Discovery of enzymes and natural products in the moss microbiome

Christina Andrea Müller, Stephanie Nadine Hollauf, Gabriele Berg

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Discovery of enzymes and natural products in the moss microbiome
Christina A. Müller1,2, Gabriele Berg1
1Institute of Environmental Biotechnology, Graz University of Technology, Petersgasse 12/I, 8010 Graz, Austria
2Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib GmbH), Petersgasse 14/V, Graz, Austria

Sphagnum mosses are colonized by highly diverse and species-specific microbial communities. Mosses are known to produce plenty of bioactive substances and the antimicrobial activity of their inhabiting microorganisms has also been reported (1). Recently we elucidated the Sphagnum metagenome by Illumina-sequencing and de novo assembly (2). The Sphagnum microbiome harbors highly specific genetic features that distinguish it significantly from comparable microbiomes. Abundant functions support abiotic stress protection, communication and interaction between microorganisms. Based on this findings we explored the Sphagnum microbiome as a source of industrially interesting enzymes and natural products for biotechnological and biomedical applications. Different gene targets such as esterases, phosphatases, decarboxylases, polyketide synthases (PKS) and non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS) were selected for screening employing a metagenomic fosmid clone library. NRPS and PKS genes are involved in the production of several microbial bioactive secondary metabolites. The study of NRPS and PKS sequences in the Sphagnum metagenome by in silico data mining revealed a high level of diversity. Furthermore, PCR-amplification screening of the fosmid clone library led to identification of thirteen novel NRPS-related sequences with identities ranging from 48% to 91% to annotated sequences that belong mainly to the phyla Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Cyanobacteria (Müller et al., 2015). The novel NRPS sequences are putatively involved in production of microbial metabolites such as siderophores, phytotoxins, and antibiotics. Selected clones containing NRPS and esterase genes are currently being evaluated to discover new enzyme functions and activities. Our study highlights the potential of plant-associated microbiomes found in extreme natural ecosystems for the discovery of biocatalyst and natural products with biotechnological potential.
References: 1) Opelt, K.; Berg, C.; Berg, G. The bryophyte genus Sphagnum is a reservoir for powerful and extraordinary antagonists and potentially facultative human pathogens. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol., 2007, 61, 38–53; 2) Bragina, A.; Oberauner-Wappis, L.; Zachow, C.; Halwachs, B.; Thallinger, G.G.; Müller, H.; Berg G. The Sphagnum microbiome supports bog ecosystem functioning under extreme conditions. Mol. Ecol., 2014, 23, 4498–4510; 3) Müller, C.A.; Oberauner-Wappis, L.; Peyman, A.; Amos, G.C.A.; Wellington, E.M.H.; Berg, G. Mining for nonribosomal peptide synthetase and polyketide synthase genes revealed a high level of diversity in the Sphagnum bog metagenome. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 2015, 81, 5064 –5072.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
EventVAAM-Jahrestagung - Jena, Germany
Duration: 13 Mar 201616 Mar 2016



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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