• We seek to understand

    the role of microorganisms in Earth's nutrient cycles

    and as symbionts of other organisms

  • Cycling of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur

    affect the health of our planet

  • Ancient invaders -

    Bacterial symbionts of amoebae

    and the evolution of the intracellular lifestyle

  • The human microbiome -

    Our own social network of microbial friends

  • Single cell techniques offer new insights

    into the ecology of microbes

  • Apply for the DOME International PhD/PostDoc program

Dome News

Latest publications

Complete nitrification by Nitrospira bacteria

Nitrification, the oxidation of ammonia via nitrite to nitrate, has always been considered as a two-step process catalyzed by chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms oxidizing either ammonia or nitrite. No known nitrifier carries out both steps, although complete nitrification should be energetically advantageous. This functional separation has puzzled microbiologists for a century. Here we report on the discovery and cultivation of a completely nitrifying bacterium from the genus Nitrospira, a globally distributed group of nitrite oxidizers. The genome of this chemolithoautotrophic organism encodes both the pathways for ammonia and nitrite oxidation, which are concomitantly expressed during growth by ammonia oxidation to nitrate. Genes affiliated with the phylogenetically distinct ammonia monooxygenase and hydroxylamine dehydrogenase genes of Nitrospira are present in many environments and were retrieved on Nitrospira-contigs in new metagenomes from engineered systems. These findings fundamentally change our picture of nitrification and point to completely nitrifying Nitrospira as key components of nitrogen-cycling microbial communities.

Daims H, Lebedeva EV, Pjevac P, Han P, Herbold C, Albertsen M, Jehmlich N, Palatinszky M, Vierheilig J, Bulaev A, Kirkegaard RH, von Bergen M, Rattei T, Bendinger B, Nielsen PH, Wagner M
2015 - Nature, in press

Diversity analysis of sulfite- and sulfate-reducing microorganisms by multiplex dsrA and dsrB amplicon sequencing using new primers and mock community-optimized bioinformatics

Genes encoding dissimilatory sulfite reductase (DsrAB) are commonly used as diagnostic markers in ecological studies of sulfite- and sulfate-reducing microorganisms. Here, we developed new high-coverage primer sets for generation of reductive bacterial-type dsrA and dsrB PCR products for highly parallel amplicon sequencing and a bioinformatics workflow for processing and taxonomic classification of short dsrA and dsrB reads. We employed two diverse mock communities that consisted of 45 or 90 known dsrAB sequences derived from environmental clones to precisely evaluate the performance of individual steps of our amplicon sequencing approach on the Illumina MiSeq platform. Although PCR cycle number, gene-specific primer mismatches, and stringent filtering for high-quality sequences had notable effects on the observed dsrA and dsrB community structures, recovery of most mock community sequences was generally proportional to their relative input abundances. Successful dsrA and dsrB diversity analysis in selected environmental samples further proved that the multiplex amplicon sequencing approach is adequate for monitoring spatial distribution and temporal abundance dynamics of dsrAB-containing microorganisms. While tested for reductive bacterial-type dsrAB, this method is readily applicable for oxidative-type dsrAB of sulfur-oxidizing bacteria and also provides guidance for processing short amplicon reads of other functional genes.

Pelikan C, Herbold CW, Hausmann B, Müller AL, Pester M, Loy A
2015 - Environ Microbiol, In press

probeBase - an online resource for rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes and primers: new features 2016

probeBase http://www.probebase.net is a manually maintained and curated database of rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes and primers. Contextual information and multiple options for evaluating in silico hybridization performance against the most recent rRNA sequence databases are provided for each oligonucleotide entry, which makes probeBase an important and frequently used resource for microbiology research and diagnostics. Here we present a major update of probeBase, which was last featured in the NAR Database Issue 2007. This update describes a complete remodeling of the database architecture and environment to accommodate computationally efficient access. Improved search functions, sequence match tools, and data output now extend the opportunities for finding suitable hierarchical probe sets that target an organism or taxon at different taxonomic levels. To facilitate the identification of complementary probe sets for organisms represented by short rRNA sequence reads generated by amplicon sequencing or metagenomic analysis with next generation sequencing technologies such as Illumina and IonTorrent, we introduce a novel tool that recovers surrogate near full-length rRNA sequences for short query sequences and finds matching oligonucleotides in probeBase.

Greuter D, Loy A, Horn M, Rattei T
2015 - Nucleic Acids Res, In press

Lecture series

The contribution of phage-mediated gene transfer to microbial genome evolution

Tal Dagan
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
13:30 h
Seminar room DoME (2.309)

Cool microbes: Assessing the role of acidobacteria communities in carbon and nitrogen cycling processes in arctic tundra soils

Max Häggblom
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
11:00 h
Seminar Room DOME (2.309)

The genus Pseudovibrio: versatile bacteria with the potential for a symbiotic lifestyle

Stefano Romano
Biomerit research centre, University College Cork
12:00 h
Seminar room DoME (2.309)