Trace metal acquisition by marine heterotrophic bacterioplankton with contrasting trophic strategies

TitleTrace metal acquisition by marine heterotrophic bacterioplankton with contrasting trophic strategies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsHogle S.L, Thrash J.C, Dupont C.L, Barbeau K.A
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Date Published2016/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0099-2240
Accession NumberWOS:000373338800025
Keywordsbacterial assemblages; escherichia-coli; gene-expression; organic-ligands; p-type atpase; population genomics; prokaryotic genomes; roseobacter clade; surface ocean; transport-system

Heterotrophic bacteria in the SAR11 and Roseobacter lineages shape the marine carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur cycles, yet they do so having adopted divergent ecological strategies. Currently, it is unknown whether these globally significant groups partition into specific niches with respect to micronutrients (e.g., trace metals) and how that may affect marine trace metal cycling. Here, we used comparative genomics to identify diverse iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, and zinc uptake capabilities in SAR11 and Roseobacter genomes and uncover surprising unevenness within and between lineages. The strongest predictors for the extent of the metal uptake gene content are the total number of transporters per genome, genome size, total metal transporters, and GC content, but numerous exceptions exist in both groups. Taken together, our results suggest that SAR11 have strongly minimized their trace metal uptake versatility, with high-affinity zinc uptake being a unique exception. The larger Roseobacter genomes have greater trace metal uptake versatility on average, but they also appear to have greater plasticity, resulting in phylogenetically similar genomes having largely different capabilities. Ultimately, phylogeny is predictive of the diversity and extent of 20 to 33% of all metal uptake systems, suggesting that specialization in metal utilization mostly occurred independently from overall lineage diversification in both SAR11 and Roseobacter. We interpret these results as reflecting relatively recent trace metal niche partitioning in both lineages, suggesting that concentrations and chemical forms of metals in the marine environment are important factors shaping the gene content of marine heterotrophic Alphaproteobacteria of the SAR11 and Roseobacter lineages.

Student Publication: