Shallow breathing: bacterial life at low O-2
ABSTRACT Competition for molecular oxygen (O(2)) among respiratory microorganisms is intense because O(2) is a potent electron acceptor. This competition leads to the formation of microoxic environments wherever microorganisms congregate in aquatic, terrestrial and host-associated communities. Bacteria can harvest O(2) present at low, even nanomolar, concentrations using high-affinity terminal oxidases. Here, we report the results of surveys searching for high-affinity terminal oxidase genes in sequenced bacterial genomes and shotgun metagenomes. The results indicate that bacteria with the potential to respire under microoxic conditions are phylogenetically diverse and intriguingly widespread in nature. We explore the implications of these findings by highlighting the importance of microaerobic metabolism in host-associated bacteria related to health and disease.
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ABSTRACT: Plants and animals each have evolved specialized organs dedicated to nutrient acquisition, and these harbor specific bacterial communities that extend the host's metabolic repertoire. Similar forces driving microbial community establishment in the gut and plant roots include diet/soil-type, host genotype, and immune system as well as microbe-microbe interactions. Here we show that there is no overlap of abundant bacterial taxa between the microbiotas of the mammalian gut and plant roots, whereas taxa overlap does exist between fish gut and plant root communities. A comparison of root and gut microbiota composition in multiple host species belonging to the same evolutionary lineage reveals host phylogenetic signals in both eukaryotic kingdoms. The reasons underlying striking differences in microbiota composition in independently evolved, yet functionally related, organs in plants and animals remain unclear but might include differences in start inoculum and niche-specific factors such as oxygen levels, temperature, pH, and organic carbon availability. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Cell host & microbe 05/2015; 17(5):603-616. DOI:10.1016/j.chom.2015.04.009 · 12.19 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There is a poor understanding of how the physiology of polymicrobial communities in cystic fibrosis (CF) lungs contributes to pulmonary exacerbations and lung function decline. In this study, a microbial culture system based on the principles of the Winogradsky column (WinCF system) was developed to study the physiology of CF microbes. The system used glass capillary tubes filled with artificial sputum medium to mimic a clogged airway bronchiole. Chemical indicators were added to observe microbial physiology within the tubes. Characterization of sputum samples from seven patients showed variation in pH, respiration, biofilm formation and gas production, indicating that the physiology of CF microbial communities varied among patients. Incubation of homogenized tissues from an explant CF lung mirrored responses of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa pure culture, supporting evidence that end-stage lungs are dominated by this pathogen. Longitudinal sputum samples taken through two exacerbation events in a single patient showed that a two-unit drop in pH and a 30% increase in gas production occurred in the tubes prior to exacerbation, which was reversed with antibiotic treatment. Microbial community profiles obtained through amplification and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene showed that fermentative anaerobes became more abundant during exacerbation and were then reduced during treatment where P. aeruginosa became the dominant bacterium. Results from the WinCF experiments support the model where two functionally different CF microbial communities exist, the persistent Climax Community and the acute Attack Community. Fermentative anaerobes are hypothesized to be the core members of the Attack Community and production of acidic and gaseous products from fermentation may drive developing exacerbations. Treatment targeting the Attack Community may better resolve exacerbations and resulting lung damage.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 16 December 2014; doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.234.The ISME Journal 12/2014; 9(4). DOI:10.1038/ismej.2014.234 · 9.27 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Highly sensitive STOX O2 sensors were used for determination of in situ O2 distribution in the eastern tropical north and south Pacific oxygen minimum zones (ETN/SP OMZs), as well as for laboratory determination of O2 uptake rates of water masses at various depths within these OMZs. Oxygen was generally below the detection limit (few nmol L−1) in the core of both OMZs, suggesting the presence of vast volumes of functionally anoxic waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Oxygen was often not detectable in the deep secondary chlorophyll maximum found at some locations, but other secondary maxima contained up to ~0.4 µmol L−1. Directly measured respiration rates were high in surface and subsurface oxic layers of the coastal waters, reaching values up to 85 nmol L−1 O2 h−1. Substantially lower values were found at the depths of the upper oxycline, where values varied from 2–33 nmol L−1 O2 h−1. Where secondary chlorophyll maxima were found the rates were higher than in the oxic water just above. Incubation times longer than 20 h, in the all-glass containers, resulted in highly increased respiration rates. Addition of amino acids to the water from the upper oxycline did not lead to a significant initial rise in respiration rate within the first 20 h, indicating that the measurement of respiration rates in oligotrophic ocean water may not be severely affected by low levels of organic contamination during sampling. Our measurements indicate that aerobic metabolism proceeds efficiently at extremely low oxygen concentrations with apparent half-saturation concentrations (Km values) ranging from about 10 to about 200 nmol L−1.Deep Sea Research Part I Oceanographic Research Papers 12/2014; 94. DOI:10.1016/j.dsr.2014.10.001 · 2.83 Impact Factor