Plant diseases caused by vector-borne pathogens are responsible for tremendous losses and threaten some of the most important agricultural crops. A good example is the citrus greening disease, which is caused by bacteria of the genus
and is transmitted by psyllids; it has devastated the citrus industry in the United States, China, and Brazil.
Here, we demonstrate how microbial storage metabolism can adjust to a wide range of environmental conditions. Such flexibility generates a selective advantage under fluctuating environmental conditions. It can also explain the different observations reported in PAO literature, including the capacity of “
. Accumulibacter phosphatis” to act like glycogen-accumulating organisms (GAOs). These observations stem from slightly different experimental conditions, and controversy arises only when one assumes that metabolism can operate only in a single mode. Furthermore, we also show how the study of metabolic strategies is possible when combining omics data with functional cofactor assays and modeling. Genomic information can only provide the potential of a microorganism. The environmental context and other complementary approaches are still needed to study and predict the functional expression of such metabolic potential.
The recently described superphylum DPANN includes several phyla of uncultivated archaea with small cell sizes, reduced genomes, and limited metabolic capabilities. One of these phyla, “
. Micrarchaeota,” comprises an enigmatic group of archaea found in acid mine drainage environments, the archaeal Richmond Mine acidophilic nanoorganisms (ARMAN) group. Analysis of their reduced genomes revealed the absence of key metabolic pathways consistent with their partner-associated lifestyle, and physical associations of ARMAN cells with their hosts were documented. However, “
. Micrarchaeota” include several lineages besides the ARMAN group found in nonacidic environments, and none of them have been characterized. Here, we report a complete genome of “
. Micrarchaeota” from a non-ARMAN lineage. Analysis of this genome revealed the presence of metabolic capacities lost in ARMAN genomes that could enable a free-living lifestyle. These results expand our understanding of genetic diversity, lifestyle, and evolution of “
Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis is an important microorganism for enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR). In a previous study, we found a remarkable flexibility regarding salinity, since this same microorganism could thrive in both freshwater- and seawater-based environments, but the mechanism for the tolerance to saline conditions remained unknown. Here, we identified and described the role of trehalose as an osmolyte in Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis. A freshwater-adapted culture was exposed to a single batch cycle of hyperosmotic and hypo-osmotic shock, which led to the release of trehalose up to 5.34 mg trehalose/g volatile suspended solids (VSS). Long-term adaptation to 30% seawater-based medium in a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) gave a stable operation with complete anaerobic uptake of acetate and propionate along with phosphate release of 0.73 Pmol/Cmol, and complete aerobic uptake of phosphate. Microbial analysis showed Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis clade I as the dominant organism in both the freshwater- and seawater-adapted cultures (> 90% presence). Exposure of the seawater-adapted culture to a single batch cycle of hyperosmotic incubation and hypo-osmotic shock led to an increase in trehalose release upon hypo-osmotic shock when higher salinity is used for the hyperosmotic incubation. Maximum trehalose release upon hypo-osmotic shock was achieved after hyperosmotic incubation with 3× salinity increase relative to the salinity in the SBR adaptation reactor, resulting in the release of 11.9 mg trehalose/g VSS. Genome analysis shows the possibility of Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis to convert glycogen into trehalose by the presence of treX, treY, and treZ genes. Addition of trehalose to the reactor led to its consumption, both during anaerobic and aerobic phases. These results indicate the flexibility of the metabolism of Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis towards variations in salinity.
• Trehalose is identified as an osmolyte in Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis.
• Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis can convert glycogen into trehalose.
• Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis clade I is present and active in both seawater and freshwater.