Nitrate-dependent ferrous iron [Fe(II)] oxidation (NDFO) is a well-recognized chemolithotrophic pathway in anoxic sediments. The neutrophilic chemolithoautotrophic enrichment culture KS originally obtained from a freshwater sediment (K. L. Straub, M. Benz, B. Schink, and F. Widdel, Appl Environ Microbiol 62:1458 -1460, 1996) has been used as a model system to study NDFO. However, the primary Fe(II) oxidizer in this culture has not been isolated, despite extensive efforts to do so. Here, we present a metagenomic analysis of this enrichment culture in order to gain insight into electron transfer pathways and the roles of different bacteria in the culture. We obtained a near-complete genome of the primary Fe(II) oxidizer, a species in the family Gallionellaceae, and draft genomes from its flanking community members. A search of the putative extracellular electron transfer pathways in these genomes led to the identification of a homolog of the MtoAB complex [a porin-multiheme cytochrome c system identified in neutrophilic microaerobic Fe(II)-oxidizing Sideroxydans lithotrophicus ES-1] in a Gallionellaceae sp., and findings of other putative genes involving cytochrome c and multicopper oxidases, such as Cyc2 and OmpB. Genome-enabled metabolic reconstruction revealed that this Gallionellaceae sp. lacks nitric oxide and nitrous oxide reductase genes and may partner with flanking populations capable of complete denitrification to avoid toxic metabolite accumulation, which may explain its resistance to growth in pure culture. This and other revealed interspecies interactions and metabolic interdependencies in nitrogen and carbon metabolisms may allow these organisms to cooperate effectively to achieve robust chemolithoautotrophic NDFO. Overall, the results significantly expand our knowledge of NDFO and suggest a range of genetic targets for further exploration.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.