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  1. The importance of zinc (Zn) as a nutrient and its ability to be substituted for by cobalt (Co) have been characterized in model marine diatoms. However, the extent to which this substitution capability is distributed among diatom taxa is unknown. Zn/Co metabolic substitution was assayed in four diatom species as measured by the effect of free ion concentrations of Zn2+ and Co2+ on specific growth rate. Analysis of growth responses found substitution of these metals can occur within the northwest Atlantic isolate Thalassiosira pseudonana CCMP1335, the northeast Atlantic isolate Phaeodactylum tricornutum CCMP632, and within the northeast Pacific isolates Pseudo-nitzschia delicatissimamore »UNC1205 and Thalassiosira sp. UNC1203. Metabolic substitution of Co in place of Zn in the Atlantic diatoms supports their growth in media lacking added Zn, but at the cost of reduced growth rates. In contrast, highly efficient Zn/Co substitution that supported growth even in media lacking added Zn was observed in the northeast Pacific diatoms. We also present new data from the northeast Pacific Line P transect that revealed dissolved Co and Zn ratios (dCo : dZn) as high as 3.52 : 1 at surface (0–100 m) depths. We posit that the enhanced ability of the NE Pacific diatoms to grow using Co is an adaptation to these high surface dCo : dZn ratios. Particulate metal data and single-cell metal quotas also suggest a high Zn demand in diatoms that may be partially compensated for by Co.« less
  2. Copper toxicity has been a long-term selection pressure on bacteria due to its presence in the environment and its use as an antimicrobial agent by grazing protozoa, by phagocytic cells of the immune system, and in man-made medical and commercial products. There is recent evidence that exposure to increased copper stress may have been a key driver in the evolution and spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus , a globally important pathogen that causes significant mortality and morbidity worldwide. Yet it is unclear how S. aureus physiology is affected by copper stress or how it adapts in order to be ablemore »to grow in the presence of excess copper. Here, we have determined quantitatively how S. aureus alters its proteome during growth under copper stress conditions, comparing this adaptive response in two different types of growth regime. We found that the adaptive response involves induction of the conserved copper detoxification system as well as induction of enzymes of central carbon metabolism, with only limited induction of proteins involved in the oxidative stress response. Further, we identified a protein that binds copper inside S. aureus cells when stressed by copper excess. This copper-binding enzyme, a glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase essential for glycolysis, is inhibited by copper in vitro and inside S. aureus cells. Together, our data demonstrate that copper stress leads to the inhibition of glycolysis in S. aureus , and that the bacterium adapts to this stress by altering its central carbon utilisation pathways.« less
  3. Abstract. Cobalt is the scarcest of metallic micronutrients and displays a complex biogeochemical cycle. This study examines the distribution, chemical speciation, and biogeochemistry of dissolved cobalt during the US North Atlantic GEOTRACES transect expeditions (GA03/3_e), which took place in the fall of 2010 and 2011. Two major subsurface sources of cobalt to the North Atlantic were identified. The more prominent of the two was a large plume of cobalt emanating from the African coast off the eastern tropical North Atlantic coincident with the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) likely due to reductive dissolution, biouptake and remineralization, and aeolian dust deposition. Themore »occurrence of this plume in an OMZ with oxygen above suboxic levels implies a high threshold for persistence of dissolved cobalt plumes. The other major subsurface source came from Upper Labrador Seawater, which may carry high cobalt concentrations due to the interaction of this water mass with resuspended sediment at the western margin or from transport further upstream. Minor sources of cobalt came from dust, coastal surface waters and hydrothermal systems along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The full depth section of cobalt chemical speciation revealed near-complete complexation in surface waters, even within regions of high dust deposition. However, labile cobalt observed below the euphotic zone demonstrated that strong cobalt-binding ligands were not present in excess of the total cobalt concentration there, implying that mesopelagic labile cobalt was sourced from the remineralization of sinking organic matter. In the upper water column, correlations were observed between total cobalt and phosphate, and between labile cobalt and phosphate, demonstrating a strong biological influence on cobalt cycling. Along the western margin off the North American coast, this correlation with phosphate was no longer observed and instead a relationship between cobalt and salinity was observed, reflecting the importance of coastal input processes on cobalt distributions. In deep waters, both total and labile cobalt concentrations were lower than in intermediate depth waters, demonstrating that scavenging may remove labile cobalt from the water column. Total and labile cobalt distributions were also compared to a previously published South Atlantic GEOTRACES-compliant zonal transect (CoFeMUG, GAc01) to discern regional biogeochemical differences. Together, these Atlantic sectional studies highlight the dynamic ecological stoichiometry of total and labile cobalt. As increasing anthropogenic use and subsequent release of cobalt poses the potential to overpower natural cobalt signals in the oceans, it is more important than ever to establish a baseline understanding of cobalt distributions in the ocean.

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