AbstractWe used phenotypic, genomic and phylogenetic information following the taxono-genomics approach to demonstrate that strain Marseille–P3254, isolated from an ileal sample of a 76-year old woman who underwent upper and lower digestive tract endoscopy for esophagitis and colonic polyp, is representative of a novel bacterial genus within the family Erysipelotrichaceae in the phylum Firmicutes. It is an anaerobic Gram-negative bacterium without catalase and oxidase activities. The genome of strain Marseille–P3254 is 2,468,496-bp long with a 40.1% G + C content. This new bacterium is most closely related to Eubacterium dolichum, with which it shares 90.7% 16S rRNA sequence similarity. In addition, genomic comparison using the digital DNA–DNA hybridization and OrthoANI analyses between the novel organism and the E. dolichum type strain revealed identities of 25.2 and 68.91%, respectively. The major fatty acids were C16: 0, C18: 1n9 and C18: 0. Based on these data, we propose the creation of the new genus Merdibacter gen. nov., with strain Marseille-P3254T (=CSUR P3254 = DSM 103534) being the type strain of the new species Merdibacter massiliensis gen. nov., sp. nov.
Methanogenic archaea are major contributors to the global carbon cycle and were long thought to belong exclusively to the euryarchaeal phylum. Discovery of the methanogenesis gene cluster methyl-coenzyme M reductase (Mcr) in the Bathyarchaeota, and thereafter the Verstraetearchaeota, led to a paradigm shift, pushing back the evolutionary origin of methanogenesis to predate that of the Euryarchaeota. The methylotrophic methanogenesis found in the non-Euryarchaota distinguished itself from the predominantly hydrogenotrophic methanogens found in euryarchaeal orders as the former do not couple methanogenesis to carbon fixation through the reductive acetyl-CoA [Wood–Ljungdahl pathway (WLP)], which was interpreted as evidence for independent evolution of the two methanogenesis pathways. Here, we report the discovery of a complete and divergent hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis pathway in a thermophilic order of the Verstraetearchaeota, which we have named Candidatus Methanohydrogenales, as well as the presence of the WLP in the crenarchaeal order Desulfurococcales. Our findings support the ancient origin of hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis, suggest that methylotrophic methanogenesis might be a later adaptation of specific orders, and provide insight into how the transition from hydrogenotrophic to methylotrophic methanogenesis might have occurred.