Role of a microcin-C-like biosynthetic gene cluster in allelopathic interactions in marine Synechococcus.
ABSTRACT: Competition between phytoplankton species for nutrients and light has been studied for many years, but allelopathic interactions between them have been more difficult to characterize. We used liquid and plate assays to determine whether these interactions occur between marine unicellular cyanobacteria of the genus Synechococcus. We have found a clear growth impairment of Synechococcus sp. CC9311 and Synechococcus sp. WH8102 when they are cultured in the presence of Synechococcus sp. CC9605. The genome of CC9605 contains a region showing homology to genes of the Escherichia coli Microcin C (McC) biosynthetic pathway. McC is a ribosome-synthesized peptide that inhibits translation in susceptible strains. We show that the CC9605 McC gene cluster is expressed and that three genes (mccD, mccA, and mccB) are further induced by coculture with CC9311. CC9605 was resistant to McC purified from E. coli, whereas strains CC9311 and WH8102 were sensitive. Cloning the CC9605 McC biosynthetic gene cluster into sensitive CC9311 led this strain to become resistant to both purified E. coli McC and Synechococcus sp. CC9605. A CC9605 mutant lacking mccA1, mccA2, and the N-terminal domain of mccB did not inhibit CC9311 growth, whereas the inhibition of WH8102 was reduced. Our results suggest that an McC-like molecule is involved in the allelopathic interactions with CC9605.
Project description:Coastal aquatic environments are typically more highly productive and dynamic than open ocean ones. Despite these differences, cyanobacteria from the genus Synechococcus are important primary producers in both types of ecosystems. We have found that the genome of a coastal cyanobacterium, Synechococcus sp. strain CC9311, has significant differences from an open ocean strain, Synechococcus sp. strain WH8102, and these are consistent with the differences between their respective environments. CC9311 has a greater capacity to sense and respond to changes in its (coastal) environment. It has a much larger capacity to transport, store, use, or export metals, especially iron and copper. In contrast, phosphate acquisition seems less important, consistent with the higher concentration of phosphate in coastal environments. CC9311 is predicted to have differences in its outer membrane lipopolysaccharide, and this may be characteristic of the speciation of some cyanobacterial groups. In addition, the types of potentially horizontally transferred genes are markedly different between the coastal and open ocean genomes and suggest a more prominent role for phages in horizontal gene transfer in oligotrophic environments.
Project description:We have looked at the transcriptional response of well characterised Synechococcus open ocean (WH8102) and coastal (CC9311) isolates to two DNA damaging agents, mitomycin C and ethidium bromide, using whole genome expression microarrays. The coastal strain, which was able to grow on higher concentrations of both chemicals, showed differential regulation of a larger proportion of its genome following M-bM-^@M-^Xtoxic shockM-bM-^@M-^Y treatment with each agent. Many of the orthologous genes in these strains, including those encoding sensor kinases, showed different transcriptional responses, with the CC9311 genes more likely to show significant changes for each tested treatment. While the overall response of each strain was considerably different, there were distinct transcriptional responses common to both strains observed for each DNA damaging agent, linked to the mode of action of each chemical. In both CC9311 and WH8102 there was evidence of SOS response induction under mitomycin C treatment, with genes encoding recA, the lexA repressor and umuC significantly upregulated in this experiment but not under ethidium bromide treatment. Conversely, ethidium bromide treatment tended to result in upregulation of the DNA-directed RNA polymerase genes, not observed following mitomycin C treatment. Interestingly, a large number of genes residing on putative genomic island regions of each genome also showed significant upregulation under one or both chemical treatments. In this series four conditions have been analyzed. These are 2 hour incubations (shock treatment) with ethidium bromide (EB, final conc 2ug/mL) and mitomycin C (MC, final conc 0.5 ug/mL) for Synechococcus sp. WH8102 and CC9311. For each slide, an experimental RNA sample was labeled with Cy3 or Cy5 and was hybridized with a reference RNA from a control sample (no addition of chemical agent) labeled with the other Cy dye. There are six slides per condition, each with at least two biological replicates and three technical replicates, including at least one flip-dye comparison. Each slide contains six replicate spots per gene.
