Publications by Year

<embed>

Publications by Authors

5efb8d67c70d1612406abcdcfac78a61

Recent Publications

Contact Us

Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology
The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food & Environment
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

P.O. Box 12 
Rehovot 76100 
ISRAEL

Tel: 08-9489219
Fax: 08-9466794
rakefetk@savion.huji.ac.il

Publications

2020
Lifshitz, N. ; Hazanov, L. ; Fine, M. ; Yarden, O. Seasonal Variations in the Culturable Mycobiome of Acropora loripes along a Depth Gradient. Microorganisms 2020, 8. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Coral associated fungi are widespread, highly diverse and are part and parcel of the coral holobiont. To study how environmental conditions prevailing near the coral-host may affect fungal diversity, the culturable (isolated on potato dextrose agar) mycobiome associated with Acropora loripes colonies was seasonally sampled along a depth gradient in the Gulf of Aqaba. Fragments were sampled from both apparently healthy coral colonies as well as those exhibiting observable lesions. Based on phylogenetic analysis of 197 fungal sequences, Ascomycota were the most prevalent (91.9%). The abundance of fungi increased with increasing water depth, where corals sampled at 25 m yielded up to 70% more fungal colony forming units (CFUs) than those isolated at 6 m. Fungal diversity at 25 m was also markedly higher, with over 2-fold more fungal families represented. Diversity was also higher in lesioned coral samples, when compared to apparently healthy colonies. In winter, concurrent with water column mixing and increased levels of available nutrients, at the shallow depths, Saccharomytacea and Sporidiobolacea were more prevalent, while in spring and fall Trichocomacea (overall, the most prevalent family isolated throughout this study) were the most abundant taxa isolated at these depths as well as at deeper sampling sites. Our results highlight the dynamic nature of the culturable coral mycobiome and its sensitivity to environmental conditions and coral health.
Hou, L. W. ; Groenewald, J. Z. ; Pfenning, L. H. ; Yarden, O. ; Crous, P. W. ; Cai, L. The phoma-like dilemma. 2020. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Species of Didymellaceae have a cosmopolitan distribution and are geographically widespread, occurring in diverse ecosystems. The family includes several important plant pathogenic fungi associated with fruit, leaf, stem and root diseases on a wide variety of hosts, as well as endophytic, saprobic and clinically relevant species. The Didymellaceae was recently revised based on morphological and phylogenetic analyses of ex-type strains subjected to DNA sequencing of partial gene data of the LSU, ITS, rpb2 and tub2 loci. Several poly- and paraphyletic genera, including Ascochyta, Didymella and Phoma were redefined, along with the introduction of new genera. In the present study, a global collection of 1 124 Didymellaceae strains from 92 countries, 121 plant families and 55 other substrates, including air, coral, human tissues, house dust, fungi, insects, soil, and water were examined via multi-locus phylogenetic analyses and detailed morphological comparisons, representing the broadest sampling of Didymellaceae to date. Among these, 97 isolates representing seven new genera, 40 new species and 21 new combinations were newly introduced in Didymellaceae. In addition, six epitypes and six neotypes were designated to stabilise the taxonomy and use of older names. A robust, multi-locus reference phylogenetic tree of Didymellaceae was generated. In addition, rpb2 was revealed as the most effective locus for the identification of Didymellaceae at species level, and is proposed as a secondary DNA marker for the family.
Alder-Rangel, A. ; Idnurm, A. ; Brand, A. C. ; Brown, A. J. P. ; Gorbushina, A. ; Kelliher, C. M. ; Campos, C. B. ; Levin, D. E. ; Bell-Pedersen, D. ; Dadachova, E. ; et al. The Third International Symposium on Fungal Stress – ISFUS. Fungal Biology 2020, 124, 235 - 252. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Stress is a normal part of life for fungi, which can survive in environments considered inhospitable or hostile for other organisms. Due to the ability of fungi to respond to, survive in, and transform the environment, even under severe stresses, many researchers are exploring the mechanisms that enable fungi to adapt to stress. The International Symposium on Fungal Stress (ISFUS) brings together leading scientists from around the world who research fungal stress. This article discusses presentations given at the third ISFUS, held in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil in 2019, thereby summarizing the state-of-the-art knowledge on fungal stress, a field that includes microbiology, agriculture, ecology, biotechnology, medicine, and astrobiology.
