Reconstructing genomes of carbon monoxide oxidisers in volcanic deposits including members of the class Ktedonobacteria

Marcela Hernández, Blanca Vera-Gargallo, Marcela Calabi-Floody, Gary M. King, Ralf Conrad, Christoph C. Tebbe

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Microorganisms can potentially colonise volcanic rocks using the chemical energy in reduced gases such as methane, hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO). In this study, we analysed soil metagenomes from Chilean volcanic soils, representing three different successional stages with ages of 380, 269 and 63 years, respectively. A total of 19 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) were retrieved from all stages with a higher number observed in the youngest soil (1640: 2 MAGs, 1751: 1 MAG, 1957: 16 MAGs). Genomic similarity indices showed that several MAGs had amino-acid identity (AAI) values >50% to the phyla Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes, Proteobacteria and Chloroflexi. Three MAGs from the youngest site (1957) belonged to the class Ktedonobacteria (Chloroflexi). Complete cellular functions of all the MAGs were characterised, including carbon fixation, terpenoid backbone biosynthesis, formate oxidation and CO oxidation. All 19 environmental genomes contained at least one gene encoding a putative carbon monoxide dehydrogenase (CODH). Three MAGs had form I coxL operon (encoding the large subunit CO-dehydrogenase). One of these MAGs (MAG-1957-2.1, Ktedonobacterales) was highly abundant in the youngest soil. MAG-1957-2.1 also contained genes encoding a [NiFe]-hydrogenase and hyp genes encoding accessory enzymes and proteins. Little is known about the Ktedonobacterales through cultivated isolates, but some species can utilise H2 and CO for growth. Our results strongly suggest that the remote volcanic sites in Chile represent a natural habitat for Ktedonobacteria and they may use reduced gases for growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1880
Issue number12
Early online date27 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Carbon monoxide dehydrogenase
  • Ktedonobacteria
  • Metagenome-assembled-genome
  • Shotgun sequencing
  • Volcanic soils

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