Suter Elizabeth A.

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Suter
First Name
Elizabeth A.
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  • Article
    Eukaryotic parasites are integral to a productive microbial food web in oxygen-depleted waters
    (Frontiers Media, 2022-01-06) Suter, Elizabeth A. ; Pachiadaki, Maria G. ; Taylor, Gordon T. ; Edgcomb, Virginia P.
    Oxygen-depleted water columns (ODWCs) host a diverse community of eukaryotic protists that change dramatically in composition over the oxic-anoxic gradient. In the permanently anoxic Cariaco Basin, peaks in eukaryotic diversity occurred in layers where dark microbial activity (chemoautotrophy and heterotrophy) were highest, suggesting a link between prokaryotic activity and trophic associations with protists. Using 18S rRNA gene sequencing, parasites and especially the obligate parasitic clade, Syndiniales, appear to be particularly abundant, suggesting parasitism is an important, but overlooked interaction in ODWC food webs. Syndiniales were also associated with certain prokaryotic groups that are often found in ODWCs, including Marinimicrobia and Marine Group II archaea, evocative of feedbacks between parasitic infection events, release of organic matter, and prokaryotic assimilative activity. In a network analysis that included all three domains of life, bacterial and archaeal taxa were putative bottleneck and hub species, while a large proportion of edges were connected to eukaryotic nodes. Inclusion of parasites resulted in a more complex network with longer path lengths between members. Together, these results suggest that protists, and especially protistan parasites, play an important role in maintaining microbial food web complexity, particularly in ODWCs, where protist diversity and microbial productivity are high, but energy resources are limited relative to euphotic waters.
  • Article
    Viral elements and their potential influence on microbial processes along the permanently stratified Cariaco Basin redoxcline
    (Springer Nature, 2020-08-14) Mara, Paraskevi ; Vik, Dean R. ; Pachiadaki, Maria G. ; Suter, Elizabeth A. ; Poulos, Bonnie ; Taylor, Gordon T. ; Sullivan, Matthew B. ; Edgcomb, Virginia P.
    Little is known about viruses in oxygen-deficient water columns (ODWCs). In surface ocean waters, viruses are known to act as gene vectors among susceptible hosts. Some of these genes may have metabolic functions and are thus termed auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs). AMGs introduced to new hosts by viruses can enhance viral replication and/or potentially affect biogeochemical cycles by modulating key microbial pathways. Here we identify 748 viral populations that cluster into 94 genera along a vertical geochemical gradient in the Cariaco Basin, a permanently stratified and euxinic ocean basin. The viral communities in this ODWC appear to be relatively novel as 80 of these viral genera contained no reference viral sequences, likely due to the isolation and unique features of this system. We identify viral elements that encode AMGs implicated in distinctive processes, such as sulfur cycling, acetate fermentation, signal transduction, [Fe–S] formation, and N-glycosylation. These AMG-encoding viruses include two putative Mu-like viruses, and viral-like regions that may constitute degraded prophages that have been modified by transposable elements. Our results provide an insight into the ecological and biogeochemical impact of viruses oxygen-depleted and euxinic habitats.
  • Article
    Diverse secondary metabolites are expressed in particle-associated and free-living microorganisms of the permanently anoxic Cariaco Basin
    (Nature Research, 2023-02-06) Geller-McGrath, David ; Mara, Paraskevi ; Taylor, Gordon T. ; Suter, Elizabeth ; Edgcomb, Virginia ; Pachiadaki, Maria
    Secondary metabolites play essential roles in ecological interactions and nutrient acquisition, and are of interest for their potential uses in medicine and biotechnology. Genome mining for biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) can be used for the discovery of new compounds. Here, we use metagenomics and metatranscriptomics to analyze BGCs in free-living and particle-associated microbial communities through the stratified water column of the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela. We recovered 565 bacterial and archaeal metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) and identified 1154 diverse BGCs. We show that differences in water redox potential and microbial lifestyle (particle-associated vs. free-living) are associated with variations in the predicted composition and production of secondary metabolites. Our results indicate that microbes, including understudied clades such as Planctomycetota, potentially produce a wide range of secondary metabolites in these anoxic/euxinic waters.