Needham David M.

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Last Name
Needham
First Name
David M.
ORCID
0000-0001-7257-2516

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  • Article
    Seasonal and geographical transitions in eukaryotic phytoplankton community structure in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-09-30) Choi, Chang Jae ; Jimenez, Valeria ; Needham, David M. ; Poirier, Camille ; Bachy, Charles ; Alexander, Harriet ; Wilken, Susanne ; Chavez, Francisco P. ; Sudek, Sebastian ; Giovannoni, Stephen J. ; Worden, Alexandra Z.
    Much is known about how broad eukaryotic phytoplankton groups vary according to nutrient availability in marine ecosystems. However, genus- and species-level dynamics are generally unknown, although important given that adaptation and acclimation processes differentiate at these levels. We examined phytoplankton communities across seasonal cycles in the North Atlantic (BATS) and under different trophic conditions in the eastern North Pacific (ENP), using phylogenetic classification of plastid-encoded 16S rRNA amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) and other methodologies, including flow cytometric cell sorting. Prasinophytes dominated eukaryotic phytoplankton amplicons during the nutrient-rich deep-mixing winter period at BATS. During stratification (‘summer’) uncultured dictyochophytes formed ∼35 ± 10% of all surface plastid amplicons and dominated those from stramenopile algae, whereas diatoms showed only minor, ephemeral contributions over the entire year. Uncultured dictyochophytes also comprised a major fraction of plastid amplicons in the oligotrophic ENP. Phylogenetic reconstructions of near-full length 16S rRNA sequences established 11 uncultured Dictyochophyte Environmental Clades (DEC). DEC-I and DEC-VI dominated surface dictyochophytes under stratification at BATS and in the ENP, and DEC-IV was also important in the latter. Additionally, although less common at BATS, Florenciella-related clades (FC) were prominent at depth in the ENP. In both ecosystems, pelagophytes contributed notably at depth, with PEC-VIII (Pelagophyte Environmental Clade) and (cultured) Pelagomonas calceolata being most important. Q-PCR confirmed the near absence of P. calceolata at the surface of the same oligotrophic sites where it reached ∼1,500 18S rRNA gene copies ml–1 at the DCM. To further characterize phytoplankton present in our samples, we performed staining and at-sea single-cell sorting experiments. Sequencing results from these indicated several uncultured dictyochophyte clades are comprised of predatory mixotrophs. From an evolutionary perspective, these cells showed both conserved and unique features in the chloroplast genome. In ENP metatranscriptomes we observed high expression of multiple chloroplast genes as well as expression of a selfish element (group II intron) in the psaA gene. Comparative analyses across the Pacific and Atlantic sites support the conclusion that predatory dictyochophytes thrive under low nutrient conditions. The observations that several uncultured dictyochophyte lineages are seemingly capable of photosynthesis and predation, raises questions about potential shifts in phytoplankton trophic roles associated with seasonality and long-term ocean change.
  • Article
    Genomes from uncultivated Pelagiphages reveal multiple phylogenetic clades exhibiting extensive auxiliary metabolic genes and cross-family multigene transfers
    (American Society for Microbiology, 2022-08-16) Wittmers, Fabian ; Needham, David M. ; Hehenberger, Elisabeth ; Giovannoni, Stephen J. ; Worden, Alexandra Z.
    For the abundant marine Alphaproteobacterium Pelagibacter (SAR11), and other bacteria, phages are powerful forces of mortality. However, little is known about the most abundant Pelagiphages in nature, such as the widespread HTVC023P-type, which is currently represented by two cultured phages. Using viral metagenomic data sets and fluorescence-activated cell sorting, we recovered 80 complete, undescribed Podoviridae genomes that form 10 phylogenomically distinct clades (herein, named Clades I to X) related to the HTVC023P-type. These expanded the HTVC023P-type pan-genome by 15-fold and revealed 41 previously unknown auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) in this viral lineage. Numerous instances of partner-AMGs (colocated and involved in related functions) were observed, including partners in nucleotide metabolism, DNA hypermodification, and Curli biogenesis. The Type VIII secretion system (T8SS) responsible for Curli biogenesis was identified in nine genomes and expanded the repertoire of T8SS proteins reported thus far in viruses. Additionally, the identified T8SS gene cluster contained an iron-dependent regulator (FecR), as well as a histidine kinase and adenylate cyclase that can be implicated in T8SS function but are not within T8SS operons in bacteria. While T8SS are lacking in known Pelagibacter, they contribute to aggregation and biofilm formation in other bacteria. Phylogenetic reconstructions of partner-AMGs indicate derivation from cellular lineages with a more recent transfer between viral families. For example, homologs of all T8SS genes are present in syntenic regions of distant Myoviridae Pelagiphages, and they appear to have alphaproteobacterial origins with a later transfer between viral families. The results point to an unprecedented multipartner-AMG transfer between marine Myoviridae and Podoviridae. Together with the expansion of known metabolic functions, our studies provide new prospects for understanding the ecology and evolution of marine phages and their hosts.