Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Surf's up -- and one coastal microbe has adapted

30.08.2006
With new cyanobacteria genome, scientists find life really does differ at the coast

California beachgoers may look lazy. But just a few miles off shore, scientists have discovered that a common coastal strain of cyanobacteria works diligently to thrive in choppy, polluted waters. In a study in this week's early online edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at The Institute for Genomic Research and Scripps Institution of Oceanography have sequenced the cyanobacterium's genome--and found that this coastal dweller has adapted to a turbulent environment by learning to use metals in ways that its open-ocean relatives cannot.

In the study, led by Ian Paulsen of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), scientists set out to begin understanding the adaptation of bacterial genomes to the coastal versus open ocean environments. Cyanobacteria are abundant in coastal waters reaching more than 100,000 per ml. Using a strain called Synechococcus CC9311 isolated just off the California coast by collaborator Brian Palenik of Scripps, they team sequenced its genome. They then compared the microbe's genome to that of Synechococcus WH8102, a related cyanobacterial strain found in the open ocean, which they had previously studied.

As habitats, the coast and open ocean differ strikingly. Put simply, the coast is dicier. The wind stirs up nutrients from deeper depths, as well as sediments and land litter, sporadically sending metals and minerals surging through the water. Algae and other organisms enjoy this buffet of nutrients, which include pollutants from farm run-off and other human activity. All this gritty biomass alters the sunlight that seeps into the ocean layers, challenging organisms that photosynthesize, including cyanobacterium. In contrast to the disorderly coast, the open ocean presents a cleaner, more constant marine ecosystem.

How do cyanobacteria adapt to these starkly different settings? Genomics offers answers. In the PNAS study, the research team found that CC9311, the coastal cyanobacterium, has evolved a suite of metal-processing biology missing in its open-ocean relative. This molecular toolkit includes roughly a dozen metal enzymes or cofactors that can absorb, process, and store iron, copper, and possibly the element vanadium. What's more, the coastal cyanobacteria strain has a relatively complex regulatory system, with 11 histidine kinase sensors and 17 response regulators--nearly double the number found in the open-ocean strain--that is likely needed for its metal metabolism and to respond to the complex coastal environment.

Like a canary in a coal mine, Paulsen says, these cyanobacteria may in the future serve as biosensors. "With further studies, we'd like to use these organisms to detect environmental changes, such as pollution, in these different environments," Paulsen remarks. The team is already at work on a follow-up study, comparing differences in gene expression between the coastal and open-ocean cyanobacteria strains, when both are exposed to metal ions and other substances at very low (open ocean) or very high (coastal) concentrations. The current work was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Kathryn Brown | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tigr.org/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The disappearance of common species
01.02.2018 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>