MacNeill Stuart A
Full Text Available Abstract Background DNA ligases are required for DNA strand joining in all forms of cellular life. NAD+-dependent DNA ligases are found primarily in eubacteria but also in some eukaryotic viruses, bacteriophage and archaea. Among the archaeal NAD+-dependent DNA ligases is the LigN enzyme of the halophilic euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii, the gene for which was apparently acquired by Hfx.volcanii through lateral gene transfer (LGT from a halophilic eubacterium. Genetic studies show that the LGT-acquired LigN enzyme shares an essential function with the native Hfx.volcanii ATP-dependent DNA ligase protein LigA. Results To characterise the enzymatic properties of the LigN protein, wild-type and three mutant forms of the LigN protein were separately expressed in recombinant form in E.coli and purified to apparent homogeneity by immobilised metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC. Non-isotopic DNA ligase activity assays using λ DNA restriction fragments with 12 bp cos cohesive ends were used to show that LigN activity was dependent on addition of divalent cations and salt. No activity was detected in the absence of KCl, whereas maximum activity could be detected at 3.2 M KCl, close to the intracellular KCl concentration of Hfx.volcanii cells. Conclusion LigN is unique amongst characterised DNA ligase enzymes in displaying maximal DNA strand joining activity at high (> 3 M salt levels. As such the LigN enzyme has potential both as a novel tool for biotechnology and as a model enzyme for studying the adaptation of proteins to high intracellular salt levels.
Poidevin, L.; MacNeill, S. A.
concentration of Hfx.volcanii cells. Conclusion LigN is unique amongst characterised DNA ligase enzymes in displaying maximal DNA strand joining activity at high (> 3 M) salt levels. As such the LigN enzyme has potential both as a novel tool for biotechnology and as a model enzyme for studying the adaptation......Background DNA ligases are required for DNA strand joining in all forms of cellular life. NAD+-dependent DNA ligases are found primarily in eubacteria but also in some eukaryotic viruses, bacteriophage and archaea. Among the archaeal NAD+-dependent DNA ligases is the LigN enzyme of the halophilic...... euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii, the gene for which was apparently acquired by Hfx.volcanii through lateral gene transfer (LGT) from a halophilic eubacterium. Genetic studies show that the LGT-acquired LigN enzyme shares an essential function with the native Hfx.volcanii ATP-dependent DNA ligase protein Lig...
Full Text Available Extracellular DNA is found in all environments and is a dynamic component of the micro-bial ecosystem. Microbial cells produce and interact with extracellular DNA through many endogenous mechanisms. Extracellular DNA is processed and internalized for use as genetic information and as a major source of macronutrients, and plays several key roles within prokaryotic biofilms. Hypersaline sites contain some of the highest extracellular DNA con-centrations measured in nature–a potential rich source of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus for halophilic microorganisms. We conducted DNA growth studies for the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii DS2 and show that this model Halobacteriales strain is capable of using exogenous double-stranded DNA as a nutrient. Further experiments with varying medium composition, DNA concentration and DNA types revealed that DNA is utilized primarily as a phosphorus source, that growth on DNA is concentration-dependent and that DNA isolated from different sources is metabolized selectively, with a bias against highly divergent methylated DNA sources. Additionally, fluorescence microscopy experiments showed that labeled DNA colocalized with Haloferax volcanii cells. The gene Hvo_1477 was also identified using a comparative genomic approach as a factor likely to be involved in extracellular DNA processing at the cell surface, and deletion of Hvo_1477 created an H. volcanii strain deficient in its ability to grow on extracellular DNA. Widespread distribution of Hvo_1477 homologs in archaea suggests metabolism of extracellular DNA may be of broad ecological and physiological relevance in this domain of life.
Full Text Available To fight off invading genetic elements, prokaryotes have developed an elaborate defence system that is both adaptable and heritable—the CRISPR-Cas system (CRISPR is short for: clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and Cas: CRISPR associated. Comprised of proteins and multiple small RNAs, this prokaryotic defence system is present in 90% of archaeal and 40% of bacterial species, and enables foreign intruders to be eliminated in a sequence-specific manner. There are three major types (I–III and at least 14 subtypes of this system, with only some of the subtypes having been analysed in detail, and many aspects of the defence reaction remaining to be elucidated. Few archaeal examples have so far been analysed. Here we summarize the characteristics of the CRISPR-Cas system of Haloferax volcanii, an extremely halophilic archaeon originally isolated from the Dead Sea. It carries a single CRISPR-Cas system of type I-B, with a Cascade like complex composed of Cas proteins Cas5, Cas6b and Cas7. Cas6b is essential for CRISPR RNA (crRNA maturation but is otherwise not required for the defence reaction. A systematic search revealed that six protospacer adjacent motif (PAM sequences are recognised by the Haloferax defence system. For successful invader recognition, a non-contiguous seed sequence of 10 base-pairs between the crRNA and the invader is required.
Qi, Qiuzi; Ito, Yoshiyasu; Yoshimatsu, Katsuhiko; Fujiwara, Taketomo
The halophilic euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii can grow anaerobically by DMSO respiration. DMSO reductase was induced by DMSO respiration not only under anaerobic growth conditions but also in denitrifying cells of H. volcanii. Deletion of the dmsR gene, encoding a putative regulator for the DMSO reductase, resulted in the loss of anaerobic growth by DMSO respiration. Reporter experiments revealed that only the anaerobic condition was essential for transcription of the dmsEABCD genes encoding DMSO reductase and that transcription was enhanced threefold by supplementation of DMSO. In the ∆dmsR mutant, transcription of the dmsEABCD genes induced by the anaerobic condition was not enhanced by DMSO, suggesting that DmsR is a DMSO-responsive regulator. Transcriptions of the dmsR and mgd genes for Mo-bisMGD biosynthesis were regulated in the same manner as the dmsEABCD genes. These results suggest that the genetic regulation of DMSO respiration in H. volcanii is controlled by at least two systems: one is the DMSO-responsive DmsR, and the other is an unknown anaerobic regulator.
Amber L Hartman
Full Text Available Haloferax volcanii is an easily culturable moderate halophile that grows on simple defined media, is readily transformable, and has a relatively stable genome. This, in combination with its biochemical and genetic tractability, has made Hfx. volcanii a key model organism, not only for the study of halophilicity, but also for archaeal biology in general.We report here the sequencing and analysis of the genome of Hfx. volcanii DS2, the type strain of this species. The genome contains a main 2.848 Mb chromosome, three smaller chromosomes pHV1, 3, 4 (85, 438, 636 kb, respectively and the pHV2 plasmid (6.4 kb.The completed genome sequence, presented here, provides an invaluable tool for further in vivo and in vitro studies of Hfx. volcanii.
Steven J. Kaczowka
Full Text Available The unusual physiological properties of archaea (e.g., growth in extreme salt concentration, temperature and pH make them ideal platforms for metabolic engineering. Towards the ultimate goal of modifying an archaeon to produce bioethanol or other useful products, the pyruvate decarboxylase gene of Zymomonas mobilis (Zm pdc was expressed in Haloferax volcanii. This gene has been used successfully to channel pyruvate to ethanol in various Gram-negative bacteria, including Escherichia coli. Although the ionic strength of the H. volcanii cytosol differs over 15-fold from that of E. coli, gel filtration and circular dichroism revealed no difference in secondary structure between the ZmPDC protein isolated from either of these hosts. Like the E. coli purified enzyme, ZmPDC from H. volcanii catalyzed the nonoxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate. A decrease in the amount of soluble ZmPDC protein was detected as H. volcanii transitioned from log phase to late stationary phase that was inversely proportional to the amount of pdc-specific mRNA. Based on these results, proteins from non-halophilic organisms can be actively synthesized in haloarchaea; however, post-transcriptional mechanisms present in stationary phase appear to limit the amount of recombinant protein expressed.
Ian K. Blaby
Full Text Available With the availability of a genome sequence and increasingly sophisticated genetic tools, Haloferax volcanii is becoming a model for both Archaea and halophiles. In order for H. volcanii to reach a status equivalent to Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a gene knockout collection needs to be constructed in order to identify the archaeal essential gene set and enable systematic phenotype screens. A streamlined gene-deletion protocol adapted for potential automation was implemented and used to generate 22 H. volcanii deletion strains and identify several potentially essential genes. These gene deletion mutants, generated in this and previous studies, were then analyzed in a high-throughput fashion to measure growth rates in different media and temperature conditions. We conclude that these high-throughput methods are suitable for a rapid investigation of an H. volcanii mutant library and suggest that they should form the basis of a larger genome-wide experiment.
Full Text Available Halophilic archaea use a fusion-based mating system for lateral gene transfer across cells, yet the molecular mechanisms involved remain unknown. Previous work implied that cell fusion involves cell–cell recognition since fusion occurs more efficiently between cells from the same species. Long believed to be restricted only to Eukarya, it is now known that cells of all three domains of life perform N-glycosylation, the covalent attachment of glycans to select target asparagine residues in proteins, and that this post-translational modification is common for archaeal cell surface proteins. Here, we show that differences in glycosylation of the Haloferax volcanii surface-layer glycoprotein, brought about either by changing medium salinity or by knocking out key glycosylation genes, reduced mating success. Thus, different glycosylation patterns are likely to underlie mating preference in halophilic archaea, contributing to speciation processes.
Matthew A. Humbard
Full Text Available Proteasomes are composed of 20S core particles (CPs of α- and β-type subunits that associate with regulatory particle AAA ATPases such as the proteasome-activating nucleotidase (PAN complexes of archaea. In this study, the roles and additional sites of post-translational modification of proteasomes were investigated using the archaeon Haloferax volcanii as a model. Indicative of phosphorylation, phosphatase-sensitive isoforms of α1 and α2 were detected by 2-DE immunoblot. To map these and other potential sites of post-translational modification, proteasomes were purified and analyzed by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS. Using this approach, several phosphosites were mapped including α1 Thr147, α2 Thr13/Ser14 and PAN-A Ser340. Multiple methylation sites were also mapped to α1, thus, revealing a new type of proteasomal modification. Probing the biological role of α1 and PAN-A phosphorylation by site-directed mutagenesis revealed dominant negative phenotypes for cell viability and/or pigmentation for α1 variants including Thr147Ala, Thr158Ala and Ser58Ala. An H. volcanii Rio1p Ser/Thr kinase homolog was purified and shown to catalyze autophosphorylation and phosphotransfer to α1. The α1 variants in Thr and Ser residues that displayed dominant negative phenotypes were significantly reduced in their ability to accept phosphoryl groups from Rio1p, thus, providing an important link between cell physiology and proteasomal phosphorylation.
The success of biotechnological processes is based on the availability of efficient and highly specific biocatalysts, which can satisfy industrial demands. Extreme and remote environments like the deep brine pools of the Red Sea represent highly interesting habitats for the discovery of novel halophilic and thermophilic enzymes. Haloferax volcanii constitutes a suitable expression system for halophilic enzymes obtained from such brine pools. We developed a batch process for the cultivation of H. volcanii H1895 in controlled stirred-tank bioreactors utilising knockouts of components of the flagella assembly system. The standard medium Hv-YPC was supplemented to reach a higher cell density. Without protein expression, cell dry weight reaches 10 g L−1. Two halophilic alcohol dehydrogenases were expressed under the control of the tryptophanase promoter p.tna with 16.8 and 3.2 mg gCDW −1, respectively, at a maximum cell dry weight of 6.5 g L−1. Protein expression was induced by the addition of l-tryptophan. Investigation of various expression strategies leads to an optimised two-step induction protocol introducing 6 mM l-tryptophan at an OD650 of 0.4 followed by incubation for 16 h and a second induction step with 3 mM l-tryptophan followed by a final incubation time of 4 h. Compared with the uncontrolled shaker-flask cultivations used until date, dry cell mass concentrations were improved by a factor of more than 5 and cell-specific enzyme activities showed an up to 28-fold increased yield of the heterologous proteins.
