Genomic and enzymatic evidence for acetogenesis among multiple lineages of the archaeal phylum Bathyarchaeota widespread in marine sediments Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/9262-9895-1487-4049-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2016


  • Members of the archaeal phylum Bathyarchaeota are widespread and abundant in the energy-deficient marine subsurface sediments. However, their life strategies have remained largely elusive. Here, we provide genetic evidence that some lineages of Bathyarchaeota are acetogens, being capable of homoacetogenesis, a metabolism so far restricted to the domain Bacteria. Metabolic reconstruction based on genomic bins assembled from the metagenome of deep-sea subsurface sediments shows that the metabolism of some lineages of Bathyarchaeota is similar to that of bona fide bacterial homoacetogens, by having pathways for acetogenesis and for the fermentative utilization of a variety of organic substrates. Heterologous expression and activity assay of the acetate kinase gene ack from Bathyarchaeota, demonstrate further the capability of these Bathyarchaeota to grow as acetogens. The presence and expression of bathyarchaeotal genes indicative of active acetogenesis was also confirmed in Peru Margin subsurface sediments where Bathyarchaeota are abundant. The analyses reveal that this ubiquitous and abundant subsurface archaeal group has adopted a versatile life strategy to make a living under energy-limiting conditions. These findings further expand the metabolic potential of Archaea and argue for a revision of the role of Archaea in the carbon cycle of marine sediments.


  • 1


  • 6