Polyketide genes in the marine sponge Plakortis simplex: a new group of mono-modular type I polyketide synthases from sponge symbionts.
ABSTRACT: Sponge symbionts are a largely unexplored source of new and unusual metabolic pathways. Insights into the distribution and function of metabolic genes of sponge symbionts are crucial to dissect and exploit their biotechnological potential. Screening of the metagenome of the marine sponge Plakortis simplex led to the discovery of the swf family, a new group of mono-modular type I polyketide synthase/fatty acid synthase (PKS/FAS) specifically associated with sponge symbionts. Two different examples of the swf cluster were present in the metagenome of P.?simplex. A third example of the cluster is present in the previously sequenced genome of a poribacterium from the sponge Aplysina aerophoba but was formerly considered orthologous to the wcb/rkp cluster. The swf cluster was also found in six additional species of sponges. Therefore, the swf cluster represents the second group of mono-modular PKS, after the supA family, to be widespread in marine sponges. The putative swf operon consists of swfA (type I PKS/FAS), swfB (reductase and sulphotransferase domains) and swfC (radical S-adenosylmethionine, or radical SAM). Activation of the acyl carrier protein (ACP) domain of the SwfA protein to its holo-form by co-expression with Svp is the first functional proof of swf type genes in marine sponges. However, the precise biosynthetic role of the swf clusters remains unknown.
Project description:Sponge-associated microorganisms are able to assemble the complex machinery for the production of secondary metabolites such as polyketides, the most important class of marine natural products from a drug discovery perspective. A comprehensive overview of polyketide biosynthetic genes of the sponge Plakortis halichondrioides and its symbionts was obtained in the present study by massively parallel 454 pyrosequencing of complex and heterogeneous PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) products amplified from the metagenomic DNA of a specimen of P. halichondrioides collected in the Caribbean Sea. This was accompanied by a survey of the bacterial diversity within the sponge. In line with previous studies, sequences belonging to supA and swfA, two widespread sponge-specific groups of polyketide synthase (PKS) genes were dominant. While they have been previously reported as belonging to Poribacteria (a novel bacterial phylum found exclusively in sponges), re-examination of current genomic sequencing data showed supA and swfA not to be present in the poribacterial genome. Several non-supA, non-swfA type-I PKS fragments were also identified. A significant portion of these fragments resembled type-I PKSs from protists, suggesting that bacteria may not be the only source of polyketides from P. halichondrioides, and that protistan PKSs should receive further investigation as a source of novel polyketides.
Project description:Microbes associated with marine sponges are considered important producers of bioactive, structurally unique polyketides. The synthesis of such secondary metabolites involves type I polyketide synthases (PKSs), which are enzymes that reach a maximum complexity degree in bacteria. The Haplosclerida sponge Arenosclera brasiliensis hosts a complex microbiota and is the source of arenosclerins, alkaloids with cytotoxic and antibacterial activity. In the present investigation, we performed high-throughput sequencing of the ketosynthase (KS) amplicon to investigate the diversity of PKS genes present in the metagenome of A. brasiliensis. Almost 4,000 ketosynthase reads were recovered, with about 90% annotated automatically as bacterial. A total of 235 bacterial KS contigs was rigorously assembled from this sequence pool and submitted to phylogenetic analysis. A great diversity of six type I PKS groups has been consistently detected in our phylogenetic reconstructions, including a novel and A. brasiliensis-exclusive group. Our study is the first to reveal the diversity of type I PKS genes in A. brasiliensis as well as the potential of its microbiome to serve as a source of new polyketides.
Project description:Bacterial symbionts have long been suspected to be the true producers of many drug candidates isolated from marine invertebrates. Sponges, the most important marine source of biologically active natural products, have been frequently hypothesized to contain compounds of bacterial origin. This symbiont hypothesis, however, remained unproven because of a general inability to cultivate the suspected producers. However, we have recently identified an uncultured Pseudomonas sp. symbiont as the most likely producer of the defensive antitumor polyketide pederin in Paederus fuscipes beetles by cloning the putative biosynthesis genes. Here we report closely related genes isolated from the highly complex metagenome of the marine sponge Theonella swinhoei, which is the source of the onnamides and theopederins, a group of polyketides that structurally resemble pederin. Sequence features of the isolated genes clearly indicate that it belongs to a prokaryotic genome and should be responsible for the biosynthesis of almost the entire portion of the polyketide structure that is correlated with antitumor activity. Besides providing further proof for the role of the related beetle symbiont-derived genes, these findings raise intriguing ecological and evolutionary questions and have important general implications for the sustainable production of otherwise inaccessible marine drugs by using biotechnological strategies.
