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  1. Giovannoni, Stephen J (Ed.)

    Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is a vital nutrient for most cells in nature, including marine plankton. Early and recent experiments show that B1 degradation products instead of B1 can support the growth of marine bacterioplankton and phytoplankton. However, the use and occurrence of some degradation products remains uninvestigated, namely N-formyl-4-amino-5-aminomethyl-2-methylpyrimidine (FAMP), which has been a focus of plant oxidative stress research. We investigated the relevance of FAMP in the ocean. Experiments and global ocean meta-omic data indicate that eukaryotic phytoplankton, including picoeukaryotes and harmful algal bloom species, use FAMP while bacterioplankton appear more likely to use deformylated FAMP, 4-amino-5-aminomethyl-2-methylpyrimidine. Measurements of FAMP in seawater and biomass revealed that it occurs at picomolar concentrations in the surface ocean, heterotrophic bacterial cultures produce FAMP in the dark—indicating non-photodegradation of B1 by cells, and B1-requiring (auxotrophic) picoeukaryotic phytoplankton produce intracellular FAMP. Our results require an expansion of thinking about vitamin degradation in the sea, but also the marine B1 cycle where it is now crucial to consider a new B1-related compound pool (FAMP), as well as generation (dark degradation—likely via oxidation), turnover (plankton uptake), and exchange of the compound within the networks of plankton.


    Results of this collaborative study newly show that a vitamin B1 degradation product, N-formyl-4-amino-5-aminomethyl-2-methylpyrimidine (FAMP), can be used by diverse marine microbes (bacteria and phytoplankton) to meet their vitamin B1 demands instead of B1 and that FAMP occurs in the surface ocean. FAMP has not yet been accounted for in the ocean and its use likely enables cells to avoid B1 growth deficiency. Additionally, we show FAMP is formed in and out of cells without solar irradiance—a commonly considered route of vitamin degradation in the sea and nature. Altogether, the results expand thinking about oceanic vitamin degradation, but also the marine B1 cycle where it is now crucial to consider a new B1-related compound pool (FAMP), as well as its generation (dark degradation—likely via oxidation), turnover (plankton uptake), and exchange within networks of plankton.

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  2. Abstract

    Coastal upwelling regions are among the most productive marine ecosystems but may be threatened by amplified ocean acidification. Increased acidification is hypothesized to reduce iron bioavailability for phytoplankton thereby expanding iron limitation and impacting primary production. Here we show from community to molecular levels that phytoplankton in an upwelling region respond to short-term acidification exposure with iron uptake pathways and strategies that reduce cellular iron demand. A combined physiological and multi-omics approach was applied to trace metal clean incubations that introduced 1200 ppm CO2for up to four days.Although variable, molecular-level responses indicate a prioritization of iron uptake pathways that are less hindered by acidification and reductions in iron utilization. Growth, nutrient uptake, and community compositions remained largely unaffected suggesting that these mechanisms may confer short-term resistance to acidification; however, we speculate that cellular iron demand is only temporarily satisfied, and longer-term acidification exposure without increased iron inputs may result in increased iron stress.

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  3. Abstract. Metaproteomics is an increasingly popular methodology that provides information regarding the metabolic functions of specific microbial taxa and has potential for contributing to ocean ecology and biogeochemical studies. A blinded multi-laboratory intercomparison was conducted to assess comparability and reproducibility of taxonomic and functional results and their sensitivity to methodological variables. Euphotic zone samples from the Bermuda Atlantic Time-Series Study in the North Atlantic Ocean collected by in situ pumps and the AUV Clio were distributed with a paired metagenome, and one-dimensional liquid chromatographic data dependent acquisition mass spectrometry analyses was stipulated. Analysis of mass spectra from seven laboratories through a common informatic pipeline identified a shared set of 1056 proteins from 1395 shared peptides constituents. Quantitative analyses showed good reproducibility: pairwise regressions of spectral counts between laboratories yielded R2 values ranging from 0.43 to 0.83, and a Sørensen similarity analysis of the top 1,000 proteins revealed 70–80 % similarity between laboratory groups. Taxonomic and functional assignments showed good coherence between technical replicates and different laboratories. An informatic intercomparison study, involving 10 laboratories using 8 software packages successfully identified thousands of peptides within the complex metaproteomic datasets, demonstrating the utility of these software tools for ocean metaproteomic research. Future efforts could examine reproducibility in deeper metaproteomes, examine accuracy in targeted absolute quantitation analyses, and develop standards for data output formats to improve data interoperability. Together, these results demonstrate the reproducibility of metaproteomic analyses and their suitability for microbial oceanography research including integration into global scale ocean surveys and ocean biogeochemical models.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 16, 2025
  4. Abstract

