.14942T=JCM 30668T) represent novel species of the genus Natrinema, for which the names, Natrinema halophilum sp. nov., Natrinema salinisoli sp. nov. and Natrinema amylolyticum sp. nov. are proposed. Strain KZCA68T (=CGMCC 1.17211T=JCM 34158T) represents a novel species of Haloterrigena, for which the name Haloterrigena alkaliphila sp. nov. is proposed.

RevDate: 2022-08-23
CmpDate: 2022-07-26

Dyksma S, C Gallert (2022)

Effect of magnetite addition on transcriptional profiles of syntrophic Bacteria and Archaea during anaerobic digestion of propionate in wastewater sludge.

Environmental microbiology reports, 14(4):664-678.

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is an important technology for the effective conversion of waste and wastewater to methane. Here, syntrophic bacteria transfer molecular hydrogen (H2), formate, or directly supply electrons (direct interspecies electron transfer, DIET) to the methanogens. Evidence is accumulating that the methanation of short-chain fatty acids can be enhanced by the addition of conductive material to the anaerobic digester, which has often been attributed to the stimulation of DIET. Since little is known about the transcriptional response of a complex AD microbial community to the addition of conductive material, we added magnetite to propionate-fed laboratory-scale reactors that were inoculated with wastewater sludge. Compared to the control reactors, the magnetite-amended reactors showed improved methanation of propionate. A genome-centric metatranscriptomics approach identified the active SCFA-oxidizing bacteria that affiliated with Firmicutes, Desulfobacterota and Cloacimonadota. The transcriptional profiles revealed that the syntrophic bacteria transferred acetate, H2 and formate to acetoclastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogens, whereas transcription of potential determinants for DIET such as conductive pili and outer-membrane cytochromes did not significantly change with magnetite addition. Overall, changes in the transcriptional profiles of syntrophic Bacteria and Archaea in propionate-fed lab-scale reactors amended with magnetite refute a major role of DIET in the studied system.

RevDate: 2022-05-24

Pierangeli GMF, Domingues MR, Choueri RB, et al (2022)

Spatial Variation and Environmental Parameters Affecting the Abundant and Rare Communities of Bacteria and Archaea in the Sediments of Tropical Urban Reservoirs.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Microbial communities in freshwater sediments play an important role in organic matter remineralization, contributing to biogeochemical cycles, nutrient release, and greenhouse gases emissions. Bacterial and archaeal communities might show spatial or seasonal patterns and were shown to be influenced by distinct environmental parameters and anthropogenic activities, including pollution and damming. Here, we determined the spatial variation and the environmental variables influencing the abundant and rare bacterial and archaeal communities in the sediments of eutrophic-hypereutrophic reservoirs from a tropical urban area in Brazil. The most abundant microbes included mainly Anaerolineae and Deltaproteobacteria genera from the Bacteria domain, and Methanomicrobia genera from the Archaea domain. Microbial communities differed spatially in each reservoir, reflecting the establishment of specific environmental conditions. Locations with better or worst water quality, or close to a dam, showed more distinct microbial communities. Besides the water column depth, microbial communities were affected by some pollution indicators, including total phosphorus, orthophosphate, electrical conductivity, and biochemical oxygen demand. Distinct proportions of variation were explained by spatial and environmental parameters for each microbial community. Furthermore, spatial variations in environmental parameters affecting these communities, especially the most distinct ones, contributed to microbial variations mediated by spatial and environmental properties together. Finally, our study showed that different pressures in each reservoir affected the sediment microbiota, promoting different responses and possible adaptations of abundant and rare bacterial and archaeal communities.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-06-16

Semler AC, Fortney JL, Fulweiler RW, et al (2022)

Cold Seeps on the Passive Northern U.S. Atlantic Margin Host Globally Representative Members of the Seep Microbiome with Locally Dominant Strains of Archaea.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 88(11):e0046822.

