Cancelled - Discovering new mercury methylating bacteria in the world’s oceans with meta-omics and protein structure/function modelling
|Dates:||6 May 2020|
|Times:||13:00 - 14:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Adults, Alumni, Current University students|
|Speaker:||Dr John Moreau|
Unfortunately this event has been cancelled.
Dr John Moreau, University of Glasgow, joins us for a Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences seminar. Abstract below.
Methylmercury (MeHg, CH3Hg+) bioaccumulates in marine food webs as a potent neurotoxin. Microbial methylation of inorganic mercury (Hg2+) produces most environmental MeHg. The gene pair hgcAB encodes for Hg(II) methylation, a function mainly associated with the anaerobic Deltaproteobacteria. However, recent studies support the microbial formation of methylmercury in sub-oxic seawater, as well as potentially sub-oxic microniches within sea-ice Gionfriddo et al. 2016, Jones et al. 2019, Villar et al. 2019. Here, we present results from genome-resolved metagenomic analyses of sea ice and seawater to identify putative novel Hg-methylating microorganisms. We discovered new hgcAB sequences associated with micro-aerophilic bacteria, and confirmed their functionality, in the absence of cultured isolates, using protein structure/function modelling. We recovered near-complete marine genomes phylogenetically associated with Nitrospina, Marinimicrobia, Verrucomicrobia, SAR324, and Calditrichaeota that all carried putatively functional hgc genes. The hgcA-carrying Nitrospina were found both in sea ice and seawater, while hgcA-carrying Marinimicrobia exhibited both a high degree of sequence conservation and greater abundance in seawater. Our findings expand the database of known Hg-methylating microorganisms, and help to refine questions about the origin, purpose and significance of microbial mercury methylation.
Dr John Moreau
Organisation: University of Glasgow
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