A semi-quantitative, synteny-based method to improve functional predictions for hypothetical and poorly annotated bacterial and archaeal genes.
ABSTRACT: During microbial evolution, genome rearrangement increases with increasing sequence divergence. If the relationship between synteny and sequence divergence can be modeled, gene clusters in genomes of distantly related organisms exhibiting anomalous synteny can be identified and used to infer functional conservation. We applied the phylogenetic pairwise comparison method to establish and model a strong correlation between synteny and sequence divergence in all 634 available Archaeal and Bacterial genomes from the NCBI database and four newly assembled genomes of uncultivated Archaea from an acid mine drainage (AMD) community. In parallel, we established and modeled the trend between synteny and functional relatedness in the 118 genomes available in the STRING database. By combining these models, we developed a gene functional annotation method that weights evolutionary distance to estimate the probability of functional associations of syntenous proteins between genome pairs. The method was applied to the hypothetical proteins and poorly annotated genes in newly assembled acid mine drainage Archaeal genomes to add or improve gene annotations. This is the first method to assign possible functions to poorly annotated genes through quantification of the probability of gene functional relationships based on synteny at a significant evolutionary distance, and has the potential for broad application.
Project description:Acid mine drainage (AMD), associated with active and abandoned mining sites, is a habitat for acidophilic microorganisms that gain energy from the oxidation of reduced sulfur compounds and ferrous iron and that thrive at pH below 4. Members of the recently proposed genus "Ferrovum" are the first acidophilic iron oxidizers to be described within the Betaproteobacteria. Although they have been detected as typical community members in AMD habitats worldwide, knowledge of their phylogenetic and metabolic diversity is scarce. Genomics approaches appear to be most promising in addressing this lacuna since isolation and cultivation of "Ferrovum" has proven to be extremely difficult and has so far only been successful for the designated type strain "Ferrovum myxofaciens" P3G. In this study, the genomes of two novel strains of "Ferrovum" (PN-J185 and Z-31) derived from water samples of a mine water treatment plant were sequenced. These genomes were compared with those of "Ferrovum" sp. JA12 that also originated from the mine water treatment plant, and of the type strain (P3G). Phylogenomic scrutiny suggests that the four strains represent three "Ferrovum" species that cluster in two groups (1 and 2). Comprehensive analysis of their predicted metabolic pathways revealed that these groups harbor characteristic metabolic profiles, notably with respect to motility, chemotaxis, nitrogen metabolism, biofilm formation and their potential strategies to cope with the acidic environment. For example, while the "F. myxofaciens" strains (group 1) appear to be motile and diazotrophic, the non-motile group 2 strains have the predicted potential to use a greater variety of fixed nitrogen sources. Furthermore, analysis of their genome synteny provides first insights into their genome evolution, suggesting that horizontal gene transfer and genome reduction in the group 2 strains by loss of genes encoding complete metabolic pathways or physiological features contributed to the observed diversification.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The current view suggests that in low-temperature acidic environments, archaea are significantly less abundant than bacteria. Thus, this study of the microbiome of Parys Mountain (Anglesey, UK) sheds light on the generality of this current assumption. Parys Mountain is a historically important copper mine and its acid mine drainage (AMD) water streams are characterised by constant moderate temperatures (8-18 °C), extremely low pH (1.7) and high concentrations of soluble iron and other metal cations. RESULTS:Metagenomic and SSU rRNA amplicon sequencing of DNA from Parys Mountain revealed a significant proportion of archaea affiliated with Euryarchaeota, which accounted for ca. 67% of the community. Within this phylum, potentially new clades of Thermoplasmata were overrepresented (58%), with the most predominant group being "E-plasma", alongside low-abundant Cuniculiplasmataceae, 'Ca. Micrarchaeota' and 'Terrestrial Miscellaneous Euryarchaeal Group' (TMEG) archaea, which were phylogenetically close to Methanomassilicoccales and clustered