Marine cold seeps are natural sites of methane emission and harbor distinct microbial communities capable of oxidizing methane. The majority of known cold seeps are on tectonically active continental margins, but recent discoveries have revealed abundant seeps on passive margins as well, including on the U.S. Atlantic Margin (USAM). We sampled in and around four USAM seeps and combined pore water geochemistry measurements with amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA and mcrA (DNA and RNA) to investigate the microbial communities present, their assembly processes, and how they compare to communities at previously studied sites. We found that the USAM seeps contained communities consistent with the canonical seep microbiome at the class and order levels but differed markedly at the sequence variant level, especially within the anaerobic methanotrophic (ANME) archaea. The ANME populations were highly uneven, with just a few dominant mcrA sequence variants at each seep. Interestingly, the USAM seeps did not form a distinct phylogenetic cluster when compared with other previously described seeps around the world. Consistent with this, we found only a very weak (though statistically significant) distance-decay trend in seep community similarity across a global data set. Ecological assembly indices suggest that the USAM seep communities were assembled primarily deterministically, in contrast to the surrounding nonseep sediments, where stochastic processes dominated. Together, our results suggest that the primary driver of seep microbial community composition is local geochemistry-specifically methane, sulfide, nitrate, acetate, and ammonium concentrations-rather than the geologic context, the composition of nearby seeps, or random events of dispersal. IMPORTANCE Cold seeps are now known to be widespread features of passive continental margins, including the northern U.S. Atlantic Margin (USAM). Methane seepage is expected to intensify at these relatively shallow seeps as bottom waters warm and underlying methane hydrates dissociate. While methanotrophic microbial communities might reduce or prevent methane release, microbial communities on passive margins have rarely been characterized. In this study, we investigated the Bacteria and Archaea at four cold seeps on the northern USAM and found that despite being colocated on the same continental slope, the communities significantly differ by site at the sequence variant level, particularly methane-cycling community members. Differentiation by site was not observed in similarly spaced background sediments, raising interesting questions about the dispersal pathways of cold seep microorganisms. Understanding the genetic makeup of these discrete seafloor ecosystems and how their microbial communities develop will be increasingly important as the climate changes.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-06-08

Martinez-Gutierrez CA, FO Aylward (2022)

Genome size distributions in bacteria and archaea are strongly linked to evolutionary history at broad phylogenetic scales.

PLoS genetics, 18(5):e1010220.

The evolutionary forces that determine genome size in bacteria and archaea have been the subject of intense debate over the last few decades. Although the preferential loss of genes observed in prokaryotes is explained through the deletional bias, factors promoting and preventing the fixation of such gene losses often remain unclear. Importantly, statistical analyses on this topic typically do not consider the potential bias introduced by the shared ancestry of many lineages, which is critical when using species as data points because of the potential dependence on residuals. In this study, we investigated the genome size distributions across a broad diversity of bacteria and archaea to evaluate if this trait is phylogenetically conserved at broad phylogenetic scales. After model fit, Pagel's lambda indicated a strong phylogenetic signal in genome size data, suggesting that the diversification of this trait is influenced by shared evolutionary histories. We used a phylogenetic generalized least-squares analysis (PGLS) to test whether phylogeny influences the predictability of genome size from dN/dS ratios and 16S copy number, two variables that have been previously linked to genome size. These results confirm that failure to account for evolutionary history can lead to biased interpretations of genome size predictors. Overall, our results indicate that although bacteria and archaea can rapidly gain and lose genetic material through gene transfers and deletions, respectively, phylogenetic signal for genome size distributions can still be recovered at broad phylogenetic scales that should be taken into account when inferring the drivers of genome size evolution.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Popp PF, Gumerov VM, Andrianova EP, et al (2022)

Phyletic Distribution and Diversification of the Phage Shock Protein Stress Response System in Bacteria and Archaea.

mSystems, 7(3):e0134821.

