Publications

Publications in peer reviewed journals

8 Publications found
  • Distribution of mixotrophy and desiccation survival mechanisms across microbial genomes in an arid biological soil crust community

    Meier DV, Imminger S, Gillor O, Woebken D
    2021 - mSystems, in press

    Abstract: 

    Desert surface soils devoid of plant cover are populated by a variety of microorganisms, many with yet unresolved physiologies and lifestyles. Nevertheless, a common feature vital for these microorganisms inhabiting arid soils is their ability to survive long drought periods and reactivate rapidly in rare incidents of rain. Chemolithotrophic processes such as oxidation of atmospheric hydrogen and carbon monoxide are suggested to be a widespread energy source to support dormancy and resuscitation in desert soil microorganisms. Here, we assessed the distribution of chemolithotrophic, phototrophic, and desiccation-related metabolic potential among microbial populations in arid biological soil crusts (BSCs) from the Negev Desert, Israel, via population-resolved metagenomic analysis. While the potential to utilize light and atmospheric hydrogen as additional energy sources was widespread, carbon monoxide oxidation was less common than expected. The ability to utilize continuously available energy sources might decrease the dependency of mixotrophic populations on organic storage compounds and carbon provided by the BSC-founding cyanobacteria. Several populations from five different phyla besides the cyanobacteria encoded CO2 fixation potential, indicating further potential independence from photoautotrophs. However, we also found population genomes with a strictly heterotrophic genetic repertoire. The highly abundant Rubrobacteraceae (Actinobacteriota) genomes showed particular specialization for this extreme habitat, different from their closest cultured relatives. Besides the ability to use light and hydrogen as energy sources, they encoded extensive O2 stress protection and unique DNA repair potential. The uncovered differences in metabolic potential between individual, co-occurring microbial populations enable predictions of their ecological niches and generation of hypotheses on the dynamics and interactions among them.

  • Long-Term Consumption of Anthocyanin-Rich Fruit Juice: Impact on Gut Microbiota and Antioxidant Markers in Lymphocytes of Healthy Males

    Groh IAM, Riva A, Braun D, Sutherland HG, Williams O, Bakuradze T, Pahlke G, Richling E, Haupt LM, Griffiths LR, Berry D, Marko D
    2021 - Antioxidants, 10: in press

    Abstract: 

    Polyphenols are considered protective against diseases associated with oxidative stress. Short-term intake of an anthocyanin-rich fruit juice resulted in significantly reduced deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) strand-breaks in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) and affected antioxidant markers in healthy volunteers. Consequently, effects of long-term consumption of fruit juice are of particular interest. In focus was the impact on nuclear factor erythroid 2 (NFE2)-related factor 2 (Nrf2), the Nrf2-regulated genes NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO-1) and heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) as well as effects on the gut microbiota. In a nine-week placebo-controlled intervention trial with 57 healthy male volunteers, consumption of anthocyanin-rich juice significantly increased NQO-1 and HO-1 transcript levels in PBLs compared to a placebo beverage as measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Three Nrf2-promotor single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), analyzed by pyrosequencing, indicated an association between individual Nrf2 transcript levels and genotype. Moreover, the Nrf2 genotype appeared to correlate with the presence of specific microbial organisms identified by 16S-PCR and classified as Spirochaetaceae. Furthermore, the microbial community was significantly affected by the duration of juice consumption and intake of juice itself. Taken together, long-term consumption of anthocyanin-rich fruit juice affected Nrf2-dependent transcription in PBLs, indicating systemic effects. Individual Nrf2 genotypes may influence the antioxidant response, thus requiring consideration in future intervention studies focusing on the Nrf2 pathway. Anthocyanin-rich fruit juice had an extensive impact on the gut microbiota. 

