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An Insect Herbivore Microbiome with High Plant Biomass-Degrading Capacity

Description: Herbivores can gain indirect access to recalcitrant carbon present in plant cell walls through symbiotic associations with lignocellulolytic microbes. A paradigmatic example is the leaf-cutter ant (Tribe: Attini), which uses fresh leaves to cultivate a fungus for food in specialized gardens. Using a combination of sugar composition analyses, metagenomics, and whole-genome sequencing, we reveal that the fungus garden microbiome of leaf-cutter ants is composed of a diverse community of bacteria with high plant biomass-degrading capacity. Comparison of this microbiome?s predicted carbohydrate-degrading enzyme profile with other metagenomes shows closest similarity to the bovine rumen, indicating evolutionary convergence of plant biomass degrading potential between two important herbivorous animals. Genomic and physiological characterization of two dominant bacteria in the fungus garden microbiome provides evidence of their capacity to degrade cellulose. Given the recent interest in cellulosic biofuels, understanding how large-scale and rapid plant biomass degradation occurs in a highly evolved insect herbivore is of particular relevance for bioenergy.
Date: September 23, 2010
Creator: Suen, Garret; Barry, Kerrie; Goodwin, Lynne; Scott, Jarrod; Aylward, Frank; Adams, Sandra et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Korarchaeota: Archaeal orphans representing an ancestral lineage of life

Description: Based on conserved cellular properties, all life on Earth can be grouped into different phyla which belong to the primary domains Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. However, tracing back their evolutionary relationships has been impeded by horizontal gene transfer and gene loss. Within the Archaea, the kingdoms Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota exhibit a profound divergence. In order to elucidate the evolution of these two major kingdoms, representatives of more deeply diverged lineages would be required. Based on their environmental small subunit ribosomal (ss RNA) sequences, the Korarchaeota had been originally suggested to have an ancestral relationship to all known Archaea although this assessment has been refuted. Here we describe the cultivation and initial characterization of the first member of the Korarchaeota, highly unusual, ultrathin filamentous cells about 0.16 {micro}m in diameter. A complete genome sequence obtained from enrichment cultures revealed an unprecedented combination of signature genes which were thought to be characteristic of either the Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, or Eukarya. Cell division appears to be mediated through a FtsZ-dependent mechanism which is highly conserved throughout the Bacteria and Euryarchaeota. An rpb8 subunit of the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase was identified which is absent from other Archaea and has been described as a eukaryotic signature gene. In addition, the representative organism possesses a ribosome structure typical for members of the Crenarchaeota. Based on its gene complement, this lineage likely diverged near the separation of the two major kingdoms of Archaea. Further investigations of these unique organisms may shed additional light onto the evolution of extant life.
Date: May 1, 2007
Creator: Elkins, James G.; Kunin, Victor; Anderson, Iain; Barry, Kerrie; Goltsman, Eugene; Lapidus, Alla et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Metagenomic Insights into Evolution of a Heavy Metal-Contaminated Groundwater Microbial Community

Description: Understanding adaptation of biological communities to environmental change is a central issue in ecology and evolution. Metagenomic analysis of a stressed groundwater microbial community reveals that prolonged exposure to high concentrations of heavy metals, nitric acid and organic solvents (~;;50 years) have resulted in a massive decrease in species and allelic diversity as well as a significant loss of metabolic diversity. Although the surviving microbial community possesses all metabolic pathways necessary for survival and growth in such an extreme environment, its structure is very simple, primarily composed of clonal denitrifying ?- and ?-proteobacterial populations. The resulting community is over-abundant in key genes conferring resistance to specific stresses including nitrate, heavy metals and acetone. Evolutionary analysis indicates that lateral gene transfer could be a key mechanism in rapidly responding and adapting to environmental contamination. The results presented in this study have important implications in understanding, assessing and predicting the impacts of human-induced activities on microbial communities ranging from human health to agriculture to environmental management, and their responses to environmental changes.
Date: February 15, 2010
Creator: Hemme, Christopher L.; Deng, Ye; Gentry, Terry J.; Fields, Matthew W.; Wu, Liyou; Barua, Soumitra et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A korarchaeal genome reveals insights into the evolution of the Archaea

