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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Oct;70(10):6282-9.

Abundance of reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle genes in free-living microorganisms at deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

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  • 1College of Marine Studies, University of Delaware, 700 Pilottown Rd., Lewes, DE 19958, USA. bjc@udel.edu.

Abstract

Since the discovery of hydrothermal vents more than 25 years ago, the Calvin-Bassham-Benson (Calvin) cycle has been considered the principal carbon fixation pathway in this microbe-based ecosystem. However, on the basis of recent molecular data of cultured free-living and noncultured episymbiotic members of the epsilon subdivision of Proteobacteria and earlier carbon isotope data of primary consumers, an alternative autotrophic pathway may predominate. Here, genetic and culture-based approaches demonstrated the abundance of reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle genes compared to the abundance of Calvin cycle genes in microbial communities from two geographically distinct deep-sea hydrothermal vents. PCR with degenerate primers for three key genes in the reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle and form I and form II of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Calvin cycle marker gene) were utilized to demonstrate the abundance of the reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle genes in diverse vent samples. These genes were also expressed in at least one chimney sample. Diversity, similarity matrix, and phylogenetic analyses of cloned samples and amplified gene products from autotrophic enrichment cultures suggest that the majority of autotrophs that utilize the reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle are members of the epsilon subdivision of Proteobacteria. These results parallel the results of previously published molecular surveys of 16S rRNA genes, demonstrating the dominance of members of the epsilon subdivision of Proteobacteria in free-living hydrothermal vent communities. Members of the epsilon subdivision of Proteobacteria are also ubiquitous in many other microaerophilic to anaerobic sulfidic environments, such as the deep subsurface. Therefore, the reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle may be a major autotrophic pathway in these environments and significantly contribute to global autotrophic processes.

PMID:
15466576
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC522104
Free PMC Article

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