Diversity and functional analysis of luxS genes in vibrios from marine sponges Mycale laxissima and Ircinia strobilina.
ABSTRACT: Sponges harbor highly diverse and dense microbial communities, providing an environment in which bacterial signaling may be important. Quorum sensing (QS) is a cell density-dependent signaling process that bacteria employ to coordinate and regulate their gene expression. Previous studies have found that bacteria isolated from sponges are able to produce acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs), an important class of QS molecules found in proteobacteria. Autoinducer-2 (AI-2) is a second class of QS molecule, and is considered to be an interspecies signal. However, AI-2 signaling has not been reported in sponge bacterial symbionts. In this study, degenerate primers were designed based on known Vibrio luxS sequences to amplify the luxS genes encoding AI-2 synthases of several Vibrio isolates from marine sponges Mycale laxissima and Ircinia strobilina. All the vibrios isolated from these two sponges had luxS genes and were able to produce signals with AI-2 activity as detected using a biological reporter. A novel group of luxS sequences was found, thus extending the known diversity of luxS genes. One isolate was chosen for further analysis of its luxS gene by expression of the gene in Escherichia coli DH5? and by characterization of the profile of AI-2 activity. This work provides the first information about luxS genes and AI-2 activity in sponge-associated bacterial communities.
Project description:Sponges that harbor microalgal or, cyanobacterial symbionts may benefit from photosynthetically derived carbohydrates, which are rich in carbon but devoid of nitrogen, and may therefore encounter nitrogen limitation. Diazotrophic communities associated with two Caribbean sponges, Ircinia strobilina and Mycale laxissima were studied in a time series during which three individuals of each sponge were collected in four time points (5:00 AM, 12:00 noon, 5:00 PM, 10:00 PM). nifH genes were successfully amplified from the corresponding gDNA and cDNA pools and sequenced by high throughput 454 amplicon sequencing. In both sponges, over half the nifH transcripts were classified as from cyanobacteria and the remainder from heterotrophic bacteria. We found various groups of bacteria actively expressing the nifH gene during the entire day-night cycle, an indication that the nitrogen fixation potential was fully exploited by different nitrogen fixing bacteria groups associated with their hosts. This study showed for the first time the dynamic changes in the activity of the diazotrophic bacterial communities in marine sponges. Our study expands understanding of the diazotrophic groups that contribute to the fixed nitrogen pool in the benthic community. Sponge bacterial community-associated diazotrophy may have an important impact on the nitrogen biogeochemical cycle in the coral reef ecosystem.
Project description:The changes in bacterial communities associated with the marine sponge Mycale laxissima on transfer to aquaculture were studied using culture-based and molecular techniques. M. laxissima was maintained alive in flowthrough and closed recirculating aquaculture systems for 2 years and 1 year, respectively. The bacterial communities associated with wild and aquacultured sponges, as well as the surrounding water, were assessed using 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Bacterial richness and diversity were measured using DOTUR computer software, and clone libraries were compared using S-LIBSHUFF. DGGE analysis revealed that the diversity of the bacterial community of M. laxissima increased when sponges were maintained in aquaculture and that bacterial communities associated with wild and aquacultured M. laxissima were markedly different than those of the corresponding surrounding water. Clone libraries of bacterial 16S rRNA from sponges confirmed that the bacterial communities changed during aquaculture. These communities were significantly different than those of seawater and aquarium water. The diversity of bacterial communities associated with M. laxissima increased significantly in aquaculture. Our work shows that it is important to monitor changes in bacterial communities when examining the feasibility of growing sponges in aquaculture systems because these communities may change. This could have implications for the health of sponges or for the production of bioactive compounds by sponges in cases where these compounds are produced by symbiotic bacteria rather than by the sponges themselves.
Project description:Ruegeria sp. strain KLH11, isolated from the marine sponge Mycale laxissima, produces a complex profile of N-acylhomoserine lactone quorum-sensing (QS) molecules. The genome sequence provides insights into the genetic potential of KLH11 to maintain complex QS systems, and this is the first genome report of a cultivated symbiont from a marine sponge.
