Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bacterial 'switch gene' regulates how oceans emit sulfur into atmosphere

30.10.2006
Research reveals previously hidden role marine microbes play

Scientists have discovered a bacterial "switch gene" in two groups of microscopic plankton common in the oceans. The gene helps determine whether certain marine plankton convert a sulfur compound to one that rises into the atmosphere, where it can affect the earth's temperature, or remain in the sea, where it can be used as a nutrient.

"This new gene offers a powerful tool to study the question of how these plankton are involved with sulfur exchange between the ocean and atmosphere," said Mary Ann Moran, marine microbial ecologist at the University of Georgia. Moran and her colleagues published their findings in the Oct. 26, 2006, issue of the journal Science.

Much of the sulfur in the atmosphere comes from the surface of oceans, from a compound called dimethlysulfide, or DMS. Marine plankton control how much sulfur rises into the atmosphere by converting a compound called DMSP, or dimethylsulfoniopropionate, to DMS or to sulfur compounds that are not climatically active. Moran and her team discovered a gene that controls whether or not these sea drifters create DMS that rises into the air.

... more about:
»DMS »DMSP »Marine »Plankton »Sulfur »atmosphere

"Isolating and discovering a novel, keystone bacterium from the ocean first, and then sequencing its genome enabled this team to find the genes involved in the DMSP cycle," said Matthew Kane, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, which supported the research. "The research has revealed the previously hidden role that marine microbes play in the global sulfur cycle."

The researchers discovered that microscopic plankton that fall under the Roseobacter and SAR11 organism groups are the primary plankton involved in directing DMSP away from forming DMS, and thus making sulfur unavailable to atmospheric processes.

Dramatic advances in understanding how these plankton work have developed in the past few years with the availability of new genomic data. The scientists searched genome fragments of these plankton, looking for specific gene sequences that would show how the plankton use sulfur compounds.

"This breakthrough in the microbial physiology of DMSP metabolism opens the door to understanding the biology and ecology of this globally important process," said William Whitman, a microbiologist at the University of Georgia and co-author of the Science paper. The discovery of a bacterial gene switch in these two groups of plankton will open new areas of research, since DMSP synthesis may account for almost all marine-created atmospheric sulfur. The findings also expand knowledge of how these marine organisms are involved in the routing of carbon and sulfur into the microbial food web.

Cheryl Dybas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

Further reports about: DMS DMSP Marine Plankton Sulfur atmosphere

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens
14.08.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments
14.08.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>