A mesophilic, autotrophic, ammonia-oxidizing archaeon of thaumarchaeal group I.1a cultivated from a deep oligotrophic soil horizon

Man-Young Jung, Soo-Je Park, So-Jeong Kim, Jong-Geol Kim, Jaap S Sinninghe Damsté, Che Ok Jeon, Sung-Keun Rhee
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2014, 80 (12): 3645-55
Soil nitrification plays an important role in the reduction of soil fertility and in nitrate enrichment of groundwater. Various ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) are considered to be members of the pool of ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms in soil. This study reports the discovery of a chemolithoautotrophic ammonia oxidizer that belongs to a distinct clade of nonmarine thaumarchaeal group I.1a, which is widespread in terrestrial environments. The archaeal strain MY2 was cultivated from a deep oligotrophic soil horizon. The similarity of the 16S rRNA gene sequence of strain MY2 to those of other cultivated group I.1a thaumarchaeota members, i.e., Nitrosopumilus maritimus and "Candidatus Nitrosoarchaeum koreensis," is 92.9% for both species. Extensive growth assays showed that strain MY2 is chemolithoautotrophic, mesophilic (optimum temperature, 30°C), and neutrophilic (optimum pH, 7 to 7.5). The accumulation of nitrite above 1 mM inhibited ammonia oxidation, while ammonia oxidation itself was not inhibited in the presence of up to 5mM ammonia. The genome size of strain MY2 was 1.76 Mb, similar to those of N. maritimus and "Ca. Nitrosoarchaeum koreensis," and the repertoire of genes required for ammonia oxidation and carbon fixation in thaumarchaeal group I.1a was conserved. A high level of representation of conserved orthologous genes for signal transduction and motility in the noncore genome might be implicated in niche adaptation by strain MY2. On the basis of phenotypic, phylogenetic, and genomic characteristics, we propose the name "Candidatus Nitrosotenuis chungbukensis" for the ammonia-oxidizing archaeal strain MY2.

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