2 Matching Results

Search Results

Advanced search parameters have been applied.

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

The Slow:Fast substitution ratio reveals changing patterns of natural selection in gamma-proteobacterial genomes

Description: Different microbial species are thought to occupy distinct ecological niches, subjecting each species to unique selective constraints, which may leave a recognizable signal in their genomes. Thus, it may be possible to extract insight into the genetic basis of ecological differences among lineages by identifying unusual patterns of substitutions in orthologous gene or protein sequences. We use the ratio of substitutions in slow versus fast-evolving sites (nucleotides in DNA, or amino acids in protein sequence) to quantify deviations from the typical pattern of selective constraint observed across bacterial lineages. We propose that elevated S:F in one branch (an excess of slow-site substitutions) can indicate a functionally-relevant change, due to either positive selection or relaxed evolutionary constraint. In a genome-wide comparative study of gamma-proteobacterial proteins, we find that cell-surface proteins involved with motility and secretion functions often have high S:F ratios, while information-processing genes do not. Change in evolutionary constraints in some species is evidenced by increased S:F ratios within functionally-related sets of genes (e.g., energy production in Pseudomonas fluorescens), while other species apparently evolve mostly by drift (e.g., uniformly elevated S:F across most genes in Buchnera spp.). Overall, S:F reveals several species-specific, protein-level changes with potential functional/ecological importance. As microbial genome projects yield more species-rich gene-trees, the S:F ratio will become an increasingly powerful tool for uncovering functional genetic differences among species.
Date: April 15, 2009
Creator: Alm, Eric & Shapiro, B. Jesse
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department