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Bibliography on: Archaea

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ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 27 Nov 2020 at 01:30 Created: 


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®)


RevDate: 2020-11-26

Kasirajan L, J Maupin-Furlow (2020)

Halophilic archaea and their potential to generate renewable fuels and chemicals.

Biotechnology and bioengineering [Epub ahead of print].

Lignocellulosic biofuels and chemicals have great potential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate air pollution by cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions. Chemical, thermal, and enzymatic processes are used to release the sugars from the lignocellulosic biomass for conversion to biofuels. These processes often operate at extreme pH conditions, high salt concentrations, and/or high temperature. These harsh treatments add to the cost of the biofuels, as most known biocatalysts do not operate at these conditions. To increase the economic feasibility of biofuel production, microorganisms that thrive in extreme conditions are considered as ideal resources to generate biofuels and value-added products. Halophilic archaea (haloarchaea) are isolated from hypersaline ecosystems with high salt concentrations approaching saturation (1.5 to 5 M salt concentration) including environments with extremes in pH and/or temperature. The unique traits of haloarchaea and their enzymes that enable them to sustain catalytic activity in these environments make them attractive resources for use in bioconversion processes that must occur across a wide range of industrial conditions. Biocatalysts (enzymes) derived from haloarchaea occupy a unique niche in organic solvent, salt-based and detergent industries. This review focuses on the use of haloarchaea and their enzymes to develop and improve biofuel production. The review also highlights how haloarchaea produce value added products, such as antibiotics, carotenoids, and bioplastic precursors, and can do so using feedstocks considered 'too salty' for most microbial processes including wastes from the olive-mill, shell fish, and biodiesel industries. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-11-24

Euler S, Jeffrey LC, Maher DT, et al (2020)

Shifts in methanogenic archaea communities and methane dynamics along a subtropical estuarine land use gradient.

PloS one, 15(11):e0242339 pii:PONE-D-20-09256.

In coastal aquatic ecosystems, prokaryotic communities play an important role in regulating the cycling of nutrients and greenhouse gases. In the coastal zone, estuaries are complex and delicately balanced systems containing a multitude of specific ecological niches for resident microbes. Anthropogenic influences (i.e. urban, industrial and agricultural land uses) along the estuarine continuum can invoke physical and biochemical changes that impact these niches. In this study, we investigate the relative abundance of methanogenic archaea and other prokaryotic communities, distributed along a land use gradient in the subtropical Burnett River Estuary, situated within the Great Barrier Reef catchment, Australia. Microbiological assemblages were compared to physicochemical, nutrient and greenhouse gas distributions in both pore and surface water. Pore water samples from within the most urbanised site showed a high relative abundance of methanogenic Euryarchaeota (7.8% of all detected prokaryotes), which coincided with elevated methane concentrations in the water column, ranging from 0.51 to 0.68 μM at the urban and sewage treatment plant (STP) sites, respectively. These sites also featured elevated dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations (0.66 to 1.16 mM), potentially fuelling methanogenesis. At the upstream freshwater site, both methane and DOC concentrations were considerably higher (2.68 μM and 1.8 mM respectively) than at the estuarine sites (0.02 to 0.66 μM and 0.39 to 1.16 mM respectively) and corresponded to the highest relative abundance of methanotrophic bacteria. The proportion of sulfate reducing bacteria in the prokaryotic community was elevated within the urban and STP sites (relative abundances of 8.0%- 10.5%), consistent with electron acceptors with higher redox potentials (e.g. O2, NO3-) being scarce. Overall, this study showed that ecological niches in anthropogenically altered environments appear to give an advantage to specialized prokaryotes invoking a potential change in the thermodynamic landscape of the ecosystem and in turn facilitating the generation of methane-a potent greenhouse gas.

RevDate: 2020-11-24

Amin FR, Khalid H, El-Mashad HM, et al (2020)

Functions of bacteria and archaea participating in the bioconversion of organic waste for methane production.

The Science of the total environment pii:S0048-9697(20)36537-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a widely applied technology for treating organic wastes to generate renewable energy in the form of biogas. The effectiveness of AD process depends on many factors, among which the most important is the presence of active and healthy microbial community in the anaerobic digesters, which needs to be explored. However, the deciphering of microbial populations and their functions during the AD process of different materials is still incomplete, which restricts the understanding of its long-term performance under different operational conditions. This review describes the type, morphology, functions, and specific growth conditions of commonly found hydrolytic, acidogenic, acetogenic bacteria, and archaea during the AD process. The effects of microbes on the performance and stability of the digestion process are also presented. Furthermore, the article offers a deep understanding of the AD management strategies for the enhancement of methane production and the efficiency of the energy conversion process of various organic wastes.

RevDate: 2020-11-23

Diaz PI (2020)

Subgingival fungi, Archaea, and viruses under the omics loupe.

Periodontology 2000 [Epub ahead of print].

The microbial communities that inhabit the gingival crevice are responsible for the pathological processes that affect the periodontium. The changes in composition and function of subgingival bacteria as disease develops have been extensively studied. Subgingival communities, however, also contain fungi, Archaea, and viruses, which could contribute to the dysbiotic processes associated with periodontal diseases. High-throughput DNA sequencing has facilitated a better understanding of the mycobiome, archaeome, and virome. However, the number of studies available on the nonbacterial components of the subgingival microbiome remains limited in comparison with publications focusing on bacteria. Difficulties in characterizing fungal, archaeal, and viral populations arise from the small portion of the total metagenome mass they occupy and lack of comprehensive reference genome databases. In addition, specialized approaches potentially introducing bias are required to enrich for viral particles, while harsh methods of cell lysis are needed to recover nuclei acids from certain fungi. While the characterization of the subgingival diversity of fungi, Archaea and viruses is incomplete, emerging evidence suggests that they could contribute in different ways to subgingival dysbiosis. Certain fungi, such as Candida albicans are suggested to facilitate colonization of bacterial pathogens. Methanogenic Archaea are associated with periodontitis severity and are thought to partner synergistically with bacterial fermenters, while viruses may affect immune responses or shape microbial communities in ways incompletely understood. This review describes the manner in which omics approaches have improved our understanding of the diversity of fungi, Archaea, and viruses within subgingival communities. Further characterization of these understudied components of the subgingival microbiome is required, together with mechanistic studies to unravel their ecological role and potential contributions to dysbiosis.

RevDate: 2020-11-23

Cai M, Richter-Heitmann T, Yin X, et al (2020)

Ecological features and global distribution of Asgard archaea.

The Science of the total environment pii:S0048-9697(20)37112-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Asgard is a newly proposed archaeal superphylum, which has been suggested to hold the key to decipher the origin of Eukaryotes. However, their ecology remains largely unknown. Here, we conducted a meta-analysis of publicly available Asgard-associated 16S rRNA gene fragments, and found that just three previously proposed clades (Lokiarchaeota, Thorarchaeota, and Asgard clade 4) are widely distributed, whereas the other seven clades (phylum or class level) are restricted to the sediment biosphere. Asgard archaea, especially Loki- and Thorarchaeota, seem to adapt to marine sediments, and water depth (the depth of the sediment below water surface) and salinity might be crucial factors for the proportion of these microorganisms as revealed by multivariate regression analyses. However, the abundance of Asgard archaea exhibited distinct environmental drivers at the clade-level; for instance, the proportion of Asgard clade 4 was higher in less saline environments (salinity <6.35 psu), while higher for Heimdallarchaeota-AAG and Asgard clade 2 in more saline environment (salinity ≥35 psu). Furthermore, co-occurrence analysis allowed us to find a significant non-random association of different Asgard clades with other groups (e.g., Lokiarchaeota with Deltaproteobacteria and Anaerolineae; Odinarchaeota with Bathyarchaeota), suggesting different interaction potentials among these clades. Overall, these findings reveal Asgard archaea as a ubiquitous group worldwide and provide initial insights into their ecological features on a global scale.

RevDate: 2020-11-18

Diene SM, Pinault L, Armstrong N, et al (2020)

Dual RNase and β-lactamase Activity of a Single Enzyme Encoded in Archaea.

Life (Basel, Switzerland), 10(11): pii:life10110280.

β-lactam antibiotics have a well-known activity which disturbs the bacterial cell wall biosynthesis and may be cleaved by β-lactamases. However, these drugs are not active on archaea microorganisms, which are naturally resistant because of the lack of β-lactam target in their cell wall. Here, we describe that annotation of genes as β-lactamases in Archaea on the basis of homologous genes is a remnant of identification of the original activities of this group of enzymes, which in fact have multiple functions, including nuclease, ribonuclease, β-lactamase, or glyoxalase, which may specialized over time. We expressed class B β-lactamase enzyme from Methanosarcina barkeri that digest penicillin G. Moreover, while weak glyoxalase activity was detected, a significant ribonuclease activity on bacterial and synthetic RNAs was demonstrated. The β-lactamase activity was inhibited by β-lactamase inhibitor (sulbactam), but its RNAse activity was not. This gene appears to have been transferred to the Flavobacteriaceae group especially the Elizabethkingia genus, in which the expressed gene shows a more specialized activity on thienamycin, but no glyoxalase activity. The expressed class C-like β-lactamase gene, from Methanosarcina sp., also shows hydrolysis activity on nitrocefin and is more closely related to DD-peptidase enzymes. Our findings highlight the need to redefine the nomenclature of β-lactamase enzymes and the specification of multipotent enzymes in different ways in Archaea and bacteria over time.

RevDate: 2020-11-16

Wang H, Bier R, Zgleszewski L, et al (2020)

Distinct Distribution of Archaea From Soil to Freshwater to Estuary: Implications of Archaeal Composition and Function in Different Environments.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:576661.

In addition to inhabiting extreme territories, Archaea are widely distributed in common environments spanning from terrestrial to aquatic environments. This study investigated and compared archaeal community structures from three different habitats (representing distinct environments): agriculture soils (from farming system trials FST, PA, United States), freshwater biofilms (from White Clay Creek, PA, United States), and estuary water (Chesapeake Bay, United States). High-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes indicated that Thaumarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, Nanoarchaeota, Crenarchaeota, and Diapherotrites were the commonly found dominant phyla across these three environments. Similar to Bacteria, distinct community structure and distribution patterns for Archaea were observed in soils vs. freshwater vs. estuary. However, the abundance, richness, evenness, and diversity of archaeal communities were significantly greater in soils than it was in freshwater and estuarine environments. Indicator species (or amplicon sequence variants, ASVs) were identified from different nitrogen and carbon cycling archaeal groups in soils (Nitrososphaerales, Nitrosotaleales, Nitrosopumilales, Methanomassiliicoccales, Lainarchaeales), freshwater biofilms (Methanobacteria, Nitrososphaerales) and Chesapeake Bay (Marine Group II, Nitrosopumilales), suggesting the habitat-specificity of their biogeochemical contributions to different environments. Distinct functional aspects of Archaea were also confirmed by functional predictions (PICRUSt2 analysis). Further, co-occurrence network analysis indicated that only soil Archaea formed stable modules. Keystone species (ASVs) were identified mainly from Methanomassiliicoccales, Nitrososphaerales, Nitrosopumilales. Overall, these results indicate a strong habitat-dependent distribution of Archaea and their functional partitions within the local environments.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

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

Author Correction: Roadmap for naming uncultivated Archaea and Bacteria.