Project description:Marine sponges in the genus Ircinia are known to be good sources of secondary metabolites with biological activities. A major obstacle in the development of sponge-derived metabolites is the difficulty in ensuring an economic, sustainable supply of the metabolites. A promising strategy is the ex situ culture of sponges in closed or semiclosed aquaculture systems. In this study, the marine sponge Ircinia strobilina (order Dictyoceratida: family Irciniidae) was collected from the wild and maintained for a year in a recirculating aquaculture system. Microbiological and molecular community analyses were performed on freshly collected sponges and sponges maintained in aquaculture for 3 months and 9 months. Chemical analyses were performed on wild collected sponges and individuals maintained in aquaculture for 3 months and 1 year. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis was used to assess the complexity of and to monitor changes in the microbial communities associated with I. strobilina. Culture-based and molecular techniques showed an increase in the Bacteroidetes and Alpha- and Gammaproteobacteria components of the bacterial community in aquaculture. Populations affiliated with Beta- and Deltaproteobacteria, Clostridia, and Planctomycetes emerged in sponges maintained in aquaculture. The diversity of bacterial communities increased upon transfer into aquaculture.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Great excitement accompanied discoveries over the last decade in several Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria of the LuxS protein, which catalyzes production of the AI-2 autoinducer molecule for a second quorum sensing system (QS-2). Since the luxS gene was found to be widespread among the most diverse bacterial taxa, it was hypothesized that AI-2 may constitute the basis of a universal microbial language, a kind of bacterial Esperanto. Many of the studies published in this field have drawn a direct correlation between the occurrence of the luxS gene in a given organism and the presence and functionality of a QS-2 therein. However, rarely hathe existence of potential AI-2 receptors been examined. This is important, since it is now well recognized that LuxS also holds a central role as a metabolic enzyme in the activated methyl cycle which is responsible for the generation of S-adenosyl-L-methionine, the major methyl donor in the cell. RESULTS: In order to assess whether the role of LuxS in these bacteria is indeed related to AI-2 mediated quorum sensing we analyzed genomic databases searching for established AI-2 receptors (i.e., LuxPQ-receptor of Vibrio harveyi and Lsr ABC-transporter of Salmonella typhimurium) and other presumed QS-related proteins and compared the outcome with published results about the role of QS-2 in these organisms. An unequivocal AI-2 related behavior was restricted primarily to organisms bearing known AI-2 receptor genes, while phenotypes of luxS mutant bacteria lacking these genes could often be explained simply by assuming deficiencies in sulfur metabolism. CONCLUSION: Genomic analysis shows that while LuxPQ is restricted to Vibrionales, the Lsr-receptor complex is mainly present in pathogenic bacteria associated with endotherms. This suggests that QS-2 may play an important role in interactions with animal hosts. In most other species, however, the role of LuxS appears to be limited to metabolism, although in a few cases the presence of yet unknown receptors or the adaptation of pre-existent effectors to QS-2 must be postulated.
Project description:The LuxS enzyme, an S-ribosyl-homocysteine lyase, catalyzes the production of the signal precursor for autoinducer-2 mediated quorum sensing (QS-2) in Vibrio. Its widespread occurrence among bacteria is often considered the evidence for a universal language for interspecies communication. Presence of the luxS gene and production of the autoinducer-2 (AI-2) signal have repeatedly been the only evidences presented to assign a functional QS-2 to the most diverse species. In fact, LuxS has a primary metabolic role as part of the activated methyl cycle. In this review we have analyzed the distribution of QS-2 related genes in Enterobacteriaceae by moving the focus of the investigation from AI-2 production to the detection of potential AI-2 receptors. The latter are common in pathogens or endosymbionts of animals, but were also found in a limited number of Enterobacteriaceae of the genera Enterobacter, Klebsiella, and Pantoea that live in close association with plants or fungi. Although a precise function of QS-2 in these species has not been identified, they all show an endophytic or endosymbiontic lifestyle that suggests a role of type-2 quorum sensing in the adaptation to closed ecosystems.
