Metagenomic signatures of the Peru Margin subseafloor biosphere show a genetically distinct environment

Jennifer F. Biddle, Sorel Fitz-Gibbon, Stephan C. Schuster, Jean E. Brenchley, Christopher H. House

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

322 Scopus citations

Abstract

The subseafloor marine biosphere may be one of the largest reservoirs of microbial biomass on Earth and has recently been the subject of debate in terms of the composition of its microbial inhabitants, particularly on sediments from the Peru Margin. A metagenomic analysis was made by using whole-genome amplification and pyrosequencing of sediments from Ocean Drilling Program Site 1229 on the Peru Margin to further explore the microbial diversity and overall community composition within this environment. A total of 61.9 Mb of genetic material was sequenced from sediments at horizons 1, 16, 32, and 50 m below the seafloor. These depths include sediments from both primarily sulfate-reducing methane-generating regions of the sediment column. Many genes of the annotated genes, including those encoding ribosomal proteins, corresponded to those from the Chloroflexi and Euryarchaeota. However, analysis of the 16S small-subunit ribosomal genes suggests that Crenarchaeota are the abundant microbial member. Quantitative PCR confirms that uncultivated Crenarchaeota are indeed a major microbial group in these subsurface samples. These findings show that the marine subsurface is a distinct microbial habitat and is different from environments studied by metagenomics, especially because of the predominance of uncultivated archaeal groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10583-10588
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume105
Issue number30
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 29 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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