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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.00969

Secretion of DNases by marine bacteria: a culture based and bioinformatics approach

 Aisha S. Al-Wahaibi1, 2,  Emilia Lapinska1, Nithyalakshmy Rajarajan1, Sergey Dobretsov2,  Robert Upstill-Goddard3 and  J Grant Burgess1*
  • 1Newcastle University, United Kingdom
  • 2Sultan Qaboos University, Oman
  • 3Newcastle College, United Kingdom

The vast majority of bacteria present in the natural environment are present in the form of aggregates and/or biofilms. Microbial aggregates are ubiquitous in the marine environment and are inhabited by diverse microbial communities which often express intense extracellular enzymatic activities. However, the secretion of an important group of enzymes, DNases, by bacteria from marine aggregates has not been studied, despite the importance of these aggregates in biogeochemical cycling of nutrients in the oceans. In this work, we therefore, employed both culture-based and bioinformatics approaches to understand the diversity of bacterial DNases in marine bacterioplankton. We found that 34% of 345 strains of attached and non attached marine bacteria showed extracellular DNase activity. Most of these isolates belong to Proteobacteria (53%) and Firmicutes (34%). Secretion of DNases by bacteria isolated from marine gel particles is reported here for the first time. Then, to further understand the wider diversity of the potential to produce DNases, sequences were compared using 2316 whole genome and 42 metagenome datasets. Thirty-nine different taxonomic groups corresponding to ten bacterial phyla were found to encode genes responsible for DNase secretion. This study highlights the unexpected and widespread presence of DNase secretion in bacteria in general and in marine gel particles more specifically. This has important implications for understanding the dynamics and fate of marine microbial aggregates in the oceans.

Keywords: Marine gel particle aggregates, Bacterial diversity in the ocean, Biofilm, extracellularDNA (eDNA), Extracellular bacterial nuclease, Protobiofilm, extracellular DNA (eDNA), Marine enzymes

Received: 27 Nov 2018; Accepted: 16 Apr 2019.

Edited by:

Hongyue Dang, Xiamen University, China

Reviewed by:

Xiu-Lan Chen, Shandong University, China
Verdugo Pedro, University of Washington, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Al-Wahaibi, Lapinska, Rajarajan, Dobretsov, Upstill-Goddard and Burgess. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. J Grant Burgess, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, grant.burgess@ncl.ac.uk