Handling temperature bursts reaching 464°C: different microbial strategies in the sisters peak hydrothermal chimney.
ABSTRACT: The active venting Sisters Peak (SP) chimney on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge holds the current temperature record for the hottest ever measured hydrothermal fluids (400°C, accompanied by sudden temperature bursts reaching 464°C). Given the unprecedented temperature regime, we investigated the biome of this chimney with a focus on special microbial adaptations for thermal tolerance. The SP metagenome reveals considerable differences in the taxonomic composition from those of other hydrothermal vent and subsurface samples; these could be better explained by temperature than by other available abiotic parameters. The most common species to which SP genes were assigned were thermophilic Aciduliprofundum sp. strain MAR08-339 (11.8%), Hippea maritima (3.8%), Caldisericum exile (1.5%), and Caminibacter mediatlanticus (1.4%) as well as to the mesophilic Niastella koreensis (2.8%). A statistical analysis of associations between taxonomic and functional gene assignments revealed specific overrepresented functional categories: for Aciduliprofundum, protein biosynthesis, nucleotide metabolism, and energy metabolism genes; for Hippea and Caminibacter, cell motility and/or DNA replication and repair system genes; and for Niastella, cell wall and membrane biogenesis genes. Cultured representatives of these organisms inhabit different thermal niches; i.e., Aciduliprofundum has an optimal growth temperature of 70°C, Hippea and Caminibacter have optimal growth temperatures around 55°C, and Niastella grows between 10 and 37°C. Therefore, we posit that the different enrichment profiles of functional categories reflect distinct microbial strategies to deal with the different impacts of the local sudden temperature bursts in disparate regions of the chimney.
Project description:Pyrococcus sp. strain ST04 is a hyperthermophilic, anaerobic, and heterotrophic archaeon isolated from a deep-sea hydrothermal sulfide chimney on the Endeavour Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. To further understand the distinct characteristics of this archaeon at the genome level (polysaccharide utilization at high temperature and ATP generation by a Na(+) gradient), the genome of strain ST04 was completely sequenced and analyzed. Here, we present the complete genome sequence analysis results of Pyrococcus sp. ST04 and report the major findings from the genome annotation, with a focus on its saccharolytic and metabolite production potential.
Project description:When its hydrothermal supply ceases, hydrothermal sulfide chimneys become inactive and commonly experience oxidative weathering on the seafloor. However, little is known about the oxidative weathering of inactive sulfide chimneys, nor about associated microbial community structures and their succession during this weathering process. In this work, an inactive sulfide chimney and a young chimney in the early sulfate stage of formation were collected from the Main Endeavor Field of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. To assess oxidative weathering, the ultrastructures of secondary alteration products accumulating on the chimney surface were examined and the presence of possible Fe-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) was investigated. The results of ultrastructure observation revealed that FeOB-associated ultrastructures with indicative morphologies were abundantly present. Iron oxidizers primarily consisted of members closely related to Gallionella spp. and Mariprofundus spp., indicating Fe-oxidizing species likely promote the oxidative weathering of inactive sulfide chimneys. Abiotic accumulation of Fe-rich substances further indicates that oxidative weathering is a complex, dynamic process, alternately controlled by FeOB and by abiotic oxidization. Although hydrothermal fluid flow had ceased, inactive chimneys still accommodate an abundant and diverse microbiome whose microbial composition and metabolic potential dramatically differ from their counterparts at active vents. Bacterial lineages within current inactive chimney are dominated by members of ?-, ?-, and ?-Proteobacteria and they are deduced to be closely involved in a diverse set of geochemical processes including iron oxidation, nitrogen fixation, ammonia oxidation and denitrification. At last, by examining microbial communities within hydrothermal chimneys at different formation stages, a general microbial community succession can be deduced from early formation stages of a sulfate chimney to actively mature sulfide structures, and then to the final inactive altered sulfide chimney. Our findings provide valuable insights into the microbe-involved oxidative weathering process and into microbial succession occurring at inactive hydrothermal sulfide chimney after high-temperature hydrothermal fluids have ceased venting.
Project description:Thermococcus sp. strain CL1 is a hyperthermophilic, anaerobic, and heterotrophic archaeon isolated from a Paralvinella sp. polychaete worm living on an active deep-sea hydrothermal sulfide chimney on the Cleft Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. To further understand the distinct characteristics of this archaeon at the genome level, its genome was completely sequenced and analyzed. Here, we announce the complete genome sequence (1,950,313 bp) of Thermococcus sp. strain CL1, with a focus on H(2)- and energy-producing capabilities and its amino acid biosynthesis and acquisition in an extreme habitat.
Project description:Microbes use directed motility to colonize harsh and dynamic environments. We discovered that Helicobacter pylori strains establish bacterial colonies deep in the gastric glands and identified a novel protein, ChePep, necessary to colonize this niche. ChePep is preferentially localized to the flagellar pole. Although mutants lacking ChePep have normal flagellar ultrastructure and are motile, they have a slight defect in swarming ability. By tracking the movement of single bacteria, we found that ?ChePep mutants cannot control the rotation of their flagella and swim with abnormally frequent reversals. These mutants even sustain bursts of movement backwards with the flagella pulling the bacteria. Genetic analysis of the chemotaxis signaling pathway shows that ChePep regulates flagellar rotation through the chemotaxis system. By examining H. pylori within a microscopic pH gradient, we determined that ChePep is critical for regulating chemotactic behavior. The chePep gene is unique to the Epsilonproteobacteria but is found throughout this diverse group. We expressed ChePep from other members of the Epsilonproteobacteria, including the zoonotic pathogen Campylobacter jejuni and the deep sea hydrothermal vent inhabitant Caminibacter mediatlanticus, in H. pylori and found that ChePep is functionally conserved across this class. ChePep represents a new family of chemotaxis regulators unique to the Epsilonproteobacteria and illustrates the different strategies that microbes have evolved to control motility.Helicobacter pylori strains infect half of all humans worldwide and contribute to the development of peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. H. pylori cannot survive within the acidic lumen of the stomach and uses flagella to actively swim to and colonize the protective mucus and epithelium. The chemotaxis system allows H. pylori to navigate by regulating the rotation of its flagella. We identified a new protein, ChePep, which controls chemotaxis in H. pylori. ChePep mutants fail to colonize the gastric glands of mice and are completely outcompeted by normal H. pylori. Genes encoding ChePep are found only in the class Epsilonproteobacteria, which includes the human pathogen Campylobacter jejuni and environmental microbes like the deep-sea hydrothermal vent colonizer Caminibacter mediatlanticus, and we show that ChePep function is conserved in this class. Our study identifies a new colonization factor in H. pylori and also provides insight into the control and evolution of bacterial chemotaxis.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are highly productive biodiversity hotspots in the deep ocean supported by chemosynthetic microorganisms. Prominent features of these systems are sulfide chimneys emanating high-temperature hydrothermal fluids. While several studies have investigated the microbial diversity in both active and inactive sulfide chimneys that have been extinct for up to thousands of years, little is known about chimneys that have ceased activity more recently, as well as the microbial succession occurring during the transition from active to inactive chimneys.<h4>Results</h4>Genome-resolved metagenomics was applied to an active and a recently extinct (~?7?years) sulfide chimney from the 9-10° N hydrothermal vent field on the East Pacific Rise. Full-length 16S rRNA gene and a total of 173 high-quality metagenome assembled genomes (MAGs) were retrieved for comparative analysis. In the active chimney (L-vent), sulfide- and/or hydrogen-oxidizing Campylobacteria and Aquificae with the potential for denitrification were identified as the dominant community members and primary producers, fixing carbon through the reductive tricarboxylic acid (rTCA) cycle. In contrast, the microbiome of the recently extinct chimney (M-vent) was largely composed of heterotrophs from various bacterial phyla, including Delta-/Beta-/Alphaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. Gammaproteobacteria were identified as the main primary producers, using the oxidation of metal sulfides and/or iron oxidation coupled to nitrate reduction to fix carbon through the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle. Further analysis revealed a phylogenetically distinct Nitrospirae cluster that has the potential to oxidize sulfide minerals coupled to oxygen and/or nitrite reduction, as well as for sulfate reduction, and that might serve as an indicator for the early stages of chimneys after venting has ceased.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This study sheds light on the composition, metabolic functions, and succession of microbial communities inhabiting deep-sea hydrothermal vent sulfide chimneys. Collectively, microbial succession during the life span of a chimney could be described to proceed from a "fluid-shaped" microbial community in newly formed and actively venting chimneys supported by the oxidation of reductants in the hydrothermal fluid to a "mineral-shaped" community supported by the oxidation of minerals after hydrothermal activity has ceased. Remarkably, the transition appears to occur within the first few years, after which the communities stay stable for thousands of years. Video Abstract.
