Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genomes reveal bacterial lifestyles: Research

09.09.2009
Sampling just a few genes can reveal not only the "lifestyle" of marine microbes but of their entire environments, new research suggests.

The finding means researchers may be able to predict the types of microbes that thrive in specific marine environments by sampling the genomes of just a few dominant species, according to research co-author Rick Cavicchioli of the University of New South Wales. As well, it may reveal new insights into the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the world's oceans.

"It's a bit like using the DNA from a single hair at a crime scene to discover the identity of the perpetrator," says Professor Cavicchioli. "What we've learned here is that a few genes can tell us a much about the nature of the environment that species come from and what influences them to evolve in a specific way."

With other UNSW and US colleagues, Professor Cavicchioli compared the genomes of two common ocean bacteria that employ different strategies for living: one lives in nutrient-rich waters and is fast to grow and replicate itself, and another lives in poor-nutrient waters, and grows more slowly. The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The comparison revealed genetic differences that reflect the different lifestyles of the two species: the bacteria from the nutrient-rich waters have many selective transporter proteins to quickly absorb plentiful nutrients while those from nutrient-poor waters have a smaller number of highly efficient transporter proteins to extract what little nutrition is available.

Differences in other genes were also identified concerning nutrient and energy usage and resistance to infecting viruses, which reflect the bacteria's adaptations to their environment. Armed with such knowledge from a few key genes, it should be possible to predict what sort of environment an individual species evolved in, says Professor Cavicchioli. Better still, sampling the genomes of a small number of species should enable scientists to gain useful new insights into the dynamics of whole marine ecosystems.

"It's not practical to sample every species in a given area so the model we have described is useful for studying the collective genomes of whole marine microbial communities – or metagenomes – to better understand how they have evolved in specific locations," he says.

"By analysing and comparing the strategies of the dominant organisms we should have an idea of the carbon flux going through the environment which will allow us to monitor the health of the marine ecosystem, including the impact of global warming," he says. "The analysis, for example, may help us predict how marine bacteria will respond to environmental changes caused by climate change, such as oceans becoming warmer or absorbing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and becoming more acidic."

Using their new technique to analyse 124 ocean bacteria, the researchers found that bacteria adapted to low nutrients outnumber bacteria adapted to high nutrients in worldwide samples of ocean water. This has led to an under-reporting on what is known about the biodiversity and the physiological properties of the more abundant bacteria – and what secrets they may reveal about life on earth.

In addition to Professor Cavicchioli, other UNSW researchers co-authoring the PNAS paper were Prof. Staffan Kjelleberg and Drs. Federico M. Lauro, Diane McDougald, Torsten Thomas, Timothy J. Williams, Suhelen Egan, Scott Rice, Matthew Z. DeMaere, Lily Ting and Mark V. Brown.

Rick Cavicchioli | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unsw.edu.au

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>