The Carbohydrate Metabolism Signature of Lactococcus lactis Strain A12 Reveals Its Sourdough Ecosystem Origin.
Passerini, D., Coddeville, M., Le Bourgeois, P., Loubière, P., Ritzenthaler, P., Fontagné-Faucher, C., Daveran-Mingot, M. L. & Cocaign-Bousquet, M. (2013). Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 79(19), 5844-5852.
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis strain A12 was isolated from sourdough. Combined genomic, transcriptomic, and phenotypic analyses were performed to understand its survival capacity in the complex sourdough ecosystem and its role in the microbial community. The genome sequence comparison of strain A12 with strain IL1403 (a derivative of an industrial dairy strain) revealed 78 strain-specific regions representing 23% of the total genome size. Most of the strain-specific genes were involved in carbohydrate metabolism and are potentially required for its persistence in sourdough. Phenotype microarray, growth tests, and analysis of glycoside hydrolase content showed that strain A12 fermented plant-derived carbohydrates, such as arabinose and α-galactosides. Strain A12 exhibited specific growth rates on raffinose that were as high as they were on glucose and was able to release sucrose and galactose outside the cell, providing soluble carbohydrates for sourdough microflora. Transcriptomic analysis identified genes specifically induced during growth on raffinose and arabinose and reveals an alternative pathway for raffinose assimilation to that used by other lactococci.
Mining Dictyoglomus turgidum for enzymatically active carbohydrases.
Brumm, P., Hermanson, S., Hochstein, B., Boyum, J., Hermersmann, N., Gowda, K. & Mead, D. (2011). Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 163(2), 205-214.
The genome of Dictyoglomus turgidum was sequenced and analyzed for carbohydrases. The broad range of carbohydrate substrate utilization is reflected in the high number of glycosyl hydrolases, 54, and the high percentage of CAZymes present in the genome, 3.09% of its total genes. Screening a random clone library generated from D. turgidum resulted in the discovery of five novel biomass-degrading enzymes with low homology to known molecules. Whole genome sequencing of the organism followed by bioinformatics-directed amplification of selected genes resulted in the recovery of seven additional novel enzyme molecules. Based on the analysis of the genome, D. turgidum does not appear to degrade cellulose using either conventional soluble enzymes or a cellulosomal degradation system. The types and quantities of glycosyl hydrolases and carbohydrate-binding modules present in the genome suggest that D. turgidum degrades cellulose via a mechanism similar to that used by Cytophaga hutchinsonii and Fibrobacter succinogenes.
Evolutionary transitions in enzyme activity of ant fungus gardens.
De Fine Licht, H. H., Schiøtt, M., Mueller, U. G. & Boomsma, J. J. (2010). Evolution, 64(7), 2055-2069.
Fungus-growing (attine) ants and their fungal symbionts passed through several evolutionary transitions during their 50 million year old evolutionary history. The basal attine lineages often shifted between two main cultivar clades, whereas the derived higher-attine lineages maintained an association with a monophyletic clade of specialized symbionts. In conjunction with the transition to specialized symbionts, the ants advanced in colony size and social complexity. Here we provide a comparative study of the functional specialization in extracellular enzyme activities in fungus gardens across the attine phylogeny. We show that, relative to sister clades, gardens of higher-attine ants have enhanced activity of protein-digesting enzymes, whereas gardens of leaf-cutting ants also have increased activity of starch-digesting enzymes. However, the enzyme activities of lower-attine fungus gardens are targeted primarily toward partial degradation of plant cell walls, reflecting a plesiomorphic state of nondomesticated fungi. The enzyme profiles of the higher-attine and leaf-cutting gardens appear particularly suited to digest fresh plant materials and to access nutrients from live cells without major breakdown of cell walls. The adaptive significance of the lower-attine symbiont shifts remains unclear. One of these shifts was obligate, but digestive advantages remained ambiguous, whereas the other remained facultative despite providing greater digestive efficiency.
Patterns of functional enzyme activity in fungus farming ambrosia beetles.
Licht, H. H. D. F. & Biedermann, P. H. (2012). Frontiers in Zoology, 9(1), 13.
