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  1. Abstract

    The oceanic igneous crust is a vast reservoir for microbial life, dominated by diverse and active bacteria, archaea, and fungi. Archaeal and bacterial viruses were previously detected in oceanic crustal fluids at the Juan de Fuca Ridge (JdFR). Here we report the discovery of two eukaryotic Nucleocytoviricota genomes from the same crustal fluids by sorting and sequencing single virions. Both genomes have a tRNATyr gene with an intron (20 bps) at the canonical position between nucleotide 37 and 38, a common feature in eukaryotic and archaeal tRNA genes with short introns (<100 bps), and fungal genes acquired through horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events. The dominance of Ascomycota fungi as the main eukaryotes in crustal fluids and the evidence for HGT point to these fungi as the putative hosts, making these the first putative fungi-Nucleocytoviricota specific association. Our study suggests active host-viral dynamics for the only eukaryotic group found in the subsurface oceanic crust and raises important questions about the impact of viral infection on the productivity and biogeochemical cycling in this ecosystem.

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  2. Abstract

    Most cave formation requires mass separation from a host rock in a process that operates outward from permeable pathways to create the cave void. Given the poor solubility of Fe(III) phases, such processes are insufficient to account for the significant iron formation caves (IFCs) seen in Brazilian banded iron formations (BIF) and associated rock. In this study we demonstrate that microbially-mediated reductive Fe(III) dissolution is solubilizing the poorly soluble Fe(III) phases to soluble Fe(II) in the anoxic zone behind cave walls. The resultant Fe(III)-depleted material (termedsub muros) is unable to maintain the structural integrity of the walls and repeated rounds of wall collapse lead to formation of the cave void in an active, measurable process. This mechanism may move significant quantities of Fe(II) into ground water and may help to explain the mechanism of BIF dissolution and REE enrichment in the generation of canga. The role of Fe(III) reducing microorganism and mass separation behind the walls (outward-in, rather than inward-out) is not only a novel mechanism of speleogenesis, but it also may identify a previously overlooked source of continental Fe that may have contributed to Archaean BIF formation.

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  3. Abstract

    Candidate bacterial phylum Omnitrophota has not been isolated and is poorly understood. We analysed 72 newly sequenced and 349 existing Omnitrophota genomes representing 6 classes and 276 species, along with Earth Microbiome Project data to evaluate habitat, metabolic traits and lifestyles. We applied fluorescence-activated cell sorting and differential size filtration, and showed that most Omnitrophota are ultra-small (~0.2 μm) cells that are found in water, sediments and soils. Omnitrophota genomes in 6 classes are reduced, but maintain major biosynthetic and energy conservation pathways, including acetogenesis (with or without the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway) and diverse respirations. At least 64% of Omnitrophota genomes encode gene clusters typical of bacterial symbionts, suggesting host-associated lifestyles. We repurposed quantitative stable-isotope probing data from soils dominated by andesite, basalt or granite weathering and identified 3 families with high isotope uptake consistent with obligate bacterial predators. We propose that most Omnitrophota inhabit various ecosystems as predators or parasites.

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  4. Abstract With advances in DNA sequencing and miniaturized molecular biology workflows, rapid and affordable sequencing of single-cell genomes has become a reality. Compared to 16S rRNA gene surveys and shotgun metagenomics, large-scale application of single-cell genomics to whole microbial communities provides an integrated snapshot of community composition and function, directly links mobile elements to their hosts, and enables analysis of population heterogeneity of the dominant community members. To that end, we sequenced nearly 500 single-cell genomes from a low diversity hot spring sediment sample from Dewar Creek, British Columbia, and compared this approach to 16S rRNA gene amplicon and shotgun metagenomics applied to the same sample. We found that the broad taxonomic profiles were similar across the three sequencing approaches, though several lineages were missing from the 16S rRNA gene amplicon dataset, likely the result of primer mismatches. At the functional level, we detected a large array of mobile genetic elements present in the single-cell genomes but absent from the corresponding same species metagenome-assembled genomes. Moreover, we performed a single-cell population genomic analysis of the three most abundant community members, revealing differences in population structure based on mutation and recombination profiles. While the average pairwise nucleotide identities were similar across the dominant species-level lineages, we observed differences in the extent of recombination between these dominant populations. Most intriguingly, the creek’s Hydrogenobacter sp . population appeared to be so recombinogenic that it more closely resembled a sexual species than a clonally evolving microbe. Together, this work demonstrates that a randomized single-cell approach can be useful for the exploration of previously uncultivated microbes from community composition to population structure. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
  6. Abstract

