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Science  15 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6121, pp. 738
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6121.738-c

Among communities of microorganisms, interspecies gene transfer is rife, but as a microbial community consumes local resources and develops in time and space, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the products of diverse metabolic activities can also be publicly shared. Otteson et al. set adrift a buoy with a robotic sampler off the coast of northern California to collect, every 4 hours over 2 days and about 50 km of distance, wild picoplankton for community RNA sequencing. Analyses of transcriptional dynamics revealed that the photosynthetic eukaryote Ostreococcus and the bacterium Synechococcus co-expressed large numbers of genes diurnally. The proteorhodopsin-expressing heterotroph Pelagibacter did not show diel gene expression but did show well-orchestrated regulatory patterns and a high degree of covariance between some major metabolic pathways, indicating immediate responses to changing growth conditions. Whether this apparent coordination stems from species-to-species communication and signaling cascades or is the product of individual responses remains to be determined.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110, 10.1073/pnas.1222099110 (2013).

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