Maintaining cell envelope integrity is of vital importance for all microorganisms. Not surprisingly, evolution has shaped conserved protein protection networks that connect stress perception, transmembrane signal transduction, and mediation of cellular responses upon cell envelope stress. The phage shock protein (Psp) stress response is one such conserved protection network. Most knowledge about the Psp response derives from studies in the Gram-negative model bacterium Escherichia coli, where the Psp system consists of several well-defined protein components. Homologous systems were identified in representatives of the Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes. However, the Psp system distribution in the microbial world remains largely unknown. By carrying out a large-scale, unbiased comparative genomics analysis, we found components of the Psp system in many bacterial and archaeal phyla and describe that the predicted Psp systems deviate dramatically from the known prototypes. The core proteins PspA and PspC have been integrated into various (often phylum-specifically) conserved protein networks during evolution. Based on protein domain-based and gene neighborhood analyses of pspA and pspC homologs, we built a natural classification system for Psp networks in bacteria and archaea. We validate our approach by performing a comprehensive in vivo protein interaction study of Psp domains identified in the Gram-positive model organism Bacillus subtilis and found a strong interconnected protein network. Our study highlights the diversity of Psp domain organizations and potentially diverse functions across the plethora of the microbial landscape, thus laying the ground for studies beyond known Psp functions in underrepresented organisms. IMPORTANCE The PspA protein domain is found in all domains of life, highlighting its central role in Psp networks. To date, all insights into the core functions of Psp responses derive mainly from protein network blueprints representing only three bacterial phyla. Despite large overlaps in function and regulation, the evolutionary diversity of Psp networks remains largely elusive. Here, we present an unbiased protein domain- and genomic context-centered approach that describes and classifies Psp systems. Our results suggest so-far-unknown Psp-associated roles with other protein networks giving rise to new functions. We demonstrate the applicability of our approach by dissecting the Psp protein network present in Bacillus subtilis and demonstrate Psp domains working in concert with other cell envelope stress response systems. We find that the Psp-like protein universe reflects a surprising diversity within the bacterial and archaeal microbial world.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Wu J, Hong Y, He X, et al (2022)

Niche differentiation of ammonia-oxidizing archaea and related autotrophic carbon fixation potential in the water column of the South China Sea.

iScience, 25(5):104333.

The significant primary production by ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) in the ocean was reported, but the carbon fixation process of AOA and its community composition along the water depth remain unclear. Here, we investigated the abundance, community composition, and potential carbon fixation of AOA in water columns of the South China Sea. Higher abundances of the amoA and accA genes of AOA were found below the euphotic zone. Similarly, higher carbon fixation potential of AOA, evaluated by the ratios of amoA to accA gene, was also observed below euphotic zone and the ratios increased with increasing water depth. The vertical niche differentiation of AOA was further evidenced, with the dominant genus shifting from Nitrosopelagicus in the epipelagic zone to uncultured genus in the meso- and bathypelagic zones. Our findings highlight the higher carbon fixation potential of AOA in deep water and the significance of AOA to the ocean carbon budget.

RevDate: 2022-05-23

Tunçkanat T, Gendron A, Sadler Z, et al (2022)

Lysine 2,3-Aminomutase and a Newly Discovered Glutamate 2,3-Aminomutase Produce β-Amino Acids Involved in Salt Tolerance in Methanogenic Archaea.

Biochemistry [Epub ahead of print].

Many methanogenic archaea synthesize β-amino acids as osmolytes that allow survival in high salinity environments. Here, we investigated the radical S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) aminomutases involved in the biosynthesis of Nε-acetyl-β-lysine and β-glutamate in Methanococcus maripaludis C7. Lysine 2,3-aminomutase (KAM), encoded by MmarC7_0106, was overexpressed and purified from Escherichia coli, followed by biochemical characterization. In the presence of l-lysine, SAM, and dithionite, this archaeal KAM had a kcat = 14.3 s-1 and a Km = 19.2 mM. The product was shown to be 3(S)-β-lysine, which is like the well-characterized Clostridium KAM as opposed to the E. coli KAM that produces 3(R)-β-lysine. We further describe the function of MmarC7_1783, a putative radical SAM aminomutase with a ∼160 amino acid extension at its N-terminus. Bioinformatic analysis of the possible substrate-binding residues suggested a function as glutamate 2,3-aminomutase, which was confirmed here through heterologous expression in a methanogen followed by detection of β-glutamate in cell extracts. β-Glutamate has been known to serve as an osmolyte in select methanogens for a long time, but its biosynthetic origin remained unknown until now. Thus, this study defines the biosynthetic routes for β-lysine and β-glutamate in M. maripaludis and expands the importance and diversity of radical SAM enzymes in all domains of life.

RevDate: 2022-06-16
CmpDate: 2022-05-06

Fisk LM, Barton L, Maccarone LD, et al (2022)

Seasonal dynamics of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria but not archaea influence soil nitrogen cycling in a semi-arid agricultural soil.

Scientific reports, 12(1):7299.

