Extracellular DNA has been reported to comprise a large fraction of total DNA in near-seafloor sediment. However, the potential effect of extracellular DNA, arising from dead or moribund cells, on sequencing surveys is a critical concern that has largely not been addressed for marine sedimentary habitats. To address this concern, we interrogated freshly collected Arctic and Pacific sediment for extracellular 16S rRNA genes using the photoactive DNA-binding dye Propidium Monoazide. Significant differences between relative abundances of total (intracellular + extracellular) Bacterial 16S rRNA genes and relative abundances of intracellular Bacterial 16S rRNA genes are only detected in three of twelve shallow [10 cm below seafloor (cmbsf)] samples. Relative abundances of total Bacterial 16S rRNA genes are statistically indistinguishable from relative abundances of intracellular Bacterial 16S rRNA genes in all interrogated samples from depths greater than 10 cmbsf. 16S rRNA gene sequencing shows that even where significantly higher abundances of extracellular genes are detected, they have little or no influence on prokaryote community composition. Taxon-level analyses suggest that extracellular DNA, arising from in situdeath, may be sourced from different organisms in sediment of different ages. However, the overall effect of extracellular genes on sequencing surveys of marine sedimentary prokaryotes is minimal.
Commercial DNA extraction kits are widely used for cultivation‐free surveys of marine sediment. However, the consequences of popular extraction‐kit choices for sequence‐based biological inferences about marine sedimentary communities have not previously been exhaustively assessed. To address this issue, we extracted DNA from multiple paired subsamples of marine sediment using two popular commercial extraction kits (MO BIO Laboratories PowerSoil® DNA isolation kit and MP Biomedicals FastDNATM Spin Kit for Soil). We report comparisons of (1) total DNA yield, (2) extract purity, (3) gene‐targeted quantification, and (4) post‐sequencing ecological inferences in near‐seafloor (< 1 meter below seafloor [mbsf]) and subsurface (> 1 mbsf) marine sediment. In near‐seafloor sediment, the MP Biomedicals FastDNATM Spin Kit for Soil exhibits higher extraction yields, higher 16S rRNA gene loads, higher taxonomic diversity, and lower contaminant loads. In subseafloor sediment, both kits yield similar values for all of these parameters. The MO BIO Laboratories PowerSoil® DNA isolation kit generally co‐extracts less protein with the DNA in both near‐seafloor and subseafloor sediment. For samples from all depths, both kits exhibit similar depth‐dependent community richness patterns, taxonomic composition, and ordination‐based similarity trends. We conclude that, despite kit‐specific differences in extract yields, purity and reagent contaminant loads, ecological inferences based on next‐generation sequencing of DNA extracted using these popular commercial kits are robustly comparable, particularly for subseafloor sediment samples.
Sulfide mineral precipitation occurs at mid‐ocean ridge (MOR) spreading centers, both in the form of plume particles and seafloor massive sulfide structures. A common constituent of MOR is the iron‐bearing sulfide mineral pyrrhotite, which was chosen as a substrate for in‐situ incubation studies in shallow waters of Catalina Island, CA to investigate the colonization of iron‐oxidizing bacteria. Microbial community datasets were obtained from in‐situ incubated pyrrhotite, allowing for direct comparison to microbial communities of iron‐sulfides from active and inactive chimneys in deep‐sea environments. Unclassified Gammaproteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria (Magnetovibrio) largely dominated the bacterial community on pyrrhotite samples incubated in the water column while samples incubated at the surface sediment showed more even dominance by Deltaproteobacteria (Desulfobulbus), Gammaproteobacteria (Piscirickettsiaceae), Alphaproteobacteria (Rhodobacteraceae), and Bacteroidetes (Flavobacteriia). Cultivations that originated from pyrrhotite samples resulted in the enrichment of both, sheath‐forming and stalk‐forming Zetaproteobacteria. Additionally, a putative novel species of Thiomicrospira was isolated and shown to grow autotrophically with iron, indicating a new biogeochemical role for this ubiquitous microorganism.