Qiu, Xuan; Wang, Hongmei; Yao, Yanchen; Duan, Yong
Although most modern dolomites occur in hypersaline environments, the effects of elevated salinity on the microbial mediation of dolomite precipitation have not been fully evaluated. Here we report results of dolomite precipitation in association with a batch culture of Haloferax volcanii DS52, a halophilic archaeon, under various salinities (from 120‰ to 360‰) and the impact of salinity on microbe-mediated dolomite formation. The mineral phases, morphology and atomic arrangement of the precipitates were analyzed by XRD, SEM and TEM, respectively. The amount of amino acids on the archaeal cell surface was quantified by HPLC/MS. The XRD analysis indicated that disordered dolomite formed successfully with the facilitation of cells harvested from cultures with relatively high salinities (200‰ and 280‰) but was not observed in association with cells harvested from cultures with lower salinity (120‰) or the lysates of cells harvested from extremely high salinity (360‰). The TEM analysis demonstrated that the crystals from cultures with a salinity of 200‰ closely matched that of dolomite. Importantly, we found that more carboxyl groups were presented on the cell surface under high salinity conditions to resist the high osmotic pressure, which may result in the subsequent promotion of dolomite formation. Our finding suggests a link between variations in the hydro-chemical conditions and the formation of dolomite via microbial metabolic activity and enhances our understanding about the mechanism of microbially mediated dolomite formation under high salinity conditions.
Lestini, Roxane; Delpech, Floriane; Myllykallio, Hannu
Understanding how frequently spontaneous replication arrests occur and how archaea deal with these arrests are very interesting and challenging research topics. Here we will described how genetic and imaging studies have revealed the central role of the archaeal helicase/nuclease Hef belonging to the XPF/MUS81/FANCM family of endonucleases in repair of arrested replication forks. Special focus will be on description of a recently developed combination of genetic and imaging tools to study the dynamic localization of a functional Hef::GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) fusion protein in the living cells of halophilic archaea Haloferax volcanii. As Archaea provide an excellent and unique model for understanding how DNA replication is regulated to allow replication of a circular DNA molecule either from single or multiple replication origins, we will also summarize recent studies that have revealed peculiar features regarding DNA replication, particularly in halophilic archaea. We strongly believe that fundamental knowledge of our on-going studies will shed light on the evolutionary history of the DNA replication machinery and will help to establish general rules concerning replication restart and the key role of recombination proteins not only in bacteria, yeast and higher eukaryotes but also in archaea. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. and Société Française de Biochimie et Biologie Moléculaire (SFBBM). All rights reserved.
Ring, Gabriela; Londei, Paola; Eichler, Jerry
Translation initiation in Archaea combines aspects of the parallel process in Eukarya and Bacteria alongside traits unique to this domain. To better understand translation initiation in Archaea, an in vitro translation system from the haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii has been developed. The ability to translate individual mRNAs both under the conditions used in previously developed poly(U)-dependent poly(Phe) synthesis systems as well as under physiological conditions was shown. Using the H. volcanii system, mRNAs proceeded by either 'strong' or 'weak' Shine-Dalgarno (SD) motifs, or completely lacking leader sequences were effectively translated. The in vitro haloarchaeal system also successfully translated mRNA from Bacteria, again either presenting a SD initiation motif or completely lacking a leader sequence. Thus, the ability to translate individual mRNAs in vitro offers a system to address translation initiation as well as other aspects of protein biogenesis in Archaea.
Knitsch, Regine; Schneefeld, Marie; Weitzel, Kerstin; Pfeifer, Felicitas
Gas vesicles are proteinaceous, gas-filled nanostructures produced by some bacteria and archaea. The hydrophobic major structural protein GvpA forms the ribbed gas vesicle wall. An in-silico 3D-model of GvpA of the predicted coil-α1-β1-β2-α2-coil structure is available and implies that the two β-chains constitute the hydrophobic interior surface of the gas vesicle wall. To test the importance of individual amino acids in GvpA we performed 85 single substitutions and analyzed these variants in Haloferax volcanii ΔA + Amut transformants for their ability to form gas vesicles (Vac(+) phenotype). In most cases, an alanine substitution of a non-polar residue did not abolish gas vesicle formation, but the replacement of single non-polar by charged residues in β1 or β2 resulted in Vac(-) transformants. A replacement of residues near the β-turn altered the spindle-shape to a cylindrical morphology of the gas vesicles. Vac(-) transformants were also obtained with alanine substitutions of charged residues of helix α1 suggesting that these amino acids form salt-bridges with another GvpA monomer. In helix α2, only the alanine substitution of His53 or Tyr54, led to Vac(-) transformants, whereas most other substitutions had no effect. We discuss our results in respect to the GvpA structure and data available from solid-state NMR. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Abdul Halim, Mohd Farid [University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biology, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA; Pfeiffer, Friedhelm [Department of Membrane Biochemistry, Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry, 82152, Martinsried, Germany; Zou, James [University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biology, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA; Frisch, Andrew [University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biology, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA; Haft, Daniel [J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, MD, 20850, USA; Wu, Si [Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Tolić, Nikola [Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Brewer, Heather [Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Payne, Samuel H. [Division of Biological Sciences, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Paša-Tolić, Ljiljana [Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Pohlschroder, Mechthild [University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biology, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA
Cell surfaces are decorated by a variety of proteins that facilitate interactions with their environments and support cell stability.These secreted proteins are anchored to the cell by mechanisms that are diverse, and, in archaea, poorly understood. Recently published in silico data suggest that in some species a subset of secreted euryarchaeal proteins, which includes the S-layer glycoprotein, is processed and covalently linked tot he cell membrane by enzymes referred to as archaeosortases. In silico work led to the proposal that an independent, sortase-like system for proteolysis-coupled carboxy-terminal lipid modification exists in bacteria (exosortase) and archaea (archaeosortase). Here, we provide the first in vivo characterization of an archaeosortase in the haloarchaeal model organism Haloferax volcanii. Deletion of the artA gene (HVO_0915) resulted in multiple biological phenotypes: (a) poor growth, especially under low-salt conditions, (b) alterations in cell shape and the S-layer, (c) impaired motility, suppressors of which still exhibit poor growth, and (d) impaired conjugation. We studied one of the ArtA substrates, the S-layer glycoprotein, using detailed proteomic analysis. While the carboxy-terminal region of S-layer glycoproteins, consisting of a threonine-rich O-glycosylated region followed by a hydrophobic transmembrane helix, has been notoriously resistant to any proteomic peptide identification, we were able to identify two overlapping peptides from the transmembrane domain present in the ΔartA strain but not in the wild-type strain. This clearly shows that ArtA is involved in carboxy-terminal posttranslational processing of the S-layer glycoprotein. As it is known from previous studies that a lipid is covalently attached to the carboxy-terminal region of the S-layer glycoprotein, our data strongly support the conclusion that archaeosortase functions analogously to sortase, mediating proteolysis-coupled, covalent cell surface attachment.
Full Text Available Abstract Background The high intracellular salt concentration required to maintain a halophilic lifestyle poses challenges to haloarchaeal proteins that must stay soluble, stable and functional in this extreme environment. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA is a fundamental protein involved in maintaining genome integrity, with roles in both DNA replication and repair. To investigate the halophilic adaptation of such a key protein we have crystallised and solved the structure of Haloferax volcanii PCNA (HvPCNA to a resolution of 2.0 Å. Results The overall architecture of HvPCNA is very similar to other known PCNAs, which are highly structurally conserved. Three commonly observed adaptations in halophilic proteins are higher surface acidity, bound ions and increased numbers of intermolecular ion pairs (in oligomeric proteins. HvPCNA possesses the former two adaptations but not the latter, despite functioning as a homotrimer. Strikingly, the positive surface charge considered key to PCNA's role as a sliding clamp is dramatically reduced in the halophilic protein. Instead, bound cations within the solvation shell of HvPCNA may permit sliding along negatively charged DNA by reducing electrostatic repulsion effects. Conclusion The extent to which individual proteins adapt to halophilic conditions varies, presumably due to their diverse characteristics and roles within the cell. The number of ion pairs observed in the HvPCNA monomer-monomer interface was unexpectedly low. This may reflect the fact that the trimer is intrinsically stable over a wide range of salt concentrations and therefore additional modifications for trimer maintenance in high salt conditions are not required. Halophilic proteins frequently bind anions and cations and in HvPCNA cation binding may compensate for the remarkable reduction in positive charge in the pore region, to facilitate functional interactions with DNA. In this way, HvPCNA may harness its environment as
Full Text Available Restriction-modification (RM systems have evolved to protect the cell from invading DNAs and are composed of two enzymes: a DNA methyltransferase and a restriction endonuclease. Although RM systems are present in both archaeal and bacterial genomes, DNA methylation in archaea has not been well defined. In order to characterize the function of RM systems in archaeal species, we have made use of the model haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii. A genomic DNA methylation analysis of H. volcanii strain H26 was performed using PacBio single molecule real-time (SMRT sequencing. This analysis was also performed on a strain of H. volcanii in which an annotated DNA methyltransferase gene HVO_A0006 was deleted from the genome. Sequence analysis of H26 revealed two motifs which are modified in the genome: Cm4TAG and GCAm6BN6VTGC. Analysis of the ∆HVO_A0006 strain indicated that it exhibited reduced adenine methylation compared to the parental strain and altered the detected adenine motif. However, protein domain architecture analysis and amino acid alignments revealed that HVO_A0006 is homologous only to the N-terminal endonuclease region of Type IIG RM proteins and contains a PD-(D/EXK nuclease motif, suggesting that HVO_A0006 is a PD-(D/EXK nuclease family protein. Further bioinformatic analysis of the HVO_A0006 gene demonstrating that the gene is rare among the Halobacteria. It is surrounded by two transposition genes suggesting that HVO_A0006 is a fragment of a Type IIG RM gene, which has likely been acquired through gene transfer, and affects restriction-modification activity by interacting with another RM system component(s. Here, we present the first genome-wide characterization of DNA methylation in an archaeal species and examine the function of a DNA methyltransferase related gene HVO_A0006.
Morgunova, Ekaterina; Gray, Fiona C.; MacNeill, Stuart A.; Ladenstein, Rudolf
The crystal structure of PCNA from the halophilic archaeon H. volcanii reveals specific features of the charge distribution on the protein surface that reflect adaptation to a high-salt environment and suggests a different type of interaction with DNA in halophilic PCNAs.
Zhao, A.; Gray, F. C; MacNeill, S. A.
DNA ligases join the ends of DNA molecules during replication, repair and recombination. ATP-dependent ligases are found predominantly in the eukarya and archaea whereas NAD+-dependent DNA ligases are found only in the eubacteria and in entomopoxviruses. Using the genetically tractable halophile....... volcanii also encodes an NAD+-dependent DNA ligase family member, LigN, the first such enzyme to be identified in the archaea, and present phylogenetic analysis indicating that the gene encoding this protein has been acquired by lateral gene transfer (LGT) from eubacteria. As with LigA, we show that Lig...
