AbstractExtracellular DNA is a major macromolecule in global element cycles, and is a particularly crucial phosphorus, nitrogen and carbon source for microorganisms in the seafloor. Nevertheless, the identities, ecophysiology and genetic features of DNA-foraging microorganisms in marine sediments are largely unknown. Here, we combined microcosm experiments, DNA stable isotope probing (SIP), single-cell SIP using nano-scale secondary isotope mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) and genome-centric metagenomics to study microbial catabolism of DNA and its subcomponents in marine sediments. 13C-DNA added to sediment microcosms was largely degraded within 10 d and mineralized to 13CO2. SIP probing of DNA revealed diverse ‘Candidatus Izemoplasma’, Lutibacter, Shewanella and Fusibacteraceae incorporated DNA-derived 13C-carbon. NanoSIMS confirmed incorporation of 13C into individual bacterial cells of Fusibacteraceae sorted from microcosms. Genomes of the 13C-labelled taxa all encoded enzymatic repertoires for catabolism of DNA or subcomponents of DNA. Comparative genomics indicated that diverse ‘Candidatus Izemoplasmatales’ (former Tenericutes) are exceptional because they encode multiple (up to five) predicted extracellular nucleases and are probably specialized DNA-degraders. Analyses of additional sediment metagenomes revealed extracellular nuclease genes are prevalent among Bacteroidota at diverse sites. Together, our results reveal the identities and functional properties of microorganisms that may contribute to the key ecosystem function of degrading and recycling DNA in the seabed.
The bilayer formed by membrane lipids serves as the containment unit for living microbial cells. In the marine environment, it has been firmly established that phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria can substitute phospholipids with nonphosphorus sugar-containing glycoglycerolipids in response to phosphorus limitation.
The exploration of deep marine sediments has unearthed many new lineages of microbes. The finding of this novel phylum of Asgard archaea is important, since understanding the diversity and evolution of Asgard archaea may inform also about the evolution of eukaryotic cells. The comparison of metabolic potentials of the Asgard archaea can help inform about selective pressures the lineages have faced during evolution.
Nonulosonic acids (NulOs) are a family of acidic carbohydrates with a nine-carbon backbone, which include different related structures, such as sialic acids. They have mainly been studied for their relevance in animal cells and pathogenic bacteria. Recently, sialic acids have been discovered as an important compound in the extracellular matrix of virtually all microbial life and in “Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis”, a well-studied polyphosphate-accumulating organism, in particular. Here, bioaggregates highly enriched with these bacteria (approx. 95% based on proteomic data) were used to study the production of NulOs in an enrichment of this microorganism. Fluorescence lectin-binding analysis, enzymatic quantification, and mass spectrometry were used to analyze the different NulOs present, showing a wide distribution and variety of these carbohydrates, such as sialic acids and bacterial NulOs, in the bioaggregates. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed the potential of “Ca. Accumulibacter” to produce different types of NulOs. Proteomic analysis showed the ability of “Ca. Accumulibacter” to reutilize and reincorporate these carbohydrates. This investigation points out the importance of diverse NulOs in non-pathogenic bacteria, which are normally overlooked. Sialic acids and other NulOs should be further investigated for their role in the ecology of “Ca. Accumulibacter” in particular, and biofilms in general.
•“Ca. Accumulibacter” has the potential to produce a range of nonulosonic acids.
•Mass spectrometry and lectin binding can reveal the presence and location of nonulosonic acids.
•The role of nonulosonic acid in non-pathogenic bacteria needs to be studied in detail.
In this study, we present a combined computational and experimental methodology that allows a rapid and efficient identification of the ncSecPs from bacteria, in particular the unculturable bacteria like CLas. Meanwhile, the study determined that a number of CLas ncSecPs suppressed HR-based cell death, and thus indicated a novel role for the bacterial ncSecPs in extracellular milieu.