Spores; Microorganisms; Metagenomics; Extremophiles; Metabolic reconstruction
Wunderlin Tina, Junier Thomas, Roussel-Delif Ludovic, Jeanneret Nicole, Junier Pilar (2014), Endospore-enriched sequencing approach reveals unprecedented diversity of Firmicutes in sediments Endospore-forming enrichment, in Environmental Microbiology Reports
, 6(6), 631-639.
Sauvain Loïc, Bueche Matthieu, Junier Thomas, Masson Matthieu, Wunderlin Tina, Kohler-Milleret Roxane, Gascon Diez Elena, Loizeau Jean-Luc, Tercier-Waeber Mary-Lou, Junier Pilar (2014), Bacterial communities in trace metal contaminated lake sediments are dominated by endospore-forming bacteria, in Aquatic Sciences
, 76(S1), 33-46.
Wunderlin Tina, Corella Juan Pablo, Junier Thomas, Bueche Matthieu, Loizeau Jean-Luc, Girardclos Stéphanie, Junier Pilar (2014), Endospore-forming bacteria as new proxies to assess impact of eutrophication in Lake Geneva (Switzerland–France), in Aquatic Sciences
, 76(S1), 103-116.
Bueche Matthieu, Wunderlin Tina, Roussel-Delif Ludovic, Junier Thomas, Sauvain Loic, Jeanneret Nicole, Junier Pilar (2013), Quantification of endospore-forming Firmicutes by qPCR with the functional gene spo0A, in Applied and Environmental Microbiology
, 79(17), 5302-5312.
Wunderlin Tina, Junier Thomas, Roussel-Delif Thomas, Jeanneret Nicole, Junier Pilar (2013), Stage 0 sporulation gene A (spo0A) as a molecular marker to study diversity of endospore-forming Firmicutes, in Environmental Microbiology Reports
, 5, 911-924.
Wunderlin Tina, Corella Juan Pablo, Junier Thomas, Bueche M., Loizeau Jean-Luc, Giradclos Steffanie, Junier Pilar, Endospore-forming bacteria as new proxies to assess impact of eutrophication in Lake Geneva, (Switzerland-France), in Aquatic Sciences
Microbial spores, highly resistant resting states able to tolerate harsh conditions, are believed to have evolved as a mechanism for spatial and temporal escape from unfavorable environmental conditions. However, research in spore-forming bacteria has been mainly focused in the associated diseases (e.g., anthrax), and more recently in food-biotechnology (e.g., probiotics), while the environmental role and metabolic diversity of spore-forming bacteria have remained relatively unexplored. Recently, spore-forming bacteria have been detected as dominant members of the microbial communities in heavy metal-contaminated sites, suggesting that these microorganisms might play an important role in metal decontamination. As an example of this, our characterization of Desulfotomaculum reducens MI-1, an environmentally-relevant spore-forming bacterium, has revealed its ability to reduce a variety of metals and/or anthropogenic contaminants including Fe(III), Cr(VI), Se(IV), As(V), Te(IV), and U(VI). There is also emerging evidence in the literature of metal reduction by other groups of spore-forming microorganisms (e.g. Clostridium spp., Desulfosporosinus spp., and Alkaliphilus metalliredigens), supporting the idea that spore-formers contribute to the metabolism of heavy metals. Additionally, spore-forming bacteria (Desulfotomaculum spp., Carboxydothermus hydrogenoformans Z-2901, and Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator) have been detected in microbial communities inhabiting extreme environments such as deep mines or geothermal systems. This suggests that spore-forming bacteria are not only more phylogenetically diverse than previously thought, but also that they should display a wide metabolic repertory that allow them to dominate microbial communities in environments with extreme conditions (e.g. high temperature, lack of electron donors, varying conditions of oxygen and moisture, high levels of hazardous elements). In addition to this, spore-forming microorganisms have been recently found dominating microbial fuel cells, which are an exciting new field of research into sustainable energy resources. Despite the contribution of spore-forming bacteria to the microbial communities in contaminated or extreme environments, and their biotechnological potential, they have been largely overlooked by traditional and molecular techniques used in microbial ecology. Although new molecular approaches have started to reveal the extent of the microbial diversity in different environments, this is not the case for spore-forming bacteria because DNA-based techniques do not capture spore-forming bacteria if they are found in the form of a spore. The aim of this proposal is to characterize the metabolic capabilities of spore-forming microorganisms in environments in which the production of spores could result in an advantage for survival (e.g. at contaminated subsurface or at high enthalpy geothermal sites). We propose to start by the isolation of spores, followed by the analysis of their metabolic capabilities through environmental genomics. Additionally, we propose to isolate and cultivate spore-forming bacteria. In both cases we expect to discover new metabolic properties that can contribute to explain the role of spore-formers in environmental samples.