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Microalgae are one of the most dominant forms of life on earth that is tightly associated with a distinct and specialized microbiota. We have previously shown that the microbiota of Scenedesmus quadricauda harbors less than 10 distinct microbial species. Here, we provide evidence that dominant species are affiliated with the genera of Variovorax, Porphyrobacter, and Dyadobacter. Experimental and transcriptome-based evidence implies that within this multispecies interaction, Dyadobacter is a key to alga growth and fitness and is highly adapted to live in the phycosphere. While presumably under light conditions the alga provides the energy source to the bacteria, Dyadobacter produces and releases mainly a large variety of polysaccharides modifying enzymes. This is coherent with high-level expression of the T9SS in alga cocultures. The transcriptome data further imply that quorum-quenching proteins (QQ) and biosynthesis of vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, and B9 are expressed by Dyadobacter at high levels in comparison to Variovorax and Porphyrobacter. Notably, Dyadobacter produces a significant number of leucine-rich repeat (LRR) proteins and enzymes involved in bacterial reactive oxygen species (ROS) tolerance. Complementary to this, Variovorax expresses the genes of the biosynthesis of vitamins B2, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12, and Porphyrobacter is specialized in the production of vitamins B2 and B6. Thus, the shared currency between partners are vitamins, microalgae growth-promoting substances, and dissolved carbon. This work significantly enlarges our knowledge on alga-bacteria interaction and demonstrates physiological investigations of microalgae and associated bacteria, using microscopy observations, photosynthetic activity measurements, and flow cytometry. IMPORTANCE The current study gives a detailed insight into mutualistic collaboration of microalgae and bacteria, including the involvement of competitive interplay between bacteria. We provide experimental evidence that Gram-negative bacteria belonging to the Dyadobacter, Porphyrobacter, and Variovorax are the key players in a Scenedesmus quadricauda alga-bacteria interaction. We impart strong evidence that Dyadobacter produces and releases polysaccharides degradation enzymes and leucine-rich repeat proteins; Variovorax supplies the consortium with auxins and vitamin B12, while Porphyrobacter produces a broad spectrum of B vitamins. We show not only that the microalgae collaborate with the bacteria and vice versa but also that the bacteria interact with each other via quorum-sensing and secretion system mechanisms. The shared currency between partners appears to be vitamins, microalgae growth-promoting substances, and dissolved carbon.


Yekaterina Astafyeva, Marno Gurschke, Minyue Qi, Lutgardis Bergmann, Daniela Indenbirken, Imke de Grahl, Elena Katzowitsch, Sigrun Reumann, Dieter Hanelt, Malik Alawi, Wolfgang R Streit, Ines Krohn. Microalgae and Bacteria Interaction-Evidence for Division of Diligence in the Alga Microbiota. Microbiology spectrum. 2022 Aug 31;10(4):e0063322

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PMID: 35913168

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