In this study, to explore the microbial community structure and its functionality in the deep-sea environments, we initially performed a 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA)-based community structure analyses for microbial communities in the sea water collected from sites of 765-790 m in depth in the Pacific Ocean. Interestingly, in the clone library we detected the presence of both photoautotrophic bacteria such as cyanobacteria and photoheterotrophic bacteria, such as Chloroflexus sp. To further explore the existence and diversity of possible light-utilizing microorganisms, we then constructed and analyzed a 23S rRNA plastid gene cloning library. The results showed that the majority of this cloning library was occupied by oxygenic photoautotrophic organisms, such as diatoms Thalassiosira spp. and cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. In addition, the diversity of these oxygenic photoautotrophic organisms was very limited. Moreover, both reverse-transcription PCR and quantitative reverse-transcription PCR approaches had been employed to detect expression of the genes involved in protein synthesis and photosynthesis of photoautotrophic organisms, and the positive results were obtained. The possible mechanisms underlying the existence of very limited diversity of photosynthetic organisms at this depth of ocean, as well as the positive detection of rRNA and mRNA of diatom and cyanobacteria, were discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Soil Science