Meyer, V. ; Basenko, E. Y. ; Benz, J. P. ; Braus, G. H. ; Caddick, M. X. ; Csukai, M. ; de Vries, R. P. ; Endy, D. ; Frisvad, J. C. ; Gunde-Cimerman, N. ; et al. Growing a circular economy with fungal biotechnology: a white paper. 2020, 7 5. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Fungi have the ability to transform organic materials into a rich and diverse set of useful products and provide distinct opportunities for tackling the urgent challenges before all humans. Fungal biotechnology can advance the transition from our petroleum-based economy into a bio-based circular economy and has the ability to sustainably produce resilient sources of food, feed, chemicals, fuels, textiles, and materials for construction, automotive and transportation industries, for furniture and beyond. Fungal biotechnology offers solutions for securing, stabilizing and enhancing the food supply for a growing human population, while simultaneously lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Fungal biotechnology has, thus, the potential to make a significant contribution to climate change mitigation and meeting the United Nation’s sustainable development goals through the rational improvement of new and established fungal cell factories. The White Paper presented here is the result of the 2nd Think Tank meeting held by the EUROFUNG consortium in Berlin in October 2019. This paper highlights discussions on current opportunities and research challenges in fungal biotechnology and aims to inform scientists, educators, the general public, industrial stakeholders and policymakers about the current fungal biotech revolution.
Kan, Y. ; Lyu, Q. ; Jiang, N. ; Han, S. ; Li, J. ; Burdman, S. ; Luo, L. iTRAQ-based proteomic analyses of the plant-pathogenic bacterium Acidovorax citrulli during entrance into and resuscitation from the viable but nonculturable state. Journal of Proteomics 2020, 211. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Acidovorax citrulli, the causal agent of bacterial fruit blotch (BFB) disease, infects cucurbit crops including watermelon and melon. This bacterium can enter the viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state following exposure to copper sulfate. Moreover, copper-induced VBNC A. citrulli cells can be resuscitated by EDTA. In this study, isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) was used to compare protein profiles of VBNC cells, resuscitated cells at different stages and log-phase cells of the A. citrulli model strain AAC00-1. A total of 2672 proteins were identified, with 60 being differentially abundant in VBNC cells compared with log-phase cells, and 469 being differentially abundant in resuscitated cells compared with VBNC cells. Proteins involved in the arginine and proline metabolism pathway and degradation of aromatic compounds could be important for the VBNC cells. In the early resuscitation process, proteins associated with carbon metabolism, and degradation of naphthalene and aromatic compounds were significantly enriched, while proteins involved in oxidative phosphorylation, bacterial chemotaxis, ABC transporters and quorum sensing were significantly enriched at the late resuscitation stages. This is the first study reporting thorough protein profile analyses of VBNC and resuscitating cells of a plant-pathogenic bacterium. Biological significance: The VBNC state is a dormant-like condition that was reported to occur in many bacterial species, upon facing a variety of environmental stresses. Acidovorax citrulli is a seed borne pathogenic bacterium that threatens cucurbit production worldwide. Moreover, A. citrulli can enter into the VBNC state after treatment of copper sulfate, thus increasing its survival and dissemination probabilities. This study enriches our understanding of the mechanisms of entrance into and resuscitation from the VBNC state of this important plant-pathogenic bacterium. This knowledge could be exploited in the future to develop novel approaches to interfere with these processes, thus contributing to a more efficient management of this pathogen. In a broader perspective, the knowledge emerging from this study has implications to the general understanding of the VBNC state in bacteria. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.
2019
Feldman, D. ; Kowbel, D. J. ; Cohen, A. ; Glass, N. L. ; Hadar, Y. ; Yarden, O. Identification and manipulation of Neurospora crassa genes involved in sensitivity to furfural. 2019, 12, 210. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Biofuels derived from lignocellulosic biomass are a viable alternative to fossil fuels required for transportation. Following plant biomass pretreatment, the furan derivative furfural is present at concentrations which are inhibitory to yeasts. Detoxification of furfural is thus important for efficient fermentation. Here, we searched for new genetic attributes in the fungus Neurospora crassa that may be linked to furfural tolerance. The fact that furfural is involved in the natural process of sexual spore germination of N. crassa and that this fungus is highly amenable to genetic manipulations makes it a rational candidate for this study.