Introduction: In wood-dwelling fungus-farming weevils, the so-called ambrosia beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae and Platypodinae), wood in the excavated tunnels is used as a medium for cultivating fungi by the combined action of digging larvae (which create more space for the fungi to grow) and of adults sowing and pruning the fungus. The beetles are obligately dependent on the fungus that provides essential vitamins, amino acids and sterols. However, to what extent microbial enzymes support fungus farming in ambrosia beetles is unknown. Here we measure (i) 13 plant cell-wall degrading enzymes in the fungus garden microbial consortium of the ambrosia beetle Xyleborinus saxesenii, including its primary fungal symbionts, in three compartments of laboratory maintained nests, at different time points after gallery foundation and (ii) four specific enzymes that may be either insect or microbially derived in X. saxesenii adult and larval individuals. Results: We discovered that the activity of cellulases in ambrosia fungus gardens is relatively small compared to the activities of other cellulolytic enzymes. Enzyme activity in all compartments of the garden was mainly directed towards hemicellulose carbohydrates such as xylan, glucomannan and callose. Hemicellulolytic enzyme activity within the brood chamber increased with gallery age, whereas irrespective of the age of the gallery, the highest overall enzyme activity were detected in the gallery dump material expelled by the beetles. Interestingly endo-β-1,3(4)-glucanase activity capable of callose degradation was identified in whole-body extracts of both larvae and adult X. saxesenii, whereas endo-β-1,4-xylanase activity was exclusively detected in larvae. Conclusion: Similar to closely related fungi associated with bark beetles in phloem, the microbial symbionts of ambrosia beetles hardly degrade cellulose. Instead, their enzyme activity is directed mainly towards comparatively more easily accessible hemicellulose components of the ray-parenchyma cells in the wood xylem. Furthermore, the detection of xylanolytic enzymes exclusively in larvae (which feed on fungus colonized wood) and not in adults (which feed only in fungi) indicates that only larvae (pre-) digest plant cell wall structures. This implies that in X. saxesenii and likely also in many other ambrosia beetles, adults and larvae do not compete for the same food within their nests - in contrast, larvae increase colony fitness by facilitating enzymatic wood degradation and fungus cultivation.
Aspergillus hancockii sp. nov., a biosynthetically talented fungus endemic to southeastern Australian soils.
Pitt, J. I., Lange, L., Lacey, A. E., Vuong, D., Midgley, D. J., Greenfield, P., Bradbury, M. I., Lacey, E., Busk, P. K., Pilgaard, B., Chooi, Y. H. & Piggott, A. M. (2017). PloS One, 12(4), e0170254.
Aspergillus hancockii sp. nov., classified in Aspergillus subgenus Circumdati section Flavi, was originally isolated from soil in peanut fields near Kumbia, in the South Burnett region of southeast Queensland, Australia, and has since been found occasionally from other substrates and locations in southeast Australia. It is phylogenetically and phenotypically related most closely to A. leporis States and M. Chr., but differs in conidial colour, other minor features and particularly in metabolite profile. When cultivated on rice as an optimal substrate, A. hancockii produced an extensive array of 69 secondary metabolites. Eleven of the 15 most abundant secondary metabolites, constituting 90% of the total area under the curve of the HPLC trace of the crude extract, were novel. The genome of A. hancockii, approximately 40 Mbp, was sequenced and mined for genes encoding carbohydrate degrading enzymes identified the presence of more than 370 genes in 114 gene clusters, demonstrating that A. hancockii has the capacity to degrade cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, pectin, starch, chitin, cutin and fructan as nutrient sources. Like most Aspergillus species, A. hancockii exhibited a diverse secondary metabolite gene profile, encoding 26 polyketide synthase, 16 nonribosomal peptide synthase and 15 nonribosomal peptide synthase-like enzymes.
Metatranscriptomics Reveals the Functions and Enzyme Profiles of the Microbial Community in Chinese Nong-Flavor Liquor Starter.
Huang, Y., Yi, Z., Jin, Y., Huang, M., He, K., Liu, D., Luo, H., Zhao, D., He, H., Fang, Y. & Zhao, H. (2017). Frontiers in Microbiology, 8, 1747.
Chinese liquor is one of the world's best-known distilled spirits and is the largest spirit category by sales. The unique and traditional solid-state fermentation technology used to produce Chinese liquor has been in continuous use for several thousand years. The diverse and dynamic microbial community in a liquor starter is the main contributor to liquor brewing. However, little is known about the ecological distribution and functional importance of these community members. In this study, metatranscriptomics was used to comprehensively explore the active microbial community members and key transcripts with significant functions in the liquor starter production process. Fungi were found to be the most abundant and active community members. A total of 932 carbohydrate-active enzymes, including highly expressed auxiliary activity family 9 and 10 proteins, were identified at 62°C under aerobic conditions. Some potential thermostable enzymes were identified at 50, 62, and 25°C (mature stage). Increased content and overexpressed key enzymes involved in glycolysis and starch, pyruvate and ethanol metabolism were detected at 50 and 62°C. The key enzymes of the citrate cycle were up-regulated at 62°C, and their abundant derivatives are crucial for flavor generation. Here, the metabolism and functional enzymes of the active microbial communities in NF liquor starter were studied, which could pave the way to initiate improvements in liquor quality and to discover microbes that produce novel enzymes or high-value added products.