A New Physiological Role for the DNA Molecule as a Protector against Drying Stress in Desiccation-Tolerant Microorganisms.
ABSTRACT: The DNA molecule is associated with the role of encoding information required to produce RNA which is translated into proteins needed by the cell. This encoding involves information transmission to offspring or to other organisms by horizontal transfer. However, despite the abundance of this molecule in both the cell and the environment, its physiological role seems to be restricted mainly to that of a coding and inheritance molecule. In this paper, we report a new physiological role for the DNA molecule as involved in protection against desiccation, in addition to its well-established main information transfer and other recently reported functions such as bio-film formation in eDNA form. Desiccation-tolerant microorganisms such as Microbacterium sp. 3J1 significantly upregulate genes involved in DNA synthesis to produce DNA as part of their defensive mechanisms to protect protein structures and functions from drying according to RNA-seq analysis. We have observed the intracellular overproduction of DNA in two desiccation-tolerant microorganisms, Microbacterium sp. 3J1 and Arthrobacter siccitolerans 4J27, in response to desiccation signals. In addition, this conclusion can be made from our observations that synthetic DNA protects two proteins from drying and when part of a xeroprotectant preparation, DNA from various organisms including desiccation-sensitive species, does the same. Removal of DNA by nuclease treatment results in absence of this additive protective effect. We validated this role in biochemical and biophysical assays in proteins and occurs in trans even with short, single chains of synthetically produced DNA.
Project description:A collection of desiccation-tolerant xeroprotectant-producing microorganisms was screened for their ability to protect plants against drought, and their role as plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria was investigated in two different crops (tomato and pepper). The most commonly described biochemical mechanisms for plant protection against drought by microorganisms including the production of phytohormones, antioxidants and xeroprotectants were analyzed. In particular, the degree of plant protection against drought provided by these microorganisms was characterized. After studying the findings and comparing them with results of the closest taxonomic relatives at the species and strain levels, we propose that trehalose produced by these microorganisms is correlated with their ability to protect plants against drought. This proposal is based on the increased protection of plants against drought by the desiccation-sensitive microorganism Pseudomonas putida KT2440, which expresses the otsAB genes for trehalose biosynthesis in trans.
Project description:A novel desiccation-tolerant, xeroprotectant-producing bacterium, designated strain 4J27(T), was isolated from a Nerium oleander rhizosphere subjected to seasonal drought in Granada, Spain. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing placed the isolate within the genus Arthrobacter, its closest relative being Arthrobacter phenanthrenivorans Shep3 DSM 18606(T), with which it showed 99.23?% 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity. DNA-DNA hybridization measurements showed less than 25?% relatedness between strain 4J27(T) and Arthrobacter phenanthrenivorans DSM 18606(T). The DNA base composition of strain 4J27(T) was 65.3 mol%. The main fatty acids were anteiso C15?:?0, anteiso C17?:?0, C16?:?0 and iso C16?:?0 and the major menaquinone was MK-9 (H2). The peptidoglycan type was A3? with an l-Lys-l-Ser-l-Thr-l-Ala interpeptide bridge. The bacterium tested positive for catalase activity and negative for oxidase activity. Phylogenetic, chemotaxonomic and phenotypic analyses indicated that the desiccation-tolerant strain 4J27(T) represents a novel species within the genus Arthrobacter, for which the name Arthrobacter siccitolerans is proposed. The type strain is 4J27(T) (?=?CECT 8257(T)?=?LMG 27359(T)).
Project description:Grasses are among the most resilient plants, and some can survive prolonged desiccation in semiarid regions with seasonal rainfall. However, the genetic elements that distinguish grasses that are sensitive versus tolerant to extreme drying are largely unknown. Here, we leveraged comparative genomic approaches with the desiccation-tolerant grass Eragrostis nindensis and the related desiccation-sensitive cereal Eragrostis tef to identify changes underlying desiccation tolerance. These analyses were extended across C4 grasses and cereals to identify broader evolutionary conservation and divergence. Across diverse genomic datasets, we identified changes in chromatin architecture, methylation, gene duplications, and expression dynamics related to desiccation in E. nindensis It was previously hypothesized that transcriptional rewiring of seed desiccation pathways confers vegetative desiccation tolerance. Here, we demonstrate that the majority of seed-dehydration-related genes showed similar expression patterns in leaves of both desiccation-tolerant and -sensitive species. However, we identified a small set of seed-related orthologs with expression specific to desiccation-tolerant species. This supports a broad role for seed-related genes, where many are involved in typical drought responses, with only a small subset of crucial genes specifically induced in desiccation-tolerant plants.
