skip to main content

Title: Two canonically aerobic foraminifera express distinct peroxisomal and mitochondrial metabolisms
Certain benthic foraminifera thrive in marine sediments with low or undetectable oxygen. Potential survival avenues used by these supposedly aerobic protists include fermentation and anaerobic respiration, although details on their adaptive mechanisms remain elusive. To better understand the metabolic versatility of foraminifera, we studied two benthic species that thrive in oxygen-depleted marine sediments. Here we detail, via transcriptomics and metatranscriptomics, differential gene expression of Nonionella stella and Bolivina argentea , collected from Santa Barbara Basin, California, USA, in response to varied oxygenation and chemical amendments. Organelle-specific metabolic reconstructions revealed these two species utilize adaptable mitochondrial and peroxisomal metabolism. N. stella , most abundant in anoxia and characterized by lack of food vacuoles and abundance of intracellular lipid droplets, was predicted to couple the putative peroxisomal beta-oxidation and glyoxylate cycle with a versatile electron transport system and a partial TCA cycle. In contrast, B. argentea , most abundant in hypoxia and contains food vacuoles, was predicted to utilize the putative peroxisomal gluconeogenesis and a full TCA cycle but lacks the expression of key beta-oxidation and glyoxylate cycle genes. These metabolic adaptations likely confer ecological success while encountering deoxygenation and expand our understanding of metabolic modifications and interactions between mitochondria and peroxisomes in protists.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1557566 1553211
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Marine Science
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Colwellia psychrerythraea34H is a model psychrophilic bacterium found in the cold ocean—polar sediments, sea ice, and the deep sea. Although the genomes of such psychrophiles have been sequenced, their metabolic strategies at low temperature have not been quantified. We measured the metabolic fluxes and gene expression of 34H at 4 °C (the mean global-ocean temperature and a normal-growth temperature for 34H), making comparative analyses at room temperature (above its upper-growth temperature of 18 °C) and with mesophilicEscherichia coli. When grown at 4 °C, 34H utilized multiple carbon substrates without catabolite repression or overflow byproducts; its anaplerotic pathways increased flux network flexibility and enabled CO2fixation. In glucose-only medium, the Entner–Doudoroff (ED) pathway was the primary glycolytic route; in lactate-only medium, gluconeogenesis and the glyoxylate shunt became active. In comparison,E. coli, cold stressed at 4 °C, had rapid glycolytic fluxes but no biomass synthesis. At their respective normal-growth temperatures, intracellular concentrations of TCA cycle metabolites (α-ketoglutarate, succinate, malate) were 4–17 times higher in 34H than inE. coli, while levels of energy molecules (ATP, NADH, NADPH) were 10- to 100-fold lower. Experiments withE. colimutants supported the thermodynamic advantage of the ED pathway at cold temperature. Heat-stressed 34H at room temperature (2 hours) revealed significant down-regulation of genes associated with glycolytic enzymes and flagella, while 24 hours at room temperature caused irreversible cellular damage. We suggest that marine heterotrophic bacteria in general may rely upon simplified metabolic strategies to overcome thermodynamic constraints and thrive in the cold ocean.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract Heatwaves have increased in intensity, duration and frequency over the last decades due to climate change. Intertidal species, living in a highly variable environment, are likely to be exposed to such heatwaves since they can be emerged for more than 6 h during a tidal cycle. Little is known, however, on how temperature affects species traits (e.g. locomotion and behaviour) of slow-moving organisms such as benthic foraminifera (single-celled protists), which abound in marine sediments. Here, we examine how temperature influences motion-behaviour and metabolic traits of the dominant temperate foraminifera Haynesina germanica by exposing individuals to usual (6, 12, 18, 24, 30 °C) and extreme (high; i.e. 32, 34, 36 °C) temperature regimes. Our results show that individuals reduced their activity by up to 80% under high temperature regimes whereas they remained active under the temperatures they usually experience in the field. When exposed to a hyper-thermic stress (i.e. 36 °C), all individuals remained burrowed and the photosynthetic activity of their sequestered chloroplasts significantly decreased. Recovery experiments subsequently revealed that individuals initially exposed to a high thermal regime partially recovered when the hyper-thermic stress ceased. H. germanica contribution to surface sediment reworking substantially diminished from 10 mm 3 indiv −1 day −1 (usual temperature) to 0 mm 3 indiv −1 day −1 when individuals were exposed to high temperature regimes (i.e. above 32 °C). Given their role in sediment reworking and organic matter remineralisation, our results suggest that heatwaves may have profound long-lasting effects on the functioning of intertidal muddy ecosystems and some key biogeochemical cycles. 
    more » « less
  3. no editor (Ed.)
