skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on March 13, 2025

Title: Uncultivated DPANN archaea are ubiquitous inhabitants of global oxygen-deficient zones with diverse metabolic potential
ABSTRACT <p>Archaea belonging to the DPANN (Diapherotrites, Parvarchaeota, Aenigmarchaeota, Nanoarchaeota, and Nanohaloarchaeota) superphylum have been found in an expanding number of environments and perform a variety of biogeochemical roles, including contributing to carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen cycling. Generally characterized by ultrasmall cell sizes and reduced genomes, DPANN archaea may form mutualistic, commensal, or parasitic interactions with various archaeal and bacterial hosts, influencing the ecology and functioning of microbial communities. While DPANN archaea reportedly comprise a sizeable fraction of the archaeal community within marine oxygen-deficient zone (ODZ) water columns, little is known about their metabolic capabilities in these ecosystems. We report 33 novel metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) belonging to the DPANN phyla Nanoarchaeota, Pacearchaeota, Woesearchaeota, Undinarchaeota, Iainarchaeota, and SpSt-1190 from pelagic ODZs in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific and the Arabian Sea. We find these archaea to be permanent, stable residents of all three major ODZs only within anoxic depths, comprising up to 1% of the total microbial community and up to 25%–50% of archaea as estimated from read mapping to MAGs. ODZ DPANN appear to be capable of diverse metabolic functions, including fermentation, organic carbon scavenging, and the cycling of sulfur, hydrogen, and methane. Within a majority of ODZ DPANN, we identify a gene homologous to nitrous oxide reductase. Modeling analyses indicate the feasibility of a nitrous oxide reduction metabolism for host-attached symbionts, and the small genome sizes and reduced metabolic capabilities of most DPANN MAGs suggest host-associated lifestyles within ODZs.</p></sec> <sec><title>IMPORTANCE

Archaea from the DPANN (Diapherotrites, Parvarchaeota, Aenigmarchaeota, Nanoarchaeota, and Nanohaloarchaeota) superphylum have diverse metabolic capabilities and participate in multiple biogeochemical cycles. While metagenomics and enrichments have revealed that many DPANN are characterized by ultrasmall genomes, few biosynthetic genes, and episymbiotic lifestyles, much remains unknown about their biology. We report 33 new DPANN metagenome-assembled genomes originating from the three global marine oxygen-deficient zones (ODZs), the first from these regions. We survey DPANN abundance and distribution within the ODZ water column, investigate their biosynthetic capabilities, and report potential roles in the cycling of organic carbon, methane, and nitrogen. We test the hypothesis that nitrous oxide reductases found within several ODZ DPANN genomes may enable ultrasmall episymbionts to serve as nitrous oxide consumers when attached to a host nitrous oxide producer. Our results indicate DPANN archaea as ubiquitous residents within the anoxic core of ODZs with the potential to produce or consume key compounds.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
2142998
NSF-PAR ID:
10498199
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Editor(s):
Giovannoni, Stephen J.
Publisher / Repository:
American Society for Microbiology
Date Published:
Journal Name:
mBio
Volume:
15
Issue:
3
ISSN:
2150-7511
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Lake Tanganyika (LT) is the largest tropical freshwater lake, and the largest body of anoxic freshwater on Earth’s surface. LT’s mixed oxygenated surface waters float atop a permanently anoxic layer and host rich animal biodiversity. However, little is known about microorganisms inhabiting LT’s 1470 meter deep water column and their contributions to nutrient cycling, which affect ecosystem-level function and productivity. Here, we applied genome-resolved metagenomics and environmental analyses to link specific taxa to key biogeochemical processes across a vertical depth gradient in LT. We reconstructed 523 unique metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) from 34 bacterial and archaeal phyla, including many rarely observed in freshwater lakes. We identified sharp contrasts in community composition and metabolic potential with an abundance of typical freshwater taxa in oxygenated mixed upper layers, and Archaea and uncultured Candidate Phyla in deep anoxic waters. Genomic capacity for nitrogen and sulfur cycling was abundant in MAGs recovered from anoxic waters, highlighting microbial contributions to the productive surface layers via recycling of upwelled nutrients, and greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide. Overall, our study provides a blueprint for incorporation of aquatic microbial genomics in the representation of tropical freshwater lakes, especially in the context of ongoing climate change, which is predicted to bring increased stratification and anoxia to freshwater lakes.