Nitrification, a key pathway of nitrogen (N) loss from agricultural soils, is performed by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA). We examined the seasonal dynamics (2 years) of ammonia oxidizer gene abundances across a gradient of soil carbon (C) and N in a semi-arid soil after 8 years of tillage and crop residue treatments. AOB was more dominant than AOA in the surface soil, as AOA were undetected in 96% of samples. Seasonal variation in AOB abundance was related to substrate availability; AOB gene copy numbers increased at the end of the growing season (during summer fallow) following higher concentrations in dissolved organic matter soil water. This suggests increased co-location between AOB and substrate resources in pores still filled with water as the soils dried. AOB was however not statistically related to soil ammonium concentrations, soil water content, rainfall or temperature. Organic matter inputs enhanced AOB abundance independent of seasonal variation. AOB abundance was greatest in autumn and immediately preceding the start of the growing season, and coincided with elevated soil nitrate concentrations. The growth of the AOB population is likely to contribute to increased risk of N loss through leaching and/or denitrification at the start of the crop growing season following summer fallow.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-05-19

Lemaire ON, T Wagner (2022)

A Structural View of Alkyl-Coenzyme M Reductases, the First Step of Alkane Anaerobic Oxidation Catalyzed by Archaea.

Biochemistry, 61(10):805-821.

Microbial anaerobic oxidation of alkanes intrigues the scientific community by way of its impact on the global carbon cycle, and its biotechnological applications. Archaea are proposed to degrade short- and long-chain alkanes to CO2 by reversing methanogenesis, a theoretically reversible process. The pathway would start with alkane activation, an endergonic step catalyzed by methyl-coenzyme M reductase (MCR) homologues that would generate alkyl-thiols carried by coenzyme M. While the methane-generating MCR found in methanogens has been well characterized, the enzymatic activity of the putative alkane-fixing counterparts has not been validated so far. Such an absence of biochemical investigations contrasts with the current explosion of metagenomics data, which draws new potential alkane-oxidizing pathways in various archaeal phyla. Therefore, validating the physiological function of these putative alkane-fixing machines and investigating how their structures, catalytic mechanisms, and cofactors vary depending on the targeted alkane have become urgent needs. The first structural insights into the methane- and ethane-capturing MCRs highlighted unsuspected differences and proposed some explanations for their substrate specificity. This Perspective reviews the current physiological, biochemical, and structural knowledge of alkyl-CoM reductases and offers fresh ideas about the expected mechanistic and chemical differences among members of this broad family. We conclude with the challenges of the investigation of these particular enzymes, which might one day generate biofuels for our modern society.

RevDate: 2022-05-03
CmpDate: 2022-05-03

Glodowska M, Welte CU, JM Kurth (2022)

Metabolic potential of anaerobic methane oxidizing archaea for a broad spectrum of electron acceptors.

Advances in microbial physiology, 80:157-201.

Methane (CH4) is a potent greenhouse gas significantly contributing to the climate warming we are currently facing. Microorganisms play an important role in the global CH4 cycle that is controlled by the balance between anaerobic production via methanogenesis and CH4 removal via methanotrophic oxidation. Research in recent decades advanced our understanding of CH4 oxidation, which until 1976 was believed to be a strictly aerobic process. Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) coupled to sulfate reduction is now known to be an important sink of CH4 in marine ecosystems. Furthermore, in 2006 it was discovered that anaerobic CH4 oxidation can also be coupled to nitrate reduction (N-DAMO), demonstrating that AOM may be much more versatile than previously thought and linked to other electron acceptors. In consequence, an increasing number of studies in recent years showed or suggested that alternative electron acceptors can be used in the AOM process including FeIII, MnIV, AsV, CrVI, SeVI, SbV, VV, and BrV. In addition, humic substances as well as biochar and perchlorate (ClO4-) were suggested to mediate AOM. Anaerobic methanotrophic archaea, the so-called ANME archaea, are key players in the AOM process, yet we are still lacking deeper understanding of their metabolism, electron acceptor preferences and their interaction with other microbial community members. It is still not clear whether ANME archaea can oxidize CH4 and reduce metallic electron acceptors independently or via electron transfer to syntrophic partners, interspecies electron transfer, nanowires or conductive pili. Therefore, the aim of this review is to summarize and discuss the current state of knowledge about ANME archaea, focusing on their physiology, metabolic flexibility and potential to use various electron acceptors.

RevDate: 2022-09-22
CmpDate: 2022-09-22

Campbell BC, Greenfield P, Gong S, et al (2022)

Methanogenic archaea in subsurface coal seams are biogeographically distinct: an analysis of metagenomically-derived mcrA sequences.