  • Survival strategies of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) in a full-scale WWTP treating mixed landfill leachate containing copper ions and operating at low-intensity of aeration

    Yang Y, Herbold CW, Jung MY, Qin W, Cai M, Du H, Lin JG, Li X, Li M, Gu JD.
    2021 - Water Research, in press

    Abstract: 

    Recent studies indicate that ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) may play an important role in nitrogen removal by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). However, our knowledge of the mechanisms employed by AOA for growth and survival in full-scale WWTPs is still limited. Here, metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses combined with a laboratory cultivation experiment revealed that three active AOAs (WS9, WS192, and WS208) belonging to family Nitrososphaeraceae were active in the deep oxidation ditch (DOD) of a full-scale WWTP treating landfill leachate, which is configured with three continuous aerobic-anoxic (OA) modules with low-intensity aeration (≤ 1.5 mg/L). AOA coexisted with AOB and complete ammonia oxidizers (Comammox), while the ammonia-oxidizing microbial (AOM) community was unexpectedly dominated by the novel AOA strain WS9. The low aeration, long retention time, and relatively high inputs of ammonium and copper might be responsible for the survival of AOA over AOB and Comammox while the dominance of WS9 specifically may be enhanced by substrate preference and uniquely encoded retention strategies. The urease-negative WS9 is specifically adapted for ammonia acquisition as evidenced by the high expression of an ammonium transporter, whereas two metabolically versatile urease-positive AOA strains (WS192 and WS208) can likely supplement ammonia needs with urea. This study provides important information for the survival and application of the eutrophic Nitrososphaeraceae AOA and advances our understanding of archaea-dominated ammonia oxidation in a full-scale wastewater treatment system.

  • Conjugative plasmids interact with insertion sequences to shape the horizontal transfer of antimicrobial resistance genes.

    Che Y, Yang Y, Xu X, Břinda K, Polz MF, Hanage WP, Zhang T
    2021 - Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 6: in press

    Abstract: 

    It is well established that plasmids play an important role in the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes; however, little is known about the role of the underlying interactions between different plasmid categories and other mobile genetic elements (MGEs) in shaping the promiscuous spread of AMR genes. Here, we developed a tool designed for plasmid classification, AMR gene annotation, and plasmid visualization and found that most plasmid-borne AMR genes, including those localized on class 1 integrons, are enriched in conjugative plasmids. Notably, we report the discovery and characterization of a massive insertion sequence (IS)-associated AMR gene transfer network (245 combinations covering 59 AMR gene subtypes and 53 ISs) linking conjugative plasmids and phylogenetically distant pathogens, suggesting a general evolutionary mechanism for the horizontal transfer of AMR genes mediated by the interaction between conjugative plasmids and ISs. Moreover, our experimental results confirmed the importance of the observed interactions in aiding the horizontal transfer and expanding the genetic range of AMR genes within complex microbial communities.

  • Coastal Bacterial Community Response to Glacier Melting in the Western Antarctic Peninsula.

    Alcamán-Arias ME, Fuentes-Alburquenque S, Vergara-Barros P, Cifuentes-Anticevic J, Verdugo J, Polz M, Farías L, Pedrós-Alió C, Díez B
    2021 - Microorganisms, 1: in press

    Abstract: 

    Current warming in the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) has multiple effects on the marine ecosystem, modifying the trophic web and the nutrient regime. In this study, the effect of decreased surface salinity on the marine microbial community as a consequence of freshening from nearby glaciers was investigated in Chile Bay, Greenwich Island, WAP. In the summer of 2016, samples were collected from glacier ice and transects along the bay for 16S rRNA gene sequencing, while in situ dilution experiments were conducted and analyzed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and metatranscriptomic analysis. The results reveal that certain common seawater genera, such as , and HTCC2207, responded positively to decreased salinity in both the bay transect and experiments. The relative abundance of these bacteria slightly decreased, but their functional activity was maintained and increased the over time in the dilution experiments. However, while ice bacteria, such as and , tolerated the increased salinity after mixing with seawater, their gene expression decreased considerably. We suggest that these bacterial taxa could be defined as sentinels of freshening events in the Antarctic coastal system. Furthermore, these results suggest that a significant portion of the microbial community is resilient and can adapt to disturbances, such as freshening due to the warming effect of climate change in Antarctica.

