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Characterization of the Fe Metalloproteome of a Ubiquitous Marine Heterotroph, Pseudoalteromonas (BB2-AT2): Multiple Bacterioferritin Copies Enable Significant Fe Storage

submitted on 08.02.2020, 04:47 and posted on 10.02.2020, 13:15 by Michael Mazzotta, Matthew R. McIlvin, Mak A. Saito

Fe is a critical nutrient to the marine biological pump, which is the process that exports photosynthetically fixed carbon in
the upper ocean to the deep ocean. Fe limitation controls photosynthetic activity in large regions of the oceans, and the subsequent degradation of exported photosynthetic material is facilitated particularly by marine heterotrophic bacteria. Despite their importance in the carbon cycle and the scarcity of Fe in seawater, the Fe requirements, storage and cytosolic utilization of these marine heterotrophs has been less studied. Here, we characterized the Fe metallome of Pseudoalteromonas (BB2-AT2). We found that with two copies of bacterioferritin (Bfr), Pseudoalteromonas possesses substantial capacity for luxury uptake of Fe. Fe:C in the whole cell metallome was estimated (assuming C:P stoichiometry ~51:1) to be between ~83 μmol:mol Fe:C, ~11 fold higher than prior marine bacteria surveys, that could support growth for at least 2.6 divisions in the absence of further Fe acquisition. Under these replete conditions, other major cytosolic Fe associated proteins were observed including superoxide dismutase (SodA; with other metal SOD isoforms absent under Fe replete conditions) and catalase (KatG) involved in reactive oxygen stress mitigation and aconitase (AcnB), succinate dehydrogenase (FrdB) and cytochromes (QcrA and Cyt1) involved in respiration. With the aid of singular value decomposition (SVD), we were able to computationally attribute peaks within the metallome to specific metalloproteins contributors. An Fe complex TonB transporter associated with the closely related Alteromonas bacterium was found to be abundant within the Pacific Ocean mesopelagic environment. Despite the extreme scarcity of Fe in seawater, the marine heterotroph, Pseudoalteromonas, has expansive Fe storage capacity and utilization strategies, implying that, within detritus and sinking particle environments, there is significant opportunity for Fe acquisition. Together these results imply an evolved dedication of marine Pseudoalteromonas to maintaining an Fe metalloproteome, likely due to its dependence on Fe-based respiratory metabolism.


Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (3782)

NSF-OCE 1658030, 1736599, 1657766, 1924554, 1850719, 1924554


Email Address of Submitting Author


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


United States

ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest