Rhodopsin-containing marine microbes such as those in the class Flavobacteriia play a pivotal role in the biogeochemical cycle of the euphotic zone (Fuhrman JA, Schwalbach MS, Stingl U. 2008. Proteorhodopsins: an array of physiological roles? Nat RevMicrobiol. 6:488-494). Deciphering the genome information of flavobacteria and accessing the diversity and ecological impact of microbial rhodopsins are important in understanding and preserving the global ecosystems. The genome sequence of the orange-pigmented marine flavobacterium Nonlabens dokdonensis (basonym: Donghaeana dokdonensis) DSW-6 was determined. As a marine photoheterotroph, DSW-6 has written in its genome physiological features that allow survival in the oligotrophic environments. The sequence analysis also uncovered a gene encoding an unexpected type of microbial rhodopsin containing a unique motif in addition to a proteorhodopsin gene and a number of photolyase or cryptochrome genes. Homologs of the novel rhodopsin gene were found in other flavobacteria, alphaproteo bacteria, a species of Cytophagia, a deinococcus, and even a eukaryote diatom. They all contain the characteristic NQ motif and forma phylogenetically distinct group. Expression analysis of this rhodopsin gene inDSW-6indicated that it is induced at high NaCl concentrations, as well as in the presence of light and the absence of nutrients. Genomic and metagenomic surveys demonstrate the diversity of the NQ rhodopsins in nature and the prevalent occurrence of the encoding genes among microbial communities inhabiting hypersaline niches, suggesting its involvement in sodium metabolism and the sodium-Adapted lifestyle.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics