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Transcriptional response of Silicibacter pomeroyi DSS-3 to dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP)

Bürgmann, Helmut, Howard, Erinn C., Ye, Wenying, Sun, Feng, Sun, Shulei, Napierala, Sarah, Moran, Mary Ann
Environmental microbiology 2007 v.9 no.11 pp. 2742-2755
Roseobacter, Ruegeria, acetates, amino acids, bacterioplankton, genes, metabolism, microarray technology, nutrient availability, oceans, organic sulfur compounds, polyamines, sulfur, time series analysis
Dimethylsufoniopropionate (DMSP) is an abundant organic sulfur compound in the ocean and an important substrate for marine bacterioplankton. The Roseobacter clade of marine alphaproteobacteria, including Silicibacter pomeroyi strain DSS-3, are known to be involved in DMSP degradation in situ. The fate of DMSP has important implications for the global sulfur cycle, but the genes involved in this process and their regulation are largely unknown. S. pomeroyi is capable of performing two major pathways of DMSP degradation, making it an important model organism. Based on the full genome sequence of this strain we designed an oligonucleotide-based microarray for the detection of transcripts of nearly all genes. The array was used to study the transcriptional response of S. pomeroyi cultures to additions of DMSP compared to the non-sulfur compound acetate in a time series experiment. We identified a number of upregulated genes that could be assigned to potential roles in the metabolism of DMSP. DMSP also affected the transcription of genes for transport and metabolism of peptides, amino acids and polyamines. DMSP concentration may thus also play a role as a chemical signal, indicating phytoplankton abundance and eliciting a regulatory response aimed at making maximum use of available nutrients.