Elbehery, Ali H. A.; Aziz, Ramy K.; Siam, Rania(Extremophiles, Springer Nature, 2016-12-03)[Article]
Mobile genetic elements are major agents of genome diversification and evolution. Limited studies addressed their characteristics, including abundance, and role in extreme habitats. One of the rare natural habitats exposed to multiple-extreme conditions, including high temperature, salinity and concentration of heavy metals, are the Red Sea brine pools. We assessed the abundance and distribution of different mobile genetic elements in four Red Sea brine pools including the world’s largest known multiple-extreme deep-sea environment, the Red Sea Atlantis II Deep. We report a gradient in the abundance of mobile genetic elements, dramatically increasing in the harshest environment of the pool. Additionally, we identified a strong association between the abundance of insertion sequences and extreme conditions, being highest in the harshest and deepest layer of the Red Sea Atlantis II Deep. Our comparative analyses of mobile genetic elements in secluded, extreme and relatively non-extreme environments, suggest that insertion sequences predominantly contribute to polyextremophiles genome plasticity.
Adel, Mustafa; Elbehery, Ali H. A.; Aziz, Sherry K.; Aziz, Ramy K.; Grossart, Hans-Peter; Siam, Rania(Scientific Reports, Springer Nature, 2016-09-06)[Article]
The central rift of the Red Sea has 25 brine pools with different physical and geochemical characteristics. Atlantis II (ATIID), Discovery Deeps (DD) and Chain Deep (CD) are characterized by high salinity, temperature and metal content. Several studies reported microbial communities in these brine pools, but few studies addressed the brine pool sediments. Therefore, sediment cores were collected from ATIID, DD, CD brine pools and an adjacent brine-influenced site. Sixteen different lithologic sediment sections were subjected to shotgun DNA pyrosequencing to generate 1.47 billion base pairs (1.47 × 109 bp). We generated sediment-specific reads and attempted to annotate all reads. We report the phylogenetic and biochemical uniqueness of the deepest ATIID sulfur-rich brine pool sediments. In contrary to all other sediment sections, bacteria dominate the deepest ATIID sulfur-rich brine pool sediments. This decrease in virus-to-bacteria ratio in selected sections and depth coincided with an overrepresentation of mobile genetic elements. Skewing in the composition of viruses-to-mobile genetic elements may uniquely contribute to the distinct microbial consortium in sediments in proximity to hydrothermally active vents of the Red Sea and possibly in their surroundings, through differential horizontal gene transfer.
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