Mobile genetic elements are major agents of genome diversification and evolution. Limited studies addressed their characteristics, including abundance, and role in extreme habitats. One of the rare natural habitats exposed to multiple-extreme conditions, including high temperature, salinity and concentration of heavy metals, are the Red Sea brine pools. We assessed the abundance and distribution of different mobile genetic elements in four Red Sea brine pools including the world’s largest known multiple-extreme deep-sea environment, the Red Sea Atlantis II Deep. We report a gradient in the abundance of mobile genetic elements, dramatically increasing in the harshest environment of the pool. Additionally, we identified a strong association between the abundance of insertion sequences and extreme conditions, being highest in the harshest and deepest layer of the Red Sea Atlantis II Deep. Our comparative analyses of mobile genetic elements in secluded, extreme and relatively non-extreme environments, suggest that insertion sequences predominantly contribute to polyextremophiles genome plasticity.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was initially supported by King Abdullah University for Science and Technology Global Collaborative Partners (GCR) program. The work was funded by an American University in Cairo Faculty (Research) Support Grant to RS. AHAE was funded by a Youssef Jameel PhD Fellowship. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication. We thank the crew and scientists on board of the KAUST Red Sea Expedition in spring 2010 and 2012, in particular, chief scientists Drs. Abdulaziz Al-Suwailem and Andre Antunes. We acknowledge Dr. Ahmed Abdelaziz and Amged Ouf of the American University in Cairo for DNA preparation and Mustafa Adel for assistance with the bioinformatics analysis.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.