Chan Clara S.

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Clara S.

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  • Article
    Characterization of cytochrome 579, an unusual cytochrome isolated from an iron-oxidizing microbial community
    (American Society for Microbiology, 2008-05-09) Singer, Steven W. ; Chan, Clara S. ; Zemla, Adam ; VerBerkmoes, Nathan C. ; Hwang, Mona ; Hettich, Robert L. ; Banfield, Jillian F. ; Thelen, Michael P.
    A novel, soluble cytochrome with an unusual visible spectral signature at 579 nm (Cyt579) has been characterized after isolation from several different microbial biofilms collected in an extremely acidic ecosystem. Previous proteogenomic studies of an Fe(II)-oxidizing community indicated that this abundant red cytochrome could be extracted from the biofilms with dilute sulfuric acid. Here, we found that the Fe(II)-dependent reduction of Cyt579 was thermodynamically favorable at a pH of >3, raising the possibility that Cyt579 acts as an accessory protein for electron transfer. The results of transmission electron microscopy of immunogold-labeled biofilm indicated that Cyt579 is localized near the bacterial cell surface, consistent with periplasmic localization. The results of further protein analysis of Cyt579, using preparative chromatofocusing and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, revealed three forms of the protein that correspond to different N-terminal truncations of the amino acid sequence. The results of intact-protein analysis corroborated the posttranslational modifications of these forms and identified a genomically uncharacterized Cyt579 variant. Homology modeling was used to predict the overall cytochrome structure and heme binding site; the positions of nine amino acid substitutions found in three Cyt579 variants all map to the surface of the protein and away from the heme group. Based on this detailed characterization of Cyt579, we propose that Cyt579 acts as an electron transfer protein, shuttling electrons derived from Fe(II) oxidation to support critical metabolic functions in the acidophilic microbial community.
  • Article
    Mariprofundus ferrooxydans PV-1 the First Genome of a Marine Fe(II) Oxidizing Zetaproteobacterium
    (Public Library of Science, 2011-09-23) Singer, Esther ; Emerson, David ; Webb, Eric A. ; Barco, Roman A. ; Kuenen, J. Gijs ; Nelson, William C. ; Chan, Clara S. ; Comolli, Luis R. ; Ferriera, Steve ; Johnson, Justin ; Heidelberg, John F. ; Edwards, Katrina J.
    Mariprofundus ferrooxydans PV-1 has provided the first genome of the recently discovered Zetaproteobacteria subdivision. Genome analysis reveals a complete TCA cycle, the ability to fix CO2, carbon-storage proteins and a sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS). The latter could facilitate the transport of carbohydrates across the cell membrane and possibly aid in stalk formation, a matrix composed of exopolymers and/or exopolysaccharides, which is used to store oxidized iron minerals outside the cell. Two-component signal transduction system genes, including histidine kinases, GGDEF domain genes, and response regulators containing CheY-like receivers, are abundant and widely distributed across the genome. Most of these are located in close proximity to genes required for cell division, phosphate uptake and transport, exopolymer and heavy metal secretion, flagellar biosynthesis and pilus assembly suggesting that these functions are highly regulated. Similar to many other motile, microaerophilic bacteria, genes encoding aerotaxis as well as antioxidant functionality (e.g., superoxide dismutases and peroxidases) are predicted to sense and respond to oxygen gradients, as would be required to maintain cellular redox balance in the specialized habitat where M. ferrooxydans resides. Comparative genomics with other Fe(II) oxidizing bacteria residing in freshwater and marine environments revealed similar content, synteny, and amino acid similarity of coding sequences potentially involved in Fe(II) oxidation, signal transduction and response regulation, oxygen sensation and detoxification, and heavy metal resistance. This study has provided novel insights into the molecular nature of Zetaproteobacteria.
  • Article
    A novel lineage of proteobacteria involved in formation of marine Fe-oxidizing microbial mat communities
    (Public Library of Science, 2007-08-01) Emerson, David ; Rentz, Jeremy A. ; Lilburn, Timothy G. ; Davis, Richard E. ; Aldrich, Henry ; Chan, Clara S. ; Moyer, Craig L.
    For decades it has been recognized that neutrophilic Fe-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) are associated with hydrothermal venting of Fe(II)-rich fluids associated with seamounts in the world's oceans. The evidence was based almost entirely on the mineralogical remains of the microbes, which themselves had neither been brought into culture or been assigned to a specific phylogenetic clade. We have used both cultivation and cultivation-independent techniques to study Fe-rich microbial mats associated with hydrothermal venting at Loihi Seamount, a submarine volcano. Using gradient enrichment techniques, two iron-oxidizing bacteria, strains PV-1 and JV-1, were isolated. Chemolithotrophic growth was observed under microaerobic conditions; Fe(II) and Fe0 were the only energy sources that supported growth. Both strains produced filamentous stalk-like structures composed of multiple nanometer sized fibrils of Fe-oxyhydroxide. These were consistent with mineralogical structures found in the iron mats. Phylogenetic analysis of the small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene demonstrated that strains PV-1 and JV-1 were identical and formed a monophyletic group deeply rooted within the Proteobacteria. The most similar sequence (85.3% similarity) from a cultivated isolate came from Methylophaga marina. Phylogenetic analysis of the RecA and GyrB protein sequences confirmed that these strains are distantly related to other members of the Proteobacteria. A cultivation-independent analysis of the SSU rRNA gene by terminal-restriction fragment (T-RF) profiling showed that this phylotype was most common in a variety of microbial mats collected at different times and locations at Loihi. On the basis of phylogenetic and physiological data, it is proposed that isolate PV-1T ( = 1ATCC BAA-1019: JCM 14766) represents the type strain of a novel species in a new genus, Mariprofundus ferrooxydans gen. nov., sp. nov. Furthermore, the strain is the first cultured representative of a new candidatus class of the Proteobacteria that is widely distributed in deep-sea environments, Candidatus ζ (zeta)-Proteobacteria cl. nov.
  • Article
    Ultra-diffuse hydrothermal venting supports Fe-oxidizing bacteria and massive umber deposition at 5000 m off Hawaii
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2011-05-05) Edwards, Katrina J. ; Glazer, Brian T. ; Rouxel, Olivier J. ; Bach, Wolfgang ; Emerson, David ; Toner, Brandy M. ; Chan, Clara S. ; Tebo, Bradley M. ; Staudigel, Hubert ; Moyer, Craig L.
    A novel hydrothermal field has been discovered at the base of Lōihi Seamount, Hawaii, at 5000 mbsl. Geochemical analyses demonstrate that ‘FeMO Deep’, while only 0.2 °C above ambient seawater temperature, derives from a distal, ultra-diffuse hydrothermal source. FeMO Deep is expressed as regional seafloor seepage of gelatinous iron- and silica-rich deposits, pooling between and over basalt pillows, in places over a meter thick. The system is capped by mm to cm thick hydrothermally derived iron-oxyhydroxide- and manganese-oxide-layered crusts. We use molecular analyses (16S rDNA-based) of extant communities combined with fluorescent in situ hybridizations to demonstrate that FeMO Deep deposits contain living iron-oxidizing Zetaproteobacteria related to the recently isolated strain Mariprofundus ferroxydans. Bioenergetic calculations, based on in-situ electrochemical measurements and cell counts, indicate that reactions between iron and oxygen are important in supporting chemosynthesis in the mats, which we infer forms a trophic base of the mat ecosystem. We suggest that the biogenic FeMO Deep hydrothermal deposit represents a modern analog for one class of geological iron deposits known as ‘umbers’ (for example, Troodos ophilolites, Cyprus) because of striking similarities in size, setting and internal structures.