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Fermentation, Hydrogen, and Sulfur Metabolism in Multiple Uncultivated Bacterial Phyla

Science  28 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6102, pp. 1661-1665
DOI: 10.1126/science.1224041

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Abstract

BD1-5, OP11, and OD1 bacteria have been widely detected in anaerobic environments, but their metabolisms remain unclear owing to lack of cultivated representatives and minimal genomic sampling. We uncovered metabolic characteristics for members of these phyla, and a new lineage, PER, via cultivation-independent recovery of 49 partial to near-complete genomes from an acetate-amended aquifer. All organisms were nonrespiring anaerobes predicted to ferment. Three augment fermentation with archaeal-like hybrid type II/III ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase (RuBisCO) that couples adenosine monophosphate salvage with CO2 fixation, a pathway not previously described in Bacteria. Members of OD1 reduce sulfur and may pump protons using archaeal-type hydrogenases. For six organisms, the UGA stop codon is translated as tryptophan. All bacteria studied here may play previously unrecognized roles in hydrogen production, sulfur cycling, and fermentation of refractory sedimentary carbon.

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