Publications by authors named "Katie Sipes"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Eight Metagenome-Assembled Genomes Provide Evidence for Microbial Adaptation in 20,000- to 1,000,000-Year-Old Siberian Permafrost.

Appl Environ Microbiol 2021 09 10;87(19):e0097221. Epub 2021 Sep 10.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.

Permafrost microbes may be metabolically active in microscopic layers of liquid brines, even in ancient soil. Metagenomics can help discern whether permafrost microbes show adaptations to this environment. Thirty-three metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) were obtained from six depths (3.5 m to 20 m) of freshly cored permafrost from the Siberian Kolyma-Indigirka Lowland region. These soils have been continuously frozen for ∼20,000 to 1,000,000 years. Eight of these MAGs were ≥80% complete with <10% contamination and were taxonomically identified as , , , and within bacteria and within archaea. MAGs from these taxa have been obtained previously from nonpermafrost environments and have been suggested to show adaptations to long-term energy starvation, but they have never been explored in ancient permafrost. The permafrost MAGs had greater proportions in the Clusters of Orthologous Groups (COGs) categories of energy production and conversion and carbohydrate transport and metabolism than did their nonpermafrost counterparts. They also contained genes for trehalose synthesis, thymine metabolism, mevalonate biosynthesis, and cellulose degradation, which were less prevalent in nonpermafrost genomes. Many of these genes are involved in membrane stabilization and osmotic stress responses, consistent with adaptation to the anoxic, high-ionic-strength, cold environments of permafrost brine films. Our results suggest that this ancient permafrost contains DNA of high enough quality to assemble MAGs from microorganisms with adaptations to survive long-term freezing in this extreme environment. Permafrost around the world is thawing rapidly. Many scientists from a variety of disciplines have shown the importance of understanding what will happen to our ecosystem, commerce, and climate when permafrost thaws. The fate of permafrost microorganisms is connected to these predicted rapid environmental changes. Studying ancient permafrost with culture-independent techniques can give a glimpse into how these microorganisms function under these extreme low-temperature and low-energy conditions. This will facilitate understanding how they will change with the environment. This study presents genomic data from this unique environment ∼20,000 to 1,000,000 years of age.
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September 2021

Woeseiales transcriptional response to shallow burial in Arctic fjord surface sediment.

PLoS One 2020 27;15(8):e0234839. Epub 2020 Aug 27.

Department of Microbiology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States of America.

Distinct lineages of Gammaproteobacteria clade Woeseiales are globally distributed in marine sediments, based on metagenomic and 16S rRNA gene analysis. Yet little is known about why they are dominant or their ecological role in Arctic fjord sediments, where glacial retreat is rapidly imposing change. This study combined 16S rRNA gene analysis, metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs), and genome-resolved metatranscriptomics uncovered the in situ abundance and transcriptional activity of Woeseiales with burial in four shallow sediment sites of Kongsfjorden and Van Keulenfjorden of Svalbard (79°N). We present five novel Woeseiales MAGs and show transcriptional evidence for metabolic plasticity during burial, including sulfur oxidation with reverse dissimilatory sulfite reductase (dsrAB) down to 4 cm depth and nitrite reduction down to 6 cm depth. A single stress protein, spore protein SP21 (hspA), had a tenfold higher mRNA abundance than any other transcript, and was a hundredfold higher on average than other transcripts. At three out of the four sites, SP21 transcript abundance increased with depth, while total mRNA abundance and richness decreased, indicating a shift in investment from metabolism and other cellular processes to build-up of spore protein SP21. The SP21 gene in MAGs was often flanked by genes involved in membrane-associated stress response. The ability of Woeseiales to shift from sulfur oxidation to nitrite reduction with burial into marine sediments with decreasing access to overlying oxic bottom waters, as well as enter into a dormant state dominated by SP21, may account for its ubiquity and high abundance in marine sediments worldwide, including those of the rapidly shifting Arctic.
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October 2020