Analysis of marine cyanobacteria and proteobacteria genomes has provided a profound understanding of the life strategies of these organisms and their ecotype differentiation and metabolisms. However, a comparable analysis of the Bacteroidetes, the third major bacterioplankton group, is still lacking. In the present paper, we report on the genome of Polaribacter sp. strain MED152. On the one hand, MED152 contains a substantial number of genes for attachment to surfaces or particles, gliding motility, and polymer degradation. This agrees with the currently assumed life strategy of marine Bacteroidetes. On the other hand, it contains the proteorhodopsin gene, together with a remarkable suite of genes to sense and respond to light, which may provide a survival advantage in the nutrient-poor sun-lit ocean surface when in search of fresh particles to colonize. Furthermore, an increase in CO2 fixation in the light suggests that the limited central metabolism is complemented by anaplerotic inorganic carbon fixation. This is mediated by a unique combination of membrane transporters and carboxylases. This suggests a dual life strategy that, if confirmed experimentally, would be notably different from what is known of the two other main bacterial groups (the autotrophic cyanobacteria and the heterotrophic proteobacteria) in the surface oceans. The Polaribacter genome provides insights into the physiological capabilities of proteorhodopsin- containing bacteria. The genome will serve as a model to study the cellular and molecular processes in bacteria that express proteorhodopsin, their adaptation to the oceanic environment, and their role in carbon-cycling.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 24 Jun 2008|