Metatranscriptomic insights into polyphosphate metabolism in marine sediments

TitleMetatranscriptomic insights into polyphosphate metabolism in marine sediments
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsJones, DS, Flood, BE, Bailey, JV
Date Publishedapr
Type of ArticleArticle
KeywordsROV Jason (Remotely Operated Vehicle)

Microorganisms can influence inorganic phosphate (P-i) in pore waters, and thus the saturation state of phosphatic minerals, by accumulating and hydrolyzing intracellular polyphosphate (poly-P). Here we used comparative metatranscriptomics to explore microbial poly-P utilization in marine sediments. Sulfidic marine sediments from methane seeps near Barbados and from the Santa Barbara Basin (SBB) oxygen minimum zone were incubated under oxic and anoxic sulfidic conditions. Pi was sequestered under oxic conditions and liberated under anoxic conditions. Transcripts homologous to poly-P kinase type 2 (ppk2) were 6-22 x more abundant in metatranscriptomes from the anoxic incubations, suggesting that reversible poly-P degradation by Ppk2 may be an important metabolic response to anoxia by marine microorganisms. Overall, diverse taxa differentially expressed homologues of genes for poly-P degradation (ppk2 and exopolyphosphatase) under different incubation conditions. Sulfur-oxidizing microorganisms appeared to preferentially express genes for poly-P degradation under anoxic conditions, which may impact phosphorus cycling in a wide range of oxygen-depleted marine settings.