Environmental microbiology, 24(9):4065-4078.

The production of methane as an end-product of organic matter degradation in the absence of other terminal electron acceptors is common, and has often been studied in environments such as animal guts, soils and wetlands due to its potency as a greenhouse gas. To date, however, the study of the biogeographic distribution of methanogens across coal seam environments has been minimal. Here, we show that coal seams are host to a diverse range of methanogens, which are distinctive to each geological basin. Based on comparisons to close relatives from other methanogenic environments, the dominant methanogenic pathway in these basins is hydrogenotrophic, with acetoclastic being a second major pathway in the Surat Basin. Finally, mcrA and 16S rRNA gene primer biases were predominantly seen to affect the detection of Methanocellales, Methanomicrobiales and Methanosarcinales taxa in this study. Subsurface coal methanogenic community distributions and pathways presented here provide insights into important metabolites and bacterial partners for in situ coal biodegradation.

RevDate: 2022-06-13
CmpDate: 2022-04-19

Dey G (2022)

Preprint Highlight: Growth temperature is the principal driver of chromatinization in archaea.

Molecular biology of the cell, 33(5):mbcP22021007.

RevDate: 2022-04-16

Kamruzzaman M, Yan A, G Castro-Escarpulli (2022)

Editorial: CRISPR-Cas Systems in Bacteria and Archaea.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:887778.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-06-30

He W, Gao H, Wu D, et al (2022)

Structural and Functional Analysis of DndE Involved in DNA Phosphorothioation in the Haloalkaliphilic Archaea Natronorubrum bangense JCM10635.

mBio, 13(3):e0071622.

Phosphorothioate (PT) modification, a sequence-specific modification that replaces the nonbridging oxygen atom with sulfur in a DNA phosphodiester through the gene products of dndABCDE or sspABCD, is widely distributed in prokaryotes. DNA PT modification functions together with gene products encoded by dndFGH, pbeABCD, or sspE to form defense systems that can protect against invasion by exogenous DNA particles. While the functions of the multiple enzymes in the PT system have been elucidated, the exact role of DndE in the PT process is still obscure. Here, we solved the crystal structure of DndE from the haloalkaliphilic archaeal strain Natronorubrum bangense JCM10635 at a resolution of 2.31 Å. Unlike the tetrameric conformation of DndE in Escherichia coli B7A, DndE from N. bangense JCM10635 exists in a monomeric conformation and can catalyze the conversion of supercoiled DNA to nicked or linearized products. Moreover, DndE exhibits preferential binding affinity to nicked DNA by virtue of the R19- and K23-containing positively charged surface. This work provides insight into how DndE functions in PT modification and the potential sulfur incorporation mechanism of DNA PT modification. IMPORTANCE DndABCDE proteins have been demonstrated to catalyze DNA PT modification with the nonbridging oxygen in the DNA sugar-phosphate backbone replaced by sulfur. In the PT modification pathway, DndA exerts cysteine desulfurase activity capable of catalyzing the mobilization of sulfur from l-cysteine, which involves the ion-sulfur cluster assembly of DndC. This is regarded as the initial step of the DNA PT modification. Moreover, DndD has ATPase activity in vitro, which is believed to provide energy for the oxygen-sulfur swap, while the function of DndE is unknown. However, the exact function of the key enzyme DndE remains to be elucidated. By determining the structure of DndE from the haloalkaliphilic strain Natronorubrum bangense JCM10635, we showed that the archaeal DndE adopts a monomer conformation. Notably, DndE can introduce nicks to supercoiled DNA and exhibits a binding preference for nicked DNA; the nicking is believed to be the initial step for DNA to facilitate the sulfur incorporation.

RevDate: 2022-04-15
CmpDate: 2022-04-13

Huang C, Liu X, Chen Y, et al (2022)

A Novel Family of Winged-Helix Single-Stranded DNA-Binding Proteins from Archaea.

International journal of molecular sciences, 23(7):.

