AbstractMicrobes in marine sediments play crucial roles in global carbon and nutrient cycling. However, our understanding of microbial diversity and physiology on the ocean floor is limited. Here, we use phylogenomic analyses of thousands of metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) from coastal and deep-sea sediments to identify 55 MAGs that are phylogenetically distinct from previously described bacterial phyla. We propose that these MAGs belong to 4 novel bacterial phyla (Blakebacterota, Orphanbacterota, Arandabacterota, and Joyebacterota) and a previously proposed phylum (AABM5-125-24), all of them within the FCB superphylum. Comparison of their rRNA genes with public databases reveals that these phyla are globally distributed in different habitats, including marine, freshwater, and terrestrial environments. Genomic analyses suggest these organisms are capable of mediating key steps in sedimentary biogeochemistry, including anaerobic degradation of polysaccharides and proteins, and respiration of sulfur and nitrogen. Interestingly, these genomes code for an unusually high proportion (~9% on average, up to 20% per genome) of protein families lacking representatives in public databases. Genes encoding hundreds of these protein families colocalize with genes predicted to be involved in sulfur reduction, nitrogen cycling, energy conservation, and degradation of organic compounds. Our findings advance our understanding of bacterial diversity, the ecological roles of these bacteria, and potential links between novel gene families and metabolic processes in the oceans.
AbstractMembers of the bacterial genus Rickettsia were originally identified as causative agents of vector-borne diseases in mammals. However, many Rickettsia species are arthropod symbionts and close relatives of ‘Candidatus Megaira’, which are symbiotic associates of microeukaryotes. Here, we clarify the evolutionary relationships between these organisms by assembling 26 genomes of Rickettsia species from understudied groups, including the Torix group, and two genomes of ‘Ca. Megaira’ from various insects and microeukaryotes. Our analyses of the new genomes, in comparison with previously described ones, indicate that the accessory genome diversity and broad host range of Torix Rickettsia are comparable to those of all other Rickettsia combined. Therefore, the Torix clade may play unrecognized roles in invertebrate biology and physiology. We argue this clade should be given its own genus status, for which we propose the name ‘Candidatus Tisiphia’.
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.
AbstractThe Terrestrial Miscellaneous Euryarchaeota Group has been identified in various environments, and the single genome investigated thus far suggests that these archaea are anaerobic sulfite reducers. We assemble 35 new genomes from this group that, based on genome analysis, appear to possess aerobic and facultative anaerobic lifestyles and may oxidise rather than reduce sulfite. We propose naming this order (representing 16 genera) “Lutacidiplasmatales” due to their occurrence in various acidic environments and placement within the phylum Thermoplasmatota. Phylum-level analysis reveals that Thermoplasmatota evolution had been punctuated by several periods of high levels of novel gene family acquisition. Several essential metabolisms, such as aerobic respiration and acid tolerance, were likely acquired independently by divergent lineages through convergent evolution rather than inherited from a common ancestor. Ultimately, this study describes the terrestrially prevalent Lutacidiciplasmatales and highlights convergent evolution as an important driving force in the evolution of archaeal lineages.
AbstractIntracellular pathogens are challenged with limited space and resources while replicating in a single host cell. Mechanisms for direct invasion of neighboring host cells have been discovered in cell culture, but we lack an understanding of how bacteria directly spread between host cells in vivo. Here, we describe the discovery of intracellular bacteria that use filamentation for spreading between the intestinal epithelial cells of a natural host, the rhabditid nematode Oscheius tipulae. The bacteria, which belong to the new species Bordetella atropi, can infect the nematodes following a fecal-oral route, and reduce host life span and fecundity. Filamentation requires UDP-glucose biosynthesis and sensing, a highly conserved pathway that is used by other bacteria to detect rich conditions and inhibit cell division. Our results indicate that B. atropi uses a pathway that normally regulates bacterial cell size to trigger filamentation inside host cells, thus facilitating cell-to-cell dissemination.
AbstractA major bottleneck in identifying therapies to control citrus greening and other devastating plant diseases caused by fastidious pathogens is our inability to culture the pathogens in defined media or axenic cultures. As such, conventional approaches for antimicrobial evaluation (genetic or chemical) rely on time-consuming, low-throughput and inherently variable whole-plant assays. Here, we report that plant hairy roots support the growth of fastidious pathogens like Candidatus Liberibacter spp., the presumptive causal agents of citrus greening, potato zebra chip and tomato vein greening diseases. Importantly, we leverage the microbial hairy roots for rapid, reproducible efficacy screening of multiple therapies. We identify six antimicrobial peptides, two plant immune regulators and eight chemicals which inhibit Candidatus Liberibacter spp. in plant tissues. The antimicrobials, either singly or in combination, can be used as near- and long-term therapies to control citrus greening, potato zebra chip and tomato vein greening diseases.
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.