Project description:Ovarian tissue contains large pools of immature oocytes enclosed in primordial follicles, making it an attractive target for fertility preservation in female cancer patients, livestock and wild species. Compared to cryopreservation, desiccation and long-term storage of samples at supra-zero temperatures (using strategies inspired from small organisms to resist extreme environments) would be more cost-effective and convenient. The objective of the study was to characterize the influence of microwave-assisted dehydration on structural and functional properties of living ovarian tissues. While this method allows preservation of single cells (cat oocytes and sperm cells so far) using trehalose as the xeroprotectant, it has not been developed for multicellular tissues yet. Ovarian cortex biopsies were reversibly permeabilized, exposed to various concentrations of trehalose, and dried for different times using a commercial microwave under thermal control. Effective dehydration of samples along with proper trehalose retention were reached within 30 min of microwave drying. Importantly, the process did not affect morphology and DNA integrity of follicles or stromal cells. Moreover, transcriptional activity and survival of follicles were partially maintained following 10 min of drying, which already was compatible with storage at non-cryogenic temperatures. Present data provide critical foundation to develop dry-preservation techniques for long-term storage of living multicellular tissues.
Project description:Filamentous Zygnematophyceae are typical components of algal mats in the polar hydro-terrestrial environment. Under field conditions, they form senescent vegetative cells, designated as pre-akinetes, which are tolerant to desiccation and osmotic stress.Pre-akinete formation and desiccation tolerance was investigated experimentally under monitored laboratory conditions in four strains of Arctic and Antarctic isolates with vegetative Zygnema sp. morphology. Phylogenetic analyses of rbcL sequences revealed one Arctic strain as genus Zygnemopsis, phylogenetically distant from the closely related Zygnema strains. Algae were cultivated in liquid or on solidified medium (9 weeks), supplemented with or lacking nitrogen. Nitrogen-free cultures (liquid as well as solidified) consisted of well-developed pre-akinetes after this period. Desiccation experiments were performed at three different drying rates (rapid: 10% relative humidity, slow: 86% rh and very slow); viability, effective quantum yield of PS II, visual and ultrastructural changes were monitored. Recovery and viability of pre-akinetes were clearly dependent on the drying rate: slower desiccation led to higher levels of survival. Pre-akinetes survived rapid drying after acclimation by very slow desiccation.The formation of pre-akinetes in polar Zygnema spp. and Zygnemopsis sp. is induced by nitrogen limitation. Pre-akinetes, modified vegetative cells, rather than specialized stages of the life cycle, can be hardened by mild desiccation stress to survive rapid drying. Naturally hardened pre-akinetes play a key role in stress tolerance and dispersal under the extreme conditions of polar regions, where sexual reproduction and production of dormant stages is largely suppressed.
Project description:Desiccation-tolerant plants are able to withstand dehydration and resume normal metabolic functions upon rehydration. These plants can be dehydrated until their cytoplasm enters a 'glassy state' in which molecular mobility is severely reduced. In desiccation-tolerant seeds, longevity can be enhanced by drying and lowering storage temperature. In these conditions, they still deteriorate slowly, but it is not known if deteriorative processes include enzyme activity. The storage stability of photosynthetic organisms is less studied, and no reports are available on the glassy state in photosynthetic tissues. Here, the desiccation-tolerant moss Syntrichia ruralis was dehydrated at either 75% or <5% relative humidity, resulting in slow (SD) or rapid desiccation (RD), respectively, and different residual water content of the desiccated tissues. The molecular mobility within dry mosses was assessed through dynamic mechanical thermal analysis, showing that at room temperature only rapidly desiccated samples entered the glassy state, whereas slowly desiccated samples were in a 'rubbery' state. Violaxanthin cycle activity, accumulation of plastoglobules, and reorganization of thylakoids were observed upon SD, but not upon RD. Violaxanthin cycle activity critically depends on the activity of violaxanthin de-epoxidase (VDE). Hence, it is proposed that enzymatic activity occurred in the rubbery state (after SD), and that in the glassy state (after RD) no VDE activity was possible. Furthermore, evidence is provided that zeaxanthin has some role in recovery apparently independent of its role in non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence.