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

RevDate: 2020-11-11

Zink IA, Wimmer E, C Schleper (2020)

Heavily Armed Ancestors: CRISPR Immunity and Applications in Archaea with a Comparative Analysis of CRISPR Types in Sulfolobales.

Biomolecules, 10(11): pii:biom10111523.

Prokaryotes are constantly coping with attacks by viruses in their natural environments and therefore have evolved an impressive array of defense systems. Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is an adaptive immune system found in the majority of archaea and about half of bacteria which stores pieces of infecting viral DNA as spacers in genomic CRISPR arrays to reuse them for specific virus destruction upon a second wave of infection. In detail, small CRISPR RNAs (crRNAs) are transcribed from CRISPR arrays and incorporated into type-specific CRISPR effector complexes which further degrade foreign nucleic acids complementary to the crRNA. This review gives an overview of CRISPR immunity to newcomers in the field and an update on CRISPR literature in archaea by comparing the functional mechanisms and abundances of the diverse CRISPR types. A bigger fraction is dedicated to the versatile and prevalent CRISPR type III systems, as tremendous progress has been made recently using archaeal models in discerning the controlled molecular mechanisms of their unique tripartite mode of action including RNA interference, DNA interference and the unique cyclic-oligoadenylate signaling that induces promiscuous RNA shredding by CARF-domain ribonucleases. The second half of the review spotlights CRISPR in archaea outlining seminal in vivo and in vitro studies in model organisms of the euryarchaeal and crenarchaeal phyla, including the application of CRISPR-Cas for genome editing and gene silencing. In the last section, a special focus is laid on members of the crenarchaeal hyperthermophilic order Sulfolobales by presenting a thorough comparative analysis about the distribution and abundance of CRISPR-Cas systems, including arrays and spacers as well as CRISPR-accessory proteins in all 53 genomes available to date. Interestingly, we find that CRISPR type III and the DNA-degrading CRISPR type I complexes co-exist in more than two thirds of these genomes. Furthermore, we identified ring nuclease candidates in all but two genomes and found that they generally co-exist with the above-mentioned CARF domain ribonucleases Csx1/Csm6. These observations, together with published literature allowed us to draft a working model of how CRISPR-Cas systems and accessory proteins cross talk to establish native CRISPR anti-virus immunity in a Sulfolobales cell.

RevDate: 2020-11-10

Dong L, Gao Y, Guo H, et al (2020)

Pretreatments of Broussonetia papyrifera: In vitro assessment on gas and methane production, fermentation characteristic, and methanogenic archaea profile.

Asian-Australasian journal of animal sciences pii:ajas.20.0503 [Epub ahead of print].

Objective: The present study was conducted to examine the gas production, fermentation characteristics, nutrient degradation, and methanogenic community composition of the rumen fluid culture with Broussonetia papyrifera (B. papyrifera) subjected to ensiling or steam explosion (SE) pretreatment.

Methods: Fresh B. papyrifera was collected and pretreated by ensiling or steam explosion, which was then fermented with ruminal fluids as ensiled B. papyrifera (BPS) group, steam-exploded B. papyrifera (BP-SE) group, and untreated B. papyrifera (BP) group. The gas and methane production, fermentation characteristics, nutrient degradation, and methanogenic community were determined during the fermentation.

Results: Cumulative methane production was significantly improved with SE pretreatment compared with ensiled or untreated biomass accompanied with more volatile fatty acids production. After 72 h incubation, SE and ensiling pretreatments decreased the acid detergent fiber contents by 39.4% and 22.9%, and neutral detergent fiber contents by 10.6% and 47.2%, respectively. Changes of methanogenic diversity and abundance of methanogenic archaea corresponded to the variations in fermentation pattern and methane production.

Conclusion: Compared with ensiling pretreatment, SE can be a promising technique for the efficient utilization of B. papyrifera, which would contribute to the sustainable livestock production systems.

RevDate: 2020-11-08

Kajale S, Jani K, A Sharma (2020)

Contribution of archaea and bacteria in sustaining climate change by oxidizing ammonia and sulfur in an Arctic Fjord.

Genomics pii:S0888-7543(20)32002-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The present study attempts to investigate the microbial communities and their potential to oxidize ammonia and sulfur at different sites of Arctic Fjord by targeted metagenomics. The high throughput sequencing revealed archaeal Thaumarchaeota (79.3%), Crenarchaeota (10.9%), Euryarchaeota (5.4%), and Woesearchaeota (2.9%) across different depths. In contrast, the bacterial communities depict predominance of Proteobacteria (52.6%), which comprises of dominant genera viz. Sulfurovum (11.2%) and Sulfurimonas (6.3%). Characterizing the metabolic potential of microbial communities with prime focus on the ammonia and sulfur cycling revealed the presence of amoABC and narGHYZ/ nxrAB genes encoding key enzymes. The ammonia cycling coupled with an augmentation of members of Nitrosopumilus belonging to the phylum Thaumarcheaota suggests the vital role of archaeal communities. Similarly, the persistence of chemolithoautotrophic members of Sulfurovum and Sulfurimonas along with the anaerobic genera Desulfocapsa and Desulfobulbus harboring SOX (sulfur-oxidation) system indicates the modulatory role of bacterial communities in sulfur cycling.

RevDate: 2020-11-11

Yang S, Li L, Peng X, et al (2020)

Leachate microbiome profile reveals bacteria, archaea and eukaryote dynamics and methanogenic function during solid waste decomposition.

Bioresource technology, 320(Pt A):124359 pii:S0960-8524(20)31633-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic community composition and dynamics in leachate during solid waste decomposition were investigated using Illumina MiSeq sequencing. The functional enzyme-encoding genes of methanogenic pathways were also predicted via PICRUSt. Succession of bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic community composition in aerobic phase (AP), anaerobic acid phase (ACP), and methanogenic phase (MP) was observed. The main representatives of microbial phyla, genera, and species significantly (p < 0.05) differed at least two phases. Protist Ciliophora occurred at ACP and was prevalent in MP, suggesting a short food chain establishment in the methanogenesis. Bacterial, archaeal, fungi and eukaryotic community structure were all pH and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) dependent patter. Acetoclastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis pathways with associated functional genes differed during solid waste decomposition and were inhibited in ACP.

RevDate: 2020-10-30

Nußbaum P, Ithurbide S, Walsh JC, et al (2020)

An Oscillating MinD Protein Determines the Cellular Positioning of the Motility Machinery in Archaea.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(20)31443-3 [Epub ahead of print].

MinD proteins are well studied in rod-shaped bacteria such as E. coli, where they display self-organized pole-to-pole oscillations that are important for correct positioning of the Z-ring at mid-cell for cell division. Archaea also encode proteins belonging to the MinD family, but their functions are unknown. MinD homologous proteins were found to be widespread in Euryarchaeota and form a sister group to the bacterial MinD family, distinct from the ParA and other related ATPase families. We aimed to identify the function of four archaeal MinD proteins in the model archaeon Haloferax volcanii. Deletion of the minD genes did not cause cell division or size defects, and the Z-ring was still correctly positioned. Instead, one of the deletions (ΔminD4) reduced swimming motility and hampered the correct formation of motility machinery at the cell poles. In ΔminD4 cells, there is reduced formation of the motility structure and chemosensory arrays, which are essential for signal transduction. In bacteria, several members of the ParA family can position the motility structure and chemosensory arrays via binding to a landmark protein, and consequently these proteins do not oscillate along the cell axis. However, GFP-MinD4 displayed pole-to-pole oscillation and formed polar patches or foci in H. volcanii. The MinD4 membrane-targeting sequence (MTS), homologous to the bacterial MinD MTS, was essential for the oscillation. Surprisingly, mutant MinD4 proteins failed to form polar patches. Thus, MinD4 from H. volcanii combines traits of different bacterial ParA/MinD proteins.

RevDate: 2020-10-30

Liu X, Shao Y, Dong Y, et al (2020)

Response of ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria to sulfadiazine and copper and their interaction in black soils.

Environmental science and pollution research international pii:10.1007/s11356-020-11356-0 [Epub ahead of print].

The large-scale development of animal husbandry and the wide agricultural application of livestock manure lead to more and more serious co-pollution of heavy metals and antibiotics in soil. In this study, two common feed additives, copper (Cu) and sulfadiazine (SDZ), were selected as target pollutants to evaluate the toxicity and interaction of antibiotics and heavy metals on ammonia oxidizers diversity, potential nitrification rate (PNR), and enzymatic activity in black soils. The results showed that soil enzyme activity was significantly inhibited by single Cu pollution, but the toxicity could be reduced by introducing low-concentration SDZ (5 mg · kg-1), which showed an antagonistic effect between Cu and SDZ (5 mg · kg-1), while the combined toxicity of high-concentration SDZ (10 mg · kg-1) and Cu were strengthened compared with the single Cu contamination on soil enzymes. In contrast, soil PNR was more sensitive to single Cu pollution and its combined pollution with SDZ than the enzyme activity. Real-time fluorescence quota PCR and Illumina Hiseq/Miseq sequencing results showed that ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) was decreased in C2 (200 mg · kg-1 Cu treatment) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) was obviously stimulated in soil contaminated in C2, while in S5 (5 mg · kg-1 SDZ treatment), AOB was decreased; both AOA and AOB were significantly decreased at gene level in soils with combined pollutants (C2S5, 200 mg · kg-1 Cu combined with 5 mg · kg-1 SDZ). So, it can be concluded that combined pollution can cause more serious toxicity on the enzymatic activity, PNR, and ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms in soil through the synergistic effect between heavy metals and antibiotics pollutants.

RevDate: 2020-10-24

Jha P, Singh J, Vidyarthi AS, et al (2020)

Unveiling the Biodiversity of Hyperthermophilic Archaea in Jharia Coal Mines: Potential Threat to Methanogenesis?.

Current genomics, 21(5):363-371.

Aim: To examine the biodiversity of archaeal sulfate reducers and methanogens present in the underground coal mines of Jharia using metagenomics and pyrosequencing.

Objectives: 1) Bioinformatical analysis of the metagenomic data related to a taxonomic analysis obtained from the coal to investigate complete archaeal taxonomic features of the coal bed methane (CBM) microbiome. 2) Bioinformatical analysis of the metagenomic data related to a functional analysis obtained from the coal to investigate functional features relating to taxonomic diversity of the CBM microbiome. 3) The functional attributes have been examined specifically for ORFs related to sulfite reduction and methanogenesis.The taxonomic and functional biodiversity related to euryarchaeota will help in a better understanding of the obstacles associated with methane production imposed by the sulfate reducers.

Background: The microbial methanogenesis in the coal microbiome is a resultant of substrate utilization by primarily fermentative bacteria and methanogens. The present work reveals the biodiversity of archaeal sulfate reducers and methanogens present in the underground coal mines of Jharia using metagenomics and pyrosequencing.

Methodology: Bioinformatical analysis for structural and functional attributes was accomplished using MG-RAST. The structural analysis was accomplished using RefSeq database, whereas the functional analysis was done via CoG database with a cut off value, a sequence percent identity, and sequence alignment length cut off of 1e-5, 60% and 45, respectively.

