All Publications

  • Characterizing the "fungal shunt": Parasitic fungi on diatoms affect carbon flow and bacterial communities in aquatic microbial food webs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Klawonn, I., Van den Wyngaert, S., Parada, A. E., Arandia-Gorostidi, N., Whitehouse, M. J., Grossart, H., Dekas, A. E. 2021; 118 (23)


    Microbial interactions in aquatic environments profoundly affect global biogeochemical cycles, but the role of microparasites has been largely overlooked. Using a model pathosystem, we studied hitherto cryptic interactions between microparasitic fungi (chytrid Rhizophydiales), their diatom host Asterionella, and cell-associated and free-living bacteria. We analyzed the effect of fungal infections on microbial abundances, bacterial taxonomy, cell-to-cell carbon transfer, and cell-specific nitrate-based growth using microscopy (e.g., fluorescence in situ hybridization), 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, and secondary ion mass spectrometry. Bacterial abundances were 2 to 4 times higher on individual fungal-infected diatoms compared to healthy diatoms, particularly involving Burkholderiales. Furthermore, taxonomic compositions of both diatom-associated and free-living bacteria were significantly different between noninfected and fungal-infected cocultures. The fungal microparasite, including diatom-associated sporangia and free-swimming zoospores, derived 100% of their carbon content from the diatom. By comparison, transfer efficiencies of photosynthetic carbon were lower to diatom-associated bacteria (67 to 98%), with a high cell-to-cell variability, and even lower to free-living bacteria (32%). Likewise, nitrate-based growth for the diatom and fungi was synchronized and faster than for diatom-associated and free-living bacteria. In a natural lacustrine system, where infection prevalence reached 54%, we calculated that 20% of the total diatom-derived photosynthetic carbon was shunted to the parasitic fungi, which can be grazed by zooplankton, thereby accelerating carbon transfer to higher trophic levels and bypassing the microbial loop. The herein termed "fungal shunt" can thus significantly modify the fate of photosynthetic carbon and the nature of phytoplankton-bacteria interactions, with implications for diverse pelagic food webs and global biogeochemical cycles.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2102225118

    View details for PubMedID 34074785

  • Characterizing Chemoautotrophy and Heterotrophy in Marine Archaea and Bacteria With Single-Cell Multi-isotope NanoSIP. Frontiers in microbiology Dekas, A. E., Parada, A. E., Mayali, X., Fuhrman, J. A., Wollard, J., Weber, P. K., Pett-Ridge, J. 2019; 10: 2682


    Characterizing and quantifying in situ metabolisms remains both a central goal and challenge for environmental microbiology. Here, we used a single-cell, multi-isotope approach to investigate the anabolic activity of marine microorganisms, with an emphasis on natural populations of Thaumarchaeota. After incubating coastal Pacific Ocean water with 13C-bicarbonate and 15N-amino acids, we used nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) to isotopically screen 1,501 individual cells, and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to assess community composition. We established isotopic enrichment thresholds for activity and metabolic classification, and with these determined the percentage of anabolically active cells, the distribution of activity across the whole community, and the metabolic lifestyle-chemoautotrophic or heterotrophic-of each cell. Most cells (>90%) were anabolically active during the incubation, and 4-17% were chemoautotrophic. When we inhibited bacteria with antibiotics, the fraction of chemoautotrophic cells detected via nanoSIMS increased, suggesting archaea dominated chemoautotrophy. With fluorescence in situ hybridization coupled to nanoSIMS (FISH-nanoSIMS), we confirmed that most Thaumarchaeota were living chemoautotrophically, while bacteria were not. FISH-nanoSIMS analysis of cells incubated with dual-labeled (13C,15N-) amino acids revealed that most Thaumarchaeota cells assimilated amino-acid-derived nitrogen but not carbon, while bacteria assimilated both. This indicates that some Thaumarchaeota do not assimilate intact amino acids, suggesting intra-phylum heterogeneity in organic carbon utilization, and potentially their use of amino acids for nitrification. Together, our results demonstrate the utility of multi-isotope nanoSIMS analysis for high-throughput metabolic screening, and shed light on the activity and metabolism of uncultured marine archaea and bacteria.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02682

    View details for PubMedID 31920997

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6927911

  • Characterizing Chemoautotrophy and Heterotrophy in Marine Archaea and Bacteria With Single-Cell Multi-isotope NanoSIP FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY Dekas, A. E., Parada, A. E., Mayali, X., Fuhrman, J. A., Wollard, J., Weber, P. K., Pett-Ridge, J. 2019; 10
  • Microbial Community Composition in Deep‐Subsurface Reservoir Fluids Reveals Natural Interwell Connectivity Water Resources Research Zhang, Y., Dekas, A., Hawkins, A., Parada, A., Gorbatenko, O., Li, K., Horne, R. 2019

    View details for DOI 10.1029/2019WR025916

  • High-quality genome sequences of uncultured microbes by assembly of read clouds. Nature biotechnology Bishara, A., Moss, E. L., Kolmogorov, M., Parada, A. E., Weng, Z., Sidow, A., Dekas, A. E., Batzoglou, S., Bhatt, A. S. 2018


    Although shotgun metagenomic sequencing of microbiome samples enables partial reconstruction of strain-level community structure, obtaining high-quality microbial genome drafts without isolation and culture remains difficult. Here, we present an application of read clouds, short-read sequences tagged with long-range information, to microbiome samples. We present Athena, a de novo assembler that uses read clouds to improve metagenomic assemblies. We applied this approach to sequence stool samples from two healthy individuals and compared it with existing short-read and synthetic long-read metagenomic sequencing techniques. Read-cloud metagenomic sequencing and Athena assembly produced the most comprehensive individual genome drafts with high contiguity (>200-kb N50, fewer than ten contigs), even for bacteria with relatively low (20*) raw short-read-sequence coverage. We also sequenced a complex marine-sediment sample and generated 24 intermediate-quality genome drafts (>70% complete, <10% contaminated), nine of which were complete (>90% complete, <5% contaminated). Our approach allows for culture-free generation of high-quality microbial genome drafts by using a single shotgun experiment.

    View details for PubMedID 30320765