Nov 8, 2018

Lipid analysis of CO2-rich subsurface aquifers suggests an autotrophy-based deep biosphere with lysolipids enriched in CPR bacteria

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Alexander J ProbstJillian F Banfield


Sediment-hosted CO2-rich aquifers deep below the Colorado Plateau (USA) contain a remarkable diversity of uncultivated microorganisms, including Candidate Phyla Radiation (CPR) bacteria that are putative symbionts unable to synthesize membrane lipids. The origin of organic carbon in these ecosystems is unknown and the source of CPR membrane lipids remains elusive. We collected cells from deep groundwater brought to the surface by eruptions of Crystal Geyser, sequenced the community, and analyzed the whole community lipidome over time. Characteristic stable carbon isotopic compositions of microbial lipids suggest that bacterial and archaeal CO2 fixation ongoing in the deep subsurface provides organic carbon for the complex communities that reside there. Coupled lipidomic-metagenomic analysis indicates that CPR bacteria lack complete lipid biosynthesis pathways but still possess regular lipid membranes. These lipids may therefore originate from other community members, which also adapt to high in situ pressure by increasing fatty acid unsaturation. An unusually high abundance of lysolipids attributed to CPR bacteria may represent an adaptation to membrane curvature stress induced by their small cell sizes. Our findings provide ne...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biochemical Pathway
Tissue Membrane
Sample Fixation
Small Lymphocyte
Carbon Fixation

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