Archaea domain is comprised of many versatile taxa that often colonize extreme habitats. Here, we report the discovery of strictly anaerobic extremely halophilic euryarchaeon, capable of obtaining energy by dissimilatory reduction of elemental sulfur using acetate as the only electron donor and forming sulfide and CO<inf>2</inf> as the only products. This type of respiration has never been observed in hypersaline anoxic habitats and is the first example of such metabolic capability in the entire Archaea domain. We isolated and cultivated these unusual organisms, selecting one representative strain, HSR2, for detailed characterization. Our studies including physiological tests, genome sequencing, gene expression, metabolomics and [<sup>14</sup>C]-bicarbonate assimilation assays revealed that HSR2 oxidized acetate completely via the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Anabolic assimilation of acetate occurred via activated glyoxylate bypass and anaplerotic carboxylation. HSR2 possessed sulfurtransferase and an array of membrane-bound polysulfide reductase genes, all of which were expressed during the growth. Our findings suggest the biogeochemical contribution of haloarchaea in hypersaline anoxic environments must be reconsidered.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 15 May 2015; doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.79.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics