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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.

SUBMITTER: Perner M 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4148794 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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