Brendel, Jutta; Stoll, Britta; Lange, Sita J.; Sharma, Kundan; Lenz, Christof; Stachler, Aris-Edda; Maier, Lisa-Katharina; Richter, Hagen; Nickel, Lisa; Schmitz, Ruth A.; Randau, Lennart; Allers, Thorsten; Urlaub, Henning; Backofen, Rolf; Marchfelder, Anita
The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated (CRISPR-Cas) system is a prokaryotic defense mechanism against foreign genetic elements. A plethora of CRISPR-Cas versions exist, with more than 40 different Cas protein families and several different molecular approaches to fight the invading DNA. One of the key players in the system is the CRISPR-derived RNA (crRNA), which directs the invader-degrading Cas protein complex to the invader. The CRISPR-Cas types I and III use the Cas6 protein to generate mature crRNAs. Here, we show that the Cas6 protein is necessary for crRNA production but that additional Cas proteins that form a CRISPR-associated complex for antiviral defense (Cascade)-like complex are needed for crRNA stability in the CRISPR-Cas type I-B system in Haloferax volcanii in vivo. Deletion of the cas6 gene results in the loss of mature crRNAs and interference. However, cells that have the complete cas gene cluster (cas1–8b) removed and are transformed with the cas6 gene are not able to produce and stably maintain mature crRNAs. crRNA production and stability is rescued only if cas5, -6, and -7 are present. Mutational analysis of the cas6 gene reveals three amino acids (His-41, Gly-256, and Gly-258) that are essential for pre-crRNA cleavage, whereas the mutation of two amino acids (Ser-115 and Ser-224) leads to an increase of crRNA amounts. This is the first systematic in vivo analysis of Cas6 protein variants. In addition, we show that the H. volcanii I-B system contains a Cascade-like complex with a Cas7, Cas5, and Cas6 core that protects the crRNA. PMID:24459147
Brendel, Jutta; Stoll, Britta; Lange, Sita J; Sharma, Kundan; Lenz, Christof; Stachler, Aris-Edda; Maier, Lisa-Katharina; Richter, Hagen; Nickel, Lisa; Schmitz, Ruth A; Randau, Lennart; Allers, Thorsten; Urlaub, Henning; Backofen, Rolf; Marchfelder, Anita
The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated (CRISPR-Cas) system is a prokaryotic defense mechanism against foreign genetic elements. A plethora of CRISPR-Cas versions exist, with more than 40 different Cas protein families and several different molecular approaches to fight the invading DNA. One of the key players in the system is the CRISPR-derived RNA (crRNA), which directs the invader-degrading Cas protein complex to the invader. The CRISPR-Cas types I and III use the Cas6 protein to generate mature crRNAs. Here, we show that the Cas6 protein is necessary for crRNA production but that additional Cas proteins that form a CRISPR-associated complex for antiviral defense (Cascade)-like complex are needed for crRNA stability in the CRISPR-Cas type I-B system in Haloferax volcanii in vivo. Deletion of the cas6 gene results in the loss of mature crRNAs and interference. However, cells that have the complete cas gene cluster (cas1-8b) removed and are transformed with the cas6 gene are not able to produce and stably maintain mature crRNAs. crRNA production and stability is rescued only if cas5, -6, and -7 are present. Mutational analysis of the cas6 gene reveals three amino acids (His-41, Gly-256, and Gly-258) that are essential for pre-crRNA cleavage, whereas the mutation of two amino acids (Ser-115 and Ser-224) leads to an increase of crRNA amounts. This is the first systematic in vivo analysis of Cas6 protein variants. In addition, we show that the H. volcanii I-B system contains a Cascade-like complex with a Cas7, Cas5, and Cas6 core that protects the crRNA.
Sergey N Gavrilov
Full Text Available Enzymes from (hyperthermophiles Thermozymes offer a great potential for biotechnological applications. Thermophilic adaptation does not only provide stability towards high temperature but is also often accompanied by a higher resistance to other harsh physicochemical conditions, which are also frequently employed in industrial processes, such as the presence of e.g. denaturing agents as well as low or high pH of the medium. In order to find new thermostable, xylan degrading hydrolases with potential for biotechnological application we used an in situ enrichment strategy incubating Hungate tubes with xylan as the energy substrate in a hot vent located in the tidal zone of Kunashir Island (Kuril archipelago. Using this approach a hyperthermophilic euryarchaeon, designated Thermococcus sp. strain 2319x1, growing on xylan as sole energy and carbon source was isolated. The organism grows optimally at 85°C and pH 7.0 on a variety of natural polysaccharides including xylan, carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC, amorphous cellulose (AMC, xyloglucan, and chitin. The protein fraction extracted from the cells surface with Twin 80 exhibited endoxylanase, endoglucanase and xyloglucanase activities. The genome of Thermococcus sp. strain 2319x1 was sequenced and assembled into one circular chromosome. Within the newly sequenced genome, a gene, encoding a novel type of glycosidase (143 kDa with a unique five-domain structure, was identified. It consists of three glycoside hydrolase (GH domains and two carbohydrate-binding modules (CBM with the domain order GH5-12-12-CBM2-2 (N- to C-terminal direction. The full length protein, as well as truncated versions, were heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli and their activity was analyzed. The full length multidomain glycosidase (MDG was able to hydrolyze various polysaccharides, with the highest activity for barley β-glucan (β-1,3/1,4-glucoside, followed by that for carboxymethyl cellulose (β-1,4-glucoside
Han, Jing; Wu, Linping; Hou, Jing
We report the biosynthesis of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) random copolymers (R-PHBV) or higher-order copolymers (O-PHBV) in Haloferax mediterranei, with adjustable 3-hydroxyvalerate (3HV) incorporation by cofeeding valerate with glucose. Their microchemical structure, molecular w...
Full Text Available For manufacturing “bioplastics” such as poly(hydroxyalkanoates (PHA, the combination of utilization of inexpensive carbon sources with the application of robust microbial production strains is considered a decisive step to make this process more cost-efficient and sustainable. PHA production based on surplus whey from dairy industry was accomplished by the extremely halophile archaeon Haloferax mediterranei. After fermentative production of PHA-rich biomass and the subsequent cell harvest and downstream processing for PHA recovery, environmentally hazardous, highly saline residues, namely spent fermentation broth and cell debris, remain as residues. These waste streams were used for recycling experiments to assess their recyclability in subsequent production processes. It was demonstrated that spent fermentation broth can be used to replace a considerable part of fresh saline fermentation medium in subsequent production processes. In addition, 29% of the expensive yeast extract, needed as nitrogen and phosphate source for efficient cultivation of the microorganism, can be replaced by cell debris from prior cultivations. The presented study provides strategies to combine the reduction of costs for biomediated PHA production with minimizing ecological risks by recycling precarious waste streams. Overall, the presented work shall contribute to the quick economic success of these promising biomaterials.
Oren, Aharon; Hallsworth, John E.
Heterotrophic prokaryotic communities that inhabit saltern crystallizer ponds are typically dominated by two species, the archaeon Haloquadratum walsbyi and the bacterium Salinibacter ruber, regardless of location. These organisms behave as 'microbial weeds' as defined by Cray et al. (Microb Biotechnol6: 453â492, 2013) that possess the biological traits required to dominate the microbiology of these open habitats. Here, we discuss the enigma of the less abundant Haloferax mediterranei, an archaeon that grows faster than any other, comparable extreme halophile. It has a wide window for salt tolerance, can grow on simple as well as on complex substrates and degrade polymeric substances, has different modes of anaerobic growth, can accumulate storage polymers, produces gas vesicles, and excretes halocins capable of killing other Archaea. Therefore, Hfx. mediterranei is apparently more qualified as a 'microbial weed' than Haloquadratum and Salinibacter. However, the former differs because it produces carotenoid pigments only in the lower salinity range and lacks energy-generating retinal-based, light-driven ion pumps such as bacteriorhodopsin and halorhodopsin. We discuss these observations in relation to microbial weed biology in, and the open-habitat ecology of, hypersaline systems.
Pais, Joana; Serafim, Luísa S; Freitas, Filomena; Reis, Maria A M
Haloferax mediterranei was cultivated in highly saline medium using cheese whey as the substrate for the production of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate), P(3HB-co-3HV). Acid hydrolysis provided a simple inexpensive method to obtain a cheese whey hydrolysate that was used for cultivation of H. mediterranei. Batch bioreactor cultivation of H. mediterranei resulted in the production of an active biomass concentration of 7.54 g L(-1) with a polymer content of 53%, and a volumetric productivity of 4.04 g L(-1) day(-1). Supplementation of the cultivation medium with micronutrients favored galactose consumption that was used for polymer synthesis after exhaustion of the available glucose. P(3HB-co-3HV) with a 3-hydroxyvalerate content of 1.5 mol% was extracted from the biomass by hypo-osmotic shock. The polymer presented a molecular mass of 4.4×10(5), with a polydispersity index of 1.5. This work demonstrated the feasibility of using cheese whey for the production of a value-added biopolymer with high volumetric productivity, by using a glucose- and galactose-rich substrate obtained by acid hydrolysis of cheese whey. The use of H. mediterranei as the producing strain avoids the need for strict sterility due to the culture's high salinity requirements and, also, allows for polymer extraction by simply contacting the biomass with water. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Esclapez, Julia; Bravo-Barrales, Gloria; Bautista, Vanesa; Pire, Carmen; Camacho, Mónica; Bonete, María J
The haloarchaeon Haloferax mediterranei is able to grow in a defined culture media not only in the presence of inorganic nitrogen salt but also with amino acid as the sole nitrogen source. Assimilatory nitrate and nitrite reductases, respectively, catalyze the first and second reactions. The genes involved in this process are nasA, which encodes nitrate reductase and is found within the operon nasABC, and nasD, which encodes nitrite reductase. These genes are subjected to transcriptional regulation, being repressed in the presence of ammonium and induced with either nitrate or nitrite. This type of regulation has also been described when the amino acids are used as nitrogen source in the minimal media. Furthermore, it has been observed that the microorganism growth depends on nitrogen source, obtaining the lowest growth rate in the presence of nitrate and aspartate. In this paper, we present the results of a comparative study of microorganism growth and transcriptomic analysis of the operon nasABC and gene nasD in different nitrogen sources. The results are the first ever produced in relation to amino acids as nitrogen sources within the Halobacteriaceae family. © 2013 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved.
Liu, Guiming; Cai, Shuangfeng; Hou, Jing; Zhao, Dahe; Han, Jing; Zhou, Jian; Xiang, Hua
Although polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) accumulation and mobilization are one of the most general mechanisms for haloarchaea to adapt to the hypersaline environments with changeable carbon sources, the PHA mobilization pathways are still not clear for any haloarchaea. In this study, the functions of five putative (R)-specific enoyl-CoA hydratases (R-ECHs) in Haloferax mediterranei, named PhaJ1 to PhaJ5, respectively, were thoroughly investigated. Through gene deletion and complementation, we demonstrated that only certain of these ECHs had a slight contribution to poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) biosynthesis. But significantly, PhaJ1, the only R-ECH that is associated with PHA granules, was shown to be involved in PHA mobilization in this haloarchaeon. PhaJ1 catalyzes the dehydration of (R)-3-hydroxyacyl-CoA, the common product of PHA degradation, to enoyl-CoA, the intermediate of the β-oxidation cycle, thus could link PHA mobilization to β-oxidation pathway in H. mediterranei. This linkage was further indicated from the up-regulation of the key genes of β-oxidation under the PHA mobilization condition, as well as the obvious inhibition of PHA degradation upon inhibition of the β-oxidation pathway. Interestingly, 96% of phaJ-containing haloarchaeal species possess both phaC (encoding PHA synthase) and the full set genes of β-oxidation, implying that the mobilization of carbon storage in PHA through the β-oxidation cycle would be general in haloarchaea.
Bhattacharyya, Anirban; Pramanik, Arnab; Maji, Sudipta Kumar; Haldar, Saubhik; Mukhopadhyay, Ujjal Kumar; Mukherjee, Joydeep
Vinasse, a highly polluting waste of the ethanol industry was utilized for the production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) by the extremely halophilic archaeon, Haloferax mediterranei in shake-flasks. Following pre-treatment through adsorption on activated carbon, 25%-50% (v/v) pre-treated vinasse was utilized leading to 70% maximum accumulation of PHA. Maximum PHA concentration of 19.7 g/l, product yield coefficient (based on total carbohydrates) of 0.87 and 0.21 g/l h volumetric productivity were achieved. Concomitant lowering of BOD5 of pre-treated vinasse by at least 78% and COD by at least 80% was attained at the end of this process. The PHA was recovered by osmotic lysis of the cells and purification by sodium hypochlorite and organic solvents. Through UV-vis spectroscopy, gas chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the PHA was identified as poly-3-(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate). The 3-hydroxyvalerate content was 12.36 mol % (utilizing 25% pre-treated vinasse) and 14.09 mol % (utilizing 50% pre-treated vinasse). High salt concentration in the medium allowed this process without sterile conditions and thus reduction in costs of sterilization can be envisaged. Activated charcoal pre-treatment of vinasse is economical than competing processes such as ultrafiltration of whey, extrusion and enzymatic treatment of rice and corn starch. Without impacting sugar prices, this process can easily be integrated into a distillery that has fermentation equipment and trained personnel. High PHA content, productivity, zero-cost carbon source, low-cost isolation of a high-purity product and potential integration into ethanol manufacturing unit with concomitant wastewater treatment should merit further development of this process to higher scales.