with counterparts from acidic/moderately acidic settings. In the sediment, archaea and Thermoplasmata contributed the highest numbers in V3-V4 amplicon reads, in contrast with the water body community, where Proteobacteria, Nitrospirae, Acidobacteria and Actinobacteria outnumbered archaea. Cultivation efforts revealed the abundance of archaeal sequences closely related to Cuniculiplasma divulgatum in an enrichment culture established from the filterable fraction of the water sample. Enrichment cultures with unfiltered samples showed the presence of Ferrimicrobium acidiphilum, C. divulgatum, 'Ca. Mancarchaeum acidiphilum Mia14', 'Ca. Micrarchaeota'-related and diverse minor (<?2%) bacterial metagenomic reads. CONCLUSION:Contrary to expectation, our study showed a high abundance of archaea in this extremely acidic mine-impacted environment. Further, archaeal populations were dominated by one particular group, suggesting that they are functionally important. The prevalence of archaea over bacteria in these microbiomes and their spatial distribution patterns represents a novel and important advance in our understanding of acidophile ecology. We also demonstrated a procedure for the specific enrichment of cell wall-deficient members of the archaeal component of this community, although the large fraction of archaeal taxa remained unculturable. Lastly, we identified a separate clustering of globally occurring acidophilic members of TMEG that collectively belong to a distinct order within Thermoplasmata with yet unclear functional roles in the ecosystem.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Ferrovum spp. are abundant in acid mine drainage sites globally where they play an important role in biogeochemical cycling. All known taxa in this genus are Fe(II) oxidizers. Thus, co-occurring members of the genus could be competitors within the same environment. However, we found multiple, co-occurring Ferrovum spp. in Cabin Branch, an acid mine drainage site in the Daniel Boone National Forest, KY. RESULTS:Here we describe the distribution of Ferrovum spp. within the Cabin Branch communities and metagenome assembled genomes (MAGs) of two new Ferrovum spp. In contrast to previous studies, we recovered multiple 16S rRNA gene sequence variants suggesting the commonly used 97% cutoff may not be appropriate to differentiate Ferrovum spp. We also retrieved two nearly-complete Ferrovum spp. genomes from metagenomic data. The genomes of these taxa differ in several key ways relating to nutrient cycling, motility, and chemotaxis. CONCLUSIONS:Previously reported Ferrovum genomes are also diverse with respect to these categories suggesting that the genus Ferrovum contains substantial metabolic diversity. This diversity likely explains how the members of this genus successfully co-occur in Cabin Branch and why Ferrovum spp. are abundant across geochemical gradients.
Project description:Bacteria of the genus Sulfobacillus are found worldwide as members of microbial communities that accelerate sulfide mineral dissolution in acid mine drainage environments (AMD), acid-rock drainage environments (ARD), as well as in industrial bioleaching operations. Despite their frequent identification in these environments, their role in biogeochemical cycling is poorly understood.Here we report draft genomes of five species of the Sulfobacillus genus (AMDSBA1-5) reconstructed by cultivation-independent sequencing of biofilms sampled from the Richmond Mine (Iron Mountain, CA). Three of these species (AMDSBA2, AMDSBA3, and AMDSBA4) have no cultured representatives while AMDSBA1 is a strain of S. benefaciens, and AMDSBA5 a strain of S. thermosulfidooxidans. We analyzed the diversity of energy conservation and central carbon metabolisms for these genomes and previously published Sulfobacillus genomes. Pathways of sulfur oxidation vary considerably across the genus, including the number and type of subunits of putative heterodisulfide reductase complexes likely involved in sulfur oxidation. The number and type of nickel-iron hydrogenase proteins varied across the genus, as does the presence of different central carbon pathways. Only the AMDSBA3 genome encodes a dissimilatory nitrate reducatase and only the AMDSBA5 and S. thermosulfidooxidans genomes encode assimilatory nitrate reductases. Within the genus, AMDSBA4 is unusual in that its electron transport chain includes a cytochrome bc type complex, a unique cytochrome c oxidase, and two distinct succinate dehydrogenase complexes.Overall, the results significantly expand our understanding of carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, and hydrogen metabolism within the Sulfobacillus genus.
