Microbes inhabit various environments, such as soil, water environments, plants, and animals. Humans harbor a complex commensal microbial community in the gastrointestinal tract, which is known as the gut microbiota. The gut microbiota participates not only in various metabolic processes in the human body, it also plays a critical role in host immune responses. Gut microbes that inhabit the intestinal epithelial surface form polymicrobial biofilms. In the last decade, it has been widely reported that gut microbial biofilms and gut microbiota-derived products, such as metabolites and bacterial membrane vesicles, not only directly affect the host intestinal environment, but also indirectly influence the health of the host. In this review, we discuss the most recent findings from human and animal studies on the interactions between the gut microbiota and hosts, and their associations with various disorders, including inflammatory diseases, atopic dermatitis, metabolic disorders, and psychiatric and neurological diseases. The integrated approach of metabologenomics together with biofilm imaging may provide valuable insights into the gut microbiota and suggest remedies that may lead to a healthier society.
We report the draft metagenome-assembled genome of a member of the Chloroflexi family Herpetosiphonaceae from microbial biofilms developed in a circumneutral, iron-rich hot spring in Japan. This taxon represents a novel genus and species—here proposed as Candidatus Anthektikosiphon siderophilum—that expands the known taxonomic and genetic diversity of the Herpetosiphonaceae and helps orient the evolutionary history of key traits like photosynthesis and aerobic respiration in the Chloroflexi.
Bradyrhizobium sp. strain SUTN9-2 is a symbiotic and endophytic diazotrophic bacterium found in legume and rice plants and has the potential to promote growth. The present results revealed that SUTN9-2 underwent cell enlargement, increased its DNA content, and efficiently performed nitrogen fixation in response to rice extract. Some factors in rice extract induced the expression of cell cycle and nitrogen fixation genes. According to differentially expressed genes (DEGs) from the transcriptomic analysis, SUTN9-2 was affected by rice extract and the deletion of the bclA gene. The up-regulated DEGs encoding a class of oxidoreductases, which act with oxygen atoms and may have a role in controlling oxygen at an appropriate level for nitrogenase activity, followed by GroESL chaperonins are required for the function of nitrogenase. These results indicate that following its exposure to rice extract, nitrogen fixation by SUTN9-2 is induced by the collective effects of GroESL and oxidoreductases. The expression of the sensitivity to antimicrobial peptides transporter (sapDF) was also up-regulated, resulting in cell differentiation, even when bclA (sapDF) was mutated. This result implies similarities in the production of defensin-like antimicrobial peptides (DEFs) by rice and nodule-specific cysteine-rich (NCR) peptides in legume plants, which affect bacterial cell differentiation.
Growth temperature is one of the most representative biological parameters for characterizing living organisms. Prokaryotes have been isolated from various temperature environments and show wide diversity in their growth temperatures. We herein constructed a database of growth TEMPeratures of Usual and RAre prokaryotes (TEMPURA, http://togodb.org/db/tempura), which contains the minimum, optimum, and maximum growth temperatures of 8,639 prokaryotic strains. Growth temperature information is linked with taxonomy IDs, phylogenies, and genomic information. TEMPURA provides useful information to researchers working on biotechnological applications of extremophiles and their biomolecules as well as those performing fundamental studies on the physiological diversity of prokaryotes.
Sulfur-oxidizing bacterial diversity at the surface of cattle manure was characterized throughout the composting process using a sulfur oxidation gene (soxB) clone library approach. In the mesophilic phase, clones related to the genera Hydrogenophaga and Hydrogenophilus were characteristically detected. In the thermophilic phase, clones related to the genera Hydrogenophaga and Thiohalobacter were predominant. In the cooling phase, the predominant soxB sequences were related to the genus Pseudaminobacter and a new sulfur-oxidizing bacterium belonging to the class Alphaproteobacteria. The present study showed changes in the community composition of sulfur-oxidizing bacteria at the surface of compost throughout the composting process.
The microbial communities inhabiting the fronds of duckweeds have not been investigated in as much detail as those on the roots. We herein examined the microbial communities in three duckweed species using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing and compared them to those on the roots. The microbial compositions of the fronds were distinct from those of the roots in the three species. Various types of taxonomic bacteria, including rarely cultivated phyla, Acidobacteria, Armatimonadetes, and Verrucomicrobia, were also isolated from the fronds, but at a slightly lower abundance than those from the roots. These results suggest that duckweed fronds are an alternative source for isolating rare and novel microbes, which may otherwise be recalcitrant to cultivation using conventional strategies.
The rhizobial type III secretion system secretes effector proteins into host plant cells, which may either promote or inhibit symbiosis with legumes. We herein demonstrated that the type III secretion system of Bradyrhizobium sp. SUTN9-2 obstructed symbiosis with Lotus japonicus Miyakojima, L. japonicus Gifu, and Lotus burttii. A mutant of SUTN9-2 that is unable to secrete effector proteins showed better nodulation and plant growth promotion than wild-type SUTN9-2 when paired with these Lotus spp. We propose that SUTN9-2 is a useful strain for understanding the mechanisms by which effector proteins obstruct symbiosis between Bradyrhizobium and Lotus spp.
Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is a widely used molecular technique in microbial ecology. However, the non-specific adsorption of fluorescent probes and resulting high intensity of background signals from mineral particles hampers the specific detection of microbial cells in grain-rich environmental samples, such as subseafloor sediments. We herein demonstrated that a new buffer composition containing EDTA efficiently reduced the adsorption of probes without compromising the properties of the FISH-based probing of microbes. The inclusion of a high concentration of EDTA in the buffer in our protocol provides a simple and effective approach for reducing the background in FISH for environmental samples.
Protists provide insights into the diversity and function of RNA viruses in marine systems. Among them, marine macroalgae are good targets for RNA virome analyses because they have a sufficient biomass in nature. However, RNA viruses in macroalgae have not yet been examined in detail, and only partial genome sequences have been reported for the majority of RNA viruses. Therefore, to obtain further insights into the distribution and diversity of RNA viruses associated with marine protists, we herein examined RNA viruses in macroalgae and a diatom. We report the putative complete genome sequences of six novel RNA viruses from two marine macroalgae and one diatom holobiont. Four viruses were not classified into established viral genera or families. Furthermore, a virus classified into Totiviridae showed a genome structure that has not yet been reported in this family. These results suggest that a number of distinct RNA viruses are widespread in a broad range of protists.
The phytoplanktonic production and prokaryotic consumption of organic matter significantly contribute to marine carbon cycling. Organic matter released from phytoplankton via three processes (exudation of living cells, cell disruption through grazing, and viral lysis) shows distinct chemical properties. We herein investigated the effects of phytoplanktonic whole-cell fractions (WF) (representing cell disruption by grazing) and extracellular fractions (EF) (representing exudates) prepared from Heterosigma akashiwo, a bloom-forming Raphidophyceae, on prokaryotic communities using culture-based experiments. We analyzed prokaryotic community changes for two weeks. The shift in cell abundance by both treatments showed similar dynamics, reaching the first peak (~4.1×106 cells mL–1) on day 3 and second peak (~1.1×106 cells mL–1) on day 13. We classified the sequences obtained into operational taxonomic units (OTUs). A Bray-Curtis dissimilarity analysis revealed that the OTU-level community structure changed distinctively with the two treatments. Ten and 13 OTUs were specifically abundant in the WF and EF treatments, respectively. These OTUs were assigned as heterotrophic bacteria mainly belonging to the Alteromonadales (Gammaproteobacteria) and Bacteroidetes clades and showed successive dynamics following the addition of organic matter. We also analyzed the dynamics of these OTUs in the ocean using publicly available metagenomic data from a natural coastal bloom in Monterey Bay, USA. At least two WF treatment OTUs showed co-occurrence with H. akashiwo, indicating that the blooms of H. akashiwo also affect these OTUs in the ocean. The present results strongly suggest that the thriving and dead cells of uninfected phytoplankton differentially influence the marine prokaryotic community.
Bacteria exhibiting 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) deaminase activity, which inhibits the biosynthesis of ethylene in higher plants, promote plant growth through the degradation of ethylene precursors, such as ACC. ACC deaminase activity in Bradyrhizobium sp. SUTN9-2 was enhanced by genetic engineering and adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE)-based methods. The transferal of a plasmid containing the acdR and acdS genes into SUTN9-2 was genetic engineering improved, while the ALE method was performed based on the accumulation of an adaptive bacterial population that continuously grew under specified growth conditions for a long time. ACC deaminase enzyme activity was 8.9–fold higher in SUTN9-2:pMG103::acdRS and 1.4–fold higher in SUTN9-2 (ACCDadap) than in the wild-type strain. The effects of increased activity were examined in the host plant (Vigna radiata (L.) R.Wilczek SUT1). The improved strains enhanced nodulation in early stage of plant growth. SUTN9-2:pMG103::acdRS also maintained nitrogen fixation under water deficit conditions and increased the plant biomass after rehydration. Changes in nucleotides and amino acids in the AcdS protein of SUTN9-2 (ACCDadap) were then investigated. Some nucleotides predicted to be located in the ACC-binding site were mutated. These mutations may have increased ACC deaminase activity, which enhanced both symbiotic interactions and drought tolerance and promoted recovery after rehydration more than lower ACC deaminase activity. Adaptive evolution represents a promising strategy for further applications in the field.
Soybean plants host endosymbiotic dinitrogen (N2)-fixing bacteria from the genus Bradyrhizobium. Under oxygen-limiting conditions, Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens and Bradyrhizobium japonicum perform denitrification by sequentially reducing nitrate (NO3–) to nitrous oxide (N2O) or N2. The anaerobic reduction of NO3– to N2O was previously shown to be lower in B. japonicum than in B. diazoefficiens due to impaired periplasmic nitrate reductase (Nap) activity in B. japonicum. We herein demonstrated that impaired Nap activity in B. japonicum was due to low Nap protein levels, which may be related to a decline in the production of FixP and FixO proteins by the cbb3-type oxidase.
A novel cold-adapted methane-oxidizing bacterium, termed TFB, was isolated from the thermoglacial Arctic karst spring, Trollosen, located in the South Spitsbergen National Park (Norway). The source water is cold and extremely low in phosphate and nitrate. The isolate belongs to the Methylovulum genus of gammaproteobacterial methanotrophs, with the closest phylogenetic affiliation with Methylovulum miyakonense and Methylovulum psychrotolerans (96.2 and 96.1% 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities, respectively). TFB is a strict aerobe that only grows in the presence of methane or methanol. It fixes atmospheric nitrogen and contains Type I intracellular membranes. The growth temperature range was 2–22°C, with an optimum at 13–18°C. The functional genes pmoA, mxaF, and nifH were identified by PCR, whereas mmoX and cbbL were not. C16:1ω5c was identified as the major fatty acid constituent, at an amount (>49%) not previously found in any methanotrophs, and is likely to play a major role in cold adaptation. Strain TFB may be regarded as a new psychrotolerant or psychrophilic species within the genus Methylovulum. The recovery of this cold-adapted bacterium from a neutral Arctic thermal spring increases our knowledge of the diversity and adaptation of extremophilic gammaproteobacterial methanotrophs in the candidate family “Methylomonadaceae”.