Heterotroph Interactions Alter Transcriptome Dynamics during Extended Periods of Darkness.

TitleHeterotroph Interactions Alter Transcriptome Dynamics during Extended Periods of Darkness.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBiller, SJ, Coe, A, Roggensack, SE, Chisholm, SW
Date Published2018 May-Jun

Microbes evolve within complex ecological communities where biotic interactions impact both individual cells and the environment as a whole. Here we examine how cellular regulation in the marine cyanobacterium is influenced by a heterotrophic bacterium, Alteromonas macleodii, under different light conditions. We monitored the transcriptome of , grown either alone or in coculture, across a diel light:dark cycle and under the stress of extended darkness-a condition that cells would experience when mixed below the ocean's euphotic zone. More transcripts exhibited 24-h periodic oscillations in coculture than in pure culture, both over the normal diel cycle and after the shift to extended darkness. This demonstrates that biotic interactions, and not just light, can affect timing mechanisms in , which lacks a self-sustaining circadian oscillator. The transcriptomes of replicate pure cultures of lost their synchrony within 5 h of extended darkness and reflected changes in stress responses and metabolic functions consistent with growth cessation. In contrast, when grown with , replicate transcriptomes tracked each other for at least 13 h in the dark and showed signs of continued biosynthetic and metabolic activity. The transcriptome patterns suggest that the heterotroph may be providing energy or essential biosynthetic substrates to in the form of organic compounds, sustaining this autotroph when it is deprived of solar energy. Our findings reveal conditions where mixotrophic metabolism may benefit marine cyanobacteria and highlight new impacts of community interactions on basic cellular processes. is the most abundant photosynthetic organism on the planet. These cells play a central role in the physiology of surrounding heterotrophs by supplying them with fixed organic carbon. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that interactions with heterotrophs can affect autotrophs as well. Here we show that such interactions have a marked impact on the response of to the stress of extended periods of darkness, as reflected in transcriptional dynamics. These data suggest that diel transcriptional rhythms within , which are generally considered to be strictly under the control of light quantity, quality, and timing, can also be influenced by biotic interactions. Together, these findings provide new insights into the importance of microbial interactions on physiology and reveal conditions where heterotroph-derived compounds may support autotrophs-contrary to the canonical autotroph-to-heterotroph trophic paradigm.

Alternate JournalmSystems
PubMed ID29854954
PubMed Central IDPMC5974335