Description: The candidate division Korarchaeota comprises a group of uncultivated microorganisms that, by their small subunit rRNA phylogeny, may have diverged early from the major archaeal phyla Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota. Here, we report the initial characterization of a member of the Korarchaeota with the proposed name,"Candidatus Korarchaeum cryptofilum," which exhibits an ultrathin filamentous morphology. To investigate possible ancestral relationships between deep-branching Korarchaeota and other phyla, we used whole-genome shotgun sequencing to construct a complete composite korarchaeal genome from enriched cells. The genome was assembled into a single contig 1.59 Mb in length with a G + C content of 49percent. Of the 1,617 predicted protein-coding genes, 1,382 (85percent) could be assigned to a revised set of archaeal Clusters of Orthologous Groups (COGs). The predicted gene functions suggest that the organism relies on a simple mode of peptide fermentation for carbon and energy and lacks the ability to synthesize de novo purines, CoA, and several other cofactors. Phylogenetic analyses based on conserved single genes and concatenated protein sequences positioned the korarchaeote as a deep archaeal lineage with an apparent affinity to the Crenarchaeota. However, the predicted gene content revealed that several conserved cellular systems, such as cell division, DNA replication, and tRNA maturation, resemble the counterparts in the Euryarchaeota. In light of the known composition of archaeal genomes, the Korarchaeota might have retained a set of cellular features that represents the ancestral archaeal form.
Date: June 5, 2008
Creator: Anderson, Iain J; Elkins, James G.; Podar, Mircea; Graham, David E.; Makarova, Kira S.; Wolf, Yuri et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Korarchael Genome Reveals Insights into the Evolution of the Archaea

Description: The candidate division Korarchaeota comprises a group of uncultivated microorganisms that, by their small subunit rRNA phylogeny, may have diverged early from the major archaeal phyla Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota. Here, we report the initial characterization of a member of the Korarchaeota with the proposed name, ?Candidatus Korarchaeum cryptofilum,? which exhibits an ultrathin filamentous morphology. To investigate possible ancestral relationships between deep-branching Korarchaeota and other phyla, we used whole-genome shotgun sequencing to construct a complete composite korarchaeal genome from enriched cells. The genome was assembled into a single contig 1.59 Mb in length with a G + C content of 49percent. Of the 1,617 predicted protein-coding genes, 1,382 (85percent) could be assigned to a revised set of archaeal Clusters of Orthologous Groups (COGs). The predicted gene functions suggest that the organism relies on a simple mode of peptide fermentation for carbon and energy and lacks the ability to synthesize de novo purines, CoA, and several other cofactors. Phylogenetic analyses based on conserved single genes and concatenated protein sequences positioned the korarchaeote as a deep archaeal lineage with an apparent affinity to the Crenarchaeota. However, the predicted gene content revealed that several conserved cellular systems, such as cell division, DNA replication, and tRNA maturation, resemble the counterparts in the Euryarchaeota. In light of the known composition of archaeal genomes, the Korarchaeota might have retained a set of cellular features that represents the ancestral archaeal form.
Date: January 7, 2008
Creator: Lapidus, Alla; Elkins, James G.; Podar, Mircea; Graham, David E.; Makarova, Kira S.; Wolf, Yuri et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The complete genome sequence of Staphylothermus marinus reveals differences in sulfur metabolism among heterotrophic Crenarchaeota

Description: Staphylothermus marinus is an anaerobic, sulfur-reducing peptide fermenter of the archaeal phylum Crenarchaeota. It is the third heterotrophic, obligate sulfur reducing crenarchaeote to be sequenced and provides an opportunity for comparative analysis of the three genomes. The 1.57 Mbp genome of the hyperthermophilic crenarchaeote Staphylothermus marinus has been completely sequenced. The main energy generating pathways likely involve 2-oxoacid:ferredoxin oxidoreductases and ADP-forming acetyl-CoA synthases. S. marinus possesses several enzymes not present in other crenarchaeotes including a sodium ion-translocating decarboxylase likely to be involved in amino acid degradation. S. marinus lacks sulfur-reducing enzymes present in the other two sulfur-reducing crenarchaeotes that have been sequenced - Thermofilum pendens and Hyperthermus butylicus. Instead it has three operons similar to the mbh and mbx operons of Pyrococcus furiosus, which may play a role in sulfur reduction and/or hydrogen production. The two marine organisms, S. marinus and H. butylicus, possess more sodium-dependent transporters than T. pendens and use symporters for potassium uptake while T. pendens uses an ATP-dependent potassium transporter. T. pendens has adapted to a nutrient-rich environment while H. butylicus is adapted to a nutrient-poor environment, and S. marinus lies between these two extremes. The three heterotrophic sulfur-reducing crenarchaeotes have adapted to their habitats, terrestrial vs. marine, via their transporter content, and they have also adapted to environments with differing levels of nutrients. Despite the fact that they all use sulfur as an electron acceptor, they are likely to have different pathways for sulfur reduction.
Date: September 5, 2008
Creator: Anderson, iain J.; Dharmarajan, Lakshmi; Rodriguez, Jason; Hooper, Sean; Porat, Iris; Ulrich, Luke E. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Metagenomic Analysis of Microbial Symbionts in a Gutless Worm