High iron and eutrophic conditions are reported as environmental factors leading to accelerated low-water corrosion, an enhanced form of near-shore microbial induced corrosion. To explore this hypothesis, we deployed flow-through colonization systems in laboratory-based aquarium tanks under a continuous flow of surface seawater from Santa Catalina Island, CA, USA, for periods of 2 and 6 months. Substrates consisted of mild steel – a major constituent of maritime infrastructure – and the naturally occurring iron sulfide mineral pyrite. Four conditions were tested: free-venting “high-flux” conditions; a “stagnant” condition; an “active” flow-through condition with seawater slowly pumped over the substrates; and an “enrichment” condition where the slow pumping of seawater was supplemented with nutrient rich medium. Electron microscopy analyses of the 2-month high flux incubations document coating of substrates with “twisted stalks,” resembling iron oxyhydroxide bioprecipitates made by marine neutrophilic Fe-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB). Six-month incubations exhibit increased biofilm and substrate corrosion in the active flow and nutrient enriched conditions relative to the stagnant condition. A scarcity of twisted stalks was observed for all 6 month slow-flow conditions compared to the high-flux condition, which may be attributable to oxygen concentrations in the slow-flux conditions being prohibitively low for sustained growth of stalk-producing bacteria. All substrates developed microbial communities reflective of the original seawater input, as based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Deltaproteobacteria sequences increased in relative abundance in the active flow and nutrient enrichment conditions, whereas Gammaproteobacteria sequences were relatively more abundant in the stagnant condition. These results indicate that (i) high-flux incubations with higher oxygen availability favor the development of biofilms with twisted stalks resembling those of marine neutrophilic FeOB and (ii) long-term nutrient stimulation results in substrate corrosion and biofilms with different bacterial community composition and structure relative to stagnant and non-nutritionally enhanced incubations. Similar microbial succession scenarios, involving increases in nutritional input leading to the proliferation of anaerobic iron and sulfur-cycling guilds, may occur at the nearby Port of Los Angeles and cause potential damage to maritime port infrastructure.
Award Dates: December 31, 2016 — December 30, 2018
Extreme energy limitation in deep marine sediments constrains microbial life to unprecedentedly low metabolic activity, low biomass and slow turnover rates. The questions of i) what fraction and ii) which members of microbial consortia in deep sediments are “alive” vs. “dead” is of insurmountable importance, yet, it is not an easily tractable issue. Here, I propose two independent methods, based on membrane integrity and DNA repair, to discriminate amongst fossil and biologically relevant genes. One approach uses Propidium Monoazide (PMA). Impermeability of intact prokaryotic membranes to PMA is exploited to discriminate between microbial community members with and without membrane cohesion. A second approach employs Uracil N-glycosylase (UNG). UNG enzymatic digestion of damaged DNA, defined as DNA containing unrepaired uracil bases resulting from hydrolytic deamination of cytosine, will serve as a discriminative step resulting in exclusive sequencing of genes from extant microorganisms. By combining these approaches, I will i) produce accurate high-throughput gene surveys of extant community members, ii) retain necromass-derived genes comprising the “paleome” and iii) assess potential biases in existing non-discriminative sequencing-based datasets.
To examine microbe-mineral interactions in subsurface oceanic crust, we evaluated microbial colonization on crustal minerals that were incubated in borehole fluids for 1 year at the seafloor wellhead of a crustal borehole observatory (IODP Hole U1301A, Juan de Fuca Ridge flank) as compared to an experiment that was not exposed to subsurface crustal fluids (at nearby IODP Hole U1301B). In comparison to previous studies at these same sites, this approach allowed assessment of the effects of temperature, fluid chemistry, and/or mineralogy on colonization patterns of different mineral substrates, and an opportunity to verify the approach of deploying colonization experiments at an observatory wellhead at the seafloor instead of within the borehole. The Hole U1301B deployment did not have biofilm growth, based on microscopy and DNA extraction, thereby confirming the integrity of the colonization design against bottom seawater intrusion. In contrast, the Hole U1301A deployment supported biofilms dominated by Epsilonproteobacteria (43.5% of 370 16S rRNA gene clone sequences) and Gammaproteobacteria (29.3%). Sequence analysis revealed overlap in microbial communities between different minerals incubated at the Hole U1301A wellhead, indicating that mineralogy did not separate biofilm structure within the 1-year colonization experiment. Differences in the Hole U1301A wellhead biofilm community composition relative to previous studies from within the borehole using similar mineral substrates suggest that temperature and the diffusion of dissolved oxygen through plastic components influenced the mineral colonization experiments positioned at the wellhead. This highlights the capacity of low abundance crustal fluid taxa to rapidly establish communities on diverse mineral substrates under changing environmental conditions such as from temperature and oxygen.
Microaerophilic, neutrophilic, iron-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) grow via the oxidation of reduced Fe(II) at or near neutral pH, in the presence of oxygen, making them relevant in numerous environments with elevated Fe(II) concentrations. However, the biochemical mechanisms for Fe(II) oxidation by these neutrophilic FeOB are unknown, and genetic markers for this process are unavailable. In the ocean, microaerophilic microorganisms in the genus Mariprofundus of the class Zetaproteobacteria are the only organisms known to chemolithoautotrophically oxidize Fe and concurrently biomineralize it in the form of twisted stalks of iron oxyhydroxides. The aim of this study was to identify highly expressed proteins associated with the electron transport chain of microaerophilic, neutrophilic FeOB. To this end, Mariprofundus ferrooxydans PV-1 was cultivated, and its proteins were extracted, assayed for redox activity, and analyzed via liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry for identification of peptides. The results indicate that a cytochrome c4, cbb3-type cytochrome oxidase subunits, and an outer membrane cytochrome c were among the most highly expressed proteins and suggest an involvement in the process of aerobic, neutrophilic bacterial Fe oxidation. Proteins associated with alternative complex III, phosphate transport, carbon fixation, and biofilm formation were abundant, consistent with the lifestyle of Mariprofundus.