     
    more » « less
  2. Members of the archaeal order Caldarchaeales (previously the phylum Aigarchaeota) are poorly sampled and are represented in public databases by relatively few genomes. Additional representative genomes will help resolve their placement among all known members of Archaea and provide insights into their roles in the environment. In this study, we analyzed 16S rRNA gene amplicons belonging to the Caldarchaeales that are available in public databases, which demonstrated that archaea of the order Caldarchaeales are diverse, widespread, and most abundant in geothermal habitats. We also constructed five metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of Caldarchaeales from two geothermal features to investigate their metabolic potential and phylogenomic position in the domain Archaea. Two of the MAGs were assembled from microbial community DNA extracted from fumarolic lava rocks from Mauna Ulu, Hawai‘i, and three were assembled from DNA obtained from hot spring sinters from the El Tatio geothermal field in Chile. MAGs from Hawai‘i are high quality bins with completeness > 95% and contamination < 1%, and one likely belongs to a novel species in a new genus recently discovered at a submarine volcano off New Zealand. MAGs from Chile have lower completeness levels ranging from 27 to 70%. Gene content of the MAGs revealed that these members of Caldarchaeales are likely metabolically versatile and exhibit the potential for both chemoorganotrophic and chemolithotrophic lifestyles. The wide array of metabolic capabilities exhibited by these members of Caldarchaeales might help them thrive under diverse harsh environmental conditions. All the MAGs except one from Chile harbor putative prophage regions encoding several auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) that may confer a fitness advantage on their Caldarchaeales hosts by increasing their metabolic potential and make them better adapted to new environmental conditions. Phylogenomic analysis of the five MAGs and over 3,000 representative archaeal genomes showed the order Caldarchaeales forms a monophyletic group that is sister to the clade comprising the orders Geothermarchaeales (previously Candidatus Geothermarchaeota), Conexivisphaerales and Nitrososphaerales (formerly known as Thaumarchaeota), supporting the status of Caldarchaeales members as a clade distinct from the Thaumarchaeota. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) are marine regions where O2 is undetectable at intermediate depths. Within OMZs, the oxygen-depleted zone (ODZ) induces anaerobic microbial processes that lead to fixed nitrogen loss via denitrification and anammox. Surprisingly, nitrite oxidation is also detected in ODZs, although all known marine nitrite oxidizers (mainly Nitrospina) are aerobes. We used metagenomic binning to construct metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of nitrite oxidizers from OMZs. These MAGs represent two novel Nitrospina-like species, both of which differed from all known Nitrospina species, including cultured species and published MAGs. Relative abundances of different Nitrospina genotypes in OMZ and non-OMZ seawaters were estimated by mapping metagenomic reads to newly constructed MAGs and published high-quality genomes of members from the Nitrospinae phylum. The two novel species were present in all major OMZs and were more abundant inside ODZs, which is consistent with the detection of higher nitrite oxidation rates in ODZs than in oxic seawaters and suggests novel adaptations to anoxic environments. The detection of a large number of unclassified nitrite oxidoreductase genes in the dataset implies that the phylogenetic diversity of nitrite oxidizers is greater than previously thought.

     
    more » « less
  4. Advances in sequencing technologies and bioinformatics tools have dramatically increased the recovery rate of microbial genomes from metagenomic data. Assessing the quality of metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) is a critical step before downstream analysis. Here, we present CheckM2, an improved method of predicting genome quality of MAGs using machine learning. Using synthetic and experimental data, we demonstrate that CheckM2 outperforms existing tools in both accuracy and computational speed. In addition, CheckM2’s database can be rapidly updated with new high-quality reference genomes, including taxa represented only by a single genome. We also show that CheckM2 accurately predicts genome quality for MAGs from novel lineages, even for those with reduced genome size (for example, Patescibacteria and the DPANN superphylum). CheckM2 provides accurate genome quality predictions across bacterial and archaeal lineages, giving increased confidence when inferring biological conclusions from MAGs. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract Background

    CandidatusNanohaloarchaeota, an archaeal phylum within the DPANN superphylum, is characterized by limited metabolic capabilities and limited phylogenetic diversity and until recently has been considered to exclusively inhabit hypersaline environments due to an obligate association withHalobacteria. Aside from hypersaline environments,Ca.Nanohaloarchaeota can also have been discovered from deep-subsurface marine sediments.

    Results

    Three metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) representing a new order within theCa.Nanohaloarchaeota were reconstructed from a stratified salt crust and proposed to represent a novel order,Nucleotidisoterales. Genomic features reveal them to be anaerobes capable of catabolizing nucleotides by coupling nucleotide salvage pathways with lower glycolysis to yield free energy. Comparative genomics demonstrated that these and otherCa.Nanohaloarchaeota inhabiting saline habitats use a “salt-in” strategy to maintain osmotic pressure based on the high proportion of acidic amino acids. In contrast, previously describedCa.Nanohaloarchaeota MAGs from geothermal environments were enriched with basic amino acids to counter heat stress. Evolutionary history reconstruction revealed that functional differentiation of energy conservation strategies drove diversification withinCa.Nanohaloarchaeota, further leading to shifts in the catabolic strategy from nucleotide degradation within deeper lineages to polysaccharide degradation within shallow lineages.

    Conclusions

    This study provides deeper insight into the ecological functions and evolution of the expanded phylumCa.Nanohaloarchaeota and further advances our understanding on the functional and genetic associations between potential symbionts and hosts.

     
    more » « less