Analysis of PCR products of 16S rDNA of 680 isolates from Mediterranean Sea mesocosm experiments with taxon-specific 16S rDNA oligonucleotides revealed that 262 isolates belonged to the alpha subclass of the class Proteobacteria. Partial 16S rDNA sequence analysis of selected isolates and oligonucleotide probing with a Sulfitobacter-specific 16S rDNA probe affiliated 33 strains to the genus Sulfitobacter. Analysis of the HaeIII digest pattern of 16S rDNA revealed the presence of two groups; while 30 strains showed a pattern identical with that obtained for Sulfitobacter pontiacus DSM 10014T, a second group of three strains had a unique pattern that was different from that of the type strain. Five isolates of group 1 and one isolates of group 2, strain CH-B427T, were selected for detailed taxonomic analysis. All six isolates closely resembled the type strain Sulfitobacter pontiacus DSM 10014T in physiological reactions. However, strain CH-B427T differed quantitatively in the composition of fatty acids from Sulfitobacter pontiacus DSM 10014T and showed only 98.2% 16S rDNA sequence similarity with strain DSM 10014T. DNA-DNA reassociation value obtained for strains DSM 10014T and CH-B427T revealed 46% similarity. Based on the results of DNA-DNA reassociation and discrete differences in the nucleotide composition of 16S rDNA, a new species of the genus Sulfitobacter is proposed, designated Sulfitobacter mediterraneus sp. nov., the type strain being strain CH-B427T (= DSM 12244T). (+info)
(2/286) Biomarker evidence for widespread anaerobic methane oxidation in Mediterranean sediments by a consortium of methanogenic archaea and bacteria. The Medinaut Shipboard Scientific Party.
Although abundant geochemical data indicate that anaerobic methane oxidation occurs in marine sediments, the linkage to specific microorganisms remains unclear. In order to examine processes of methane consumption and oxidation, sediment samples from mud volcanoes at two distinct sites on the Mediterranean Ridge were collected via the submersible Nautile. Geochemical data strongly indicate that methane is oxidized under anaerobic conditions, and compound-specific carbon isotope analyses indicate that this reaction is facilitated by a consortium of archaea and bacteria. Specifically, these methane-rich sediments contain high abundances of methanogen-specific biomarkers that are significantly depleted in (13)C (delta(13)C values are as low as -95 per thousand). Biomarkers inferred to derive from sulfate-reducing bacteria and other heterotrophic bacteria are similarly depleted. Consistent with previous work, such depletion can be explained by consumption of (13)C-depleted methane by methanogens operating in reverse and as part a consortium of organisms in which sulfate serves as the terminal electron acceptor. Moreover, our results indicate that this process is widespread in Mediterranean mud volcanoes and in some localized settings is the predominant microbiological process. (+info)
(3/286) Mucins and molluscan calcification. Molecular characterization of mucoperlin, a novel mucin-like protein from the nacreous shell layer of the fan mussel Pinna nobilis (Bivalvia, pteriomorphia).
A cDNA expression library constructed from mantle tissue mRNA of the Mediterranean fan mussel Pinna nobilis was screened with antibodies raised against the acetic acid-soluble shell matrix of the same species. This resulted in the isolation of a 2138-base pair cDNA, containing 13 tandem repeats of 93 base pairs. The deduced protein has a molecular mass of 66.7 kDa and a isoelectric point of 4.8. This protein, which is enriched in serine and proline residues, was overexpressed, purified, and used for producing polyclonal antibodies. Immunological in situ and in vitro tests showed that the protein is localized in the nacreous aragonitic layer of P. nobilis, but not in the calcitic prisms. Because this protein of the nacre of P. nobilis exhibits some mucin-like characteristics, we propose the name mucoperlin. This is the first paper reporting the cloning of a molluscan mucin and the first molecular evidence for the involvement of a mucin in molluscan calcification. This finding corroborates our previous hypothesis that some of the proteinaceous constituents of the molluscan shell matrix would derive from mucins, common to many metazoan lineages of the late Precambrian (Marin, F., Smith, M., Isa, Y., Muyzer, G. and Westbroek, P. (1996) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 93, 1554-1559). The adaptation of an ancestral mucin to a new function, the regulation of the mineralization process, may be one of the molecular events, among others, that would explain the simultaneous emergence of organized calcification in many metazoan lineages during the Cambrian explosion. (+info)
(4/286) Viral density and virus-to-bacterium ratio in deep-sea sediments of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Viruses are now recognized as a key component in pelagic systems, but their role in marine sediment has yet to be assessed. In this study bacterial and viral densities were determined at nine deep-sea stations selected from three main sites (i.e., the Sporades Basin, the Cretan Sea, and the Ierapetra Trench at depths of 1,232, 1,840, and 4,235 m, respectively) of the Eastern Mediterranean. The three areas were characterized by different phytopigment and biopolymeric carbon concentrations and by changes in the protein and carbohydrate pools. A gradient of increasing trophic conditions was observed from the Sporades Basin (North Aegean) to the Ierapetra Trench (South Aegean). Viral densities (ranging from 1 x 10(9) to 2 x 10(9) viruses ml of sediment(-1)) were significantly correlated to bacterial densities (n = 9, r(2) = 0.647) and reached values up to 3 orders of magnitude higher than those generally reported for the water column. However, the virus-to-bacterium density ratio in deep-sea sediments was about 1 order of magnitude lower (range of 2 to 5, with a modal value of 2.6) than in pelagic environments. Virus density decreased vertically with depth in sediment cores at all stations and was below detection limits at the 10-cm depth of the abyssal sediments of the Ierapetra Trench. Virus density in the sediment apparently reflected a gradient of particle fluxes and trophic conditions, displaying the highest values in the Sporades Basin. The low virus-to-bacterium ratios and their inverse relationship with station depth suggest that the role played by viruses in controlling deep-sea benthic bacterial assemblages and biogeochemical cycles is less relevant than in pelagic systems. (+info)
