Refining the phylum Chlorobi by resolving the phylogeny and metabolic potential of the representative of a deeply branching, uncultivated lineage

Jennifer Hiras, Yu Wei Wu, Stephanie A. Eichorst, Blake A. Simmons, Steven W. Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have expanded the phylum Chlorobi, demonstrating that the green sulfur bacteria (GSB), the original cultured representatives of the phylum, are a part of a broader lineage whose members have more diverse metabolic capabilities that overlap with members of the phylum Bacteroidetes. The 16S rRNA gene of an uncultivated clone, OPB56, distantly related to the phyla Chlorobi and Bacteroidetes, was recovered from Obsidian Pool in Yellowstone National Park; however, the detailed phylogeny and function of OPB56 and related clones have remained unknown. Culturing of thermophilic bacterial consortia from compost by adaptation to grow on ionic-liquid pretreated switchgrass provided a consortium in which one of the most abundant members, NICIL-2, clustered with OPB56-related clones. Phylogenetic analysis using the full-length 16S rRNA gene from NICIL-2 demonstrated that it was part of a monophyletic clade, referred to as OPB56, distinct from the Bacteroidetes and Chlorobi. A near complete draft genome (>95% complete) was recovered from metagenomic data from the culture adapted to grow on ionic-liquid pretreated switchgrass using an automated binning algorithm, and this genome was used for marker gene-based phylogenetic analysis and metabolic reconstruction. Six additional genomes related to NICIL-2 were reconstructed from metagenomic data sets obtained from thermal springs at Yellowstone National Park and Nevada Great Boiling Spring. In contrast to the 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic analysis, protein phylogenetic analysis was most consistent with the clustering of the Chlorobea, Ignavibacteria and OPB56 into a single phylum level clade. Metabolic reconstruction of NICIL-2 demonstrated a close linkage with the class Ignavibacteria and the family Rhodothermaceae, a deeply branching Bacteroidetes lineage. The combined phylogenetic and functional analysis of the NICIL-2 genome has refined the membership in the phylum Chlorobi and emphasized the close evolutionary and metabolic relationship between the phyla Chlorobi and the Bacteroidetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-845
Number of pages13
JournalISME Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Microbiology


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