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  • Broad host range vectors for expression of proteins with (Twin-) Strep-tag, His-tag and engineered, export optimized yellow fluorescent protein

    Dammeyer, Thorben; Timmis, Kenneth N; Tinnefeld, Philip (2013-05-20)
    Abstract Background In current protein research, a limitation still is the production of active recombinant proteins or native protein associations to assess their function. Especially the localization and analysis of protein-complexes or the identification of modifications and small molecule interaction partners by co-purification experiments requires a controllable expression of affinity- and/or fluorescence tagged variants of a protein of interest in its native cellular background. Advantages of periplasmic and/or homologous expressions can frequently not be realized due to a lack of suitable tools. Instead, experiments are often limited to the heterologous production in one of the few well established expression strains. Results Here, we introduce a series of new RK2 based broad host range expression plasmids for inducible production of affinity- and fluorescence tagged proteins in the cytoplasm and periplasm of a wide range of Gram negative hosts which are designed to match the recently suggested modular Standard European Vector Architecture and database. The vectors are equipped with a yellow fluorescent protein variant which is engineered to fold and brightly fluoresce in the bacterial periplasm following Sec-mediated export, as shown from fractionation and imaging studies. Expression of Strep-tag®II and Twin-Strep-tag® fusion proteins in Pseudomonas putida KT2440 is demonstrated for various ORFs. Conclusion The broad host range constructs we have produced enable good and controlled expression of affinity tagged protein variants for single-step purification and qualify for complex co-purification experiments. Periplasmic export variants enable production of affinity tagged proteins and generation of fusion proteins with a novel engineered Aequorea-based yellow fluorescent reporter protein variant with activity in the periplasm of the tested Gram-negative model bacteria Pseudomonas putida KT2440 and Escherichia coli K12 for production, localization or co-localization studies. In addition, the new tools facilitate metabolic engineering and yield assessment for cytoplasmic or periplasmic protein production in a number of different expression hosts when yields in one initially selected are insufficient.
  • Microbial β-glucosidases from cow rumen metagenome enhance the saccharification of lignocellulose in combination with commercial cellulase cocktail

    Del Pozo, Mercedes V; Fernández-Arrojo, Lucía; Gil-Martínez, Jorge; Montesinos, Alejandro; Chernikova, Tatyana N; Nechitaylo, Taras Y; Waliszek, Agnes; Tortajada, Marta; Rojas, Antonia; Huws, Sharon A; Golyshina, Olga V; Newbold, Charles J; Polaina, Julio; Ferrer, Manuel; Golyshin, Peter N (2012-09-21)
    Abstract Background A complete saccharification of plant polymers is the critical step in the efficient production of bio-alcohols. Beta-glucosidases acting in the degradation of intermediate gluco-oligosaccharides produced by cellulases limit the yield of the final product. Results In the present work, we have identified and then successfully cloned, expressed, purified and characterised 4 highly active beta-glucosidases from fibre-adherent microbial community from the cow rumen. The enzymes were most active at temperatures 45–55°C and pH 4.0-7.0 and exhibited high affinity and activity towards synthetic substrates such as p-nitrophenyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside (pNPbetaG) and pNP-beta-cellobiose, as well as to natural cello-oligosaccharides ranging from cellobiose to cellopentaose. The apparent capability of the most active beta-glucosidase, herein named LAB25g2, was tested for its ability to improve, at low dosage (31.25 units g-1 dry biomass, using pNPbetaG as substrate), the hydrolysis of pre-treated corn stover (dry matter content of 20%; 350 g glucan kg-1 dry biomass) in combination with a beta-glucosidase-deficient commercial Trichoderma reseei cellulase cocktail (5 units g-1 dry biomass in the basis of pNPbetaG). LAB25g2 increased the final hydrolysis yield by a factor of 20% (44.5 ± 1.7% vs. 34.5 ± 1.5% in control conditions) after 96–120 h as compared to control reactions in its absence or in the presence of other commercial beta-glucosidase preparations. The high stability (half-life higher than 5 days at 50°C and pH 5.2) and 2–38000 fold higher (as compared with reported beta-glucosidases) activity towards cello-oligosaccharides may account for its performance in supplementation assays. Conclusions The results suggest that beta-glucosidases from yet uncultured bacteria from animal digestomes may be of a potential interest for biotechnological processes related to the effective bio-ethanol production in combination with low dosage of commercial cellulases.
  • The 'LipoYeasts' project: using the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica in combination with specific bacterial genes for the bioconversion of lipids, fats and oils into high-value products.

