AbstractMethanogenic and methanotrophic archaea produce and consume the greenhouse gas methane, respectively, using the reversible enzyme methyl-coenzyme M reductase (Mcr). Recently, Mcr variants that can activate multicarbon alkanes have been recovered from archaeal enrichment cultures. These enzymes, called alkyl-coenzyme M reductase (Acrs), are widespread in the environment but remain poorly understood. Here we produced anoxic cultures degrading mid-chain petroleum n-alkanes between pentane (C5) and tetradecane (C14) at 70 °C using oil-rich Guaymas Basin sediments. In these cultures, archaea of the genus Candidatus Alkanophaga activate the alkanes with Acrs and completely oxidize the alkyl groups to CO2. Ca. Alkanophaga form a deep-branching sister clade to the methanotrophs ANME-1 and are closely related to the short-chain alkane oxidizers Ca. Syntrophoarchaeum. Incapable of sulfate reduction, Ca. Alkanophaga shuttle electrons released from alkane oxidation to the sulfate-reducing Ca. Thermodesulfobacterium syntrophicum. These syntrophic consortia are potential key players in petroleum degradation in heated oil reservoirs.
AbstractMost prokaryotes are not available as pure cultures and therefore ineligible for naming under the rules and recommendations of the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP). Here we summarize the development of the SeqCode, a code of nomenclature under which genome sequences serve as nomenclatural types. This code enables valid publication of names of prokaryotes based upon isolate genome, metagenome-assembled genome or single-amplified genome sequences. Otherwise, it is similar to the ICNP with regard to the formation of names and rules of priority. It operates through the SeqCode Registry (https://seqco.de/), a registration portal through which names and nomenclatural types are registered, validated and linked to metadata. We describe the two paths currently available within SeqCode to register and validate names, including Candidatus names, and provide examples for both. Recommendations on minimal standards for DNA sequences are provided. Thus, the SeqCode provides a reproducible and objective framework for the nomenclature of all prokaryotes regardless of cultivability and facilitates communication across microbiological disciplines.
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.
AbstractThe human gut microbiome plays an important role in health, but its archaeal diversity remains largely unexplored. In the present study, we report the analysis of 1,167 nonredundant archaeal genomes (608 high-quality genomes) recovered from human gastrointestinal tract, sampled across 24 countries and rural and urban populations. We identified previously undescribed taxa including 3 genera, 15 species and 52 strains. Based on distinct genomic features, we justify the split of the Methanobrevibacter smithii clade into two separate species, with one represented by the previously undescribed ‘CandidatusMethanobrevibacter intestini’. Patterns derived from 28,581 protein clusters showed significant associations with sociodemographic characteristics such as age groups and lifestyle. We additionally show that archaea are characterized by specific genomic and functional adaptations to the host and carry a complex virome. Our work expands our current understanding of the human archaeome and provides a large genome catalogue for future analyses to decipher its impact on human physiology.
AbstractExtracellular DNA is a major macromolecule in global element cycles, and is a particularly crucial phosphorus, nitrogen and carbon source for microorganisms in the seafloor. Nevertheless, the identities, ecophysiology and genetic features of DNA-foraging microorganisms in marine sediments are largely unknown. Here, we combined microcosm experiments, DNA stable isotope probing (SIP), single-cell SIP using nano-scale secondary isotope mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) and genome-centric metagenomics to study microbial catabolism of DNA and its subcomponents in marine sediments. 13C-DNA added to sediment microcosms was largely degraded within 10 d and mineralized to 13CO2. SIP probing of DNA revealed diverse ‘Candidatus Izemoplasma’, Lutibacter, Shewanella and Fusibacteraceae incorporated DNA-derived 13C-carbon. NanoSIMS confirmed incorporation of 13C into individual bacterial cells of Fusibacteraceae sorted from microcosms. Genomes of the 13C-labelled taxa all encoded enzymatic repertoires for catabolism of DNA or subcomponents of DNA. Comparative genomics indicated that diverse ‘Candidatus Izemoplasmatales’ (former Tenericutes) are exceptional because they encode multiple (up to five) predicted extracellular nucleases and are probably specialized DNA-degraders. Analyses of additional sediment metagenomes revealed extracellular nuclease genes are prevalent among Bacteroidota at diverse sites. Together, our results reveal the identities and functional properties of microorganisms that may contribute to the key ecosystem function of degrading and recycling DNA in the seabed.