Metatranscriptomic signature of exogenous polyamine utilization by coastal bacterioplankton

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The polyamines putrescine (PUT) and spermidine (SPD) are ubiquitous in seawater, but mechanisms that drive the degradation of these important nitrogen sources by marine bacteria remain unclear. We employed a comparative metatranscriptomics approach to compare gene transcription patterns between coastal bacterioplankton communities with and without amendments of PUT or SPD, in an effort to understand how bacterial communities and their genes shape polyamine biogeochemistry in the ocean. Statistically different transcript categories in the PUT (25 COG groups) and SPD (23 COG groups) samples, relative to controls that received no amendment (CTRL), indicated that genes encoding the cellular translation machinery and the metabolism of organic nitrogen and carbon became enriched in the community transcriptome when polyamine availability increased. Of the three known pathways for bacterial polyamine degradation, only genes in the transamination pathway were enriched in the PUT and SPD libraries, suggesting that this route dominated polyamine degradation. Taxonomic affiliation of significantly enriched diagnostic genes in the PUT and SPD libraries pointed to roseobacter- and SAR11-affiliated bacteria as the predominant taxa driving transformation in this coastal ocean, although other diverse marine bacterioplankton groups (Gammaproteobacteria,Betaproteobacteria,ActinobacteriaandBacteroidetes) also contributed to polyamine-related gene transcription.

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