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ISME J. 2012 Oct;6(10):1869-82. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2012.24. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

'Candidatus Thermochlorobacter aerophilum:' an aerobic chlorophotoheterotrophic member of the phylum Chlorobi defined by metagenomics and metatranscriptomics.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


An uncultured member of the phylum Chlorobi, provisionally named 'Candidatus Thermochlorobacter aerophilum', occurs in the microbial mats of alkaline siliceous hot springs at the Yellowstone National Park. 'Ca. T. aerophilum' was investigated through metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches. 'Ca. T. aerophilum' is a member of a novel, family-level lineage of Chlorobi, a chlorophototroph that synthesizes type-1 reaction centers and chlorosomes similar to cultivated relatives among the green sulfur bacteria, but is otherwise very different physiologically. 'Ca. T. aerophilum' is proposed to be an aerobic photoheterotroph that cannot oxidize sulfur compounds, cannot fix N(2), and does not fix CO(2) autotrophically. Metagenomic analyses suggest that 'Ca. T. aerophilum' depends on other mat organisms for fixed carbon and nitrogen, several amino acids, and other important nutrients. The failure to detect bchU suggests that 'Ca. T. aerophilum' synthesizes bacteriochlorophyll (BChl) d, and thus it occupies a different ecological niche than other chlorosome-containing chlorophototrophs in the mat. Transcription profiling throughout a diel cycle revealed distinctive gene expression patterns. Although 'Ca. T. aerophilum' probably photoassimilates organic carbon sources and synthesizes most of its cell materials during the day, it mainly transcribes genes for BChl synthesis during late afternoon and early morning, and it synthesizes and assembles its photosynthetic apparatus during the night.

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