In marine Bacteroidetes the bulk of glycan degradation during algae blooms is mediated by few clades using a restricted set of genes

ISME J. 2019 Nov;13(11):2800-2816. doi: 10.1038/s41396-019-0476-y. Epub 2019 Jul 17.


We investigated Bacteroidetes during spring algae blooms in the southern North Sea in 2010-2012 using a time series of 38 deeply sequenced metagenomes. Initial partitioning yielded 6455 bins, from which we extracted 3101 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) including 1286 Bacteroidetes MAGs covering ~120 mostly uncultivated species. We identified 13 dominant, recurrent Bacteroidetes clades carrying a restricted set of conserved polysaccharide utilization loci (PULs) that likely mediate the bulk of bacteroidetal algal polysaccharide degradation. The majority of PULs were predicted to target the diatom storage polysaccharide laminarin, alpha-glucans, alpha-mannose-rich substrates, and sulfated xylans. Metaproteomics at 14 selected points in time revealed expression of SusC-like proteins from PULs targeting all of these substrates. Analyses of abundant key players and their PUL repertoires over time furthermore suggested that fewer and simpler polysaccharides dominated early bloom stages, and that more complex polysaccharides became available as blooms progressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacteroidetes / classification
  • Bacteroidetes / genetics*
  • Bacteroidetes / metabolism*
  • Diatoms / growth & development
  • Diatoms / metabolism*
  • Eutrophication
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Metagenome
  • North Sea
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Polysaccharides