Butler JE, Young ND, Lovley DR.. Evolution from a respiratory ancestor to fill syntrophic and fermentative niches: comparative fenomics of six Geobacteraceae species. BMC Genomics 10: 103

Department of Microbiology, 203 Morrill Science Center IVN, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.
BMC Genomics (Impact Factor: 3.99). 04/2009; 10(1):103. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-10-103
Source: PubMed


The anaerobic degradation of organic matter in natural environments, and the biotechnical use of anaerobes in energy production and remediation of subsurface environments, both require the cooperative activity of a diversity of microorganisms in different metabolic niches. The Geobacteraceae family contains members with three important anaerobic metabolisms: fermentation, syntrophic degradation of fermentation intermediates, and anaerobic respiration.
In order to learn more about the evolution of anaerobic microbial communities, the genome sequences of six Geobacteraceae species were analyzed. The results indicate that the last common Geobacteraceae ancestor contained sufficient genes for anaerobic respiration, completely oxidizing organic compounds with the reduction of external electron acceptors, features that are still retained in modern Geobacter and Desulfuromonas species. Evolution of specialization for fermentative growth arose twice, via distinct lateral gene transfer events, in Pelobacter carbinolicus and Pelobacter propionicus. Furthermore, P. carbinolicus gained hydrogenase genes and genes for ferredoxin reduction that appear to permit syntrophic growth via hydrogen production. The gain of new physiological capabilities in the Pelobacter species were accompanied by the loss of several key genes necessary for the complete oxidation of organic compounds and the genes for the c-type cytochromes required for extracellular electron transfer.
The results suggest that Pelobacter species evolved parallel strategies to enhance their ability to compete in environments in which electron acceptors for anaerobic respiration were limiting. More generally, these results demonstrate how relatively few gene changes can dramatically transform metabolic capabilities and expand the range of environments in which microorganisms can compete.