Project description:Metagenomic studies are revolutionizing our understanding of microbes in the biosphere. They have uncovered numerous proteins of unknown function in tens of essentially unstudied lineages that lack cultivated representatives. Notably, few of these microorganisms have been visualized, and even fewer have been described ultra-structurally in their essentially intact, physiologically relevant states. Here, we present cryogenic transmission electron microscope (cryo-TEM) 2D images and 3D tomographic datasets for archaeal species from natural acid mine drainage (AMD) microbial communities. Ultrastructural findings indicate the importance of microbial interconnectedness via a range of mechanisms, including direct cytoplasmic bridges and pervasive pili. The data also suggest a variety of biological structures associated with cell-cell interfaces that lack explanation. Some may play roles in inter-species interactions. Interdependences amongst the archaea may have confounded prior isolation efforts. Overall, the findings underline knowledge gaps related to archaeal cell components and highlight the likely importance of co-evolution in shaping microbial lineages.
Project description:Mine drainage is an important environmental disturbance that affects the chemical and biological components in natural resources. However, little is known about the effects of neutral mine drainage on the soil bacteria community. Here, a high-throughput 16S rDNA pyrosequencing approach was used to evaluate differences in composition, structure, and diversity of bacteria communities in samples from a neutral drainage channel, and soil next to the channel, at the Sossego copper mine in Brazil. Advanced statistical analyses were used to explore the relationships between the biological and chemical data. The results showed that the neutral mine drainage caused changes in the composition and structure of the microbial community, but not in its diversity. The Deinococcus/Thermus phylum, especially the Meiothermus genus, was in large part responsible for the differences between the communities, and was positively associated with the presence of copper and other heavy metals in the environmental samples. Other important parameters that influenced the bacterial diversity and composition were the elements potassium, sodium, nickel, and zinc, as well as pH. The findings contribute to the understanding of bacterial diversity in soils impacted by neutral mine drainage, and demonstrate that heavy metals play an important role in shaping the microbial population in mine environments.
Project description:Sequenced archaeal genomes are mostly smaller and more streamlined than typical bacterial genomes; however, members of the Methanosarcina genus within the Euryarchaeaota are a significant exception, with M. acetivorans being the largest archaeal genome (5.8?Mbp) sequenced thus far. This finding is partially explained by extensive gene duplication within Methanosarcina spp. Significantly, the evolutionary pressures leading to gene duplication and subsequent genome expansion have not been well investigated, especially with respect to biological methane production (methanogenesis), which is the key biological trait of these environmentally important organisms. In this study, we address this question by specifically probing the functional evolution of two methylamine-specific methyltransferase paralogs in members of the Methanosarcina genus. Using the genetically tractable strain, M. acetivorans, we first show that the two paralogs have distinct cellular functions: one being required for methanogenesis from methylamine, the other for use of methylamine as a nitrogen source. Subsequently, through comparative sequence analyses, we show that functional divergence of paralogs is primarily mediated by divergent evolution of the 5' regulatory region, despite frequent gene conversion within the coding sequence. This unique evolutionary paradigm for functional divergence of genes post-duplication underscores a divergent role for an enzyme singularly associated with methanogenic metabolism in other aspects of cell physiology.
Project description:The core microbiota of a neutral mine drainage and the surrounding high heavy metal content soil at a Brazilian copper mine were characterized by 16S rDNA pyrosequencing. The core microbiota of the drainage was dominated by the generalist genus Meiothermus. The soil samples contained a more heterogeneous bacterial community, with the presence of both generalist and specialist bacteria. Both environments supported mainly heterotrophic bacteria, including organisms resistant to heavy metals, although many of the bacterial groups identified remain poorly characterized. The results contribute to the understanding of bacterial communities in soils impacted by neutral mine drainage, for which information is scarce, and demonstrate that heavy metals can play an important role in shaping the microbial communities in mine environments.