    Sabirova, Julia S; Haddouche, R; Van Bogaert, I N; Mulaa, F; Verstraete, W; Timmis, K N; Schmidt-Dannert, C; Nicaud, J M; Soetaert, W; Gesellschaft für biotechnologische Forschung (GBF), Mascheroder Weg 1, D-38124 Braunschweig, >Germany. (2011-01)
    The oleochemical industry is currently still dominated by conventional chemistry, with biotechnology only starting to play a more prominent role, primarily with respect to the biosurfactants or lipases, e.g. as detergents, or for biofuel production. A major bottleneck for all further biotechnological applications is the problem of the initial mobilization of cheap and vastly available lipid and oil substrates, which are then to be transformed into high-value biotechnological, nutritional or pharmacological products. Under the EU-sponsored LipoYeasts project we are developing the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica into a versatile and high-throughput microbial factory that, by use of specific enzymatic pathways from hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria, efficiently mobilizes lipids by directing its versatile lipid metabolism towards the production of industrially valuable lipid-derived compounds like wax esters (WE), isoprenoid-derived compounds (carotenoids, polyenic carotenoid ester), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and free hydroxylated fatty acids (HFAs). Different lipid stocks (petroleum, alkane, vegetable oil, fatty acid) and combinations thereof are being assessed as substrates in combination with different mutant and recombinant strains of Y. lipolytica, in order to modulate the composition and yields of the produced added-value products.
  • Efficient production of soluble recombinant single chain Fv fragments by a Pseudomonas putida strain KT2440 cell factory.

    Dammeyer, Thorben; Steinwand, Miriam; Krüger, Sarah-C; Dübel, Stefan; Hust, Michael; Timmis, Kenneth N; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011)
    Recombinant antibody fragments have a wide range of applications in research, diagnostics and therapy. For many of these, small fragments like single chain fragment variables (scFv) function well and can be produced inexpensively in bacterial expression systems. Although Escherichia coli K-12 production systems are convenient, yields of different fragments, even those produced from codon-optimized expression systems, vary significantly. Where yields are inadequate, alternative production systems are needed. Pseudomonas putida strain KT2440 is a versatile biosafety strain known for good expression of heterologous genes, so we have explored its utility as a cell factory for production of scFvs.
  • Tight coupling of polymerization and depolymerization of polyhydroxyalkanoates ensures efficient management of carbon resources in Pseudomonas putida

    Arias, Sagrario; Bassas-Galia, Monica; Molinari, Gabriella; Timmis, Kenneth N.; Environmental microbiology; Helmholtz Centre for infection research; Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany (2014-03-06)
  • Broad host range vectors for expression of proteins with (Twin-) Strep-tag, His-tag and engineered, export optimized yellow fluorescent protein.

    Dammeyer, Thorben; Timmis, Kenneth N; Tinnefeld, Philip; Institut für Physikalische und Theoretische Chemie, NanoBioSciences, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Hans Sommer Str, 10, Braunschweig 38106, Germany. (2013)
    In current protein research, a limitation still is the production of active recombinant proteins or native protein associations to assess their function. Especially the localization and analysis of protein-complexes or the identification of modifications and small molecule interaction partners by co-purification experiments requires a controllable expression of affinity- and/or fluorescence tagged variants of a protein of interest in its native cellular background. Advantages of periplasmic and/or homologous expressions can frequently not be realized due to a lack of suitable tools. Instead, experiments are often limited to the heterologous production in one of the few well established expression strains.
  • Genome sequence and functional genomic analysis of the oil-degrading bacterium Oleispira antarctica.