Chen, C Will; Hsu, Shu-hui; Lin, Ming-Tse; Hsu, Yi-hui
Microbial carotenoids have potentially healthcare or medical applications. Haloferax mediterranei was difficult to economically grow into a large quantities as well as producing a valuable pigment of carotenoids. This study reports a novel investigation into the optimal conductivity on the mass production of carotenoids from H. mediterranei. The major component at about 52.4% in the extracted red pigment has been confirmed as bacterioruberin, a C50 carotenoids, by liquid chromatography separation and mass spectrometry analysis. By maintaining higher conductivity of 40 S/m in the brined medium, the cell concentration attained to 7.73 × 10(9) cells/L with low pigments concentration of 125 mg/L. When the conductivity was controlled at about 30 S/m, we obtained the highest cell concentration to 1.29 × 10(10) cells/L with pigments of 361.4 mg/L. When the conductivity was maintained at optimal 25 S/m, the pigments can be increased to maximum value of 555.6 mg/L at lower cell concentration of 9.22 × 10(9) cells/L. But conductivity below 20 S/m will cause the significant decrease in cell concentration as well as pigments due to the osmotic stress around the cells. Red pigment of carotenoids from an extremely halophilic archaebacterium could be efficiently produced to a high concentration by applying optimal conductivity control in the brined medium with extruded low-cost rice bran and corn starch.
Han, Jing; Hou, Jing; Zhang, Fan; Ai, Guomin; Li, Ming; Cai, Shuangfeng; Liu, Hailong; Wang, Lei; Wang, Zejian; Zhang, Siliang; Cai, Lei; Zhao, Dahe; Zhou, Jian; Xiang, Hua
Haloferax mediterranei is able to accumulate the bioplastic poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) with more than 10 mol% 3-hydroxyvalerate (3HV) from unrelated carbon sources. However, the pathways that produce propionyl coenzyme A (propionyl-CoA), an important precursor of 3HV monomer, have not yet been determined. Bioinformatic analysis of H. mediterranei genome indicated that this strain uses multiple pathways for propionyl-CoA biosynthesis, including the citramalate/2-oxobutyrate pathway, the aspartate/2-oxobutyrate pathway, the methylmalonyl-CoA pathway, and a novel 3-hydroxypropionate pathway. Cofeeding of pathway intermediates and inactivating pathway-specific genes supported that these four pathways were indeed involved in the biosynthesis of 3HV monomer. The novel 3-hydroxypropionate pathway that couples CO2 assimilation with PHBV biosynthesis was further confirmed by analysis of (13)C positional enrichment in 3HV. Notably, (13)C metabolic flux analysis showed that the citramalate/2-oxobutyrate pathway (53.0% flux) and the 3-hydroxypropionate pathway (30.6% flux) were the two main generators of propionyl-CoA from glucose. In addition, genetic perturbation on the transcriptome of the ΔphaEC mutant (deficient in PHBV accumulation) revealed that a considerable number of genes in the four propionyl-CoA synthetic pathways were significantly downregulated. We determined for the first time four propionyl-CoA-supplying pathways for PHBV production in haloarchaea, particularly including a new 3-hydroxypropionate pathway. These results would provide novel strategies for the production of PHBV with controllable 3HV molar fraction.
Integration of poly-3-(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate) production by Haloferax mediterranei through utilization of stillage from rice-based ethanol manufacture in India and its techno-economic analysis.
Bhattacharyya, Anirban; Jana, Kuntal; Haldar, Saubhik; Bhowmic, Asit; Mukhopadhyay, Ujjal Kumar; De, Sudipta; Mukherjee, Joydeep
Haloferax mediterranei has potential for economical industrial-scale production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) as it can utilize cheap carbon sources, has capacity for nonsterile cultivation and allows simple product recovery. Molasses-based Indian distilleries are converting themselves to cereal-based distilleries. Waste stillage (14 l) of rice-based ethanol industry was used for the production of PHA by H. mediterranei in the simple plug-flow reactor configuration of the activated sludge process. Cells utilized stillage and accumulated 63 ± 3 % PHA of dry cell weight and produced 13.12 ± 0.05 g PHA/l. The product yield coefficient was 0.27 while 0.14 g/l h volumetric productivity was reached. Simultaneous lowering of 5-day biochemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand values of stillage by 82 % was attained. The biopolymer was characterized as poly-3-(hydroxybutyrate-co-17.9 mol%-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV). Directional properties of decanoic acid jointly with temperature-dependent water solubility in decanoic acid were employed for two-step desalination of the spent stillage medium in a cylindrical baffled-tank with an immersed heater and a stirrer holding axial and radial impellers. 99.3 % of the medium salts were recovered and re-used for PHA production. The cost of PHBV was estimated as US$2.05/kg when the annual production was simulated as 1890 tons. Desalination contributed maximally to the overall cost. Technology and cost-analysis demonstrate that PHA production integrated with ethanol manufacture is feasible in India. This study could be the basis for construction of a pilot plant.
Protein transport across hydrophobic membranes that partition cellular compartments is essential in all cells. The twin arginine translocation (Tat) pathway transports proteins across the prokaryotic cytoplasmic membranes. Distinct from the universally conserved Sec pathway, which secretes unfolded proteins, the Tat machinery is unique in that it secretes proteins in a folded conformation, making it an attractive pathway for the transport and secretion of heterologously expressed proteins that are Sec-incompatible. During the past 7 years, the DOE-supported project has focused on the characterization of the diversity of bacterial and archaeal Tat substrates as well as on the characterization of the Tat pathway of a model archaeon, Haloferax volcanii, a member of the haloarchaea. We have demonstrated that H. volcanii uses this pathway to transport most of its secretome.
Full Text Available The investigated haloarchaeal species, Halobacterium salinarum, Haloferax mediterranii, and H. volcanii, have all been shown to be polyploid. They contain several replicons that have independent copy number regulation, and most have a higher copy number during exponential growth phase than stationary phase. The possible evolutionary advantages of polyploidy for haloarchaea, most of which have experimental support for at least one species, are discussed. These advantages include a low mutation rate and high resistance towards X-ray irradiation and desiccation, which depend on homologous recombination. For H. volcanii, it has been shown that gene conversion operates in the absence of selection, which leads to the equalization of genome copies. On the other hand, selective forces might lead to heterozygous cells, which have been verified in the laboratory. Additional advantages of polyploidy are survival over geological times in halite deposits as well as at extreme conditions on earth and at simulated Mars conditions. Recently, it was found that H. volcanii uses genomic DNA as genetic material and as a storage polymer for phosphate. In the absence of phosphate, H. volcanii dramatically decreases its genome copy number, thereby enabling cell multiplication, but diminishing the genetic advantages of polyploidy. Stable storage of phosphate is proposed as an alternative driving force for the emergence of DNA in early evolution. Several additional potential advantages of polyploidy are discussed that have not been addressed experimentally for haloarchaea. An outlook summarizes selected current trends and possible future developments.
Zerulla, Karolin; Soppa, Jörg
The investigated haloarchaeal species, Halobacterium salinarum, Haloferax mediterranei, and H. volcanii, have all been shown to be polyploid. They contain several replicons that have independent copy number regulation, and most have a higher copy number during exponential growth phase than in stationary phase. The possible evolutionary advantages of polyploidy for haloarchaea, most of which have experimental support for at least one species, are discussed. These advantages include a low mutation rate and high resistance toward X-ray irradiation and desiccation, which depend on homologous recombination. For H. volcanii, it has been shown that gene conversion operates in the absence of selection, which leads to the equalization of genome copies. On the other hand, selective forces might lead to heterozygous cells, which have been verified in the laboratory. Additional advantages of polyploidy are survival over geological times in halite deposits as well as at extreme conditions on earth and at simulated Mars conditions. Recently, it was found that H. volcanii uses genomic DNA as genetic material and as a storage polymer for phosphate. In the absence of phosphate, H. volcanii dramatically decreases its genome copy number, thereby enabling cell multiplication, but diminishing the genetic advantages of polyploidy. Stable storage of phosphate is proposed as an alternative driving force for the emergence of DNA in early evolution. Several additional potential advantages of polyploidy are discussed that have not been addressed experimentally for haloarchaea. An outlook summarizes selected current trends and possible future developments.
Full Text Available A conserved lipid-modified cysteine found in a protein motif commonly referred to as a lipobox mediates the membrane anchoring of a subset of proteins transported across the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane via the Sec pathway. Sequenced haloarchaeal genomes encode many putative lipoproteins and recent studies have confirmed the importance of the conserved lipobox cysteine for signal peptide processing of three lipobox-containing proteins in the model archaeon Haloferax volcanii. We have extended these in vivo analyses to additional Hfx. volcanii substrates, supporting our previous in silico predictions and confirming the diversity of predicted Hfx. volcanii lipoproteins. Moreover, using extensive comparative secretome analyses, we identified genes encodining putative lipoproteins across a wide range of archaeal species. While our in silico analyses, supported by in vivo data, indicate that most haloarchaeal lipoproteins are Tat substrates, these analyses also predict that many crenarchaeal species lack lipoproteins altogether and that other archaea, such as nonhalophilic euryarchaeal species, transport lipoproteins via the Sec pathway. To facilitate the identification of genes that encode potential haloarchaeal Tat-lipoproteins, we have developed TatLipo, a bioinformatic tool designed to detect lipoboxes in haloarchaeal Tat signal peptides. Our results provide a strong foundation for future studies aimed at identifying components of the archaeal lipoprotein biogenesis pathway.
Zerulla, Karolin; Chimileski, Scott; Näther, Daniela; Gophna, Uri; Papke, R. Thane; Soppa, Jörg
Haloferax volcanii uses extracellular DNA as a source for carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous. However, it can also grow to a limited extend in the absence of added phosphorous, indicating that it contains an intracellular phosphate storage molecule. As Hfx. volcanii is polyploid, it was investigated whether DNA might be used as storage polymer, in addition to its role as genetic material. It could be verified that during phosphate starvation cells multiply by distributing as well as by degrading their chromosomes. In contrast, the number of ribosomes stayed constant, revealing that ribosomes are distributed to descendant cells, but not degraded. These results suggest that the phosphate of phosphate-containing biomolecules (other than DNA and RNA) originates from that stored in DNA, not in rRNA. Adding phosphate to chromosome depleted cells rapidly restores polyploidy. Quantification of desiccation survival of cells with different ploidy levels showed that under phosphate starvation Hfx. volcanii diminishes genetic advantages of polyploidy in favor of cell multiplication. The consequences of the usage of genomic DNA as phosphate storage polymer are discussed as well as the hypothesis that DNA might have initially evolved in evolution as a storage polymer, and the various genetic benefits evolved later. PMID:24733558
Tatjana P Kristensen
Full Text Available The hexameric MCM complex is the catalytic core of the replicative helicase in eukaryotic and archaeal cells. Here we describe the first in vivo analysis of archaeal MCM protein structure and function relationships using the genetically tractable haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii as a model system. Hfx. volcanii encodes a single MCM protein that is part of the previously identified core group of haloarchaeal MCM proteins. Three structural features of the N-terminal domain of the Hfx. volcanii MCM protein were targeted for mutagenesis: the β7-β8 and β9-β10 β-hairpin loops and putative zinc binding domain. Five strains carrying single point mutations in the β7-β8 β-hairpin loop were constructed, none of which displayed impaired cell growth under normal conditions or when treated with the DNA damaging agent mitomycin C. However, short sequence deletions within the β7-β8 β-hairpin were not tolerated and neither was replacement of the highly conserved residue glutamate 187 with alanine. Six strains carrying paired alanine substitutions within the β9-β10 β-hairpin loop were constructed, leading to the conclusion that no individual amino acid within that hairpin loop is absolutely required for MCM function, although one of the mutant strains displays greatly enhanced sensitivity to mitomycin C. Deletions of two or four amino acids from the β9-β10 β-hairpin were tolerated but mutants carrying larger deletions were inviable. Similarly, it was not possible to construct mutants in which any of the conserved zinc binding cysteines was replaced with alanine, underlining the likely importance of zinc binding for MCM function. The results of these studies demonstrate the feasibility of using Hfx. volcanii as a model system for reverse genetic analysis of archaeal MCM protein function and provide important confirmation of the in vivo importance of conserved structural features identified by previous bioinformatic, biochemical and structural
Meyer, Benjamin H; Albers, Sonja-Verena
Every living cell is covered with a dense and complex array of covalently attached sugars or sugar chains. The majority of these glycans are linked to proteins via the so-called glycosylation process. Protein glycosylation is found in all three domains of life: Eukarya, Bacteria and Archaea. However, on the basis of the limit in analytic tools for glycobiology and genetics in Archaea, only in the last few years has research on archaeal glycosylation pathways started mainly in the Euryarchaeota Haloferax volcanii, Methanocaldococcus maripaludis and Methanococcus voltae. Recently, major steps of the crenarchaeal glycosylation process of the thermoacidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius have been described. The present review summarizes the proposed N-glycosylation pathway of S. acidocaldarius, describing the phenotypes of the mutants disrupted in N-glycan biosynthesis as well as giving insights into the archaeal O-linked and glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor glycosylation process.
