Transcriptomic response of Gordonia sp. strain NB4-1Y when provided with 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonamidoalkyl betaine or 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonate as sole sulfur source

By Eric M. Bottos, Ebtihal Y. AL-shabib, Dayton M. J. Shaw, Breanne M. McAmmond, Aditi Sharma, Danae M. Suchan, Andrew D. S. Cameron & Jonathan D. Van Hamme
November 17, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s10532-020-09917-8

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are environmental contaminants of concern. We previously described biodegradation of two PFAS that represent components and transformation products of aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF), 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonamidoalkyl betaine (6:2 FTAB) and 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonate (6:2 FTSA), by Gordonia sp. strain NB4-1Y. To identify genes involved in the breakdown of these compounds, the transcriptomic response of NB4-1Y was examined when grown on 6:2 FTAB, 6:2 FTSA, a non-fluorinated analog of 6:2 FTSA (1-octanesulfonate), or MgSO4, as sole sulfur source. Differentially expressed genes were identified as those with ± 1.5 log2-fold-differences (± 1.5 log2FD) in transcript abundances in pairwise comparisons. Transcriptomes of cells grown on 6:2 FTAB and 6:2 FTSA were most similar (7.9% of genes expressed ± 1.5 log2FD); however, several genes that were expressed in greater abundance in 6:2 FTAB treated cells compared to 6:2 FTSA treated cells were noted for their potential role in carbon–nitrogen bond cleavage in 6:2 FTAB. Responses to sulfur limitation were observed in 6:2 FTAB, 6:2 FTSA, and 1-octanesulfonate treatments, as 20 genes relating to global sulfate stress response were more highly expressed under these conditions compared to the MgSO4 treatment. More highly expressed oxygenase genes in 6:2 FTAB, 6:2 FTSA, and 1-octanesulfonate treatments were found to code for proteins with lower percent sulfur-containing amino acids compared to both the total proteome and to oxygenases showing decreased expression. This work identifies genetic targets for further characterization and will inform studies aimed at evaluating the biodegradation potential of environmental samples through applied genomics.


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