Feldman, D. ; Amedi, N. ; Carmeli, S. ; Yarden, O. ; Hadar, Y. Manipulating the Expression of Small Secreted Protein 1 (Ssp1) Alters Patterns of Development and Metabolism in the White-Rot Fungus Pleurotus ostreatus. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2019, 85. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The function of small secreted proteins (SSPs) in saprotrophic fungi is, for the most part, unknown. The white-rot mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus produces considerable amounts of SSPs at the onset of secondary metabolism, during colony development, and in response to chemical compounds such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and aryl alcohols. Genetic manipulation of Ssp1, by knockdown (KDssp1) or overexpression (OEssp1), indicated that they are, in fact, involved in the regulation of the ligninolytic system. To elucidate their potential involvement in fungal development, quantitative secretome analysis was performed during the trophophase and the idiophase and at a transition point between the two growth phases. The mutations conferred a time shift in the secretion and expression patterns: OEssp1 preceded the entrance to idiophase and secondary metabolism, while KDssp1 was delayed. This was also correlated with expression patterns of selected genes. The KDssp1 colony aged at a slower pace, accompanied by a slower decline in biomass over time. In contrast, the OEssp1 strain exhibited severe lysis and aging of the colony at the same time point. These phenomena were accompanied by variations in yellow pigment production, characteristic of entrance of the wild type into idiophase. The pigment was produced earlier and in a larger amount in the OEssp1 strain and was absent from the KDssp1 strain. Furthermore, the dikaryon harboring OEssp1 exhibited a delay in the initiation of fruiting body formation as well as earlier aging. We propose that Ssp1 might function as a part of the fungal communication network and regulate the pattern of fungal development and metabolism in P. ostreatus.IMPORTANCE Small secreted proteins (SSPs) are common in fungal saprotrophs, but their roles remain elusive. As such, they comprise part of a gene pool which may be involved in governing fungal lifestyles not limited to symbiosis and pathogenicity, in which they are commonly referred to as “effectors.” We propose that Ssp1 in the white-rot fungus Pleurotus ostreatus regulates the transition from primary to secondary metabolism, development, aging, and fruiting body initiation. Our observations uncover a novel regulatory role of effector-like SSPs in a saprotroph, suggesting that they may act in fungal communication as well as in response to environmental cues. The presence of Ssp1 homologues in other fungal species supports a common potential role in environmental sensing and fungal development.
Bez, C. ; Javvadi, S. G. ; Bertani, I. ; Devescovi, G. ; Guarnaccia, C. ; Studholme, D. J. ; Geller, A. M. ; Levy, A. ; Venturi, V. AzeR, a transcriptional regulator that responds to azelaic acid in Pseudomonas nitroreducens. 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid that has recently been shown to play a role in plant-bacteria signalling and also occurs naturally in several cereals. Several bacteria have been reported to be able to utilize azelaic acid as a unique source of carbon and energy, including . In this study, we utilize as a model organism to study bacterial degradation of and response to azelaic acid. We report genetic evidence of azelaic acid degradation and the identification of a transcriptional regulator that responds to azelaic acid in DSM 9128. Three mutants possessing transposons in genes of an acyl-CoA ligase, an acyl-CoA dehydrogenase and an isocitrate lyase display a deficient ability in growing in azelaic acid. Studies on transcriptional regulation of these genes resulted in the identification of an IclR family repressor that we designated as AzeR, which specifically responds to azelaic acid. A bioinformatics survey reveals that AzeR is confined to a few proteobacterial genera that are likely to be able to degrade and utilize azelaic acid as the sole source of carbon and energy.
Petrenko, M. ; Friedman, S. P. ; Fluss, R. ; Pasternak, Z. ; Huppert, A. ; Jurkevitch, E. Spatial heterogeneity stabilizes predator–prey interactions at the microscale while patch connectivity controls their outcome. Environmental Microbiology 2019, n/a. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Summary Natural landscapes are both fragmented and heterogeneous, affecting the distribution of organisms, and their interactions. While predation in homogeneous environments increases the probability of population extinction, fragmentation/heterogeneity promotes coexistence and enhances community stability as shown by experimentation with animals and microorganisms, and supported by theory. Patch connectivity can modulate such effects but how microbial predatory interactions are affected by water-driven connectivity is unknown. In soil, patch habitability by microorganisms, and their connectivity depend upon the water saturation degree (SD). Here, using the obligate bacterial predator Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus, and a Burkholderia prey, we show that soil spatial heterogeneity profoundly affects predatory dynamics, enhancing long-term co-existence of predator and prey in a SD-threshold dependent-manner. However, as patches and connectors cannot be distinguished in these soil matrices, metapopulations cannot be invoked to explain the dynamics of increased persistence. Using a set of experiments combined with statistical and physical models we demonstrate and quantify how under full connectivity, predation is independent of water content but depends on soil microstructure characteristics. In contrast, the SD below which predation is largely impaired corresponds to a threshold below which the water network collapses and water connectivity breaks down, preventing the bacteria to move within the soil matrix.
Mosquito, S. ; Bertani, I. ; Licastro, D. ; Compant, S. ; Myers, M. P. ; Hinarejos, E. ; Levy, A. ; Venturi, V. In Planta Colonization and Role of T6SS in Two Rice Kosakonia Endophytes. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions® 2019, MPMI-09-19-0256-R. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Endophytes live inside plants and are often beneficial. Kosakonia is a novel bacterial genus that includes many diazotrophic plant-associated isolates. Plant–bacteria studies on two rice endophytic Kosakonia beneficial strains were performed, including comparative genomics, secretome profiling, in planta tests, and a field release trial. The strains are efficient rhizoplane and root endosphere colonizers and localized in the root cortex. Secretomics revealed 144 putative secreted proteins, including type VI secretory system (T6SS) proteins. A Kosakonia T6SS genomic knock-out mutant showed a significant decrease in rhizoplane and endosphere colonization ability. A field trial using rice seed inoculated with Kosakonia spp. showed no effect on plant growth promotion upon nitrogen stress and microbiome studies revealed that Kosakonia spp. were significantly more present in the inoculated rice. Comparative genomics indicated that several protein domains were enriched in plant-associated Kosakonia spp. This study highlights that Kosakonia is an important, recently classified genus involved in plant–bacteria interaction.
Cohen, O. ; Bar (Kutiel), P. ; Gamliel, A. ; Katan, J. ; Kurzbaum, E. ; Weber, G. ; Schubert, I. ; Riov, J. Rain-based soil solarization for reducing the persistent seed banks of invasive plants in natural ecosystems – Acacia saligna as a model. Pest Management Science 2019, 75, 1933-1941. Publisher's VersionAbstract
BACKGROUND: A large persistent seed bank of invasive plants is a significant obstacle to restoration programs. Soil solarization was demonstrated to be an effective method for reducing the seed bank of Australian acacias. However, use of this method in natural habitats might be limited due to the requirement to moisten the soil by irrigation. This study examined the possibility of replacing irrigation by trapping the soil moisture caused by the most recent rainfall, i.e. rain-based soil solarization (RBS). RESULTS: Exposure of Acacia saligna seeds to 57 °C at 20% soil moisture for 68 h resulted in almost complete loss of seed viability. Similarly, RBS treatment significantly reduced the viability of A. saligna seeds buried at a soil depth of 1–19 cm as well as seed density in the natural seed bank, and almost completely eliminated seedling emergence from natural seed banks of A. saligna and other environmental weeds. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that RBS is an effective method for reducing the seed bank of invasive plants in natural habitats located in various climate regions characterized by different soil types. This is the first demonstration of a successful application of RBS for soil disinfestation. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry
Yoav, S. ; Stern, J. ; Salama-Alber, O. ; Frolow, F. ; Anbar, M. ; Karpol, A. ; Hadar, Y. ; Morag, E. ; Bayer, E. A. Directed evolution of clostridium thermocellum β-glucosidase a towards enhanced thermostability. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2019, 20. Publisher's VersionAbstract
β-Glucosidases are key enzymes in the process of cellulose utilization. It is the last enzyme in the cellulose hydrolysis chain, which converts cellobiose to glucose. Since cellobiose is known to have a feedback inhibitory effect on a variety of cellulases, β-glucosidase can prevent this inhibition by hydrolyzing cellobiose to non-inhibitory glucose. While the optimal temperature of the Clostridium thermocellum cellulosome is 70 °C, C. thermocellum β-glucosidase A is almost inactive at such high temperatures. Thus, in the current study, a random mutagenesis directed evolutionary approach was conducted to produce a thermostable mutant with Kcat and Km, similar to those of the wild-type enzyme. The resultant mutant contained two mutations, A17S and K268N, but only the former was found to affect thermostability, whereby the inflection temperature (Ti) was increased by 6.4 °C. A17 is located near the central cavity of the native enzyme. Interestingly, multiple alignments revealed that position 17 is relatively conserved, whereby alanine is replaced only by serine. Upon the addition of the thermostable mutant to the C. thermocellum secretome for subsequent hydrolysis of microcrystalline cellulose at 70 °C, a higher soluble glucose yield (243%) was obtained compared to the activity of the secretome supplemented with the wild-type enzyme. © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Tovi, N. ; Frenk, S. ; Hadar, Y. ; Minz, D. Host specificity and spatial distribution preference of three Pseudomonas isolates. Frontiers in Microbiology 2019, 10. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Plant hosts recruit and maintain a distinct root-associated microbiota based on host and bacterium traits. However, past studies disregarded microbial strain-host specificity and spatial micro-heterogeneity of the root compartment. Using genetic manipulation, confocal laser scanning microscopy, real-time quantitative PCR, and genome sequencing we characterized the colonization patterns of three Pseudomonas spp. isolates native to wheat roots, on the micro-scale. Namely, isolates P. fluorescens NT0133, P. stutzeri NT124, and P. stutzeri NT128. All three isolates preferentially colonized wheat over cucumber roots that served as control for host specificity. Furthermore, not only had the isolates strong host specificity but each isolate had a distinct spatial distribution on the root, all within a few millimeters. Isolate P. stutzeri-NT0124 preferentially colonized root tips, whereas P. fluorescens-NT0133 showed a preference for zones distant from the tip. In contrast, isolate P. stutzeri-NT0128 had no preference for a specific niche on the root. While all isolates maintained genetic potential for motility and biofilm formation their phenotype varied significantly and corresponded to their niche preference. These results demonstrate the importance of spatial colonization patterns, governed by both niche and bacterial characteristics which will have great importance in future attempts to manipulate the plant microbiome by constructing synthetic microbial consortia. © 2019 Frontiers Media S.A. All Rights Reserved.
Vetvicka, V. ; Gover, G. ; Hayby, H. ; Danay, O. ; Ezov, N. ; Hadar, Y. ; Schwartz, B. Immunomodulating effects exerted by glucans extracted from the king oyster culinary-medicinal mushroom pleurotus eryngii (agaricomycetes) grown in substrates containing various concentrations of olive mill waste. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms 2019, 21, 765-781. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We have recently demonstrated that we could enhance glucan content in Pleurotus eryngii following cultivation of the mushrooms on a substrate containing different concentrations of olive mill solid waste (OMSW). These changes are directly related to the content of OMSW in the growing substrate. Using dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) mice model, we measured the colonic inflammatory response to the different glucan preparations. We found that the histology damaging score (HDS) resulting from DSS treatment reach a value of 11.8 ± 2.3 were efficiently downregulated by treatment with the fungal extracted glucans. Glucans extracted from stalks cultivated at 20% OMSW downregulated to a HDS value of 6.4 ± 0.5 whereas those cultivated at 80% OMSW showed the strongest effects (5.5 ± 0.6). Similar downregulatory effects were obtained for expression of various intestinal cytokines. All tested glucans were equally effective in regulating the number of CD14/CD16 monocytes from 18.2 ± 2.7% for DSS to 6.4 ± 2.0 for DSS + glucans extracted from stalks cultivated at 50% OMSW. We tested the effect of glucans on lipopolysaccharide- induced production of TNF-α, which demonstrated that stalk-derived glucans were more effective than caps-derived glucans. Isolated glucans competed with anti-Dectin-1 and anti-CR3 antibodies, indicating that they contain β-glucans recognized by these receptors. In conclusion, the most effective glucans in ameliorating IBD-associated symptoms induced by DSS treatment in mice were glucan extracts prepared from the stalk of P. eryngii grown at higher concentrations of OMSW. We conclude that these stress-induced growing conditions may be helpful in selecting more effective glucans derived from edible mushrooms. © 2019 by Begell House, Inc.
