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Soil Candidate Phyla Radiation Bacteria Encode Components of Aerobic Metabolism and Co-occur with Nanoarchaea in the Rare Biosphere of Rhizosphere Grassland Communities


Candidate Phyla Radiation (CPR) bacteria and nanoarchaea populate most ecosystems but are rarely detected in soil. We concentrated particles of less than 0.2 μm in size from grassland soil, enabling targeted metagenomic analysis of these organisms, which are almost totally unexplored in largely oxic environments such as soil. We recovered a diversity of CPR bacterial and some archaeal sequences but no sequences from other cellular organisms. The sampled sequences include Doudnabacteria (SM2F11) and Pacearchaeota, organisms rarely reported in soil, as well as Saccharibacteria, Parcubacteria, and Microgenomates. CPR and archaea of the phyla Diapherotrites, Parvarchaeota, Aenigmarchaeota, Nanoarchaeota, and Nanohaloarchaeota (DPANN) were enriched 100- to 1,000-fold compared to that in bulk soil, in which we estimate each of these organisms comprises approximately 1 to 100 cells per gram of soil. Like most CPR and DPANN sequenced to date, we predict these microorganisms live symbiotic anaerobic lifestyles. However, Saccharibacteria, Parcubacteria, and Doudnabacteria genomes sampled here also harbor ubiquinol oxidase operons that may have been acquired from other bacteria, likely during adaptation to aerobic soil environments. We conclude that CPR bacteria and DPANN archaea are part of the rare soil biosphere and harbor unique metabolic platforms that potentially evolved to live symbiotically under relatively oxic conditions. IMPORTANCE Here, we investigated overlooked microbes in soil, Candidate Phyla Radiation (CPR) bacteria and Diapherotrites, Parvarchaeota, Aenigmarchaeota, Nanoarchaeota, and Nanohaloarchaeota (DPANN) archaea, by size fractionating small particles from soil, an approach typically used for the recovery of viral metagenomes. Concentration of these small cells (<0.2 μm) allowed us to identify these organisms as part of the rare soil biosphere and to sample genomes that were absent from non-size-fractionated metagenomes. We found that some of these predicted symbionts, which have been largely studied in anaerobic systems, have acquired aerobic capacity via lateral transfer that may enable adaptation to oxic soil environments. We estimate that there are approximately 1 to 100 cells of each of these lineages per gram of soil, highlighting that the approach provides a window into the rare soil biosphere and its associated genetic potential.

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