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  1. Hatzimanikatis, Vassily (Ed.)
    Marine nitrogen-fixing microorganisms are an important source of fixed nitrogen in oceanic ecosystems. The colonial cyanobacterium Trichodesmium and diatom symbionts were thought to be the primary contributors to oceanic N 2 fixation until the discovery of the unusual uncultivated symbiotic cyanobacterium UCYN-A ( Candidatus Atelocyanobacterium thalassa ). UCYN-A has atypical metabolic characteristics lacking the oxygen-evolving photosystem II, the tricarboxylic acid cycle, the carbon-fixation enzyme RuBisCo and de novo biosynthetic pathways for a number of amino acids and nucleotides. Therefore, it is obligately symbiotic with its single-celled haptophyte algal host. UCYN-A receives fixed carbon from its host and returns fixed nitrogen, but further insights into this symbiosis are precluded by both UCYN-A and its host being uncultured. In order to investigate how this syntrophy is coordinated, we reconstructed bottom-up genome-scale metabolic models of UCYN-A and its algal partner to explore possible trophic scenarios, focusing on nitrogen fixation and biomass synthesis. Since both partners are uncultivated and only the genome sequence of UCYN-A is available, we used the phylogenetically related Chrysochromulina tobin as a proxy for the host. Through the use of flux balance analysis (FBA), we determined the minimal set of metabolites and biochemical functions that must be shared between themore »two organisms to ensure viability and growth. We quantitatively investigated the metabolic characteristics that facilitate daytime N 2 fixation in UCYN-A and possible oxygen-scavenging mechanisms needed to create an anaerobic environment to allow nitrogenase to function. This is the first application of an FBA framework to examine the tight metabolic coupling between uncultivated microbes in marine symbiotic communities and provides a roadmap for future efforts focusing on such specialized systems.« less
  2. Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is an abundant organic sulfur metabolite produced by many phytoplankton species and degraded by bacteria via two distinct pathways with climate‐relevant implications. We assessed the diversity and abundance of bacteria possessing these pathways in the context of phytoplankton community composition over a 3‐week time period spanning September–October, 2014 in Monterey Bay, CA. The dmdA gene from the DMSP demethylation pathway dominated the DMSP gene pool and was harboured mostly by members of the alphaproteobacterial SAR11 clade and secondarily by the Roseobacter group, particularly during the second half of the study. Novel members of the DMSP‐degrading community emerged from dmdA sequences recovered from metagenome assemblies and single‐cell sequencing, including largely uncharacterized gammaproteobacteria and alphaproteobacteria taxa. In the DMSP cleavage pathway, the SAR11 gene dddK was the most abundant early in the study, but was supplanted by dddP over time. SAR11 members, especially those harbouring genes for both DMSP degradation pathways, had a strong positive relationship with the abundance of dinoflagellates, and DMSP‐degrading gammaproteobacteria co‐occurred with haptophytes. This in situ study of the drivers of DMSP fate in a coastal ecosystem demonstrates for the first time correlations between specific groups of bacterial DMSP degraders and phytoplankton taxa.