Environmental Microbiology 24(5) , 2576-2603 ( 2022)
Uncultivated microbial clades (‘microbial dark matter’) are inferred to play important but uncharacterized roles in nutrient cycling. Using Antarctic lake (Ace Lake, Vestfold Hills) metagenomes, 12 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs; 88%-100% complete) were generated for four ‘dark matter’ phyla: six MAGs from Candidatus Auribacterota (=Aureabacteria, SURF-CP-2), inferred to be hydrogen- and sulfide-producing fermentative heterotrophs, with individual MAGs encoding bacterial microcompartments (BMCs), gas vesicles, and type IV pili; one MAG (100% complete) from Candidatus Hinthialibacterota (=OLB16), inferred to be a facultative anaerobe capable of dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonia, specialized for mineralization of complex organic matter (e.g. sulfated polysaccharides), and encoding BMCs, flagella, and Tad pili; three MAGs from Candidatus Electryoneota (=AABM5-125-24), previously reported to include facultative anaerobes capable of dissimilatory sulfate reduction, and here inferred to perform sulfite oxidation, reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle for autotrophy, and possess numerous proteolytic enzymes; two MAGs from Candidatus Lernaellota (=FEN-1099), inferred to be capable of formate oxidation, amino acid fermentation, and possess numerous enzymes for protein and polysaccharide degradation. The presence of 16S rRNA gene sequences in public metagenome datasets (88%-100% identity) suggests these ‘dark matter’ phyla contribute to sulfur cycling, degradation of complex organic matter, ammonification and/or chemolithoautotrophic CO2 fixation in diverse global environments.