    Kube, Michael; Chernikova, Tatyana N; Al-Ramahi, Yamal; Beloqui, Ana; Lopez-Cortez, Nieves; Guazzaroni, María-Eugenia; Heipieper, Hermann J; Klages, Sven; Kotsyurbenko, Oleg R; Langer, Ines; Nechitaylo, Taras Y; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Fernández, Marisol; Juárez, Silvia; Ciordia, Sergio; Singer, Alexander; Kagan, Olga; Egorova, Olga; Alain Petit, Pierre; Stogios, Peter; Kim, Youngchang; Tchigvintsev, Anatoli; Flick, Robert; Denaro, Renata; Genovese, Maria; Albar, Juan P; Reva, Oleg N; Martínez-Gomariz, Montserrat; Tran, Hai; Ferrer, Manuel; Savchenko, Alexei; Yakunin, Alexander F; Yakimov, Michail M; Golyshina, Olga V; Reinhardt, Richard; Golyshin, Peter N; 1] Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin-Dahlem D-14195, Germany [2] Section Phytomedicine, Department of Crop and Animal Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin-Dahlem D-14195, Germany. (2013-07-23)
    Ubiquitous bacteria from the genus Oleispira drive oil degradation in the largest environment on Earth, the cold and deep sea. Here we report the genome sequence of Oleispira antarctica and show that compared with Alcanivorax borkumensis-the paradigm of mesophilic hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria-O. antarctica has a larger genome that has witnessed massive gene-transfer events. We identify an array of alkane monooxygenases, osmoprotectants, siderophores and micronutrient-scavenging pathways. We also show that at low temperatures, the main protein-folding machine Cpn60 functions as a single heptameric barrel that uses larger proteins as substrates compared with the classical double-barrel structure observed at higher temperatures. With 11 protein crystal structures, we further report the largest set of structures from one psychrotolerant organism. The most common structural feature is an increased content of surface-exposed negatively charged residues compared to their mesophilic counterparts. Our findings are relevant in the context of microbial cold-adaptation mechanisms and the development of strategies for oil-spill mitigation in cold environments.
  • Development and application of a real-time PCR approach for quantification of uncultured bacteria in the central Baltic Sea.

    Labrenz, Matthias; Brettar, Ingrid; Christen, Richard; Flavier, Sebastien; Bötel, Julia; Höfle, Manfred G; Department of Environmental Microbiology, GBF-German Research Centre for Biotechnology, Mascheroder Weg 1, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2004-08)
    We have developed a highly sensitive approach to assess the abundance of uncultured bacteria in water samples from the central Baltic Sea by using a noncultured member of the "Epsilonproteobacteria" related to Thiomicrospira denitrificans as an example. Environmental seawater samples and samples enriched for the target taxon provided a unique opportunity to test the approach over a broad range of abundances. The approach is based on a combination of taxon- and domain-specific real-time PCR measurements determining the relative T. denitrificans-like 16S rRNA gene and 16S rRNA abundances, as well as the determination of total cell counts and environmental RNA content. It allowed quantification of T. denitrificans-like 16S rRNA molecules or 16S rRNA genes as well as calculation of the number of ribosomes per T. denitrificans-like cell. Every real-time measurement and its specific primer system were calibrated using environmental nucleic acids obtained from the original habitat for external standardization. These standards, as well as the respective samples to be measured, were prepared from the same DNA or RNA extract. Enrichment samples could be analyzed directly, whereas environmental templates had to be preamplified with general bacterial primers before quantification. Preamplification increased the sensitivity of the assay by more than 4 orders of magnitude. Quantification of enrichments with or without a preamplification step yielded comparable results. T. denitrificans-like 16S rRNA molecules ranged from 7.1 x 10(3) to 4.4 x 10(9) copies ml(-1) or 0.002 to 49.7% relative abundance. T. denitrificans-like 16S rRNA genes ranged from 9.0 x 10(1) to 2.2 x10(6) copies ml(-1) or 0.01 to 49.7% relative abundance. Detection limits of this real-time-PCR approach were 20 16S rRNA molecules or 0.2 16S rRNA gene ml(-1). The number of ribosomes per T. denitrificans-like cell was estimated to range from 20 to 200 in seawater and reached up to 2,000 in the enrichments. The results indicate that our real-time PCR approach can be used to determine cellular and relative abundances of uncultured marine bacterial taxa and to provide information about their levels of activity in their natural environment.
  • New lineage of filamentous, spore-forming, gram-positive bacteria from soil.

