Appl Environ Microbiol (Feb 23 2018)
Metagenomic data from Obsidian Pool (Yellowstone National Park, USA) and thirteen genome sequences were used to re-assess genus-wide biodiversity for the extremely thermophilic Caldicellulosiruptor The updated core-genome contains 1,401 ortholog groups (average genome size for thirteen species = 2,516 genes). The pan-genome, which remains open with a revised total of 3,493 ortholog groups, encodes a variety of multi-domain glycoside hydrolases (GH). These include three cellulases with GH48 domains that are co-located in the Glucan Degradation Locus (GDL) and are specific determinants for microcrystalline cellulose utilization. Three recently sequenced species, Caldicellulosiruptor sp. str. Rt8.B8 (re-named here Caldicellulosiruptor morganii), Thermoanaerobacter cellulolyticus str. NA10 (re-named here Caldicellulosiruptor naganoensis NA10), and Caldicellulosiruptor sp. str. Wai35.B1 (re-named here Caldicellulosiruptor danielii) degraded Avicel and lignocellulose (switchgrass). C. morganii was more efficient than C. bescii in this regard and differed from the other twelve species examined here, both based on genome content and organization and in the specific domain features of conserved GHs. Metagenomic analysis of lignocellulose-enriched samples from Obsidian Pool revealed limited new information on genus biodiversity. Enrichments yielded genomic signatures closely related to Caldicellulosiruptor obsidiansis, but there was also evidence for other thermophilic fermentative anaerobes (Caldanaerobacter, Fervidobacterium, Caloramator, and Clostridium). One enrichment, containing 89.7% Caldicellulosiruptor and 9.7% Caloramator, had a capacity for switchgrass solubilization comparable to C. bescii These results refine the known biodiversity of Caldicellulosiruptor and indicate that microcrystalline cellulose degradation at temperatures above 70 degrees C, based on current information, is limited to certain members of this genus that produce GH48 domain-containing enzymes.IMPORTANCE The genus Caldicellulosiruptor contains the most thermophilic bacteria capable of lignocellulose deconstruction and are promising candidates for consolidated bioprocessing for the production of biofuels and bio-based chemicals. The focus here is on the extant capability of this genus for plant biomass degradation and the extent to which this can be inferred from the core and pan-genomes, based on analysis of thirteen species and metagenomic sequence information from environmental samples. Key to microcrystalline hydrolysis is the content of the Glucan Degradation Locus (GDL), a set of genes encoding glycoside hydrolases (GH), several of which have GH48 and family 3 carbohydrate binding module domains, that function as primary cellulases. Resolving the relationship between the GDL and lignocellulose degradation will inform efforts to identify more prolific members of the genus and to develop metabolic engineering strategies to improve this characteristic.