A micrometer-scale snapshot on phototroph spatial distributions: mass spectrometry imaging of microbial mats in Octopus Spring, Yellowstone National Park
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Microbial mats from alkaline hot springs in the Yellowstone National Park are ideal natural laboratories to study photosynthetic life under extreme conditions, as well as the nuanced interactions of oxygenic and anoxygenic phototrophs. They represent distinctive examples of chlorophototroph (i.e., chlorophyll or bacteriochlorophyll-based phototroph) diversity, and several novel phototrophs have been first described in these systems, all confined in space, coexisting and competing for niches defined by parameters such as light, oxygen, or temperature. In a novel approach, we employed mass spectrometry imaging of chloropigments, quinones, and intact polar lipids (IPLs) to describe the spatial distribution of different groups of chlorophototrophs along the similar to 1 cm thick microbial mat at 75 mu m resolution and in the top similar to 1.5 mm green part of the mat at 25 mu m resolution. We observed a fine-tuned sequence of oxygenic and anoxygenic chlorophototrophs with distinctive biomarker signatures populating the microbial mat. The transition of oxic to anoxic conditions is characterized by an accumulation of biomarkers indicative of anoxygenic phototrophy. It is also identified as a clear boundary for different species and ecotypes, which adjust their biomarker inventory, particularly the interplay of quinones and chloropigments, to prevailing conditions. Colocalization of the different biomarker groups led to the identification of characteristic IPL signatures and indicates that glycosidic diether glycerolipids are diagnostic for anoxygenic phototrophs in this mat system. The zoom-in into the upper green part further reveals how oxygenic and anoxygenic phototrophs share this microenvironment and informs on subtle, microscale adjustments in lipid composition of Synechococcus spp. Show more
Journal / seriesGeobiology
Pages / Article No.
SubjectSynechococcus; Intact polar lipids; MALDI FT-ICR-MS; Microbial mat; Molecular biomarker; Synechococcus
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