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    and as symbionts of other organisms

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    Bacterial symbionts of amoebae

    and the evolution of the intracellular lifestyle

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  • Single cell techniques offer new insights

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Dome News

Latest publications

Cyanate and urea are substrates for nitrification by thaumarchaeota in the marine environment

Ammonia-oxidizing archaea of the phylum Thaumarchaeota are among the most abundant marine microorganisms. These organisms thrive in the oceans despite ammonium being present at low nanomolar concentrations. Some Thaumarchaeota isolates have been shown to utilize urea and cyanate as energy and N sources through intracellular conversion to ammonium. Yet, it is unclear whether patterns observed in culture extend to marine Thaumarchaeota, and whether Thaumarchaeota in the ocean directly utilize urea and cyanate or rely on co-occurring microorganisms to break these substrates down to ammonium. Urea utilization has been reported for marine ammonia-oxidizing communities, but no evidence of cyanate utilization exists for marine ammonia oxidizers. Here, we demonstrate that in the Gulf of Mexico, Thaumarchaeota use urea and cyanate both directly and indirectly as energy and N sources. We observed substantial and linear rates of nitrite production from urea and cyanate additions, which often persisted even when ammonium was added to micromolar concentrations. Furthermore, single-cell analysis revealed that the Thaumarchaeota incorporated ammonium-, urea- and cyanate-derived N at significantly higher rates than most other microorganisms. Yet, no cyanases were detected in thaumarchaeal genomic data from the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, we tested cyanate utilization in Nitrosopumilus maritimus, which also lacks a canonical cyanase, and showed that cyanate was oxidized to nitrite. Our findings demonstrate that marine Thaumarchaeota can use urea and cyanate as both an energy and N source. On the basis of these results, we hypothesize that urea and cyanate are substrates for ammonia-oxidizing Thaumarchaeota throughout the ocean.

Kitzinger K, Padilla CC, Marchant HK, Hach PF, Herbold CW, Kidane AT, Könneke M, Littmann S, Mooshammer M, Niggemann J, Petrov S, Richter A, Stewart FJ, Wagner M, Kuypers MMM, Bristow LA
2018 - Nature Microbiology, in press

The draft genome sequence of “Nitrospira lenta” strain BS10, a nitrite oxidizing bacterium isolated from activated sludge

The genus Nitrospira is considered to be the most widespread and abundant group of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in many natural and man-made ecosystems. However, the ecophysiological versatility within this phylogenetic group remains highly understudied, mainly due to the lack of pure cultures and genomic data. To further expand our understanding of this biotechnologically important genus, we analyzed the high quality draft genome of “Nitrospira lenta” strain BS10, a sublineage II Nitrospira that was isolated from a municipal wastewater treatment plant in Hamburg, Germany. The genome of “N. lenta” has a size of 3,756,190 bp and contains 3968 genomic objects, of which 3907 are predicted protein-coding sequences. Thorough genome annotation allowed the reconstruction of the “N. lenta” core metabolism for energy conservation and carbon fixation. Comparative analyses indicated that most metabolic features are shared with N. moscoviensis and “N. defluvii”, despite their ecological niche differentiation and phylogenetic distance. In conclusion, the genome of “N. lenta” provides important insights into the genomic diversity of the genus Nitrospira and provides a foundation for future comparative genomic studies that will generate a better understanding of the nitrification process.

Sakoula D, Nowka B, Spieck E, Daims H, Lücker S
2018 - Stand Genomic Sci, 13: 32

Visualisation of the obligate hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria Polycyclovorans algicola and Algiphilus aromaticivorans in co-cultures with micro-algae by CARD-FISH.

Some studies have described the isolation and 16S rRNA gene sequence-based identification of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria living associated with marine eukaryotic phytoplankton, and thus far the direct visual observation of these bacteria on micro-algal cell surfaces ('phycosphere') has not yet been reported. Here, we developed two new 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes, PCY223 and ALGAR209, to respectively detect and enumerate the obligate hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria Polycyclovorans algicola and Algiphilus aromaticivorans by Catalyzed Reporter Deposition Fluorescence in situ Hybridization (CARD-FISH). To enhance the hybridization specificity with the ALGAR209 probe, a competitor probe was developed. These probes were tested and optimized using pure cultures, and then used in enrichment experiments with laboratory cultures of micro-algae exposed to phenanthrene, and with coastal water enriched with crude oil. Microscopic analysis revealed these bacteria are found in culture with the micro-algal cells, some of which were found attached to algal cells, and whose abundance increased after phenanthrene or crude oil enrichment. These new probes are a valuable tool for identifying and studying the ecology of P. algicola and A. aromaticivorans in laboratory and field samples of micro-algae, as well as opening new fields of research that could harness their ability to enhance the bioremediation of contaminated sites.

Thompson HF, Lesaulnier C, Pelikan C, Gutierrez T
2018 - J. Microbiol. Methods, 73-79

Lecture series

O- and N-glycan breakdown by the human gut microbiota

David Bolam
Newcastle University, London, UK
12:00 h
Lecture Hall 2, UZA 1, Althanstr. 14, 1090 Wien

Toward a predictive understanding of microbiome response to environmental change in peatlands

Joel Kostka
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA
13:30 h
Lecture Hall 5, UZA II

Uncovering the metabolic flexibility of aerobic soil bacteria: from enzymes to ecosystems

Chris Greening
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
12:00 h
Lecture Hall HS2, UZA1, Althanstrasse14, 1090 Vienna