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Harvard Forest REU Symposium Abstract 2021

  • Title: Comparative genomics analysis to characterize adaptations in actinobacterial genetic patterns of Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes under long-term warming conditions
  • Author: Alondra N Gabriel (University of Puerto Rico - Arecibo)
  • Abstract:

    Long-term soil warming is predicted to induce adaptations in soil bacteria generating alterations in the carbon cycle. Soil bacterial adaptations under warming conditions may involve modifications of Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes (CAZymes). Harvard Forest long-term soil warming experiments provided data to look over how more than 20 years of soil warming prior to present can drive shifts in the forest soil carbon cycle. It has been performed by designing heated plots which have cables to induce warming effect and control plots which have been left undisturbed. Genomes from 12 actinobacteria strains isolated from the Harvard Forest long-term soil warming experiments were analyzed using the dbCAN2 meta server to predict genes and classes of CAZymes. Using the ggplot2 package from Rstudio CAZymes data were plotted to show qualitative differences in CAZymes classes among types of plots. As a result, 771 CAZymes genes were found corresponding to the 6 classes: Glycoside Hydrolases (GH), Glycosyl Transferases (GT), Carbohydrate Esterases (CE), Polysaccharide Lyases (PL), Auxiliary Activities (AA) and Carbohydrate-Binding Modules (CBM). Changes in CE relative abundance, which contribute to the decomposition of protected carbohydrate substrates, were observed between heated and control plots. Reduction of a 4.0% of this CAZyme class in warm plots suggests that warming can play a similar role in decaying protected carbon substrates promoting less participation of CE. Understanding genetic patterns of Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes would increase our comprehension of adaptive traits related to global warming and predict disturbances in the global carbon cycle.

  • Research Category: Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics