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Genome Sequence of Rhodoferax antarcticus ANT.BRT; A Psychrophilic Purple Nonsulfur Bacterium from an Antarctic Microbial Mat

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Rhodoferax antarcticus is an Antarctic purple nonsulfur bacterium and the only characterized anoxygenic phototroph that grows best below 20 °C. We present here a high-quality draft genome of Rfx. antarcticus

Rhodoferax antarcticus is an Antarctic purple nonsulfur bacterium and the only characterized anoxygenic phototroph that grows best below 20 °C. We present here a high-quality draft genome of Rfx. antarcticus strain ANT.BR[superscript T], isolated from an Antarctic microbial mat. The circular chromosome (3.8 Mbp) of Rfx. antarcticus has a 59.1% guanine + cytosine (GC) content and contains 4036 open reading frames. In addition, the bacterium contains a sizable plasmid (198.6 kbp, 48.4% GC with 226 open reading frames) that comprises about 5% of the total genetic content. Surprisingly, genes encoding light-harvesting complexes 1 and 3 (LH1 and LH3), but not light-harvesting complex 2 (LH2), were identified in the photosynthesis gene cluster of the Rfx. antarcticus genome, a feature that is unique among purple phototrophs. Consistent with physiological studies that showed a strong capacity for nitrogen fixation in Rfx. antarcticus, a nitrogen fixation gene cluster encoding a molybdenum-type nitrogenase was present, but no alternative nitrogenases were identified despite the cold-active phenotype of this phototroph. Genes encoding two forms of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase were present in the Rfx. antarcticus genome, a feature that likely provides autotrophic flexibility under varying environmental conditions. Lastly, genes for assembly of both type IV pili and flagella are present, with the latter showing an unusual degree of clustering. This report represents the first genomic analysis of a psychrophilic anoxygenic phototroph and provides a glimpse of the genetic basis for maintaining a phototrophic lifestyle in a permanently cold, yet highly variable, environment.

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  • 2017-02-21

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Coordinating Environmental Genomics and Geochemistry Reveals Metabolic Transitions in a Hot Spring Ecosystem

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We have constructed a conceptual model of biogeochemical cycles and metabolic and microbial community shifts within a hot spring ecosystem via coordinated analysis of the “Bison Pool” (BP) Environmental Genome

We have constructed a conceptual model of biogeochemical cycles and metabolic and microbial community shifts within a hot spring ecosystem via coordinated analysis of the “Bison Pool” (BP) Environmental Genome and a complementary contextual geochemical dataset of ∼75 geochemical parameters. 2,321 16S rRNA clones and 470 megabases of environmental sequence data were produced from biofilms at five sites along the outflow of BP, an alkaline hot spring in Sentinel Meadow (Lower Geyser Basin) of Yellowstone National Park. This channel acts as a >22 m gradient of decreasing temperature, increasing dissolved oxygen, and changing availability of biologically important chemical species, such as those containing nitrogen and sulfur. Microbial life at BP transitions from a 92°C chemotrophic streamer biofilm community in the BP source pool to a 56°C phototrophic mat community. We improved automated annotation of the BP environmental genomes using BLAST-based Markov clustering. We have also assigned environmental genome sequences to individual microbial community members by complementing traditional homology-based assignment with nucleotide word-usage algorithms, allowing more than 70% of all reads to be assigned to source organisms. This assignment yields high genome coverage in dominant community members, facilitating reconstruction of nearly complete metabolic profiles and in-depth analysis of the relation between geochemical and metabolic changes along the outflow. We show that changes in environmental conditions and energy availability are associated with dramatic shifts in microbial communities and metabolic function. We have also identified an organism constituting a novel phylum in a metabolic “transition” community, located physically between the chemotroph- and phototroph-dominated sites. The complementary analysis of biogeochemical and environmental genomic data from BP has allowed us to build ecosystem-based conceptual models for this hot spring, reconstructing whole metabolic networks in order to illuminate community roles in shaping and responding to geochemical variability.

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Date Created
  • 2012-06-04