Hagström Å, Zweifel UL, Sundh J, Osbeck CMG, Bunse C, Sjöstedt J, Müller-Karulis B, Pinhassi J
Front Microbiol 12 (-) 714732 [2021-09-28; online 2021-09-28]
In this study, we examined transporter genes in metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data from a time-series survey in the temperate marine environment of the Baltic Sea. We analyzed the abundance and taxonomic distribution of transporters in the 3μm-0.2μm size fraction comprising prokaryotes and some picoeukaryotes. The presence of specific transporter traits was shown to be guiding the succession of these microorganisms. A limited number of taxa were associated with the dominant transporter proteins that were identified for the nine key substrate categories for microbial growth. Throughout the year, the microbial taxa at the level of order showed highly similar patterns in terms of transporter traits. The distribution of transporters stayed the same, irrespective of the abundance of each taxon. This would suggest that the distribution pattern of transporters depends on the bacterial groups being dominant at a given time of the year. Also, we find notable numbers of secretion proteins that may allow marine bacteria to infect and kill prey organisms thus releasing nutrients. Finally, we demonstrate that transporter proteins may provide clues to the relative importance of biogeochemical processes, and we suggest that virtual transporter functionalities may become important components in future population dynamics models.