Results: Attained communities revealed the dominance of hyperthermophilic archaea Pyrococcus furiosus along with Thermococcus kodakarensis in the coal metagenome.The obtained results also suggest the presence of dissimilatory sulfite reductase and formylmethanofuran dehydrogenase, formylmethanofuran: tetrahydromethanopterin formyltransferase involved in sulfite reduction and methanogenesis, respectively, in the microbiome.

Conclusion: This report is the first attempt to showcase the existence of specific euryarchaeal diversity and their related functional attributes from Jharia coal mines through high throughput sequencing. The study helps in developing a better understanding of the presence of indigenous microbes (archaea) and their functions in the coal microbiome, which can be utilized further to resolve the energy crisis.

RevDate: 2020-10-20

Chávez J, Devos DP, E Merino (2020)

Complementary tendencies in the use of regulatory elements (transcription factors, sigma factors, and riboswitches) in Bacteria and Archaea.

Journal of bacteriology pii:JB.00413-20 [Epub ahead of print].

In prokaryotes, the key players in transcription initiation are sigma factors and transcription factors that bind to DNA to modulate the process, while premature transcription termination at the 5' end of the genes is regulated by attenuation, and in particular, by attenuation associated with riboswitches. In this study, we describe the distribution of these regulators across phylogenetic groups of bacteria and archaea and find that their abundance not only depends on the genome size, as previously described, but also varies according to the phylogeny of the organism. Furthermore, we observed a tendency for organisms to compensate for the low frequencies of a particular type of regulatory element (i.e., transcription factors) with a high frequency of other types of regulatory elements (i.e., sigma factors). This study provides a comprehensive description of the more abundant COG, KEGG, and Rfam families of transcriptional regulators present in prokaryotic genomes.IMPORTANCE In this study, we analyzed the relationship between the relative frequencies of the primary regulatory elements in bacteria and archaea, namely, transcription factors, sigma factors, and riboswitches. In bacteria, we reveal a compensatory behavior for transcription factors and sigma factors, meaning that in phylogenetic groups in which the relative number of transcription factors was low, we found a tendency for the number of sigma factors to be high, and vice-versa. For most of the phylogenetic groups analyzed here, except for Firmicutes and Tenericutes, a clear relationship with other mechanisms was not detected for transcriptional riboswitches, suggesting that their low frequency in most genomes does not constitute a significant impact on the global variety of transcriptional regulatory elements in prokaryotic organisms.

RevDate: 2020-11-06

L Bräuer S, Basiliko N, M P Siljanen H, et al (2020)

Methanogenic archaea in peatlands.

FEMS microbiology letters, 367(20):.

Methane emission feedbacks in wetlands are predicted to influence global climate under climate change and other anthropogenic stressors. Herein, we review the taxonomy and physiological ecology of the microorganisms responsible for methane production in peatlands. Common in peat soils are five of the eight described orders of methanogens spanning three phyla (Euryarchaeota, Halobacterota and Thermoplasmatota). The phylogenetic affiliation of sequences found in peat suggest that members of the thus-far-uncultivated group Candidatus Bathyarchaeota (representing a fourth phylum) may be involved in methane cycling, either anaerobic oxidation of methane and/or methanogenesis, as at least a few organisms within this group contain the essential gene, mcrA, according to metagenomic data. Methanogens in peatlands are notoriously challenging to enrich and isolate; thus, much remains unknown about their physiology and how methanogen communities will respond to environmental changes. Consistent patterns of changes in methanogen communities have been reported across studies in permafrost peatland thaw where the resulting degraded feature is thermokarst. However much remains to be understood regarding methanogen community feedbacks to altered hydrology and warming in other contexts, enhanced atmospheric pollution (N, S and metals) loading and direct anthropogenic disturbances to peatlands like drainage, horticultural peat extraction, forestry and agriculture, as well as post-disturbance reclamation.

RevDate: 2020-10-28

Abby SS, Kerou M, C Schleper (2020)

Ancestral Reconstructions Decipher Major Adaptations of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea upon Radiation into Moderate Terrestrial and Marine Environments.

mBio, 11(5):.

Unlike all other archaeal lineages, ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) of the phylum Thaumarchaeota are widespread and abundant in all moderate and oxic environments on Earth. The evolutionary adaptations that led to such unprecedented ecological success of a microbial clade characterized by highly conserved energy and carbon metabolisms have, however, remained underexplored. Here, we reconstructed the genomic content and growth temperature of the ancestor of all AOA, as well as the ancestors of the marine and soil lineages, based on 39 available complete or nearly complete genomes of AOA. Our evolutionary scenario depicts an extremely thermophilic, autotrophic, aerobic ancestor from which three independent lineages of a marine and two terrestrial groups radiated into moderate environments. Their emergence was paralleled by (i) a continuous acquisition of an extensive collection of stress tolerance genes mostly involved in redox maintenance and oxygen detoxification, (ii) an expansion of regulatory capacities in transcription and central metabolic functions, and (iii) an extended repertoire of cell appendages and modifications related to adherence and interactions with the environment. Our analysis provides insights into the evolutionary transitions and key processes that enabled the conquest of the diverse environments in which contemporary AOA are found.

RevDate: 2020-10-15

Park JG, Lee B, Heo TY, et al (2020)

Metagenomics approach and canonical correspondence analysis of novel nitrifiers and ammonia-oxidizing archaea in full scale anaerobic-anoxic-oxic (A2/O) and oxidation ditch processes.

Bioresource technology, 319:124205 pii:S0960-8524(20)31479-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Various microorganisms are involved in nitrogen removal, and their group compositions depend closely on operating parameters. The structures and functions of nitrification microorganisms in full-scale anaerobic-anoxic-oxic (A2/O) and oxidation ditch processes were analyzed using metagenomics and canonical correspondence analysis. The community structure of ammonia-oxidizing archaea in the oxidation ditch was 3.8 (winter) - 6.3 (summer) times higher than in A2/O, and the complete ammonia oxidizer was only found in the oxidation ditch process. The canonical correspondence analysis of various environmental variables showed that Nitrosomonadales, Crenarchaeota, and Nitrospira inopinata correlate highly with nitrification, and Nitrospira was involved in NO2--N oxidation rather than Nitrobacter. The longer solid and hydraulic retention times in the oxidation ditch were more effective in achieving a wider range of novel nitrification than A2/O. This result indicates that microbial communities of novel nitrifiers and ammonia-oxidizing archaea improved in the oxidation ditch process, significantly contributing to stable nitrogen removal.

RevDate: 2020-10-12

Song W, C Sun (2020)

Diversity and distribution of bacteria and archaea in Tuosu Lake in Qaidam Basin.

Cellular and molecular biology (Noisy-le-Grand, France), 66(6):86-92.

Microbes in plateau lakes are important participants of material circulation and energy flow in plateau ecosystems. Knowledge of the microbiota, such as bacteria and archaea, community distribution and diversity in plateau lakes is the basis to understand the species succession, adaptation, maintenance and metabolic mechanisms of specific environmental microbial ecosystems. This work aimed to reveal the diversity and# succession of the microbiota in Tuosu Lake to provide a biological basis for the exploration and development of microbial resources in the plateau lakes. The distribution and diversity of microflora in Tuosu Lake, hypoxia, high altitude, alkaline, closed plateau lake with fresh water supply, was investigated. The total DNA was extracted from six samples with different salinity from different geographical locations of Tuosu Lake. The 16S rRNA gene of bacteria and archaea were determined by using high-throughput sequencing-based on an Illumina Miseq sequencing platform. The microbiota in Tuosu Lake has a high diversity and complexity and there are a large number of unclassified microbial species. The bacterial communities in Tuosu Lake are dominated by Proteobacteria (44.3%) and Actbacteria (17.2%). Among them, β-Proteobacteria is the dominant genus in the low-salt sample, while γ-Proteobacteria is more advantageous in the samples with higher salinity. The archaeal communities are dominated by Euryarchaeota (50%) and Woesearchaeota__DHVEG-6 (42.6%). The vast majority of the methanogenic archaea in Tuosu Lake samples belong to Methanomicrobia, and the methanogens in low-salinity samples are significantly more abundant than those in high-salt samples. Diversity and distribution appear to be highly influenced by water salinity and pH.

RevDate: 2020-10-07

Takamura E, Taki S, Sakamoto H, et al (2020)

Site-Directed Mutagenesis of Multicopper Oxidase from Hyperthermophilic Archaea for High-Voltage Biofuel Cells.

Applied biochemistry and biotechnology pii:10.1007/s12010-020-03440-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Enzymes from hyperthermophilic archaea are potential candidates for industrial use because of their superior pH, thermal, and long-term stability, and are expected to improve the long-term stability of biofuel cells (BFCs). However, the reported multicopper oxidase (MCO) from hyperthermophilic archaea has lower redox potential than MCOs from other organisms, which leads to a decrease in the cell voltage of BFCs. In this study, we attempted to positively shift the redox potential of the MCO from hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrobaculum aerophilum (McoP). Mutations (M470L and M470F) were introduced into the axial ligand of the T1 copper atom of McoP, and the enzymatic chemistry and redox potentials were compared with that of the parent (M470). The redox potentials of M470L and M470F shifted positively by about 0.07 V compared with that of M470. In addition, the catalytic activity of the mutants towards 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS) increased 1.2-1.3-fold. The thermal stability of the mutants and the electrocatalytic performance for O2 reduction of M470F was slightly reduced compared with that of M470. This research provides useful enzymes for application as biocathode catalysts for high-voltage BFCs.

RevDate: 2020-10-20

Thiroux S, Dupont S, Nesbø CL, et al (2020)

The first head-tailed virus, MFTV1, infecting hyperthermophilic methanogenic deep-sea archaea.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are inhabited by complex communities of microbes and their viruses. Despite the importance of viruses in controlling the diversity, adaptation and evolution of their microbial hosts, to date, only eight bacterial and two archaeal viruses isolated from abyssal ecosystems have been described. Thus, our efforts focused on gaining new insights into viruses associated with deep-sea autotrophic archaea. Here, we provide the first evidence of an infection of hyperthermophilic methanogenic archaea by a head-tailed virus, Methanocaldococcus fervens tailed virus 1 (MFTV1). MFTV1 has an isometric head of 50 nm in diameter and a 150 nm-long non-contractile tail. Virions are released continuously without causing a sudden drop in host growth. MFTV1 infects Methanocaldococcus species and is the first hyperthermophilic head-tailed virus described thus far. The viral genome is a double-stranded linear DNA of 31 kb. Interestingly, our results suggest potential strategies adopted by the plasmid pMEFER01, carried by M. fervens, to spread horizontally in hyperthermophilic methanogens. The data presented here open a new window of understanding on how the abyssal mobilome interacts with hyperthermophilic marine archaea.

RevDate: 2020-10-20

Wei D, Zeng S, Hou D, et al (2020)

Community diversity and abundance of ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria in shrimp pond sediment at different culture stages.

Journal of applied microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

AIMS: Ammonia oxidation is a significant process of nitrogen cycles in a lot of ecosystems sediments while there are few studies in shrimp culture pond (SCP) sediments. This paper attempted to explore the community diversity and abundance of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in SCP sediments at different culture stages.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We collected SCP sediments and analysed the community diversity and abundance of AOA and bacteria in shrimp pond sediment at different culture stages using the ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) gene with quantitative PCR (qPCR) and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The AOB-amoA gene abundance was showed higher than AOA-amoA gene abundance in SCP sediments on Day 50 and Day 60 after shrimp larvae introducing into the pond, and the diversity of AOA in SCP sediments was higher than that of AOB. The phylogenetic tree revealed that the most of AOA were the member of Nitrosopumilus and Nitrososphaera, and the majority of AOB sequences were clustered into Nitrosospira, Nitrosomonas clusters 6a and 7. The AOA community has close relationship with total organic carbon (TOC), pH, total phosphorus (TP), nitrate reductase, urease, acid phosphatase and β-glucosidase. The AOB community was related to TOC, C/N and nitrate reductase.

