Article

Mutualistic interactions between vitamin B12‐dependent algae and heterotrophic bacteria exhibit regulation

Environmental Microbiology (Impact Factor: 6.24). 03/2012; 14(6):1466 - 1476. DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2012.02733.x

ABSTRACT Many algae are auxotrophs for vitamin B12 (cobalamin), which they need as a cofactor for B12-dependent methionine synthase (METH). Because only prokaryotes can synthesize the cobalamin, they must be the ultimate source of the vitamin. In the laboratory, a direct interaction between algae and heterotrophic bacteria has been shown, with bacteria supplying cobalamin in exchange for fixed carbon. Here we establish a system to study this interaction at the molecular level. In a culture of a B12-dependent green alga Chlamydomonas nivalis, we found a contaminating bacterium, identified by 16S rRNA analysis as Mesorhizobium sp. Using the sequenced strain of M. loti (MAFF303099), we found that it was able to support the growth of B12-dependent Lobomonas rostrata, another green alga, in return for fixed carbon. The two organisms form a stable equilibrium in terms of population numbers, which is maintained over many generations in semi-continuous culture, indicating a degree of regulation. However, addition of either vitamin B12 or a carbon source for the bacteria perturbs the equilibrium, demonstrating that the symbiosis is mutualistic and facultative. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii does not require B12 for growth because it encodes a B12-independent methionine synthase, METE, the gene for which is suppressed by addition of exogenous B12. Co-culturing C. reinhardtii with M. loti also results in reduction of METE expression, demonstrating that the bacterium can deliver the vitamin to this B12-independent alga. We discuss the implications of this for the widespread distribution of cobalamin auxotrophy in the algal kingdom.

3 Bookmarks
 · 
413 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A widespread and complex distribution of vitamin requirements exists over the entire tree of life, with many species having evolved vitamin dependence, both within and between different lineages. Vitamin availability has been proposed to drive selection for vitamin dependence, in a process that links an organism's metabolism to the environment, but this has never been demonstrated directly. Moreover, understanding the physiological processes and evolutionary dynamics that influence metabolic demand for these important micronutrients has significant implications in terms of nutrient acquisition and, in microbial organisms, can affect community composition and metabolic exchange between coexisting species. Here we investigate the origins of vitamin dependence, using an experimental evolution approach with the vitamin B12-independent model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. In fewer than 500 generations of growth in the presence of vitamin B12, we observe the evolution of a B12-dependent clone that rapidly displaces its ancestor. Genetic characterization of this line reveals a type-II Gulliver-related transposable element integrated into the B12-independent methionine synthase gene (METE), knocking out gene function and fundamentally altering the physiology of the alga.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 19 December 2014; doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.230.
    The ISME Journal 12/2014; DOI:10.1038/ismej.2014.230 · 9.27 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although no species lives in isolation in nature, efforts to grow organisms for use in biotechnology have generally focused on a single-species approach, particularly where a product is required at high purity. In such scenarios, preventing the establishment of contaminants requires considerable effort that is economically justified. However, for some applications in biotechnology where the focus is on lower-margin biofuel production, axenic culture is not necessary, provided yields of the desired strain are unaffected by contaminants. In this article, we review what is known about interspecific interactions of natural algal communities, the dynamics of which are likely to parallel contamination in industrial systems. Furthermore, we discuss the opportunities to improve both yields and the stability of cultures by growing algae in multi-species consortia.
    Industrial Biotechnology 06/2014; 10(3):184-190. DOI:10.1089/ind.2013.0041
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: N2-fixing cyanobacteria represent a major source of new nitrogen and carbon for marine microbial communities, but little is known about their ecological interactions with associated microbiota. In this study we investigated the interactions between the unicellular N2-fixing cyanobacterium Cyanothece sp. Miami BG043511 and its associated free-living chemotrophic bacteria at different concentrations of nitrate and dissolved organic carbon and different temperatures. High temperature strongly stimulated the growth of Cyanothece, but had less effect on the growth and community composition of the chemotrophic bacteria. Conversely, nitrate and carbon addition did not significantly increase the abundance of Cyanothece, but strongly affected the abundance and species composition of the associated chemotrophic bacteria. In nitrate-free medium the associated bacterial community was co-dominated by the putative diazotroph Mesorhizobium and the putative aerobic anoxygenic phototroph Erythrobacter and after addition of organic carbon also by the Flavobacterium Muricauda. Addition of nitrate shifted the composition toward co-dominance by Erythrobacter and the Gammaproteobacterium Marinobacter. Our results indicate that Cyanothece modified the species composition of its associated bacteria through a combination of competition and facilitation. Furthermore, within the bacterial community, niche differentiation appeared to play an important role, contributing to the coexistence of a variety of different functional groups. An important implication of these findings is that changes in nitrogen and carbon availability due to, e.g., eutrophication and climate change are likely to have a major impact on the species composition of the bacterial community associated with N2-fixing cyanobacteria.
    Frontiers in Microbiology 01/2015; 5:795. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00795 · 3.94 Impact Factor

Full-text

Download
323 Downloads
Available from
Jun 2, 2014