Metabolic potential of Nitrososphaera-associated clades

Qicheng Bei, Thomas Reitz, Martin Schädler, Logan H Hodgskiss, Jingjing Peng, Beatrix Schnabel, François Buscot, Nico Eisenhauer, Christa Schleper, Anna Heintz-Buschart

Soil ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) play a crucial role in converting ammonia to nitrite, thereby mobilizing reactive nitrogen species into their soluble form, with a significant impact on nitrogen losses from terrestrial soils. Yet, our knowledge regarding their diversity and functions remains limited. In this study, we reconstructed 97 high-quality AOA metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) from 180 soil samples collected in Central Germany during 2014-2019 summers. These MAGs were affiliated with the order Nitrososphaerales (NS) and clustered into four family-level clades (NS-α/γ/δ/ε). Among these MAGs, 75 belonged to the most abundant but least understood δ-clade. Within the δ-clade, the amoA genes in three MAGs from neutral soils showed a 99.5% similarity to the fosmid clone 54d9, which has served as representative of the δ-clade for the past two decades since even today no cultivated representatives are available. 72 MAGs constituted a distinct δ sub-clade, and their abundance and expression activity were more than twice that of other MAGs in slightly acidic soils. Unlike the less abundant clades (α, γ, and ε), the δ-MAGs possessed multiple highly expressed intracellular and extracellular carbohydrate-active enzymes responsible for carbohydrate binding (CBM32) and degradation (GH5), along with highly expressed genes involved in ammonia oxidation. Together, these results suggest metabolic versatility of uncultured soil AOA and a potential mixotrophic or chemolithoheterotrophic lifestyle among 54d9-like AOA.

Department für Funktionelle und Evolutionäre Ökologie
Externe Organisation(en)
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), China Agricultural University, Universität Leipzig, University of Amsterdam (UvA)
The ISME Journal
ÖFOS 2012
106022 Mikrobiologie
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