(5/286) Functional exoenzymes as indicators of metabolically active bacteria in 124,000-year-Old sapropel layers of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Hydrolytic exoenzymes as indicators of metabolically active bacteria were investigated in four consecutive sapropel layers collected from bathyal sediments of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. For comparison, the organic carbon-poor layers between the sapropels, sediment from the anoxic Urania basin, and sediments of intertidal mud flats of the German Wadden Sea were also analyzed. The sapropel layers contained up to 1.5. 10(8) bacterial cells cm(-3), whereas cell numbers in the intermediate layers were lower by a factor of 10. In sapropels, the determination of exoenzyme activity with fluorescently labeled substrate analogues was impaired by the strong adsorption of up to 97% of the enzymatically liberated fluorophores (4-methylumbelliferone [MUF] and 7-amino-4-methylcoumarin [MCA]) to the sediment particles. Because all established methods for the extraction of adsorbed fluorophores proved to be inadequate for sapropel sediments, we introduce a correction method which is based on the measurement of equilibrium adsorption isotherms for both compounds. Using this new approach, high activities of aminopeptidase and alkaline phosphatase were detected even in a 124,000-year-old sapropel layer, whereas the activity of beta-glucosidase was low in all layers. So far, it had been assumed that the organic matter which constitutes the sapropels is highly refractory. The high potential activities of bacterial exoenzymes indicate that bacteria in Mediterranean sapropels are metabolically active and utilize part of the subfossil kerogen. Since a high adsorption capacity was determined not only for the low-molecular-weight compounds MUF and MCA but also for DNA, the extraordinarily strong adsorption of structurally different substrates to the sapropel matrix appears to be the major reason for the long-term preservation of biodegradable carbon in this environment. (+info)
(6/286) Molecular cloning and functional characterization of a unique multipotent polyphenol oxidase from Marinomonas mediterranea.
Marinomonas mediterranea is a recently isolated melanogenic marine bacterium containing laccase and tyrosinase activities. These activities are due to the expression of two polyphenol oxidases (PPOs), a blue multicopper laccase and an SDS-activated tyrosinase. The gene encoding the first one, herein denominated M. mediterranea PpoA, has been isolated by transposon mutagenesis, cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. Its predicted amino acid sequence shows the existence of a signal peptide and four copper-binding sites characteristic of the blue multicopper proteins, including all fungal laccases. In addition, two additional putative copper-binding sites near its N-terminus are also present. Recombinant expression in E. coli of this protein clearly demonstrates its multipotent capability, showing both laccase-like and tyrosinase-like activities. This is the first prokaryotic laccase sequenced and the first PPO showing such multipotent catalytic activity. The expression of several truncated products indicates that the four copper-binding sites typical of blue multicopper proteins are essential for the laccase activity of this enzyme. However, the last two of these sites are not necessary for tyrosine hydroxylase activity as this activity is retained in a truncated product containing the first two sites as well as the extra histidine-rich clusters close to the N-terminus of the protein. (+info)
(7/286) Vibrio lentus sp. nov., isolated from Mediterranean oysters.
Twelve phenotypically similar marine bacteria have been studied by means of ribotyping, DNA-DNA hybridization and cultural and physiological characterization. Phylogenetic analysis has been performed of the 16S and 23S rRNA genes of two representative strains. Phylogenetically, they belong to the Vibrio/Photobacterium branch of the gamma-Proteobacteria and they share all of the properties that define the genus Vibrio. The strains represent a new Vibrio species that is phenotypically similar to Vibrio splendidus. However, resistance to the vibriostatic agent 0129 and production of acid from several carbohydrates allow differentiation between V. splendidus and the proposed new species. The DNA G+C content of the proposed type strain is 44.0 mol %. The name Vibrio lentus sp. nov. is proposed for the new species and strain 40M4T (= CECT 5110T = DSM 13757T) is the type strain. (+info)
(8/286) Microbial communities in the chemocline of a hypersaline deep-sea basin (Urania basin, Mediterranean Sea).
The Urania basin is a hypersaline sulfidic brine lake at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Since this basin is located at a depth of approximately 3,500 m below the sea surface, it receives only a small amount of phytoplankton organic carbon. In the present study, the bacterial assemblages at the interface between the hypersaline brine and the overlaying seawater were investigated. The sulfide concentration increased from 0 to 10 mM within a vertical interval of 5 m across the interface. Within this chemocline, the total bacterial cell counts and the exoenzyme activities were elevated. Employing 11 cultivation methods, we isolated a total of 70 bacterial strains. The 16S ribosomal DNA sequences of 32 of the strains were identical to environmental sequences detected in the chemocline by culture-independent molecular methods. These strains were identified as flavobacteria, Alteromonas macleodii, and Halomonas aquamarina. All 70 strains could grow chemoorganoheterotrophically under oxic conditions. Sixty-six strains grew on peptone, casein hydrolysate, and yeast extract, whereas only 15 strains did not utilize polymeric carbohydrates. Twenty-one of the isolates could grow both chemoorganotrophically and chemolithotrophically. While the most probable numbers in most cases ranged between 0.006 and 4.3% of the total cell counts, an unusually high value of 54% was determined above the chemocline with media containing amino acids as the carbon and energy source. Our results indicate that culturable bacteria thriving at the oxic-anoxic interface of the Urania basin differ considerably from the chemolithoautotrophic bacteria typical of other chemocline habitats. (+info)