• Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain RW41 mineralizes 4-chlorobenzenesulfonate, the major polar by-product from DDT manufacturing.

      Blasco, Rafael; Ramos, Juan-Luis; Wittich, Rolf-Michael; Departamento de Bioquímica, Biología Molecular y Genética, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Extremadura, E-10071 Cáceres, Spain. (2008-06)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa RW41 is the first bacterial strain, which could be isolated by virtue of its capability to mineralize 4-chlorobenzenesulfonic acid (4CBSA), the major polar by-product of the chemical synthesis of 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis-(4-chlorophenyl)ethane (DDT). This capability makes the isolate a promising candidate for the development of bioremediation technologies. The bacterial mineralization of 4CBSA proceeds under oxygenolytic desulfonation and transient accumulation of sulfite which then is oxidized to sulfate. High enzyme activities for the turnover of 4-chlorocatechol were measured. The further catabolism proceeded through 3-chloromuconate and, probably, the instable 4-chloromuconolactone, which is directly hydrolyzed to maleylacetate. Detectable levels of maleylacetate reductase were only present when cells were grown with 4CBSA. When the ordinary catechol pathway was induced during growth on benzenesulfonate, catechol was ortho-cleaved to cis,cis-muconate and a partially purified muconate cycloisomerase transformed it to muconolactone in vitro. The same enzyme transformed 3-chloro-cis,cis-muconate into cis-dienelactone (76%) and the antibiotically active protoanemonin (24%). These observations are indicative for a not yet highly evolved catabolism for halogenated substrates by bacterial isolates from environmental samples which, on the other hand, are able to productively recycle sulfur and chloride ions from synthetic haloorganosulfonates.
    • Ultrastructural and electron energy-loss spectroscopic analysis of an extracellular filamentous matrix of an environmental bacterial isolate.

      Böckelmann, Uta; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Szewzyk, Ulrich; Department of Environmental Microbiology, Technical University Berlin, Franklin Str. 29, 10587 Berlin, Germany. uta.boeckelmann@tu-berlin.de (2007-09)
      Strain F8, a bacterial isolate from 'river snow', was found to produce extracellular fibres in the form of a filamentous network. These extracellular filaments, which were previously shown to be composed of DNA, have been studied for the first time by ultrastructural and electron energy-loss spectroscopy in the present work. 'Whole mount' preparations of strain F8 indicate these polymers are ultrastructurally homogeneous and form a network of elemental filaments, which have a width of 1.8-2.0 nm. When incubated at pH 3.5 with colloidal cationic ThO(2) tracers they become intensely stained (electron dense), affording direct evidence that the fibres are negatively charged and thus acidic chemically. Elemental analysis of the extracellular filaments by Energy-filtered Transmission Electron Microscopy revealed phosphorus to be the main element present and, because pretreatment of F8 cells with DNase prevented thorium labelling, the fibres must be composed of extracellular DNA (eDNA). Neither ultrathin sections nor 'whole mount negative stain' caused DNA release by general cell lysis. Additionally, cells infected with phages were never observed in ultrathin sections and phage particles were never detected in whole mount samples, which rules out the possibility of phages being directly involved in eDNA release.
    • Traditional cattle manure application determines abundance, diversity and activity of methanogenic Archaea in arable European soil.

      Gattinger, Andreas; Höfle, Manfred G; Schloter, Michael; Embacher, Arndt; Böhme, Frank; Munch, Jean Charles; Labrenz, Matthias; Institute of Soil Ecology, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany. (2007-03)
      Based on lipid analyses, 16S rRNA/rRNA gene single-strand conformation polymorphism fingerprints and methane flux measurements, influences of the fertilization regime on abundance and diversity of archaeal communities were investigated in soil samples from the long-term (103 years) field trial in Bad Lauchstädt, Germany. The investigated plots followed a gradient of increasing fertilization beginning at no fertilization and ending at the 'cattle manure' itself. The archaeal phospholipid etherlipid (PLEL) concentration was used as an indicator for archaeal biomass and increased with the gradient of increasing fertilization, whereby the concentrations determined for organically fertilized soils were well above previously reported values. Methane emission, although at a low level, were occasionally only observed in organically fertilized soils, whereas the other treatments showed significant methane uptake. Euryarchaeotal organisms were abundant in all investigated samples but 16S rRNA analysis also demonstrated the presence of Crenarchaeota in fertilized soils. Lowest molecular archaeal diversity was found in highest fertilized treatments. Archaea phylogenetically most closely related to cultured methanogens were abundant in these fertilized soils, whereas Archaea with low relatedness to cultured microorganisms dominated in non-fertilized soils. Relatives of Methanoculleus spp. were found almost exclusively in organically fertilized soils or cattle manure. Methanosarcina-related microorganisms were detected in all soils as well as in the cattle manure, but soils with highest organic application rate were specifically dominated by a close phylogenetic relative of Methanosarcina thermophila. Our findings suggest that regular application of cattle manure increased archaeal biomass, but reduced archaeal diversity and selected for methanogenic Methanoculleus and Methanosarcina strains, leading to the circumstance that high organic fertilized soils did not function as a methane sink at the investigated site anymore.
    • Dynamics of reductive genome evolution in mitochondria and obligate intracellular microbes.

      Khachane, Amit N; Timmis, Kenneth N; Martins dos Santos, Vítor A P; Department of Environmental Microbiology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-02)
      Reductive evolution in mitochondria and obligate intracellular microbes has led to a significant reduction in their genome size and guanine plus cytosine content (GC). We show that genome shrinkage during reductive evolution in prokaryotes follows an exponential decay pattern and provide a method to predict the extent of this decay on an evolutionary timescale. We validated predictions by comparison with estimated extents of genome reduction known to have occurred in mitochondria and Buchnera aphidicola, through comparative genomics and by drawing on available fossil evidences. The model shows how the mitochondrial ancestor would have quickly shed most of its genome, shortly after its incorporation into the protoeukaryotic cell and prior to codivergence subsequent to the split of eukaryotic lineages. It also predicts that the primary rickettsial parasitic event would have occurred between 180 and 425 million years ago (MYA), an event of relatively recent evolutionary origin considering the fact that Rickettsia and mitochondria evolved from a common alphaproteobacterial ancestor. This suggests that the symbiotic events of Rickettsia and mitochondria originated at different time points. Moreover, our model results predict that the ancestor of Wigglesworthia glossinidia brevipalpis, dated around the time of origin of its symbiotic association with the tsetse fly (50-100 MYA), was likely to have been an endosymbiont itself, thus supporting an earlier proposition that Wigglesworthia, which is currently a maternally inherited primary endosymbiont, evolved from a secondary endosymbiont.
    • [Reaction of microorganisms to the digestive fluid of the earthworms]

      Khomiakov, N V; Kharin, S A; Nechitaĭlo, T Iu; Golyshin, P N; Kurakov, A V; Byzov, B A; Zviagintsev, D G; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (formerly GBF) (2008-03-05)
      The reaction of soil bacteria and fungi to the digestive fluid of the earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa was studied. The fluid was obtained by centrifugation of the native enzymes of the digestive tract. The inhibition of growth of certain bacteria, spores, and fungal hyphae under the effect of extracts from the anterior and middle sections of the digestive tract of A. caliginosa was discovered for the first time. In bacteria, microcolony formation was inhibited as early as 20-30 s after the application of the gut extracts, which may indicate the nonenzymatic nature of the effect. The digestive fluid exhibited the same microbicidal activity whether the earthworms were feeding on soil or sterile sand. This indicates that the microbicidal agents are formed within the earthworm's body, rather than by soil microorganisms. The effect of the digestive fluid from the anterior and middle divisions is selective in relation to different microorganisms. Of 42 strains of soil bacteria, seven were susceptible to the microbicidal action of the fluid (Alcaligenes.faecalis 345-1, Microbacterium sp. 423-1, Arthrobacter sp. 430-1, Bacillus megaterium 401-1, B. megaterium 413-1, Kluyvera ascorbata 301-1, Pseudomonas reactans 387-2). The remaining bacteria did not die in the digestive fluid. Of 13 micromycetes, the digestive fluid inhibited spore germination in Aspergillus terreus and Paecilomyces lilacinus and the growth of hyphae in Trichoderma harzianum and Penicillium decumbens. The digestive fluid stimulated spore germination in Alternaria alternata and the growth of hyphae in Penicillium chrysogenum. The reaction of the remaining micromycetes was neutral. The gut fluid from the posterior division of the abdominal tract did not possess microbicidal activity. No relation was found between the reaction of microorganisms to the effects of the digestive fluid and the taxonomic position of the microorganisms. The effects revealed are similar to those shown earlier for millipedes and wood lice in the following parameters: quick action of the digestive fluid on microorganisms, and the selectivity of the action on microorganisms revealed at the strain level. The selective effect of the digestive gut fluid of the earthworms on soil microorganisms is important for animal feeding, maintaining the homeostasis of the gut microbial community, and the formation of microbial communities in soils.
    • Obligate oil-degrading marine bacteria.

      Yakimov, Michail M; Timmis, Kenneth N; Golyshin, Peter N; Istituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero, CNR, Messina 98122, Italy. (2007-06)
      Over the past few years, a new and ecophysiologically unusual group of marine hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria - the obligate hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria (OHCB) - has been recognized and shown to play a significant role in the biological removal of petroleum hydrocarbons from polluted marine waters. The introduction of oil or oil constituents into seawater leads to successive blooms of a relatively limited number of indigenous marine bacterial genera--Alcanivorax, Marinobacter, Thallassolituus, Cycloclasticus, Oleispira and a few others (the OHCB)--which are present at low or undetectable levels before the polluting event. The types of OHCB that bloom depend on the latitude/temperature, salinity, redox and other prevailing physical-chemical factors. These blooms result in the rapid degradation of many oil constituents, a process that can be accelerated further by supplementation with limiting nutrients. Genome sequencing and functional genomic analysis of Alcanivorax borkumensis, the paradigm of OHCB, has provided significant insights into the genomic basis of the efficiency and versatility of its hydrocarbon utilization, the metabolic routes underlying its special hydrocarbon diet, and its ecological success. These and other studies have revealed the potential of OHCB for multiple biotechnological applications that include not only oil pollution mitigation, but also biopolymer production and biocatalysis.
    • Characterization and role of a metalloprotease induced by chitin in Serratia sp. KCK.

      Kim, Hyun-Soo; Golyshin, Peter N; Timmis, Kenneth N; Department of Environmental Microbiology, The Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. hyun1006@korea.ac.kr (2007-11)
      A metalloprotease induced by chitin in a new chitinolytic bacterium Serratia sp. Strain KCK was purified and characterized. Compared with other Serratia enzymes, it exhibited a rather broad pH activity range (pH 5.0-8.0), and thermostability. The cognate ORF, mpr, was cloned and expressed. Its deduced amino acid sequence showed high similarity to those of bacterial zinc-binding metalloproteases and a well-conserved serralysin family motif. Pretreatment of chitin with the Mpr protein promoted chitin degradation by chitinase A, which suggests that Mpr participates in, and facilitates, chitin degradation by this microorganism.
    • Analysis of storage lipid accumulation in Alcanivorax borkumensis: Evidence for alternative triacylglycerol biosynthesis routes in bacteria.

      Kalscheuer, Rainer; Stöveken, Tim; Malkus, Ursula; Reichelt, Rudolf; Golyshin, Peter N; Sabirova, Julia S; Ferrer, Manuel; Timmis, Kenneth N; Steinbüchel, Alexander; Institut für Molekulare Mikrobiologie und Biotechnologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Corrensstrasse 3, D-48149 Münster, Germany. (2007-02)
      Marine hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria, like Alcanivorax borkumensis, play a globally important role in bioremediation of petroleum oil contamination in marine ecosystems. Accumulation of storage lipids, serving as endogenous carbon and energy sources during starvation periods, might be a potential adaptation mechanism for coping with nutrient limitation, which is a frequent stress factor challenging those bacteria in their natural marine habitats. Here we report on the analysis of storage lipid biosynthesis in A. borkumensis strain SK2. Triacylglycerols (TAGs) and wax esters (WEs), but not poly(hydroxyalkanoic acids), are the principal storage lipids present in this and other hydrocarbonoclastic bacterial species. Although so far assumed to be a characteristic restricted to gram-positive actinomycetes, substantial accumulation of TAGs corresponding to a fatty acid content of more than 23% of the cellular dry weight is the first characteristic of large-scale de novo TAG biosynthesis in a gram-negative bacterium. The acyltransferase AtfA1 (ABO_2742) exhibiting wax ester synthase/acyl-coenzyme A:diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WS/DGAT) activity plays a key role in both TAG and WE biosynthesis, whereas AtfA2 (ABO_1804) was dispensable for storage lipid formation. However, reduced but still substantial residual TAG levels in atfA1 and atfA2 knockout mutants compellingly indicate the existence of a yet unknown WS/DGAT-independent alternative TAG biosynthesis route. Storage lipids of A. borkumensis were enriched in saturated fatty acids and accumulated as insoluble intracytoplasmic inclusions exhibiting great structural variety. Storage lipid accumulation provided only a slight growth advantage during short-term starvation periods but was not required for maintaining viability and long-term persistence during extended starvation phases.
    • shift from acetoclastic to H2-dependent methanogenesis in a west Siberian peat bog at low pH values and isolation of an acidophilic Methanobacterium strain.

      Kotsyurbenko, O R; Friedrich, M W; Simankova, M V; Nozhevnikova, A N; Golyshin, P N; Timmis, K N; Conrad, R; Institut für Mikrobiologie, Carolo-Wilhelmina Technische Universität zu Braunschweig, Biozentrum, Braunschweig, Germany. olk@helmholtz-hzi.de (2007-04)
      Methane production and archaeal community composition were studied in samples from an acidic peat bog incubated at different temperatures and pH values. H(2)-dependent methanogenesis increased strongly at the lowest pH, 3.8, and Methanobacteriaceae became important except for Methanomicrobiaceae and Methanosarcinaceae. An acidophilic and psychrotolerant Methanobacterium sp. was isolated using H(2)-plus-CO(2)-supplemented medium at pH 4.5.
    • Mutation in a "tesB-like" hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A-specific thioesterase gene causes hyperproduction of extracellular polyhydroxyalkanoates by Alcanivorax borkumensis SK2.

      Sabirova, Julia S; Ferrer, Manuel; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Wray, Victor; Kalscheuer, Rainer; Steinbüchel, Alexander; Timmis, Kenneth N; Golyshin, Peter N; Department of Environmental Microbiology, HZI-Helmholtz Center fro Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. jsa05@helmholtz-hzi.de (2006-12)
      A novel mutant of the marine oil-degrading bacterium Alcanivorax borkumensis SK2, containing a mini-Tn5 transposon disrupting a "tesB-like" acyl-coenzyme A (CoA) thioesterase gene, was found to hyperproduce polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), resulting in the extracellular deposition of this biotechnologically important polymer when grown on alkanes. The tesB-like gene encodes a distinct novel enzyme activity, which acts exclusively on hydroxylated acyl-CoAs and thus represents a hydroxyacyl-CoA-specific thioesterase. Inactivation of this enzyme results in the rechanneling of CoA-activated hydroxylated fatty acids, the cellular intermediates of alkane degradation, towards PHA production. These findings may open up new avenues for the development of simplified biotechnological processes for the production of PHA as a raw material for the production of bioplastics.
    • Proteomic Insights into Metabolic Adaptations in Alcanivorax borkumensis Induced by Alkane Utilization

      Sabirova, Julia S; Ferrer, Manuel; Regenhardt, Daniela; Timmis, Kenneth N.; Golyshin, Peter N. (American Society for Microbiology, 2006-06)
    • Expression of a Temperature-Sensitive Esterase in a Novel Chaperone-Based Escherichia coli Strain

      Ferrer, Manuel; Chernikova, Tatyana N.; Timmis, Kenneth N.; Golyshin, Peter N. (American Society for Microbiology, 2004-08)
    • Metagenome Survey of Biofilms in Drinking-Water Networks

      Schmeisser, C.; Stöckigt, C.; Raasch, C.; Wingender, J.; Timmis, K. N.; Wenderoth, D. F.; Flemming, H.-C.; Liesegang, H.; Schmitz, R. A.; Jaeger, K.-E.; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2003-12)
    • Carbon source-dependent inhibition of xyl operon expression of the Pseudomonas putida TOL plasmid.

      Holtel, A; Marqués, S; Möhler, I; Jakubzik, U; Timmis, K N (1994-03)
    • Involvement of IHF protein in expression of the Ps promoter of the Pseudomonas putida TOL plasmid.

      Holtel, A; Goldenberg, D; Giladi, H; Oppenheim, A B; Timmis, K N (1995-06)