Feldman, D. ; Kowbel, D. J. ; Cohen, A. ; Glass, N. L. ; Hadar, Y. ; Yarden, O. Identification and manipulation of Neurospora crassa genes involved in sensitivity to furfural. Biotechnology for Biofuels 2019, 12. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Background: Biofuels derived from lignocellulosic biomass are a viable alternative to fossil fuels required for transportation. Following plant biomass pretreatment, the furan derivative furfural is present at concentrations which are inhibitory to yeasts. Detoxification of furfural is thus important for efficient fermentation. Here, we searched for new genetic attributes in the fungus Neurospora crassa that may be linked to furfural tolerance. The fact that furfural is involved in the natural process of sexual spore germination of N. crassa and that this fungus is highly amenable to genetic manipulations makes it a rational candidate for this study. Results: Both hypothesis-based and unbiased (random promotor mutagenesis) approaches were performed to identify N. crassa genes associated with the response to furfural. Changes in the transcriptional profile following exposure to furfural revealed that the affected processes were, overall, similar to those observed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. N. crassa was more tolerant (by ∼ 30%) to furfural when carboxymethyl cellulose was the main carbon source as opposed to sucrose, indicative of a link between carbohydrate metabolism and furfural tolerance. We also observed increased tolerance in a Δcre-1 mutant (CRE-1 is a key transcription factor that regulates the ability of fungi to utilize non-preferred carbon sources). In addition, analysis of aldehyde dehydrogenase mutants showed that ahd-2 (NCU00378) was involved in tolerance to furfural as well as the predicted membrane transporter NCU05580 (flr-1), a homolog of FLR1 in S. cerevisiae. Further to the rational screening, an unbiased approach revealed additional genes whose inactivation conferred increased tolerance to furfural: (i) NCU02488, which affected the abundance of the non-anchored cell wall protein NCW-1 (NCU05137), and (ii) the zinc finger protein NCU01407. Conclusions: We identified attributes in N. crassa associated with tolerance or degradation of furfural, using complementary research approaches. The manipulation of the genes involved in furan sensitivity can provide a means for improving the production of biofuel producing strains. Similar research approaches can be utilized in N. crassa and other filamentous fungi to identify additional attributes relevant to other furans or toxic chemicals. © 2019 The Author(s).
Grinberg, M. ; Orevi, T. ; Kashtan, N. Bacterial surface colonization, preferential attachment and fitness under periodic stress. PLoS Computational Biology 2019, 15. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Early bacterial surface colonization is not a random process wherein cells arbitrarily attach to surfaces and grow; but rather, attachment events, movement and cellular interactions induce non-random spatial organization. We have only begun to understand how the apparent self-organization affects the fitness of the population. A key factor contributing to fitness is the tradeoff between solitary-planktonic and aggregated surface-attached biofilm lifestyles. Though planktonic cells typically grow faster, bacteria in aggregates are more resistant to stress such as desiccation, antibiotics and predation. Here we ask if and to what extent informed surface-attachments improve fitness during early surface colonization under periodic stress conditions. We use an individual-based modeling approach to simulate foraging planktonic cells colonizing a surface under alternating wet-dry cycles. Such cycles are common in the largest terrestrial microbial habitats–soil, roots, and leaf surfaces-that are not constantly saturated with water and experience daily periods of desiccation stress. We compared different surface-attachment strategies, and analyzed the emerging spatio-temporal dynamics of surface colonization and population yield as a measure of fitness. We demonstrate that a simple strategy of preferential attachment (PA), biased to dense sites, carries a large fitness advantage over any random attachment across a broad range of environmental conditions–particularly under periodic stress. © 2019 Grinberg et al.
Grinberg, M. ; Orevi, T. ; Steinberg, S. ; Kashtan, N. Bacterial survival in microscopic surface wetness. eLife 2019, 8. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Plant leaves constitute a huge microbial habitat of global importance. How microorganisms survive the dry daytime on leaves and avoid desiccation is not well understood. There is evidence that microscopic surface wetness in the form of thin films and micrometer-sized droplets, invisible to the naked eye, persists on leaves during daytime due to deliquescence – the absorption of water until dissolution – of hygroscopic aerosols. Here, we study how such microscopic wetness affects cell survival. We show that, on surfaces drying under moderate humidity, stable microdroplets form around bacterial aggregates due to capillary pinning and deliquescence. Notably, droplet-size increases with aggregate-size, and cell survival is higher the larger the droplet. This phenomenon was observed for 13 bacterial species, two of which – Pseudomonas fluorescens and P. putida – were studied in depth. Microdroplet formation around aggregates is likely key to bacterial survival in a variety of unsaturated microbial habitats, including leaf surfaces. © Grinberg et al.