    Cavaletti, Linda; Monciardini, Paolo; Bamonte, Ruggiero; Schumann, Peter; Rohde, Manfred; Sosio, Margherita; Donadio, Stefano; Vicuron Pharmaceuticals, 21040 Gerenzano, Italy. (2006-06)
    A novel bacterial strain that was isolated from an Italian soil and was designated SOSP1-21T forms branched mycelia in solid and liquid media and has a filamentous morphology similar to that of some genera belonging to the Actinobacteria. Electron microscopy showed that this organism has a grape-like appearance, resulting from interlacing of spores originating from sporophoric hyphae. Ten strains that are morphologically related to SOSP1-21T were recovered from soil. Phylogenetic analyses of 16S rRNA gene segments confirmed the relatedness of these strains to SOSP1-21T and indicated that the newly isolated strains form separate clades in a deeply branching lineage. The closest matches for the 16S rRNA sequences of all the strains (around 79% identity) were matches with representatives of the Chloroflexi, although the affiliation with this division was not supported by high bootstrap values. The strains are mesophilic aerobic heterotrophs and are also capable of growing under microaerophilic conditions. They all stain gram positive. Strain SOSP1-21T contains ornithine, alanine, glutamic acid, serine, and glycine as the peptidoglycan amino acids. In addition, an unusual level of C16:1 2OH (30%) was found in the cellular fatty acids. The G+C content of SOSP1-21T genomic DNA is 53.9%, and MK-9(H2) was the only menaquinone detected. All these data suggest that SOSP1-21T and the related strains may constitute a new division of filamentous, spore-forming, gram-positive bacteria. We propose the name Ktedobacter racemifer gen. nov., sp. nov. for strain SOSP1-21T.
  • Composition and dynamics of bacterial communities of a drinking water supply system as assessed by RNA- and DNA-based 16S rRNA gene fingerprinting.

    Eichler, Stefan; Christen, Richard; Höltje, Claudia; Westphal, Petra; Bötel, Julia; Brettar, Ingrid; Mehling, Arndt; Höfle, Manfred G; Department of Environmental Microbiology, GBF-German Research Center for Biotechnology, Mascheroder Weg 1, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2006-03)
    Bacterial community dynamics of a whole drinking water supply system (DWSS) were studied from source to tap. Raw water for this DWSS is provided by two reservoirs with different water characteristics in the Harz mountains of Northern Germany. Samples were taken after different steps of treatment of raw water (i.e., flocculation, sand filtration, and chlorination) and at different points along the supply system to the tap. RNA and DNA were extracted from the sampled water. The 16S rRNA or its genes were partially amplified by reverse transcription-PCR or PCR and analyzed by single-strand conformation polymorphism community fingerprints. The bacterial community structures of the raw water samples from the two reservoirs were very different, but no major changes of these structures occurred after flocculation and sand filtration. Chlorination of the processed raw water strongly affected bacterial community structure, as reflected by the RNA-based fingerprints. This effect was less pronounced for the DNA-based fingerprints. After chlorination, the bacterial community remained rather constant from the storage containers to the tap. Furthermore, the community structure of the tap water did not change substantially for several months. Community composition was assessed by sequencing of abundant bands and phylogenetic analysis of the sequences obtained. The taxonomic compositions of the bacterial communities from both reservoirs were very different at the species level due to their different limnologies. On the other hand, major taxonomic groups, well known to occur in freshwater, such as Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes, were found in both reservoirs. Significant differences in the detection of the major groups were observed between DNA-based and RNA-based fingerprints irrespective of the reservoir. Chlorination of the drinking water seemed to promote growth of nitrifying bacteria. Detailed analysis of the community dynamics of the whole DWSS revealed a significant influence of both source waters on the overall composition of the drinking water microflora and demonstrated the relevance of the raw water microflora for the drinking water microflora provided to the end user.
  • Diversity of Bacillus-like organisms isolated from deep-sea hypersaline anoxic sediments.

