AbstractTrace metals have been an important ingredient for life throughout Earth’s history. Here, we describe the genome-guided cultivation of a member of the elusive archaeal lineage Caldarchaeales (syn. Aigarchaeota), Wolframiiraptor gerlachensis, and its growth dependence on tungsten. A metagenome-assembled genome (MAG) of W. gerlachensis encodes putative tungsten membrane transport systems, as well as pathways for anaerobic oxidation of sugars probably mediated by tungsten-dependent ferredoxin oxidoreductases that are expressed during growth. Catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescence in-situ hybridization (CARD-FISH) and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) show that W. gerlachensis preferentially assimilates xylose. Phylogenetic analyses of 78 high-quality Wolframiiraptoraceae MAGs from terrestrial and marine hydrothermal systems suggest that tungsten-associated enzymes were present in the last common ancestor of extant Wolframiiraptoraceae. Our observations imply a crucial role for tungsten-dependent metabolism in the origin and evolution of this lineage, and hint at a relic metabolic dependence on this trace metal in early anaerobic thermophiles.
Recent advances in sequencing technology promoted the blowout discovery of super tiny microbes in the
(DPANN) superphylum. However, the unculturable properties of the majority of microbes impeded our investigation of their behavior and symbiotic lifestyle in the corresponding community.
“Candidatus Nitrosocaldaceae” are globally distributed in neutral or slightly alkaline hot springs and geothermally heated soils. Despite their essential role in the nitrogen cycle in high-temperature ecosystems, they remain poorly understood because they have never been isolated in pure culture, and very few genomes are available. In the present study, a metagenomics approach was employed to obtain “Ca. Nitrosocaldaceae” metagenomic-assembled genomes (MAGs) from hot spring samples collected from India and China. Phylogenomic analysis placed these MAGs within “Ca. Nitrosocaldaceae.” Average nucleotide identity and average amino acid identity analysis suggested the new MAGs represent two novel species of “Candidatus Nitrosocaldus” and a novel genus, herein proposed as “Candidatus Nitrosothermus.” Key genes responsible for chemolithotrophic ammonia oxidation and a thaumarchaeal 3HP/4HB cycle were detected in all MAGs. Furthermore, genes coding for urea degradation were only present in “Ca. Nitrosocaldus,” while biosynthesis of the vitamins, biotin, cobalamin, and riboflavin were detected in almost all MAGs. Comparison of “Ca. Nitrosocaldales/Nitrosocaldaceae” with other AOA revealed 526 specific orthogroups. This included genes related to thermal adaptation (cyclic 2,3-diphosphoglycerate, and S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase), indicating their importance for life at high temperature. In addition, these MAGs acquired genes from members from archaea (Crenarchaeota) and bacteria (Firmicutes), mainly involved in metabolism and stress responses, which might play a role to allow this group to adapt to thermal habitats.
Background: ‘Ca. Aenigmarchaeota’ represents an evolutionary branch within the DPANN superphylum. However, their ecological roles and potential host-symbiont interactions are poorly understood.Results: Here, we analyze eight metagenomic-assembled genomes from hot spring habitats and reveal their functional potentials. Although they have limited metabolic capacities, they harbor substantial carbohydrate metabolizing abilities. Further investigation suggests that horizontal gene transfer might be the main driver that endows these abilities to ‘Ca. Aenigmarchaeota’, including enzymes involved in glycolysis. Additionally, members from the TACK superphylum and Euryarchaeota contribute substantially to the niche expansion of ‘Ca. Aenigmarchaeota’, especially genes related to carbohydrate metabolism and stress responses. Based on co-occurrence network analysis, we conjecture that ‘Ca. Aenigmarchaeota’ may be symbionts associated with TACK archaea and Euryarchaeota, though host-specificity might be wide and variable across different ‘Ca. Aenigmarchaeota’ genomes. Conclusion: This study provides significant insights into possible host-symbiont interactions and ecological roles of ‘Ca. Aenigmarchaeota’.
Several recent studies have shown the presence of genes for the key enzyme associated with archaeal methane/alkane metabolism, methyl-coenzyme M reductase (Mcr), in metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) divergent to existing archaeal lineages. Here, we study the mcr-containing archaeal MAGs from several hot springs, which reveal further expansion in the diversity of archaeal organisms performing methane/alkane metabolism. Significantly, an MAG basal to organisms from the phylum Thaumarchaeota that contains mcr genes, but not those for ammonia oxidation or aerobic metabolism, is identified. Together, our phylogenetic analyses and ancestral state reconstructions suggest a mostly vertical evolution of mcrABG genes among methanogens and methanotrophs, along with frequent horizontal gene transfer of mcr genes between alkanotrophs. Analysis of all mcr-containing archaeal MAGs/genomes suggests a hydrothermal origin for these microorganisms based on optimal growth temperature predictions. These results also suggest methane/alkane oxidation or methanogenesis at high temperature likely existed in a common archaeal ancestor.