Microbial rhodopsins on leaf surfaces of terrestrial plants

Authors

  • Nof Atamna-Ismaeel,

    1. Faculty of Biology
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    • N.A.-I. and O.M.F. contributed equally to this work.

  • Omri M. Finkel,

    1. Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
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    • N.A.-I. and O.M.F. contributed equally to this work.

  • Fabian Glaser,

    1. Bioinformatics Knowledge Unit, Lorry I. Lokey Interdisciplinary Center for Life Sciences and Engineering
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  • Itai Sharon,

    1. Faculty of Biology
    2. Faculty of Computer Science, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel
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    • Present address: Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

  • Ron Schneider,

    1. Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
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  • Anton F. Post,

    1. Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution, Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
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  • John L. Spudich,

    1. Center for Membrane Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas Medical School, Houston, TX 77030, USA
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  • Christian von Mering,

    1. Faculty of Science, Institute of Molecular Life Sciences and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
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  • Julia A. Vorholt,

    1. Institute of Microbiology, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 10, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
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  • David Iluz,

    1. Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan 52900, Israel
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  • Oded Béjà,

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Biology
      E-mail beja@tx.technion.ac.il; Tel. 972-4-8293961; Fax 972-4-8225153;
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  • Shimshon Belkin

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
      E-mail shimshon@vms.huji.ac.il; Tel. 972-2-6584192; Fax 972-2-6585559.
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E-mail beja@tx.technion.ac.il; Tel. 972-4-8293961; Fax 972-4-8225153;

E-mail shimshon@vms.huji.ac.il; Tel. 972-2-6584192; Fax 972-2-6585559.

Summary

The above-ground surfaces of terrestrial plants, the phyllosphere, comprise the main interface between the terrestrial biosphere and solar radiation. It is estimated to host up to 1026 microbial cells that may intercept part of the photon flux impinging on the leaves. Based on 454-pyrosequencing-generated metagenome data, we report on the existence of diverse microbial rhodopsins in five distinct phyllospheres from tamarisk (Tamarix nilotica), soybean (Glycine max), Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), clover (Trifolium repens) and rice (Oryza sativa). Our findings, for the first time describing microbial rhodopsins from non-aquatic habitats, point towards the potential coexistence of microbial rhodopsin-based phototrophy and plant chlorophyll-based photosynthesis, with the different pigments absorbing non-overlapping fractions of the light spectrum.

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