Lack of Overt Genome Reduction in the Bryostatin-Producing Bryozoan Symbiont "Candidatus Endobugula sertula".
ABSTRACT: The uncultured bacterial symbiont "Candidatus Endobugula sertula" is known to produce cytotoxic compounds called bryostatins, which protect the larvae of its host, Bugula neritina The symbiont has never been successfully cultured, and it was thought that its genome might be significantly reduced. Here, we took a shotgun metagenomics and metatranscriptomics approach to assemble and characterize the genome of "Ca Endobugula sertula." We found that it had specific metabolic deficiencies in the biosynthesis of certain amino acids but few other signs of genome degradation, such as small size, abundant pseudogenes, and low coding density. We also identified homologs to genes associated with insect pathogenesis in other gammaproteobacteria, and these genes may be involved in host-symbiont interactions and vertical transmission. Metatranscriptomics revealed that these genes were highly expressed in a reproductive host, along with bry genes for the biosynthesis of bryostatins. We identified two new putative bry genes fragmented from the main bry operon, accounting for previously missing enzymatic functions in the pathway. We also determined that a gene previously assigned to the pathway, bryS, is not expressed in reproductive tissue, suggesting that it is not involved in the production of bryostatins. Our findings suggest that "Ca Endobugula sertula" may be able to live outside the host if its metabolic deficiencies are alleviated by medium components, which is consistent with recent findings that it may be possible for "Ca Endobugula sertula" to be transmitted horizontally. IMPORTANCE:The bryostatins are potent protein kinase C activators that have been evaluated in clinical trials for a number of indications, including cancer and Alzheimer's disease. There is, therefore, considerable interest in securing a renewable supply of these compounds, which is currently only possible through aquaculture of Bugula neritina and total chemical synthesis. However, these approaches are labor-intensive and low-yielding and thus preclude the use of bryostatins as a viable therapeutic agent. Our genome assembly and transcriptome analysis for "Ca Endobugula sertula" shed light on the metabolism of this symbiont, potentially aiding isolation and culturing efforts. Our identification of additional bry genes may also facilitate efforts to express the complete pathway heterologously.
Project description:"Candidatus Endobugula sertula," the uncultured microbial symbiont of the bryozoan Bugula neritina, produces ecologically and biomedically important polyketide metabolites called bryostatins. We isolated two gene fragments from B. neritina larvae that have high levels of similarity to polyketide synthase genes. These gene fragments are clearly associated with the symbiont and not with the host.
Project description:Mutualistic relationships are beneficial for both partners and are often studied within a single environment. However, when the range of the partners is large, geographical differences in selective pressure may shift the relationship outcome from positive to negative. The marine bryozoan Bugula neritina is a colonial invertebrate common in temperate waters worldwide. It is the source of bioactive polyketide metabolites, the bryostatins. Evidence suggests that an uncultured vertically transmitted symbiont, "Candidatus Endobugula sertula", hosted by B. neritina produces the bryostatins, which protect the vulnerable larvae from predation. Studies of B. neritina along the North American Atlantic coast revealed a complex of two morphologically similar sibling species separated by an apparent biogeographic barrier: the Type S sibling species was found below Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, while Type N was found above. Interestingly, the Type N colonies lack "Ca. Endobugula sertula" and, subsequently, defensive bryostatins; their documented northern distribution was consistent with traditional biogeographical paradigms of latitudinal variation in predation pressure. Upon further sampling of B. neritina populations, we found that both host types occur in wider distribution, with Type N colonies living south of Cape Hatteras, and Type S to the north. Distribution of the symbiont, however, was not restricted to Type S hosts. Genetic and microscopic evidence demonstrates the presence of the symbiont in some Type N colonies, and larvae from these colonies are endowed with defensive bryostatins and contain "Ca. Endobugula sertula". Molecular analysis of the symbiont from Type N colonies suggests an evolutionarily recent acquisition, which is remarkable for a symbiont thought to be transmitted only vertically. Furthermore, most Type S colonies found at higher latitudes lack the symbiont, suggesting that this host-symbiont relationship is more flexible than previously thought. Our data suggest that the symbiont, but not the host, is restricted by biogeographical boundaries.
Project description:The bryozoans Bugula neritina and Bugula simplex harbor bacteria in the pallial sinuses of their larvae as seen by electron microscopy. In B. neritina, the bacterial symbiont has been characterized as a gamma-proteobacterium, "Candidatus Endobugula sertula." "Candidatus E. sertula" has been implicated as the source of the bryostatins, polyketides that provide chemical defense to the host and are also being tested for use in human cancer treatments. In this study, the bacterial symbiont in B. simplex larvae was identified by 16S rRNA-targeted PCR and sequencing as a gamma-proteobacterium closely related to and forming a monophyletic group with "Candidatus E. sertula." In a fluorescence in situ hybridization, a 16S ribosomal DNA probe specific to the B. simplex symbiont hybridized to long rod-shaped bacteria in the pallial sinus of a B. simplex larva. The taxonomic status "Candidatus Endobugula glebosa" is proposed for the B. simplex larval symbiont. Degenerate polyketide synthase (PKS) primers amplified a gene fragment from B. simplex that closely matched a PKS gene fragment from the bryostatin PKS cluster. PCR surveys show that the symbiont and this PKS gene fragment are consistently and uniquely associated with B. simplex. Bryostatin activity assays and chemical analyses of B. simplex extracts reveal the presence of compounds similar to bryostatins. Taken together, these findings demonstrate a symbiosis in B. simplex that is similar and evolutionarily related to that in B. neritina.
