Metabolic Diversity and Evolutionary History of the Archaeal Phylum “ Candidatus Micrarchaeota” Uncovered from a Freshwater Lake Metagenome

Kadnikov et al. (2020). Applied and Environmental Microbiology 86 (23)
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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology Biotechnology Ecology Food Science
The recently described superphylum DPANN includes several phyla of uncultivated archaea with small cell sizes, reduced genomes, and limited metabolic capabilities. One of these phyla, “ Ca . Micrarchaeota,” comprises an enigmatic group of archaea found in acid mine drainage environments, the archaeal Richmond Mine acidophilic nanoorganisms (ARMAN) group. Analysis of their reduced genomes revealed the absence of key metabolic pathways consistent with their partner-associated lifestyle, and physical associations of ARMAN cells with their hosts were documented. However, “ Ca . Micrarchaeota” include several lineages besides the ARMAN group found in nonacidic environments, and none of them have been characterized. Here, we report a complete genome of “ Ca . Micrarchaeota” from a non-ARMAN lineage. Analysis of this genome revealed the presence of metabolic capacities lost in ARMAN genomes that could enable a free-living lifestyle. These results expand our understanding of genetic diversity, lifestyle, and evolution of “ Ca . Micrarchaeota.”
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