AbstractCultivation of microbial consortia provides low-complexity communities that can serve as tractable models to understand community dynamics. Time-resolved metagenomics demonstrated that an aerobic cellulolytic consortium cultivated from compost exhibited community dynamics consistent with the definition of an endogenous heterotrophic succession. The genome of the proposed pioneer population, ‘Candidatus Reconcilibacillus cellulovorans’, possessed a gene cluster containing multidomain glycoside hydrolases (GHs). Purification of the soluble cellulase activity from a 300litre cultivation of this consortium revealed that ~70% of the activity arose from the ‘Ca. Reconcilibacillus cellulovorans’ multidomain GHs assembled into cellulase complexes through glycosylation. These remarkably stable complexes have supramolecular structures for enzymatic cellulose hydrolysis that are distinct from cellulosomes. The persistence of these complexes during cultivation indicates that they may be active through multiple cultivations of this consortium and act as public goods that sustain the community. The provision of extracellular GHs as public goods may influence microbial community dynamics in native biomass-deconstructing communities relevant to agriculture, human health and biotechnology.
AbstractChallenges in cultivating microorganisms have limited the phylogenetic diversity of currently available microbial genomes. This is being addressed by advances in sequencing throughput and computational techniques that allow for the cultivation-independent recovery of genomes from metagenomes. Here, we report the reconstruction of 7,903 bacterial and archaeal genomes from >1,500 public metagenomes. All genomes are estimated to be ≥50% complete and nearly half are ≥90% complete with ≤5% contamination. These genomes increase the phylogenetic diversity of bacterial and archaeal genome trees by >30% and provide the first representatives of 17 bacterial and three archaeal candidate phyla. We also recovered 245 genomes from the Patescibacteria superphylum (also known as the Candidate Phyla Radiation) and find that the relative diversity of this group varies substantially with different protein marker sets. The scale and quality of this data set demonstrate that recovering genomes from metagenomes provides an expedient path forward to exploring microbial dark matter.