Project description:The use of microorganisms in mining processes is a technology widely employed around the world. Leaching bacteria are characterized by having resistance mechanisms for several metals found in their acidic environments, some of which have been partially described in the Acidithiobacillus genus (mainly on ferrooxidans species). However, the response to copper has not been studied in the psychrotolerant Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans strains. Therefore, we propose to elucidate the response mechanisms of A. ferrivorans ACH to high copper concentrations (0-800 mM), describing its genetic repertoire and transcriptional regulation. Our results show that A. ferrivorans ACH can grow in up to 400 mM of copper. Moreover, we found the presence of several copper-related makers, belonging to cop and cus systems, as well as rusticyanins and periplasmatic acop protein in the genome. Interestingly, the ACH strain is the only one in which we find three copies of copB and copZ genes. Moreover, transcriptional expression showed an up-regulation response (acop, copZ, cusA, rusA, and rusB) to high copper concentrations. Finally, our results support the important role of these genes in A. ferrivorans copper stress resistance, promoting the use of the ACH strain in industrial leaching under low temperatures, which could decrease the activation times of oxidation processes and the energy costs.
Project description:The iron-oxidizing species Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans is one of few acidophiles able to oxidize ferrous iron and reduced inorganic sulfur compounds at low temperatures (<10°C). To complete the genome of At. ferrivorans strain CF27, new sequences were generated, and an update assembly and functional annotation were undertaken, followed by a comparative analysis with other Acidithiobacillus species whose genomes are publically available. The At. ferrivorans CF27 genome comprises a 3,409,655 bp chromosome and a 46,453 bp plasmid. At. ferrivorans CF27 possesses genes allowing its adaptation to cold, metal(loid)-rich environments, as well as others that enable it to sense environmental changes, allowing At. ferrivorans CF27 to escape hostile conditions and to move toward favorable locations. Interestingly, the genome of At. ferrivorans CF27 exhibits a large number of genomic islands (mostly containing genes of unknown function), suggesting that a large number of genes has been acquired by horizontal gene transfer over time. Furthermore, several genes specific to At. ferrivorans CF27 have been identified that could be responsible for the phenotypic differences of this strain compared to other Acidithiobacillus species. Most genes located inside At. ferrivorans CF27-specific gene clusters which have been analyzed were expressed by both ferrous iron-grown and sulfur-attached cells, indicating that they are not pseudogenes and may play a role in both situations. Analysis of the taxonomic composition of genomes of the Acidithiobacillia infers that they are chimeric in nature, supporting the premise that they belong to a particular taxonomic class, distinct to other proteobacterial subgroups.
Project description:The psychrotolerant acidophile Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans has been identified from cold environments and has been shown to use ferrous iron and inorganic sulfur compounds as its energy sources. A bioinformatic evaluation presented in this study suggested that Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans utilized a ferrous iron oxidation pathway similar to that of the related species Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. However, the inorganic sulfur oxidation pathway was less clear, since the Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans genome contained genes from both Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus caldus encoding enzymes whose assigned functions are redundant. Transcriptional analysis revealed that the petA1 and petB1 genes (implicated in ferrous iron oxidation) were downregulated upon growth on the inorganic sulfur compound tetrathionate but were on average 10.5-fold upregulated in the presence of ferrous iron. In contrast, expression of cyoB1 (involved in inorganic sulfur compound oxidation) was decreased 6.6-fold upon growth on ferrous iron alone. Competition assays between ferrous iron and tetrathionate with Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans SS3 precultured on chalcopyrite mineral showed a preference for ferrous iron oxidation over tetrathionate oxidation. Also, pure and mixed cultures of psychrotolerant acidophiles were utilized for the bioleaching of metal sulfide minerals in stirred tank reactors at 5 and 25°C in order to investigate the fate of ferrous iron and inorganic sulfur compounds. Solid sulfur accumulated in bioleaching cultures growing on a chalcopyrite concentrate. Sulfur accumulation halted mineral solubilization, but sulfur was oxidized after metal release had ceased. The data indicated that ferrous iron was preferentially oxidized during growth on chalcopyrite, a finding with important implications for biomining in cold environments.
Project description:Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans is an acidophile that often occurs in low temperature acid mine drainage, e.g., that located at high altitude. Being able to inhabit the extreme environment, the bacterium must possess strategies to copy with the survival stress. Nonetheless, information on the strategies is in demand. Here, genomic and transcriptomic assays were performed to illuminate the adaptation mechanisms of an A. ferrivorans strain YL15, to the alpine acid mine drainage environment in Yulong copper mine in southwest China. Genomic analysis revealed that strain has a gene repertoire for metal-resistance, e.g., genes coding for the mer operon and a variety of transporters/efflux proteins, and for low pH adaptation, such as genes for hopanoid-synthesis and the sodium:proton antiporter. Genes for various DNA repair enzymes and synthesis of UV-absorbing mycosporine-like amino acids precursor indicated hypothetical UV radiation-resistance mechanisms in strain YL15. In addition, it has two types of the acquired immune system-type III-B and type I-F CRISPR/Cas modules against invasion of foreign genetic elements. RNA-seq based analysis uncovered that strain YL15 uses a set of mechanisms to adapt to low temperature. Genes involved in protein synthesis, transmembrane transport, energy metabolism and chemotaxis showed increased levels of RNA transcripts. Furthermore, a bacterioferritin Dps gene had higher RNA transcript counts at 6°C, possibly implicated in protecting DNA against oxidative stress at low temperature. The study represents the first to comprehensively unveil the adaptation mechanisms of an acidophilic bacterium to the acid mine drainage in alpine regions.
Project description:Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans is an acidophilic bacterium that represents a substantial proportion of the microbial community in a low temperature mining waste stream. Due to its ability to grow at temperatures below 15 °C, it has previously been classified as 'psychrotolerant'. Low temperature-adapted microorganisms have strategies to grow at cold temperatures such as the production of cold acclimation proteins, DEAD/DEAH box helicases, and compatible solutes plus increasing their cellular membrane fluidity. However, little is known about At. ferrivorans adaptation strategies employed during culture at its temperature extremes. In this study, we report the transcriptomic response of At. ferrivorans SS3 to culture at 8 °C compared to 20 °C. Analysis revealed 373 differentially expressed genes of which, the majority were of unknown function. Only few changes in transcript counts of genes previously described to be cold adaptation genes were detected. Instead, cells cultured at cold (8 °C) altered the expression of a wide range of genes ascribed to functions in transcription, translation, and energy production. It is, therefore, suggested that a temperature of 8 °C imposed little cold stress on At. ferrivorans, underlining its adaptation to growth in the cold as well as suggesting it should be classified as a 'eurypsychrophile'.