    Sass, Andrea M; McKew, Boyd A; Sass, Henrik; Fichtel, Jörg; Timmis, Kenneth N; McGenity, Terry J; Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, UK. (2008)
    The deep-sea, hypersaline anoxic brine lakes in the Mediterranean are among the most extreme environments on earth, and in one of them, the MgCl2-rich Discovery basin, the presence of active microbes is equivocal. However, thriving microbial communities have been detected especially in the chemocline between deep seawater and three NaCl-rich brine lakes, l'Atalante, Bannock and Urania. By contrast, the microbiota of these brine-lake sediments remains largely unexplored.
  • Microbial β-glucosidases from cow rumen metagenome enhance the saccharification of lignocellulose in combination with commercial cellulase cocktail.

    Del Pozo, Mercedes V; Fernández-Arrojo, Lucía; Gil-Martínez, Jorge; Montesinos, Alejandro; Chernikova, Tatyana N; Nechitaylo, Taras Y; Waliszek, Agnes; Tortajada, Marta; Rojas, Antonia; Huws, Sharon A; Golyshina, Olga V; Newbold, Charles J; Polaina, Julio; Ferrer, Manuel; Golyshin, Peter N; CSIC, Institute of Catalysis, 28049, Madrid, Spain. (2012)
    A complete saccharification of plant polymers is the critical step in the efficient production of bio-alcohols. Beta-glucosidases acting in the degradation of intermediate gluco-oligosaccharides produced by cellulases limit the yield of the final product.
  • Functional metagenomics unveils a multifunctional glycosyl hydrolase from the family 43 catalysing the breakdown of plant polymers in the calf rumen.

    Ferrer, Manuel; Ghazi, Azam; Beloqui, Ana; Vieites, José María; López-Cortés, Nieves; Marín-Navarro, Julia; Nechitaylo, Taras Y; Guazzaroni, María-Eugenia; Polaina, Julio; Waliczek, Agnes; Chernikova, Tatyana N; Reva, Oleg N; Golyshina, Olga V; Golyshin, Peter N; CSIC, Institute of Catalysis, Madrid, Spain. (2012)
    Microbial communities from cow rumen are known for their ability to degrade diverse plant polymers at high rates. In this work, we identified 15 hydrolases through an activity-centred metagenome analysis of a fibre-adherent microbial community from dairy cow rumen. Among them, 7 glycosyl hydrolases (GHs) and 1 feruloyl esterase were successfully cloned, expressed, purified and characterised. The most striking result was a protein of GH family 43 (GHF43), hereinafter designated as R_09-02, which had characteristics very distinct from the other proteins in this family with mono-functional β-xylosidase, α-xylanase, α-L-arabinase and α-L-arabinofuranosidase activities. R_09-02 is the first multifunctional enzyme to exhibit β-1,4 xylosidase, α-1,5 arabinofur(pyr)anosidase, β-1,4 lactase, α-1,6 raffinase, α-1,6 stachyase, β-galactosidase and α-1,4 glucosidase activities. The R_09-02 protein appears to originate from the chromosome of a member of Clostridia, a class of phylum Firmicutes, members of which are highly abundant in ruminal environment. The evolution of R_09-02 is suggested to be driven from the xylose- and arabinose-specific activities, typical for GHF43 members, toward a broader specificity to the glucose- and galactose-containing components of lignocellulose. The apparent capability of enzymes from the GHF43 family to utilise xylose-, arabinose-, glucose- and galactose-containing oligosaccharides has thus far been neglected by, or could not be predicted from, genome and metagenome sequencing data analyses. Taking into account the abundance of GHF43-encoding gene sequences in the rumen (up to 7% of all GH-genes) and the multifunctional phenotype herein described, our findings suggest that the ecological role of this GH family in the digestion of ligno-cellulosic matter should be significantly reconsidered.
  • Transcriptional profiling of the marine oil-degrading bacterium Alcanivorax borkumensis during growth on n-alkanes.