Project description:Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are one of the most unique and fascinating ecosystems on Earth. Although phylogenetic diversity of vent communities has been extensively examined, their physiological diversity is poorly understood. In this study, a GeoChip-based, high-throughput metagenomics technology revealed dramatic differences in microbial metabolic functions in a newly grown protochimney (inner section, Proto-I; outer section, Proto-O) and the outer section of a mature chimney (4143-1) at the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Very limited numbers of functional genes were detected in Proto-I (113 genes), whereas much higher numbers of genes were detected in Proto-O (504 genes) and 4143-1 (5,414 genes). Microbial functional genes/populations in Proto-O and Proto-I were substantially different (around 1% common genes), suggesting a rapid change in the microbial community composition during the growth of the chimney. Previously retrieved cbbL and cbbM genes involved in the Calvin Benson Bassham (CBB) cycle from deep-sea hydrothermal vents were predominant in Proto-O and 4143-1, whereas photosynthetic green-like cbbL genes were the major components in Proto-I. In addition, genes involved in methanogenesis, aerobic and anaerobic methane oxidation (e.g., ANME1 and ANME2), nitrification, denitrification, sulfate reduction, degradation of complex carbon substrates, and metal resistance were also detected. Clone libraries supported the GeoChip results but were less effective than the microarray in delineating microbial populations of low biomass. Overall, these results suggest that the hydrothermal microbial communities are metabolically and physiologically highly diverse, and the communities appear to be undergoing rapid dynamic succession and adaptation in response to the steep temperature and chemical gradients across the chimney.
Project description:The geological, biological and geochemical features of a particular field of hydrothermal vents, discovered in the Panarea Volcanic Complex during a research survey carried out in 2015, are described for the first time. The site, located at 70-80 m depth off the South-western coast of the islet of Basiluzzo, was named Smoking Land for the presence of a large number of wide and high active chimneys and was characterized in terms of dissolved benthic fluxes, associated macrofauna and megafauna communities and preliminary mineralogy and geochemistry of chimney structures. On the whole field, a total of 39 chimneys, different in size and shape, were closely observed and described; 14 of them showed emission of low temperature hydrothermal fluids of marine origin characterized by acidified chemical conditions. The CTD and benthic chamber measurements highlighted that the Smoking Land is able to form a sea water bottom layer characterized by variable acidity and high DIC and trace elements concentrations; these characteristics weaken moving away from the chimney mouths. The SEM-EDS analysis of the collected solid samples revealed a chimney structure principally composed by amorphous and low crystalline Fe-oxyhydroxides of hydrothermal origins. The ROV explorations revealed a wide coverage of red algae (Peyssonnelia spp.) colonized by the green algae Flabiella petiolata and by suspension feeders, mainly sponges, but also bryozoans, and tubicolous polychaetes. Although novent-exclusive species were identified, the benthic communities found in association to the chimneys included more taxa than those observed in the surrounding no-vent rocky areas. These first findings evidence a submarine dynamic habitat where geological, chemical and biological processes are intimately connected, making the Smoking Land an important site in terms of marine heritage that should be safeguarded and protected.
