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Comparative community gene expression analysis of Aquificales-dominated geothermal springs

Authors

  • Natsuko Hamamura,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Life in Extreme Environments, Department of Biology, Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA
    • Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University, Matsuyama, Ehime, Japan
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  • Jennifer Meneghin,

    1. Center for Life in Extreme Environments, Department of Biology, Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA
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  • Anna-Louise Reysenbach

    Corresponding author
    • Center for Life in Extreme Environments, Department of Biology, Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA
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For correspondence.

E-mail nhama@ehime-u.ac.jp; Tel. & Fax (+81) (89) 927 8551;

E-mail reysenbacha@pdx.edu; Tel. (503) 725 3864; Fax (503) 725 3888.

Summary

Members of Sulfurihydrogenibium are often observed as visible filamentous biomass in circumneutral hot springs and play roles in sulfur-cycling, hydrogen oxidation and iron mineralization. To gain insight into the ecophysiology of Sulfurihydrogenibium populations, we conducted preliminary metatranscriptomic analysis of three distinct thermal springs; Calcite Springs (YNP-CS) and Mammoth Springs (YNP-MHS) in Yellowstone National Park, USA, and Furnas Springs (AZ) in Azores, Portugal. Genes to which transcripts were assigned revealed commonly expressed functions among the sites, while several differences were also observed. All three sites, Sulfurihydrogenibium spp. dominate and are obtaining energy via metabolism of sulfur compounds under microaerophilic conditions. Cell motility was one of the expressed functions in two sites (YNP-CS and AZ) with slower stream flow rates and thicker well-formed biofilms. The transcripts from YNP-CS and -MHS exhibited varying levels of sequence divergence from the reference genomes and corresponding metagenomes, suggesting the presence of microdiversity among Sulfurihydrogenibium populations in situ. Conversely, the majority of the AZ transcripts were identical to the S. azorense genome. Our initial results show that the metatranscriptomes in these similar Aquificales-dominated communities can reveal community-level gene function in geochemically distinct thermal environments.

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