April 21, 2020  |  

Methylomes of Two Extremely Halophilic Archaea Species, Haloarcula marismortui and Haloferax mediterranei.

The genomes of two extremely halophilic Archaea species, Haloarcula marismortui and Haloferax mediterranei, were sequenced using single-molecule real-time sequencing. The ~4-Mbp genomes are GC rich with multiple large plasmids and two 4-methyl-cytosine patterns. Methyl transferases were incorporated into the Restriction Enzymes Database (REBASE), and gene annotation was incorporated into the Haloarchaeal Genomes Database (HaloWeb).Copyright © 2019 DasSarma et al.

April 21, 2020  |  

Genome Sequence and Methylation Patterns of Halorubrum sp. Strain BOL3-1, the First Haloarchaeon Isolated and Cultured from Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Halorubrum sp. strain BOL3-1 was isolated from Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, and sequenced using single-molecule real-time sequencing. Its 3.7-Mbp genome was analyzed for gene content and methylation patterns and incorporated into the Haloarchaeal Genomes Database ( The polyextremophilic character and high-elevation environment make the microbe of interest for astrobiology. Copyright © 2019 DasSarma et al.

April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of Halorubrum ezzemoulense Strain Fb21.

Isolated from Aran-Bidgol Lake in Iran, and reported here, Halorubrum ezzemoulense strain Fb21 represents the first complete genome from this archaeal species. Local recombination in this genome is in stark contrast to equidistant recombination events in bacteria. The genome’s GC bias, however, points to a genome architecture and origin that resemble those of a bacterium. Its availability, genome signatures, and frequent intragenomic recombination mean that Fb21 presents an attractive model organism for this species. Copyright © 2019 Feng et al.

September 22, 2019  |  

Candidatus Nitrosocaldus cavascurensis, an ammonia oxidizing, extremely thermophilic archaeon with a highly mobile genome.

Ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA) of the phylum Thaumarchaeota are widespread in moderate environments but their occurrence and activity has also been demonstrated in hot springs. Here we present the first enrichment of a thermophilic representative with a sequenced genome, which facilitates the search for adaptive strategies and for traits that shape the evolution of Thaumarchaeota.CandidatusNitrosocaldus cavascurensis has been enriched from a hot spring in Ischia, Italy. It grows optimally at 68°C under chemolithoautotrophic conditions on ammonia or urea converting ammonia stoichiometrically into nitrite with a generation time of approximately 23 h. Phylogenetic analyses based on ribosomal proteins place the organism as a sister group to all known mesophilic AOA. The 1.58 Mb genome ofCa.N. cavascurensis harbors anamoAXCB gene cluster encoding ammonia monooxygenase and genes for a 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate pathway for autotrophic carbon fixation, but also genes that indicate potential alternative energy metabolisms. Although abona fidegene for nitrite reductase is missing, the organism is sensitive to NO-scavenging, underlining the potential importance of this compound for AOA metabolism.Ca.N. cavascurensis is distinct from all other AOA in its gene repertoire for replication, cell division and repair. Its genome has an impressive array of mobile genetic elements and other recently acquired gene sets, including conjugative systems, a provirus, transposons and cell appendages. Some of these elements indicate recent exchange with the environment, whereas others seem to have been domesticated and might convey crucial metabolic traits.

September 22, 2019  |  

The DNA methylome of the hyperthermoacidophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius.

DNA methylation is the most common epigenetic modification observed in the genomic DNA (gDNA) of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Methylated nucleobases, N6-methyl-adenine (m6A), N4-methyl-cytosine (m4C), and 5-methyl-cytosine (m5C), detected on gDNA represent the discrimination mark between self and non-self DNA when they are part of restriction-modification systems in prokaryotes (Bacteria and Archaea). In addition, m5C in Eukaryotes and m6A in Bacteria play an important role in the regulation of key cellular processes. Although archaeal genomes present modified bases as in the two other domains of life, the significance of DNA methylations as regulatory mechanisms remains largely uncharacterized in Archaea. Here, we began by investigating the DNA methylome of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. The strategy behind this initial study entailed the use of combined digestion assays, dot blots, and genome resequencing, which utilizes specific restriction enzymes, antibodies specifically raised against m6A and m5C and single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing, respectively, to identify DNA methylations occurring in exponentially growing cells. The previously identified restriction-modification system, specific of S. acidocaldarius, was confirmed by digestion assay and SMRT sequencing while, the presence of m6A was revealed by dot blot and identified on the characteristic Dam motif by SMRT sequencing. No m5C was detected by dot blot under the conditions tested. Furthermore, by comparing the distribution of both detected methylations along the genome and, by analyzing DNA methylation profiles in synchronized cells, we investigated in which cellular pathways, in particular the cell cycle, this m6A methylation could be a key player. The analysis of sequencing data rejected a role for m6A methylation in another defense system and also raised new questions about a potential involvement of this modification in the regulation of other biological functions in S. acidocaldarius.

September 22, 2019  |  

Characterizing the DNA methyltransferases of Haloferax volcanii via bioinformatics, gene deletion, and SMRT Sequencing.

