Genomic Blueprint of Glycine Betaine Metabolism in Coral Metaorganisms and Their Contribution to Reef Nitrogen Budgets
KAUST DepartmentRed Sea Research Center (RSRC)
Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
Marine Science Program
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/662927
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AbstractThe osmolyte glycine betaine (GB) ranks among the few widespread biomolecules in all three domains of life. In corals, tissue concentrations of GB are substantially higher than in the ambient seawater. However, the synthetic routes remain unresolved, questioning whether intracellular GB originates from de novo synthesis or heterotrophic input. Here we show that the genomic blueprint of coral metaorganisms encode the biosynthetic and degradation machinery for GB. Member organisms also adopted the prokaryotic high-affinity carrier-mediated uptake of exogenous GB, rendering coral reefs potential sinks of marine dissolved GB. The machinery metabolizing GB is highly expressed in the coral model Aiptasia and its microalgal symbionts, signifying GB's role in the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. We estimate that corals store between 106–109 grams of GB globally, representing about 16% of their nitrogen biomass. Our findings provide a framework for further mechanistic studies addressing GB's role in coral biology and reef ecosystem nitrogen cycling.
CitationNgugi, D. K., Ziegler, M., Duarte, C. M., & Voolstra, C. R. (2020). Genomic Blueprint of Glycine Betaine Metabolism in Coral Metaorganisms and Their Contribution to Reef Nitrogen Budgets. iScience, 23(5), 101120. doi:10.1016/j.isci.2020.101120
SponsorsWe thank Dorothee Huchon (Tel Aviv University) for kindly availing the myxosporian genomes and transcriptomes and Eric Pelletier (Genoscope) for assistance with the eukaryotic gene catalog data. Additionally, we are grateful to Craig Michell for assistance with metagenomic library construction and the technical personnel at KAUST's Bioscience Core Lab for sequencing. Furthermore, we thank the Coastal & Marine Resources core laboratory team for their help in undertaking the sampling and members of the Thurber lab (Rebecca Vega Thurber, Jerome Payet, and Ryan McMinds) at Oregon State University for sampling assistance. The metagenomic sequencing project was funded through the KAUST SEED funding scheme to C.R. Voolstra. D.K.N. conceived and designed the study and performed the bioinformatic analyses. M.Z. and C.R.V. determined and provided the metagenomic data. C.M.D. provided the bioinformatic resources for the analyses. D.K.N. wrote the manuscript with contributions from all authors. The authors declare no competing interests.
PubMed Central IDPMC7240134
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.
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