Gene expression in the deep biosphere

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doi: 10.1038/nature12230
Author(s): Orsi, William D.; Edgcomb, Virginia P.; Christman, Glenn D.; Biddle, Jennifer F.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, United States
University of Delaware, United States
Volume Title: Nature (London)
Source: Nature (London), 499(7457), p.205-208. Publisher: Macmillan Journals, London, United Kingdom. ISSN: 0028-0836
Note: In English. 30 refs.; illus.
Summary: Scientific ocean drilling has revealed a deep biosphere of widespread microbial life in sub-seafloor sediment. Microbial metabolism in the marine subsurface probably has an important role in global biogeochemical cycles but deep biosphere activities are not well understood. Here we describe and analyse the first sub-seafloor metatranscriptomes from anaerobic Peru Margin sediment up to 159 metres below the sea floor, represented by over 1 billion complementary DNA (cDNA) sequence reads. Anaerobic metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids seem to be the dominant metabolic processes, and profiles of dissimilatory sulfite reductase (dsr) transcripts are consistent with pore-water sulphate concentration profiles1. Moreover, transcripts involved in cell division increase as a function of microbial cell concentration, indicating that increases in sub-seafloor microbial abundance are a function of cell division across all three domains of life. These data support calculations and models of sub-seafloor microbial metabolism and represent the first holistic picture of deep biosphere activities.
Year of Publication: 2011
Research Program: ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 07 Marine Geology and Oceanography; Amino acids; Anaerobic environment; Biochemistry; Carbohydrates; DNA; East Pacific; Equatorial Pacific; Leg 201; Lipids; Marine sediments; Microorganisms; Nucleic acids; ODP Site 1229; Ocean Drilling Program; Organic acids; Organic compounds; Pacific Ocean; Sediments; South Pacific; Southeast Pacific
Coordinates: S105900 S105900 W0775800 W0775800
Record ID: 2019040698
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