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Title: Distribution of mercury-cycling genes in the Arctic and equatorial Pacific Oceans and their relationship to mercury speciation

Abstract

Humans are exposed to potentially harmful amounts of the neurotoxin monomethylmercury (MMHg) through consumption of marine fish and mammals. However, the pathways of MMHg production and bioaccumulation in the ocean remain elusive. In anaerobic environments, inorganic mercury (Hg) can be methylated to MMHg through an enzymatic pathway involving the hgcAB gene cluster. Recently, hgcA-like genes have been discovered in oxygenated marine water, suggesting the hgcAB methylation pathway, or a close analog, may also be relevant in the ocean. Using polymerase chain reaction amplification and shotgun metagenomics, we searched for but did not find the hgcAB gene cluster in Arctic Ocean seawater. However, we detected Hg-cycling genes from the mer operon (including organomercury lyase, merB), and hgcA-like paralogs (i.e., cdhD) in Arctic Ocean metagenomes. Finally, our analysis of Hg biogeochemistry and marine microbial genomics suggests that various microorganisms and metabolisms, and not just the hgcAB pathway, are important for Hg methylation in the ocean.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3];  [1];  [3];  [4];  [4]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [5]
  1. Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, CA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK (United States)
  3. Wright State Univ., Dayton, OH (United States)
  4. J. Craig Venter Inst., La Jolla, CA (United States)
  5. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1607015
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725; OCE-1434650; 1434653; 1534315
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Limnology and Oceanography
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 65; Journal Issue: S1; Journal ID: ISSN 0024-3590
Publisher:
Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography - Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; mercury biogeochemistry; genomics; Arctic Ocean; Pacific Ocean; hgcAB; mer operon

Citation Formats

Bowman, Katlin, Collins, Eric, Agather, Alison, Lamborg, Carl, Hammerschmidt, Chad, Kaul, Drishti, Dupont, Christopher, Christensen, Geoffrey A., and Elias, Dwayne A. Distribution of mercury-cycling genes in the Arctic and equatorial Pacific Oceans and their relationship to mercury speciation. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.11310.
Bowman, Katlin, Collins, Eric, Agather, Alison, Lamborg, Carl, Hammerschmidt, Chad, Kaul, Drishti, Dupont, Christopher, Christensen, Geoffrey A., & Elias, Dwayne A. Distribution of mercury-cycling genes in the Arctic and equatorial Pacific Oceans and their relationship to mercury speciation. United States. https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.11310
Bowman, Katlin, Collins, Eric, Agather, Alison, Lamborg, Carl, Hammerschmidt, Chad, Kaul, Drishti, Dupont, Christopher, Christensen, Geoffrey A., and Elias, Dwayne A. Mon . "Distribution of mercury-cycling genes in the Arctic and equatorial Pacific Oceans and their relationship to mercury speciation". United States. https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.11310. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1607015.
@article{osti_1607015,
title = {Distribution of mercury-cycling genes in the Arctic and equatorial Pacific Oceans and their relationship to mercury speciation},
author = {Bowman, Katlin and Collins, Eric and Agather, Alison and Lamborg, Carl and Hammerschmidt, Chad and Kaul, Drishti and Dupont, Christopher and Christensen, Geoffrey A. and Elias, Dwayne A.},
abstractNote = {Humans are exposed to potentially harmful amounts of the neurotoxin monomethylmercury (MMHg) through consumption of marine fish and mammals. However, the pathways of MMHg production and bioaccumulation in the ocean remain elusive. In anaerobic environments, inorganic mercury (Hg) can be methylated to MMHg through an enzymatic pathway involving the hgcAB gene cluster. Recently, hgcA-like genes have been discovered in oxygenated marine water, suggesting the hgcAB methylation pathway, or a close analog, may also be relevant in the ocean. Using polymerase chain reaction amplification and shotgun metagenomics, we searched for but did not find the hgcAB gene cluster in Arctic Ocean seawater. However, we detected Hg-cycling genes from the mer operon (including organomercury lyase, merB), and hgcA-like paralogs (i.e., cdhD) in Arctic Ocean metagenomes. Finally, our analysis of Hg biogeochemistry and marine microbial genomics suggests that various microorganisms and metabolisms, and not just the hgcAB pathway, are important for Hg methylation in the ocean.},
doi = {10.1002/lno.11310},
journal = {Limnology and Oceanography},
number = S1,
volume = 65,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {8}
}

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    Works referencing / citing this record:

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