Gómez-Consarnau et al., 2018, Environmental Microbiology

Mosaic patterns of B‐vitamin synthesis and utilization in a natural marine microbial community

L. Gómez‐Consarnau, R. Sachdeva, S. M. Gifford, L. S. Cutter, J. A. Fuhrman, S. A. Sañudo‐Wilhelmy, M. A. Moran

Aquatic environments contain large communities of microorganisms whose synergistic interactions mediate the cycling of major and trace nutrients, including vitamins. B‐vitamins are essential coenzymes that many organisms cannot synthesize. Thus, their exchange among de novo synthesizers and auxotrophs is expected to play an important role in the microbial consortia and explain some of the temporal and spatial changes observed in diversity. In this study, we analyzed metatranscriptomes of a natural marine microbial community, diel sampled quarterly over one year to try to identify the potential major B‐vitamin synthesizers and consumers. Transcriptomic data showed that the best‐represented taxa dominated the expression of synthesis genes for some B‐vitamins but lacked transcripts for others. For instance, Rhodobacterales dominated the expression of vitamin‐B12 synthesis, but not of vitamin‐B7, whose synthesis transcripts were mainly represented by Flavobacteria. In contrast, bacterial groups that constituted less than 4% of the community (e.g., Verrucomicrobia) accounted for most of the vitamin‐B1 synthesis transcripts. Furthermore, ambient vitamin‐B1 concentrations were higher in samples collected during the day, and were positively correlated with chlorophyll‐a concentrations. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that the mosaic of metabolic interdependencies through B‐vitamin synthesis and exchange are key processes that contribute to shaping microbial communities in nature.