Genomic resolution of a cold subsurface aquifer community provides metabolic insights for novel microbes adapted to high CO2concentrations Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/2869-1263-5348-4340-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2016


  • As in many deep underground environments, the microbial communities in subsurface high-CO2 ecosystems remain relatively unexplored. Recent investigations based on single-gene assays revealed a remarkable variety of organisms from little studied phyla in Crystal Geyser (Utah, USA), a site where deeply sourced CO2-saturated fluids are erupted at the surface. To provide genomic resolution of the metabolisms of these organisms, we used a novel metagenomic approach to recover 227 high-quality genomes from 150 microbial species affiliated with 46 different phylum-level lineages. Bacteria from two novel phylum-level lineages have the capacity for CO2 fixation. Analyses of carbon fixation pathways in all studied organisms revealed that the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway and the Calvin-Benson-Bassham Cycle occurred with the highest frequency, whereas the reverse TCA cycle was little used. We infer that this, and selection for form II RuBisCOs, are adaptions to high CO2-concentrations. However, many autotrophs can also grow mixotrophically, a strategy that confers metabolic versatility. The assignment of 156 hydrogenases to 90 different organisms suggests that H2 is an important inter-species energy currency even under gaseous CO2-saturation. Overall, metabolic analyses at the organism level provided insight into the biochemical cycles that support subsurface life under the extreme condition of CO2 saturation.


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