Metagenome of a Versatile Chemolithoautotroph from Expanding Oceanic Dead Zones
- Author(s): Walsh, David A.
- et al.
Oxygen minimum zones (OMZs), also known as oceanic "dead zones", are widespread oceanographic features currently expanding due to global warming and coastal eutrophication. Although inhospitable to metazoan life, OMZs support a thriving but cryptic microbiota whose combined metabolic activity is intimately connected to nutrient and trace gas cycling within the global ocean. Here we report time-resolved metagenomic analyses of a ubiquitous and abundant but uncultivated OMZ microbe (SUP05) closely related to chemoautotrophic gill symbionts of deep-sea clams and mussels. The SUP05 metagenome harbors a versatile repertoire of genes mediating autotrophic carbon assimilation, sulfur-oxidation and nitrate respiration responsive to a wide range of water column redox states. Thus, SUP05 plays integral roles in shaping nutrient and energy flow within oxygen-deficient oceanic waters via carbon sequestration, sulfide detoxification and biological nitrogen loss with important implications for marine productivity and atmospheric greenhouse control.