Nikita E Chavarria
Full Text Available While cytoplasmic tRNA 2-thiolation protein 1 (Tuc1/Ncs6 and ubiquitin-related modifier-1 (Urm1 are important in the 2-thiolation of 5-methoxycarbonylmethyl-2-thiouridine (mcm5s2U at wobble uridines of tRNAs in eukaryotes, the biocatalytic roles and properties of Ncs6/Tuc1 and its homologs are poorly understood. Here we present the first report of an Ncs6 homolog of archaea (NcsA of Haloferax volcanii that is essential for maintaining cellular pools of thiolated tRNA(LysUUU and for growth at high temperature. When purified from Hfx. volcanii, NcsA was found to be modified at Lys204 by isopeptide linkage to polymeric chains of the ubiquitin-fold protein SAMP2. The ubiquitin-activating E1 enzyme homolog of archaea (UbaA was required for this covalent modification. Non-covalent protein partners that specifically associated with NcsA were also identified including UbaA, SAMP2, proteasome activating nucleotidase (PAN-A/1, translation elongation factor aEF-1α and a β-CASP ribonuclease homolog of the archaeal cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor 1 family (aCPSF1. Together, our study reveals that NcsA is essential for growth at high temperature, required for formation of thiolated tRNA(LysUUU and intimately linked to homologs of ubiquitin-proteasome, translation and RNA processing systems.
Joshua Ernest Kouassi
Full Text Available Changes in DNA molecules are common, due to the effects of UV light and other external and internal mutagens. Cells have a variety of repair mechanisms which serve to maintain the accuracy of the genetic code. This activity includes a low-cost, safe and technically feasible experiment, which allows students to observe the effects of UV mutagenesis and DNA photorepair in the halophilc archaeon, Haloferax volcanii. An optional extension links this activity to topics of immediate concern to students – how exposure to UVC light contributes to skin cancer risk and the protective effects of sunscreen. Students design and carry out an experiment to test whether SPF 15 sunscreen increases the lethal exposure time for H. volcanii by a factor of 15. Throughout the activity, discussion questions engage students in actively thinking about the biological phenomena and experimental procedures and analysis. This activity is designed for students in college or university genetics, microbiology, or introductory biology courses as well as in high school honors biology courses. Teachers report that this activity was valuable in helping students understand mutagenesis and photorepair and in developing student skills in designing and analyzing experiments.
Full Text Available Intact polar lipids (IPLs are considered biomarkers for living biomass. Their degradation in marine sediments, however, is poorly understood and complicates interpretation of their occurrence in geological samples. To investigate the turnover of IPLs, a degradation experiment with anoxic sandy sediments from the North Sea was conducted. Intact cells of two organisms that do not naturally occur in North Sea sediments were chosen as IPL sources: (i Saccharomyces cerevisiae, representative for ester-bound acyl lipids that also occur in Bacteria, and (ii the archaeon Haloferax volcanii, representative for ether-bound isoprenoid lipids. Surprisingly, IPLs with phosphoester-bound head groups showed approximately the same degradation rate as IPLs with glycosidic head groups. Furthermore, the results indicate a relatively fast degradation of S. cerevisiae IPLs with ester-bound moieties (analogs of bacterial membrane lipids and no significant degradation of archaeal IPLs with ether-bound moieties. Pore water and 16S rRNA-based DGGE analysis showed only a minor influence of the IPL source on microbial metabolism and community profiles. Due to our results, the IPL-based quantification of Archaea and Bacteria should be interpreted with caution.
Gebetsberger, Jennifer; Wyss, Leander; Mleczko, Anna M; Reuther, Julia; Polacek, Norbert
Posttranscriptional processing of RNA molecules is a common strategy to enlarge the structural and functional repertoire of RNomes observed in all 3 domains of life. Fragmentation of RNA molecules of basically all functional classes has been reported to yield smaller non-protein coding RNAs (ncRNAs) that typically possess different roles compared with their parental transcripts. Here we show that a valine tRNA-derived fragment (Val-tRF) that is produced under certain stress conditions in the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii is capable of binding to the small ribosomal subunit. As a consequence of Val-tRF binding mRNA is displaced from the initiation complex which results in global translation attenuation in vivo and in vitro. The fact that the archaeal Val-tRF also inhibits eukaryal as well as bacterial protein biosynthesis implies a functionally conserved mode of action. While tRFs and tRNA halves have been amply identified in recent RNA-seq project, Val-tRF described herein represents one of the first functionally characterized tRNA processing products to date.
Full Text Available An alcohol dehydrogenase from the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii (HvADH2 has been engineered by rational design to broaden its substrate scope towards the conversion of a range of aromatic substrates, including flurbiprofenol, that is an intermediate of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, flurbiprofen. Wild-type HvADH2 showed minimal activity with flurbiprofenol (11.1 mU/mg. A homology model of HvADH2 was built and docking experiments with this substrate revealed that the biphenyl rings of flurbiprofenol formed strong interactions with residues F85 and F108, preventing its optimal binding in the active site. Mutations at position 85 however did not increase activity. Site directed mutagenesis at position F108 allowed the identification of three variants showing a significant (up to 2.3-fold enhancement of activity towards flurbiprofenol, when compared to wild-type HvADH2. Interestingly, F108G variant did not show the classic inhibition in the presence of (R-enantiomer when tested with rac-1-phenylethanol, underling its potential in racemic resolution of secondary alcohols.
Full Text Available Halolysin SptA from haloarchaeon Natrinema sp. J7 consists of a subtilisin-like catalytic domain and a C-terminal extension (CTE containing two cysteine residues. In this report, we have investigated the function of the CTE using recombinant enzymes expressed in Haloferax volcanii WFD11. Deletion of the CTE greatly reduced but did not abolish protease activity, which suggests that the CTE is not essential for enzyme folding. Mutational analysis suggests that residues Cys303 and Cys338 within the CTE form a disulfide bond that make this domain resistant to autocleavage and proteolysis under hypotonic conditions. Characterization of full-length and CTE-truncation enzymes indicates the CTE not only confers extra stability to the enzyme but also assists enzyme activity on protein substrates by facilitating binding at high salinities. Interestingly, homology modeling of the CTE yields a β-jelly roll-like structure similar to those seen in Claudin-binding domain of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (clostridial C-CPE and collagen binding domain (CBD, and the CTE also possesses collagen-binding activity, making it a potential candidate as an anchoring unit in drug delivery systems.
Stachler, Aris-Edda; Marchfelder, Anita
The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas system is used by bacteria and archaea to fend off foreign genetic elements. Since its discovery it has been developed into numerous applications like genome editing and regulation of transcription in eukaryotes and bacteria. For archaea currently no tools for transcriptional repression exist. Because molecular biology analyses in archaea become more and more widespread such a tool is vital for investigating the biological function of essential genes in archaea. Here we use the model archaeon Haloferax volcanii to demonstrate that its endogenous CRISPR-Cas system I-B can be harnessed to repress gene expression in archaea. Deletion of cas3 and cas6b genes results in efficient repression of transcription. crRNAs targeting the promoter region reduced transcript levels down to 8%. crRNAs targeting the reading frame have only slight impact on transcription. crRNAs that target the coding strand repress expression only down to 88%, whereas crRNAs targeting the template strand repress expression down to 8%. Repression of an essential gene results in reduction of transcription levels down to 22%. Targeting efficiencies can be enhanced by expressing a catalytically inactive Cas3 mutant. Genes can be targeted on plasmids or on the chromosome, they can be monocistronic or part of a polycistronic operon. PMID:27226589
Cass, Simon D B; Haas, Karina A; Stoll, Britta; Alkhnbashi, Omer S; Sharma, Kundan; Urlaub, Henning; Backofen, Rolf; Marchfelder, Anita; Bolt, Edward L
CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat) systems provide bacteria and archaea with adaptive immunity to repel invasive genetic elements. Type I systems use 'cascade' [CRISPR-associated (Cas) complex for antiviral defence] ribonucleoprotein complexes to target invader DNA, by base pairing CRISPR RNA (crRNA) to protospacers. Cascade identifies PAMs (protospacer adjacent motifs) on invader DNA, triggering R-loop formation and subsequent DNA degradation by Cas3. Cas8 is a candidate PAM recognition factor in some cascades. We analysed Cas8 homologues from type IB CRISPR systems in archaea Haloferax volcanii (Hvo) and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus (Mth). Cas8 was essential for CRISPR interference in Hvo and purified Mth Cas8 protein responded to PAM sequence when binding to nucleic acids. Cas8 interacted physically with Cas5-Cas7-crRNA complex, stimulating binding to PAM containing substrates. Mutation of conserved Cas8 amino acid residues abolished interference in vivo and altered catalytic activity of Cas8 protein in vitro. This is experimental evidence that Cas8 is important for targeting Cascade to invader DNA. © 2015 Authors.
