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Johnson, TL, Palenik B, Brahamsha B.  2011.  Characterization of a functional vanadium-dependent bromoperoxidase in the marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. CC9311. Journal of Phycology. 47:792-801.   10.1111/j.1529-8817.2011.01007.x   AbstractWebsite

Vanadium-dependent bromoperoxidases (VBPOs) are characterized by the ability to oxidize halides using hydrogen peroxide. These enzymes are well-studied in eukaryotic macroalgae and are known to produce a variety of brominated secondary metabolites. Though genes have been annotated as VBPO in multiple prokaryotic genomes, they remain un-characterized. The genome of the coastal marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. CC9311 encodes a predicted VBPO (YP_731869.1, sync_2681), and in this study, we show that protein extracts from axenic cultures of Synechococcus possess bromoperoxidase activity, oxidizing bromide and iodide, but not chloride. In-gel activity assays of Synechococcus proteins separated using PAGE reveal a single band having VBPO activity. When sequenced via liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS), peptides from the band aligned to the VBPO sequence predicted by the open reading frame (ORF) sync_2681. We show that a VBPO gene is present in a closely related strain, Synechococcus sp. WH8020, but not other clade I Synechococcus strains, consistent with recent horizontal transfer of the gene into Synechococcus. Diverse cyanobacterial-like VBPO genes were detected in a pelagic environment off the California coast using PCR. Investigation of functional VBPOs in unicellular cyanobacteria may lead to discovery of novel halogenated molecules and a better understanding of these organisms' chemical ecology and physiology.

Johnson, TL, Brahamsha B, Palenik B, Muhle J.  2015.  Halomethane production by vanadium-dependent bromoperoxidase in marine Synechococcus. Limnology and Oceanography. 60:1823-1835.   10.1002/lno.10135   AbstractWebsite

To investigate the role of vanadium-dependent bromoperoxidase (VBPO) for the production of halogenated methanes in marine prokaryotes, we measured VBPO activity and halomethane production in two strains of Synechococcus; one with VBPO (strain CC9311) and one without VBPO (strain WH8102). A mutant strain of CC9311, VMUT2, in which the gene for VBPO is disrupted, was also tested. A suite of halomethanes was measured in the headspace above cultures as well as in the culture medium with a purge-and-trap method. Monohalomethanes were the most consistently produced molecules among the three strains tested. Additionally, CC9311 produced 301 +/- 109 molecules cell(-1) d(-1) of bromoform (CHBr3) when VBPO activity was detected, while production was not significantly different from zero when VBPO activity was not detected. VBPO activity and CHBr3 production were only detected when cultures of CC9311 were stirred, which may contribute to the often moderate to weak correlations between CHBr3 concentration and biological markers in the ocean. No production was seen by VMUT2 or WH8102. These data show that CHBr3 production rates are dramatically increased with or exclusive to the presence of VBPO, supporting its involvement in CHBr3 synthesis. This study thus provides genetic evidence that certain strains of marine Synechococcus, under particular conditions, can be a natural source of marine CHBr3, which contributes to ozone depletion in the stratosphere.

Jones, GJ, Palenik BP, Morel FMM.  1987.  Trace-Metal Reduction by Phytoplankton - the Role of Plasmalemma Redox Enzymes. Journal of Phycology. 23:237-244.   10.1111/j.1529-8817.1987.tb04131.x   AbstractWebsite

The phytoplankton cell surface reduces external copper(II) and iron(III) complexes and redox dyes. This reductive activity appears to be mediated by one or more plasmalemma redox enzymes. Trace metal complexes are directly reduced by the redox enzyme, therefore the reduction rate is not regulated by the metal free ion activity in solution. This is in direct contrast to previous measurements of trace metal interactions with the phytoplankton cell membrane. Half-saturation constants for the reduction of Cu(II) complexes with carbonate, phenanthroline and bathocuproinedisulfonate are in the range 2.3–14.7 μM, which suggests that trace metal complexes are not the main electron acceptor in natural waters. In the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii there is additional reductive activity associated with the cell wall.