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    • "bility to reduce Fe ( III ) - citrate by G . sulfurreducens DL - 1 , which suggests that OmcC is not involved in Fe ( III ) - citrate reduction ( Leang et al . , 2003 ) . Moreover , OmcB was once believed to mediate electron conductance across the outer membrane by itself because it was deeply embedded in the outer membrane ( Qian et al . , 2007 ; Butler et al . , 2009 ) . To further clarify their roles , we conducted detailed characterizations of ombB , omaB , and omcB with regards to extracellular reduction of Fe ( III ) - citrate and ferrihydrite by G . sulfurreducens PCA ."
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    ABSTRACT: The tandem gene clusters orfR-ombB-omaB-omcB and orfS-ombC-omaC-omcC of the metal-reducing bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens PCA are responsible for trans-outer membrane electron transfer during extracellular reduction of Fe(III)-citrate and ferrihydrite [a poorly crystalline Fe(III) oxide]. Each gene cluster encodes a putative transcriptional factor (OrfR/OrfS), a porin-like outer-membrane protein (OmbB/OmbC), a periplasmic c-type cytochrome (c-Cyt, OmaB/OmaC) and an outer-membrane c-Cyt (OmcB/OmcC). The individual roles of OmbB, OmaB and OmcB in extracellular reduction of Fe(III), however, have remained either uninvestigated or controversial. Here, we showed that replacements of ombB, omaB, omcB, and ombB-omaB with an antibiotic gene in the presence of ombC-omaC-omcC had no impact on reduction of Fe(III)-citrate by G. sulfurreducens PCA. Disruption of ombB, omaB, omcB, and ombB-omaB in the absence of ombC-omaC-omcC, however, severely impaired the bacterial ability to reduce Fe(III)-citrate as well as ferrihydrite. These results unequivocally demonstrate an overlapping role of ombB-omaB-omcB and ombC-omaC-omcC in extracellular Fe(III) reduction by G. sulfurreducens PCA. Involvement of both ombB-omaB-omcB and ombC-omaC-omcC in extracellular Fe(III) reduction reflects the importance of these trans-outer membrane protein complexes in the physiology of this bacterium. Moreover, the kinetics of Fe(III)-citrate and ferrihydrite reduction by these mutants in the absence of ombC-omaC-omcC were nearly identical, which suggests that absence of any protein subunit eliminates function of OmaB/OmbB/OmcB protein complex. Finally, orfS was found to have a negative impact on the extracellular reduction of Fe(III)-citrate and ferrihydrite in G. sulfurreducens PCA probably by serving as a transcriptional repressor.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Frontiers in Microbiology
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    • "MDR family dehydrogenases that act on (R)-chiral hydroxyl groups interconvert (2R3R)-2,3-butanediol with (R)-acetoin and/or meso-2,3-butanediol with (S)-acetoin, while SDR family dehydrogenases that act on (S)-chiral hydroxyl groups interconvert (2S3S)-2,3-butanediol with (S)-acetoin and/or meso-2,3-butanediol with (R)-acetoin. Genome sequencing of P. carbinolicus revealed three 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenases (MDR budX Pcar_0330, SDR budY Pcar_0903, SDR budZ Pcar_2068), but the published studies have either noted only one [11] or assigned them to only two stereoisomers [10]. The correct assignment of all three enzymes to their substrates could have commercial value for the production of optically pure 2,3-butanediol [21,22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The bacterium Pelobacter carbinolicus is able to grow by fermentation, syntrophic hydrogen/formate transfer, or electron transfer to sulfur from short-chain alcohols, hydrogen or formate; it does not oxidize acetate and is not known to ferment any sugars or grow autotrophically. The genome of P. carbinolicus was sequenced in order to understand its metabolic capabilities and physiological features in comparison with its relatives, acetate-oxidizing Geobacter species. Results Pathways were predicted for catabolism of known substrates: 2,3-butanediol, acetoin, glycerol, 1,2-ethanediol, ethanolamine, choline and ethanol. Multiple isozymes of 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase, ATP synthase and [FeFe]-hydrogenase were differentiated and assigned roles according to their structural properties and genomic contexts. The absence of asparagine synthetase and the presence of a mutant tRNA for asparagine encoded among RNA-active enzymes suggest that P. carbinolicus may make asparaginyl-tRNA in a novel way. Catabolic glutamate dehydrogenases were discovered, implying that the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle can function catabolically. A phosphotransferase system for uptake of sugars was discovered, along with enzymes that function in 2,3-butanediol production. Pyruvate:ferredoxin/flavodoxin oxidoreductase was identified as a potential bottleneck in both the supply of oxaloacetate for oxidation of acetate by the TCA cycle and the connection of glycolysis to production of ethanol. The P. carbinolicus genome was found to encode autotransporters and various appendages, including three proteins with similarity to the geopilin of electroconductive nanowires. Conclusions Several surprising metabolic capabilities and physiological features were predicted from the genome of P. carbinolicus, suggesting that it is more versatile than anticipated.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · BMC Genomics
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    • "Yet, P. propionicus has a reduced repertoire of c-type cytochromes, and is completely lacking decaheme c-type cytochromes (Additional file 6). Accordingly, P. propionicus lacks the ability to respire on electrodes or radionuclides [60]. By contrast, the strain SZ genome carries the predicted minimal set of genes to allow utilization of a comparable range of electron acceptors as other Geobacter spp. "
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    ABSTRACT: Geobacter lovleyi is a unique member of the Geobacteraceae because strains of this species share the ability to couple tetrachloroethene (PCE) reductive dechlorination to cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-DCE) with energy conservation and growth (i.e., organohalide respiration). Strain SZ also reduces U(VI) to U(IV) and contributes to uranium immobilization, making G. lovleyi relevant for bioremediation at sites impacted with chlorinated ethenes and radionuclides. G. lovleyi is the only fully sequenced representative of this distinct Geobacter clade, and comparative genome analyses identified genetic elements associated with organohalide respiration and elucidated genome features that distinguish strain SZ from other members of the Geobacteraceae. Sequencing the G. lovleyi strain SZ genome revealed a 3.9 Mbp chromosome with 54.7% GC content (i.e., the percent of the total guanines (Gs) and cytosines (Cs) among the four bases within the genome), and average amino acid identities of 53-56% compared to other sequenced Geobacter spp. Sequencing also revealed the presence of a 77 kbp plasmid, pSZ77 (53.0% GC), with nearly half of its encoded genes corresponding to chromosomal homologs in other Geobacteraceae genomes. Among these chromosome-derived features, pSZ77 encodes 15 out of the 24 genes required for de novo cobalamin biosynthesis, a required cofactor for organohalide respiration. A plasmid with 99% sequence identity to pSZ77 was subsequently detected in the PCE-dechlorinating G. lovleyi strain KB-1 present in the PCE-to-ethene-dechlorinating consortium KB-1. Additional PCE-to-cis-DCE-dechlorinating G. lovleyi strains obtained from the PCE-contaminated Fort Lewis, WA, site did not carry a plasmid indicating that pSZ77 is not a requirement (marker) for PCE respiration within this species. Chromosomal genomic islands found within the G. lovleyi strain SZ genome encode two reductive dehalogenase (RDase) homologs and a putative conjugative pilus system. Despite the loss of many c-type cytochrome and oxidative-stress-responsive genes, strain SZ retained the majority of Geobacter core metabolic capabilities, including U(VI) respiration. Gene acquisitions have expanded strain SZ's respiratory capabilities to include PCE and TCE as electron acceptors. Respiratory processes core to the Geobacter genus, such as metal reduction, were retained despite a substantially reduced number of c-type cytochrome genes. pSZ77 is stably maintained within its host strains SZ and KB-1, likely because the replicon carries essential genes including genes involved in cobalamin biosynthesis and possibly corrinoid transport. Lateral acquisition of the plasmid replicon and the RDase genomic island represent unique genome features of the PCE-respiring G. lovleyi strains SZ and KB-1, and at least the latter signifies adaptation to PCE contamination.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · BMC Genomics
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