    Our current knowledge of host–virus interactions in biofilms is limited to computational predictions based on laboratory experiments with a small number of cultured bacteria. However, natural biofilms are diverse and chiefly composed of uncultured bacteria and archaea with no viral infection patterns and lifestyle predictions described to date. Herein, we predict the first DNA sequence-based host–virus interactions in a natural biofilm. Using single-cell genomics and metagenomics applied to a hot spring mat of the Cone Pool in Mono County, California, we provide insights into virus–host range, lifestyle and distribution across different mat layers. Thirty-four out of 130 single cells contained at least one viral contig (26%), which, together with the metagenome-assembled genomes, resulted in detection of 59 viruses linked to 34 host species. Analysis of single-cell amplification kinetics revealed a lack of active viral replication on the single-cell level. These findings were further supported by mapping metagenomic reads from different mat layers to the obtained host–virus pairs, which indicated a low copy number of viral genomes compared to their hosts. Lastly, the metagenomic data revealed high layer specificity of viruses, suggesting limited diffusion to other mat layers. Taken together, these observations indicate that in low mobility environments with high microbial abundance, lysogeny is the predominant viral lifestyle, in line with the previously proposed “Piggyback-the-Winner” theory.

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  7. Abstract Bacteriophages from the Inoviridae family (inoviruses) are characterized by their unique morphology, genome content and infection cycle. One of the most striking features of inoviruses is their ability to establish a chronic infection whereby the viral genome resides within the cell in either an exclusively episomal state or integrated into the host chromosome and virions are continuously released without killing the host. To date, a relatively small number of inovirus isolates have been extensively studied, either for biotechnological applications, such as phage display, or because of their effect on the toxicity of known bacterial pathogens including Vibrio cholerae and Neisseria meningitidis . Here, we show that the current 56 members of the Inoviridae family represent a minute fraction of a highly diverse group of inoviruses. Using a machine learning approach leveraging a combination of marker gene and genome features, we identified 10,295 inovirus-like sequences from microbial genomes and metagenomes. Collectively, our results call for reclassification of the current Inoviridae family into a viral order including six distinct proposed families associated with nearly all bacterial phyla across virtually every ecosystem. Putative inoviruses were also detected in several archaeal genomes, suggesting that, collectively, members of this supergroup infect hosts across the domains Bacteria and Archaea. Finally, we identified an expansive diversity of inovirus-encoded toxin–antitoxin and gene expression modulation systems, alongside evidence of both synergistic (CRISPR evasion) and antagonistic (superinfection exclusion) interactions with co-infecting viruses, which we experimentally validated in a Pseudomonas model. Capturing this previously obscured component of the global virosphere may spark new avenues for microbial manipulation approaches and innovative biotechnological applications. 
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  8. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The reconstruction of bacterial and archaeal genomes from shotgun metagenomes has enabled insights into the ecology and evolution of environmental and host-associated microbiomes. Here we applied this approach to >10,000 metagenomes collected from diverse habitats covering all of Earth’s continents and oceans, including metagenomes from human and animal hosts, engineered environments, and natural and agricultural soils, to capture extant microbial, metabolic and functional potential. This comprehensive catalog includes 52,515 metagenome-assembled genomes representing 12,556 novel candidate species-level operational taxonomic units spanning 135 phyla. The catalog expands the known phylogenetic diversity of bacteria and archaea by 44% and is broadly available for streamlined comparative analyses, interactive exploration, metabolic modeling and bulk download. We demonstrate the utility of this collection for understanding secondary-metabolite biosynthetic potential and for resolving thousands of new host linkages to uncultivated viruses. This resource underscores the value of genome-centric approaches for revealing genomic properties of uncultivated microorganisms that affect ecosystem processes. 
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