DNA methyltransferases (MTases), which catalyze the methylation of adenine and cytosine bases in DNA, can occur in bacteria and archaea alongside cognate restriction endonucleases (REases) in restriction-modification (RM) systems or independently as orphan MTases. Although DNA methylation and MTases have been well-characterized in bacteria, research into archaeal MTases has been limited. A previous study examined the genomic DNA methylation patterns (methylome) of the halophilic archaeonHaloferax volcanii, a model archaeal system which can be easily manipulated in laboratory settings, via single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing and deletion of a putative MTase gene (HVO_A0006). In this follow-up study, we deleted other putative MTase genes inH. volcaniiand sequenced the methylomes of the resulting deletion mutants via SMRT sequencing to characterize the genes responsible for DNA methylation. The results indicate that deletion of putative RM genesHVO_0794,HVO_A0006, andHVO_A0237in a single strain abolished methylation of the sole cytosine motif in the genome (Cm4TAG). Amino acid alignments demonstrated thatHVO_0794shares homology with characterized cytosine CTAG MTases in other organisms, indicating that this MTase is responsible for Cm4TAG methylation inH. volcanii. The CTAG motif has high density at only one of the origins of replication, and there is no relative increase in CTAG motif frequency in the genome ofH. volcanii, indicating that CTAG methylation might not have effectively taken over the role of regulating DNA replication and mismatch repair in the organism as previously predicted. Deletion of the putative Type I RM operonrmeRMS(HVO_2269-2271) resulted in abolished methylation of the adenine motif in the genome (GCAm6BN6VTGC). Alignments of the MTase (HVO_2270) and site specificity subunit (HVO_2271) demonstrate homology with other characterized Type I MTases and site specificity subunits, indicating that thermeRMSoperon is responsible for adenine methylation inH. volcanii. Together with HVO_0794, these genes appear to be responsible for all detected methylation inH. volcanii, even though other putative MTases (HVO_C0040,HVO_A0079) share homology with characterized MTases in other organisms. We also report the construction of a multi-RM deletion mutant (?RM), with multiple RM genes deleted and with no methylation detected via SMRT sequencing, which we anticipate will be useful for future studies on DNA methylation inH. volcanii.

September 22, 2019  |  

Novel haloarchaeon Natrinema thermophila having the highest growth temperature among haloarchaea with a large genome size.

Environmental temperature is one of the most important factors for the growth and survival of microorganisms. Here we describe a novel extremely halophilic archaeon (haloarchaea) designated as strain CBA1119T isolated from solar salt. Strain CBA1119T had the highest maximum and optimal growth temperatures (66?°C and 55?°C, respectively) and one of the largest genome sizes among haloarchaea (5.1?Mb). It also had the largest number of strain-specific pan-genome orthologous groups and unique pathways among members of the genus Natrinema in the class Halobacteria. A dendrogram based on the presence/absence of genes and a phylogenetic tree constructed based on OrthoANI values highlighted the particularities of strain CBA1119T as compared to other Natrinema species and other haloarchaea members. The large genome of strain CBA1119T may provide information on genes that confer tolerance to extreme environmental conditions, which may lead to the discovery of other thermophilic strains with potential applications in industrial biotechnology.

September 22, 2019  |  

Nonmutational mechanism of inheritance in the Archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus.

Epigenetic phenomena have not yet been reported in archaea, which are presumed to use a classical genetic process of heritability. Here, analysis of independent lineages of Sulfolobus solfataricus evolved for enhanced fitness implicated a non-Mendelian basis for trait inheritance. The evolved strains, called super acid-resistant Crenarchaeota (SARC), acquired traits of extreme acid resistance and genome stability relative to their wild-type parental lines. Acid resistance was heritable because it was retained regardless of extensive passage without selection. Despite the hereditary pattern, in one strain, it was impossible for these SARC traits to result from mutation because its resequenced genome had no mutation. All strains also had conserved, heritable transcriptomes implicated in acid resistance. In addition, they had improved genome stability with absent or greatly decreased mutation and transposition relative to a passaged control. A mechanism that would confer these traits without DNA sequence alteration could involve posttranslationally modified archaeal chromatin proteins. To test this idea, homologous recombination with isogenic DNA was used to perturb native chromatin structure. Recombination at up-regulated loci from the heritable SARC transcriptome reduced acid resistance and gene expression in the majority of recombinants. In contrast, recombination at a control locus that was not part of the heritable transcriptome changed neither acid resistance nor gene expression. Variation in the amount of phenotypic and expression changes across individuals was consistent with Rad54-dependent chromatin remodeling that dictated crossover location and branch migration. These data support an epigenetic model implicating chromatin structure as a contributor to heritable traits.

July 7, 2019  |  

Adaptive evolution of a hyperthermophilic archaeon pinpoints a formate transporter as a critical factor for the growth enhancement on formate.

Previously, we reported that the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus onnurineus NA1 could grow on formate and produce H2. Formate conversion to hydrogen was mediated by a formate-hydrogen lyase complex and was indeed a part of chemiosmotic coupling to ATP generation. In this study, we employed an adaptation approach to enhance the cell growth on formate and investigated molecular changes. As serial transfer continued on formate-containing medium at the serum vial, cell growth, H2 production and formate consumption increased remarkably. The 156 times transferred-strain, WTF-156T, was demonstrated to enhance H2 production using formate in a bioreactor. The whole-genome sequencing of the WTF-156T strain revealed eleven mutations. While no mutation was found among the genes encoding formate hydrogen lyase, a point mutation (G154A) was identified in a formate transporter (TON_1573). The TON_1573 (A52T) mutation, when introduced into the parent strain, conferred increase in formate consumption and H2 production. Another adaptive passage, carried out by culturing repeatedly in a bioreactor, resulted in a strain, which has a mutation in TON_1573 (C155A) causing amino acid change, A52E. These results implicate that substitution of A52 residue of a formate transporter might be a critical factor to ensure the increase in formate uptake and cell growth.

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