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      Plasmids of psychrophilic and psychrotolerant bacteria and their role in adaptation to cold environments

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          Abstract

          Extremely cold environments are a challenge for all organisms. They are mostly inhabited by psychrophilic and psychrotolerant bacteria, which employ various strategies to cope with the cold. Such harsh environments are often highly vulnerable to the influence of external factors and may undergo frequent dynamic changes. The rapid adjustment of bacteria to changing environmental conditions is crucial for their survival. Such “short-term” evolution is often enabled by plasmids—extrachromosomal replicons that represent major players in horizontal gene transfer. The genomic sequences of thousands of microorganisms, including those of many cold-active bacteria have been obtained over the last decade, but the collected data have yet to be thoroughly analyzed. This report describes the results of a meta-analysis of the NCBI sequence databases to identify and characterize plasmids of psychrophilic and psychrotolerant bacteria. We have performed in-depth analyses of 66 plasmids, almost half of which are cryptic replicons not exceeding 10 kb in size. Our analyses of the larger plasmids revealed the presence of numerous genes, which may increase the phenotypic flexibility of their host strains. These genes encode enzymes possibly involved in (i) protection against cold and ultraviolet radiation, (ii) scavenging of reactive oxygen species, (iii) metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates, nucleotides and lipids, (iv) energy production and conversion, (v) utilization of toxic organic compounds (e.g., naphthalene), and (vi) resistance to heavy metals, metalloids and antibiotics. Some of the plasmids also contain type II restriction-modification systems, which are involved in both plasmid stabilization and protection against foreign DNA. Moreover, approx. 50% of the analyzed plasmids carry genetic modules responsible for conjugal transfer or mobilization for transfer, which may facilitate the spread of these replicons among various bacteria, including across species boundaries.

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          Most cited references 73

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          Artemis and ACT: viewing, annotating and comparing sequences stored in a relational database

          Motivation: Artemis and Artemis Comparison Tool (ACT) have become mainstream tools for viewing and annotating sequence data, particularly for microbial genomes. Since its first release, Artemis has been continuously developed and supported with additional functionality for editing and analysing sequences based on feedback from an active user community of laboratory biologists and professional annotators. Nevertheless, its utility has been somewhat restricted by its limitation to reading and writing from flat files. Therefore, a new version of Artemis has been developed, which reads from and writes to a relational database schema, and allows users to annotate more complex, often large and fragmented, genome sequences. Results: Artemis and ACT have now been extended to read and write directly to the Generic Model Organism Database (GMOD, http://www.gmod.org) Chado relational database schema. In addition, a Gene Builder tool has been developed to provide structured forms and tables to edit coordinates of gene models and edit functional annotation, based on standard ontologies, controlled vocabularies and free text. Availability: Artemis and ACT are freely available (under a GPL licence) for download (for MacOSX, UNIX and Windows) at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute web sites: http://www.sanger.ac.uk/Software/Artemis/ http://www.sanger.ac.uk/Software/ACT/ Contact: artemis@sanger.ac.uk Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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            Mobility of plasmids.

            Plasmids are key vectors of horizontal gene transfer and essential genetic engineering tools. They code for genes involved in many aspects of microbial biology, including detoxication, virulence, ecological interactions, and antibiotic resistance. While many studies have decorticated the mechanisms of mobility in model plasmids, the identification and characterization of plasmid mobility from genome data are unexplored. By reviewing the available data and literature, we established a computational protocol to identify and classify conjugation and mobilization genetic modules in 1,730 plasmids. This allowed the accurate classification of proteobacterial conjugative or mobilizable systems in a combination of four mating pair formation and six relaxase families. The available evidence suggests that half of the plasmids are nonmobilizable and that half of the remaining plasmids are conjugative. Some conjugative systems are much more abundant than others and preferably associated with some clades or plasmid sizes. Most very large plasmids are nonmobilizable, with evidence of ongoing domestication into secondary chromosomes. The evolution of conjugation elements shows ancient divergence between mobility systems, with relaxases and type IV coupling proteins (T4CPs) often following separate paths from type IV secretion systems. Phylogenetic patterns of mobility proteins are consistent with the phylogeny of the host prokaryotes, suggesting that plasmid mobility is in general circumscribed within large clades. Our survey suggests the existence of unsuspected new relaxases in archaea and new conjugation systems in cyanobacteria and actinobacteria. Few genes, e.g., T4CPs, relaxases, and VirB4, are at the core of plasmid conjugation, and together with accessory genes, they have evolved into specific systems adapted to specific physiological and ecological contexts.
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              REBASE--a database for DNA restriction and modification: enzymes, genes and genomes.

              REBASE is a comprehensive database of information about restriction enzymes, DNA methyltransferases and related proteins involved in the biological process of restriction-modification (R-M). It contains fully referenced information about recognition and cleavage sites, isoschizomers, neoschizomers, commercial availability, methylation sensitivity, crystal and sequence data. Experimentally characterized homing endonucleases are also included. The fastest growing segment of REBASE contains the putative R-M systems found in the sequence databases. Comprehensive descriptions of the R-M content of all fully sequenced genomes are available including summary schematics. The contents of REBASE may be browsed from the web (http://rebase.neb.com) and selected compilations can be downloaded by ftp (ftp.neb.com). Additionally, monthly updates can be requested via email.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Microbiol
                Front Microbiol
                Front. Microbiol.
                Frontiers in Microbiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-302X
                06 November 2014
                2014
                : 5
                Affiliations
                Department of Bacterial Genetics, Faculty of Biology, Institute of Microbiology, University of Warsaw Warsaw, Poland
                Author notes

                Edited by: Holger Heuer, Julius Kühn-Institut, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants (JKI), Germany

                Reviewed by: Pieter De Maayer, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Mariano Pistorio, National Scientific and Technical Research Council / Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina

                *Correspondence: Lukasz Dziewit, Department of Bacterial Genetics, Faculty of Biology, Institute of Microbiology, University of Warsaw, Miecznikowa 1, Warsaw 02-096, Poland e-mail: ldziewit@ 123456biol.uw.edu.pl

                This article was submitted to Evolutionary and Genomic Microbiology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

                Article
                10.3389/fmicb.2014.00596
                4224046
                Copyright © 2014 Dziewit and Bartosik.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 94, Pages: 14, Words: 9877
                Categories
                Microbiology
                Original Research Article

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