Stachler, Aris-Edda; Marchfelder, Anita
The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas system is used by bacteria and archaea to fend off foreign genetic elements. Since its discovery it has been developed into numerous applications like genome editing and regulation of transcription in eukaryotes and bacteria. For archaea currently no tools for transcriptional repression exist. Because molecular biology analyses in archaea become more and more widespread such a tool is vital for investigating the biological function of essential genes in archaea. Here we use the model archaeon Haloferax volcanii to demonstrate that its endogenous CRISPR-Cas system I-B can be harnessed to repress gene expression in archaea. Deletion of cas3 and cas6b genes results in efficient repression of transcription. crRNAs targeting the promoter region reduced transcript levels down to 8%. crRNAs targeting the reading frame have only slight impact on transcription. crRNAs that target the coding strand repress expression only down to 88%, whereas crRNAs targeting the template strand repress expression down to 8%. Repression of an essential gene results in reduction of transcription levels down to 22%. Targeting efficiencies can be enhanced by expressing a catalytically inactive Cas3 mutant. Genes can be targeted on plasmids or on the chromosome, they can be monocistronic or part of a polycistronic operon. © 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Markov, Alexander V; Kaznacheev, Ilya S
The origin of eukaryote-specific traits such as mitosis and sexual reproduction remains disputable. There is growing evidence that both mitosis and eukaryotic sex (i.e., the alternation of syngamy and meiosis) may have already existed in the basal eukaryotes. The mating system of the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii probably represents an intermediate stage between typical prokaryotic and eukaryotic sex. H. volcanii is highly polyploid, as well as many other Archaea. Here, we use computer simulation to explore genetic and evolutionary outcomes of polyploidy in amitotic prokaryotes and its possible role in the origin of mitosis, meiosis and eukaryotic sex. Modeling suggests that polyploidy can confer strong short-term evolutionary advantage to amitotic prokaryotes. However, it also promotes the accumulation of recessive deleterious mutations and the risk of extinction in the long term, especially in highly mutagenic environment. There are several possible strategies that amitotic polyploids can use in order to reduce the genetic costs of polyploidy while retaining its benefits. Interestingly, most of these strategies resemble different components or aspects of eukaryotic sex. They include asexual ploidy cycles, equalization of genome copies by gene conversion, high-frequency lateral gene transfer between relatives, chromosome exchange coupled with homologous recombination, and the evolution of more accurate chromosome distribution during cell division (mitosis). Acquisition of mitosis by an amitotic polyploid results in chromosome diversification and specialization. Ultimately, it transforms a polyploid cell into a functionally monoploid one with multiple unique, highly redundant chromosomes. Specialization of chromosomes makes the previously evolved modes of promiscuous chromosome shuffling deleterious. This can result in selective pressure to develop accurate mechanisms of homolog pairing, and, ultimately, meiosis. Emergence of mitosis and the first
Moran-Reyna, Aida; Coker, James A
The halophilic archaea (haloarchaea) live in saline environments, which are found across the globe. In addition to salinity, these niches can be quite dynamic and experience extreme conditions such as low oxygen content, radiation (gamma and UV), pH and temperature. However, of all the naturally occurring stresses faced by the haloarchaea, only one, pH, has not been previously investigated in regard to the changes induced in the transcriptome. Therefore, we endeavored to determine the responses in three haloarchaea: Halorubrum lacusprofundi (Hla), Haloferax volcanii (Hvo), and Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 (NRC-1) to growth under acidic and alkaline pH. Our observations showed that the transcriptomes of Hvo and NRC-1 regulated stress, motility, and ABC transporters in a similar manner, which is in line with previous reports from other prokaryotes when grown in an acidic environment. However, the pattern for Hla was more species specific. For alkaline stress, all three haloarchaea responded in a manner similar to well-studied archaea and bacteria showing the haloarchaeal response was general to prokaryotes. Additionally, we performed an analysis on the changes in the transcriptomes of the three haloarchaea when shifting from one pH extreme to the other. The results showed that the transcriptomes of all three haloarchaea respond more similarly when moving from alkaline to acidic conditions compared to a shift in the opposite direction. Interestingly, our studies also showed that individual genes of multiple paralogous gene families ( tbp, tfb, orc/ cdc6, etc.) found in the haloarchaea were regulated under specific stresses thereby providing evidence that they modulate the response to various environmental stresses. The studies described here are the first to catalog the changes in the haloarchaeal transcriptomes under growth in extreme pH and help us understand how life is able to thrive under all conditions present on Earth and, if present, on extraterrestrial
Full Text Available The halophilic archaea (haloarchaea live in saline environments, which are found across the globe. In addition to salinity, these niches can be quite dynamic and experience extreme conditions such as low oxygen content, radiation (gamma and UV, pH and temperature. However, of all the naturally occurring stresses faced by the haloarchaea, only one, pH, has not been previously investigated in regard to the changes induced in the transcriptome. Therefore, we endeavored to determine the responses in three haloarchaea: Halorubrum lacusprofundi (Hla, Haloferax volcanii (Hvo, and Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 (NRC-1 to growth under acidic and alkaline pH. Our observations showed that the transcriptomes of Hvo and NRC-1 regulated stress, motility, and ABC transporters in a similar manner, which is in line with previous reports from other prokaryotes when grown in an acidic environment. However, the pattern for Hla was more species specific. For alkaline stress, all three haloarchaea responded in a manner similar to well-studied archaea and bacteria showing the haloarchaeal response was general to prokaryotes. Additionally, we performed an analysis on the changes in the transcriptomes of the three haloarchaea when shifting from one pH extreme to the other. The results showed that the transcriptomes of all three haloarchaea respond more similarly when moving from alkaline to acidic conditions compared to a shift in the opposite direction. Interestingly, our studies also showed that individual genes of multiple paralogous gene families (tbp, tfb, orc/cdc6, etc. found in the haloarchaea were regulated under specific stresses thereby providing evidence that they modulate the response to various environmental stresses. The studies described here are the first to catalog the changes in the haloarchaeal transcriptomes under growth in extreme pH and help us understand how life is able to thrive under all conditions present on Earth and, if present, on
Naor, Adit; Altman-Price, Neta; Soucy, Shannon M.; Green, Anna G.; Mitiagin, Yulia; Turgeman-Grott, Israela; Davidovich, Noam; Gophna, Uri
Inteins are parasitic genetic elements that excise themselves at the protein level by self-splicing, allowing the formation of functional, nondisrupted proteins. Many inteins contain a homing endonuclease (HEN) domain and rely on its activity for horizontal propagation. However, successful invasion of an entire population will make this activity redundant, and the HEN domain is expected to degenerate quickly under these conditions. Several theories have been proposed for the continued existence of the both active HEN and noninvaded alleles within a population. However, to date, these models were not directly tested experimentally. Using the natural cell fusion ability of the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii we were able to examine this question in vivo, by mating polB intein-positive [insertion site c in the gene encoding DNA polymerase B (polB-c)] and intein-negative cells and examining the dispersal efficiency of this intein in a natural, polyploid population. Through competition between otherwise isogenic intein-positive and intein-negative strains we determined a surprisingly high fitness cost of over 7% for the polB-c intein. Our laboratory culture experiments and samples taken from Israel’s Mediterranean coastline show that the polB-c inteins do not efficiently take over an inteinless population through mating, even under ideal conditions. The presence of the HEN/intein promoted recombination when intein-positive and intein-negative cells were mated. Increased recombination due to HEN activity contributes not only to intein dissemination but also to variation at the population level because recombination tracts during repair extend substantially from the homing site. PMID:27462108
Han, Jing; Li, Ming; Hou, Jing
, PhaCHme and PhaEHme, has been identified in this strain, and shown to account for the PHBV biosynthesis. RESULTS: With the aid of the genome sequence of Hfx. mediterranei CGMCC 1.2087, three additional phaC genes (designated phaC1, phaC2, and phaC3) were identified, which encoded putative PhaCs. Like...... PhaCHme (54.8 kDa), PhaC1 (49.7 kDa) and PhaC3 (62.5 kDa) possessed the conserved motifs of type III PHA synthase, which was not observed in PhaC2 (40.4 kDa). Furthermore, the longer C terminus found in the other three PhaCs was also absent in PhaC2. Reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) revealed that...... meet various application requirements. CONCLUSION: We discover three cryptic phaC genes in Hfx. mediterranei, and demonstrate that genetic engineering of these newly identified phaC genes has biotechnological potential for PHBV production with tailor-made material properties....
Ghai, Rohit; Pašić, Lejla; Fernández, Ana Beatriz; Martin-Cuadrado, Ana-Belen; Mizuno, Carolina Megumi; McMahon, Katherine D.; Papke, R. Thane; Stepanauskas, Ramunas; Rodriguez-Brito, Beltran; Rohwer, Forest; Sánchez-Porro, Cristina; Ventosa, Antonio; Rodríguez-Valera, Francisco
We describe the microbiota of two hypersaline saltern ponds, one of intermediate salinity (19%) and a NaCl saturated crystallizer pond (37%) using pyrosequencing. The analyses of these metagenomes (nearly 784 Mb) reaffirmed the vast dominance of Haloquadratum walsbyi but also revealed novel, abundant and previously unsuspected microbial groups. We describe for the first time, a group of low GC Actinobacteria, related to freshwater Actinobacteria, abundant in low and intermediate salinities. Metagenomic assembly revealed three new abundant microbes: a low-GC euryarchaeon with the lowest GC content described for any euryarchaeon, a high-GC euryarchaeon and a gammaproteobacterium related to Alkalilimnicola and Nitrococcus. Multiple displacement amplification and sequencing of the genome from a single archaeal cell of the new low GC euryarchaeon suggest a photoheterotrophic and polysaccharide-degrading lifestyle and its relatedness to the recently described lineage of Nanohaloarchaea. These discoveries reveal the combined power of an unbiased metagenomic and single cell genomic approach. PMID:22355652
Full Text Available Growth on acetate or other acetyl-CoA-generating substrates as a sole source of carbon requires an anaplerotic pathway for the conversion of acetyl-CoA into cellular building blocks. Haloarchaea (class Halobacteria possess two different anaplerotic pathways, the classical glyoxylate cycle and the novel methylaspartate cycle. The methylaspartate cycle was discovered in Haloarcula spp. and operates in ∼40% of sequenced haloarchaea. In this cycle, condensation of one molecule of acetyl-CoA with oxaloacetate gives rise to citrate, which is further converted to 2-oxoglutarate and then to glutamate. The following glutamate rearrangement and deamination lead to mesaconate (methylfumarate that needs to be activated to mesaconyl-C1-CoA and hydrated to β-methylmalyl-CoA. The cleavage of β-methylmalyl-CoA results in the formation of propionyl-CoA and glyoxylate. The carboxylation of propionyl-CoA and the condensation of glyoxylate with another acetyl-CoA molecule give rise to two C4-dicarboxylic acids, thus regenerating the initial acetyl-CoA acceptor and forming malate, its final product. Here we studied two enzymes of the methylaspartate cycle from Haloarcula hispanica, succinyl-CoA:mesaconate CoA-transferase (mesaconate CoA-transferase, Hah_1336 and mesaconyl-CoA hydratase (Hah_1340. Their genes were heterologously expressed in Haloferax volcanii, and the corresponding enzymes were purified and characterized. Mesaconate CoA-transferase was specific for its physiological substrates, mesaconate and succinyl-CoA, and produced only mesaconyl-C1-CoA and no mesaconyl-C4-CoA. Mesaconyl-CoA hydratase had a 3.5-fold bias for the physiological substrate, mesaconyl-C1-CoA, compared to mesaconyl-C4-CoA, and virtually no activity with other tested enoyl-CoA/3-hydroxyacyl-CoA compounds. Our results further prove the functioning of the methylaspartate cycle in haloarchaea and suggest that mesaconate CoA-transferase and mesaconyl-CoA hydratase can be regarded as
Noll, K M; Barber, T S
The levels of six water-soluble vitamins of seven archaebacterial species were determined and compared with the levels found in a eubacterium, Escherichia coli. Biotin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, nicotinic acid, pyridoxine, and lipoic acid contents of Halobacterium volcanii, Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum delta H, "Archaeoglobus fulgidus" VC-16, Thermococcus celer, Pyrodictium occultum, Thermoproteus tenax, and Sulfolobus solfataricus were measured by using bioassays. The archaebacte...
MacNeill, undergraduate students Agnieszka Janska and Jason Woodier) In bacteria , RecJ has an important role in DNA damage repair, in particular in...is an NAD-dependent enzyme the gene for which was apparently acquired by lateral gene transfer from bacteria . Biochemical analysis of LigN function...required for native purification from H. volcanii cell extracts. The cellulose binding domain from the Clostridium thermocellum cellulosome protein replaced
delineated a novel Hfx. volcanii N-glycosylation pathway recruited by cells grown at low salinity, 5) assessed the distribution of N-glycosylation...Biochim. Biophys. Acta – Mol. Cell Biol. Lipids, (03 2012): 11. doi: Lina Kandiba, Olli Aitio, Jari Helin, Ziqiang Guan, Perttu Permi, Dennis Bamford...Jerry Eichler, Elina Roine. Diversity in prokaryotic glycosylation:An archaeal-derived N-linked glycan contains legionaminic acid, Molecular
Oren, Aharon; Elevi Bardavid, Rahel; Mana, Lily
In view of the finding of perchlorate among the salts detected by the Phoenix Lander on Mars, we investigated the relationships of halophilic heterotrophic microorganisms (archaea of the family Halobacteriaceae and the bacterium Halomonas elongata) toward perchlorate. All strains tested grew well in NaCl-based media containing 0.4 M perchlorate, but at the highest perchlorate concentrations, tested cells were swollen or distorted. Some species (Haloferax mediterranei, Haloferax denitrificans, Haloferax gibbonsii, Haloarcula marismortui, Haloarcula vallismortis) could use perchlorate as an electron acceptor for anaerobic growth. Although perchlorate is highly oxidizing, its presence at a concentration of 0.2 M for up to 2 weeks did not negatively affect the ability of a yeast extract-based medium to support growth of the archaeon Halobacterium salinarum. These findings show that presence of perchlorate among the salts on Mars does not preclude the possibility of halophilic life. If indeed the liquid brines that may exist on Mars are inhabited by salt-requiring or salt-tolerant microorganisms similar to the halophiles on Earth, presence of perchlorate may even be stimulatory when it can serve as an electron acceptor for respiratory activity in the anaerobic Martian environment.
Alexandra Kristin Perras
Full Text Available The uncultivated Ca. Altiarchaeum hamiconexum (formerly known as SM1 Euryarchaeon carries highly specialized nano-grappling hooks (hami on its cell surface. Until now little is known about the major protein forming these structured fibrous cell surface appendages, the genes involved or membrane anchoring of these filaments. These aspects were analyzed in depth in this study using environmental transcriptomics combined with imaging methods. Since a laboratory culture of this archaeon is not yet available, natural biofilm samples with high Ca. A. hamiconexum abundance were used for the entire analyses. The filamentous surface appendages spanned both membranes of the cell, which are composed of glycosyl-archaeol. The hami consisted of multiple copies of the same protein, the corresponding gene of which was identified via metagenome-mapped transcriptome analysis. The hamus subunit proteins, which are likely to self-assemble due to their predicted beta sheet topology, revealed no similiarity to known microbial flagella-, archaella-, fimbriae- or pili-proteins, but a high similarity to known S-layer proteins of the archaeal phylum at their N-terminal region (47-44% identity. Our results provide new insights into the structure of the unique hami and their major protein and indicate their divergent evolution with S-layer proteins.