CONCLUSIONS: AOA and AOB play the different ecological roles in SCP sediments at different culture stages.

Our results suggested that the different community diversity and abundance of AOA and AOB in SCP sediments, which may improve our ecological cognition of shrimp culture stages in SCP ecosystems.

RevDate: 2020-10-06

Mani K, Taib N, Hugoni M, et al (2020)

Transient Dynamics of Archaea and Bacteria in Sediments and Brine Across a Salinity Gradient in a Solar Saltern of Goa, India.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:1891.

The microbial fluctuations along an increasing salinity gradient during two different salt production phases - initial salt harvesting (ISH) phase and peak salt harvesting (PSH) phase of Siridao solar salterns in Goa, India were examined through high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes on Illumina MiSeq platform. Elemental analysis of the brine samples showed high concentration of sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-) ions thereby indicating its thalassohaline nature. Comparison of relative abundance of sequences revealed that Archaea transited from sediment to brine while Bacteria transited from brine to sediment with increasing salinity. Frequency of Archaea was found to be significantly enriched even in low and moderate salinity sediments with their relative sequence abundance reaching as high as 85%. Euryarchaeota was found to be the dominant archaeal phylum containing 19 and 17 genera in sediments and brine, respectively. Phylotypes belonging to Halorubrum, Haloarcula, Halorhabdus, and Haloplanus were common in both sediments and brine. Occurence of Halobacterium and Natronomonas were exclusive to sediments while Halonotius was exclusive to brine. Among sediments, relative sequence frequency of Halorubrum, and Halorhabdus decreased while Haloarcula, Haloplanus, and Natronomonas increased with increasing salinity. Similarly, the relative abundance of Haloarcula and Halorubrum increased with increasing salinity in brine. Sediments and brine samples harbored about 20 and 17 bacterial phyla, respectively. Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, and Chloroflexi were the common bacterial phyla in both sediments and brine while Firmicutes were dominant albeit in sediments alone. Further, Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, and Deltaproteobacteria were observed to be the abundant class within the Proteobacteria. Among the bacterial genera, phylotypes belonging to Rubricoccus and Halomonas were widely detected in both brine and sediment while Thioalkalispira, Desulfovermiculus, and Marinobacter were selectively present in sediments. This study suggests that Bacteria are more susceptible to salinity fluctuations than Archaea, with many bacterial genera being compartment and phase-specific. Our study further indicated that Archaea rather than Bacteria could withstand the wide salinity fluctuation and attain a stable community structure within a short time-frame.

RevDate: 2020-10-03

Jung J, Kim JS, Taffner J, et al (2020)

Archaea, tiny helpers of land plants.

Computational and structural biotechnology journal, 18:2494-2500.

Archaea are members of most microbiomes. While archaea are highly abundant in extreme environments, they are less abundant and diverse in association with eukaryotic hosts. Nevertheless, archaea are a substantial constituent of plant-associated ecosystems in the aboveground and belowground phytobiome. Only a few studies have investigated the role of archaea in plant health and its potential symbiosis in ecosystems. This review discusses recent progress in identifying how archaea contribute to plant traits such as growth, adaptation to abiotic stresses, and immune activation. We synthesized the most recent functional and molecular data on archaea, including root colonization and the volatile emission to activate plant systemic immunity. These data represent a paradigm shift in our understanding of plant-microbiota interactions.

RevDate: 2020-11-10

Berger S, Cabrera-Orefice A, Jetten MSM, et al (2020)

Investigation of central energy metabolism-related protein complexes of ANME-2d methanotrophic archaea by complexome profiling.

Biochimica et biophysica acta. Bioenergetics, 1862(1):148308 pii:S0005-2728(20)30158-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The anaerobic oxidation of methane is important for mitigating emissions of this potent greenhouse gas to the atmosphere and is mediated by anaerobic methanotrophic archaea. In a 'Candidatus Methanoperedens BLZ2' enrichment culture used in this study, methane is oxidized to CO2 with nitrate being the terminal electron acceptor of an anaerobic respiratory chain. Energy conservation mechanisms of anaerobic methanotrophs have mostly been studied at metagenomic level and hardly any protein data is available at this point. To close this gap, we used complexome profiling to investigate the presence and subunit composition of protein complexes involved in energy conservation processes. All enzyme complexes and their subunit composition involved in reverse methanogenesis were identified. The membrane-bound enzymes of the respiratory chain, such as F420H2:quinone oxidoreductase, membrane-bound heterodisulfide reductase, nitrate reductases and Rieske cytochrome bc1 complex were all detected. Additional or putative subunits such as an octaheme subunit as part of the Rieske cytochrome bc1 complex were discovered that will be interesting targets for future studies. Furthermore, several soluble proteins were identified, which are potentially involved in oxidation of reduced ferredoxin produced during reverse methanogenesis leading to formation of small organic molecules. Taken together these findings provide an updated, refined picture of the energy metabolism of the environmentally important group of anaerobic methanotrophic archaea.

RevDate: 2020-09-30

Wolff P, Villette C, Zumsteg J, et al (2020)

Comparative patterns of modified nucleotides in individual tRNA species from a mesophilic and two thermophilic archaea.

RNA (New York, N.Y.) pii:rna.077537.120 [Epub ahead of print].

To improve and complete our knowledge of archaeal tRNA modification patterns, we have identified and compared the modification pattern (type and location) in tRNAs of three very different archaeal species, Methanococcus maripaludis (a mesophilic methanogen), Pyrococcus furiosus (a hyperthermophile thermococcale) and Sulfolobus acidocaldarius (an acidophilic thermophilic sulfolobale). Most abundant isoacceptor tRNAs (79 in total) for each of the 20 amino acids were isolated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by in-gel RNase digestions. The resulting oligonucleotide fragments were separated by nanoLC and their nucleotide content analyzed by mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Analysis of total modified nucleosides obtained from complete digestion of bulk tRNAs was also performed. Distinct base- and/or ribose-methylations, cytidine acetylations and thiolated pyrimidines were identified, some at new positions in tRNAs. Novel, some tentatively identified, modifications were also found. The least diversified modification landscape is observed in the mesophilic Methanococcus maripaludis and the most complex one in Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. Notable observations are the frequent occurrence of ac4C nucleotides in thermophilic archaeal tRNAs, the presence of m7G at positions 1 and 10 in Pyrococcus furiosus tRNAs, and the use of wyosine derivatives at position 37 of tRNAs especially those decoding U1- and C1-starting codons. These results complete those already obtained by others with sets of archaeal tRNAs from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii and Haloferax volcanii.

RevDate: 2020-09-29

Chen T, Hu W, He S, et al (2020)

Diversity and community structure of ammonia oxidizing archaea in rhizosphere soil of four plant groups in Ebinur Lake Wetland.

Canadian journal of microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

The aim of this study was to reveal the differences in the community structure of AOA between rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere soil, to provide a theoretical basis for further study on the relationship between halophyte rhizosphere soil microorganisms and salt tolerance. The results of diversity and community structure showed that the diversity of ammonia-oxidizing archaea community in rhizosphere soil of Reed was higher than that in non-rhizosphere soil in spring and lower than that in non-rhizosphere soil in summer and autumn; In summer, the diversity of rhizosphere soil was higher than that of non-rhizosphere soil of Karelinia caspica lower than that of non-rhizosphere soil in spring and autumn. The diversity of rhizosphere soil of Halocnemum strobilaceum in three seasons was lower than that in non-rhizosphere soil. The diversity of rhizosphere soil of Salicornia was higher than that in non-rhizosphere soil in three seasons. In addition, the relative abundance of AOA in rhizosphere soil of four plants was higher than that in non-rhizosphere soil. AOA community in all soil samples was mainly concentrated in Crenarchaeota and Thaumarchaeota. RDA results showed salinity (EC), soil water moisture (SM), pH and soil organic matter (SOM) were important factors affecting the differentiation of AOA communities.

RevDate: 2020-10-01

Zou D, Liu H, M Li (2020)

Community, Distribution, and Ecological Roles of Estuarine Archaea.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:2060.

Archaea are diverse and ubiquitous prokaryotes present in both extreme and moderate environments. Estuaries, serving as links between the land and ocean, harbor numerous microbes that are relatively highly active because of massive terrigenous input of nutrients. Archaea account for a considerable portion of the estuarine microbial community. They are diverse and play key roles in the estuarine biogeochemical cycles. Ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) are an abundant aquatic archaeal group in estuaries, greatly contributing estuarine ammonia oxidation. Bathyarchaeota are abundant in sediments, and they may involve in sedimentary organic matter degradation, acetogenesis, and, potentially, methane metabolism, based on genomics. Other archaeal groups are also commonly detected in estuaries worldwide. They include Euryarchaeota, and members of the DPANN and Asgard archaea. Based on biodiversity surveys of the 16S rRNA gene and some functional genes, the distribution and abundance of estuarine archaea are driven by physicochemical factors, such as salinity and oxygen concentration. Currently, increasing amount of genomic information for estuarine archaea is becoming available because of the advances in sequencing technologies, especially for AOA and Bathyarchaeota, leading to a better understanding of their functions and environmental adaptations. Here, we summarized the current knowledge on the community composition and major archaeal groups in estuaries, focusing on AOA and Bathyarchaeota. We also highlighted the unique genomic features and potential adaptation strategies of estuarine archaea, pointing out major unknowns in the field and scope for future research.

RevDate: 2020-10-27

Brázda V, Luo Y, Bartas M, et al (2020)

G-Quadruplexes in the Archaea Domain.

Biomolecules, 10(9):.

The importance of unusual DNA structures in the regulation of basic cellular processes is an emerging field of research. Amongst local non-B DNA structures, G-quadruplexes (G4s) have gained in popularity during the last decade, and their presence and functional relevance at the DNA and RNA level has been demonstrated in a number of viral, bacterial, and eukaryotic genomes, including humans. Here, we performed the first systematic search of G4-forming sequences in all archaeal genomes available in the NCBI database. In this article, we investigate the presence and locations of G-quadruplex forming sequences using the G4Hunter algorithm. G-quadruplex-prone sequences were identified in all archaeal species, with highly significant differences in frequency, from 0.037 to 15.31 potential quadruplex sequences per kb. While G4 forming sequences were extremely abundant in Hadesarchaea archeon (strikingly, more than 50% of the Hadesarchaea archaeon isolate WYZ-LMO6 genome is a potential part of a G4-motif), they were very rare in the Parvarchaeota phylum. The presence of G-quadruplex forming sequences does not follow a random distribution with an over-representation in non-coding RNA, suggesting possible roles for ncRNA regulation. These data illustrate the unique and non-random localization of G-quadruplexes in Archaea.

RevDate: 2020-10-07

Stahl DA (2020)

How we did it - the path leading to the discovery of the ammonia-oxidizing archaea.

RevDate: 2020-09-16

Yin XM, Yang XY, Hou J, et al (2020)

Natronomonas halophila sp. nov. and Natronomonas salina sp. nov., two novel halophilic archaea.

International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Two halophilic archaeal strains, C90T and YPL13T, were isolated from a salt lake and a salt mine in PR China. The two strains were found to form two clusters (97.5 and 89.5 % similarity between them, respectively) separating them from the three current members of the genus Natronomonas (95.4-97.0 % and 86.6-89.3 % similarity, respectively) on the basis of the 16S rRNA and rpoB' gene sequence similarities and phylogenetic analysis. Diverse phenotypic characteristics differentiate strains C90T and YPL13T from current Natronomonas members. The polar lipids of strain C90T were phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylglycerol (PG), phosphatidylglycerol phosphate methyl ester (PGP-Me), phosphatidylglycerol sulphate, two unidentified glycolipids, a major glycolipid and a minor glycolipid, while those of strain YPL13T were PG, PGP-Me, two unidentified phospholipids and a glycolipid. The average nucleotide identity (ANI) and in silico DNA-DNA hybridization (isDDH) values between the two strains were 79.8 and 27.1 %, respectively, which were much lower than the threshold values proposed as a species boundaries (ANI 95-96 % and isDDH 70 %), which revealed that the two strains represent two novel species; these values (ANI 76.6-80.0 % and isDDH 21.6-27.0 %) of the strains examined in this study and the current members of Natronomonas are much lower than the recommended threshold values, suggesting that strains C90T and YPL13T represent two genomically different species of Natronomonas. These results showed that strains C90T (=CGMCC 1.13738T=JCM 32961T) and YPL13T (=CGMCC 1.13884T=JCM 31111T) represent two novel species of Natronomonas, for which the names Natronomonas halophila sp. nov. and Natronomonas salina sp. nov. are proposed.

RevDate: 2020-09-16

He Y, Zhou Y, Weng R, et al (2020)

Responses of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea and Bacteria in Malodorous River Sediments to Different Remediation Techniques.

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-020-01597-4 [Epub ahead of print].

In this study, the joint use of high throughput sequencing, real-time quantitative PCR, and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB)-inhibiting allylthiourea was used to differentiate between the contributions of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) vs AOB to ammonia oxidation and ascertain how AOA and AOB responded to two widely used river remediation techniques (aeration and Ca(NO3)2 injection). Results showed that ammonia oxidation was largely attributed to ATU-sensitive AOB rather than AOA and Nitrosomonas was the predominant AOB-related genus (53.86%) in the malodorous river. The contribution of AOB to ammonia oxidation in the context of aeration and Ca(NO3)2 injection was 75.51 ± 2.77% and 60.19 ± 10.44%, respectively. The peak of AOB/AOA ratio and the marked increase of relative abundances of Nitrosomonas and Nitrosospira in aeration runs further demonstrated aeration favored the ammonia oxidation of AOB. Comparatively, Ca(NO3)2 injection could increase the ammonia oxidation contribution of AOA from 31.32 ± 6.06 to 39.81 ± 10.44% and was significantly correlated with Nitrosococcus of AOB (r = 0.796, p < 0.05), Candidatus_Nitrosopelagicus of AOA (r = 0.986, p < 0.01), and AOA Simpson diversity (r = - 0.791, p < 0.05). Moreover, Candidatus_Nitrosopelagicus was only present in Ca(NO3)2 runs. Taken together, Ca(NO3)2 was recognized as an important factor in mediating the growth and ecological niches of ammonia oxidizers.Graphical abstract.

RevDate: 2020-09-16
CmpDate: 2020-09-16

Aleksandrowicz P, Brzezińska-Błaszczyk E, Dudko A, et al (2020)

Archaea Occurrence in the Subgingival Biofilm in Patients with Peri-implantitis and Periodontitis.

The International journal of periodontics & restorative dentistry, 40(5):677-683.

This study aimed to determine the prevalence and diversity of archaea and select bacteria in the subgingival biofilm of patients with peri-implantitis in comparison to patients with unaffected implants and patients with periodontitis. Samples of subgingival biofilm from oral sites were collected for DNA extraction (n = 139). A 16S rRNA gene-based polymerase chain reaction assay was used to determine the presence of archaea and select bacteria. Seven samples were selected for direct sequencing. Archaea were detected in 10% of samples from peri-implantitis sites, but not in samples from the unaffected dental implant. Archaea were present in 53% and 64% of samples from mild and moderate/advanced periodontitis sites, respectively. The main representative of the Archaea domain found in biofilm from periodontitis and peri-implantitis sites was Methanobrevibacter oralis. The present results revealed that archaea are present in diseased but not healthy implants. It was also found that archaea were more abundant in periodontitis than in peri-implantitis sites. Hence, the potential role of archaea in peri-implantitis and periodontitis should be taken into consideration.

RevDate: 2020-11-09

Di Giulio M (2020)

LUCA as well as the ancestors of archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes were progenotes: Inference from the distribution and diversity of the reading mechanism of the AUA and AUG codons in the domains of life.

Bio Systems, 198:104239 pii:S0303-2647(20)30128-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Here I use the rationale assuming that if of a certain trait that exerts its function in some aspect of the genetic code or, more generally, in protein synthesis, it is possible to identify the evolutionary stage of its origin then it would imply that this evolutionary moment would be characterized by a high translational noise because this trait would originate for the first time during that evolutionary stage. That is to say, if this trait had a non-marginal role in the realization of the genetic code, or in protein synthesis, then the origin of this trait would imply that, more generally, it was the genetic code itself that was still originating. But if the genetic code were still originating - at that precise evolutionary stage - then this would imply that there was a high translational noise which in turn would imply that it was in the presence of a protocell, i.e. a progenote that was by definition characterized by high translational noise. I apply this rationale to the mechanism of modification of the base 34 of the anticodon of an isoleucine tRNA that leads to the reading of AUA and AUG codons in archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes. The phylogenetic distribution of this mechanism in these phyletic lineages indicates that this mechanism originated only after the evolutionary stage of the last universal common ancestor (LUCA), namely, during the formation of cellular domains, i.e., at the stage of ancestors of these main phyletic lineages. Furthermore, given that this mechanism of modification of the base 34 of the anticodon of the isoleucine tRNA would result to emerge at a stage of the origin of the genetic code - despite in its terminal phases - then all this would imply that the ancestors of bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes were progenotes. If so, all the more so, the LUCA would also be a progenote since it preceded these ancestors temporally. A consequence of all this reasoning might be that since these three ancestors were of the progenotes that were different from each other, if at least one of them had evolved into at least two real and different cells - basically different from each other - then the number of cellular domains would not be three but it would be greater than three.

RevDate: 2020-09-09

Qi L, Ma Z, Chang SX, et al (2020)

Biochar decreases methanogenic archaea abundance and methane emissions in a flooded paddy soil.

The Science of the total environment, 752:141958 pii:S0048-9697(20)35487-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Biochar addition can reduce methane (CH4) emissions from paddy soils while the mechanisms involved are not entirely clear. Here, we studied the effect of biochar addition on CH4 emissions, and the abundance and community composition of methanogens and methanotrophs over two rice cultivation seasons. The experiment had the following five treatments: control (CK), chemical fertilizer application only (BC0), and 0.5% (w/w) (BC1), 1% (BC2), and 2% of biochar applied with chemical fertilizers (BC3). The season-wide CH4 emissions were decreased (P < 0.05) by 22.2-95.7% in biochar application compared with BC0 in the two rice seasons (2017 and 2018). In 2017, biochar application decreased methanogenic archaea (mcrA) but increased methanotrophic bacteria (pmoA) abundances, and decreased the ratio of mcrA/pmoA, as compared with BC0 (P < 0.05). In 2018, the abundance of mcrA was lower in BC2 and BC3 than in BC0 (P < 0.05) but was not different between BC0 and BC1, and the abundance of pmoA was lower in BC1, BC2 and BC3 than in BC0 (P < 0.05). The CH4 emissions were positively related to abundances of the mcrA gene (P < 0.01) but not to that of the pmoA gene in two rice seasons. Rice grain yield was increased by 62.2-94.1% in biochar addition treatments compared with BC0 in the first year (P < 0.01) and by 29.9-37.6% in BC2 and BC3 compared with BC0 in the second year (P < 0.05). Biochar application decreased CH4 emissions by reducing methanogenic archaea abundance in the studied flooded paddy soil.

RevDate: 2020-09-09

Niu M, Zhou F, Yang Y, et al (2020)

Abundance and composition of airborne archaea during springtime mixed dust and haze periods in Beijing, China.

The Science of the total environment, 752:141641 pii:S0048-9697(20)35170-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Archaea have an important role in the elemental biogeochemical cycle and human health. However, characteristics of airborne archaea affected by anthropogenic and natural processes are unclear. In this study, we investigated the abundance, structures, influencing factors and assembly processes of the archaeal communities in the air samples collected from Beijing in springtime using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), high-throughput sequencing technology and statistical analysis. The concentrations of airborne archaea ranged from 101 to 103 copies m-3 (455 ± 211 copies m-3), accounting for 0.67% of the total prokaryote (sum of archaea and bacteria). An increase in airborne archaea was seen when the air quality shifted from clean to slightly polluted conditions. Sandstorm dust imported a large number of archaea to the local atmosphere. Euryarchaeota, Thaumarchaeota and Crenarchaeota were the dominant phyla, revealing the primary role of soil in releasing archaea to the ambient environment. Dispersal-related neutral processes play an important role in shaping the structure of airborne archaeal assembly. Of all phyla, methanogenic Euryarchaeota were most abundant in the air parcels come from the south of Beijing. Air masses from the west of Beijing, which brought sandstorm to Beijing, carried large amounts of ammonia oxidizing archaea Nitrososphaera. The results demonstrate the importance of air mass sources and local weather conditions in shaping the local airborne archaea community.

RevDate: 2020-10-13

Nikolayev S, Cohen-Rosenzweig C, J Eichler (2020)

Evolutionary considerations of the oligosaccharyltransferase AglB and other aspects of N-glycosylation across Archaea.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 153:106951.

Various biological markers in members of the TACK and Asgard archaeal super-phyla show Eukarya-like traits. These include the oligosaccharyltransferase, responsible for transferring glycans from the lipid carrier upon which they are assembled onto selected asparagine residues of target proteins during N-glycosylation. In Archaea, oligosaccharyltransferase activity is catalyzed by AglB. To gain deeper insight into AglB and N-glycosylation across archaeal phylogeny, bioinformatics approaches were employed to address variability in AglB sequence motifs involved in enzyme activity, construct a phylogenetic tree based on AglB sequences, search for archaeal homologues of non-catalytic subunits of the multimeric eukaryal oligosaccharyltransferase complex and predict the presence of aglB-based clusters of glycosylation-related genes in the Euryarchaeota and the DPANN, TACK and Asgard super-phyla. In addition, site-directed mutagenesis and mass spectrometry were employed to study the natural variability in the WWDXG motif central to oligosaccharyltransferase activity seen in archaeal AglB. The results clearly distinguish AglB from members of the DPANN super-phylum and the Euryarchaeota from the same enzyme in members of the TACK and Asgard super-phyla, which showed considerable similarity to its eukaryal homologue Stt3. The results thus support the evolutionary proximity of Eukarya and the TACK and Asgard archaea.

