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Environ Microbiol. 2018 Mar;20(3):1041-1063. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.14043. Epub 2018 Mar 12.

Genomic insights into the Acidobacteria reveal strategies for their success in terrestrial environments.

Author information

1
Division of Microbial Ecology, Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science, Research Network "Chemistry Meets Biology", University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
2
Department of Energy, Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, CA, USA.
3
Division of Computational Systems Biology, Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science, Research Network "Chemistry Meets Biology", University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

Members of the phylum Acidobacteria are abundant and ubiquitous across soils. We performed a large-scale comparative genome analysis spanning subdivisions 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 23 (n = 24) with the goal to identify features to help explain their prevalence in soils and understand their ecophysiology. Our analysis revealed that bacteriophage integration events along with transposable and mobile elements influenced the structure and plasticity of these genomes. Low- and high-affinity respiratory oxygen reductases were detected in multiple genomes, suggesting the capacity for growing across different oxygen gradients. Among many genomes, the capacity to use a diverse collection of carbohydrates, as well as inorganic and organic nitrogen sources (such as via extracellular peptidases), was detected - both advantageous traits in environments with fluctuating nutrient environments. We also identified multiple soil acidobacteria with the potential to scavenge atmospheric concentrations of H2 , now encompassing mesophilic soil strains within the subdivision 1 and 3, in addition to a previously identified thermophilic strain in subdivision 4. This large-scale acidobacteria genome analysis reveal traits that provide genomic, physiological and metabolic versatility, presumably allowing flexibility and versatility in the challenging and fluctuating soil environment.

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