The winged helix superfamily comprises a large number of structurally related nucleic acid-binding proteins. While these proteins are often shown to bind dsDNA, few are known to bind ssDNA. Here, we report the identification and characterization of Sul7s, a novel winged-helix single-stranded DNA binding protein family highly conserved in Sulfolobaceae. Sul7s from Sulfolobus islandicus binds ssDNA with an affinity approximately 15-fold higher than that for dsDNA in vitro. It prefers binding oligo(dT)30 over oligo(dC)30 or a dG-rich 30-nt oligonucleotide, and barely binds oligo(dA)30. Further, binding by Sul7s inhibits DNA strand annealing, but shows little effect on the melting temperature of DNA duplexes. The solution structure of Sul7s determined by NMR shows a winged helix-turn-helix fold, consisting of three α-helices, three β-strands, and two short wings. It interacts with ssDNA via a large positively charged binding surface, presumably resulting in ssDNA deformation. Our results shed significant light on not only non-OB fold single-stranded DNA binding proteins in Archaea, but also the divergence of the winged-helix proteins in both function and structure during evolution.

RevDate: 2022-05-12
CmpDate: 2022-05-12

Yang P, Tang KW, Tong C, et al (2022)

Changes in sediment methanogenic archaea community structure and methane production potential following conversion of coastal marsh to aquaculture ponds.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 305:119276.

Widespread conversion of coastal wetlands into aquaculture ponds in coastal region often results in degradation of the wetland ecosystems, but its effects on sediment's potential to produce greenhouse gases remain unclear. Using field sampling, incubation experiments and molecular analysis, we studied the sediment CH4 production potential and the relevant microbial communities in a brackish marsh and the nearby aquaculture ponds in the Min River Estuary in southeastern China. Sediment CH4 production potential was higher in the summer and autumn months than in spring and winter months, and it was significantly correlated with sediment carbon content among all environmental variables. The mean sediment CH4 production potential in the aquaculture ponds (20.1 ng g-1 d-1) was significantly lower than that in the marsh (45.2 ng g-1 d-1). While Methanobacterium dominated in both habitats (41-59%), the overall composition of sediment methanogenic archaea communities differed significantly between the two habitats (p < 0.05) and methanogenic archaea alpha diversity was lower in the aquaculture ponds (p < 0.01). Network analysis revealed that interactions between sediment methanogenic archaea were much weaker in the ponds than in the marsh. Overall, these findings suggest that conversion of marsh land to aquaculture ponds significantly altered the sediment methanogenic archaea community structure and diversity and lowered the sediment's capacity to produce CH4.

RevDate: 2022-04-13

Al-Ajeel S, Spasov E, Sauder LA, et al (2022)

Ammonia-oxidizing archaea and complete ammonia-oxidizing Nitrospira in water treatment systems.

Water research X, 15:100131.

Nitrification, the oxidation of ammonia to nitrate via nitrite, is important for many engineered water treatment systems. The sequential steps of this respiratory process are carried out by distinct microbial guilds, including ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA), nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB), and newly discovered members of the genus Nitrospira that conduct complete ammonia oxidation (comammox). Even though all of these nitrifiers have been identified within water treatment systems, their relative contributions to nitrogen cycling are poorly understood. Although AOA contribute to nitrification in many wastewater treatment plants, they are generally outnumbered by AOB. In contrast, AOA and comammox Nitrospira typically dominate relatively low ammonia environments such as drinking water treatment, tertiary wastewater treatment systems, and aquaculture/aquarium filtration. Studies that focus on the abundance of ammonia oxidizers may misconstrue the actual role that distinct nitrifying guilds play in a system. Understanding which ammonia oxidizers are active is useful for further optimization of engineered systems that rely on nitrifiers for ammonia removal. This review highlights known distributions of AOA and comammox Nitrospira in engineered water treatment systems and suggests future research directions that will help assess their contributions to nitrification and identify factors that influence their distributions and activity.

RevDate: 2022-07-24
CmpDate: 2022-07-21

Vuong P, Moreira-Grez B, Wise MJ, et al (2022)

From rags to enriched: metagenomic insights into ammonia-oxidizing archaea following ammonia enrichment of a denuded oligotrophic soil ecosystem.

Environmental microbiology, 24(7):3097-3110.