Project description:Numerous marine sponges harbor enormous amounts of as-yet-uncultivated bacteria in their tissues. There is increasing evidence that these symbionts play an important role in the synthesis of protective metabolites, many of which are of great pharmacological interest. In this study, genes for the biosynthesis of polyketides, one of the most important classes of bioactive natural products, were systematically investigated in 20 demosponge species from different oceans. Unexpectedly, the sponge metagenomes were dominated by a ubiquitously present, evolutionarily distinct, and highly sponge-specific group of polyketide synthases (PKSs). Open reading frames resembling animal fatty acid genes were found on three corresponding DNA regions isolated from the metagenomes of Theonella swinhoei and Aplysina aerophoba. Their architecture suggests that methyl-branched fatty acids are the metabolic product. According to a phylogenetic analysis of housekeeping genes, at least one of the PKSs belongs to a bacterium of the Deinococcus-Thermus phylum. The results provide new insights into the chemistry of sponge symbionts and allow inference of a detailed phylogeny of the diverse functional PKS types present in sponge metagenomes. Based on these qualitative and quantitative data, we propose a significantly simplified strategy for the targeted isolation of biomedically relevant PKS genes from complex sponge-symbiont associations.
Project description:Uncultivated bacterial symbionts from the candidate genus "Entotheonella" have been shown to produce diverse natural products previously attributed to their sponge hosts. In addition to these known compounds, "Entotheonella" genomes contain rich sets of biosynthetic gene clusters that lack identified natural products. Among these is a small type?III polyketide synthase (PKS) cluster, one of only three clusters present in all known "Entotheonella" genomes. This conserved "Entotheonella" PKS (cep) cluster encodes the type?III PKS CepA and the putative methyltransferase CepB. Herein, the characterization of CepA as an enzyme involved in phenolic lipid biosynthesis is reported. In vitro analysis showed a specificity for alkyl starter substrates and the production of tri- and tetraketide pyrones and tetraketide resorcinols. The conserved distribution of the cep cluster suggests an important role for the phenolic lipid polyketides produced in "Entotheonella" variants.
Project description:Thaumarchaeota are frequently reported to associate with marine sponges (phylum Porifera); however, little is known about the features that distinguish them from their free-living thaumarchaeal counterparts. In this study, thaumarchaeal metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) were reconstructed from metagenomic data sets derived from the marine sponges Hexadella detritifera, Hexadella cf. detritifera, and Stylissa flabelliformis Phylogenetic and taxonomic analyses revealed that the three thaumarchaeal MAGs represent two new species within the genus Nitrosopumilus and one novel genus, for which we propose the names "Candidatus UNitrosopumilus hexadellus," "Candidatus UNitrosopumilus detritiferus," and "Candidatus UCenporiarchaeum stylissum" (the U superscript indicates that the taxon is uncultured). Comparison of these genomes to data from the Sponge Earth Microbiome Project revealed that "Ca UCenporiarchaeum stylissum" has been exclusively detected in sponges and can hence be classified as a specialist, while "Ca UNitrosopumilus detritiferus" and "Ca UNitrosopumilus hexadellus" are also detected outside the sponge holobiont and likely lead a generalist lifestyle. Comparison of the sponge-associated MAGs to genomes of free-living Thaumarchaeota revealed signatures that indicate functional features of a sponge-associated lifestyle, and these features were related to nutrient transport and metabolism, restriction-modification, defense mechanisms, and host interactions. Each species exhibited distinct functional traits, suggesting that they have reached different stages of evolutionary adaptation and/or occupy distinct ecological niches within their sponge hosts. Our study therefore offers new evolutionary and ecological insights into the symbiosis between sponges and their thaumarchaeal symbionts.IMPORTANCE Sponges represent ecologically important models to understand the evolution of symbiotic interactions of metazoans with microbial symbionts. Thaumarchaeota are commonly found in sponges, but their potential adaptations to a host-associated lifestyle are largely unknown. Here, we present three novel sponge-associated thaumarchaeal species and compare their genomic and predicted functional features with those of closely related free-living counterparts. We found different degrees of specialization of these thaumarchaeal species to the sponge environment that is reflected in their host distribution and their predicted molecular and metabolic properties. Our results indicate that Thaumarchaeota may have reached different stages of evolutionary adaptation in their symbiosis with sponges.
