Distribution, abundance, and ecogenomics of the Palauibacterales , a new cosmopolitan thiamine-producing order within the Gemmatimonadota phylum

Aldeguer-Riquelme et al. (2023). mSystems
Names (25)
Biochemistry Computer Science Applications Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics Genetics Microbiology Modeling and Simulation Molecular Biology Physiology
ABSTRACT The phylum Gemmatimonadota comprises mainly uncultured microorganisms that inhabit different environments such as soils, freshwater lakes, marine sediments, sponges, or corals. Based on 16S rRNA gene studies, the group PAUC43f is one of the most frequently retrieved Gemmatimonadota in marine samples. However, its physiology and ecological roles are completely unknown since, to date, not a single PAUC43f isolate or metagenome-assembled genome (MAG) has been characterized. Here, we carried out a broad study of the distribution, abundance, ecotaxonomy, and metabolism of PAUC43f, for which we propose the name of Palauibacterales . This group was detected in 4,965 16S rRNA gene amplicon datasets, mainly from marine sediments, sponges, corals, soils, and lakes, reaching up to 34.3% relative abundance, which highlights its cosmopolitan character, mainly salt-related. The potential metabolic capabilities inferred from 52 Palauibacterales MAGs recovered from marine sediments, sponges, and saline soils suggested a facultative aerobic and chemoorganotrophic metabolism, although some members may also oxidize hydrogen. Some Palauibacterales species might also play an environmental role as N 2 O consumers as well as suppliers of serine and thiamine. When compared to the rest of the Gemmatimonadota phylum, the biosynthesis of thiamine was one of the key features of the Palauibacterales . Finally, we show that polysaccharide utilization loci (PUL) are widely distributed within the Gemmatimonadota so that they are not restricted to Bacteroidetes , as previously thought. Our results expand the knowledge about this cryptic phylum and provide new insights into the ecological roles of the Gemmatimonadota in the environment. IMPORTANCE Despite advances in molecular and sequencing techniques, there is still a plethora of unknown microorganisms with a relevant ecological role. In the last years, the mostly uncultured Gemmatimonadota phylum is attracting scientific interest because of its widespread distribution and abundance, but very little is known about its ecological role in the marine ecosystem. Here we analyze the global distribution and potential metabolism of the marine Gemmatimonadota group PAUC43f, for which we propose the name of Palauibacterales order. This group presents a saline-related character and a chemoorganoheterotrophic and facultatively aerobic metabolism, although some species might oxidize H 2 . Given that Palauibacterales is potentially able to synthesize thiamine, whose auxotrophy is the second most common in the marine environment, we propose Palauibacterales as a key thiamine supplier to the marine communities. This finding suggests that Gemmatimonadota could have a more relevant role in the marine environment than previously thought.
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