Stored topsoil acts as a microbial inoculant for ecological restoration of land after disturbance, but the altered circumstances frequently create unfavourable conditions for microbial survival. Nitrogen cycling is a critical indicator for ecological success and this study aimed to investigate the cornerstone taxa driving the process. Previous in silico studies investigating stored topsoil discovered persistent archaeal taxa with the potential for re-establishing ecological activity. Ammonia oxidization is the limiting step in nitrification and as such, ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) can be considered one of the gatekeepers for the re-establishment of the nitrogen cycle in disturbed soils. Semi-arid soil samples were enriched with ammonium sulfate to promote the selective enrichment of ammonia oxidizers for targeted genomic recovery, and to investigate the microbial response of the microcosm to nitrogen input. Ammonia addition produced an increase in AOA population, particularly within the genus Candidatus Nitrosotalea, from which metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) were successfully recovered. The Ca. Nitrosotalea archaeon candidates' ability to survive in extreme conditions and rapidly respond to ammonia input makes it a potential bioprospecting target for application in ecological restoration of semi-arid soils and the recovered MAGs provide a metabolic blueprint for developing potential strategies towards isolation of these acclimated candidates.

RevDate: 2022-09-13
CmpDate: 2022-05-10

Gupta D, Shalvarjian KE, DD Nayak (2022)

An Archaea-specific c-type cytochrome maturation machinery is crucial for methanogenesis in Methanosarcina acetivorans.

eLife, 11:.

c-Type cytochromes (cyt c) are proteins that undergo post-translational modification to covalently bind heme, which allows them to facilitate redox reactions in electron transport chains across all domains of life. Genomic evidence suggests that cyt c are involved in electron transfer processes among the Archaea, especially in members that produce or consume the potent greenhouse gas methane. However, neither the maturation machinery for cyt c in Archaea nor their role in methane metabolism has ever been functionally characterized. Here, we have used CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing tools to map a distinct pathway for cyt c biogenesis in the model methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina acetivorans, and have also identified substrate-specific functional roles for cyt c during methanogenesis. Although the cyt c maturation machinery from M. acetivorans is universally conserved in the Archaea, our evolutionary analyses indicate that different clades of Archaea acquired this machinery through multiple independent horizontal gene transfer events from different groups of Bacteria. Overall, we demonstrate the convergent evolution of a novel Archaea-specific cyt c maturation machinery and its physiological role during methanogenesis, a process which contributes substantially to global methane emissions.

RevDate: 2022-04-05

Thirumalaisamy G, Malik PK, Trivedi S, et al (2022)

Effect of Long-Term Supplementation With Silkworm Pupae Oil on the Methane Yield, Ruminal Protozoa, and Archaea Community in Sheep.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:780073.

Supplementation with lipids and oils is one of the most efficient strategies for reducing enteric methane emission. However, high costs and adverse impacts on fiber degradation restrict the use of conventional oils. Silkworm pupae, a non-conventional oil source rarely used for human consumption in India, could be one of the cheaper alternatives for methane mitigation. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect on sheep of long-term supplementation (180 days) of silkworm pupae oil (SWPO) with two distinct supplementation regimes (daily and biweekly) on daily enteric methane emission, methane yield, nutrient digestibility, rumen fermentation, ruminal archaea community composition, and protozoal population. The effect of the discontinuation of oil supplementation on enteric methane emission was also investigated. Eighteen adult male sheep, randomly divided into three groups (n = 6), were provisioned with a mixed diet consisting of 10.1% crude protein (CP) and 11.7 MJ/kg metabolizable energy formulated using finger millet straw and concentrate in a 55:45 ratio. SWPO was supplemented at 2% of dry matter intake (DMI) in test groups either daily (CON) or biweekly (INT), while no oil was supplemented in the control group (CTR). DMI (p = 0.15) and CP (p = 0.16) in the CON and INT groups were similar to that of the CTR group; however, the energy intake (MJ/kg) in the supplemented groups (CON and INT) was higher (p < 0.001) than in CTR. In the CON group, body weight gain (kg, p = 0.02) and average daily gain (g, p = 0.02) were both higher than in the CTR. The daily methane emission in the CON (17.5 g/day) and INT (18.0 g/day) groups was lower (p = 0.01) than the CTR group (23.6 g/day), indicating a reduction of 23-25% due to SWPO supplementation. Similarly, compared with the CTR group, methane yields (g/kg DMI) in test groups were also significantly lower (p < 0.01). The transient nature of the anti-methanogenic effect of SWPO was demonstrated in the oil discontinuation study, where daily methane emission reverted to pre-supplementation levels after a short period. The recorded methanogens were affiliated to the families Methanobacteriaceae, Methanomassilliicoccaceae, and Methanosarcinaceae. The long-term supplementation of oil did not induce any significant change in the rumen archaeal community, whereas minor species such as Group3b exhibited differing abundance among the groups. Methanobrevibacter, irrespective of treatment, was the largest genus, while Methanobrevibacter gottschalkii was the dominant species. Oil supplementation in CON and INT compared with CTR decreased (p < 0.01) the numbers of total protozoa (× 107 cells/ml), Entodiniomorphs (× 107 cells/ml), and Holotrichs (× 106 cells/ml). SWPO continuous supplementation (CON group) resulted in the largest reduction in enteric methane emission and relatively higher body weight gain (p = 0.02) in sheep.