Project description:Microcin C51 (MccC51) is an antimicrobial nucleotide-heptapeptide produced by a natural Escherichia coli strain. A 5.7-kb fragment of the pC51 plasmid carrying the genes involved in MccC51 production, secretion, and self-immunity was sequenced, and the genes were characterized. The sequence of the MccC51 gene cluster is highly similar to that of the MccC7 gene. Recombinant plasmids carrying different combinations of the mcc genes involved in the MccC51 production or immunity were constructed to characterize their functional roles. The mccA, mccB, mccD, and mccE genes are involved in MccC51 production, while the mccC and mccE genes are responsible for immunity to MccC51. The mcc gene cluster is flanked by 44-bp direct repeats. Amino acid sequence comparisons allowed us to propose functions for each Mcc polypeptide in MccC51 biosynthesis. Plasmid pUHN containing the cloned mccA, mccB, mccC, and mccE genes, but lacking mccD, directed the synthesis of MccC51p, a substance chemically related to MccC51. MccC51p exhibited weak antibiotic activity against E. coli and was toxic to the producing cells. The immunity to exogenous MccC51 determined by the mccC and mccE genes did not overcome the toxic action of MccC51p on the producing cells. The G+C content of the MccC51 operon, markedly lower than that of the E. coli genome, and the presence of direct repeats suggest the possibility of horizontal transfer of this gene cluster.
Project description:Marine cyanobacteria are thought to be the most sensitive of the phytoplankton groups to copper toxicity, yet little is known of the transcriptional response of marine Synechococcus to copper shock. Global transcriptional response to two levels of copper shock was assayed in both a coastal and an open ocean strain of marine Synechococcus using whole genome expression microarrays. Both strains showed an osmoregulatory-like response, perhaps as a result of increasing membrane permeability. This could have implications for marine carbon cycling if copper shock leads to dissolved organic carbon leakage in Synechococcus. The two strains additionally showed a reduction in photosynthetic gene transcripts. Contrastingly, the open ocean strain showed a typical stress response whereas the coastal strain exhibited a more specific oxidative or heavy metal type response. In addition, the coastal strain activated more regulatory elements and transporters, many of which are not conserved in other marine Synechococcus strains and may have been acquired by horizontal gene transfer. Thus, tolerance to copper shock in some marine Synechococcus may in part be a result of an increased ability to sense and respond in a more specialized manner. In this series four conditions have been analyzed. These are moderate copper shock for Synechococcus sp. WH8102 and CC9311 (pCu 11.1 and pCu 10.1, respectively), and high copper shock for WH8102 and CC9311 (pCu 10.1 and pCu 9.1, respectively). For each slide, an experimental RNA sample was labeled with Cy3 or Cy5 and was hybridized with a reference RNA from a non-copper-shocked sample labeled with the other Cy dye. There are six or eight slides per condition, each with two biological replicates. There are three or four technical replicates for each biological replicate including at least one flip-dye comparison. Each slide contains six replicate spots per gene.
Project description:Marine plastic pollution is a growing concern worldwide and has the potential to impact marine life via leaching of chemicals, with zinc (Zn), a common plastic additive, observed at particularly high levels in plastic leachates in previous studies. At this time, however, little is known regarding how elevated Zn affects key groups of marine primary producers. Marine cyanobacterial genera <i>Prochlorococcus</i> and <i>Synechococcus</i> are considered to be some of the most abundant oxygenic phototrophs on earth, and together contribute significantly to oceanic primary productivity. Here we set out to investigate how two <i>Prochlorococcus</i> (MIT9312 and NATL2A) and two <i>Synechococcus</i> (CC9311 and WH8102) strains, representative of diverse ecological niches, respond to exposure to high Zn concentrations. The two genera showed differences in the timing and degree of growth and physiological responses to elevated Zn levels, with <i>Prochlorococcus</i> strains showing declines in their growth rate and photophysiology following exposure to 27 µg l<sup>-1</sup> Zn, while <i>Synechococcus</i> CC9311 and WH8102 growth rates declined significantly on exposure to 52 and 152 µg l<sup>-1</sup> Zn, respectively. Differences were also observed in each strain's capacity to maintain cell wall integrity on exposure to different levels of Zn. Our results indicate that excess Zn has the potential to pose a challenge to some marine picocyanobacteria and highlights the need to better understand how different marine <i>Prochlorococcus</i> and <i>Synechococcus</i> strains may respond to increasing concentrations of Zn in some marine regions.
