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Unusual respiratory capacity and nitrogen metabolism in a Parcubacterium (OD1) of the Candidate Phyla Radiation

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The Candidate Phyla Radiation (CPR) is a large group of bacteria, the scale of which approaches that of all other bacteria. CPR organisms are inferred to depend on other community members for many basic cellular building blocks and all appear to be obligate anaerobes. To date, there has been no evidence for any significant respiratory capacity in an organism from this radiation. Here we report a curated draft genome for 'Candidatus Parcunitrobacter nitroensis' a member of the Parcubacteria (OD1) superphylum of the CPR. The genome encodes versatile energy pathways, including fermentative and respiratory capacities, nitrogen and fatty acid metabolism, as well as the first complete electron transport chain described for a member of the CPR. The sequences of all of these enzymes are highly divergent from sequences found in other organisms, suggesting that these capacities were not recently acquired from non-CPR organisms. Although the wide respiration-based repertoire points to a different lifestyle compared to other CPR bacteria, we predict similar obligate dependence on other organisms or the microbial community. The results substantially expand the known metabolic potential of CPR bacteria, although sequence comparisons indicate that these capacities are very rare in members of this radiation.

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