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Novel prosthecate bacteria from the candidate phylum Acetothermia revealed by culture-independent genomics and advanced microscopy

By Li-Ping Hao, Simon Jon McIlroy, Rasmus H. Kirkegaard, Søeren M. Karst, Warnakulasuriya Eustace Yrosh Fernando, Hüsnü Aslan, Rikke Louise Meyer, Mads Albertsen, Per Halkjaer Nielsen, Morten Simonsen Dueholm

Posted 24 Oct 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/207811 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41396-018-0187-9)

Members of the candidate phylum Acetothermia are globally distributed and detected in various habitats. However, little is known about their physiology and ecological importance. In this study, an OTU belonging to Acetothermia was detected at high abundance in two full-scale anaerobic digesters. The first closed genome from this phylum was obtained by differential coverage binning of metagenomes and scaffolding with nanopore data. Genome annotation and metabolic reconstruction suggested an anaerobic chemoheterotrophic lifestyle in which the bacterium obtain energy and carbon via fermentation of peptides, amino acids, and simple sugars to acetate, formate, and hydrogen. The morphology was unusual and composed of a central rod-shaped cell with bipolar prosthecae as revealed by fluorescence in situ hybridization combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy, Raman microspectroscopy and atomic force microscopy. We hypothesize that these prosthecae allow for increased nutrient uptake by greatly expanding the cell surface area, providing a competitive advantage under nutrient-limited conditions.

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