Kleps, Irina; Ignat, Teodora; Miu, Mihaela; Simion, Monica [National Institute for Research and Development in Microtechnologies (IMT-Bucharest), Bucharest (Romania); Teodosiu Popescu, Gabriela; Enache, Madalin; Dumitru, Lucia [Institute of Biology, Bucharest (Romania)
Protein layers on porous silicon (PS) substrates were prepared using haloarchaea strain Haloferax sp. as S-layer subunits. The attaching of S-layer at PS samples was performed by immersing the PS samples in S-layer solution in sterile conditions, followed by 24 hours incubation at two temperatures, 4 and 24 C. Spectrophotometric determination of the S-layer attachment on the porous silicon substrate was performed at 280 nm wavelength by measuring the protein concentration in solution before and after the incubation of PS samples. The protein layer morphology on the PS substrate was investigated by electron microscopy. (copyright 2009 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH and Co. KGaA, Weinheim) (orig.)
Erin A Lynch
Full Text Available We report the sequencing of seven genomes from two haloarchaeal genera, Haloferax and Haloarcula. Ease of cultivation and the existence of well-developed genetic and biochemical tools for several diverse haloarchaeal species make haloarchaea a model group for the study of archaeal biology. The unique physiological properties of these organisms also make them good candidates for novel enzyme discovery for biotechnological applications. Seven genomes were sequenced to ∼20×coverage and assembled to an average of 50 contigs (range 5 scaffolds-168 contigs. Comparisons of protein-coding gene compliments revealed large-scale differences in COG functional group enrichment between these genera. Analysis of genes encoding machinery for DNA metabolism reveals genera-specific expansions of the general transcription factor TATA binding protein as well as a history of extensive duplication and horizontal transfer of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen. Insights gained from this study emphasize the importance of haloarchaea for investigation of archaeal biology.
Full Text Available Haloarchaea are salt-loving halophilic microorganism’s that inhabit marine environments, sea water, salterns, and lakes. The resistance of haloarchaea to physical extremities that challenge organismic survival is ubiquitous. Metal and antibiotic resistance of haloarchaea has been on an upsurge due to the exposure of these organisms to metal sinks and drug resistance genes augmented in their natural habitats due to anthropogenic activities and environmental pollution. The efficacy of silver nanoparticles (SNPs as a potent and broad spectrum inhibitory agent is known however, there are no reports on the inhibitory activity of SNPs against haloarchaea. In the present study, we have investigated the antimicrobial potentials of SNPs synthesized using aqueous leaf extract of Cinnamomum tamala against antibiotic resistant haloarchaeal isolates Haloferax prahovense RR8, Haloferax lucentense RR15, Haloarcula argentinensis RR10 and Haloarcula tradensis RR13. The synthesized SNPs were characterized by UV-Vis spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The SNPs demonstrated potent antimicrobial activity against the haloarchaea with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 300- 400µg/ml. Growth kinetics of haloarchaea in the presence of SNPs was studied by employing the Baranyi mathematical model for microbial growth using the DMFit curve fitting programme. The C. tamala SNPs also demonstrated cytotoxic activity against human lung adenocarcinoma epithelial cell line (A540 and human breast adenocarcinoma cell line (MCF-7. The mechanism of inhibition of haloarchaea by the SNPs was investigated. The plausible mechanism proposed is the alterations and disruption of haloarchaeal membrane permeability by turbulence, inhibition of respiratory dehydrogenases and lipid peroxidation causing cellular and DNA damage resulting in cell death.
Full Text Available Similarly to Bacteria, Archaea are microorganisms that interact with their surrounding environment in a versatile manner. To date, interactions based on cellular structure and surface appendages have mainly been documented using model systems of cultivable archaea under laboratory conditions. Here, we report on the microbial interactions and ultrastructural features of the uncultivated SM1 Euryarchaeon, which is highly dominant in its biotope. Therefore, biofilm samples taken from the Sippenauer Moor, Germany, were investigated via transmission electron microscopy (TEM; negative staining, thin-sectioning and scanning electron microscopy (SEM in order to elucidate the fine structures of the microbial cells and the biofilm itself. The biofilm consisted of small archaeal cocci (0.6 µm diameter, arranged in a regular pattern (1.2-2.0 µm distance from cell to cell, whereas each archaeon was connected to 6 other archaea on average. Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS were limited to the close vicinity of the archaeal cells, and specific cell surface appendages (hami, Moissl et al., 2005 protruded beyond the EPS matrix enabling microbial interaction by cell-cell contacts among the archaea and between archaea and bacteria. All analyzed hami revealed their previously described architecture of nano-grappling hooks and barb-wire basal structures. Considering the archaeal cell walls, the SM1 Euryarchaea exhibited a double-membrane, which has rarely been reported for members of this phylogenetic domain. Based on these findings, the current generalized picture on archaeal cell walls needs to be revisited, as archaeal cell structures are more complex and sophisticated than previously assumed, particularly when looking into the uncultivated majority.
Allison M. Sharrar
Full Text Available Little is known about large sulfur bacteria (LSB that inhabit sulfidic groundwater seeps in large lakes. To examine how geochemically relevant microbial metabolisms are partitioned among community members, we conducted metagenomic analysis of a chemosynthetic microbial mat in the Isolated Sinkhole, which is in a deep, aphotic environment of Lake Huron. For comparison, we also analyzed a white mat in an artesian fountain that is fed by groundwater similar to Isolated Sinkhole, but that sits in shallow water and is exposed to sunlight. De novo assembly and binning of metagenomic data from these two communities yielded near complete genomes and revealed representatives of two families of LSB. The Isolated Sinkhole community was dominated by novel members of the Beggiatoaceae that are phylogenetically intermediate between known freshwater and marine groups. Several of these Beggiatoaceae had 16S rRNA genes that contained introns previously observed only in marine taxa. The Alpena fountain was dominated by populations closely related to Thiothrix lacustris and an SM1 euryarchaeon known to live symbiotically with Thiothrix spp. The SM1 genomic bin contained evidence of H2-based lithoautotrophy. Genomic bins of both the Thiothrix and Beggiatoaceae contained genes for sulfur oxidation via the rDsr pathway, H2 oxidation via Ni-Fe hydrogenases, and the use of O2 and nitrate as electron acceptors. Mats at both sites also contained Deltaproteobacteria with genes for dissimilatory sulfate reduction (sat, apr, and dsr and hydrogen oxidation (Ni-Fe hydrogenases. Overall, the microbial mats at the two sites held low-diversity microbial communities, displayed evidence of coupled sulfur cycling, and did not differ largely in their metabolic potentials, despite the environmental differences. These results show that groundwater-fed communities in an artesian fountain and in submerged sinkholes of Lake Huron are a rich source of novel LSB, associated heterotrophic
Lavender, Christopher A; Lorenz, Ronny; Zhang, Ge; Tamayo, Rita; Hofacker, Ivo L; Weeks, Kevin M
Discovery and characterization of functional RNA structures remains challenging due to deficiencies in de novo secondary structure modeling. Here we describe a dynamic programming approach for model-free sequence comparison that incorporates high-throughput chemical probing data. Based on SHAPE probing data alone, ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) from three diverse organisms--the eubacteria E. coli and C. difficile and the archeon H. volcanii--could be aligned with accuracies comparable to alignments based on actual sequence identity. When both base sequence identity and chemical probing reactivities were considered together, accuracies improved further. Derived sequence alignments and chemical probing data from protein-free RNAs were then used as pseudo-free energy constraints to model consensus secondary structures for the 16S and 23S rRNAs. There are critical differences between these experimentally-informed models and currently accepted models, including in the functionally important neck and decoding regions of the 16S rRNA. We infer that the 16S rRNA has evolved to undergo large-scale changes in base pairing as part of ribosome function. As high-quality RNA probing data become widely available, structurally-informed sequence alignment will become broadly useful for de novo motif and function discovery.
Christopher A Lavender
Full Text Available Discovery and characterization of functional RNA structures remains challenging due to deficiencies in de novo secondary structure modeling. Here we describe a dynamic programming approach for model-free sequence comparison that incorporates high-throughput chemical probing data. Based on SHAPE probing data alone, ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs from three diverse organisms--the eubacteria E. coli and C. difficile and the archeon H. volcanii--could be aligned with accuracies comparable to alignments based on actual sequence identity. When both base sequence identity and chemical probing reactivities were considered together, accuracies improved further. Derived sequence alignments and chemical probing data from protein-free RNAs were then used as pseudo-free energy constraints to model consensus secondary structures for the 16S and 23S rRNAs. There are critical differences between these experimentally-informed models and currently accepted models, including in the functionally important neck and decoding regions of the 16S rRNA. We infer that the 16S rRNA has evolved to undergo large-scale changes in base pairing as part of ribosome function. As high-quality RNA probing data become widely available, structurally-informed sequence alignment will become broadly useful for de novo motif and function discovery.
Finore, Ilaria; Di Donato, Paola; Mastascusa, Vincenza; Nicolaus, Barbara; Poli, Annarita
In the last decades, research has focused on the capabilities of microbes to secrete exopolysaccharides (EPS), because these polymers differ from the commercial ones derived essentially from plants or algae in their numerous valuable qualities. These biopolymers have emerged as new polymeric materials with novel and unique physical characteristics that have found extensive applications. In marine microorganisms the produced EPS provide an instrument to survive in adverse conditions: They are found to envelope the cells by allowing the entrapment of nutrients or the adhesion to solid substrates. Even if the processes of synthesis and release of exopolysaccharides request high-energy investments for the bacterium, these biopolymers permit resistance under extreme environmental conditions. Marine bacteria like Bacillus, Halomonas, Planococcus, Enterobacter, Alteromonas, Pseudoalteromonas, Vibrio, Rhodococcus, Zoogloea but also Archaea as Haloferax and Thermococcus are here described as EPS producers underlining biopolymer hyperproduction, related fermentation strategies including the effects of the chemical composition of the media, the physical parameters of the growth conditions and the genetic and predicted experimental design tools. PMID:24857960
Manikandan, Muthu; Hasan, Nazim; Wu, Hui-Fen
For the first time, we demonstrate the use of TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) for enhancing the carotenoid production by the extremophilic haloarchea, Haloferax mediterranei. TiO2 NPs at optimal concentration of 375 mg/L results in a 95% increase in the production of carotenoid pigment compared to the control (no TiO2 NPs). The carotenoid pigments extracted from TiO2 NPs treated H. mediterranei cells, were separated using thin layer chromatography (TLC). The separated carotenoid spots were subjected directly for MALDI MS detection. To limit the sample diffusion during matrix addition on TLC plates, a simple bordering mode was exercised. Using this method we were able to detect the pigments successfully using MALDI-MS, directly from TLC plates after separation. In addition, we also applied the Pt NPs capped with ODT via Liquid-liquid microextraction (LLME) for extracting the pigment molecules from the halobacteria in MALDI-MS. These novel NP approaches possess numerous advantages such as; rapidity, ease in synthesis, high sensitivity and low cost. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Ding, Yan; Meyer, Benjamin H.; Albers, Sonja-Verena; Kaminski, Lina; Eichler, Jerry
SUMMARY N-glycosylation of proteins is one of the most prevalent posttranslational modifications in nature. Accordingly, a pathway with shared commonalities is found in all three domains of life. While excellent model systems have been developed for studying N-glycosylation in both Eukarya and Bacteria, an understanding of this process in Archaea was hampered until recently by a lack of effective molecular tools. However, within the last decade, impressive advances in the study of the archaeal version of this important pathway have been made for halophiles, methanogens, and thermoacidophiles, combining glycan structural information obtained by mass spectrometry with bioinformatic, genetic, biochemical, and enzymatic data. These studies reveal both features shared with the eukaryal and bacterial domains and novel archaeon-specific aspects. Unique features of N-glycosylation in Archaea include the presence of unusual dolichol lipid carriers, the use of a variety of linking sugars that connect the glycan to proteins, the presence of novel sugars as glycan constituents, the presence of two very different N-linked glycans attached to the same protein, and the ability to vary the N-glycan composition under different growth conditions. These advances are the focus of this review, with an emphasis on N-glycosylation pathways in Haloferax, Methanococcus, and Sulfolobus. PMID:24847024
Rodrigo-Baños, Montserrat; Garbayo, Inés; Vílchez, Carlos; Bonete, María José; Martínez-Espinosa, Rosa María
The production of pigments by halophilic archaea has been analysed during the last half a century. The main reasons that sustains this research are: (i) many haloarchaeal species possess high carotenoids production availability; (ii) downstream processes related to carotenoid isolation from haloarchaea is relatively quick, easy and cheap; (iii) carotenoids production by haloarchaea can be improved by genetic modification or even by modifying several cultivation aspects such as nutrition, growth pH, temperature, etc.; (iv) carotenoids are needed to support plant and animal life and human well-being; and (v) carotenoids are compounds highly demanded by pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food markets. Several studies about carotenoid production by haloarchaea have been reported so far, most of them focused on pigments isolation or carotenoids production under different culture conditions. However, the understanding of carotenoid metabolism, regulation, and roles of carotenoid derivatives in this group of extreme microorganisms remains mostly unrevealed. The uses of those haloarchaeal pigments have also been poorly explored. This work summarises what has been described so far about carotenoids production by haloarchaea and their potential uses in biotechnology and biomedicine. In particular, new scientific evidence of improved carotenoid production by one of the better known haloarchaeon (Haloferax mediterranei) is also discussed.
