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See detailBiodiversity of Cyanobacteria and associated microbiome in the BCCM/ULC Culture Collection
Ahn, Anne-Catherine ULiege; Cornet, Luc ULiege; Beets, Kim ULiege et al

Poster (2019, October 18)

Cyanobacteria are a phylum of photosynthetic bacteria that played an important role in the evolution of the planet by oxygenating its early atmosphere and provoking the Great Oxydation Event around 2.3 ... [more ▼]

Cyanobacteria are a phylum of photosynthetic bacteria that played an important role in the evolution of the planet by oxygenating its early atmosphere and provoking the Great Oxydation Event around 2.3 billion years ago. Early cyanobacteria were the ancestors of plastids and thus, at the origin of the highly successful algae and plants. Nowadays, they still are the basis of the food chain in many biotopes, as long as there is liquid water, light, air and some minerals. Some cyanobacterial taxa are very resistant to harsh environmental conditions, and thus, grow in polar, hypersaline, alkaline and/or arid biotopes, but also in spatial conditions. Furthermore, they are also a prolific source of secondary compounds with bioactivies. The BCCM/ULC public collection funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office since 2011 presently includes 224 cyanobacterial strains, with 140 being of Antarctic origin (catalogue: http://bccm.belspo.be/catalogues/ulc-catalogue-search). The strains are unicyanobacterial but not axenic, due to the well known difficulties of purifying them. Morphological identification showed that the strains belong to the orders of Synechococcales, Oscillatoriales, Pleurocapsales, Chroococcidiopsidales and Nostocales. Furthermore, 16S rRNA and ITS sequences of the strains are being characterized. Recent sequencing efforts increased the amount of available 16S rRNA sequences of BCCM/ULC strains to 190. Those sequences belong to 75 OTUs (groups of sequences with > 99 % 16S rRNA similarity), which represents a quite large diversity. To better characterize the microbiome of the cultures, a metagenomic analysis was performed for 12 polar or subpolar strains and three temperate ones, including three early-branching organisms that will be useful for phylogenomics. The design of a specific metagenomic pipeline enabled the easy recovery of the cyanobacterial genomes from the non-axenic cultures. In parallel, 31 genomes of co-cultivated bacteria (12 nearly complete) from the same cultures were determined. They mostly belonged to Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria, some of them being very closely related, in spite of sometimes geographically distant sampling sites (Cornet et al. 2018). In summary, the BCCM/ULC public collection serves as a Biological Resource Centre to conserve ex situ and document the biodiversity of cyanobacteria and their microbiomes, as well as a repository for discovery of novel bioactive compounds. Cornet, L., Bertrand, A., Hanikenne, M., Javaux, E., Wilmotte, A., & Baurain, D. (2018). Metagenomic assembly of new (sub)polar Cyanobacteria and their associated microbiome from non-axenic cultures. Microbial Genomics.4. DOI 10.1099/mgen.0.000212. [less ▲]

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See detailA plea to preserve microbial diversity in public microbial resource centres
BEcker, Pierre; Chaerle, Peter; Hendrickx, Marijke et al

Poster (2019, October 18)

Open science aims at sharing scientific output in order to maximize the impact of research. This allows follow-on studies, facilitates new discoveries, improves reproducibility of experiments and favours ... [more ▼]

Open science aims at sharing scientific output in order to maximize the impact of research. This allows follow-on studies, facilitates new discoveries, improves reproducibility of experiments and favours transparency of results. Although open data is becoming a well-known concept, less attention is given to the availability of research materials. In life sciences, public microbial collections represent an historical example of open science, thanks to their longstanding experience in the preservation of living microbial strains and their distribution for further scientific investigations or development. These microbial resource centres provide well-characterized, quality-controlled and authenticated strains and associated data (1). In microbiology, the diversity of bacteria, fungi and algae is an invaluable source of applications for the bio-industry. It needs to be secured following (inter)national legislations for future utilizations and research questions. The responsibility to make microorganisms available is shared by researchers, funding agencies and publishers (1). Microbiologists need to be more aware towards strain conservation. Governmental funding policies should request the deposit of strains isolated during financed projects. Regarding publishers, most journals encourage authors to deposit their datasets (codes, sequences, etc) in public repositories but very few specifically require deposit of biological material and cultivated strains in scientific collections. However, this is a key prerequisite to “make it possible to repeat the experiments and perform future research”(2). Editors should therefore implement mechanisms for active agreement by authors to deposit strains when submitting an article. Such mechanisms could follow Transparency and Openness Promotion guidelines (3) for journals that include standards for research materials. [less ▲]

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See detailCyanobacteria of Polar Regions: Focus of the BCCM/ULC Culture Collection
Ahn, Anne-Catherine ULiege; Beets, Kim ULiege; Lara, Yannick ULiege et al

Poster (2019, June 13)

In the Polar Regions, Cyanobacteria represent key primary producers and are the main drivers of the food webs in a wide range of aquatic to terrestrial habitats. They build benthic microbial mats in lakes ... [more ▼]

In the Polar Regions, Cyanobacteria represent key primary producers and are the main drivers of the food webs in a wide range of aquatic to terrestrial habitats. They build benthic microbial mats in lakes and soil crusts in terrestrial biotopes. They may present interesting features to survive freeze/thaw cycles, seasonally contrasted light intensities, high UV radiations, dessication and other stresses. The BCCM/ULC public collection funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office since 2011 aims to gather a representative portion of the polar cyanobacterial diversity with different ecological origins (limnetic mats, soil crusts, cryoconites, endoliths…). It makes it available for researchers to study the taxonomy, evolution, adaptations to harsh environmental conditions, and genomic make-up. It presently includes 224 cyanobacterial strains, with 140 being of Antarctic origin (catalogue: http://bccm.belspo.be/catalogues/ulc-catalogue-search). An ISO 9001 certificate was obtained for the public deposition and distribution of strains, as part of the multi-site certification for the BCCM consortium. The morphological identification shows that the strains belong to the orders Synechococcales, Oscillatoriales, Pleurocapsales, Chroococcidiopsidales and Nostocales. The 16S rRNA and ITS sequences of the strains are gradually being characterized. The 159 BCCM/ULC strains for which 16S rRNA sequences were analyzed correspond to 69 OTUs (sequences with > 99 % 16S rRNA similarity), and thus, represent a quite large diversity. In addition, cyanobacteria are known to produce a wide range of secondary metabolites (e.g. alkaloids, cyclic and linear peptides, polyketides) with bioactive potential. Genome sequencing was performed for 15 strains (Lara et al. 2017, Cornet et al. 2018). The bioinformatic analysis of the partial genomes of strains ULC007, ULC065 and ULC129 showed the presence of clusters encoding NRPS, PKS, hybrid clusters and other types of secondary metabolites. The comparison of a selection of the PEGs involved in the cold adaptation mechanisms revealed that more copies of PEGs involved in various molecular mechanisms of cold stress responses have been found in polar than in non polar genomes. In summary, the BCCM/ULC public collection serves as a Biological Resource Centre to conserve ex situ and document the biodiversity of polar cyanobacteria, as well as a repository for discovery of novel bioactive compounds. [less ▲]

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