Ward, Lewis M.

Publications (4)

Evolutionary Implications of Anoxygenic Phototrophy in the Bacterial Phylum Candidatus Palusbacterota (WPS-2)

Ward et al. [posted content, 2019]
Names (2)
Ca. Palusbacterales Ca. Eremiobacterota
AbstractGenome-resolved environmental metagenomic sequencing has uncovered substantial previously unrecognized microbial diversity relevant for understanding the ecology and evolution of the biosphere, providing a more nuanced view of the distribution and ecological significance of traits including phototrophy across diverse niches. Recently, the capacity for bacteriochlorophyll-based anoxygenic photosynthesis has been found in the uncultured bacterial WPS-2 clade that are in close association with boreal moss. Here, we use phylogenomic analysis to investigate the diversity and evolution of phototrophic WPS-2. We demonstrate that phototrophic WPS-2 show significant genetic and metabolic divergence from other phototrophic and non-phototrophic lineages. The genomes of these organisms encode a completely new family of anoxygenic Type II photochemical reaction centers and other phototrophy-related proteins that are both phylogenetically and structurally distinct from those found in previously described phototrophs. We propose the name Candidatus Palusbacterota for the phylum-level aerobic WPS-2 clade which contains phototrophic lineages, from the Latin for “bog bacteria”, distinguishing it from the anaerobic, non-phototrophic sister phylum Candidatus Eremiobacterota for “desert bacteria”, typically found in dry environments.