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Journal Article
Roe, KL, Barbeau KA.  2014.  Uptake mechanisms for inorganic iron and ferric citrate in Trichodesmium erythraeum IMS101. Metallomics. 6:2042-2051.   10.1039/c4mt00026a   AbstractWebsite

Growth of the prevalent marine organism Trichodesmium can be limited by iron in natural and laboratory settings. This study investigated the iron uptake mechanisms that the model organism T. erythraeum IMS101 uses to acquire iron from inorganic iron and iron associated with the weak ligand complex, ferric citrate. IMS101 was observed to employ two different iron uptake mechanisms: superoxide-mediated reduction of inorganic iron in the surrounding milieu and a superoxide-independent uptake system for ferric citrate complexes. While the detailed pathway of ferric citrate utilization remains to be elucidated, transport of iron from this complex appears to involve reduction and/or exchange of the iron out of the complex prior to uptake, either at the outer membrane of the cell or within the periplasmic space. Various iron uptake strategies may allow Trichodesmium to effectively scavenge iron in oligotrophic ocean environments.

Semeniuk, DM, Bundy RM, Posacka AM, Robert M, Barbeau KA, Maldonado MT.  2016.  Using 67Cu to study the biogeochemical cycling of copper in the northeast subarctic Pacific Ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science. 3:78.   10.3389/fmars.2016.00078   Abstract

Microbial copper (Cu) nutrition and dissolved Cu speciation were surveyed along Line P, a coastal to open ocean transect that extends from the coast of British Columbia, Canada, to the high-nutrient-low-chlorophyll (HNLC) zone of the northeast subarctic Pacific Ocean. Steady-state size fractionated Cu uptake rates and Cu:C assimilation ratios were determined at in situ Cu concentrations and speciation using a 67Cu tracer method. The cellular Cu:C ratios that we measured (~30 µmol Cu mol C-1) are similar to recent estimates using synchrotron x-ray fluorescence (SXRF), suggesting that the 67Cu method can determine in situ metabolic Cu demands. We examined how environmental changes along the Line P transect influenced Cu metabolism in the sub-microplankton community. Cellular Cu:C assimilation ratios and uptake rates were compared with net primary productivity, bacterial abundance and productivity, total dissolved Cu, Cu speciation, and a suite of other chemical and biological parameters. Total dissolved Cu concentrations ([Cu]d) were within a narrow range (1.46 to 2.79 nM), and Cu was bound to a ~5-fold excess of strong ligands with conditional stability constants ( ) of ~1014. Free Cu2+ concentrations were low (pCu 14.4 to 15.1), and total and size fractionated net primary productivity (NPPV; µg C L-1 d-1) were negatively correlated with inorganic Cu concentrations ([Cu′]). We suggest this is due to greater Cu′ drawdown by faster growing phytoplankton populations. Using the relationship between [Cu′] drawdown and NPPV, we calculated a regional photosynthetic Cu:C drawdown export ratio between 1.5 and 15 µmol Cu mol C-1, and a mixed layer residence time (2.5 to 8 years) that is similar to other independent estimates (2-12 years). Total particulate Cu uptake rates were between 22 and 125 times faster than estimates of Cu export; this is possibly mediated by rapid cellular Cu uptake and efflux by phytoplankton and bacteria or the effects of grazers and bacterial remineralization on dissolved Cu. These results provide a more detailed understanding of the interactions between Cu speciation and microorganisms in seawater, and present evidence that marine phytoplankton modify Cu speciation in the open ocean.

Roe, KL, Hogle SL, Barbeau KA.  2013.  Utilization of heme as an iron source by marine alphaproteobacteria in the roseobacter clade. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 79:5753-5762.   10.1128/aem.01562-13   AbstractWebsite

The bioavailability and utilization of porphyrin-bound iron, specifically heme, by marine microorganisms have rarely been examined. This study used Ruegeria sp. strain TrichCH4B as a model organism to study heme acquisition by a member of the Roseobacter clade. Analogs of known heme transporter proteins were found within the Ruegeria sp. TrichCH4B genome. The identified heme uptake and utilization system appears to be functional, as the heme genes were upregulated under iron stress, the bacterium could grow on ferric-porphyrin complexes as the sole iron source, and internalization of(55) Fe from ferric protoporphyrin IX was observed. The potential ability to utilize heme in the Roseobacter clade appears to be common, as half of the isolates in the RoseoBase database were found to have a complete heme uptake system. A degenerate primer set was designed and successfully used to identify the putative heme oxygenase gene (hmus) in the roseobacter heme uptake system from diverse nonenriched marine environments. This study found that members of the Roseobacter clade are capable of utilizing heme as an iron source and that this capability may be present in all types of marine environments. The results of this study add a new perspective to the current picture of iron cycling in marine systems, whereby relatively refractory intracellular pools of heme-bound iron may be taken up quickly and directly reincorporated into living bacteria without previous degradation or the necessity of a siderophore intermediate.