RevDate: 2020-09-17

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

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

Nature biotechnology, 38(9):1098.

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

RevDate: 2020-10-12

Reichart NJ, Jay ZJ, Krukenberg V, et al (2020)

Activity-based cell sorting reveals responses of uncultured archaea and bacteria to substrate amendment.

The ISME journal, 14(11):2851-2861.

Metagenomic studies have revolutionized our understanding of the metabolic potential of uncultured microorganisms in various ecosystems. However, many of these genomic predictions have yet to be experimentally tested, and the functional expression of genomic potential often remains unaddressed. In order to obtain a more thorough understanding of cell physiology, novel techniques capable of testing microbial metabolism under close to in situ conditions must be developed. Here, we provide a benchmark study to demonstrate that bioorthogonal non-canonical amino acid tagging (BONCAT) in combination with fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and 16S rRNA gene sequencing can be used to identify anabolically active members of a microbial community incubated in the presence of various growth substrates or under changing physicochemical conditions. We applied this approach to a hot spring sediment microbiome from Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, USA) and identified several microbes that changed their activity levels in response to substrate addition, including uncultured members of the phyla Thaumarchaeota, Acidobacteria, and Fervidibacteria. Because shifts in activity in response to substrate amendment or headspace changes are indicative of microbial preferences for particular growth conditions, results from this and future BONCAT-FACS studies could inform the development of cultivation media to specifically enrich uncultured microbes. Most importantly, BONCAT-FACS is capable of providing information on the physiology of uncultured organisms at as close to in situ conditions as experimentally possible.

RevDate: 2020-11-10
CmpDate: 2020-11-10

Yue L, Li J, Zhang B, et al (2020)

The conserved ribonuclease aCPSF1 triggers genome-wide transcription termination of Archaea via a 3'-end cleavage mode.

Nucleic acids research, 48(17):9589-9605.

Transcription termination defines accurate transcript 3'-ends and ensures programmed transcriptomes, making it critical to life. However, transcription termination mechanisms remain largely unknown in Archaea. Here, we reported the physiological significance of the newly identified general transcription termination factor of Archaea, the ribonuclease aCPSF1, and elucidated its 3'-end cleavage triggered termination mechanism. The depletion of Mmp-aCPSF1 in Methanococcus maripaludis caused a genome-wide transcription termination defect and disordered transcriptome. Transcript-3'end-sequencing revealed that transcriptions primarily terminate downstream of a uridine-rich motif where Mmp-aCPSF1 performed an endoribonucleolytic cleavage, and the endoribonuclease activity was determined to be essential to the in vivo transcription termination. Co-immunoprecipitation and chromatin-immunoprecipitation detected interactions of Mmp-aCPSF1 with RNA polymerase and chromosome. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the aCPSF1 orthologs are ubiquitously distributed among the archaeal phyla, and two aCPSF1 orthologs from Lokiarchaeota and Thaumarchaeota could replace Mmp-aCPSF1 to terminate transcription of M. maripaludis. Therefore, the aCPSF1 dependent termination mechanism could be widely employed in Archaea, including Lokiarchaeota belonging to Asgard Archaea, the postulated archaeal ancestor of Eukaryotes. Strikingly, aCPSF1-dependent archaeal transcription termination reported here exposes a similar 3'-cleavage mode as the eukaryotic RNA polymerase II termination, thus would shed lights on understanding the evolutionary linking between archaeal and eukaryotic termination machineries.

RevDate: 2020-09-07

Tang HM, Xiao XP, Li C, et al (2020)

Influences of different manure N input on soil ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacterial activity and community structure in a double-cropping rice field.

Journal of applied microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

AIMS: The short-term effects of different organic manure nitrogen (N) input on soil ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacterial (AOB) activity and community structure at maturity stages of early rice and late rice were investigated in the present paper, in a double-cropping rice system in southern China.

METHODS AND RESULTS: A field experiment was done by applying five different organic and inorganic N input treatments: (i) 100% N of chemical fertilizer (M0), (ii) 30% N of organic manure and 70% N of chemical fertilizer (M30), (iii) 50% N of organic manure and 50% N of chemical fertilizer (M50), (iv) 100% N of organic manure (M100) and (v) without N fertilizer input as control (CK). Microbial community changes were assessed using fatty acid methyl esters, and ammonia oxidizer (AO) changes were followed using quantitative PCR. The results showed that AOA were higher than that of AOB based upon amoA gene copy at maturity stages of early rice and late rice. Also, the abundance of AOB and AOA with M30, M50 and M100 treatments was significantly higher than that of CK treatment. Manure N input treatments had significant effect on AOB and AOA abundance, and a higher correlation between AOB and manure N input was observed. AOB correlated moderately with soil organic carbon content, and AOA correlated moderately with water-filled pore space.

CONCLUSIONS: This study found that abundance of AOB and AOA was increased under the given organic N conditions, and the soil AOB and AOA community and diversity were changed by different short-term organic manure N input treatments.

Soil microbial community and specific N-utilizing microbial groups were affected by organic manure N input practices.

RevDate: 2020-11-10

Cendron F, Niero G, Carlino G, et al (2020)

Characterizing the fecal bacteria and archaea community of heifers and lactating cows through 16S rRNA next-generation sequencing.

Journal of applied genetics, 61(4):593-605.

The aim of this study was to describe the fecal bacteria and archaea composition of Holstein-Friesian and Simmental heifers and lactating cows, using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Bacteria and archaea communities were characterized and compared between heifers and cows of the same breed. Two breeds from different farms were considered, just to speculate about the conservation of the microbiome differences between cows and heifers that undergo different management conditions. The two breeds were from two different herds. Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Proteobacteria were the most abundant phyla in all experimental groups. Alpha- and beta-diversity metrics showed significant differences between heifers and cows within the same breed, supported by principal coordinate analysis. The analysis of Holstein-Friesian fecal microbiome composition revealed 3 different bacteria families, 2 genera, and 2 species that differed between heifers and cows; on the other hand, Simmental heifers and cows differed only for one bacteria family, one archaeal genus, and one bacteria species. Results of the present study suggest that fecal communities of heifers and cows are different, and that fecal microbiome is maintained across experimental groups.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Nagler M, Podmirseg SM, Mayr M, et al (2020)

Quantities of Intra- and Extracellular DNA Reveal Information About Activity and Physiological State of Methanogenic Archaea.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:1894.

Although being a common aim of many microbial ecology studies, measuring individual physiological conditions of a microbial group or species within a complex consortium is still a challenge. Here, we propose a novel approach that is based on the quantification of sequentially extracted extracellular (exDNA) and intracellular DNA (iDNA) and reveals information about cell lysis and activity of methanogenic archaea within a biogas-producing microbial community. We monitored the methane production rates of differently treated batch anaerobic cultures and compared the concentrations of the alpha subunit of the methyl coenzyme M reductase gene of methanogenic archaea in extracellular and intracellular DNA fractions and in the classically extracted total DNA pool. Our results showed that this fine-tuned DNA approach coupled with the interpretation of the ratio between free exDNA and iDNA considerably improved microbial activity tracking compared to the classical extraction/quantification of total DNA. Additionally, it allowed to identify and quantify methanogenic populations that are inactive and those that are strongly influenced by cell lysis. We argue that despite the need of further studies, this method represents a novel approach to gain specific physiological information from a complex environmental sample and holds the potential to be applied to other microbes of interest.

RevDate: 2020-08-23

Silveira R, Silva MRSS, de Roure Bandeira de Mello T, et al (2020)

Bacteria and Archaea Communities in Cerrado Natural Pond Sediments.

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-020-01574-x [Epub ahead of print].

Natural ponds in the Brazilian Cerrado harbor high biodiversity but are still poorly studied, especially their microbial assemblage. The characterization of the microbial community in aquatic environments is fundamental for understanding its functioning, particularly under the increasing pressure posed by land conversion and climate change. Here, we aim to characterize the structure (abundance, richness, and diversity) and composition of the Bacteria and Archaea in the sediment of two natural ponds belonging to different basins that primarily differ in size and depth in the Cerrado. Sediment samples were collected in the dry and rainy seasons and the transition periods between both. The structure and composition of Bacteria and Archaea were assessed by 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. We identified 45 bacterial and four archaeal groups. Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria dominated the bacterial community, while Euryarchaeota and Thaumarchaeota dominated the archaeal community. Seasonal fluctuations in the relative abundance of microbial taxa were observed, but pond characteristics were more determinant to community composition differences. Microbial communities are highly diverse, and local variability could partially explain the microbial structure's main differences. Functional predictions based in 16S rRNA gene accessed with Tax4Fun indicated an enriched abundance of predicted methane metabolism in the deeper pond, where higher abundance of methanogenic archaea Methanocella, Methanosaeta, and Methanomicrobiaceae was detected. Our dataset encompasses the more comprehensive survey of prokaryotic microbes in Cerrado's aquatic environments. Here, we present basic and essential information about composition and diversity, for initial insights into the ecology of Bacteria and Archaea in these environments.

RevDate: 2020-11-07

Dhamad AE, DJ Lessner (2020)

A CRISPRi-dCas9 System for Archaea and Its Use To Examine Gene Function during Nitrogen Fixation by Methanosarcina acetivorans.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 86(21):.

CRISPR-based systems are emerging as the premier method to manipulate many cellular processes. In this study, a simple and efficient CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) system for targeted gene repression in archaea was developed. The Methanosarcina acetivorans CRISPR-Cas9 system was repurposed by replacing Cas9 with the catalytically dead Cas9 (dCas9) to generate a CRISPRi-dCas9 system for targeted gene repression. To test the utility of the system, genes involved in nitrogen (N2) fixation were targeted for dCas9-mediated repression. First, the nif operon (nifHI1I2DKEN) that encodes molybdenum nitrogenase was targeted by separate guide RNAs (gRNAs), one targeting the promoter and the other targeting nifD Remarkably, growth of M. acetivorans with N2 was abolished by dCas9-mediated repression of the nif operon with each gRNA. The abundance of nif transcripts was >90% reduced in both strains expressing the gRNAs, and NifD was not detected in cell lysate. Next, we targeted NifB, which is required for nitrogenase cofactor biogenesis. Expression of a gRNA targeting the coding sequence of NifB decreased nifB transcript abundance >85% and impaired but did not abolish growth of M. acetivorans with N2 Finally, to ascertain the ability to study gene regulation using CRISPRi-dCas9, nrpR1, encoding a subunit of the repressor of the nif operon, was targeted. The nrpR1 repression strain grew normally with N2 but had increased nif operon transcript abundance, consistent with NrpR1 acting as a repressor. These results highlight the utility of the system, whereby a single gRNA when expressed with dCas9 can block transcription of targeted genes and operons in M. acetivoransIMPORTANCE Genetic tools are needed to understand and manipulate the biology of archaea, which serve critical roles in the biosphere. Methanogenic archaea (methanogens) are essential for the biological production of methane, an intermediate in the global carbon cycle, an important greenhouse gas, and a biofuel. The CRISPRi-dCas9 system in the model methanogen Methanosarcina acetivorans is, to our knowledge, the first Cas9-based CRISPR interference system in archaea. Results demonstrate that the system is remarkably efficient in targeted gene repression and provide new insight into nitrogen fixation by methanogens, the only archaea with nitrogenase. Overall, the CRISPRi-dCas9 system provides a simple, yet powerful, genetic tool to control the expression of target genes and operons in methanogens.

RevDate: 2020-10-14
CmpDate: 2020-10-14

Flores-Bautista E, Hernandez-Guerrero R, Huerta-Saquero A, et al (2020)

Deciphering the functional diversity of DNA-binding transcription factors in Bacteria and Archaea organisms.

PloS one, 15(8):e0237135.

DNA-binding Transcription Factors (TFs) play a central role in regulation of gene expression in prokaryotic organisms, and similarities at the sequence level have been reported. These proteins are predicted with different abundances as a consequence of genome size, where small organisms contain a low proportion of TFs and large genomes contain a high proportion of TFs. In this work, we analyzed a collection of 668 experimentally validated TFs across 30 different species from diverse taxonomical classes, including Escherichia coli K-12, Bacillus subtilis 168, Corynebacterium glutamicum, and Streptomyces coelicolor, among others. This collection of TFs, together with 111 hidden Markov model profiles associated with DNA-binding TFs collected from diverse databases such as PFAM and DBD, was used to identify the repertoire of proteins putatively devoted to gene regulation in 1321 representative genomes of Archaea and Bacteria. The predicted regulatory proteins were posteriorly analyzed in terms of their genomic context, allowing the prediction of functions for TFs and their neighbor genes, such as genes involved in virulence, enzymatic functions, phosphorylation mechanisms, and antibiotic resistance. The functional analysis associated with PFAM groups showed diverse functional categories were significantly enriched in the collection of TFs and the proteins encoded by the neighbor genes, in particular, small-molecule binding and amino acid transmembrane transporter activities associated with the LysR family and proteins devoted to cellular aromatic compound metabolic processes or responses to drugs, stress, or abiotic stimuli in the MarR family. We consider that with the increasing data derived from new technologies, novel TFs can be identified and help improve the predictions for this class of proteins in complete genomes. The complete collection of experimentally characterized and predicted TFs is available at

RevDate: 2020-10-31

Fonseca DR, Halim MFA, Holten MP, et al (2020)

Type IV-Like Pili Facilitate Transformation in Naturally Competent Archaea.

Journal of bacteriology, 202(21):.

Naturally competent organisms are capable of DNA uptake directly from the environment through the process of transformation. Despite the importance of transformation to microbial evolution, DNA uptake remains poorly characterized outside of the bacterial domain. Here, we identify the pilus as a necessary component of the transformation machinery in archaea. We describe two naturally competent organisms, Methanococcus maripaludis and Methanoculleus thermophilus In M. maripaludis, replicative vectors were transferred with an average efficiency of 2.4 × 103 transformants μg-1 DNA. In M. thermophilus, integrative vectors were transferred with an average efficiency of 2.7 × 103 transformants μg-1 DNA. Additionally, natural transformation of M. thermophilus could be used to introduce chromosomal mutations. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a method to introduce targeted mutations in a member of the order Methanomicrobiales For both organisms, mutants lacking structural components of the type IV-like pilus filament were defective for DNA uptake, demonstrating the importance of pili for natural transformation. Interestingly, competence could be induced in a noncompetent strain of M. maripaludis by expressing pilin genes from a replicative vector. These results expand the known natural competence pili to include examples from the archaeal domain and highlight the importance of pili for DNA uptake in diverse microbial organisms.IMPORTANCE Microbial organisms adapt and evolve by acquiring new genetic material through horizontal gene transfer. One way that this occurs is natural transformation, the direct uptake and genomic incorporation of environmental DNA by competent organisms. Archaea represent up to a third of the biodiversity on Earth, yet little is known about transformation in these organisms. Here, we provide the first characterization of a component of the archaeal DNA uptake machinery. We show that the type IV-like pilus is essential for natural transformation in two archaeal species. This suggests that pili are important for transformation across the tree of life and further expands our understanding of gene flow in archaea.

RevDate: 2020-09-15

Wang K, Yan H, Peng X, et al (2020)

Community assembly of bacteria and archaea in coastal waters governed by contrasting mechanisms: A seasonal perspective.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Marine planktonic bacteria and archaea commonly exhibit pronounced seasonal succession in community composition. But the existence of seasonality in their assembly processes and between-domain differences in underlying mechanism are largely unassessed. Using a high-coverage sampling strategy (including single sample for each station during four cruises in different seasons), 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and null models, we investigated seasonal patterns in the processes governing spatial turnover of bacteria and archaea in surface coastal waters across a sampling grid over ~300 km in the East China Sea. We found that archaea only bloomed in prokaryotic communities during autumn and winter cruises. Seasonality mostly overwhelmed spatial variability in the compositions of both domains. Bacterial and archaeal communities were dominantly governed by deterministic and stochastic assembly processes, respectively, in autumn cruise, probably due to the differences in niche breadths (bacteria < archaea) and relative abundance (bacteria > archaea). Stochasticity dominated assembly mechanisms of both domains but was driven by distinct processes in winter cruise. Determinism-dominated assembly mechanisms of bacteria rebounded in spring and summer cruises, reflecting seasonal variability in bacterial community assembly. This could be attributed to seasonal changes in bacterial niche breadths and habitat heterogeneity across the study area. There were seasonal changes in environmental factors mediating the determinism-stochasticity balance of bacterial community assembly, holding a probability of the existence of unmeasured mediators. Our results suggest contrasting assembly mechanisms of bacteria and archaea in terms of determinism-vs.-stochasticity pattern and its seasonality, highlighting the importance of seasonal perspective on microbial community assembly in marine ecosystems.

RevDate: 2020-09-15

Darnell CL, Zheng J, Wilson S, et al (2020)

The Ribbon-Helix-Helix Domain Protein CdrS Regulates the Tubulin Homolog ftsZ2 To Control Cell Division in Archaea.

mBio, 11(4):.

Precise control of the cell cycle is central to the physiology of all cells. In prior work we demonstrated that archaeal cells maintain a constant size; however, the regulatory mechanisms underlying the cell cycle remain unexplored in this domain of life. Here, we use genetics, functional genomics, and quantitative imaging to identify and characterize the novel CdrSL gene regulatory network in a model species of archaea. We demonstrate the central role of these ribbon-helix-helix family transcription factors in the regulation of cell division through specific transcriptional control of the gene encoding FtsZ2, a putative tubulin homolog. Using time-lapse fluorescence microscopy in live cells cultivated in microfluidics devices, we further demonstrate that FtsZ2 is required for cell division but not elongation. The cdrS-ftsZ2 locus is highly conserved throughout the archaeal domain, and the central function of CdrS in regulating cell division is conserved across hypersaline adapted archaea. We propose that the CdrSL-FtsZ2 transcriptional network coordinates cell division timing with cell growth in archaea.IMPORTANCE Healthy cell growth and division are critical for individual organism survival and species long-term viability. However, it remains unknown how cells of the domain Archaea maintain a healthy cell cycle. Understanding the archaeal cell cycle is of paramount evolutionary importance given that an archaeal cell was the host of the endosymbiotic event that gave rise to eukaryotes. Here, we identify and characterize novel molecular players needed for regulating cell division in archaea. These molecules dictate the timing of cell septation but are dispensable for growth between divisions. Timing is accomplished through transcriptional control of the cell division ring. Our results shed light on mechanisms underlying the archaeal cell cycle, which has thus far remained elusive.

RevDate: 2020-11-05

Penev PI, Fakhretaha-Aval S, Patel VJ, et al (2020)

Supersized Ribosomal RNA Expansion Segments in Asgard Archaea.

Genome biology and evolution, 12(10):1694-1710.

The ribosome's common core, comprised of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and universal ribosomal proteins, connects all life back to a common ancestor and serves as a window to relationships among organisms. The rRNA of the common core is similar to rRNA of extant bacteria. In eukaryotes, the rRNA of the common core is decorated by expansion segments (ESs) that vastly increase its size. Supersized ESs have not been observed previously in Archaea, and the origin of eukaryotic ESs remains enigmatic. We discovered that the large ribosomal subunit (LSU) rRNA of two Asgard phyla, Lokiarchaeota and Heimdallarchaeota, considered to be the closest modern archaeal cell lineages to Eukarya, bridge the gap in size between prokaryotic and eukaryotic LSU rRNAs. The elongated LSU rRNAs in Lokiarchaeota and Heimdallarchaeota stem from two supersized ESs, called ES9 and ES39. We applied chemical footprinting experiments to study the structure of Lokiarchaeota ES39. Furthermore, we used covariation and sequence analysis to study the evolution of Asgard ES39s and ES9s. By defining the common eukaryotic ES39 signature fold, we found that Asgard ES39s have more and longer helices than eukaryotic ES39s. Although Asgard ES39s have sequences and structures distinct from eukaryotic ES39s, we found overall conservation of a three-way junction across the Asgard species that matches eukaryotic ES39 topology, a result consistent with the accretion model of ribosomal evolution.

RevDate: 2020-08-12

Aigle A, Gubry-Rangin C, Thion C, et al (2020)

Experimental testing of hypotheses for temperature- and pH-based niche specialisation of ammonia oxidising archaea and bacteria.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Investigation of niche specialisation in microbial communities is important in assessing consequences of environmental change for ecosystem processes. Ammonia oxidising bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA) present a convenient model for studying niche specialisation. They coexist in most soils and effects of soil characteristics on their relative abundances has been studied extensively. This study integrated published information on the influence of temperature and pH on AOB and AOA into several hypotheses, generating predictions that were tested in soil microcosms. The influence of perturbations in temperature were determined in pH 4.5, 6 and 7.5 soils and perturbations in pH were investigated at 15, 25 and 35°C. AO activities were determined by analysing changes in amoA gene and transcript abundances, stable isotope probing and nitrate production. Experimental data supported major predictions of the effects of temperature and pH, but with several significant discrepancies, some of which may have resulted from experimental limitations. The study also provided evidence for unpredicted activity of AOB in pH 4.5 soil. Other discrepancies highlighted important deficiencies in current knowledge, particularly lack of consideration of niche overlap and the need to consider combinations of factors when assessing the influence of environmental change on microbial communities and their activities. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-08-10

Alori ET, Emmanuel OC, Glick BR, et al (2020)

Plant-archaea relationships: a potential means to improve crop production in arid and semi-arid regions.

World journal of microbiology & biotechnology, 36(9):133 pii:10.1007/s11274-020-02910-6.

Crop production in arid and semi-arid regions of the world is limited by several abiotic factors, including water stress, temperature extremes, low soil fertility, high soil pH, low soil water-holding capacity, and low soil organic matter. Moreover, arid and semi-arid areas experience low levels of rainfall with high spatial and temporal variability. Also, the indiscriminate use of chemicals, a practice that characterizes current agricultural practice, promotes crop and soil pollution potentially resulting in serious human health and environmental hazards. A reliable and sustainable alternative to current farming practice is, therefore, a necessity. One such option includes the use of plant growth-promoting microbes that can help to ameliorate some of the adverse effects of these multiple stresses. In this regard, archaea, functional components of the plant microbiome that are found both in the rhizosphere and the endosphere may contribute to the promotion of plant growth. Archaea can survive in extreme habitats such as areas with high temperatures and hypersaline water. No cases of archaea pathogenicity towards plants have been reported. Archaea appear to have the potential to promote plant growth, improve nutrient supply and protect plants against various abiotic stresses. A better understanding of recent developments in archaea functional diversity, plant colonizing ability, and modes of action could facilitate their eventual usage as reliable components of sustainable agricultural systems. The research discussed herein, therefore, addresses the potential role of archaea to improve sustainable crop production in arid and semi-arid areas.

RevDate: 2020-09-21
CmpDate: 2020-09-21

Yang S, Lv Y, Liu X, et al (2020)

Genomic and enzymatic evidence of acetogenesis by anaerobic methanotrophic archaea.

Nature communications, 11(1):3941.

Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) mediated by anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME) is the primary process that provides energy to cold seep ecosystems by converting methane into inorganic carbon. Notably, cold seep ecosystems are dominated by highly divergent heterotrophic microorganisms. The role of the AOM process in supporting heterotrophic population remains unknown. We investigate the acetogenic capacity of ANME-2a in a simulated cold seep ecosystem using high-pressure biotechnology, where both AOM activity and acetate production are detected. The production of acetate from methane is confirmed by isotope-labeling experiments. A complete archaeal acetogenesis pathway is identified in the ANME-2a genome, and apparent acetogenic activity of the key enzymes ADP-forming acetate-CoA ligase and acetyl-CoA synthetase is demonstrated. Here, we propose a modified model of carbon cycling in cold seeps: during AOM process, methane can be converted into organic carbon, such as acetate, which further fuels the heterotrophic community in the ecosystem.

RevDate: 2020-09-14
CmpDate: 2020-09-14

Sutter JM, Johnsen U, Reinhardt A, et al (2020)

Pentose degradation in archaea: Halorhabdus species degrade D-xylose, L-arabinose and D-ribose via bacterial-type pathways.

Extremophiles : life under extreme conditions, 24(5):759-772.

The degradation of the pentoses D-xylose, L-arabinose and D-ribose in the domain of archaea, in Haloferax volcanii and in Haloarcula and Sulfolobus species, has been shown to proceed via oxidative pathways to generate α-ketoglutarate. Here, we report that the haloarchaeal Halorhabdus species utilize the bacterial-type non-oxidative degradation pathways for pentoses generating xylulose-5-phosphate. The genes of these pathways are each clustered and were constitutively expressed. Selected enzymes involved in D-xylose degradation, xylose isomerase and xylulokinase, and those involved in L-arabinose degradation, arabinose isomerase and ribulokinase, were characterized. Further, D-ribose degradation in Halorhabdus species involves ribokinase, ribose-5-phosphate isomerase and D-ribulose-5-phosphate-3-epimerase. Ribokinase of Halorhabdus tiamatea and ribose-5-phosphate isomerase of Halorhabdus utahensis were characterized. This is the first report of pentose degradation via the bacterial-type pathways in archaea, in Halorhabdus species that likely acquired these pathways from bacteria. The utilization of bacterial-type pathways of pentose degradation rather than the archaeal oxidative pathways generating α-ketoglutarate might be explained by an incomplete gluconeogenesis in Halorhabdus species preventing the utilization of α-ketoglutarate in the anabolism.

RevDate: 2020-10-16
CmpDate: 2020-10-16

Wang F, Baquero DP, Beltran LC, et al (2020)

Structures of filamentous viruses infecting hyperthermophilic archaea explain DNA stabilization in extreme environments.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(33):19643-19652.

Living organisms expend metabolic energy to repair and maintain their genomes, while viruses protect their genetic material by completely passive means. We have used cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to solve the atomic structures of two filamentous double-stranded DNA viruses that infect archaeal hosts living in nearly boiling acid: Saccharolobus solfataricus rod-shaped virus 1 (SSRV1), at 2.8-Å resolution, and Sulfolobus islandicus filamentous virus (SIFV), at 4.0-Å resolution. The SIFV nucleocapsid is formed by a heterodimer of two homologous proteins and is membrane enveloped, while SSRV1 has a nucleocapsid formed by a homodimer and is not enveloped. In both, the capsid proteins wrap around the DNA and maintain it in an A-form. We suggest that the A-form is due to both a nonspecific desolvation of the DNA by the protein, and a specific coordination of the DNA phosphate groups by positively charged residues. We extend these observations by comparisons with four other archaeal filamentous viruses whose structures we have previously determined, and show that all 10 capsid proteins (from four heterodimers and two homodimers) have obvious structural homology while sequence similarity can be nonexistent. This arises from most capsid residues not being under any strong selective pressure. The inability to detect homology at the sequence level arises from the sampling of viruses in this part of the biosphere being extremely sparse. Comparative structural and genomic analyses suggest that nonenveloped archaeal viruses have evolved from enveloped viruses by shedding the membrane, indicating that this trait may be relatively easily lost during virus evolution.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Pedone E, Fiorentino G, Bartolucci S, et al (2020)

Enzymatic Antioxidant Signatures in Hyperthermophilic Archaea.

Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(8):.

To fight reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by both the metabolism and strongly oxidative habitats, hyperthermophilic archaea are equipped with an array of antioxidant enzymes whose role is to protect the biological macromolecules from oxidative damage. The most common ROS, such as superoxide radical (O2-.) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), are scavenged by superoxide dismutase, peroxiredoxins, and catalase. These enzymes, together with thioredoxin, protein disulfide oxidoreductase, and thioredoxin reductase, which are involved in redox homeostasis, represent the core of the antioxidant system. In this review, we offer a panorama of progression of knowledge on the antioxidative system in aerobic or microaerobic (hyper)thermophilic archaea and possible industrial applications of these enzymes.

RevDate: 2020-10-29
CmpDate: 2020-10-29

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

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

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(33):19904-19913.

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

RevDate: 2020-09-28

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

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

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:1263.

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

RevDate: 2020-08-24

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

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

FEMS microbiology letters, 367(16):.

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

RevDate: 2020-08-27

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

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

Biomolecules, 10(7):.

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

RevDate: 2020-08-14

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

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

Environmental science & technology, 54(15):9175-9190.

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

RevDate: 2020-09-28

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

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

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:1385.

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

RevDate: 2020-10-02

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

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

The ISME journal, 14(10):2595-2609.

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

RevDate: 2020-08-03

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2020-08-11
CmpDate: 2020-08-11

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

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

Bioresource technology, 314:123760.

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

RevDate: 2020-07-26

Eichler J (2020)

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

Molecular microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2020-10-27

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

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

Applied and environmental microbiology, 86(18):.

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

RevDate: 2020-09-21
CmpDate: 2020-09-17

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2020-06-30

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

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

Microbial biotechnology [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2020-09-28

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

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

Microorganisms, 8(6):.

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

RevDate: 2020-10-21

Coker OO, Wu WKK, Wong SH, et al (2020)

Altered Gut Archaea Composition and Interaction With Bacteria Are Associated With Colorectal Cancer.

Gastroenterology, 159(4):1459-1470.e5.

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2020-09-28

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

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

mSystems, 5(3):.

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

RevDate: 2020-08-18

Di Giulio M (2020)

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

Bio Systems, 196:104174.

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

RevDate: 2020-09-17

Pinevich AV (2020)

The ambiguity of the basic terms related to eukaryotes and the more consistent etymology based on eukaryotic signatures in Asgard archaea.

Bio Systems, 197:104178.

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

RevDate: 2020-06-26

Gryta A, M Frąc (2020)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2020-11-02

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

Roadmap for naming uncultivated Archaea and Bacteria.

Nature microbiology, 5(8):987-994.

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

RevDate: 2020-09-22

Zhou S, Xiang H, JL Liu (2020)

CTP synthase forms cytoophidia in archaea.

Journal of genetics and genomics = Yi chuan xue bao, 47(4):213-223.

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

RevDate: 2020-06-08

Anonymous (2020)

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

FEMS microbiology letters, 367(11):.

RevDate: 2020-09-02
CmpDate: 2020-09-02

Tang L (2020)

Taxonomy of Bacteria and Archaea.

Nature methods, 17(6):562.

RevDate: 2020-10-28

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

Anti-CRISPR Proteins in Archaea.

Trends in microbiology, 28(11):913-921.

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

RevDate: 2020-10-28

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

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

RNA biology, 17(10):1427-1441.

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

RevDate: 2020-11-05

Eckert I, Z Weinberg (2020)

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

BMC microbiology, 20(1):130.

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

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

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

RevDate: 2020-06-15
CmpDate: 2020-06-15

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

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

The Science of the total environment, 732:139310.

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

RevDate: 2020-07-27
CmpDate: 2020-07-27

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

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

Environmental science and pollution research international, 27(23):29422-29432.

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

RevDate: 2020-07-21

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

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

mBio, 11(3):.

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

RevDate: 2020-09-17

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

Author Correction: Diversity, ecology and evolution of Archaea.

Nature microbiology, 5(7):976.

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

RevDate: 2020-05-22

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

Carbon recycling efficiency and phosphate turnover by marine nitrifying archaea.

Science advances, 6(19):eaba1799.

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

RevDate: 2020-07-12

Takemata N, SD Bell (2020)

Emerging views of genome organization in Archaea.

Journal of cell science, 133(10):.

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

RevDate: 2020-07-13

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

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

Biochimie, 175:1-12.

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

RevDate: 2020-10-16
CmpDate: 2020-07-30

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

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

Nucleic acids research, 48(10):5201-5216.

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

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Rawat M, JA Maupin-Furlow (2020)

Redox and Thiols in Archaea.

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

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

RevDate: 2020-07-10
CmpDate: 2020-07-10

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

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

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 264:114671.

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

RevDate: 2020-08-18

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

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

Environmental microbiology, 22(8):3158-3171.

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

RevDate: 2020-06-08

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

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

Environment international, 140:105764.

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

RevDate: 2020-05-18

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

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

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2020-10-20
CmpDate: 2020-10-20

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

Diversity, ecology and evolution of Archaea.

Nature microbiology, 5(7):887-900.

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

RevDate: 2020-06-18

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

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

mBio, 11(2):.

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

RevDate: 2020-11-09
CmpDate: 2020-11-09

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

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

Nature biotechnology, 38(9):1079-1086.

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

RevDate: 2020-06-18

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

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

mBio, 11(2):.

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


ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Support

In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.


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If you thought that the history of life could be organized into a simple tree and that genes only moved from parents to progeny, think again. Recent science has shown that sometimes genes move sideways, skipping the reproductive process, and the tree of life looks more like a tangled bush. David Quammen, a masterful science writer, explains these new findings and more. Read this book and you'll learn about the discovery of the archaea — an entirely different form of life, living right here on this planet, and not noticed until Carl Woese found them, by being among the first to use molecular tools to look at organismal relationships. R. Robbins

Electronic Scholarly Publishing
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Bellingham, WA 98226

E-mail: RJR8222 @

Papers in Classical Genetics

The ESP began as an effort to share a handful of key papers from the early days of classical genetics. Now the collection has grown to include hundreds of papers, in full-text format.

Digital Books

Along with papers on classical genetics, ESP offers a collection of full-text digital books, including many works by Darwin (and even a collection of poetry — Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg).


ESP now offers a much improved and expanded collection of timelines, designed to give the user choice over subject matter and dates.


Biographical information about many key scientists.

Selected Bibliographies

Bibliographies on several topics of potential interest to the ESP community are now being automatically maintained and generated on the ESP site.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 07 JUL 2018 )