Project description:Yeasts play an important role in the cocoa fermentation process. Although the most relevant function is the degradation of sugars and the production of ethanol, there is little understanding of the enzyme activities and attributes that allow them to survive even after drying. The present study explored the functional biodiversity of yeasts associated with Criollo Colombian cocoa fermented beans, able to survive after drying. Twelve species belonging to 10 genera of osmo-, acid-, thermo-, and desiccation-tolerant yeasts were isolated and identified from fermented and dry cocoa beans, with Pichia kudriavzevii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae standing out as the most frequent. For the first time, we reported the presence of Zygosaccharomyces bisporus in cocoa fermented beans. It was found that resistance to desiccation is related to the different degradation capacities of fermentation substrates, which suggests that associative relationships may exist between the different yeast species and their degradation products. Besides, the increased thermotolerance of some species was related to the presence of polyphenols in the medium, which might play a fundamental role in shaping the microbial community composition.
Project description:The 'intermediate seed' category was defined in the early 1990s using coffee (Coffea arabica) as a model. In contrast to orthodox seeds, intermediate seeds cannot survive complete drying, which is a major constraint for seed storage and has implications for both biodiversity conservation and agricultural purposes. However, intermediate seeds are considerably more tolerant to drying than recalcitrant seeds, which are highly sensitive to desiccation. To gain insight into the mechanisms governing such differences, changes in desiccation tolerance (DT), hormone contents, and the transcriptome were analysed in developing coffee seeds. Acquisition of DT coincided with a dramatic transcriptional switch characterised by the repression of primary metabolism, photosynthesis, and respiration, and the up-regulation of genes coding for late-embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins, heat-shock proteins (HSPs), and antioxidant enzymes. Analysis of the heat-stable proteome in mature coffee seeds confirmed the accumulation of LEA proteins identified at the transcript level. Transcriptome analysis also suggested a major role for ABA and for the transcription factors CaHSFA9, CaDREB2G, CaANAC029, CaPLATZ, and CaDOG-like in DT acquisition. The ability of CaHSFA9 and CaDREB2G to trigger HSP gene transcription was validated by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of coffee somatic embryos.
Project description:Biological soil crusts (BSCs) cover extensive portions of the earth's deserts. In order to survive desiccation cycles and utilize short periods of activity during infrequent precipitation, crust microorganisms must rely on the unique capabilities of vegetative cells to enter a dormant state and be poised for rapid resuscitation upon wetting. To elucidate the key events involved in the exit from dormancy, we performed a wetting experiment of a BSC and followed the response of the dominant cyanobacterium, Microcoleus vaginatus, in situ using a whole-genome transcriptional time course that included two diel cycles. Immediate, but transient, induction of DNA repair and regulatory genes signaled the hydration event. Recovery of photosynthesis occurred within 1?h, accompanied by upregulation of anabolic pathways. Onset of desiccation was characterized by the induction of genes for oxidative and photo-oxidative stress responses, osmotic stress response and the synthesis of C and N storage polymers. Early expression of genes for the production of exopolysaccharides, additional storage molecules and genes for membrane unsaturation occurred before drying and hints at preparedness for desiccation. We also observed signatures of preparation for future precipitation, notably the expression of genes for anaplerotic reactions in drying crusts, and the stable maintenance of mRNA through dormancy. These data shed light on possible synchronization between this cyanobacterium and its environment, and provides key mechanistic insights into its metabolism in situ that may be used to predict its response to climate, and or, land-use driven perturbations.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Lichens are symbiotic organisms with a fungal and an algal or a cyanobacterial partner. Lichens inhabit some of the harshest climates on earth and most lichen species are desiccation-tolerant. Lichen desiccation-tolerance has been studied at the biochemical level and through proteomics, but the underlying molecular genetic mechanisms remain largely unexplored. The objective of our study was to examine the effects of dehydration and rehydration on the gene expression of Cladonia rangiferina. RESULTS: Samples of C. rangiferina were collected at several time points during both the dehydration and rehydration process and the gene expression intensities were measured using a custom DNA microarray. Several genes, which were differentially expressed in one or more time points, were identified. The microarray results were validated using qRT-PCR analysis. Enrichment analysis of differentially expressed transcripts was also performed to identify the Gene Ontology terms most associated with the rehydration and dehydration process. CONCLUSIONS: Our data identify differential expression patterns for hundreds of genes that are modulated during dehydration and rehydration in Cladonia rangiferina. These dehydration and rehydration events clearly differ from each other at the molecular level and the largest changes to gene expression are observed within minutes following rehydration. Distinct changes are observed during the earliest stage of rehydration and the mechanisms not appear to be shared with the later stages of wetting or with drying. Several of the most differentially expressed genes are similar to genes identified in previous studies that have investigated the molecular mechanisms of other desiccation-tolerant organisms. We present here the first microarray experiment for any lichen species and have for the first time studied the genetic mechanisms behind lichen desiccation-tolerance at the whole transcriptome level.