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Probst, Alexander J.; Weinmaier, Thomas; Raymann, Kasie; Perras, Alexandra; Emerson, Joanne B.; Rattei, Thomas; Wanner, Gerhard; Klingl, Andreas; Berg, Ivan A.; Yoshinaga, Marcos; Viehweger, Bernhard; Hinrichs, Kai-Uwe; Thomas, Brian C.; Meck, Sandra; Auerbach, Anna K.; Heise, Matthias; Schintlmeister, Arno; Schmid, Markus; Wagner, Michael; Gribaldo, Simonetta; Banfield, Jillian F.; Moissl-Eichinger, Christine (2014): Biology of a widespread uncultivated archaeon that contributes to carbon fixation in the subsurface. In: Nature Communications, Vol. 5, 5497
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Abstract

Subsurface microbial life contributes significantly to biogeochemical cycling, yet it remains largely uncharacterized, especially its archaeal members. This 'microbial dark matter' has been explored by recent studies that were, however, mostly based on DNA sequence information only. Here, we use diverse techniques including ultrastuctural analyses to link genomics to biology for the SM1 Euryarchaeon lineage, an uncultivated group of subsurface archaea. Phylogenomic analyses reveal this lineage to belong to a widespread group of archaea that we propose to classify as a new euryarchaeal order ('Candidatus Altiarchaeales'). The representative, double-membraned species 'Candidatus Altiarchaeum hamiconexum' has an autotrophic metabolism that uses a not-yet-reported Factor(420)-free reductive acetyl-CoA pathway, confirmed by stable carbon isotopic measurements of archaeal lipids. Our results indicate that this lineage has evolved specific metabolic and structural features like nano-grappling hooks empowering this widely distributed archaeon to predominate anaerobic groundwater, where it may represent an important carbon dioxide sink.