Project description:Autoinducer-2 (AI-2) molecules are one class of signalling molecules involved in gene regulation dependent on population density in a mechanism commonly referred to as quorum sensing (QS). AI-2 is produced by the methylthioadenosine/S-adenosyl-homocysteine nucleosidase LuxS. In the present study, we characterise the function of bifidobacterial LuxS proteins to address the question whether these economically important bacteria are able to perform QS communication. All publically available genome sequences of bifidobacteria harbour putative luxS genes. The deduced amino acid sequences are well conserved in the genus and show good homology to the LuxS protein of the prototypical AI-2 producer Vibrio harveyi. The luxS genes of three bifidobacterial strains were successfully expressed in AI-2-negative Escherichia coli DH5α. Supernatants of these recombinant E. coli strains contained significant AI-2 activity. In initial experiments, we failed to detect AI-2 activity in supernatants of bifidobacteria grown in MRSc. High concentration of glucose as well as acidic pH had strong inhibitory effects on AI-2 activity. AI-2 activity could be detected when lower volumes of supernatants were used in the assay. Homologous overexpression of luxS in Bifidobacterium longum NCC2705 increased AI-2 levels in the supernatant. Furthermore, over-expression of luxS or supplementation with AI-2-containing supernatants enhanced biofilm formation of B. longum NCC2705. Collectively, these results suggest that bifidobacteria indeed harbour functional luxS genes that are involved in the production of AI-2-like molecules. To the best of our knowledge, this represents the first report on AI-2 activity produced by bifidobacteria. Self-produced AI-2 activity as well as AI-2-like molecules of other bacteria of the intestinal tract may have a regulatory function in biofilm formation and host colonization by bifidobacteria.
Project description:Quorum-sensing (QS), the regulation of bacterial gene expression in response to changes in cell density, involves pathways that synthesize signaling molecules (auto-inducers). The luxS/AI-2-mediated QS system has been identified in both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, possesses genes involved in luxS/AI-2-mediated QS, and deletion of luxS in B. anthracis Sterne strain 34F2 results in inhibition of AI-2 synthesis and a growth defect. In the present study, we created a ?luxS B. anthracis strain complemented in trans by insertion of a cassette, including luxS and a gene encoding erythromycin resistance, into the truncated plcR regulator locus. The complemented ?luxS strain has restored AI-2 synthesis and wild-type growth. A B. anthracis microarray study revealed consistent differential gene expression between the wild-type and ?luxS strain, including downregulation of the B. anthracis S-layer protein gene EA1 and pXO1 virulence genes. These data indicate that B. anthracis may use luxS/AI-2-mediated QS to regulate growth, density-dependent gene expression and virulence factor expression.
Project description:A closely related group of alphaproteobacteria were found to be present in seven genera of marine sponges from several locations and were shown to be transferred between sponge generations through the larvae in one of these sponges. Isolates of the alphaproteobacterium were cultured from the sponges Axinella corrugata, Mycale laxissima, Monanchora unguifera, and Niphates digitalis from Key Largo, Florida; Didiscus oxeata and Monanchora unguifera from Discovery Bay, Jamaica; an Acanthostronglyophora sp. from Manado, Indonesia; and Microciona prolifera from the Cheasapeake Bay in Maryland. Isolates were very similar to each other on the basis of 16S rRNA gene sequence (>99% identity) and are closely related to Pseudovibrio denitrificans. The bacterium was never isolated from surrounding water samples and was cultured from larvae of M. laxissima, indicating that it is a vertically transmitted symbiont in this sponge. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis, and fluorescent in situ hybridization with probes specific to the alphaproteobacterium confirmed the presence of this bacterium in the M. laxissima larvae. The alphaproteobacterium was densely associated with the larvae rather than being evenly distributed throughout the mesohyl. This is the first report of the successful culture of a bacterial symbiont of a sponge that is transferred through the gametes.
Project description:The regulatory network for the uptake of Escherichia coli autoinducer 2 (AI-2) is comprised of a transporter complex, LsrABCD; its repressor, LsrR; and a cognate signal kinase, LsrK. This network is an integral part of the AI-2 quorum-sensing (QS) system. Because LsrR and LsrK directly regulate AI-2 uptake, we hypothesized that they might play a wider role in regulating other QS-related cellular functions. In this study, we characterized physiological changes due to the genomic deletion of lsrR and lsrK. We discovered that many genes were coregulated by lsrK and lsrR but in a distinctly different manner than that for the lsr operon (where LsrR serves as a repressor that is derepressed by the binding of phospho-AI-2 to the LsrR protein). An extended model for AI-2 signaling that is consistent with all current data on AI-2, LuxS, and the LuxS regulon is proposed. Additionally, we found that both the quantity and architecture of biofilms were regulated by this distinct mechanism, as lsrK and lsrR knockouts behaved identically. Similar biofilm architectures probably resulted from the concerted response of a set of genes including flu and wza, the expression of which is influenced by lsrRK. We also found for the first time that the generation of several small RNAs (including DsrA, which was previously linked to QS systems in Vibrio harveyi) was affected by LsrR. Our results suggest that AI-2 is indeed a QS signal in E. coli, especially when it acts through the transcriptional regulator LsrR.