Polz Lab
Microbial Ecology and Evolution


TitleEvolution of a Vegetarian : Metabolic Specialization of to Macroalgal Substrates.
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsCorzett CH, Elsherbini J, Chien DM, Hehemann J-, Henschel A, Preheim SP, Yu X, Alm EJ, Polz MF
JournalJ Bacteriol
Date2018 Apr 09

While most Vibrionaceae are considered generalists that thrive on diverse substrates including animal-derived material, we show that has specialized for the consumption of marine macroalgae-derived substrates. Genomic and physiological comparison of with other Vibrionaceae isolates revealed the ability to degrade alginate, laminarin, and additional glycans present in algal cell walls. Moreover, the widely conserved ability to hydrolyze animal-derived polymers including chitin and glycogen was lost along with the ability to efficiently grow on a variety of amino acids. Ecological data showing associations with particulate algal material but not zooplankton further support this shift in niche preference, and the loss of motility appears to reflect a sessile macroalgal-associated lifestyle. Together, these findings indicate algal polysaccharides have become a major source of carbon and energy in , and these ecophysiological adaptations may facilitate transient commensal associations with marine invertebrates that feed on algae. Vibrios are often considered animal specialists or generalists. Here we show that Vibrio breoganii has undergone massive genomic changes to become specialized on algal carbohydrates. Accompanying genomic changes include massive gene import and loss. These vibrios may help better understand how algal biomass is degraded in the environment and may serve as a blueprint how to optimize conversion of algae to biofuels.

Alternate JournalJ. Bacteriol.
PubMed ID29632094
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