Project description:The Richmond Mine at Iron Mountain, Shasta County, California, USA provides an excellent opportunity to study the chemical and biological controls on acid mine drainage (AMD) generation in situ, and to identify key factors controlling solution chemistry. Here we integrate four years of field-based geochemical data with 16S rRNA gene clone libraries and rRNA probe-based studies of microbial population structure, cultivation-based metabolic experiments, arsenopyrite surface colonization experiments, and results of intermediate sulfur species kinetics experiments to describe the Richmond Mine AMD system. Extremely acidic effluent (pH between 0.5 and 0.9) resulting from oxidation of approximately 1 × 105 to 2 × 105 moles pyrite/day contains up to 24 g/1 Fe, several g/1 Zn and hundreds of mg/l Cu. Geochemical conditions change markedly over time, and are reflected in changes in microbial populations. Molecular analyses of 232 small subunit ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) gene sequences from six sites during a sampling time when lower temperature (<32°C), higher pH (>0.8) conditions predominated show the dominance of Fe-oxidizing prokaryotes such as Ferroplasma and Leptospirillum in the primary drainage communities. Leptospirillum group III accounts for the majority of Leptospirillum sequences, which we attribute to anomalous physical and geochemical regimes at that time. A couple of sites peripheral to the main drainage, "Red Pool" and a pyrite "Slump," were even higher in pH (>1) and the community compositions reflected this change in geochemical conditions. Several novel lineages were identified within the archaeal Thermoplasmatales order associated with the pyrite slump, and the Red Pool (pH 1.4) contained the only population of Acidithiobacillus. Relatively small populations of Sulfobacillus spp. and Acidithiobacillus caldus may metabolize elemental sulfur as an intermediate species in the oxidation of pyritic sulfide to sulfate. Experiments show that elemental sulfur which forms on pyrite surfaces is resistant to most oxidants; its solublization by unattached cells may indicate involvement of a microbially derived electron shuttle. The detachment of thiosulfate () as a leaving group in pyrite oxidation should result in the formation and persistence of tetrathionate in low pH ferric iron-rich AMD solutions. However, tetrathionate is not observed. Although a -like species may form as a surface-bound intermediate, data suggest that Fe3+ oxidizes the majority of sulfur to sulfate on the surface of pyrite. This may explain why microorganisms that can utilize intermediate sulfur species are scarce compared to Fe-oxidizing taxa at the Richmond Mine site.
Project description:Heavy metal contamination of surface waters at mining sites often involves complex interactions of multiple sources and varying biogeochemical conditions. We compared surface and subsurface metal loading from mine waste pile runoff and mine drainage discharge and characterized the influence of iron oxides on metal fate along a 0.9-km stretch of Tar Creek (Oklahoma, USA), which drains an abandoned Zn/Pb mining area. The importance of each source varied by metal; mine waste pile runoff contributed 70% of Cd, while mine drainage contributed 90% of Pb, and both sources contributed similarly to Zn loading. Subsurface inputs accounted for 40% of flow and 40-70% of metal loading along this stretch. Streambed iron oxide aggregate material contained highly elevated Zn (up to 27,000 ?g g(-1)), Pb (up to 550 ?g g(-1)) and Cd (up to 200 ?g g(-1)) and was characterized as a heterogeneous mixture of iron oxides, fine-grain mine waste, and organic material. Sequential extractions confirmed preferential sequestration of Pb by iron oxides, as well as substantial concentrations of Zn and Cd in iron oxide fractions, with additional accumulation of Zn, Pb, and Cd during downstream transport. Comparisons with historical data show that while metal concentrations in mine drainage have decreased by more than an order of magnitude in recent decades, the chemical composition of mine waste pile runoff has remained relatively constant, indicating less attenuation and increased relative importance of pile runoff. These results highlight the importance of monitoring temporal changes at contaminated sites associated with evolving speciation and simultaneously addressing surface and subsurface contamination from both mine waste piles and mine drainage.