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Title: Replicated life-history patterns and subsurface origins of the bacterial sister phyla Nitrospirota and Nitrospinota

The phyla Nitrospirota and Nitrospinota have received significant research attention due to their unique nitrogen metabolisms important to biogeochemical and industrial processes. These phyla are common inhabitants of marine and terrestrial subsurface environments and contain members capable of diverse physiologies in addition to nitrite oxidation and complete ammonia oxidation. Here, we use phylogenomics and gene-based analysis with ancestral state reconstruction and gene-tree–species-tree reconciliation methods to investigate the life histories of these two phyla. We find that basal clades of both phyla primarily inhabit marine and terrestrial subsurface environments. The genomes of basal clades in both phyla appear smaller and more densely coded than the later-branching clades. The extant basal clades of both phyla share many traits inferred to be present in their respective common ancestors, including hydrogen, one-carbon, and sulfur-based metabolisms. Later-branching groups, namely the more frequently studied classes Nitrospiria and Nitrospinia, are both characterized by genome expansions driven by either de novo origination or laterally transferred genes that encode functions expanding their metabolic repertoire. These expansions include gene clusters that perform the unique nitrogen metabolisms that both phyla are most well known for. Our analyses support replicated evolutionary histories of these two bacterial phyla, with modern subsurface environments representing a genomic repository for the coding potential of ancestral metabolic traits.

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Award ID(s):
1826734 1737017
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The ISME Journal
Medium: X Size: p. 891-902
p. 891-902
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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