Project description:Deep-sea hydrothermal vent chimneys contain a high diversity of microorganisms, yet the metabolic activity and the ecological functions of the microbial communities remain largely unexplored. In this study, a metagenomic approach was applied to characterize the metabolic potential in a Guaymas hydrothermal vent chimney and to conduct comparative genomic analysis among a variety of environments with sequenced metagenomes. Complete clustering of functional gene categories with a comparative metagenomic approach showed that this Guaymas chimney metagenome was clustered most closely with a chimney metagenome from Juan de Fuca. All chimney samples were enriched with genes involved in recombination and repair, chemotaxis and flagellar assembly, highlighting their roles in coping with the fluctuating extreme deep-sea environments. A high proportion of transposases was observed in all the metagenomes from deep-sea chimneys, supporting the previous hypothesis that horizontal gene transfer may be common in the deep-sea vent chimney biosphere. In the Guaymas chimney metagenome, thermophilic sulfate reducing microorganisms including bacteria and archaea were found predominant, and genes coding for the degradation of refractory organic compounds such as cellulose, lipid, pullullan, as well as a few hydrocarbons including toluene, ethylbenzene and o-xylene were identified. Therefore, this oil-immersed chimney supported a thermophilic microbial community capable of oxidizing a range of hydrocarbons that served as electron donors for sulphate reduction under anaerobic conditions.
Project description:A large, intact sulfide chimney, designated Finn, was recovered from the Mothra Vent Field on the Juan de Fuca Ridge in 1998. Finn was venting 302 degrees C fluids on the seafloor and contained complex mineralogical zones surrounding a large open central conduit. Examination of microorganisms within these zones, followed by community analysis with oligonucleotide probes, showed that there were variations in the abundance and diversity of eubacteria and archaea from the exterior to the interior of the chimney. The microbial abundance based upon epifluorescence microscopy and quantitative fatty acid analyses varied from >10(8) cells/g of sulfide 2 to 10 cm within the chimney wall to <10(5) cells/g in interior zones. Direct microscopic observation indicated that microorganisms were attached to mineral surfaces throughout the structure. Whole-cell hybridization results revealed that there was a transition from a mixed community of eubacteria and archaea near the cool exterior of the chimney to primarily archaea near the warm interior. Archaeal diversity was examined in three zones of Finn by cloning and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The majority of sequences from the exterior of the chimney were related to marine group I of the Crenarchaeota and uncultured Euryarchaeota from benthic marine environments. In contrast, clone libraries from interior regions of the chimney contained sequences closely related to methanogens, Thermococcales, and Archaeoglobales, in addition to uncultured crenarchaeal phylotypes obtained from deep subsurface sites. These observations of microbial communities within an active hydrothermal chimney provide insight into the microbial ecology within such structures and may facilitate follow-up exploration into expanding the known upper temperature limits of life.
Project description:Chemosynthetic Epsilonproteobacteria from deep-sea hydrothermal vents colonize substrates exposed to steep thermal and redox gradients. In many bacteria, substrate attachment, biofilm formation, expression of virulence genes and host colonization are partly controlled via a cell density-dependent mechanism involving signal molecules, known as quorum sensing. Within the Epsilonproteobacteria, quorum sensing has been investigated only in human pathogens that use the luxS/autoinducer-2 (AI-2) mechanism to control the expression of some of these functions. In this study we showed that luxS is conserved in Epsilonproteobacteria and that pathogenic and mesophilic members of this class inherited this gene from a thermophilic ancestor. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the luxS gene is expressed--and a quorum-sensing signal is produced--during growth of Sulfurovum lithotrophicum and Caminibacter mediatlanticus, two Epsilonproteobacteria from deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Finally, we detected luxS transcripts in Epsilonproteobacteria-dominated biofilm communities collected from deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Taken together, our findings indicate that the epsiloproteobacterial lineage of the LuxS enzyme originated in high-temperature geothermal environments and that, in vent Epsilonproteobacteria, luxS expression is linked to the production of AI-2 signals, which are likely produced in situ at deep-sea vents. We conclude that the luxS gene is part of the ancestral epsilonproteobacterial genome and represents an evolutionary link that connects thermophiles to human pathogens.