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Comparative transcriptomics in three Methylophilaceae species uncover different strategies for environmental adaptation

Author(s): Alexey Vorobev | David A.C. Beck | Marina G. Kalyuzhnaya | Mary E. Lidstrom | Ludmila Chistoserdova

Journal: PeerJ
ISSN 2167-8359

Volume: 1;
Start page: e115;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Methylotrophy | Lake sediment | Transcriptomics | Methylophilaceae | Methylotenera | Methylovorus

We carried out whole transcriptome analysis of three species of Methylophilaceae, Methylotenera mobilis, Methylotenera versatilis and Methylovorus glucosotrophus, in order to determine which metabolic pathways are actively transcribed in cultures grown in laboratory on C1 substrates and how metabolism changes under semi-in situ conditions. Comparative analyses of the transcriptomes were used to probe the metabolic strategies utilized by each of the organisms in the environment. Our analysis of transcript abundance data focused on changes in expression of methylotrophy metabolic modules, as well as on identifying any functional modules with pronounced response to in situ conditions compared to a limited set of laboratory conditions, highlighting their potential role in environmental adaptation. We demonstrate that transcriptional responses to environmental conditions involved both methylotrophy and non-methylotrophy metabolic modules as well as modules responsible for functions not directly connected to central metabolism. Our results further highlight the importance of XoxF enzymes that were previously demonstrated to be highly expressed in situ and proposed to be involved in metabolism of methanol by Methylophilaceae. At the same time, it appears that different species employ different homologous Xox systems as major metabolic modules. This study also reinforces prior observations of the apparent importance of the methylcitric acid cycle in the Methylotenera species and its role in environmental adaptation. High transcription from the respective gene clusters and pronounced response to in situ conditions, along with the reverse expression pattern for the ribulose monophosphate pathway that is the major pathway for carbon assimilation in laboratory conditions suggest that a switch in central metabolism of Methylotenera takes place in response to in situ conditions. The nature of the metabolite(s) processed via this pathway still remains unknown. Of the functions not related to central metabolism, flagellum and fimbria synthesis functions appeared to be of significance for environmental adaptation, based on their high abundance and differential expression. Our data demonstrate that, besides shared strategies, the organisms employed in this study also utilize strategies unique to each species, suggesting that the genomic divergence plays a role in environmental adaptation.
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