    Sabirova, Julia S; Becker, Anke; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Nicaud, Jean-Marc; Timmis, Kenneth N; Golyshin, Peter N; Department of Bioscience and Bioengineering, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. (2011-06)
    The marine oil-degrading bacterium Alcanivorax borkumensis SK2 has attracted significant interest due to its hydrocarbonoclastic lifestyle, its alkane-centered metabolism, and for playing an important ecological role in cleaning up marine oil spills. In this study, we used microarray technology to characterize the transcriptional responses of A. borkumensis to n-hexadecane exposure as opposed to pyruvate, which led to the identification of a total of 220 differentially expressed genes, with 109 genes being upregulated and 111 genes being downregulated. Among the genes upregulated on alkanes are systems predicted to be involved in the terminal oxidation of alkanes, biofilm formation, signal transduction, and regulation.
  • Identification of oxylipins with antifungal activity by LC-MS/MS from the supernatant of Pseudomonas 42A2.

    Martin-Arjol, I; Bassas-Galia, M; Bermudo, E; Garcia, F; Manresa, A; Laboratori de Microbiologia, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, Joan XXIII s/n, Barcelona, Spain. (2010-05)
    In microorganisms hydroxy fatty acids are produced from the biotransformation of unsaturated fatty acids. Such compounds belong to a class of oxylipins which are reported to perform a variety of biological functions such as anti-inflammatory or cytotoxic activity. These compounds have been found in rice and timothy plants after being infected by specific fungus. When grown in submerged culture with linoleic acid, Pseudomonas 42A2 accumulated in the supernatant several hydroxy fatty acids. In this work LC-MS/MS has been used to elucidate the structure of the components form the organic extract: 9-hydroxy-10,12-octadecadienoic acid; 13-hydroxy-9,11-octadecadienoic acid; 7,10-dihydroxy-8E-octadecenoic acid; 9,10,13-trihydroxy-11-octadecenoic acid and 9,12,13-trihydroxy-10-octadecenoic acid. Antimicrobial activity against several pathogenic fungal strains is presented: MIC (microg/mL) Verticillium dhaliae, 32; Macrophonia phaesolina, 32; Arthroderma uncinatum, 32; Trycophyton mentagrophytes, 64.
  • Characterization of marine isoprene-degrading communities.

    Alvarez, Laura Acuña; Exton, Daniel A; Timmis, Kenneth N; Suggett, David J; McGenity, Terry J; Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ, UK. (2009-12)
    Isoprene is a volatile and climate-altering hydrocarbon with an atmospheric concentration similar to that of methane. It is well established that marine algae produce isoprene; however, until now there was no specific information about marine isoprene sinks. Here we demonstrate isoprene consumption in samples from temperate and tropical marine and coastal environments, and furthermore show that the most rapid degradation of isoprene coincides with the highest rates of isoprene production in estuarine sediments. Isoprene-degrading enrichment cultures, analysed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and 454 pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene and by culturing, were generally dominated by Actinobacteria, but included other groups such as Alphaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes, previously not known to degrade isoprene. In contrast to specialist methane-oxidizing bacteria, cultivated isoprene degraders were nutritionally versatile, and nearly all of them were able to use n-alkanes as a source of carbon and energy. We therefore tested and showed that the ubiquitous marine hydrocarbon-degrader, Alcanivorax borkumensis, could also degrade isoprene. A mixture of the isolates consumed isoprene emitted from algal cultures, confirming that isoprene can be metabolized at low, environmentally relevant concentrations, and suggesting that, in the absence of spilled petroleum hydrocarbons, algal production of isoprene could maintain viable populations of hydrocarbon-degrading microbes. This discovery of a missing marine sink for isoprene is the first step in obtaining more robust predictions of its flux, and suggests that algal-derived isoprene provides an additional source of carbon for diverse microbes in the oceans.
  • Acidiplasma aeolicum gen. nov., sp. nov., a euryarchaeon of the family Ferroplasmaceae isolated from a hydrothermal pool, and transfer of Ferroplasma cupricumulans to Acidiplasma cupricumulans comb. nov.

