(American Society for Microbiology, 2002-12)
Podar, Mircea; Mullineaux, Lauren S.; Huang, Hon-Ren; Perlman, Philip S.; Sogin, Mitchell L.
Group II introns are catalytic RNAs and mobile retrotransposable elements known to be present in the genomes of some nonmarine bacteria and eukaryotic organelles. Here we report the discovery of group II introns in a bacterial mat sample collected from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent near 9°N on the East Pacific Rise. One of the introns was shown to self-splice in vitro. This is the first example of marine bacterial introns from molecular population structure studies of microorganisms that live in the proximity of hydrothermal vents. These types of mobile genetic elements may prove useful in improving our understanding of bacterial genome evolution and may serve as valuable markers in comparative studies of bacterial communities.