Date: 15.12.2017

The enigmatic SAR202 cluster up close: shedding light on a globally distributed dark ocean lineage involved in sulfur cycling

The dark ocean microbiota represents the unknown majority in the global ocean waters. The SAR202 cluster belonging to the phylum Chloroflexi was the first microbial lineage discovered to specifically inhabit the aphotic realm, where they are abundant and globally distributed. The absence of SAR202 cultured representatives is a significant bottleneck towards understanding their metabolic capacities and role in the marine environment.

Figure legend: Mosaic schematic view of the metabolic traits in all available genomes from SAR202 cluster. The parts affiliated with sulfur compound metabolism are highlighted in gray.

In this work, we use a combination of metagenome-assembled genomes from deep-sea datasets and publicly available single-cell genomes to construct a genomic perspective of SAR202 phylogeny, metabolism and biogeography. Our results suggest that SAR202 cluster members are medium sized, free-living cells with a heterotrophic lifestyle, broadly divided into two distinct clades. We present the first evidence of vertical stratification of these microbes along the meso- and bathypelagic ocean layers. Remarkably, two distinct species of SAR202 cluster are highly abundant in nearly all deep bathypelagic metagenomic datasets available so far. SAR202 members metabolize multiple organosulfur compounds, many appear to be sulfite-oxidizers and are predicted to play a major role in sulfur turnover in the dark water column. This concomitantly suggests an unsuspected availability of these nutrient sources to allow for the high abundance of these microbes in the deep sea.


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The enigmatic SAR202 cluster up close: shedding light on a globally distributed dark ocean lineage involved in sulfur cycling

Maliheh Mehrshad1, Francisco Rodriguez-Valera2, Mohammad Ali Amoozegar3, Purificación López-García4, Rohit Ghai1

1Institute of Hydrobiology, Department of Aquatic Microbial Ecology, Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, České Budějovice, Czech Republic

2Evolutionary Genomics Group, Universidad Miguel Hernández, San Juan de Alicante, Spain

3Extremophiles Laboratory, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biology and Center of Excellence in Phylogeny of Living Organisms, College of Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

4Ecologie, Systématique, Evolution, CNRS, Université Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay, AgroParisTech, Orsay, France

The ISME Journal (December 2017) | doi:10.1038/s41396-017-0009-5







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