  • Transkingdom interactions between Lactobacilli and hepatic mitochondria attenuate western diet-induced diabetes.

    Rodrigues RR, Gurung M, Li Z, García-Jaramillo M, Greer R, Gaulke C, Bauchinger F, You H, Pederson JW, Vasquez-Perez S, White KD, Frink B, Philmus B, Jump DB, Trinchieri G, Berry D, Sharpton TJ, Dzutsev A, Morgun A, Shulzhenko N
    2021 - Nat Commun, 1: 101

    Abstract: 

    Western diet (WD) is one of the major culprits of metabolic disease including type 2 diabetes (T2D) with gut microbiota playing an important role in modulating effects of the diet. Herein, we use a data-driven approach (Transkingdom Network analysis) to model host-microbiome interactions under WD to infer which members of microbiota contribute to the altered host metabolism. Interrogation of this network pointed to taxa with potential beneficial or harmful effects on host's metabolism. We then validate the functional role of the predicted bacteria in regulating metabolism and show that they act via different host pathways. Our gene expression and electron microscopy studies show that two species from Lactobacillus genus act upon mitochondria in the liver leading to the improvement of lipid metabolism. Metabolomics analyses revealed that reduced glutathione may mediate these effects. Our study identifies potential probiotic strains for T2D and provides important insights into mechanisms of their action.

  • Coevolving plasmids drive gene flow and genome plasticity in host-associated intracellular bacteria

    Köstlbacher S, Collingro A, Halter T, Domman D, Horn M
    2021 - Curr. Biol., in press

    Abstract: 

    Plasmids are important in microbial evolution and adaptation to new environments. Yet, carrying a plasmid can be costly, and long-term association of plasmids with their hosts is poorly understood. Here, we provide evidence that the Chlamydiae, a phylum of strictly host-associated intracellular bacteria, have coevolved with their plasmids since their last common ancestor. Current chlamydial plasmids are amalgamations of at least one ancestral plasmid and a bacteriophage. We show that the majority of plasmid genes are also found on chromosomes of extant chlamydiae. The most conserved plasmid gene families are predominantly vertically inherited, while accessory plasmid gene families show significantly increased mobility. We reconstructed the evolutionary history of plasmid gene content of an entire bacterial phylum over a period of around one billion years. Frequent horizontal gene transfer and chromosomal integration events illustrate the pronounced impact of coevolution with these extrachromosomal elements on bacterial genome dynamics in host-dependent microbes.

  • Flow-through stable isotope probing (Flow-SIP) minimizes cross-feeding in complex microbial communities.

    Mooshammer M, Kitzinger K, Schintlmeister A, Ahmerkamp S, Nielsen JL, Nielsen PH, Wagner M
    2021 - ISME J, 1: 348-353

    Abstract: 

    Stable isotope probing (SIP) is a key tool for identifying the microorganisms catalyzing the turnover of specific substrates in the environment and to quantify their relative contributions to biogeochemical processes. However, SIP-based studies are subject to the uncertainties posed by cross-feeding, where microorganisms release isotopically labeled products, which are then used by other microorganisms, instead of incorporating the added tracer directly. Here, we introduce a SIP approach that has the potential to strongly reduce cross-feeding in complex microbial communities. In this approach, the microbial cells are exposed on a membrane filter to a continuous flow of medium containing isotopically labeled substrate. Thereby, metabolites and degradation products are constantly removed, preventing consumption of these secondary substrates. A nanoSIMS-based proof-of-concept experiment using nitrifiers in activated sludge and C-bicarbonate as an activity tracer showed that Flow-SIP significantly reduces cross-feeding and thus allows distinguishing primary consumers from other members of microbial food webs.

Book chapters and other publications

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