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Casting light on Asgardarchaeota metabolism in a sunlit microoxic niche


Bulzu, Paul-Adrian; Andrei, Adrian-Ştefan; Salcher, Michaela M; Mehrshad, Maliheh; Inoue, Keiichi; Kandori, Hideki; Beja, Oded; Ghai, Rohit; Banciu, Horia L (2019). Casting light on Asgardarchaeota metabolism in a sunlit microoxic niche. Nature Microbiology, 4(7):1129-1137.

Abstract

Recent advances in phylogenomic analyses and increased genomic sampling of uncultured prokaryotic lineages have brought compelling evidence in support of the emergence of eukaryotes from within the archaeal domain of life (eocyte hypothesis)1,2. The discovery of Asgardarchaeota and its supposed position at the base of the eukaryotic tree of life3,4 provided cues about the long-awaited identity of the eocytic lineage from which the nucleated cells (Eukaryota) emerged. While it is apparent that Asgardarchaeota encode a plethora of eukaryotic-specific proteins (the highest number identified yet in prokaryotes)5, the lack of genomic information and metabolic characterization has precluded inferences about their lifestyles and the metabolic landscape that favoured the emergence of the protoeukaryote ancestor. Here, we use advanced phylogenetic analyses for inferring the deep ancestry of eukaryotes, and genome-scale metabolic reconstructions for shedding light on the metabolic milieu of Asgardarchaeota. In doing so, we: (1) show that Heimdallarchaeia (the closest eocytic lineage to eukaryotes to date) are likely to have a microoxic niche, based on their genomic potential, with aerobic metabolic pathways that are unique among Archaea (that is, the kynurenine pathway); (2) provide evidence of mixotrophy within Asgardarchaeota; and (3) describe a previously unknown family of rhodopsins encoded within the recovered genomes.

Abstract

Recent advances in phylogenomic analyses and increased genomic sampling of uncultured prokaryotic lineages have brought compelling evidence in support of the emergence of eukaryotes from within the archaeal domain of life (eocyte hypothesis)1,2. The discovery of Asgardarchaeota and its supposed position at the base of the eukaryotic tree of life3,4 provided cues about the long-awaited identity of the eocytic lineage from which the nucleated cells (Eukaryota) emerged. While it is apparent that Asgardarchaeota encode a plethora of eukaryotic-specific proteins (the highest number identified yet in prokaryotes)5, the lack of genomic information and metabolic characterization has precluded inferences about their lifestyles and the metabolic landscape that favoured the emergence of the protoeukaryote ancestor. Here, we use advanced phylogenetic analyses for inferring the deep ancestry of eukaryotes, and genome-scale metabolic reconstructions for shedding light on the metabolic milieu of Asgardarchaeota. In doing so, we: (1) show that Heimdallarchaeia (the closest eocytic lineage to eukaryotes to date) are likely to have a microoxic niche, based on their genomic potential, with aerobic metabolic pathways that are unique among Archaea (that is, the kynurenine pathway); (2) provide evidence of mixotrophy within Asgardarchaeota; and (3) describe a previously unknown family of rhodopsins encoded within the recovered genomes.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
07 Faculty of Science > Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Immunology, Microbiology (medical), Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Genetics, Cell Biology, Microbiology
Language:English
Date:1 July 2019
Deposited On:07 Feb 2020 15:52
Last Modified:13 Feb 2020 15:54
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2058-5276
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-019-0404-y

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