    Production and use of proteins is under strong selection in microbes, but it is unclear how proteome-level traits relate to ecological strategies. We identified and quantified proteomic traits of eukaryotic microbes and bacteria through an Antarctic phytoplankton bloom using in situ metaproteomics. Different taxa, rather than different environmental conditions, formed distinct clusters based on their ribosomal and photosynthetic proteomic proportions, and we propose that these characteristics relate to ecological differences. We defined and used a proteomic proxy for regulatory cost, which showed that SAR11 had the lowest regulatory cost of any taxa we observed at our summertime Southern Ocean study site. Haptophytes had lower regulatory cost than diatoms, which may underpin haptophyte-to-diatom bloom progression in the Ross Sea. We were able to make these proteomic trait inferences by assessing various sources of bias in metaproteomics, providing practical recommendations for researchers in the field. We have quantified several proteomic traits (ribosomal and photosynthetic proteomic proportions, regulatory cost) in eukaryotic and bacterial taxa, which can then be incorporated into trait-based models of microbial communities that reflect resource allocation strategies.

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  5. Micronutrients control phytoplankton growth in the ocean, influencing carbon export and fisheries. It is currently unclear how micronutrient scarcity affects cellular processes and how interdependence across micronutrients arises. We show that proximate causes of micronutrient growth limitation and interdependence are governed by cumulative cellular costs of acquiring and using micronutrients. Using a mechanistic proteomic allocation model of a polar diatom focused on iron and manganese, we demonstrate how cellular processes fundamentally underpin micronutrient limitation, and how they interact and compensate for each other to shape cellular elemental stoichiometry and resource interdependence. We coupled our model with metaproteomic and environmental data, yielding an approach for estimating biogeochemical metrics, including taxon-specific growth rates. Our results show that cumulative cellular costs govern how environmental conditions modify phytoplankton growth. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    The Southern Ocean (SO) harbors some of the most intense phytoplankton blooms on Earth. Changes in temperature and iron availability are expected to alter the intensity of SO phytoplankton blooms, but little is known about how these changes will influence community composition and downstream biogeochemical processes. We performed light-saturated experimental manipulations on surface ocean microbial communities from McMurdo Sound in the Ross Sea to examine the effects of increased iron availability (+2 nM) and warming (+3 and +6 °C) on nutrient uptake, as well as the growth and transcriptional responses of two dominant diatoms, Fragilariopsis and Pseudo-nitzschia . We found that community nutrient uptake and primary productivity were elevated under both warming conditions without iron addition (relative to ambient −0.5 °C). This effect was greater than additive under concurrent iron addition and warming. Pseudo-nitzschia became more abundant under warming without added iron (especially at 6 °C), while Fragilariopsis only became more abundant under warming in the iron-added treatments. We attribute the apparent advantage Pseudo-nitzschia shows under warming to up-regulation of iron-conserving photosynthetic processes, utilization of iron-economic nitrogen assimilation mechanisms, and increased iron uptake and storage. These data identify important molecular and physiological differences between dominant diatom groups and add to the growing body of evidence for Pseudo-nitzschia ’s increasingly important role in warming SO ecosystems. This study also suggests that temperature-driven shifts in SO phytoplankton assemblages may increase utilization of the vast pool of excess nutrients in iron-limited SO surface waters and thereby influence global nutrient distribution and carbon cycling. 
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  7. Environmental contextCobalamin, or vitamin B12, is receiving increased attention as a critical trace nutrient in the growth and metabolic processes of oceanic phytoplankton and bacterial communities. We present evidence that indicates B12 has a more significant role in the biogeochemical cycling of the climatically important compounds dimethylsulfide and dimethylsulfoniopropionate than previously understood. Several possible mechanisms are examined that link cellular-level processes involving B12 to global-scale biogeochemical processes involving the oceanic cycling of dimethylsulfoniopropionate and dimethylsulfide.AbstractEvidence is presented showing that dissolved dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSPd) and dimethylsulfide (DMS) concentrations are influenced by the availability of vitamin B12 in two oceanographically distinct regions with different DMS production capacities, the central equatorial Pacific Ocean and the Ross Sea, Antarctica. In both locations, addition of B12 to incubation experiments resulted in decreases in DMS and, in some cases, DMSPd concentrations relative to unamended controls. In no case did increasing iron availability significantly (α=0.1) alter DMS concentrations relative to controls. The relative decreases in DMS between B12 addition and control experiments were significant (α=0.1) in five of seven experiments conducted at ambient iron levels. Overall, DMS concentrations were on average 33.4% (±15.1%; 1 standard deviation) lower, relative to unamended controls, by the end of incubation experiments when B12 was added. Declines in DMSPd were observed in three of five experiments. Similar trends were observed when B12 was added to iron-supplemented bottle incubation experiments (30.4±10.4% lower final DMS concentrations in +B12Fe treatments relative to +Fe treatments). Several possible molecular-level explanations exist for this link between B12 and DMS production, including potential B12 dependence of methyltransferase enzymes involved in both DMS and DMSP degradation. Although the enzymology of these reactions remains unclear, the relationships described here provide evidence for plausible mechanisms behind the microbial modulation of oceanic DMS. 
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