    Golyshina, Olga V; Yakimov, Michail M; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Ferrer, Manuel; Nimtz, Manfred; Timmis, Kenneth N; Wray, Victor; Tindall, Brian J; Golyshin, Peter N; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2009-11)
    A novel acidophilic, cell-wall-less archaeon, strain V(T), was isolated from a hydrothermal pool on Vulcano Island, Italy. The morphology of cells was observed to vary from pleomorphic to coccoid. The temperature range for growth of strain V(T) was 15-65 degrees C with an optimum at 45 degrees C. The pH for growth ranged from pH 0 to 4 with an optimal at pH 1.4-1.6. Strain V(T) was able to grow aerobically and anaerobically, oxidizing ferrous iron and reducing ferric iron, respectively. The isolate grew chemo-organotrophically with yeast extract and yeast extract with glucose as the sources of energy and carbon. The molar G+C content in the DNA was 36 mol%. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis demonstrated that strain V(T) was a member of the family Ferroplasmaceae, order Thermoplasmatales, phylum Euryarchaeota, showing sequence identities of 100 % with Ferroplasma cupricumulans BH2(T), 95.4 % with Ferroplasma acidiphilum Y(T), 94 % with Picrophilus torridus DSM 9790(T) and 92 % with Picrophilus oshimae DSM 9789(T). 16S rRNA gene sequence-based phylogenetic analysis showed that strain V(T) formed a monophyletic cluster together with F. cupricumulans BH2(T) and all other thermophilic isolates with available 16S rRNA gene sequences, whereas F. acidiphilum Y(T) formed another cluster with mesophilic isolates within the family Ferroplasmaceae. DNA-DNA hybridization values between strain V(T) and F. cupricumulans BH2(T) were well below 70 %, indicating that the two strains belong to separate species. Principal membrane lipids of strain V(T) were dibiphytanyl-based tetraether lipids containing pentacyclic rings. The polar lipids were dominated by a single phosphoglycolipid derivative based on a galactosyl dibiphytanyl phosphoglycerol tetraether, together with smaller amounts of monoglycosyl and diglycosyl dibiphytanyl ether lipids and the corresponding phosphoglycerol derivatives. The major respiratory quinones present were naphthoquinone derivatives. Given the notable physiological and chemical differences as well as the distinct phylogenetic placement of the new isolate relative to the type species of the genus Ferroplasma, we propose strain V(T) as a member of a new genus and species, Acidiplasma aeolicum gen. nov., sp. nov. The type strain of Acidiplasma aeolicum is strain V(T) (=DSM 18409(T) =JCM 14615(T)). In addition, we propose to transfer Ferroplasma cupricumulans Hawkes et al. 2008 to the genus Acidiplasma as Acidiplasma cupricumulans comb. nov. (type strain BH2(T) =DSM 16551(T) =JCM 13668(T)).
  • The 'pH optimum anomaly' of intracellular enzymes of Ferroplasma acidiphilum.

    Golyshina, Olga V; Golyshin, Peter N; Timmis, Kenneth N; Ferrer, Manuel; Division of Microbiology, GBF--German Research Centre for Biotechnology, Braunschweig, Germany. (2006-03)
    A wide range of microorganisms, the so-called acidophiles, inhabit acidic environments and grow optimally at pH values between 0 and 3. The intracellular pH of these organisms is, however, close to neutrality or slightly acidic. It is to be expected that enzymatic activities dedicated to extracellular functions would be adapted to the prevailing low pH of the environment (0-3), whereas intracellular enzymes would be optimally active at the near-neutral pH of the cytoplasm (4.6-7.0). The genes of several intracellular or cell-bound enzymes, a carboxylesterase and three alpha-glucosidases, from Ferroplasma acidiphilum, a cell wall-lacking acidophilic archaeon with a growth optimum at pH 1.7, were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, and their products purified and characterized. The Ferroplasmaalpha-glucosidases exhibited no sequence similarity to known glycosyl hydrolases. All enzymes functioned and were stable in vitro in the pH range 1.7-4.0, and had pH optima much lower than the mean intracellular pH of 5.6. This 'pH optimum anomaly' suggests the existence of yet-undetected cellular compartmentalization providing cytoplasmic pH patchiness and low pH environments for the enzymes we have analysed.
  • Proteomic insights into metabolic adaptations in Alcanivorax borkumensis induced by alkane utilization.

