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Main Title: Functional Traits Co-Occurring with Mobile Genetic Elements in the Microbiome of the Atacama Desert
Author(s): Sáenz, Johan S.
Airo, Alessandro
Schulze-Makuch, Dirk
Schloter, Michael
Vestergaard, Gisle
Type: Article
Language Code: en
Abstract: Mobile genetic elements (MGEs) play an essential role in bacterial adaptation and evolution. These elements are enriched within bacterial communities from extreme environments. However, very little is known if specific genes co-occur with MGEs in extreme environments and, if so, what their function is. We used shotgun-sequencing to analyse the metagenomes of 12 soil samples and characterized the composition of MGEs and the genes co-occurring with them. The samples ranged from less arid coastal sites to the inland hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert, as well as from sediments below boulders, protected from UV-irradiation. MGEs were enriched at the hyperarid sites compared with sediments from below boulders and less arid sites. MGEs were mostly co-occurring with genes belonging to the Cluster Orthologous Group (COG) categories “replication, recombination and repair,” “transcription” and “signal transduction mechanisms.” In general, genes coding for transcriptional regulators and histidine kinases were the most abundant genes proximal to MGEs. Genes involved in energy production were significantly enriched close to MGEs at the hyperarid sites. For example, dehydrogenases, reductases, hydrolases and chlorite dismutase and other enzymes linked to nitrogen metabolism such as nitrite- and nitro-reductase. Stress response genes, including genes involved in antimicrobial and heavy metal resistance genes, were rarely found near MGEs. The present study suggests that MGEs could play an essential role in the adaptation of the soil microbiome in hyperarid desert soils by the modulation of housekeeping genes such as those involved in energy production.
Issue Date: 31-Oct-2019
Date Available: 10-Jan-2020
DDC Class: 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Subject(s): mobile genetic elements
soil microbiome
soil metagenome
stress response
hyperarid desert
Sponsor/Funder: EC/FP7/339231/EU/Habitability of Martian Environments: Exploring the Physiological and Environmental Limits of Life/HOME
Journal Title: Diversity
Publisher: MDPI
Publisher Place: Basel
Volume: 11
Issue: 11
Article Number: 205
Publisher DOI: 10.3390/d11110205
EISSN: 1424-2818
Appears in Collections:Zentrum für Astronomie und Astrophysik » Publications

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