Comparative metagenomics unveils functions and genome features of microbialite-associated communities along a depth gradient
Saghai, Aurelien; Zivanovic, Yvan; Moreira, David; Benzerara, Karim; Bertolino, Paola; Ragon, Marie; Tavera, Rosaluz; Isabel Lopez-Archilla, Ana; Lopez-Garcia, Purificacion
Modern microbialites are often used as analogs of Precambrian stromatolites; therefore, studying the metabolic interplay within their associated microbial communities can help formulating hypotheses on their formation and long-term preservation within the fossil record. We performed a comparative metagenomic analysis of microbialite samples collected at two sites and along a depth gradient in Lake Alchichica (Mexico). The community structure inferred from single-copy gene family identification and longcontig (>10 kb) assignation, consistently with previous rRNA gene surveys, showed a wide prokaryotic diversity dominated by Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, and Bacteroidetes, while eukaryotes were largely dominated by green algae or diatoms. Functional analyses based on RefSeq, COG and SEED assignations revealed the importance of housekeeping functions, with an overrepresentation of genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, as compared with other metabolic capacities. The search for genes diagnostic of specific metabolic functions revealed the important involvement of Alphaproteobacteria in anoxygenic photosynthesis and sulfide oxidation, and Cyanobacteria in oxygenic photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation. Surprisingly, sulfate reduction appeared negligible. Comparative analyses suggested functional similarities among various microbial mat and microbialite metagenomes as compared with soil or oceans, but showed differences in microbial processes among microbialite types linked to local environmental conditions.
2016, Volume: 18, number: 12, pages: 4990-5004
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