    Sabirova, Julia S; Ferrer, Manuel; Regenhardt, Daniela; Timmis, Kenneth N; Golyshin, Peter N; Institute of Microbiology, Technical University of Braunschweig, Spielmannstrasse 7, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2006-06)
    Alcanivorax borkumensis is a ubiquitous marine petroleum oil-degrading bacterium with an unusual physiology specialized for alkane metabolism. This "hydrocarbonoclastic" bacterium degrades an exceptionally broad range of alkane hydrocarbons but few other substrates. The proteomic analysis presented here reveals metabolic features of the hydrocarbonoclastic lifestyle. Specifically, hexadecane-grown and pyruvate-grown cells differed in the expression of 97 cytoplasmic and membrane-associated proteins whose genes appeared to be components of 46 putative operon structures. Membrane proteins up-regulated in alkane-grown cells included three enzyme systems able to convert alkanes via terminal oxidation to fatty acids, namely, enzymes encoded by the well-known alkB1 gene cluster and two new alkane hydroxylating systems, a P450 cytochrome monooxygenase and a putative flavin-binding monooxygenase, and enzymes mediating beta-oxidation of fatty acids. Cytoplasmic proteins up-regulated in hexadecane-grown cells reflect a central metabolism based on a fatty acid diet, namely, enzymes of the glyoxylate bypass and of the gluconeogenesis pathway, able to provide key metabolic intermediates, like phosphoenolpyruvate, from fatty acids. They also include enzymes for synthesis of riboflavin and of unsaturated fatty acids and cardiolipin, which presumably reflect membrane restructuring required for membranes to adapt to perturbations induced by the massive influx of alkane oxidation enzymes. Ancillary functions up-regulated included the lipoprotein releasing system (Lol), presumably associated with biosurfactant release, and polyhydroxyalkanoate synthesis enzymes associated with carbon storage under conditions of carbon surfeit. The existence of three different alkane-oxidizing systems is consistent with the broad range of oil hydrocarbons degraded by A. borkumensis and its ecological success in oil-contaminated marine habitats.
  • Isolation of alkali-tolerant benzene-degrading bacteria from a contaminated aquifer.

    Fahy, A; Ball, A S; Lethbridge, G; Timmis, K N; McGenity, T J; Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, UK. (2008-07)
    AIMS: To isolate benzene-degrading strains from neutral and alkaline groundwaters contaminated by benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes (BTEX) from the SIReN aquifer, UK, and to test their effective pH range and ability to degrade TEX. METHODS AND RESULTS: The 14 isolates studied had an optimum pH for growth of 8, and could degrade benzene to below detection level (1 microg l(-1)). Five Rhodococcus erythropolis strains were able to metabolize benzene up to pH 9, two distinct R. erythropolis strains to pH 10, and one Arthrobacter strain to pH 8.5. These Actinobacteria also degraded benzene at least down to pH 5.5. Six other isolates, a Hydrogenophaga and five Pseudomonas strains, had a narrower pH tolerance for benzene degradation (pH 6 to 8.5), and could metabolize toluene; in addition, the Hydrogenophaga and two Pseudomonas strains utilized o-, m- or p-xylenes. None of these strains degraded ethylbenzene. CONCLUSIONS: Phylogenetically distinct isolates, able to degrade BTX compounds, were obtained, and some degraded benzene at high pH. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: High pH has previously been found to inhibit in situ degradation of benzene, a widespread, carcinogenic groundwater contaminant. These benzene-degrading organisms therefore have potential applications in the remediation or natural attenuation of alkaline waters.

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