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See detailRoles of bacteriophages, plasmids and CRISPR immunity in microbial community dynamics revealed using time-series integrated meta-omics
Martinez Arbas, Susana UL; Narayanasamy, Shaman; Herold, Malte et al

in Nature Microbiology (2020)

Viruses and plasmids (invasive mobile genetic elements (iMGEs)) have important roles in shaping microbial communities, but their dynamic interactions with CRISPR-based immunity remain unresolved. We ... [more ▼]

Viruses and plasmids (invasive mobile genetic elements (iMGEs)) have important roles in shaping microbial communities, but their dynamic interactions with CRISPR-based immunity remain unresolved. We analysed generation-resolved iMGE–host dynamics spanning one and a half years in a microbial consortium from a biological wastewater treatment plant using integrated meta-omics. We identified 31 bacterial metagenome-assembled genomes encoding complete CRISPR–Cas systems and their corresponding iMGEs. CRISPR-targeted plasmids outnumbered their bacteriophage counterparts by at least fivefold, highlighting the importance of CRISPR-mediated defence against plasmids. Linear modelling of our time-series data revealed that the variation in plasmid abundance over time explained more of the observed community dynamics than phages. Community-scale CRISPR-based plasmid–host and phage–host interaction networks revealed an increase in CRISPR-mediated interactions coinciding with a decrease in the dominant ‘Candidatus Microthrix parvicella’ population. Protospacers were enriched in sequences targeting genes involved in the transmission of iMGEs. Understanding the factors shaping the fitness of specific populations is necessary to devise control strategies for undesirable species and to predict or explain community-wide phenotypes. [less ▲]

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See detailIntegration of time-series meta-omics data reveals how microbial ecosystems respond to disturbance
Herold, Malte; Martinez Arbas, Susana UL; Narayanasamy, Shaman et al

in Nature Communications (2020)

The development of reliable, mixed-culture biotechnological processes hinges on understanding how microbial ecosystems respond to disturbances. Here we reveal extensive phenotypic plasticity and niche ... [more ▼]

The development of reliable, mixed-culture biotechnological processes hinges on understanding how microbial ecosystems respond to disturbances. Here we reveal extensive phenotypic plasticity and niche complementarity in oleaginous microbial populations from a biological wastewater treatment plant. We perform meta-omics analyses (metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics and metabolomics) on in situ samples over 14 months at weekly intervals. Based on 1,364 de novo metagenome-assembled genomes, we uncover four distinct fundamental niche types. Throughout the time-series, we observe a major, transient shift in community structure, coinciding with substrate availability changes. Functional omics data reveals extensive variation in gene expression and substrate usage amongst community members. Ex situ bioreactor experiments confirm that responses occur within five hours of a pulse disturbance, demonstrating rapid adaptation by specific populations. Our results show that community resistance and resilience are a function of phenotypic plasticity and niche complementarity, and set the foundation for future ecological engineering efforts. [less ▲]

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See detailA multi-omic view of invasive genetic elements and their linked prokaryotic population dynamics within a mixed microbial community
Martinez Arbas, Susana UL; Narayanasamy, Shaman; Herold, Malte et al

Poster (2018, September 11)

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See detailMechanisms of Persistence of the Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria Nitrosomonas to the Biocide Free Nitrous Acid.
Laloo, Andrew E.; Wei, Justin; Wang, Dongbo et al

in Environmental science & technology (2018), 52(9), 5386-5397

Free nitrous acid (FNA) exerts a broad range of antimicrobial effects on bacteria, although susceptibility varies considerably among microorganisms. Among nitrifiers found in activated sludge of ... [more ▼]

Free nitrous acid (FNA) exerts a broad range of antimicrobial effects on bacteria, although susceptibility varies considerably among microorganisms. Among nitrifiers found in activated sludge of wastewater treatment processes (WWTPs), nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) are more susceptible to FNA compared to ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). This selective inhibition of NOB over AOB in WWTPs bypasses nitrate production and improves the efficiency and costs of the nitrogen removal process in both the activated sludge and anaerobic ammonium oxidation (Anammox) system. However, the molecular mechanisms governing this atypical tolerance of AOB to FNA have yet to be understood. Herein we investigate the varying effects of the antimicrobial FNA on activated sludge containing AOB and NOB using an integrated metagenomics and label-free quantitative sequential windowed acquisition of all theoretical fragment ion mass spectra (SWATH-MS) metaproteomic approach. The Nitrosomonas genus of AOB, on exposure to FNA, maintains internal homeostasis by upregulating a number of known oxidative stress enzymes, such as pteridine reductase and dihydrolipoyl dehydrogenase. Denitrifying enzymes were upregulated on exposure to FNA, suggesting the detoxification of nitrite to nitric oxide. Interestingly, proteins involved in stress response mechanisms, such as DNA and protein repair enzymes, phage prevention proteins, and iron transport proteins, were upregulated on exposure to FNA. In addition enzymes involved in energy generation were also upregulated on exposure to FNA. The total proteins specifically derived from the NOB genus Nitrobacter was low and, as such, did not allow for the elucidation of the response mechanism to FNA exposure. These findings give us an understanding of the adaptive mechanisms of tolerance within the AOB Nitrosomonas to the biocidal agent FNA. [less ▲]

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