Project description:The marine bryozoan, Bugula neritina, is the source of the bryostatins, a family of macrocyclic lactones with anticancer activity. Bryostatins have long been suspected to be bacterial products. B. neritina harbors the uncultivated gamma proteobacterial symbiont "Candidatus Endobugula sertula." In this work several lines of evidence are presented that show that the symbiont is the most likely source of bryostatins. Bryostatins are complex polyketides similar to bacterial secondary metabolites synthesized by modular type I polyketide synthases (PKS-I). PKS-I gene fragments were cloned from DNA extracted from the B. neritina-"E. sertula" association, and then primers specific to one of these clones, KSa, were shown to amplify the KSa gene specifically and universally from total B. neritina DNA. In addition, a KSa RNA probe was shown to bind specifically to the symbiotic bacteria located in the pallial sinus of the larvae of B. neritina and not to B. neritina cells or to other bacteria. Finally, B. neritina colonies grown in the laboratory were treated with antibiotics to reduce the numbers of bacterial symbionts. Decreased symbiont levels resulted in the reduction of the KSa signal as well as the bryostatin content. These data provide evidence that the symbiont E. sertula has the genetic potential to make bryostatins and is necessary in full complement for the host bryozoan to produce normal levels of bryostatins. This study demonstrates that it may be possible to clone bryostatin genes from B. neritina directly and use these to produce bryostatins in heterologous host bacteria.
Project description:Many animal phyla have no representatives within the catalog of whole metazoan genome sequences. This dataset fills in one gap in the genome knowledge of animal phyla with a draft genome of Bugula neritina (phylum Bryozoa). Interest in this species spans ecology and biomedical sciences because B. neritina is the natural source of bioactive compounds called bryostatins. Here we present a draft assembly of the B. neritina genome obtained from PacBio and Illumina HiSeq data, as well as genes and proteins predicted de novo and verified using transcriptome data, along with the functional annotation. These sequences will permit a better understanding of host-symbiont interactions at the genomic level, and also contribute additional phylogenomic markers to evaluate Lophophorate or Lophotrochozoa phylogenetic relationships. The effort also fits well with plans to ultimately sequence all orders of the Metazoa.
Project description:The putative modular polyketide synthase (PKS) that prescribes biosynthesis of the bryostatin natural products from the uncultured bacterial symbiont of the marine bryozoan Bugula neritina possesses a discrete open reading frame (ORF) (bryP) that encodes a protein containing tandem acyltransferase (AT) domains upstream of the PKS ORFs. BryP is hypothesized to catalyze in trans acylation of the PKS modules for polyketide chain elongation. To verify conservation of function, bryP was introduced into AT-deletion mutant strains of a heterologous host containing a PKS cluster with similar architecture, and polyketide production was partially rescued. Biochemical characterization demonstrated that BryP catalyzes selective malonyl-CoA acylation of native and heterologous acyl carrier proteins and complete PKS modules in vitro. The results support the hypothesis that BryP loads malonyl-CoA onto Bry PKS modules, and provide the first biochemical evidence of the functionality of the bry cluster.
Project description:The bryostatins are a group of 20 macrolides isolated by Pettit and co-workers from the marine organism Bugula neritina. Bryostatin 1, the flagship member of the family, has been the subject of intense chemical and biological investigations due to its remarkably diverse biological activities, including promising indications as therapy for cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and HIV. Other bryostatins, however, have attracted far less attention, most probably due to their relatively low natural abundance and associated scarcity of supply. Among all macrolides in this family, bryostatin 7 is biologically the most potent protein kinase C (PKC) ligand (in terms of binding affinity) and also the first bryostatin to be synthesized in the laboratory. Nonetheless, almost no biological studies have been carried out on this agent. We describe herein the total synthesis of bryostatin 7 based on our pyran annulation technology, which allows for the first detailed biological characterizations of bryostatin 7 with side-by-side comparisons to bryostatin 1. The results suggest that the more easily synthesized and less lipophilic bryostatin 7 may be an effective surrogate for bryostatin 1.
Project description:The bryozoan Bugula neritina has a biphasic life cycle that consists of a planktonic larval stage and a sessile juvenile/adult stage. The transition between these two stages is crucial for the development and recruitment of B. neritina. Metamorphosis in B. neritina is mediated by both the nervous system and the release of developmental signals. However, no research has been conducted to investigate the expression of neuropeptides (NP)/peptide hormones in B. neritina larvae. Here, we report a comprehensive study of the NP/peptide hormones in the marine bryozoan B. neritina based on in silico identification methods. We recovered 22 transcripts encompassing 11 NP/peptide hormone precursor transcript sequences. The transcript sequences of the 11 isolated NP precursors were validated by cDNA cloning using gene-specific primers. We also examined the expression of three peptide hormone precursor transcripts (BnFDSIG, BnILP1, BnGPB) in the coronate larvae of B. neritina, demonstrating their distinct expression patterns in the larvae. Overall, our findings serve as an important foundation for subsequent investigations of the peptidergic control of bryozoan larval behavior and settlement.
Project description:Ribosomal gene sequences were obtained from bryozoans in the genus Bugula and their bacterial symbionts; analyses of host and symbiont phylogenetic trees did not support a history of strict cospeciation. Symbiont-derived compounds known to defend host larvae from predation were only detected in two out of four symbiotic Bugula species.