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 Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>