New Microbial Lineages Capable of Carbon Fixation and Nutrient Cycling in Deep-Sea Sediments of the Northern South China Sea.


Institute of Deep-Sea Science and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Sanya, Hainan, China [Email]


Metagenomics of marine sediments has uncovered a broad diversity of new uncultured taxa and provided insights into their metabolic capabilities. Here, we detected microbial lineages from a sediment core near the Jiulong methane reef of the northern South China Sea (at 1,100-m depth). Assembly and binning of the metagenomes resulted in 11 genomes (>85% complete) that represented nine distinct phyla, including candidate phyla TA06 and LCP-89, Lokiarchaeota, Heimdallarchaeota, and a newly described globally distributed phylum (B38). The genome of LCP-89 has pathways for nitrate, selenate, and sulfate reduction, suggesting that they may be involved in mediating these important processes. B38 are able to participate in the cycling of hydrogen and selenocompounds. Many of these uncultured microbes may also be capable of autotrophic CO2 fixation, as exemplified by identification of the Wood-Ljungdahl (W-L) pathway. Genes encoding carbohydrate degradation, W-L pathway, Rnf-dependent energy conservation, and Ni/Fe hydrogenases were detected in the transcriptomes of these novel members. Characterization of these new lineages provides insight to the undescribed branches in the tree of life.IMPORTANCE Sedimentary microorganisms in the South China Sea (SCS) remain largely unknown due to the complexity of sediment communities impacted by continent rifting and extension. Distinct geochemical environments may breed special microbial communities including microbes that are still enigmatic. Functional inference of their metabolisms and transcriptional activity provides insight in the ecological roles and substrate-based interactivity of these uncultured Archaea and Bacteria These microorganisms play different roles in utilizing inorganic carbon and scavenging diverse organic compounds involved in the deep-sea carbon cycle. The genomes recovered here contributed undescribed species to the tree of life and laid the foundation for future study on these novel phyla persisting in marginal sediments of the SCS.


South China Sea,carbon fixation,metagenome,metatranscriptome,sulfate reduction,