The ISME Journal , 1-15 ( )
Copper membrane monooxygenases (CuMMOs) play critical roles in the global carbon and nitrogen cycles. Organisms harboring these enzymes perform the first, and rate limiting, step in aerobic oxidation of ammonia, methane, or other simple hydrocarbons. Within archaea, only organisms in the order Nitrososphaerales (Thaumarchaeota) encode CuMMOs, which function exclusively as ammonia monooxygenases. From grassland and hillslope soils and aquifer sediments, we identified 20 genomes from distinct archaeal species encoding divergent CuMMO sequences. These archaea are phylogenetically clustered in a previously unnamed Thermoplasmatota order, herein named the Ca. Angelarchaeales. The CuMMO proteins in Ca. Angelarchaeales are more similar in structure to those in Nitrososphaerales than those of bacteria, and contain all functional residues required for general monooxygenase activity. Ca. Angelarchaeales genomes are significantly enriched in blue copper proteins (BCPs) relative to sibling lineages, including plastocyanin-like electron carriers and divergent nitrite reductase-like (nirK) 2-domain cupredoxin proteins co-located with electron transport machinery. Ca. Angelarchaeales also encode significant capacity for peptide/amino acid uptake and degradation and share numerous electron transport mechanisms with the Nitrososphaerales. Ca. Angelarchaeales are detected at high relative abundance in some of the environments where their genomes originated from. While the exact substrate specificities of the novel CuMMOs identified here have yet to be determined, activity on ammonia is possible given their metabolic and ecological context. The identification of an archaeal CuMMO outside of the Nitrososphaerales significantly expands the known diversity of CuMMO enzymes in archaea and suggests previously unaccounted organisms contribute to critical global nitrogen and/or carbon cycling functions.