Marano, R. B. M. ; Zolti, A. ; Jurkevitch, E. ; Cytryn, E. Antibiotic resistance and class 1 integron gene dynamics along effluent, reclaimed wastewater irrigated soil, crop continua: elucidating potential risks and ecological constraints. Water Research 2019, 164. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Reuse of municipal wastewater is a growing global trend, but currently there is lack of consensus regarding the potential dissemination of antibiotic resistance elements by treated wastewater irrigation. We tracked intI1, a proxy for anthropogenic pollution, and an assemblage of antibiotic resistance genes associated with mobile elements and/or wastewater (blaGES, blaOXA2, blaOXA10, blaTEM, blaCTX-M-32 and qnrS) in treated wastewater effluents, effluent stabilization reservoirs, and along irrigation water-soil-crop continua in experimental lysimeters and large-scale commercial fields. While several of the targeted antibiotic resistance genes were profuse in effluents, there was almost no correlation between gene abundance in irrigation water and those detected in soil, and no evidence of systematic gene transfer to irrigated soil or crops. In contrast, soil intI1 abundance correlated strongly to irrigation water levels in lysimeters and sandy field soils, but this was not the case for clay-rich soils or for most of the analyzed crops, suggesting that intI1 may not always be a reliable marker for tracking the impact of treated wastewater irrigation. We hypothesize that “ecological boundaries” expedited by biotic and abiotic factors constrain dissemination of antibiotic resistance elements, and assert that a more holistic perception of these factors is crucial for understanding and managing antibiotic resistance dissemination. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd
Cohen, Y. ; Pasternak, Z. ; Johnke, J. ; Abed-Rabbo, A. ; Kushmaro, A. ; Chatzinotas, A. ; Jurkevitch, E. Bacteria and microeukaryotes are differentially segregated in sympatric wastewater microhabitats. Environmental Microbiology 2019, 21, 1757-1770. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Wastewater purification is mostly performed in activated sludge reactors by bacterial and microeukaryotic communities, populating organic flocs and a watery liquor. While there are numerous molecular community studies of the bacterial fraction, those on microeukaryotes are rare. We performed a year-long parallel 16S rRNA gene and 18S rRNA-gene based analysis of the bacterial and of the microeukaryote communities, respectively, of physically separated flocs and particle-free liquor samples from three WWTPs. This uncovered a hitherto unknown large diversity of microeukaryotes largely composed of potential phagotrophs preferentially feeding on either bacteria or other microeukaryotes. We further explored whether colonization of the microhabitats was selective, showing that for both microbial communities, different but often closely taxonomically and functionally related populations exhibiting different dynamic patterns populated the microhabitats. An analysis of their between plants-shared core populations showed the microeukaryotes to be dispersal limited in comparison to bacteria. Finally, a detailed analysis of a weather-caused operational disruption in one of the plants suggested that the absence of populations common to the floc and liquor habitat may negatively affect resilience and stability. © 2019 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Sathyamoorthy, R. ; Maoz, A. ; Pasternak, Z. ; Im, H. ; Huppert, A. ; Kadouri, D. ; Jurkevitch, E. Bacterial predation under changing viscosities. Environmental Microbiology 2019, 21, 2997-3010. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Bdellovibrio and like organisms (BALOs) are largely distributed in soils and in water bodies obligate predators of gram-negative bacteria that can affect bacterial communities. Potential applications of BALOs include biomass reduction, their use against pathogenic bacteria in agriculture, and in medicine as an alternative against antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Such different environments and uses mean that BALOs should be active under a range of viscosities. In this study, the predatory behaviour of two strains of the periplasmic predator B. bacteriovorus and of the epibiotic predator Micavibrio aeruginosavorus was examined in viscous polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) solutions at 28 and at 37°C, using fluorescent markers and plate counts to track predator growth and prey decay. We found that at high viscosities, although swimming speed was largely decreased, the three predators reduced prey to levels similar to those of non-viscous suspensions, albeit with short delays. Prey motility and clumping did not affect the outcome. Strikingly, under low initial predator concentrations, predation dynamics were faster with increasing viscosity, an effect that dissipated with increasing predator concentrations. Changes in swimming patterns and in futile predator–predator encounters with viscosity, as revealed by path analysis under changing viscosities, along with possible PVP-mediated crowding effects, may explain the observed phenomena. © 2019 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.