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Environ Microbiol. 2017 Nov;19(11):4392-4416. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13879. Epub 2017 Nov 2.

Metabolic potential and in situ activity of marine Marinimicrobia bacteria in an anoxic water column.

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School of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.
School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Department of Biology and Nordic Center for Earth Evolution (NordCEE), University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.


Marinimicrobia bacteria are widespread in subeuphotic areas of the oceans and particularly abundant in oxygen minimum zones (OMZs). Information on Marinimicrobia metabolism is sparse, making the biogeochemical influence of this group challenging to predict. Here, metagenome-assembled genomes representing Marinimicrobia subgroups PN262000N21 and ARCTIC96B-7 were retrieved to near completion (97% and 94%) from OMZ metagenomes, with contamination (14.1%) observed only in ARCTIC96B-7. Genes for aerobic carbon monoxide (CO) oxidation, polysulfide metabolism and hydrogen utilization were identified only in PN262000N21, while genes for partial denitrification occurred in both genomes. Transcripts mapping to these genomes increased from <0.3% of total mRNA from the oxic zone to a max of 22% under anoxia. ARCTIC96B-7 transcript representation decreased an order of magnitude from non-sulfidic to sulfidic depths. In contrast, PN262000N21 representation was relatively constant throughout the OMZ, although transcripts encoding sulfur-utilizing proteins, including sulfur transferases, were enriched at sulfidic depths. PN262000N21 transcripts encoding a protein with fibronectin domains similar to those in cellulosome-producing bacteria were also abundant, suggesting a potential for high molecular weight carbon cycling. These data provide omic-level descriptions of metabolic potential and activity in OMZ-associated Marinimicrobia, suggesting differentiation between subgroups with roles in carbon and dissimilatory inorganic nitrogen and sulfur cycling.

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