Appl Environ Microbiol 82(5) , 1423-32 (Mar 1 2016)
The Chloroflexi CL500-11 clade contributes a large proportion of the bacterial biomass in the oxygenated hypolimnia of deep lakes worldwide, including the world’s largest freshwater system, the Laurentian Great Lakes. Traits that allow CL500-11 to thrive and its biogeochemical role in these environments are currently unknown. Here, we found that a CL500-11 population was present mostly in offshore waters along a transect in ultraoligotrophic Lake Michigan (a Laurentian Great Lake). It occurred throughout the water column in spring and only in the hypolimnion during summer stratification, contributing up to 18.1% of all cells. Genome reconstruction from metagenomic data suggested an aerobic, motile, heterotrophic lifestyle, with additional energy being gained through carboxidovory and methylovory. Comparisons to other available streamlined freshwater genomes revealed that the CL500-11 genome contained a disproportionate number of cell wall/capsule biosynthesis genes and the most diverse spectrum of genes involved in the uptake of dissolved organic matter (DOM) substrates, particularly peptides. In situ expression patterns indicated the importance of DOM uptake and protein/peptide turnover, as well as type I and type II carbon monoxide dehydrogenase and flagellar motility. Its location in the water column influenced its gene expression patterns the most. We observed increased bacteriorhodopsin gene expression and a response to oxidative stress in surface waters compared to its response in deep waters. While CL500-11 carries multiple adaptations to an oligotrophic lifestyle, its investment in motility, its large cell size, and its distribution in both oligotrophic and mesotrophic lakes indicate its ability to thrive under conditions where resources are more plentiful. Our data indicate that CL500-11 plays an important role in nitrogen-rich DOM mineralization in the extensive deep-lake hypolimnion habitat.