In situ transcriptomic analysis of the globally important keystone N2-fixing taxon Crocosphaera watsonii.
ABSTRACT The diazotrophic cyanobacterium Crocosphaera watsonii supplies fixed nitrogen (N) to N-depleted surface waters of the tropical oceans, but the factors that determine its distribution and contribution to global N(2) fixation are not well constrained for natural populations. Despite the heterogeneity of the marine environment, the genome of C. watsonii is highly conserved in nucleotide sequence in contrast to sympatric planktonic cyanobacteria. We applied a whole assemblage shotgun transcript sequencing approach to samples collected from a bloom of C. watsonii observed in the South Pacific to understand the genomic mechanisms that may lead to high population densities. We obtained 999 C. watsonii transcript reads from two metatranscriptomes prepared from mixed assemblage RNA collected in the day and at night. The C. watsonii population had unexpectedly high transcription of hypothetical protein genes (31% of protein-encoding genes) and transposases (12%). Furthermore, genes were expressed that are necessary for living in the oligotrophic ocean, including the nitrogenase cluster and the iron-stress-induced protein A (isiA) that functions to protect photosystem I from high-light-induced damage. C. watsonii transcripts retrieved from metatranscriptomes at other locations in the southwest Pacific Ocean, station ALOHA and the equatorial Atlantic Ocean were similar in composition to those recovered in the enriched population. Quantitative PCR and quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR were used to confirm the high expression of these genes within the bloom, but transcription patterns varied at shallower and deeper horizons. These data represent the first transcript study of a rare individual microorganism in situ and provide insight into the mechanisms of genome diversification and the ecophysiology of natural populations of keystone organisms that are important in global nitrogen cycling.
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ABSTRACT: Metatranscriptomics is rapidly expanding our knowledge of gene expression patterns and pathway dynamics in natural microbial communities. However, to cope with the challenges of environmental sampling, various rRNA removal and cDNA synthesis methods have been applied in published microbial metatranscriptomic studies, making comparisons arduous. Whereas efficiency and biases introduced by rRNA removal methods have been relatively well explored, the impact of cDNA synthesis and library preparation on transcript abundance remains poorly characterized. The evaluation of potential biases introduced at this step is challenging for metatranscriptomic samples, where data analyses are complex, for example because of the lack of reference genomes.BMC Genomics 10/2014; 15(1):912. DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-15-912 · 4.04 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We describe interactive effects of total phosphorus (total P = 0.1-4.0 mu mol L-1; added as H2NaPO4), irradiance (40 and 150 mu mol quanta m(-2) s(-1)), and the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (P-CO2; 19 and 81 Pa, i.e., 190 and 800 ppm) on growth and CO2- and dinitrogen (N-2)-fixation rates of the unicellular N-2-fixing cyanobacterium Crocosphaera watsonii (WH0003) isolated from the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. In semicontinuous cultures of C. watsonii, elevated P-CO2 positively affected growth and CO2- and N-2-fixation rates under high light. Under low light, elevated P-CO2 positively affected growth rates at all concentrations of P, but CO2- and N-2-fixation rates were affected by elevated P-CO2 only when P was low. In both high-light and low-light cultures, the total P requirements for growth and CO2- and N-2-fixation declined as P-CO2 increased. The minimum concentration (C-min) of total P and half-saturation constant (K-1/2) for growth and CO2- and N-2-fixation rates with respect to total P were reduced by 0.05 mu mol L-1 as a function of elevated P-CO2. We speculate that low P requirements under high P-CO2 resulted from a lower energy demand associated with carbon-concentrating mechanisms in comparison with low-P-CO2 cultures. There was also a 0.10 mu mol L-1 increase in C-min and K-1/2 for growth and N-2 fixation with respect to total P as a function of increasing light regardless of P-CO2 concentration. We speculate that cellular P concentrations are responsible for this shift through biodilution of cellular P and possibly cellular P uptake systems as a function of increasing light. Changing concentrations of P, CO2, and light have both positive and negative interactive effects on growth and CO2-, and N-2-fixation rates of unicellular oxygenic diazotrophs like C. watsonii.Limnology and Oceanography 07/2013; 58(4):1501-1512. DOI:10.4319/lo.2013.58.4.1501 · 3.62 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A dynamical model is proposed that describes the daily dynamics of diazotrophy in a unicellular cyanobacterium, Crocosphaera watsonii WH8501, in regard to light limitation and obligate diazotrophy. In this model, intracellular carbon and nitrogen are both divided into a functional pool and a storage pool. An internal pool that explicitly describes the nitrogenase enzyme is also added. The various intracellular carbon and nitrogen flows between these pools lead to a complex dynamics driven by the light regime. The model is successfully validated with continuous cultures experiments of C. watsonii under three light regimes, indicating that proposed mechanisms accurately reproduce the growth dynamics of this organism under various light environments. Then, a series of model simulations is run for a range of light regimes with different photoperiods and daily light doses. Results reveal how nitrogen and carbon are coupled, through the diel cycle, along with nitrogenase dynamics whose activity is constrained by the light regime. In an ecological perspective, we picture the effect of such irradiance condition on growth and on the carbon to nitrogen stoichiometry on cells. This model could prove useful to understand the latitudinal distribution of this cyanobacterium in the global ocean.Ecological Modelling 10/2014; Accepted. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2014.07.016 · 2.33 Impact Factor