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New insights into bacterial acquisition of phosphorus in the surface ocean Public Deposited

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  • Since 1958 when Alfred C. Redfield (1) recognized the similarity between the ratios of elements in living biomass and those dissolved in the surrounding seawater, we have understood that microorganisms largely control the concentrations, distribution, and molecular makeup of nutritional resources in the ocean. The primary elemental ingredients for life, carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P), are assembled, disassembled, transformed, and consumed by marine microorganisms, resulting in a steady cycling of elements between intracellular, inorganic, and organic reservoirs. Of these pools, dissolved organic matter (DOM) represents the largest C, N, and P reservoir in the surface ocean of most marine habitats, greatly exceeding the respective concentrations of inorganic pools or that found in living organisms. DOM is a source of energy and elements, fueling heterotrophic and autotrophic growth alike (2), yet we understand very little about the biomolecular strategies marine microbes employ to use organic substrates in the global ocean. What is the molecular composition of organic matter, where do these compounds originate, and how much of this is bioavailable? How do microbes hydrolyze and transport constituents of DOM into the cell? What are the factors that regulate enzyme expression and control the decomposition of organic matter? These are but a few of the questions that must be addressed to fundamentally and mechanistically understand how microorganisms assimilate, transform, and turn over elemental resources in the ocean. In this issue of PNAS, Luo et al. (3) use a bioinformatics approach to investigate the diversity and localization of bacterial phosphatases, enzymes specialized for the hydrolysis of a reactive fraction of DOM, P-linked esters. Most notably, their study indicates that a significant fraction of bacteria may transport intact organophosphate compounds across the cell membrane for intracellular depolymerization, a finding counter to the prevailing concept of phosphatases as being largely extracellular. These disparate modes of DOM hydrolysis (extracellular versus intracellular) would have fundamentally different impacts on the ratios of elements in dissolved and particulate matter.
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  • White, A. E. (2009, December 15). New insights into bacterial acquisition of phosphorus in the surface ocean [Electronic version]. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(50), 21013-21014. doi:10.1073/pnas.0912475107
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  • 106
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  • 50
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Deanne Bruner (deanne.bruner@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-01-10T00:55:53Z No. of bitstreams: 1 WhiteAngelicque.CEOAS.NewInsightsBacterial.pdf: 270334 bytes, checksum: 3f7a923d2055983e0e54d61f8e0af474 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2012-01-10T00:55:53Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 WhiteAngelicque.CEOAS.NewInsightsBacterial.pdf: 270334 bytes, checksum: 3f7a923d2055983e0e54d61f8e0af474 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2009-12-15

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