skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1260490

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract A major challenge in modern biology is understanding how the effects of short-term biological responses influence long-term evolutionary adaptation, defined as a genetically determined increase in fitness to novel environments. This is particularly important in globally important microbes experiencing rapid global change, due to their influence on food webs, biogeochemical cycles, and climate. Epigenetic modifications like methylation have been demonstrated to influence short-term plastic responses, which ultimately impact long-term adaptive responses to environmental change. However, there remains a paucity of empirical research examining long-term methylation dynamics during environmental adaptation in nonmodel, ecologically important microbes. Here, we show the first empirical evidence in a marine prokaryote for long-term m5C methylome modifications correlated with phenotypic adaptation to CO2, using a 7-year evolution experiment (1,000+ generations) with the biogeochemically important marine cyanobacterium Trichodesmium. We identify m5C methylated sites that rapidly changed in response to high (750 µatm) CO2 exposure and were maintained for at least 4.5 years of CO2 selection. After 7 years of CO2 selection, however, m5C methylation levels that initially responded to high-CO2 returned to ancestral, ambient CO2 levels. Concurrently, high-CO2 adapted growth and N2 fixation rates remained significantly higher than those of ambient CO2 adapted cell lines irrespective of CO2 concentration,more »a trend consistent with genetic assimilation theory. These data demonstrate the maintenance of CO2-responsive m5C methylation for 4.5 years alongside phenotypic adaptation before returning to ancestral methylation levels. These observations in a globally distributed marine prokaryote provide critical evolutionary insights into biogeochemically important traits under global change.« less
  2. ABSTRACT Nitrogen-fixing (N 2 ) cyanobacteria provide bioavailable nitrogen to vast ocean regions but are in turn limited by iron (Fe) and/or phosphorus (P), which may force them to employ alternative nitrogen acquisition strategies. The adaptive responses of nitrogen fixers to global-change drivers under nutrient-limited conditions could profoundly alter the current ocean nitrogen and carbon cycles. Here, we show that the globally important N 2 fixer Trichodesmium fundamentally shifts nitrogen metabolism toward organic-nitrogen scavenging following long-term high-CO 2 adaptation under iron and/or phosphorus (co)limitation. Global shifts in transcripts and proteins under high-CO 2 /Fe-limited and/or P-limited conditions include decreases in the N 2 -fixing nitrogenase enzyme, coupled with major increases in enzymes that oxidize trimethylamine (TMA). TMA is an abundant, biogeochemically important organic nitrogen compound that supports rapid Trichodesmium growth while inhibiting N 2 fixation. In a future high-CO 2 ocean, this whole-cell energetic reallocation toward organic nitrogen scavenging and away from N 2 fixation may reduce new-nitrogen inputs by Trichodesmium while simultaneously depleting the scarce fixed-nitrogen supplies of nitrogen-limited open-ocean ecosystems. IMPORTANCE Trichodesmium is among the most biogeochemically significant microorganisms in the ocean, since it supplies up to 50% of the new nitrogen supporting open-ocean food webs. We usedmore »Trichodesmium cultures adapted to high-CO 2 conditions for 7 years, followed by additional exposure to iron and/or phosphorus (co)limitation. We show that “future ocean” conditions of high CO 2 and concurrent nutrient limitation(s) fundamentally shift nitrogen metabolism away from nitrogen fixation and instead toward upregulation of organic nitrogen-scavenging pathways. We show that the responses of Trichodesmium to projected future ocean conditions include decreases in the nitrogen-fixing nitrogenase enzymes coupled with major increases in enzymes that oxidize the abundant organic nitrogen source trimethylamine (TMA). Such a shift toward organic nitrogen uptake and away from nitrogen fixation may substantially reduce new-nitrogen inputs by Trichodesmium to the rest of the microbial community in the future high-CO 2 ocean, with potential global implications for ocean carbon and nitrogen cycling.« less
  3. ABSTRACT Trichodesmium is a globally distributed cyanobacterium whose nitrogen-fixing capability fuels primary production in warm oligotrophic oceans. Like many photoautotrophs, Trichodesmium serves as a host to various other microorganisms, yet little is known about how this associated community modulates fluxes of environmentally relevant chemical species into and out of the supraorganismal structure. Here, we utilized metatranscriptomics to examine gene expression activities of microbial communities associated with Trichodesmium erythraeum (strain IMS101) using laboratory-maintained enrichment cultures that have previously been shown to harbor microbial communities similar to those of natural populations. In enrichments maintained under two distinct CO 2 concentrations for ∼8 years, the community transcriptional profiles were found to be specific to the treatment, demonstrating a restructuring of overall gene expression had occurred. Some of this restructuring involved significant increases in community respiration-related transcripts under elevated CO 2 , potentially facilitating the corresponding measured increases in host nitrogen fixation rates. Particularly of note, in both treatments, community transcripts involved in the reduction of nitrate, nitrite, and nitrous oxide were detected, suggesting the associated organisms may play a role in colony-level nitrogen cycling. Lastly, a taxon-specific analysis revealed distinct ecological niches of consistently cooccurring major taxa that may enable, or even encourage,more »the stable cohabitation of a diverse community within Trichodesmium consortia. IMPORTANCE Trichodesmium is a genus of globally distributed, nitrogen-fixing marine cyanobacteria. As a source of new nitrogen in otherwise nitrogen-deficient systems, these organisms help fuel carbon fixation carried out by other more abundant photoautotrophs and thereby have significant roles in global nitrogen and carbon cycling. Members of the Trichodesmium genus tend to form large macroscopic colonies that appear to perpetually host an association of diverse interacting microbes distinct from the surrounding seawater, potentially making the entire assemblage a unique miniature ecosystem. Since its first successful cultivation in the early 1990s, there have been questions about the potential interdependencies between Trichodesmium and its associated microbial community and whether the host's seemingly enigmatic nitrogen fixation schema somehow involved or benefited from its epibionts. Here, we revisit these old questions with new technology and investigate gene expression activities of microbial communities living in association with Trichodesmium .« less