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Orsi, William D.; Smith, Jason M.; Liu, Shuting; Liu, Zhanfei; Sakamoto, Carole M.; Wilken, Susanne; Poirier, Camille; Richards, Thomas A.; Keeling, Patrick J.; Worden, Alexandra Z.; Santoro, Alyson E. (2016): Diverse, uncultivated bacteria and archaea underlying the cycling of dissolved protein in the ocean. In: Isme Journal, Vol. 10, No. 9: pp. 2158-2173
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Abstract

Dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) supports a significant amount of heterotrophic production in the ocean. Yet, to date, the identity and diversity of microbial groups that transform DON are not well understood. To better understand the organisms responsible for transforming high molecular weight (HMW)-DON in the upper ocean, isotopically labeled protein extract from Micromonas pusilla, a eukaryotic member of the resident phytoplankton community, was added as substrate to euphotic zone water from the central California Current system. Carbon and nitrogen remineralization rates from the added proteins ranged from 0.002 to 0.35 mol C l(-1) per day and 0.03 to 0.27nmol N l(-1) per day. DNA stable-isotope probing (DNA-SIP) coupled with high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes linked the activity of 77 uncultivated free-living and particle-associated bacterial and archaeal taxa to the utilization of Micromonas protein extract. The high-throughput DNA-SIP method was sensitive in detecting isotopic assimilation by individual operational taxonomic units (OTUs), as substrate assimilation was observed after only 24 h. Many uncultivated free-living microbial taxa are newly implicated in the cycling of dissolved proteins affiliated with the Verrucomicrobia, Planctomycetes, Actinobacteria and Marine Group II (MGII) Euryarchaeota. In addition, a particle-associated community actively cycling DON was discovered, dominated by uncultivated organisms affiliated with MGII, Flavobacteria, Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia and Bdellovibrionaceae. The number of taxa assimilating protein correlated with genomic representation of TonB-dependent receptor (TBDR)-encoding genes, suggesting a possible role of TBDR in utilization of dissolved proteins by marine microbes. Our results significantly expand the known microbial diversity mediating the cycling of dissolved proteins in the ocean.