Multi-locus sequence analysis, taxonomic resolution and biogeography of marine Synechococcus
Article first published online: 8 JUN 2011
© 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Special Issue: Taxonomy and Biodiversity
Volume 14, Issue 2, pages 372–386, February 2012
How to Cite
Mazard, S., Ostrowski, M., Partensky, F. and Scanlan, D. J. (2012), Multi-locus sequence analysis, taxonomic resolution and biogeography of marine Synechococcus. Environmental Microbiology, 14: 372–386. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2011.02514.x
- Issue published online: 3 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 8 JUN 2011
- Received 10 February, 2011; accepted 18 April, 2011.
Conserved markers such as the 16S rRNA gene do not provide sufficient molecular resolution to identify spatially structured populations of marine Synechococcus, or ‘ecotypes’ adapted to distinct ecological niches. Multi-locus sequence analysis targeting seven ‘core’ genes was employed to taxonomically resolve Synechococcus isolates and correlate previous phylogenetic analyses encompassing a range of markers. Despite the recognized importance of lateral gene transfer in shaping the genomes of marine cyanobacteria, multi-locus sequence analysis of more than 120 isolates reflects a clonal population structure of major lineages and subgroups. A single core genome locus, petB, encoding the cytochrome b6 subunit of the cytochrome b6f complex, was selected to expand our understanding of the diversity and ecology of marine Synechococcus populations. Environmental petB sequences cloned from contrasting sites highlight numerous genetically and ecologically distinct clusters, some of which represent novel, environmentally abundant clades without cultured representatives. With a view to scaling ecological analyses, the short sequence, taxonomic resolution and accurate automated alignment of petB is ideally suited to high-throughput and high-resolution sequencing projects to explore links between the ecology, evolution and biology of marine Synechococcus.