Unusual metabolic diversity of hyperalkaliphilic microbial communities associated with subterranean serpentinization at The Cedars Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/2190-9121-3339-6665-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2017


  • Water from The Cedars springs that discharge from serpentinized ultramafic rocks feature highly basic (pH=~12), highly reducing (Eh<−550 mV) conditions with low ionic concentrations. These conditions make the springs exceptionally challenging for life. Here, we report the metagenomic data and recovered draft genomes from two different springs, GPS1 and BS5. GPS1, which was fed solely by a deep groundwater source within the serpentinizing system, was dominated by several bacterial taxa from the phyla OD1 (‘Parcubacteria’) and Chloroflexi. Members of the GPS1 community had, for the most part, the smallest genomes reported for their respective taxa, and encoded only archaeal (A-type) ATP synthases or no ATP synthases at all. Furthermore, none of the members encoded respiration-related genes and some of the members also did not encode key biosynthesis-related genes. In contrast, BS5, fed by shallow water, appears to have a community driven by hydrogen metabolism and was dominated by a diverse group of Proteobacteria similar to those seen in many terrestrial serpentinization sites. Our findings indicated that the harsh ultrabasic geological setting supported unexpectedly diverse microbial metabolic strategies and that the deep-water-fed springs supported a community that was remarkable in its unusual metagenomic and genomic constitution.


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