Quillaguamán, Jorge; Guzmán, Héctor; Van-Thuoc, Doan; Hatti-Kaul, Rajni
Biodegradable materials with plastic or elastomeric properties are in great demand for a variety of applications. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), polyesters synthesized by microorganisms, possess such desired features. Industrial production of PHAs is currently achieved using recombinant Escherichia coli. Nevertheless, recent research on halophiles, salt requiring microorganisms, has shown a remarkable potential for biotechnological production of PHAs. The halophilic archaeon Haloferax mediterranei accumulates a co-polymer, i.e., poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) in large amounts using glucose, starch, and hydrolyzed whey as carbon sources. Chemical composition and molecular weight of PHAs produced by H. mediterranei can be modified depending on the substrate utilized as precursor. Phylogenetic studies on haloarchaeal enzymes able to polymerize the components of PHAs (i.e., PHA synthases) reveal a novel cluster, with a close relationship with PHA polymerases of bacteria and archaea found in marine-related niches. On the other hand, sequences of PHA synthases of two halophilic bacteria are more closely affiliated to synthases of Proteobacteria. Several bacterial species of the family Halomonadaceae accumulate PHAs. Halomonas boliviensis reached PHA yields and volumetric productivities close to the highest reported so far. Furthermore, H. boliviensis and other Halomonas species are able to co-produce PHA and osmolytes, i.e., ectoines and hydroxyectoine, in one process.
Rodrigo-Baños, Montserrat; Garbayo, Inés; Vílchez, Carlos; Bonete, María José; Martínez-Espinosa, Rosa María
The production of pigments by halophilic archaea has been analysed during the last half a century. The main reasons that sustains this research are: (i) many haloarchaeal species possess high carotenoids production availability; (ii) downstream processes related to carotenoid isolation from haloarchaea is relatively quick, easy and cheap; (iii) carotenoids production by haloarchaea can be improved by genetic modification or even by modifying several cultivation aspects such as nutrition, growth pH, temperature, etc.; (iv) carotenoids are needed to support plant and animal life and human well-being; and (v) carotenoids are compounds highly demanded by pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food markets. Several studies about carotenoid production by haloarchaea have been reported so far, most of them focused on pigments isolation or carotenoids production under different culture conditions. However, the understanding of carotenoid metabolism, regulation, and roles of carotenoid derivatives in this group of extreme microorganisms remains mostly unrevealed. The uses of those haloarchaeal pigments have also been poorly explored. This work summarises what has been described so far about carotenoids production by haloarchaea and their potential uses in biotechnology and biomedicine. In particular, new scientific evidence of improved carotenoid production by one of the better known haloarchaeon (Haloferax mediterranei) is also discussed. PMID:26308012
Rodriguez-Fonseca, Christina; Phan, Hien; Long, Katherine Sarah
of puromycin. They include A2439, G2505, and G2553 for E. coli, and G2058, A2503, G2505, and G2553 for Hf. gibbonsii (using the E. coli numbering system). Reproducible enhanced reactivities were also observed at A508 and A1579 within domains I and III, respectively, of E. coli 23S rRNA. In further experiments......The binding site of puromycin was probed chemically in the peptidyl-transferase center of ribosomes from Escherichia coli and of puromycin-hypersensitive ribosomes from the archaeon Haloferax gibbonsii. Several nucleotides of the 23S rRNAs showed altered chemical reactivities in the presence......, puromycin was shown to produce a major reduction in the UV-induced crosslinking of deacylated-(2N3A76)tRNA to U2506 within the P' site of E. coli ribosomes. Moreover, it strongly stimulated the putative UV-induced crosslink between a streptogramin B drug and m2A2503/psi2504 at an adjacent site in E. coli 23...
Maier, Lisa-Katharina; Stachler, Aris-Edda; Saunders, Sita J; Backofen, Rolf; Marchfelder, Anita
The prokaryotic immune system CRISPR-Cas (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-CRISPR-associated) is a defense system that protects prokaryotes against foreign DNA. The short CRISPR RNAs (crRNAs) are central components of this immune system. In CRISPR-Cas systems type I and III, crRNAs are generated by the endonuclease Cas6. We developed a Cas6b-independent crRNA maturation pathway for the Haloferax type I-B system in vivo that expresses a functional crRNA, which we termed independently generated crRNA (icrRNA). The icrRNA is effective in triggering degradation of an invader plasmid carrying the matching protospacer sequence. The Cas6b-independent maturation of the icrRNA allowed mutation of the repeat sequence without interfering with signals important for Cas6b processing. We generated 23 variants of the icrRNA and analyzed them for activity in the interference reaction. icrRNAs with deletions or mutations of the 3' handle are still active in triggering an interference reaction. The complete 3' handle could be removed without loss of activity. However, manipulations of the 5' handle mostly led to loss of interference activity. Furthermore, we could show that in the presence of an icrRNA a strain without Cas6b (Δcas6b) is still active in interference. © 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Maier, Lisa-Katharina; Stachler, Aris-Edda; Saunders, Sita J.; Backofen, Rolf; Marchfelder, Anita
The prokaryotic immune system CRISPR-Cas (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-CRISPR-associated) is a defense system that protects prokaryotes against foreign DNA. The short CRISPR RNAs (crRNAs) are central components of this immune system. In CRISPR-Cas systems type I and III, crRNAs are generated by the endonuclease Cas6. We developed a Cas6b-independent crRNA maturation pathway for the Haloferax type I-B system in vivo that expresses a functional crRNA, which we termed independently generated crRNA (icrRNA). The icrRNA is effective in triggering degradation of an invader plasmid carrying the matching protospacer sequence. The Cas6b-independent maturation of the icrRNA allowed mutation of the repeat sequence without interfering with signals important for Cas6b processing. We generated 23 variants of the icrRNA and analyzed them for activity in the interference reaction. icrRNAs with deletions or mutations of the 3′ handle are still active in triggering an interference reaction. The complete 3′ handle could be removed without loss of activity. However, manipulations of the 5′ handle mostly led to loss of interference activity. Furthermore, we could show that in the presence of an icrRNA a strain without Cas6b (Δcas6b) is still active in interference. PMID:25512373
Full Text Available In the last decades, research has focused on the capabilities of microbes to secrete exopolysaccharides (EPS, because these polymers differ from the commercial ones derived essentially from plants or algae in their numerous valuable qualities. These biopolymers have emerged as new polymeric materials with novel and unique physical characteristics that have found extensive applications. In marine microorganisms the produced EPS provide an instrument to survive in adverse conditions: They are found to envelope the cells by allowing the entrapment of nutrients or the adhesion to solid substrates. Even if the processes of synthesis and release of exopolysaccharides request high-energy investments for the bacterium, these biopolymers permit resistance under extreme environmental conditions. Marine bacteria like Bacillus, Halomonas, Planococcus, Enterobacter, Alteromonas, Pseudoalteromonas, Vibrio, Rhodococcus, Zoogloea but also Archaea as Haloferax and Thermococcus are here described as EPS producers underlining biopolymer hyperproduction, related fermentation strategies including the effects of the chemical composition of the media, the physical parameters of the growth conditions and the genetic and predicted experimental design tools.
Full Text Available Polyploidy is common in higher eukaryotes, especially in plants, but it is generally assumed that most prokaryotes contain a single copy of a circular chromosome and are therefore monoploid. We have used two independent methods to determine the genome copy number in halophilic archaea, 1 cell lysis in agarose blocks and Southern blot analysis, and 2 Real-Time quantitative PCR. Fast growing H. salinarum cells contain on average about 25 copies of the chromosome in exponential phase, and their ploidy is downregulated to 15 copies in early stationary phase. The chromosome copy number is identical in cultures with a twofold lower growth rate, in contrast to the results reported for several other prokaryotic species. Of three additional replicons of H. salinarum, two have a low copy number that is not growth-phase regulated, while one replicon even shows a higher degree of growth phase-dependent regulation than the main replicon. The genome copy number of H. volcanii is similarly high during exponential phase (on average 18 copies/cell, and it is also downregulated (to 10 copies as the cells enter stationary phase. The variation of genome copy numbers in the population was addressed by fluorescence microscopy and by FACS analysis. These methods allowed us to verify the growth phase-dependent regulation of ploidy in H. salinarum, and they revealed that there is a wide variation in genome copy numbers in individual cells that is much larger in exponential than in stationary phase. Our results indicate that polyploidy might be more widespread in archaea (or even prokaryotes in general than previously assumed. Moreover, the presence of so many genome copies in a prokaryote raises questions about the evolutionary significance of this strategy.
Full Text Available Cleanrooms have been considered microbially-reduced environments and are used to protect human health and industrial product assembly. However, recent analyses have deciphered a rather broad diversity of microbes in cleanrooms, whose origin as well as physiological status has not been fully understood. Here, we examined the input of intact microbial cells from a surrounding built environment into a spacecraft assembly cleanroom by applying a molecular viability assay based on propidium monoazide (PMA. The controlled cleanroom (CCR was characterized by ~6.2*103 16S rRNA gene copies of intact bacterial cells per m2 floor surface, which only represented 1% of the total community that could be captured via molecular assays without viability marker. This was in contrast to the uncontrolled adjoining facility (UAF that had 12 times more living bacteria. Regarding diversity measures retrieved from 16S rRNA Illumina-tag analyzes, we observed, however, only a minor drop in the cleanroom facility allowing the conclusion that the number but not the diversity of microbes is strongly affected by cleaning procedures. Network analyses allowed tracking a substantial input of living microbes to the cleanroom and a potential enrichment of survival specialists like bacterial spore formers and archaeal halophiles and mesophiles. Moreover, the cleanroom harbored a unique community including 11 exclusive genera, e.g., Haloferax and Sporosarcina, which are herein suggested as indicators of cleanroom environments. In sum, our findings provide evidence that archaea are alive in cleanrooms and that cleaning efforts and cleanroom maintenance substantially decrease the number but not the diversity of indoor microbiomes.
Swanson, Juliet S. [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Reed, Donald T. [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Ams, David A. [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Norden, Diana [Ohio State University; Simmons, Karen A. [Los Alamos National Laboratory
these were most likely introduced into the WIPP as contaminants from above-ground, their survival and potential role in the WIPP (e.g., cellulose degradation) is under investigation. WIPP groundwaters comprise the far-field microbial environment. Bacteria cultivated and identified from the overlying Culebra and nearby borehole groundwater are capable of aerobic respiration, denitrification, fermentation, metal reduction, and sulfate reduction and are distributed across many different phyla. Two of the Bacteria found in groundwater were also found in WIPP halite (Chromohalobacter sp. and Virgibacillus sp.). Archaea identified in groundwater include Halococcus saccharolyticus, Haloferax sp., and Natrinema sp. The differences in the microbial communities detected thus far in halite and groundwater suggest that there will be significant differences in the associated metabolic potential of the near- and far-field environments. Whereas the near-field is dominated by Archaea with more limited metabolic capabilities, the far-field is dominated by Bacteria with extremely broad capabilities. Because the majority of the repository's lifetime will be anoxic, ongoing and future work focuses on the presence and role of anaerobic organisms in WIPP. Further tasks on biosorption, cellulose degradation, and bioreduction are being performed using organisms obtained from this characterization work.