RevDate: 2022-07-26
CmpDate: 2022-07-26

Yuan B, Wu W, Yue S, et al (2022)

Community structure, distribution pattern, and influencing factors of soil Archaea in the construction area of a large-scale photovoltaic power station.

International microbiology : the official journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology, 25(3):571-586.

The photovoltaic power station in Qinghai has been built for 8 years; however, its impact on the regional soil ecological environment has not been studied in depth. To reveal the structure and distribution pattern of archaeal communities in desert soil under the influence of a large photovoltaic power station, a comparative study was carried out between the soil affected by photovoltaic panels and the bare land samples outside the photovoltaic station in Gonghe, Qinghai Province. The abundance, community structure, diversity, and distribution characteristics of archaea were analyzed by quantitative PCR and Illumina-MiSeq high-throughput sequencing, and the main environmental factors affecting the variation in soil archaeal community were identified by RDA. The contribution rate of environmental factors and human factors to microbial community diversity was quantitatively evaluated by VPA. The results showed that there was no significant difference in soil nutrients and other physicochemical factors between the photovoltaic power station and bare land. Thaumarchaeota was the dominant archaeal phylum in the area, accounting for more than 99% of archaeal phylum, while at the level of genus, Nitrososphaera was the dominant archaeal genera. There was no significant difference in archaeal community structure between and under different types of PV panels. The analysis has shown that the construction of a photovoltaic station has little effect on the community structure of soil archaea in a desert area, and it was speculated that the selection of niche played a leading role in the distribution pattern of soil archaeal community. This study provides the basis for a scientific understanding of the characteristics and distribution patterns of soil archaeal communities affected by the construction of a photovoltaic power station.

RevDate: 2022-03-29

Schiller H, Young C, Schulze S, et al (2022)

A Twist to the Kirby-Bauer Disk Diffusion Susceptibility Test: an Accessible Laboratory Experiment Comparing Haloferax volcanii and Escherichia coli Antibiotic Susceptibility to Highlight the Unique Cell Biology of Archaea.

Journal of microbiology & biology education, 23(1):.

Archaea, once thought to only live in extreme environments, are present in many ecosystems, including the human microbiome, and they play important roles ranging from nutrient cycling to bioremediation. Yet this domain is often overlooked in microbiology classes and rarely included in laboratory exercises. Excluding archaea from high school and undergraduate curricula prevents students from learning the uniqueness and importance of this domain. Here, we have modified a familiar and popular microbiology experiment-the Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion antibiotic susceptibility test-to include, together with the model bacterium Escherichia coli, the model archaeon Haloferax volcanii. Students will learn the differences and similarities between archaea and bacteria by using antibiotics that target, for example, the bacterial peptidoglycan cell wall or the ribosome. Furthermore, the experiment provides a platform to reiterate basic cellular biology concepts that students may have previously discussed. We have developed two versions of this experiment, one designed for an undergraduate laboratory curriculum and the second, limited to H. volcanii, that high school students can perform in their classrooms. This nonpathogenic halophile can be cultured aerobically at ambient temperature in high-salt media, preventing contamination, making the experiment low-cost and safe for use in the high school setting.

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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.

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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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Some Archaea thrive in extreme places around the planet such as in thermal pools, hot vents at the bottom of the sea, extremely salty water, and even in underground oil reserves. Others are found in the intestines of animals and in plankton, tiny organisms that form a feeding reserve for larger marine life. Once grouped with bacteria, the DNA of this fascinating group is sufficiently different that scientists have proposed that they should have a sixth kingdom of their own. This book examines the three main divisions into which members of the diverse Archaea kingdom are grouped according to their unusual biology. It also explains why little in general is known about them, and why further classification of Archaea is so difficult.

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