Project description:Compared with bacterial symbionts, little is known about archaea in sponges especially about their spatial distribution and abundance. Understanding the distribution and abundance of ammonia-oxidizing archaea will help greatly in elucidating the potential function of symbionts in nitrogen cycling in sponges. In this study, gene libraries of 16S rRNA gene and ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA) genes and quantitative real-time PCR were used to study the spatial distribution and abundance of archaea in the South China Sea sponge Holoxea sp. As a result, Holoxea sp. specific AOA, mainly group C1a (marine group I: Crenarchaeota) were identified. The presence of ammonia-oxidizing crenarchaea was observed for the first time within sponge cells. This study suggested a close relationship between sponge host and its archaeal symbionts as well as the archaeal potential contribution to sponge host in the ammonia-oxidizing process of nitrification.
Project description:Complex microbiomes reside in marine sponges and consist of diverse microbial taxa, including functional guilds that may contribute to host metabolism and coastal marine nutrient cycles. Our understanding of these symbiotic systems is based primarily on static accounts of sponge microbiota, while their temporal dynamics across seasonal cycles remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated temporal variation in bacterial symbionts of three sympatric sponges (Ircinia spp.) over 1.5 years in the northwestern (NW) Mediterranean Sea, using replicated terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and clone library analyses of bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences. Bacterial symbionts in Ircinia spp. exhibited host species-specific structure and remarkable stability throughout the monitoring period, despite large fluctuations in temperature and irradiance. In contrast, seawater bacteria exhibited clear seasonal shifts in community structure, indicating that different ecological constraints act on free-living and on symbiotic marine bacteria. Symbiont profiles were dominated by persistent, sponge-specific bacterial taxa, notably affiliated with phylogenetic lineages capable of photosynthesis, nitrite oxidation, and sulfate reduction. Variability in the sponge microbiota was restricted to rare symbionts and occurred most prominently in warmer seasons, coincident with elevated thermal regimes. Seasonal stability of the sponge microbiota supports the hypothesis of host-specific, stable associations between bacteria and sponges. Further, the core symbiont profiles revealed in this study provide an empirical baseline for diagnosing abnormal shifts in symbiont communities. Considering that these sponges have suffered recent, episodic mass mortalities related to thermal stresses, this study contributes to the development of model sponge-microbe symbioses for assessing the link between symbiont fluctuations and host health.
Project description:Cyanobacteria represent one of the most common members of the sponge-associated bacterial community and are abundant symbionts of coral reef ecosystems. In this study we used Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and molecular techniques (16S rRNA gene marker) to characterize the spatial distribution of cyanobionts in the widely dispersed marine intertidal sponge Hymeniacidon perlevis along the coast of Portugal (Atlantic Ocean). We described new sponge associated cyanobacterial morphotypes (Xenococcus-like) and we further observed Acaryochloris sp. as a sponge symbiont, previously only reported in association with ascidians. Besides these two unique cyanobacteria, H. perlevis predominantly harbored Synechococcus sp. and uncultured marine cyanobacteria. Our study supports the hypothesis that the community of sponge cyanobionts varies irrespective of the geographical location and is likely influenced by seasonal fluctuations. The observed multiple cyanobacterial association among sponges of the same host species over a large distance may be attributed to horizontal transfer of symbionts. This may explain the absence of a co-evolutionary pattern between the sponge host and its symbionts. Finally, in spite of the short geographic sampling distance covered, we observed an unexpected high intra-specific genetic diversity in H. perlevis using the mitochondrial genes ATP6 (? = 0.00177), COI (? = 0.00241) and intergenic spacer SP1 (? = 0.00277) relative to the levels of genetic variation of marine sponges elsewhere. Our study suggests that genotypic variation among the sponge host H. perlevis and the associated symbiotic cyanobacteria diversity may be larger than previously recognized.
Project description:Marine sponges host bacterial symbionts with biotechnological potential, yet isolation of true sponge symbionts remains difficult due to their host dependency. Moreover, attempts to grow sponges for their pharmacologically-active compounds outside of their habitat often results in a shift of their microbial community. In this study we evaluate suitable sponge cultivation methods that allow maintenance of both the marine sponge Halichondria panicea and its associated bacteria in an ex situ environment. In addition, we present a method for co-cultivation of sponge explants and microbes separated by a membrane in a multi-chamber device. Tests on ex situ cultivation of H. panicea under different controlled conditions showed that only high water exchange rates in the aquarium enabled maintenance of its dominant symbiont "Candidatus Halichondribacter symbioticus" at a high relative abundance in the sponge body, a prerequisite for co-cultivation. The bacterial enrichment retrieved from co-cultivation contained bacteria from nine different classes in addition to sequences corresponding to "Ca. H. symbioticus". This represents an increase of the cultivable bacterial classes from H. panicea compared to standard isolation techniques on solid media plates. The current study provides insights into sponge-microbe maintenance under ex situ conditions and proposes a new method for the isolation of sponge-associated bacteria.