Coleman Maureen L.

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Maureen L.

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  • Preprint
    Corrigendum "Portal protein diversity and phage ecology"
    ( 2011-10) Sullivan, Matthew B. ; Coleman, Maureen L. ; Quinlivan, Vanessa ; Rosenkrantz, Jessica E. ; DeFrancesco, Alicia S. ; Tan, G. ; Fu, Ross ; Lee, Jessica A. ; Waterbury, John B. ; Bielawski, Joseph P. ; Chisholm, Sallie W.
  • Article
    Three Prochlorococcus cyanophage genomes : signature features and ecological interpretations
    (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2005-04-19) Sullivan, Matthew B. ; Coleman, Maureen L. ; Weigele, Peter ; Rohwer, Forest ; Chisholm, Sallie W.
    The oceanic cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus are globally important, ecologically diverse primary producers. It is thought that their viruses (phages) mediate population sizes and affect the evolutionary trajectories of their hosts. Here we present an analysis of genomes from three Prochlorococcus phages: a podovirus and two myoviruses. The morphology, overall genome features, and gene content of these phages suggest that they are quite similar to T7-like (P-SSP7) and T4-like (P-SSM2 and P-SSM4) phages. Using the existing phage taxonomic framework as a guideline, we examined genome sequences to establish ‘‘core’’ genes for each phage group. We found the podovirus contained 15 of 26 core T7-like genes and the two myoviruses contained 43 and 42 of 75 core T4-like genes. In addition to these core genes, each genome contains a significant number of ‘‘cyanobacterial’’ genes, i.e., genes with significant best BLAST hits to genes found in cyanobacteria. Some of these, we speculate, represent ‘‘signature’’ cyanophage genes. For example, all three phage genomes contain photosynthetic genes (psbA, hliP) that are thought to help maintain host photosynthetic activity during infection, as well as an aldolase family gene (talC) that could facilitate alternative routes of carbon metabolism during infection. The podovirus genome also contains an integrase gene (int) and other features that suggest it is capable of integrating into its host. If indeed it is, this would be unprecedented among cultured T7-like phages or marine cyanophages and would have significant evolutionary and ecological implications for phage and host. Further, both myoviruses contain phosphate-inducible genes (phoH and pstS) that are likely to be important for phage and host responses to phosphate stress, a commonly limiting nutrient in marine systems. Thus, these marine cyanophages appear to be variations of two well-known phages—T7 and T4—but contain genes that, if functional, reflect adaptations for infection of photosynthetic hosts in low-nutrient oceanic environments.
  • Article
    Portal protein diversity and phage ecology
    (Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing, 2008-07-31) Sullivan, Matthew B. ; Coleman, Maureen L. ; Quinlivan, Vanessa ; Rosenkrantz, Jessica E. ; DeFrancesco, Alicia S. ; Tan, G. ; Fu, Ross ; Lee, Jessica A. ; Waterbury, John B. ; Bielawski, Joseph P. ; Chisholm, Sallie W.
    Oceanic phages are critical components of the global ecosystem, where they play a role in microbial mortality and evolution. Our understanding of phage diversity is greatly limited by the lack of useful genetic diversity measures. Previous studies, focusing on myophages that infect the marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus, have used the coliphage T4 portal-protein-encoding homologue, gene 20 (g20), as a diversity marker. These studies revealed 10 sequence clusters, 9 oceanic and 1 freshwater, where only 3 contained cultured representatives. We sequenced g20 from 38 marine myophages isolated using a diversity of Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus hosts to see if any would fall into the clusters that lacked cultured representatives. On the contrary, all fell into the three clusters that already contained sequences from cultured phages. Further, there was no obvious relationship between host of isolation, or host range, and g20 sequence similarity. We next expanded our analyses to all available g20 sequences (769 sequences), which include PCR amplicons from wild uncultured phages, non-PCR amplified sequences identified in the Global Ocean Survey (GOS) metagenomic database, as well as sequences from cultured phages, to evaluate the relationship between g20 sequence clusters and habitat features from which the phage sequences were isolated. Even in this meta-data set, very few sequences fell into the sequence clusters without cultured representatives, suggesting that the latter are very rare, or sequencing artefacts. In contrast, sequences most similar to the culture-containing clusters, the freshwater cluster and two novel clusters, were more highly represented, with one particular culture-containing cluster representing the dominant g20 genotype in the unamplified GOS sequence data. Finally, while some g20 sequences were non-randomly distributed with respect to habitat, there were always numerous exceptions to general patterns, indicating that phage portal proteins are not good predictors of a phage's host or the habitat in which a particular phage may thrive.
  • Article
    Disturbance regimes predictably alter diversity in an ecologically complex bacterial system
    (American Society for Microbiology, 2016-12-20) Gibbons, Sean M. ; Scholz, Monika ; Hutchison, Alan L. ; Dinner, Aaron R. ; Gilbert, Jack A. ; Coleman, Maureen L.
    Diversity is often associated with the functional stability of ecological communities from microbes to macroorganisms. Understanding how diversity responds to environmental perturbations and the consequences of this relationship for ecosystem function are thus central challenges in microbial ecology. Unimodal diversity-disturbance relationships, in which maximum diversity occurs at intermediate levels of disturbance, have been predicted for ecosystems where life history tradeoffs separate organisms along a disturbance gradient. However, empirical support for such peaked relationships in macrosystems is mixed, and few studies have explored these relationships in microbial systems. Here we use complex microbial microcosm communities to systematically determine diversity-disturbance relationships over a range of disturbance regimes. We observed a reproducible switch between community states, which gave rise to transient diversity maxima when community states were forced to mix. Communities showed reduced compositional stability when diversity was highest. To further explore these dynamics, we formulated a simple model that reveals specific regimes under which diversity maxima are stable. Together, our results show how both unimodal and non-unimodal diversity-disturbance relationships can be observed as a system switches between two distinct microbial community states; this process likely occurs across a wide range of spatially and temporally heterogeneous microbial ecosystems.