Project description:Marine microorganisms, particularly those residing in coastal areas, may come in contact with any number of chemicals of environmental or xenobiotic origin. The sensitivity and response of marine cyanobacteria to such chemicals is, at present, poorly understood. We have looked at the transcriptional response of well characterized Synechococcus open ocean (WH8102) and coastal (CC9311) isolates to two DNA damaging agents, mitomycin C and ethidium bromide, using whole-genome expression microarrays. The coastal strain showed differential regulation of a larger proportion of its genome following "shock" treatment with each agent. Many of the orthologous genes in these strains, including those encoding sensor kinases, showed different transcriptional responses, with the CC9311 genes more likely to show significant changes in both treatments. While the overall response of each strain was considerably different, there were distinct transcriptional responses common to both strains observed for each DNA damaging agent, linked to the mode of action of each chemical. In both CC9311 and WH8102 there was evidence of SOS response induction under mitomycin C treatment, with genes recA, lexA and umuC significantly upregulated in this experiment but not under ethidium bromide treatment. Conversely, ethidium bromide treatment tended to result in upregulation of the DNA-directed RNA polymerase genes, not observed following mitomycin C treatment. Interestingly, a large number of genes residing on putative genomic island regions of each genome also showed significant upregulation under one or both chemical treatments.
Project description:The contribution of picocyanobacteria to summer phytoplankton blooms, accompanied by an ecological crisis, is a new phenomenon in Europe. This issue requires careful investigation. We studied allelopathic activity of freshwater picocyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. on phytoplankton assemblages from three freshwater lakes. In this study, the allelopathic activity of the Synechococcus sp. on the total abundance, biomass, as well as structure of the phytoplankton assemblages were investigated. Our results indicated that addition of exudates obtained from Synechococcus sp. affected the number of cells and biomass of the phytoplankton communities; the degree of inhibition or stimulation was different for each species, causing a change in the phytoplankton abundance and dominance during the experiment. We observed that some group of organisms (especially cyanobacteria from the genus Aphanothece, Limnothrix, Microcystis, and Synechococcus) showed tolerance for allelopathic compounds produced and released by Synechococcus sp. It is also worth noting that in some samples, Bacillariophyceae (e.g., Amphora pediculus, Navicula pygmaea, and Nitzschia paleacea) were completely eliminated in the experimental treatments, while present in the controls. This work demonstrated that the allelopathic activity exhibited by the Synechococcus sp. is probably one of the major competitive strategies affecting some of the coexisting phytoplankton species in freshwater ecosystems. To our best knowledge this is the first report of the allelopathic activity of Synechococcus sp. in the freshwater reservoirs, and one of the few published works showing allelopathic properties of freshwater picocyanobacteria on coexisting phytoplankton species.
Project description:Certain marine unicellular cyanobacteria of the genus Synechococcus exhibit a unique and mysterious form of motility characterized by the ability to swim in liquid in the absence of flagella. An abundant cell-surface-associated polypeptide that is required for swimming motility by Synechococcus sp. strain WH8102 has been identified, and the gene encoding it, swmA, has been cloned and sequenced. The predicted SwmA protein contains a number of Ca2+-binding motifs as well as several potential N-glycosylation sites. Insertional inactivation of swmA in Synechococcus sp. strain WH8102 results in a loss of the ability to translocate, although the mutant strain, Swm-1, generates torque. This suggests that SwmA functions in the generation of thrust.
Project description:Many of the cyanobacterial species found in marine and saline environments have a gene encoding a putative nitrite transporter of the formate/nitrite transporter (FNT) family. The presumed function of the gene (designated nitM) was confirmed by functional expression of the gene from the coastal marine species Synechococcus sp. strain PCC7002 in the nitrite-transport-less mutant (NA4) of the freshwater cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus strain PCC7942. The NitM-mediated nitrite uptake showed an apparent Km (NO2-) of about 8 ?M and was not inhibited by nitrate, cyanate or formate. Of the nitM orthologs from the three oceanic cyanobacterial species, which are classified as ?-cyanobacteria on the basis of the occurrence of Type 1a RuBisCO, the one from Synechococcus sp. strain CC9605 conferred nitrite uptake activity on NA4, but those from Synechococcus sp. strain CC9311 and Prochlorococcus marinus strain MIT9313 did not. A strongly conserved hydrophilic amino acid sequence was found at the C-termini of the deduced NitM sequences from ?-cyanobacteria, with a notable exception of the Synechococcus sp. strain CC9605 NitM protein, which entirely lacked the C-terminal amino acids. The C-terminal sequence was not conserved in the NitM proteins from ?-cyanobacteria carrying the Type 1b RuBisCO, including the one from Synechococcus sp. strain PCC7002. Expression of the truncated nitM genes from Synechococcus sp. strain CC9311 and Prochlorococcus marinus strain MIT9313, encoding the proteins lacking the conserved C-terminal region, conferred nitrite uptake activity on the NA4 mutant, indicating that the C-terminal region of ?-cyanobacterial NitM proteins inhibits the activity of the transporter.