Twing Katrina I.

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Katrina I.

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  • Article
    Metabolic strategies shared by basement residents of the lost city hydrothermal field
    (American Society for Microbiology, 2022-09-13) Brazelton, William J. ; McGonigle, Julia M. ; Motamedi, Shahrzad ; Pendleton, H. Lizethe ; Twing, Katrina I. ; Miller, Briggs C. ; Lowe, William J. ; Hoffman, Alessandrina M. ; Prator, Cecilia A. ; Chadwick, Grayson L. ; Anderson, Rika E. ; Thomas, Elaina ; Butterfield, David A. ; Aquino, Karmina A. ; Fruh-Green, Gretchen L. ; Schrenk, Matthew O. ; Lang, Susan Q.
    Alkaline fluids venting from chimneys of the Lost City hydrothermal field flow from a potentially vast microbial habitat within the seafloor where energy and organic molecules are released by chemical reactions within rocks uplifted from Earth’s mantle. In this study, we investigated hydrothermal fluids venting from Lost City chimneys as windows into subseafloor environments where the products of geochemical reactions, such as molecular hydrogen (H2), formate, and methane, may be the only available sources of energy for biological activity. Our deep sequencing of metagenomes and metatranscriptomes from these hydrothermal fluids revealed a few key species of archaea and bacteria that are likely to play critical roles in the subseafloor microbial ecosystem. We identified a population of Thermodesulfovibrionales (belonging to phylum Nitrospirota) as a prevalent sulfate-reducing bacterium that may be responsible for much of the consumption of H2 and sulfate in Lost City fluids. Metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) classified as Methanosarcinaceae and Candidatus Bipolaricaulota were also recovered from venting fluids and represent potential methanogenic and acetogenic members of the subseafloor ecosystem. These genomes share novel hydrogenases and formate dehydrogenase-like sequences that may be unique to hydrothermal environments where H2 and formate are much more abundant than carbon dioxide. The results of this study include multiple examples of metabolic strategies that appear to be advantageous in hydrothermal and subsurface alkaline environments where energy and carbon are provided by geochemical reactions.