Metagenomic Insights Into the Cycling of Dimethylsulfoniopropionate and Related Molecules in the Eastern China Marginal Seas

Delei Song, Xiao-Hua Zhang, Ji Liu, Haohui Zhong, Yanfen Zheng, Shun Zhou, Min Yu, Jonathan Todd, Xiao-Hua Zhang

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Abstract

The microbial cycling of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and its gaseous catabolites dimethylsulfide (DMS) and methanethiol (MeSH) are important processes in the global sulfur cycle, marine microbial food webs, signaling pathways, atmospheric chemistry, and potentially climate regulation. Many functional genes have been identified and used to study the genetic potential of microbes to produce and catabolize these organosulfur compounds in different marine environments. Here, we sampled seawater, marine sediment and hydrothermal sediment, and polymetallic sulfide in the eastern Chinese marginal seas and analyzed their microbial communities for the genetic potential to cycle DMSP, DMS, and MeSH using metagenomics. DMSP was abundant in all sediment samples, but was fivefold less prominent in those from hydrothermal samples. Indeed, Yellow Sea (YS) sediment samples had DMSP concentrations two orders of magnitude higher than in surface water samples. Bacterial genetic potential to synthesize DMSP (mainly in Rhodobacteraceae bacteria) was far higher than for phytoplankton in all samples, but particularly in the sediment where no algal DMSP synthesis genes were detected. Thus, we propose bacteria as important DMSP producers in these marine sediments. DMSP catabolic pathways mediated by the DMSP lyase DddP (prominent in Pseudomonas and Mesorhizobium bacteria) and DMSP demethylase DmdA enzymes (prominent in Rhodobacteraceae bacteria) and MddA-mediated MeSH S-methylation were very abundant in Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea sediments (BYSS) samples. In contrast, the genetic potential for DMSP degradation was very low in the hydrothermal sediment samples—dddP was the only catabolic gene detected and in only one sample. However, the potential for DMS production from MeSH (mddA) and DMS oxidation (dmoA and ddhA) was relatively abundant. This metagenomics study does not provide conclusive evidence for DMSP cycling; however, it does highlight the potential importance of bacteria in the synthesis and catabolism of DMSP and related compounds in diverse sediment environments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number157
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • DMSP
  • organosulfur cycling
  • metagenomics
  • DMS
  • marine sediment
  • DIMETHYL SULFIDE
  • GAS DIMETHYLSULFIDE
  • SULFUR
  • DMSP-LYASE
  • metagenome
  • METHYL MERCAPTAN OXIDASE
  • YELLOW SEA
  • sulfur cycle
  • DIMETHYLSULFOXIDE REDUCTASE
  • METHANETHIOL
  • MISSING LINK
  • marginal seas
  • DIMETHYLSULPHONIOPROPIONATE

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