    Foraminifera (single celled protists with tests primarily of Calcium Carbonate) are directly influenced by ocean warming and hydrographic changes such as expansion of the low oxygen areas associated with anthropogenic climate change. Benthic and planktonic foraminifera communities are good indicators of hydrographic conditions at the sea-floor and sea surface, respectively. Though previous studies have demonstrated that there has been overall ocean surface warming in Southern California and that the oxygen minimum zone has expanded, the relationship between water temperature, dissolved oxygen and foraminifera abundance in the area offshore San Diego has not been extensively examined. Cored sediment samples along with hydrographic data collected during annual research cruises (2001-2012, 2018) on the RV Sproul at three stations (water depth 100 m, 200m 300 m) due west from San Diego, CA provide an opportunity to evaluate how benthic and planktonic foraminiferal communities have changed over the past 19 years. The objective of this research was to identify the foraminifera in these sediments and compare patterns between years to temperature and dissolved oxygen (DO). Sediment samples from the upper 1 cm of the seafloor using a multicore were sieved and the foraminifera were picked and examined under a Leica S9i microscope for identification to genus. Sea surface and bottom water temperature and DO concentrations were measured using a CTD. Analyses of the variation between sites and over time will indicate whether benthic and planktonic community changes track environmental changes in temperature and dissolved oxygen, providing valuable data to assess whether climate change is impacting marine communities. 
    more » « less
  4. Bordenstein, Seth (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Viruses belonging to the Nucleocytoviricota phylum are globally distributed and include members with notably large genomes and complex functional repertoires. Recent studies have shown that these viruses are particularly diverse and abundant in marine systems, but the magnitude of actively replicating Nucleocytoviricota present in ocean habitats remains unclear. In this study, we compiled a curated database of 2,431 Nucleocytoviricota genomes and used it to examine the gene expression of these viruses in a 2.5-day metatranscriptomic time-series from surface waters of the California Current. We identified 145 viral genomes with high levels of gene expression, including 90 Imitervirales and 49 Algavirales viruses. In addition to recovering high expression of core genes involved in information processing that are commonly expressed during viral infection, we also identified transcripts of diverse viral metabolic genes from pathways such as glycolysis, the TCA cycle, and the pentose phosphate pathway, suggesting that virus-mediated reprogramming of central carbon metabolism is common in oceanic surface waters. Surprisingly, we also identified viral transcripts with homology to actin, myosin, and kinesin domains, suggesting that viruses may use these gene products to manipulate host cytoskeletal dynamics during infection. We performed phylogenetic analysis on the virus-encoded myosin and kinesin proteins, which demonstrated that most belong to deep-branching viral clades, but that others appear to have been acquired from eukaryotes more recently. Our results highlight a remarkable diversity of active Nucleocytoviricota in a coastal marine system and underscore the complex functional repertoires expressed by these viruses during infection. IMPORTANCE The discovery of giant viruses has transformed our understanding of viral complexity. Although viruses have traditionally been viewed as filterable infectious agents that lack metabolism, giant viruses can reach sizes rivalling cellular lineages and possess genomes encoding central metabolic processes. Recent studies have shown that giant viruses are widespread in aquatic systems, but the activity of these viruses and the extent to which they reprogram host physiology in situ remains unclear. Here, we show that numerous giant viruses consistently express central metabolic enzymes in a coastal marine system, including components of glycolysis, the TCA cycle, and other pathways involved in nutrient homeostasis. Moreover, we found expression of several viral-encoded actin, myosin, and kinesin genes, indicating viral manipulation of the host cytoskeleton during infection. Our study reveals a high activity of giant viruses in a coastal marine system and indicates they are a diverse and underappreciated component of microbial diversity in the ocean. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Aquatic insects cope with hypoxia and anoxia using a variety of behavioral and physiological responses. Most stoneflies (Plecoptera) occur in highly oxygenated surface waters, but some species live underground in alluvial aquifers containing heterogeneous oxygen concentrations. Aquifer stoneflies appear to be supported by methane-derived food resources, which they may exploit using anoxia-resistant behaviors. We documented dissolved oxygen dynamics and collected stoneflies over 5 years in floodplain wells of the Flathead River, Montana. Hypoxia regularly occurred in two wells, and nymphs of Paraperla frontalis were collected during hypoxic periods. We measured mass-specific metabolic rates (MSMRs) at different oxygen concentrations (12, 8, 6, 4, 2, 0.5 mg l −1 , and during recovery) for 111 stonefly nymphs to determine whether aquifer and benthic taxa differed in hypoxia tolerance. Metabolic rates of aquifer taxa were similar across oxygen concentrations spanning 2 to 12 mg l −1 ( P >0.437), but the MSMRs of benthic taxa dropped significantly with declining oxygen ( P <0.0001; 2.9-times lower at 2 vs. 12 mg l −1 ). Aquifer taxa tolerated short-term repeated exposure to extreme hypoxia surprisingly well (100% survival), but repeated longer-term (>12 h) exposures resulted in lower survival (38–91%) and lower MSMRs during recovery. Our work suggests that aquifer stoneflies have evolved a remarkable set of behavioral and physiological adaptations that allow them to exploit the unique food resources available in hypoxic zones. These adaptations help to explain how large-bodied consumers might thrive in the underground aquifers of diverse and productive river floodplains. 
    more » « less