AbstractAsgard archaea have recently been identified as the closest archaeal relatives of eukaryotes. Their ecology, and particularly their virome, remain enigmatic. We reassembled and closed the chromosome of Candidatus Odinarchaeum yellowstonii LCB_4, through long-range PCR, revealing CRISPR spacers targeting viral contigs. We found related viruses in the genomes of diverse prokaryotes from geothermal environments, including other Asgard archaea. These viruses open research avenues into the ecology and evolution of Asgard archaea.
Asgard archaea have recently been identified as the closest archaeal relatives of eukaryotes. Their ecology remains enigmatic, and their virome, completely unknown. Here, we describe the closed genome of Ca. Odinarchaeum yellowstonii LCB_4, and, from this, obtain novel CRISPR arrays with spacer targets to several viral contigs. We find related viruses in sequence data from thermophilic environments and in the genomes of diverse prokaryotes, including other Asgard archaea. These novel viruses open research avenues into the ecology and evolution of Asgard archaea.
AbstractAmmonia oxidizing archaea (AOA) of the phylum Thaumarchaeota are widespread in moderate environments but their occurrence and activity has also been demonstrated in hot springs. Here we present the first cultivated thermophilic representative with a sequenced genome, which allows to search for adaptive strategies and for traits that shape the evolution of Thaumarchaeota.CandidatusNitrosocaldus cavascurensis has been cultivated from a hot spring in Ischia, Italy. It grows optimally at 68°C under chemolithoautotrophic conditions on ammonia or urea converting ammonia stoichiometrically into nitrite with a generation time of approximately 25h. Phylogenetic analyses based on ribosomal proteins place the organism as a sister group to all known mesophilic AOA. The 1.58 Mb genome ofCa.N. cavascurensis harbors an amoAXCB gene cluster encoding ammonia monooxygenase, genes for a 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate pathway for autotrophic carbon fixation, but also genes that indicate potential alternative energy metabolisms. Although a bona fide gene for nitrite reductase is missing, the organism is sensitive to NO-scavenging, underlining the importance of this compound for AOA metabolism.Ca.N. cavascurensis is distinct from all other AOA in its gene repertoire for replication, cell division and repair. Its genome has an impressive array of mobile genetic elements and other recently acquired gene sets, including conjugative systems, a provirus, transposons and cell appendages. Some of these elements indicate recent exchange with the environment, whereas others seem to have been domesticated and might convey crucial metabolic traits.