Description: Symbioses between bacteria and eukaryotes are ubiquitous, yet our understanding of the interactions driving these associations is hampered by our inability to cultivate most host-associated microbes. Here we use a metagenomic approach to describe four co-occurring symbionts from the marine oligochaete Olavius algarvensis, a worm lacking a mouth, gut and nephridia. Shotgun sequencing and metabolic pathway reconstruction revealed that the symbionts are sulphur-oxidizing and sulphate-reducing bacteria, all of which are capable of carbon fixation, thus providing the host with multiple sources of nutrition. Molecular evidence for the uptake and recycling of worm waste products by the symbionts suggests how the worm could eliminate its excretory system, an adaptation unique among annelid worms. We propose a model that describes how the versatile metabolism within this symbiotic consortium provides the host with an optimal energy supply as it shuttles between the upper oxic and lower anoxic coastal sediments that it inhabits.
Date: May 1, 2006
Creator: Woyke, Tanja; Teeling, Hanno; Ivanova, Natalia N.; Hunteman, Marcel; Richter, Michael; Gloeckner, Frank Oliver et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Metagenomic analysis of phosphorus removing sludgecommunities

Description: Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR) is not wellunderstood at the metabolic level despite being one of the best-studiedmicrobially-mediated industrial processes due to its ecological andeconomic relevance. Here we present a metagenomic analysis of twolab-scale EBPR sludges dominated by the uncultured bacterium, "CandidatusAccumulibacter phosphatis." This analysis resolves several controversiesin EBPR metabolic models and provides hypotheses explaining the dominanceof A. phosphatis in this habitat, its lifestyle outside EBPR and probablecultivation requirements. Comparison of the same species from differentEBPR sludges highlights recent evolutionary dynamics in the A. phosphatisgenome that could be linked to mechanisms for environmental adaptation.In spite of an apparent lack of phylogenetic overlap in the flankingcommunities of the two sludges studied, common functional themes werefound, at least one of them complementary to the inferred metabolism ofthe dominant organism. The present study provides a much-needed blueprintfor a systems-level understanding of EBPR and illustrates thatmetagenomics enables detailed, often novel, insights into evenwell-studied biological systems.
Date: February 1, 2006
Creator: Garcia Martin, Hector; Ivanova, Natalia; Kunin, Victor; Warnecke,Falk; Barry, Kerrie; McHardy, Alice C. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Symbiosis insights through metagenomic analysis of a microbialconsortium

Description: Symbioses between bacteria and eukaryotes are ubiquitous, yet our understanding of the interactions driving these associations is hampered by our inability to cultivate most host-associated microbes. Here, we used a metagenomic approach to describe four co-occurring symbionts from the marine oligochaete Olavius algarvensis, a worm lacking a mouth, gut, and nephridia. Shotgun sequencing and metabolic pathway reconstruction revealed that the symbionts are sulfur-oxidizing and sulfate-reducing bacteria, all of which are capable of carbon fixation, providing the host with multiple sources of nutrition. Molecular evidence for the uptake and recycling of worm waste products by the symbionts suggests how the worm could eliminate its excretory system, an adaptation unique among annelid worms. We propose a model which describes how the versatile metabolism within this symbiotic consortium provides the host with an optimal energy supply as it shuttles between the upper oxic and lower anoxic coastal sediments which it inhabits.
Date: September 1, 2006
Creator: Woyke, Tanja; Teeling, Hanno; Ivanova, Natalia N.; Hunteman,Marcel; Richter, Michael; Gloeckner, Frank Oliver et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Metagenomic and functional analysis of hindgut microbiota of a wood-feeding higher termite

Description: From the standpoints of both basic research and biotechnology, there is considerable interest in reaching a clearer understanding of the diversity of biological mechanisms employed during lignocellulose degradation. Globally, termites are an extremely successful group of wood-degrading organisms and are therefore important both for their roles in carbon turnover in the environment and as potential sources of biochemical catalysts for efforts aimed at converting wood into biofuels. Only recently have data supported any direct role for the symbiotic bacteria in the gut of the termite in cellulose and xylan hydrolysis. Here we use a metagenomic analysis of the bacterial community resident in the hindgut paunch of a wood-feeding Nasutitermes species to show the presence of a large, diverse set of bacterial genes for cellulose and xylan hydrolysis. Many of these genes were expressed in vivo or had cellulase activity in vitro, and further analyses implicate spirochete and fibrobacter species in gut lignocellulose degradation. New insights into other important symbiotic functions including H{sub 2} metabolism, CO{sub 2}-reductive acetogenesis and N{sub 2} fixation are also provided by this first system-wide gene analysis of a microbial community specialized towards plant lignocellulose degradation. Our results underscore how complex even a 1-{micro}l environment can be.
Date: October 1, 2007
Creator: Warnecke, Falk; Warnecke, Falk; Luginbuhl, Peter; Ivanova, Natalia; Ghassemian, Majid; Richardson, Toby H. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department